Monday, June 29, 2015

Why I Chose to Adopt

Disclaimer..I'm talking about dogs not children here, although my dogs are my children. After reading a great post from Alanna at Alanna and Co about the reasons why to adopt an older dog instead of a puppy I started to think of my own motivations for adopting this bundle of spunk.





I have a bleeding heart for animals. It's true. Whether it's immediately changing the channel whenever an ASPCA commercial comes on or saying a prayer every time I see a dog crossing the road I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to animals. I'm not saying I don't care for people, although sometimes it is hard, but there is just something about animals and especially dogs that tugs on my heartstrings. I will take in any dog that needs help, call the police on ignorant people I see mistreating their dogs, and preach adoption to anyone I know contemplating getting a pet. Animals are helpless and it's our job to care for them. 

I generally try to not care what other's think of me or my decisions but I would by lying if I haven't felt a tinge of guilt in the past when someone asked me where I got my dog Jax. I have been embarrassed when I would say the word breeder and that he was basically a designer dog. I am beyond happy with Jax and would never trade him for anything but I was 22 when I got him and uninformed about adoption and the options. I have some allergies and I thought the only way to get a hypo-allergenic dog was through a breeder. Wrong. There are lots of "designer" breeds and full bred dogs up for adoption through shelters or rescue groups. You just have to look and maybe put in a little time to research. I am now proud to say at the dog park or wherever when asked where I got my dogs that Milo is from the local animal shelter. It is a great testament for others to see a cute dog that is well behaved came from a shelter. 

One visit to a shelter will change your mind. An animal shelter is the epitome of desperation. While most shelters are clean and have a wonderful staff there is no denying it is a horrific place that is death row for most animals that enter the door. If you can walk into shelter and walk by the rows of crates and look at the faces of the dogs begging for your attention and not be moved to take one (or all) of them home I question your decency as a human. When we first saw Milo he was crammed in the back room in the last crate with his brother. They were both small but Milo was beyond scrawny weighing only a pound and had exposed ribs and spine. He was the smallest dog I had ever seen. In the car taking him home I looked down and saw fleas crawling all over him. I spent the next hour bathing him in the kitchen sink picking 100s of fleas off his tiny body. This may seem silly but I knew then I wanted to protect him and make him feel safe because I couldn't imagine what he had been through in his short life.  

I truly feel like I've made a difference. Sometimes I look at Milo and can't believe that someone would have just thrown him away like trash. The sweet dog who sleeps on my legs and wakes me up with kisses each morning could have been discarded and robbed at a chance of a good life. I love both of my dogs equally (as any good parent should) but I feel a special bond with Milo. I can see in his eyes that he appreciates me and knows that he was saved. 

Put an end to puppy mills. You've seen the horrific images of puppy mills but sometimes it's hard to relate that the pitiful animals you see there turn into the same puppies that you see behind shiny glass in pet stores. Often times these dogs are so unhealthy from the conditions and inbreeding. The stud and mother dogs live a horrible life and then discarded once they can no longer breed. There are so many good, healthy, and beautiful dogs up for adoption and through rescue programs that buying a dog through a pet shop or other service is just senseless. Moreover, it is the only way to stop these horrible institutions. When people stop buying from them that's when it will stop. 

I know there are exceptions to every rule and I'm sure some have had great experiences buying animals. This post is not meant to preach or put anyone to shame. However, my experience is that with a little research you can find an animal in a shelter or rescue group that will fit ANY need for a pet you may have. Not to mention the endless amount of rewards you will reap! 

Please share your adoption story!


Friday, June 26, 2015

5 on Friday

One. Blogging BFFs

One of my favorite things about blogging is the community of women and friendships I've already made. Naturally, I was excited to join a Blogging BFF program when it was offered and to be paired up with two lovely ladies, Andrea and Brooke. It has been so nice to chat with these girls, learn about their blogs, and get to know them. Part of the program was to send each other little gifts and we chose an office supply theme for the first swap. I love little office goodies so was pumped when I got these in the mail.


Two. Book Review


 A few months ago my mom went to visit my great aunt and she returned back with a box of books that my aunt sent for me. She knows I love to read too and we often talk about recent reads when we get together. I was excited to dive into the box of books and found several that I wanted to read. Tucked into the box was this little gem, Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. Without giving too much away, this book is centered around a recent widow who flees to her estranged aunt's run down resort in rural Georgia called Lost Lake. Her aunt is about to sell Lost Lake and this last summer all of the regulars return. It is a story of lost people coming to this lake where they have had so many memories and uniting over this place that means so much to them. It's a wonderful story of how going back to your roots can sometimes make everything better. If you're looking for a sweet story with some twists and turns but also is tied up so well that you are smiling---read this! Want it now? I will send my used copy to the first person to email (link in sidebar) me their address (free of course). I love book swaps so happy to pass the love along :)


Three. Swagbucks

I've been a long time fan of Ebates (affiliate link) the site that lets you earn cash back on online shopping. However, I've recently discovered an online rewards program where you can not only earn points towards gift cards from shopping online but also you can earn points by taking quizzes, watching videos, and playing games! This past week I've become obsessed with Swagbucks and figuring out how to earn points. I take the daily crave quizzes every day to earn points, follow their twitter and Facebook to get flash swagcodes, and even keep the watch and earn videos on my second monitor and have them playing while doing other things. It's so easy to get points! You can get gift cards to Starbucks, Target, Amazon, and much more. Sign up and let me know how you like it! 

Four. Nordstrom Sale Purchases

I posted earlier in the week about the Nordstrom Clearance Sale and my picks. I ended up picking up the Band of Gypsies Print Shift Dress and the Wayf Midi Overlay Dress for my upcoming Nashville 4th of July trip. I'm happy with them!



Five. Cabrewing

I'm so excited to meet up with my best of friends this weekend for a cabrewing trip! In case you're not familiar that stands for canoeing and brewing---a perfect combination! 

Have a great weekend friends and enjoy the summer it's already flying by!

Linking up with AmandaHigh Five for FridayLife in LeggingsSeptember Farm, and A Blonde Ambition

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kentucky Travel Guide

When you've lived somewhere your entire life it's often easy to overlook all of the beauty and adventure that surrounds you. Sure, it's fun to travel outside your state or country when planning a vacation but there's also a lot to explore in your own neck of the woods. Kentucky has so much to offer! Daniel Boone truly said it best---"heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place." 

Kentucky Travel Guide

Kentucky may not be on the top of your wanderlust bucket list but don't sell it short---there's so much to see in My Old Kentucky Home! 


East

I would be remiss if I didn't share with you all the beauty and fun that my hometown and area has to offer. If mountains are your thing this is the place for you because we have some of the best around.

I took this photo myself during a walk. Whether you like to hike, bike, walk, zipline or just sight see you can do it all in Pikeville! Did you see the Hatfield & McCoy miniseries on the History Channel? Well you can go on a guided tour to all the sights and landmarks from the most famous family feud in American history!  The Breaks Interstate Park is known as the "Grand Canyon of the South" and the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi. The hills of eastern Kentucky has some of most diverse ecosystems of plants and animals in the world! 
If all these mountains have peaked your fancy you will go nuts over Red River Gorge. You don't have to go to Arizona to see beautiful canyons because the Gorge is a sight to behold. Climbers and nature enthusiasts from all over the world trek to the hills of EKY to see these sights. I mean look at this natural bridge. While you're there you must go join the hiking hippies and have the best pizza and Ale-8 at Miguel's Pizza.


The Bluegrass

I'm sure you've heard that Kentucky produces some of the best thoroughbred horses in the world right? And we have this little event called the Kentucky Derby. However, the bluegrass region is much more than horses! Bourbon tourism is flourishing in Lexington and Louisville and for good reason because we make the best! In a 70 mile stretch of road there are 9....yes 9 bourbon distilleries...more affectionately know as the The Bourbon Trail. Each distillery is unique and on each stop you will learn their particular style and history. Of course there is lots of tasting too! 

West

The western part of Kentucky is one that is relatively unknown to me. I've driven through it a handful of times but never truly explored it. I may be one of the few people in the state not have seen the majestic Mammoth Cave, which is the world's longest cave system (over 400 miles)!

Have a car lover in your family? Travel to Bowling Green to where the famous Chevy Corvette sports car is manufactured and walk through the museum. 

Keep going west and you'll run into Paducah. This unassuming town was never on my radar until I started reading about all of its charm from fellow Kentucky blogger Sarah from the Bluegrass Redhead. Her #paducahproud series has me itching to make the trek out west and enjoy all the new markets, artisan shops, and restaurants popping up the small town. 

There are so many more interesting places to visit in Kentucky and this post just skimmed the surface. My intention with this post is to highlight the land that I love and attract others to witness its beauty. But also, if you're lucky enough to live here take time to explore your own state first and help grow its local tourism! The state is jammed packed full of weekend trips waiting for you to take advantage!

Do you have a favorite Kentucky travel attraction?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Nordstrom Summer Clearance Sale Picks

Starting now through June 28th Nordstrom is having its Summer Clearance Sale where you can get up to 40% off! If you've been eyeing a dress or handbag go see if it's included in the sale. I NEVER buy anything full price so I was excited to browse through the sale and there's some good stuff! I'm thinking about the Band of Gypsies fringe dress and Wayf midi dress for my upcoming 4th of July girls trip to Nashville (send and all recommendations my way!). There were so many options in the sale but these are a few that caught my eye! 



Have you checked out the sale?

Beauty Empties

This post contains affiliate products links. I could receive a commission when you click or buy links.

I'm a self-proclaimed product hoarder. I will try just about any new beauty or skin product out there. This is all well and good aside from the fact that this habit of mine causes me to jump back and forth between products and often forgetting ones I already have. I rarely finish a product. But when I find one I love I'm squeezing every last drop out of it. Here are the products I've squeezed the life out of lately and will be buying again! 

Have you searched the #empties? You should! I love seeing the products people love when looking for new ideas or suggestions.

beauty product empties

1. CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray I've talked before about how I don't like to wash my hair. Mostly because of the damage washing and styling does to your locks. When I apply heat to my hair I love to use this protecting spray. It has a very benign pleasant smell and is not sticky at all! Just spray before drying, curling, or using a flat iron and your hair is protected from the excess heat. 

2. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue This is my go-to product when the weather warms up or I'm too lazy to put on a full face. A moisturizer, BB cream, and SPF 30 all wrapped up in one. If I'm in a hurry or running out early on a Saturday morning to the grocery store this is the one product I will put on because it is quickly makes me look like I'm not dead and lightly covers any imperfections. The gel formula feels so light when applied unlike most SPF moisturizers that are thick and creamy. I wear the Vanilla 02. 

3. NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Gloss Vanilla Cream Pie NYX is my favorite budget beauty brand. I've been very satisfied with all the products I've bought from this brand and if there comes a time when I'm not, it's not a huge deal because of the low prices. This gloss is the perfect sheer bubblegum pink shade. Ahem, and it's under $7. Can someone please teach me how to wear big girl lipstick? I always feel like a clown when I try. Until then I'll be sticking with these easy to wear glosses. 

4. Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! I originally tried this product after getting it as a free gift through Sephora points. I've bought it twice since because I like it so much. This highlighter is very user friendly and blends well. I've not quite ventured into the world of contouring but this is my way of dipping my toe into the water. I glide it under my eyes and on the apples of my cheeks for a natural looking glow and highlight. 


What empties do you have and buy over and over?


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beauty Products to Help You Beat the Heat

I'm so excited to have the wonderful Sara Drury guest posting today! Sara is a hair and makeup guru in Lexington, Kentucky! Kentucky girls if you have an event coming up you NEED to get Sara to transform you! I have used her and have been beyond happy with the results. 




Everyone loves summer but the heat can do a number on our hair and face. If you're like me, you walk out the door with your hair and makeup done and then by midday you're a frizz ball from the humidity and your t-zone looks like an oil field. Not cute. Luckily, we have an expert like Sara to share what products are best to beat the heat!

Follow Sara here and here! She posts the best how-to videos! 

Hello!  My name is Sara Drury and I'm a hair stylist and makeup artist in Lexington, ky. I am so excited to be doing a guest post for Brittany!
Here are some of my favorite products and tips to help keep you looking fabulous even in the heat of summer!





πŸ’„Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Weather Proof Humidity Resistant Spray . It will help control frizz even on the most humid days. Just spray to finish off your hair. It's not a hairspray, so it doesn't have any hold to it but it does have lots of frizz fighting powers!

πŸ’„Oil blotting sheets!  To help keep your makeup looking fresh during the hot days of summer use oil blotting sheets. As your foundation mixes with the natural oils in your face you can tend to get a little shiny. If you powder on top of all the oil and foundation you start to create a paste of makeup and oil. Instead grab an oil blotting sheet and dab the oily areas first. And THEN you can use powder!

πŸ’„BB cream. When I'm running around in the heat of summer I tend to skip heavy foundation altogether. I like to use a BB cream instead. It's great because it is lightweight and also has SPF in it!

At the moment I'm loving the Cover fx BB cream and Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream.

πŸ’„If you need a little more coverage and just cannot go without your foundation, try applying it with a Beauty Blender instead of a foundation brush. It pats it into the skin in a light thin layer and keeps you from applying too much.

πŸ’„If you're extra oily in the summer, like I am, you can spray your face with a setting spray to help add extra insurance that your makeup will last all day!

I love the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray for oily skin because you can use it as a primer and a setting spray. Other similar products are Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, Mac fix +, or Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix.

πŸ’„Eye primer
Eye primer is a must all year round but especially in summer months. Apply it under your eye shadow so it will stay in place all day. You won't have to worry about it creasing or running. I like to put a little under my eye close to the lash line to help keep my eyeliner in place as well.


πŸ’„Bronzer!  I try to keep my face out of the sun altogether. Wrinkles? No thank you!  So bronzer is a must in the summer months. It can give you that added color and make your eyes pop, your teeth look whiter, and give you an overall healthy glow. I like to hit the high points of the face--forehead, cheeks, chin and a little on the nose. You can even add it to your collarbone, dΓ©colletΓ©, and shoulders with a big fluffy body brush.

πŸ’„Liquid eyeliner Switch out your pencil eyeliner for a liquid eyeliner. It will stay put much better!

πŸ’„Before pool time: wet your hair and spray a little leave in conditioner in your hair. Your hair can only absorb so much liquid and if it's already full it won't absorb the pool water.

It will keep your hair in good condition and also keep blond hair from getting a green tint.

πŸ’„Sea salt spray It's perfect for beach or pool days or when you just  want to get that beachy look!  You just towel dry your hair,  spray some sea salt spray in and scrunch. It looks so cool and it's a way to give your hair a break from heat styling.


I hope that is helpful for you lovelies! If you have any questions feel free to ask away!

I am now offering beauty classes!  Come check them out and sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss a thing. Sara Drury Local Looks

Come hang out with me on Instagram for daily beauty tips, product reviews and more! @saradrurylocallooks

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Staying Healthy At The Office

Staying Healthy at the Office

Fortunately, I never experienced the "freshman 15" however I've become too familiar with another phenomenon I'll call the "working girl weight gain". If you work at an office or have a desk you job you know exactly what I'm talking about. I love reading other blogger's post their "day in the life" posts however I laugh when I think of what mine would be like. Hours 1-8 would consists of me in the same position at my desk staring at a computer with the occasional rendezvous to get coffee. The incredibly sedentary routine that many office environments have is not good for our waistlines (or probably sanity). So, until I can convince my boss to get me a walking treadmill desk I'll be sticking to these tactics! 

Snack Drawer

If your office is like mine it's always someone's birthday or holiday and there are ALWAYS cupcakes, doughnuts, and other treats being brought in and leading to temptation. I would be lying if I said I never indulged in these but it makes it much easier to walk past that day old doughnut that's in the office kitchen that you want just out of boredom when you have healthy snacks accessible.
Staying Healthy at the Office
This is what's currently in my snack drawer (yes, I eat the pb with just a spoon). I also keep iced coffee, yogurt, and the like in our office kitchen refrigerator. 

Bring your lunch

There's no denying that work days are long and you're counting down every minute to lunch so you can bust out those doors. Going out for lunch with co-workers is always a good time but it can really add up in terms of calories and money! Desk lunches are sad and nobody wants to feel left out when everyone is off to lunch and you're left alone with your brown bag. Make a pact with co-workers to bring your lunch at least a few days a week. You can still enjoy the social aspects of lunch without going out by eating outside at a nearby bench or park or congregating in a break room. I like this Lunch Bag to tote my lunch and snacks in everyday.   

Get Out of that Chair!

Without making an effort to get off my butt I could probably sit it my chair for 90% of the work day and only get up for certain tasks and restroom breaks. What good does it do to work out for an hour each day when you spend 8 or more hours a day just sitting? Not much..and probably why this country has such a weight problem. A friend gave me this tip and I've loved it ever since---set your phone alarm for 20 minutes and get up and walk every time it goes off. Any little bit counts--go down the hall, take a lap around the office, walk outside during part of your lunch/break, take the stairs instead of elevator. 

Drink up

We all know the benefits of drinking plenty of water (read more here). I get the majority of my ounces for the day in during work because I always have a bottle next to me. Bring your own bottles or drain take advantage of the water cooler like I do! You'll not only have more energy but it will also keep you full and less likely to snack out of boredom. 


I'd love to hear tips from you about how you stay on track while working your desk job!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Stitch Fix Review II

With the sweltering temperatures we've been having lately I was so excited to get this latest Stitch Fix and (hopefully) amp up my summer wardrobe. After an underwhelming box last last month I had my fingers crossed. (if Stitch Fix is new to you catch up here

I was pretty pleased with the overall style of this box. I requested a mix of casual and pieces conducive for work. When buying clothes I always look to whether it can double dip into work and weekend wear. 

Daniel Rainn Lattice Detail Blouse $68
Stitch Fix Review

The pattern of this shirt was really pretty but it had an attached built in camisole. I'm slightly embarrassed it took me several tries to figure out how to put it on because all the straps kept getting tangled. I just didn't love the shirt enough to deal with how annoying the layers were to put on. RETURNED.

41HAWTHORN GRAPHIC PRINT FAUX WRAP DRESS $78

Stitch Fix review

I was so excited for this dress when I saw it in the box. This is the type of work dress I live in this time of year. I would much rather wear a stretchy comfy dress all summer long than wear pants. Honestly, I despise jeans and pants in general and think they're so uncomfortable. Sadly, this dress was a bit shorter than I would be comfortable wearing to work and I can't imagine any other use for it in my life. Bummer. RETURNED

PIXLEY EMBRODIERED TOP $54
Stitch Fix review
Just ignore the wrinkles please. I loved the rich cobalt color of this top along with the lovely detailing. I decided to keep this top because I liked how it was loose around the bottom and I can see wearing this with skinny or white jeans as well as under a blazer or cardigan for work. Here is a close up of the embroidering. KEPT
Stitch Fix review

KENSIE REBEKAH CONTRAST BLAZER $88
Stitch Fix review
This blazer was very comfortable because it had a stretchy material. I also liked that it was 3/4 length which is good for this time of year. However, it was a little small around the girls and as you can imagine in my profession I have several black jackets and just didn't need another. RETURNED

ZAD DAWSON HAMMERED LAYERED BIB NECKLACE $36
Stitch fix review

The hammered detail of this necklace was so cute and unique. However, I couldn't justify getting another necklace when I'm so happy with my Rocksbox shipments each month. Will definitely be searching for a similar necklace to add to my Rocksbox wish list! RETURNED

Overall, I was very happy with this Stitch Fix box because I felt as though it was on key with my style. There were a few sizing issues but my faith in Stitch Fix has been redeemed! Do you want to try Stitch Fix out for yourself? You can sign up here

Disclaimer: I do not get compensated by Stitch Fix in any way and pay for my own shipments. However, if you sign up I could receive a small referral amount. 




Friday, June 12, 2015

5 on Friday: Father's Day Gifts

Father's Day is coming up on the 21st of this month! Personally, I think shopping for men is so difficult. If I'm shopping for a woman it's easy--we like clothes, shoes, purses, cute knick knacks, EASY. What do men even like? Sports...TV...Beer...? Perhaps, I'm not giving them enough credit but you see my point! Here's a round up of gift ideas to help you out. 

Affiliate Links: If you click on a link in this post I may receive a small commission. 

Active Gifts

This is the direction I'm leading towards for my own dad. He has recently gotten into walking and hiking so I think he'd appreciate some of these gifts. 

I've raved about my Fitbit Flex numerous times and how it's my favorite gadget to keep me on track. The nice thing about a Fitbit is that anyone can benefit from it regardless of their activity level and it's a great motivator.

Athletic shorts are also a great idea because, similar to black yoga pants, you can never really have too many. 

Grooming Gifts

Who said subscription boxes are just for the ladies? The Dollar Shave Club is such a neat idea. Basically, they ship fresh blades to members each month for a fraction of the price because you only pay for the cost of the blades. Depending on the preference you can subscribe to a $1, $6, or $9/month plan.

I love the smell of cologne. There's just something about walking by a man and getting a subtle waft of a great scent that is memorable and attractive. If you know their signature scent go for it or try these options. 

Giorgio Armani Armani Code for Men Eau De Toilette Spray


 Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren for Men



Outdoor Gifts

If you have any type of outdoor space you need a fire pit! They add some decor to your yard and come on... S'mores..everyone loves them. 


Intex Oasis Inflatable Island Seats 4 People with Mesh Floor and Step Ladder
How fun does this raft float look? This would be great for everyone in the family to enjoy on lake trips. 


Tech Gifts

My father is definitely not technologically saavy and his attempts at texting are hilarious but these user friendly gadgets would probably make his day.












Experience Gifts

With your mom you can spend QT with her doing things you both enjoy like lunches, manicures, shopping, etc. It's hard (for me at least) to think of experiences to do with my dad that don't involve sitting around a TV watching football or the History Channel. This is the best I could come up with...
  • Go golfing together or take a group lesson
  • Take a day trip to a place that you went together as a child
  • Get tickets to see his favorite baseball team (drinking at games is fun if nothing else:)
  • Cook his favorite meal

What Father's Day gift ideas do you have?



Linking up with September FarmLife in LeggingsOH Hey FridayHigh Five for Friday, and Meet at the Barre
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