March 31, 2019

weekend getaway: Huntsville

Weekend getaways are the perfect cross between a day trip and an actual vacation. They allow you to see more of an area and don’t require much more than ensuring you have the weekend free. Andrew and I headed up to Huntsville to see one of our friends a couple of weekends ago. We’ve been there on several occasions, but never for a full weekend. It was nice to be able to do bigger and better things or simply take things at a more comfortable pace.

We left Friday afternoon right as I got off work, and made it in by that night. We headed out for a drink at Rocket City. Andrew stocked up on craft beer, and I swapped my typical glass of water for TrimTab’s Paradise Now, the only beer I’ll order (when I order).

Saturday morning we headed out to Stephen’s Gap Cave. Neither of us has ever done anything in the realm of hiking up and then climbing down into a cave, so it was definitely an interesting experience. Despite being ill-prepared (like forgetting to bring one of the most basic of human necessities: WATER) and not having the proper footwear, it went a lot better than it could have. My little Nike TR Frees performed surprisingly well against the wet rock and I didn’t fall once (which surprised me). Once we reached the mouth of the cave I was taken with the natural beauty. There wasn’t much I could do but be awe-stricken as I sat there looking at something I’ve only ever read about in textbooks.

After our cave adventures, we made the short trip into Scottsboro. I’ve wanted to visit the Unclaimed Baggage center since before I moved to the state, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity given our proximity. This is going to be one of the moments of honesty on my blog, which I think are really important: The experience was not great. I’m not going to complain about the hordes of people, because it’s the only one in the country and it was a Saturday, so knocking points off for that would be pointless. However, the price points were, in my opinion, a bit outrageous. I was expecting this after having watched a YT video a while back, and it was confirmed upon arrival. A lot of the items are in used condition (obviously), yet they’re priced just a few dollars shy of retail value. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on items that were not only used but some of which were really beaten up. The only silver lining here was their book selection. I was able to pick up a few books that I’ve had on my TBR list for a while at a great price. The most expensive book I saw was $2.99, but most were in the .50 cent to $1 range. I’m sure that’s because no one goes to Unclaimed Baggage to look at books, but it worked out for me!

After browsing, we headed over to Payne’s Soda Fountain for lunch. I wasn’t very hungry, but I didn’t even care because the atmosphere in there was something out of a comic strip. It was very reminiscent of the typical retro diner. I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to Pop’s Choklit Shoppe. That may be why I ordered a chocolate milkshake, which was delicious. 

After freshening up and a quick change of clothes, we headed out to Old Black Bear Brewing for what was supposed to be drinks, but turned into dinner as well. I opted for the chicken and waffles, which were green for St. Paddy’s day. Even though I was exhausted by this time in the evening and just wanted to stay home, I loved everything about this place. The service was great, everyone was in a genuinely good mood, and the environment itself was the right amount of cozy and hip. I read on my Kindle while we waited for our table, then found myself cracking jokes with the servers an hour later. I couldn’t think of a better way to end my night. Andrew went on to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with his buddies, but I was completely wiped out at this point.

Sunday was a short day. I checked out the local 2nd & Charles, browsing their clearance section with a fine tooth comb. Their clearance section is not only massive but priced extremely well. I don’t think I’ve seen a book for over $2, most of them going for a few cents to a dollar. They even have a free book bin outside! This ended our time in Huntsville, and while it may seem shorter in my retelling, we felt like we'd just taken a much more generous vacation. 

On our way home, we were driving through a lakeside town when Andrew mentioned that they have a brewery. Lo and behold, just as we drove by said brewery, we noticed they were hosting an event for the holiday. We decided to make a pit stop and check out the crawfish boil and give him a chance to tag another beer for his Untappt profile. We were on our way within the hour, feeling the serenity of a weekend well spent.

2019 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the both of us, so if we aren’t able to take a “real” vacation like we usually do, weekend getaways are a pretty good consolation. What are some of your favorite things to do or places to go on the weekend? Let me know!

March 3, 2019

february favorites

February sped right by and part of me isn’t even sure that it happened at all. It was, however, a month of discoveries.  In previous favorites posts, I tended to stick to makeup and skincare, but I thought I’d fill you guys in on the little projects I’ve been working on throughout the month as well.

None of these items are new by any means, but they’re new to me. For my birthday, Andrew’s mom took me shopping at Sephora and thus began the revamp of my daily makeup. I’ve wanted to try Tarte eyeshadows for so long now but never could bring myself to go for it.  I chose the Tarte Clay Play Volume II palette. I typically don’t give these types of products a second glance as something in it would typically go untouched. But the moment I saw it I realized it was exactly what I needed. The blush and bronzer are shades that compliment my skin tone, and the eyeshadows are neutral and easy to work with. This makes for the perfect travel companion. It’s on the larger size, but it keeps me from having to pack all of those products individually.

I couldn’t help myself and ended up getting the Tartelette Toasted palette which I’ve had my eye on for a while. The only thing I regret is not getting it sooner.  I’m able to create the looks I love and get a little out of my comfort zone with the shades that I wouldn't otherwise reach for.

In addition to the Tarte palettes, I picked up the fun size Creme Brulee and Holy Grail palettes from Violet Voss and I immediately fell in love with their formula.  They’re tiny, but offer such a good variety of shadows. They even have a mirror making them perfect for traveling light.

Finally, a blush that I’ve been wanting to get for a while now: the Burt’s Bees blush in Toasted Cinnamon. I’ve wanted this blush since I first saw KathleenLights raving about it months ago, but it’s been sold out at the only store in my area that carries it. This is my new everyday blush, and I even use this as an eyeshadow for a quick, everyday look.


I haven’t updated my skincare routine too drastically as of late, but when I saw that my birthday reward at Sephora gave me the option of some Drunk Elephant products, I jumped on it. The Protini Polypeptide Cream, in particular, works so well and goes a long way! I’ve been using it all month and I still have quite a bit left. I don’t know if I’ll be able to swallow its $68 price tag, but a girl sure is tempted.

I don’t use makeup wipes very often, but because I’ve been going to the gym after work, they’re the most convenient option. I decided to try the Up & Up Evening Calm Cleansing Towelettes. They’re cruelty-free (that surprised me, too), they smell sooo good, one wipe gets the job done, and they leave my face feeling clean without any weird residue.  I’ve been carrying these around with me on longer trips when I decide to take my makeup off on the car ride home. Long gone are the days of that grimy, makeup left on too long feeling.

I haven't picked up any new face masks in a while, but I found the First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Ginger & Turmeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask and was instantly intrigued. I've been wanting to incorporate more Vitamin C into my skincare routine so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. This mask leaves my skin noticeably recharged and bright. It also clears up whatever trouble spots I've been having. It has a definite tingle when first applied, but I actually like it! It's the only mask I've been reaching for lately.

My closet has always been on the messier side since moving into our apartment. Our lack of furniture meant that at one point most of our clothes were in piles on the floor, and it slowly started to have its rightful place as we furnished our space. Still, my shoes and bags have remained an organized mess. I decided to use some of my Target gift cards from Christmas on a new shoe rack and some baskets to get a head start. Once I tackled my closet, I headed over to the local Dollar Tree to pick up some containers and label stickers to take on the space under our bathroom sink. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before, you can’t beat a $1 price tag! I also picked up some smaller (but surprisingly sturdy) containers for drawers and smaller items.

February Books
I didn’t start reading much this month until the end, but I managed to get through three books, each of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I started reading Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo when we were in Atlanta last month, but the rental on my Kindle expired before I finished it. I decided to look for it on a trip to my public library and finished it the same day. It was so worth the wait. It’s so out the realm of what I usually read, but that’s precisely why I don’t read the description if I can get away with it.

I read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides for a local book club that I participate in and it kept me on edge the entire time. I enjoyed that it didn’t make anything too obvious. I can’t wait to discuss it later this week.

On a whim, I picked up Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I remember seeing its cover quite a bit around the internet. I’m gonna be honest. For the first quarter of this book, I couldn’t stand the character of Eleanor, but I found myself not able to put it down regardless of my initial feeling towards the character. But as the book progressed, I began to understand and forgive her behavior (which is probably the author’s intent). The book left me wanting more of Eleanor Oliphant and Raymond, and I don’t regret picking it up at all.