Fun with Warby Parker

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Today I’m excited to share a fun, different kind post with you. I love innovative services and Warby Parker is one of my favorites that I discovered in college. Instead of buying glasses at your doctor’s office, you can browse frames online at Warby Parker and they ship them to your house. You select five frames, keep them them for five days and then ship them back with a prepaid label. The whole process is free, and you don’t have the pressure from the sales associate at the doctor’s office. And did I mention most the frames are only $95?

Warby Parker recently launched a fall collection with details inspired by Surrealist art. For the 5 day home try-on, I chose my favorite pair from the fall collection and four from the classic.

Chilton

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Crane

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Wilkie

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Barnett- these are part of the fall collection!

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Annette

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Which one is your favorite?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post- I am a personal user of the brand and thought it would be a fun topic to write on!

 

October Faves

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Happy October everyone! This is probably my favorite month because I feel like it’s (finally!) truly fall. Here are some of the things I’m loving this month:

Apple Cider Candle- This candle smells sooo good and makes me feel like it’s fall! I love this brand of candles and use it as my go-to for gifts.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread- Ok, obviously there had to be something pumpkin on the list! I love baking with pumpkin in the fall. This pumpkin crumb cake recipe is my favorite but if I don’t have a lot of time, TJ’s doesn’t let me down!

J.Crew Gingham flats- I love these flats for transitioning to fall fashion. You may remember them from my gingham post. They are super cute with jeans and a button-down!

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin- I’ve been reading this with a book club of some close friends from DC and it is so good. Here’s an excerpt. Go get yourself a copy today!

Blogilates- For exercise, I either go for a jog with Allie in the stroller or do a few Blogilates videos. Her workout calendars make it so easy- the daily workout is already planned for me!

 

Farmhouse Favorites

I love Fixer Upper. It’s one of my favorite shows to watch, not just for the drastic before and after shots, but also because Joanna Gaines has an amazing decorating style. If you’ve been on Pinterest in the past year, your feed has probably been full of “farmhouse” style pins. Think striped towels, galvanized tins, white ceramic, wrought iron, rustic wood, and lots of neutral fabrics.

I don’t think I would want to decorate my whole house in all-out farmhouse style, but I love adding touches here and there. Of course, there’s the official Fixer Upper Magnolia Market to buy farmhouse decor, but my go-to affordable stores are Ikea, Target, and Etsy. Here are a few of my favorite picks:

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Pitcher // Mail holder // Laundry hamper // Thankful sign // Dish Towels // Wreath and shutter // French ticking pillow

 

Coffee Date

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Okay friends, this post is long overdue. Why the long wait? We’ve moved! I’m writing this from my couch in Louisville, Kentucky. About 6 weeks ago we found out that the Navy Chaplain Program Scott is in requires him to spend the rest of his studies in person on Southern Seminary’s campus.

We are so sad to leave our community of college friends, family, and church family in DC. We are trying to focus on the positives- being on campus is great for Scott, we have a two bedroom apartment (Allie having her own room has already been SO awesome!) and I get to be a stay at home mom! But our entire adult lives have been spent in DC and so the newness of everything has been more than a little overwhelming.

In terms of blogging, I still want to continue, but one huge change is I won’t be doing fashion posts like in the past. My best friend and photographer unfortuantely didn’t move with us 😦  It was hard with pregnancy and having a baby to schedule the shoots anyway, so it’s probably a natural transition. However, I love fashion blogs and that is what is inspired me to start blogging in the first place. I still plan on having fashion related posts, and several bloggers I follow incorporate them well into their blogs (two of my favorites here and here). If you love fashion blogs and that’s the main reason you were reading, please email me at thissideofparadiseblog@gmail.com and I’d be happy to recommend some of my favorite bloggers that have a similar style to me and are primarily focused on fashion posts! In general, I’m not sure quite what the blog will look like going forward but it’s been in constant transition since I started anyway! Just expect life updates and posts sharing some of my favorite things at the moment 🙂

ALSO, if you’ve visited Louisville (or better, live here!) I would love any suggestions on fun places to go, coffee shops, hidden gems, etc! I have a google map and I’m working on collecting suggestions and scoping them out.

Thanks everyone for your continued support!

 

Pinterest Inspired: Stamped Wood Slice

 

 

I’ve had this project on my DIY Pinterest board for quite a while, and it’s from one of my favorite blogs. This was an easy Pinterest Inspired post for me to write, since I’ve already done it!

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My DIY 

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Our wood slice is one of several decor pieces in our apartment that we reused from our wedding. Wood slices are so popular now, I’ve even seen them at Target to use as chargers for place settings, but I would buy them at a craft store to avoid overpaying. For this project I used a set of rubber alphabet stamps and a black ink pad.

I recommend not pressing down too hard on the ink pad or you’ll get part of stamp’s corner on the wood as well (though I kind of like this for an imperfect look- you’ll see some in the picture of my wood slice). Another tip is to vary the lettering a bit so it’s not all in a straight line to make it avoid looking too mechanical and to add a bit of whimsy.

You can also do this project with some chalk paint and a chalk marker! This was what we had on display for the guest favors at our wedding (The back is scratched since it’s been up against the wall).

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The wood slice (stamped, chalked, or plain) makes a great wall hanging as well as entertaining piece, front door wreath alternative, centerpiece base for your dining room table…among many other possibilities!

Guest Post: Valentine’s Day

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Hey friends! I shared some ideas for Valentine’s Day in the DC area over on Le’nae’s blog Fancy and Fearless. I’ve copied them here for easy reading, but be sure to visit her blog and share some comment love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and provides the perfect excuse to dress up and have a fun night, whether that’s with a significant other or a group of close girlfriends. With the vast DC restaurant scene it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. Enter this helpful little guide! I’ve broken up the recommendations into four different neighborhoods, so feel free to choose the one that suits you best!

Georgetown 
Georgetown is the ideal neighborhood if you’re looking for the classic Valentine’s Day experience. Catch an early movie at the AMC theater, then head for tapas at Bodega on M Street. End the night with a cupcake and chai at Baked & Wired, the local favorite.

Old Town Alexandria
Old Town is a great alternative to Georgetown: it still has that classic red-brick feel without all the tourists and traffic. Think of it as the more family-oriented, suburban version of Georgetown. And quite honestly, its waterfront views are much prettier!
Plan on Geranio for a nice Italian dinner and then a more casual ice cream dessert at Kilwins. Afterwards, take a stroll along Potomac in one of Alexandria’s many waterfront parks.

Logan Circle
Logan Circle is the young professional’s dream neighborhood: hipster with enough of a mainstream undercurrent that gives a “cool” vibe without being too out there.
Try for a reservation at Le Diplomate or for something more casual, The Pig. Enjoy walking around afterwards- Logan Circle is a fun neighborhood to explore. Dolcezza is a must-visit for dessert. Enjoy a scoop of gelato or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, an affogato (gelato topped with shot of espresso).

Bethesda
Bethesda is a charming suburb just northwest of DC. Head to Bethesda Row with a group of friends and enjoy the shopping before getting Tex-Mex at Uncle Julio’s. Finish with a roast-your-own smores dessert to share at Max Brenner, a dessert bar themed around chocolate.

Looking for a fun, last-minute Galentine’s day idea? Check out my post from last year, here.

 

 

Top 5 Skincare Products

 

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I love discovering new beauty products. I always shop for makeup online at Sephora so I can get the free samples (and free shipping!) I’m not very adventurous when it comes to makeup, but I’m a sucker for any new skincare product. I love getting inspiration from bloggers who share what they use on a daily basis! Today I’m sharing some of my tried & true favorites:

  1. Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo– I love this product! This is the only dry shampoo I’ve ever tried that 1) works and 2) doesn’t leave white chalky streaks in my hair!
  2. Neutrogena makeup wipes– I’ve been using these as long as I can remember. They’re great for traveling, removing stubborn eye makeup, and using at the gym after a workout.
  3. Jergens Tanning Lotion– This is soo helpful in the wintertime. Or the summertime if you’re like me and don’t get to the beach often enough!
  4. Spin Brush– There’s a lot of different brands, but I love the Spin for Perfect Skin set. It comes with a variety of different brush heads, but the general cleansing one I use every night and helps me feel like I’m getting all my makeup off!
  5. Cerave moisturizer– Another product I’ve been using forever. If you need a deep moisturizer, this is for you!

Would love to hear what some of your favorite products are in the comments below!

Pretty Up Your Home: Free Printable Graphics

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Today I’m sharing some of my favorite prints from around the internet that you can download and print for free! Just add a frame and voila- easy home decor.

Click through the slideshow to see five of my favorites I love them all, but I’m partial to the botanical prints (there’s 4 total)- I purchased some wooden frames from Target and hung up the chamomile and thyme prints in our living room.

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Anchor // Lobster // Botanical // Pineapple // Monogram

 

 

Pinterest Inspired: 3 DIY Sprays

Hey friends! This is my first post in a new series called Pinterest Inspired. Today I’m focusing on something super exciting…spray bottles. Okay, it may sound boring, but once you take away the wedding and fashion pins, isn’t most of Pinterest DIY or home tricks? I know I have a whole board dedicated to this on my Pinterest, and I’ve only tried about a quarter of them. Recently I put two of them to the test, and also wanted to highlight another spray that I’ve made.

Two Ingredient Instant Car De-Icer

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Graphic from Pinterest, click for original source

I got a spray bottle at target for about $4, and I love that it has a section to label what’s in it. Though it’s not too cold in DC yet, my car windshield has been frosted over in the morning which adds an extra 5 minutes to my commute time waiting for the car defroster to work.

Recipe: 1 Part Rubbing Alchohol + 2 Parts Water

I tested it out one cold morning and it worked to clear the ice as soon as I sprayed it- hooray!

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But the mixture contains water, so as soon as I pulled out of our parking spot it fogged up again and I had to wait on the defroster. No fun. I mean, seriously – did the person who made the pin ever test it out?? Maybe if I try rubbing alcohol without water it would work, but I’m giving this pin a failing grade.

Magic Stain Remover 

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Graphic from Pinterest, click for original source

I saw this spray for baby stain remover on a laundry tips pin and immediately wanted to try it, as Allie’s outfits get stained fairly often and Shout is too strong to use on her clothes right now. I’ll spare you the before and after pictures because let’s be honest, who wants to look at a poop-stained onesie?

Recipe: 2 parts hydrogen peroxide + 1 part Dawn dish soap (I didn’t add the optional baking soda)

I made it in an identical spray bottle to the car de-icer. And it worked! I sprayed it and let it soak in for a few minutes then ran the clothes in the wash. This is a cinch to make and I’m pretty sure this works well on normal clothing stains also.

Lavender Linen Spray 

lavenderSo this isn’t from Pinterest, though I’m sure you could find similar pins if you wanted an exact guide. After getting lavender essential oil, this is one of the first things I used it for. I just mixed water with a few drops of the oil and then spray it on our sheets and pillows before going to bed. You do need to shake the bottle before spraying to mix the oil in. This is so easy to make and you can use lavender or substitute in lemon for a Febreze-type spray for couch cushions and pillows.

I have more things to say on essential oils that probably should get its own blog post, but I’ll mention a few here. I do like them for diffusing and I’m trying to incorporate them into more things, like cooking. I do think they are vastly overblown and would never use them in place of medicine or even cleaning (I like my Windex and besides, who has time to make all these DIY cleaning sprays? I barely had time for the things mentioned in this post). I think DoTerra and Young Living are overpriced and you can get oils cheaper at places like Mountain Rose Herbs or Etsy (I got my lemon oil from a local Virginia company here). You have to be careful and make sure they are pure and high quality though- I wouldn’t trust anything that doesn’t have a statement about that or oils that you would buy at a mass merchandiser like Walmart. Lastly, I would never use them on my kids’ skin without mixing them first with a base, like coconut oil. I haven’t used essential oils on Allie and I’m not planning on it, though I will diffuse them around her. Overall, I think they smell great and are helpful but are overrated right now. If you have anything additional to add or want to share your own experiences with essential oils, I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

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One of the benefits of working as a nanny is having downtime while the baby naps. I’ve been able to read a lot more than I was able to in college or at my previous job, and I’ve really been enjoying it! Here are some of the books I’ve read over the past few months or so:

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1. Bringing Up Bébé 

Summary from Amazon:  “When American journalist Pamela Druckerman had a baby in Paris, she didn’t aspire to become a “French parent.” But she noticed that French children slept through the night by two or three months old. They ate braised leeks. They played by themselves while their parents sipped coffee. And yet French kids were still boisterous, curious, and creative. Why? How? With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman set out to investigate—and wound up sparking a national debate on parenting. Researched over three years and written in her warm, funny voice, Bringing Up Bébé is deeply wise, charmingly told, and destined to become a classic resource for American parents.”

My thoughts: I loved this book, and I think Scott must hate it because I’ve referenced it so much! I really liked how she had some quotes from leading professionals, but most of the book was based on personal observation. The difference between French and American children and childrearing was fascinating, and I’d recommend this to anyone who is about to have a baby! My biggest takeaways were to encourage your children to be independent (Americans have a tendency to rush in as soon as there’s a problem instead of letting the baby or child try to solve it themselves) and not to make children the center of your life (It seems in France there’s a more holistic approach to the family rather than the kids running the show like what often happens in American families.)

4.5/5 Stars: I loved this book but it wasn’t perfect. Her organization switched from being chronological to thematic halfway through which was very confusing (for example, her daughter went from being 5 in one chapter back to being 2) and I can’t fully get behind the secular mentality of the author (living together before marriage, putting your career above all, etc).

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2. Redeeming Love

Summary from Amazon:  “California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.  Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.”

My thoughts: I totally expected this book to be cheesy, and I’m definitely not a Nicholas Sparks fan! I’m also not usually a crier, so it may have been the pregnancy hormones, but I cried so much while reading this book! Not only did it help me understand God’s love for me deeper, but also made me really appreciate Scott want to serve him better.

5/5 Stars!

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3. The Preacher and the Presidents 

Summary from Amazon:  “No one man or woman has ever been in a position to see the presidents, and the presidency, so intimately, over so many years. They called him in for photo opportunities. They called for comfort. They asked about death and salvation; about sin and forgiveness. At a time when the nation is increasingly split over the place of religion in public life, THE PREACHER AND THE PRESIDENTS reveals how the world’s most powerful men and world’s most famous evangelist, Billy Graham, knit faith and politics together.”

My thoughts: This book took a while to read, but it was worth it. I really appreciated the authors’ kind treatment of Billy Graham and accurate representation of Christianity. This book provided a fascinating insight into the presidents’ spiritual lives (clearly not every president that says “God bless America” is truly a man of faith). Any Christian who is interested in politics or history should definitely read this book!

4/5 Stars: I thought it was a bit longer than necessary.

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4. French Women for All Seasons

Summary from Amazon:  “From the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, the #1 National Bestseller, comes an essential guide to the art of joyful living—in moderation, in season, and, above all, with pleasure. Together with a bounty of new dining ideas and menus, Mireille Guiliano offers us fresh, cunning tips on style, grooming, and entertaining. Here are four seasons’ worth of strategies for shopping, cooking, and exercising, as well as some pointers for looking effortlessly chic. Taking us from her childhood in Alsace-Lorraine to her summers in Provence and her busy life in New York and Paris, this wise and witty book shows how anyone anywhere can develop a healthy, holistic lifestyle.”

My thoughts: I’d heard of the book French Women Don’t Get Fat which this book is a follow-up to, but I also read about this book in Bringing Up Bébé. French Women Don’t Get Fat has a long list of holds at the library, and this one became available first from my request list. I really liked the author’s insights into French daily life and there were a few good recipes to try. My main takeaway was to cook more with leeks and shallots!

3/5 Stars: It’s basically a cookbook with lifestyle tips thrown in- I think I would like French Women Don’t Get Fat better.

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5. Blog, Inc. 

Summary from Amazon:  “With roughly 95,000 blogs launched worldwide every 24 hours (BlogPulse), making a fledgling site stand out isn’t easy. This authoritative handbook gives creative hopefuls a leg up. Joy Cho, of the award-winning Oh Joy!, offers expert advice on starting and growing a blog, from design and finance to overcoming blogger’s block, attracting readers, and more. With a foreword from Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge plus expert interviews, this book will fine-tune what the next generation of bloggers shares with the world.”

My thoughts: This book would be great if you are thinking about starting a blog or if you have been blogging for a while and are ready to monetize it or make it your full-time job. I thought the blogger spotlights were the most interesting, especially as a lot of the book was pretty generic advice.

2/5 Stars: I’ve already started my blog and am not near turning it into a career so I didn’t find this book very helpful.

What’ve you been reading lately?