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If there’s one accessory that always looks good on a man, it’s a good watch. If it’s a stylish, cool, and unique watch, that’s just a bonus. Some of you may recall a few months back when I shared a post about my favorite wood watch from JORD. I’m excited to share that they recently released a brand new series of men’s watches called The Conway that come in beautiful designs and stunning colors. The Conway Series includes metal accents to compliment the gorgeous wood options, which now includes Kosso and Walnut.

men's wood watch
men's wood watch

As I browsed through their collection, I knew exactly which one would be perfect for my husband, Steve. Since he has a wardrobe full of dark browns and navy blues, I picked out the dark sandalwood and burgundy wood watch to complement his go-to color scheme. If you’re looking for a classic and timeless men’s wood watch, I highly recommend taking a look at JORD’s collection.

Their watches run between $129-$395 in price and they have a huge variety of styles and colors. They also offer custom sizing with an easy-to-use size guide. Our watches came ready to go on our wrist with no need to add or remove links.

men's wood watch

men's wood watch
To view my last post on JORD wood watches, click here. I selected a beautiful piece from the Frankie collection in the colors Koa and Ash and I’m still in love with it.
men's wood watch

men's wood watch

To celebrate my new-found love for these men’s wood watches, I’m hosting a giveaway! One lucky person will win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site.

Enter the giveaway here!

BONUS: For everyone who enters, you will receive a consolation code worth $25 once the contest ends. Enter now to take advantage of $25 off a wood watch of your own! You have until 3/19 to enter the giveaway. JORD will select a winner and everyone will be emailed their coupon code. The code will expire on 5/31. Good luck! 


Wooden Wristwatch

I’ve been itching to share some of my beauty favorites with you all for a while, so I’ve decided to finally put together a roundup of all of my top beauty picks that I’ve been loving recently. Some of them were introduced to me through friends, some through BirchBox, and some came about by just pure luck while shopping for beauty supplies. This post is not sponsored. I just really want to share the items I’ve been loving lately.
Here are my current beauty favorites.

beauty favorites
beauty favorites

Shape Tape Contour Concealer by Tarte Cosmetics

My quest to find the perfect concealer ended when I discovered Tarte made a full-coverage, luminous product that could hide my blemishes and enhance my under eye area. This concealer also works great for highlighting and contouring. The small sponge on the wand makes for easy application and blending.

Celebration Foundation by IT Cosmetics

I’ve been a lover of powder foundation ever since I started using Bare Minerals about four years ago. I typically stay away from liquid foundation in the warmer months or occasionally use BB Creams for the sake of keeping my skin moisturized with a decent coverage, but powders are typically a part of my daily routine. I started using IT Cosmetics foundation about two months ago and have noticed a significant difference in the texture of my skin. It breathes better and feels better throughout the day. I love this makeup.

Fat Liquid Eyeliner by Eyeko London

I haven’t found a better liner for my eye shape than this fat liquid eyeliner that comes in an easy-to-use pen. They make it so easy to swipe on the perfect cat-eye. There’s no mess when applying to my eyelids, either. It goes on smooth and lasts forever! Seriously, I’ve been using the same pen for about 10 months now. If you prefer thinner lines, you can also check out their skinny liquid eyeliner.

Ubame Mascara by Milk Makeup

This was another goodie I received in a BirchBox last year and have loved ever since the first application. I typically only used thin wands and small bristles before because my lashes are so short and thin, but this brush worked surprisingly well for me. The brush works great for volumizing and curling. It applies so well on my lashes and gives them so much life! It’s also cruelty free and vegan.

Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay

I’ve been using this eyeshadow pallete for over 4 years now and stay very loyal to it. I think I’ve only used one or two other palletes less than a handful of times because I can’t find shadows that work better on my eyes than these. The rosy hues, the pigment, the texture, and the brush that comes with it are all A+.

Contour Cream Kit by Anastasia Beverly Hills

I don’t always contour and highlight, especially since I work from home and barely look like a human being unless I have meetings up the wazoo. But, when I do get ready for a night out, I like to have a little fun with my makeup. That’s when I use this contour cream kit for adding some depth and contrast to my face. Since it’s creamy, it goes on really well with a contour brush and I blend it using a dampened beauty blender. It’s really smooth and has a great finish.

Coconut Shaving Cream by Whish

Whish products are made with naturally sourced organic ingredients and are Paraben free, sulfate free, DEA & TEA free, petrochemical free, and not tested on animals. I fell in love originally with their lavender shaving cream that was sent in my BirchBox, but discovered and immediately loved their coconut shaving cream in the store. Their products smell so wonderful and their made with the best ingredients. I also own the Whish self tanner and am obsessed with it.

Vegetarian Miracle Conditioner by Davines

I was first introduced to this conditioner by my most recent hairstylist here in Nashville when she did some color magic on my hair. After waiting far too long to get my hair done, it had several months of damage and split ends that needed cutting off and my hair was rejoicing when it met this Veggie Miracle conditioner. I purchased a jar of it from the salon and have been using it religiously since. It does wonders for protecting and restoring my hair and I have a weird fascination with the natural scent of it, too.

beauty favorites

beauty favorites

What are some of your beauty favorites? I want to know about them!

It’s officially launch day of my book Lifestyle Blogging Basics: A How-To for Investing in Yourself, Working with Brands, and Cultivating a Community Around Your Blog and I’m so happy to share it with the world! To celebrate my launch, the book is FREE on Amazon through tomorrow, so click here and grab yourself a copy now!

lifestyle blogging basics

After today, the price goes up to $0.99 and 100% of proceeds for the first month of sales will go directly to SowHope.org, a nonprofit focusing exclusively on the holistic needs of women living in extreme poverty. Every sale makes a difference!

In this how-to guide for lifestyle blogging basics, I break down how I got started with my first blog, how I progressed, and what failed attempts at success I made along the way.

The book begins with covering the essential groundwork of discovering your niche, defining your content categories, choosing a blog name, selecting a platform, and creating a healthy and attainable blogging routine.

Then, it takes a deep dive into describing the the most effective ways to invest in yourself and your blog by explaining the importance of quality design, high resolution photos, email marketing services, and more.

You’ll also learn how to partner and collaborate with brands by building an online media kit, how to promote your blog on social media, and how to create a thriving community around your blog that will stand the test of time.

Learn more about the book here.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the book launch so far. I’m forever grateful!

I’m currently loving the blush trend. I don’t know if it’s February that has me lusting after all the blush tones, but I can’t keep my eyes off them right now. It doesn’t help that spring keeps teasing us and I’m ready to have some pastels in my life again. Anyone else have a crush on this trend right now?

It’s also making me think about how I want to go platinum blonde again (and work on my tan). I’m going to look all sorts of washed out when I start wearing pastels again.

Here are some of my top blush trend picks for this season. It’s taking everything in me to not purchase every single item.

Blush Crush

1. Kate Spade Leewood Place Makayla Leather Satchel
2. Lulus Frill Estate Blush Midi Dress
3. Old Navy Mid-Rise Sateen Jacquard Pixie Crops
4. ASOS Choker Detail Romper
5. Calvin Klein Wilmet Mules
6. Tobi Lace Up Ribbed Bodysuit
7. H&M Satin Kimono

All of these pieces are great Valentine’s Day goodies, too! Share with me your favorite blush trend piece right now. I’d love to see your favorites!

 

*I actually started writing most of this post back in July and delayed publishing it due to my own lack of public vulnerability. I hadn’t realized until now how much it was holding me back.*

vulnerabilityVulnerability is something I’ve struggled with since day one.

Brené Brown told me to be more vulnerable. In ‘Daring Greatly’ she insisted I just go for it. To take the plunge and dive right into emotions I may not have explored. In ‘Rising Strong’ she taught me to dust myself off after diving in led to epic failure.

Then I learned that there is no failure in trying. The only failure is no longer doing.

Even after reading about vulnerability, I realized I still wasn’t exploring it myself. I wasn’t letting my guard down. I didn’t want to be judged for what my heart looked like. I didn’t want to let anyone see me past the depth of my skin.

Until recently, I was okay with only my spouse, best friend, and a few family members seeing my vulnerable, messy self. “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Right? I was only allowing the ones I trusted wholeheartedly to see what my soul looked like.

A few weeks ago, my company started a book club. First on the reading docket was “The ONE Thing”, which essentially identifies that behind every successful person is their ONE thing. It continuously begs the question “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

We broke the book club up into 4 separate meetings. Every Thursday we’d meet for 1 hour to discuss the chapters we’d just finished reading that week. On meeting #3, we discussed ‘purpose’.

Shit. I couldn’t avoid talking about it anymore. I’d gone 29 years without having to talk about ‘my purpose’, and now I was cornered.

I was sweating bullets. I was looking down while picking at my fingernails. My boss called on me. “Laura, you’ve been quiet this entire meeting. Let’s hear what you have to say. What is your purpose?”

I took a deep breath and looked at the other 6 faces that were staring at me on the Google Hangouts video call. I finished my long inhale, and with my exhale came a stream of tears.

“I don’t know.”

Side note: Answering a question (especially coming from your boss) with “I don’t know” feels pretty freaking detrimental to your confidence level, especially when it comes to something as seemingly simple as ‘what’s your purpose?’

There. I said it.

I had just then realized that I had spent so many years living out what I assumed people thought my purpose was instead of determining for myself what my purpose was. Sharing that information with my team made me feel naked from the inside-out.

I knew from then on that I wanted to stop coasting through life doing what others expected me to do and make something happen.

Which leads me to my main point. I’m currently writing my very first book. For those of you who don’t already know me, I work for an incredible company called Self-Publishing School. We are a virtual, educational online business that teaches aspiring authors how to write, publish, and market their first books. It’s really quite something to be a part of, and I can’t explain how good it feels to have a job that has purpose behind it.

Back in July, I had made the commitment to myself that I would write my first book. It will be about starting a lifestyle blog and the struggles and failures that come along with it.

There were a few reasons that pushed me to make that decision. One, my boss really wanted me to have my own book under my belt in order to create the most valuable, helpful, and productive content for our own students. If I had been through the process myself, I’d have more first-hand experience and could personally help the students we work with. Two, I needed to work on my personal accountability. So often I’ve started new projects that are so fresh and exciting to me, gotten more than halfway done, been able to see the future positive outcome of finishing, and then I set it aside and walk away. I had to make a change and be accountable for my commitments. Three, I have some deep-rooted personal struggles I’m working through when it comes to seeking the approval of others, and more importantly, myself. It’s been 7 months of me dragging my feet to the finish line of my book because I’ve been so afraid of what people will think.

“Who is she to write a book about something she’s not even that great at?” “Does she think she’s better than everyone else?” “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” “She’s a failure.”

See, the thing is… the more I think about it, the more I’m afraid of asking myself these things.

WHY am I letting these limiting beliefs define who I am during such a crucial time? It’s time to move on and do what I’ve set out to do. I’m going to write a book.

So this is me, after waiting far too long, admitting my fears of comparison and failure because it’s time I let myself be vulnerable. This is a huge first step in helping me discover my purpose, follow my passion, and stop letting the opinions of myself and others hold me back.

 

P.S. I want to know if anyone else out there has struggled with vulnerability. Is there anything that’s holding you back? What are we so afraid of?