What I’m Into: Spring/Summer Edition

 

Hello friends!

It has been quite some time since I have blogged/written anything. Plenty of new, exciting things are happening at the Ballinger house and blogging/writing/journaling had taken a back seat for a while. But I am trying to be better about taking the time to do it, because I do love this little space.

As far as updates go, my husband and I are expecting our first child (!!!!!!) who will be joining us in July. I will do a blog post over all the feelings, nursery, etc at some point, but for now, just know we are very excited to be welcoming a sweet baby boy into our lives.

This post will be  mashup of everything I am using/loving/recommending at the moment. Some are pregnancy related, as I am now 7 1/2 months pregnant, and there are some things that are ESSENTIAL to my everyday comfort level. Let’s chat!

TO WEAR:

+ This box set from Envie de Fraise. This set is maternity wear, and it’s so comfortable. It’s a bit more stylish than your average sweatpants and a t-shirt. I got the small size and it still fits really well. I have lived in it, and it’s definitely going to be a staple after our boy is born.

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+ This dress from Dwell + Slumber. GUYS. This dress is my favorite thing in my closet right now. It’s cozy (again, essential), lightweight, and easy to thrown on. I’ve worn it around the house, to run errands, to sleep in, and it works on every level. I’ve kept my eye out for when the black one comes back in stock, because these dresses are the greatest thing. I also love that it’s not strictly maternity, so I’ll be getting a lot of use out of it after the baby comes.

+ This nursing bra from Kindred Bravely. Kindred Bravely makes some fantastic maternity wear options, but this bra is my favorite item I own from them.  Super soft, stretchy, and comfortable, I have lived in this bra since I found out I was pregnant. (I also ordered these reusable organic nursing pads for when baby comes -can’t wait to try them out!)

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+ This perfume from Jo Malone London: Jo Malone makes the best perfumes. Peony and Blush Suede is my favorite. Light, but pretty, floral but not too floral, with a hint of citrus. Perfect for spring and summer.

+ This lipbalm from Fresh Cosmetics: this lip balm is pigmented and super moisturizing. Easy to wear and goes well with any everyday makeup look. My favorite shade is Petal but I also have the Rose one, and it’s great for a very minimal color option.

+ These sandals: my new go to sandal for summer. I also have these heels and both are super comfortable. TOMS makes the best shoes.

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+ This bag: Technically my diaper bag for baby, I’ve been test-driving this as my everyday bag. It’s so roomy, great quality, and has an insulated pouch for bottles (or a protein shake!) Also, it comes with a changing pad. Definitely a splurge bag, but I’m super happy with it.

TO DRINK:

+ Sparkling Water: I am a huge sparkling water, mineral water fan. La Croix, Topo Chico, San Pellegrino, Perrier… love them all. Lately, my favorite has been a Topo Chico with lots of lime in it. I usually put it in a fancy glass and pretend it’s a gin and tonic. I also have been obsessed with lemon water, especially with a few frozen berries thrown in. Perfect for hot, summer weather!

*Sidenote: I recently bought this cup to make sure I’m getting all the water I need throughout the day. Really like the size of it and the lid that slides closed.

TO SLEEP:

+ This pillow: My sleep has not been the best lately, but it has been miles better thanks to this pillow.

+ This humidifier: Both my husband and I love this thing, especially now during this allergy season. Easy to use, cheap, and works constantly all night.

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TO READ/LISTEN TO/WATCH:

+ Everybody Always by Bob Goff: Such a good reminder on how to love difficult people well. One of my favorite reads so far this year.

+ Being Mortal by Atul Gawande: revisited this book recently, and it is so good. A great read if you have elderly family members or work in healthcare.

On my to-read list: Jane Harper’s new book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, The Baby Sleeps Tonight, and Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

+ This blog: Laura Tremaine has long been a favorite follow of mine, and I am so excited that she started another blog. Definitely check it out if you like blogs that recommend all the things.

+ This podcast: I cannot say enough good things about this podcast. Jamie Golden and Knox McCoy are hysterical and this podcast, while giving some great, fascinating insight on the Bible, will make you laugh. Alot.

+ Evil Genius on Netflix: a true-crime documentary that blew my mind. It’s about a case from 2003 in Erie, PA. I won’t give any details, but believe me, it is GOOD.

 

And that’s it, folks! I hope you are doing well, and I look forward to posting more soon!

Happy Sunday! xx

Steffanie

 

 

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all the things, pt 1: IT

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If you know me in real life, you have probably heard my talking about the movie “It” and all of it’s fantasticalness. I am a FAN. Saw the movie three times (yes, I realize that is ridiculous, and no, I do not need an intervention, or an exorcism); I even bought a Loser’s Club pin from this cute little Etsy shop, and have already researched when the Losers Club Funko characters will be released (TBD- however, they have released Pennywise) and have been reading all the information of when the next installment will be released. I’m hooked.

Originally, I had the goal of finishing the Stephen King’s 12,000 1,100 page book before the movie released last month, but being that I had had about 6,000 500 pages left in the novel, that obviously did not happen. So, without having finished the book, my husband and I, along with our good friend, packed into my car, loaded my bag up with snacks, and prepared ourselves for Pennywise.

Now, I was prepared for a scary movie (if you don’t know,  ‘IT’ is about a killer clown named Pennywise, who kills children. He feeds on fear, and torments a town called Derry, every 27 years.) And while it is definitely scary, I was pleasantly surprised to find that  ‘IT’ was actually a great movie:  fantastic acting, lots of humor, and characters you actually want  to root for. I laughed, cried, said many choice words, and left feeling oddly hopeful about the world, which is a weird thing to say after a horror movie.

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‘IT’ focuses on fear, and how fear can and does transform a person. Each character has their own relationship with fear, and Pennywise feeds off that fear. Each character sees Pennywise, but they also see IT, the thing Pennywise represents: a leper for the one who fears any and all illnesses, convinced death is right around every corner; the fear of the worst nightmare coming to life for the one who struggles to believe; a lost little kid for the one who fears the worst has happened to his brother, etc. Each character battles internally and externally with their fears.

The only thing they have in common? Each other. 

The thing I love most about ‘IT’ is the fact that these kids stick through everything together: they battle a killer clown together; clean a blood soaked bathroom that no one else could see, comfort each other as they face their fears. No judgments, no doubt., no criticism. They argue, sure, but they don’t give up on each other. Each kid, while dealing with their own mess, chooses friendship over fear. Connection over going it alone. Faith over scepticism. They choose to rely on each other, to stick together. 

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I loved everything about this movie. The soundtrack, the actors, the message, the setting, everything. If you haven’t seen IT, you should. Don’t be fooled though: It’s scary. Definitely not for everyone (especially if kind of gruesome things happening to children bothers you. The opening scene is pretty terrible) so please be warned.

Happy floating!

xx Steffanie

warby parker + mixed materials

Today’s post is a cool one because it’s all about Warby Parker. Warby Parker is an eyeglass company, specializing in unique, chic, and classic eyeglasses and sunglasses. When you purchase a pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses, they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need. I first heard about WP from one of my favorite writer friends, who always seemed to have the cutest glasses. She directed me to the lovely land of Warby  (where I promptly ordered a free home try-on) and I fell in love. My husband and I both own pairs of Warby Parker frames and we are huge fans.

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Excitedly, I wrote a quick piece over their newest collection that is launching today: the mixed-materials collection. The glasses are stunning and focus on a retro yet modern, aesthetic. They are releasing this collection just in time for summer, with both new sunglasses and eyeglasses for purchase. I love them because they are flashback of the 50’s but still modern enough for 2017.

I personally love the Elliot frames. They are just round enough to look flattering on a round or semi round face (which I have!) but bold enough to give the face some dimension and shape. Paired with my favorite little black dress from Madewell, or my favorite ripped jeans and a chambray shirt, these glasses would complete the look perfectly!

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I mean seriously, how cool are these?!

I am in the market for new glasses and I just added these to my wish list. To learn more about Warby Parker and their new mixed-materials collection, head on over to the links I have in this post. Also, be sure to check them out on Instagram and Facebook.

**If you are local to OKC and want some Warby Parker in your life, check out Shop Good. They have the entire Warby Parker collection in store, for you to try on and test out. They also do fittings.

Happy shopping!

Steffanie xx

**All opinions are my own. I was not paid for/compensated for this post.

 

 

why, worry?

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I am almost a professional worrier. If there were a gold medal in over-thinking or obsessing, especially regarding a circumstance that has not (and likely will not) occur, I would win it. Hands down. I worry about all the things; whether they have or have not happened. I worry about small things and big things, things I’ve said, that one weird thing I did last week. I worry about how much pizza I eat and how it’s affecting my heart and how one day, I may need a bypass because of it. I worry that most people only pretend to like me, or that they like my sister more because she’s the nice twin. (She really is.)

I over-think everything.

It started young. My eight year old self worried often. She worried about her frizzy hair, her grades, about her mom being okay. She worried about her dog, and her responsibilities, and the kid who got bullied alot in her class. She worried so much that she regularly threw up at school; filled to the brim with nerves and anxiety.

Thankfully, that sweet, book-nerd of a child was introduced to Jesus, and nice people who taught her how to be okay with being a worrier. They taught her that it’s okay to be someone who takes a little coaxing into new situations; that she would likely always be someone who obsessed over things: but that it could be lived with as long as she learned to push through it. Those sweet people read her books; they held her hand, and they held her when she cried. They let her vent her worries. But then they challenged her to keep going. Be nervous, but keep thriving.

I am still that girl. I prefer time (and wine) to make a decision. I hate most changes, and will resist them 90% of the time. I need to over think: to process, analyze, breathe for a minute. I still, thankfully, have some of those amazing people in my life who get it: they bring me wine, pizza, and books. They laugh with me, they hold my hand, and they push me on. They let me over think, but they also let me know I can’t just stay there.

Worrier friends: you won’t likely be someone who is 100% confident in who you are. In fact, you may never be a confident person. And I believe it’s okay to say that; hell, even to accept it. You’ll have bad days, and you might make life a little harder by being such a worrier/obsesser/psycho– but it will all be okay. Grab your people or a good book and obsess about it. Eat some pizza and over-think it- but then do something. Make life happen.

You can rest easy knowing that there is a girl in your corner: raising her glass to you, cheering you on.

Keep going, you nervous fools.

Xx

 

 

January Favorites

Hi lovelies!

It’s a bit early to do January Favorites, but I’m in the mood for a blog post so here it goes!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMy skin has been so dry lately, thanks to winter, and I have a couple things I’ve been using that are making my skin feel a bit more normal. First up, is the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. I use this in the morning and at night. It’s light enough to wear under my makeup. Non-greasy, super hydrating, and doesn’t break me out. Two thumbs up. Next up, I have been using the Fresh Cream by Philosophy Body Lotion. Guys, this stuff smells so good. So good. Like vanilla cake. It’s light, fresh, and super moisturizing. I love Philosophy and have honestly forgotten about them until I saw this scent on Instagram. If you like sweet but fresh scents, check this out. I’ve been living in it. Lastly, I recently picked up the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm. I’ve heard so much about the Agave Lip Mask and when I saw that they released the Lip Balm version, I promptly ordered it from Sephora. Bite makes such good lip products (their matte creme lipsticks are some of my favorites) and this lip balm is no exception. Very hydrating, light and smooth. It lasts for hours and the packing, as with all Bite products, is so sleek and cool. I love this lip balm and highly recommend it!

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I’m pretty low maintenance with my hair. I mostly wear it straight or curled with a curling rod, or leave it curly on days where I want to give it a break from heat styling. I don’t have issues with volume, but I do occasionally notice that my hair gets flat when it’s humid out. To cure that, I use the Living Proof Dry Volume Blast. This stuff smells amazing, and works so well to add texture and volume to all types of hair. Now, I use this more on my super clean hair days, when I need a better hold or texture. One of the best texturizing sprays I’ve found. Living Proof is the best when it comes to hair products. I love their Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo as well.

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For Christmas, my sister and brother in law gave me a Kate Spad card holder, and I LOVE it. I like to go without a purse whenever I can, especially if I’m just running a quick errand or going somewhere where a purse will be a hassle. This little card case is perfect to carry just the cards I need, and make them easily accessible. It’s my new favorite thing.

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I picked up a new pair of earrings from Baublebar at Nordstrom, and I LOVE them. Tassle earrings are a somewhat new thing, rather they are to me, but I love the trend. I picked up the Baublebar Paiden Tassel Drop Earrings on sale over Christmas holidays and I’m a huge fan. Now, these guys are heavy. I’ve worn them to work a couple times, but they are definitely on the heavier side and can be annoying to be in all day. But the weight is worth it, because they are so pretty on! I have my eye on a couple other styles like these:

And that’s it! Let me know in the comments what you’ve found recently that you love.

Happy Tuesday!

Steffanie xo

 

Best Books of 2016

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I read so many good books this year, most of those books having been read in the last half of the year. I don’t know what it is about Summer and Fall that makes one want to read, but I went on a book binge the last half of this year.

One of my goals for 2017 is to be more organized with my reading. To create more space for reading, and to read a wide range of books. This year, I read randomly, in spurts. I devoured book after book for one month and didn’t read a new one for two months. Next year, I’d like to develop more of a rhythm. I’m currently finishing up one book for 2016 (Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller) and am working on my list for next year, but I wanted to share my most favorite reads from this year. These are in no particular order, but I will say the first one is a must-read for everyone.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: This book will make you cry. There is no getting around it. It’s a story about Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer. He gives you an inside look at cancer, along the way, providing you a look at life as a doctor and a patient. He talks about his career, his life as a neurosurgeon, a husband, and eventually a father. It’s beautiful, raw, and moving. By far, the best book I read this year.

Columbine by Dave Cullen: I wrote a whole post over this one, so I won’t go into it in detail, but this book is fantastic. Definitely hard to read, and may not be for highly-sensitive types, but good if you want an accurate account of Columbine and it’s happenings.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: So many people love Liane Moriarty, and I am still on the fence about her. Her writing is good, but it’s not super interesting to me. However, Big Little Lies was a great, quick read. Loved the pacing, and the characters. I’d love your recommendations on her best books.

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist: Oh, Shauna. This was my favorite book of hers. So honest, so GOOD. This book will be CHURCH to some of you. I’ve recommended this to like everyone I know.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling: This book is hilarious, and crazy, and makes me love Mindy Kaling even more. Also, made me crave McDonald’s like hardcore. Would be a fun beach read. Didn’t love her second book as much.

11-22-63 by Stephen King: This was my fist Stephen King novel and I am so glad I read it. Stephen King is a genius storyteller. This book was my favorite fiction novel I read this year. Intriguing, suspenseful, funny, and the characters were fantastic. Highly recommend.

After You By JoJo Moyes: All I can say about this is read it. I avoided this book for so long because Me Before You wrecked me, but I am very glad I ended up reading it. If you have hesitations, read it anyway. It’s a good one.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: I almost forgot about this one. I didn’t read a ton of YA novels this year, but I LOVED this one. Rainbow Rowell somehow manages to create a story that feels so real, so encompassing and so honest, all at once. Fangirl was an absolute favorite of mine, but E&P is tied for me. The characters are very well written. I have her book Carry On on my nightstand, but I’m not super into it yet, so I may end up trying that one again, next year. If you haven’t read Rainbow Rowell yet, do it.

Books I started but quit:

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (I will give this another chance, I just forgot I had started it because I started 11-22-63 by Stephen King), 13 Hours (just watch the movie), Carry On  by Rainbow Rowell (somehow this isn’t intriguing me at all?), Brooklyn by Colm Tolbin, and Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (kind of hated this book.)

What are you reading next year, and what do you recommend from this year?

Steffanie xx

written in a billion skies.

 

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In one of my favorite worship songs, there’s a passage that goes:

Written in a billion skies
Speaking to this heart of mine
All that I am with all creation
Hanging on every word that You’ve spoken
And it will not be shaken
Clinging for life to all Your promise
Hanging on every word that You say

I  cry. every. single. time. I cry because it’s amazing to think that my Jesus, wrote His name all over this Earth: in the stars, in the sunrise, in the ocean. He wrote it all over the structure of my life, in every moment, solely to remind me that He loves me. But what amazes me most is this: that love won’t ever change.

We live in such a rough world. Our friends let us down, our fathers abandon us. Those we trust hurt us, over and over again, even after they promise it was the last time. We carry other words: the words that were spoken to us, or over us, or about us. We internalize them, and trudge through our days with them. Sometimes unknowingly, like a bad habit, but sometimes because it’s all we have. We try to cope: we perform well, we harden our hearts, we shrug it off. Being all too familiar with the pain, but almost numb now, we move on, swearing we won’t let it happen to us again.

But,

then that one person says the wrong thing. Or a friend forgets something important to us. Or a spouse says something your mother used to say to you, and all of the sudden you are back in that room, or in that classroom, in that yard, hands clenched, fighting back tears, in it. The words come flooding back.

This song is so powerful to me, because it reminds me, over and over again, that the words of our God are un-shakeable, un-changing. His words are what we should cling to, because they are beautiful, steady words. They are written in the stars, in stone, in the tapestry of our hearts: and they are begging us to come near to him. His words are His promises, and they will never be broken.

I don’t know what words have been spoken over you, or to you. I don’t know who hurt you, or how long ago it was. But I do know that my Jesus; my steady, strong, Jesus, can give you something better. His words, of love, of peace, of strength and of courage, are yours for the taking. He believes in you. He has faith in you. He hopes for you. He holds you. He promises you. He isn’t going anywhere. He’s got you. 
And my soul will hang on every word You say
Cause I know Your word will never ever fail
And my soul will hang on every word You say

You are so loved.

Steffanie xx

 

Bite Beauty: The Matte Creme Lipstick

Hello lovelies!

Influenster and their lovely team sent me some super fun lipsticks from Bite Beauty, and asked me to review them. I received the Multistick’s last time from Bite, so I was super excited to receive their new lipsticks. I received three colors: Cava (a lavender-pink shade), Glace (a taupe-y, pinky nude) and Red Velvet (a gorgeous red). I love the formula of these lipsticks. They are creamy, moisturizing, and while they aren’t the most long-lasting lipsticks I own, they still have quite a bit of staying power. I filmed a quick video about them on my youtube channel and will post some pics below of the different looks wearing them. Let me know if you have tried them!

Thank you Influenster for sending these to me!

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“Glace”
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“Red Velvet”
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“Cava”

Disclaimer: all opinions are my own, but I was sent these by Influenster for testing and reviewing purposes.

Happy Saturday!

xx Steffanie

trendy tuesday: new makeup favorites

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Hello lovelies!

I’ve tried out a few new makeup tidbits that I thought I would share with you! I was in the market for a new powder and mattifying primer and Soap and Glory makeup recently dropped at Walgreens & Ulta in my city. I couldn’t have been more excited, as everyone raves about their eyebrow pencil, powder and bodycare. I picked up two products from them: The One Heck of a Blot Mattifying Powder, and the One Heck of a Blot Instant-Perfecting Power Primer. Both are fantastic for oily skin ladies. The primer sits very nicely on the skin, and is non-oily, not greasy, and super smooth. It comes in a huge tube, and priced at $14, this primer is going to last me for a LONG time. I apply it in the morning with my Beauty Blender, and it makes my makeup last at least 4-5 hours longer. The powder is also very good, in that it is very finely pressed and milled. It sits nicely on the skin, and you don’t need a whole lot for it to work. My only complaint would be that mine seemed to crack super quickly, so I’ve had to be careful with it. I rate both, so definitely check them out!

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Now, let’s talk NARS. If I had to pick one brand of makeup that I love, one that I recommend to everyone, one that I would buy every product of, it would be NARS. NARS makeup is so pretty, and lovely, and chic. I love their foundation, their powder, their blush, their lipstick, everything. Love, love, love. Weirdly, I had never tried their concealer, as I always just picked up the Maybelline Fit Me one from Target. On my last visit to Sephora, gift card in hand, I decided to try out the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Cannelle. It’s delicious. Can concealer be delicious? It’s creamy, smooth, and long-lasting. A few people have mentioned how bright my makeup has been, especially under my eyes, and it is all thanks to this beauty (along with a new eye cream I picked up) and some powder. This concealer is legit, and I see now why everyone is so obsessed with it. Along with this concealer, I am now the proud owner of one of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks in Anna. This color is gorgeous. A purple-y, mauve-y, pink-y shade, it’s super appropriate for this time of year. It’s a creamy formula, but not sheeny, which I cannot handle in my lipsticks. It’s moisturizing, and the packaging is sleek and with the magnetic closure, may just be my favorite lipstick I own. Definitely want more colors of the Audacious line.

And that’s it! I’ve been running to my trusty favorites for foundation and bronzer, but have loved trying out the new products I’ve picked up! Let me know in the comments if you have picked up anything fun in the recent weeks.

Talk soon!

Steffanie xo

Drugstore favorite: NYX Blushes

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From Top Left: Summer, Electro, Intuition, Amber

Hello lovelies!

Here’s a quick little post of one of my favorite makeup products: blushes! Blush is a must-have for me, one of my staple products. There are SO many colors, brands, consistencies, and formulas out there, but one of my favorite brands is NYX Cosmetics. They have various kinds of blushes: Cream blushes, their “baked” blushes, and their regular run of the mill powder blushes. But, my favorites are the NYX High Definition blushes. They are long-lasting, highly-pigmented, and are easy to blend and build up. And at about $6 at your local Target or CVS, they are super affordable. I have four NYX HD blushes currently: Electro, Intuition, Summer, and Amber. Electro is a super hot fuschia pink, perfect for a super rosy cheek. Intuition is my newest blush, a taupe-y, shimmery, nude, perfect for red lip days. Amber is similar to Intuition, but a slightly peachier, matte version. Summer is an apricot, bright, shimmery, and perfect for summer and spring. It reminds me of Nars Orgasm (one of my favorites!) but with more of a coral tone.

Let me know in the comments if you like NYX, and what else I should try by them!

Happy Sunday!

xx Steffanie