Mary Kay Charcoal Mask Review

Mary Kay debuted their ClearProof Charcoal Mask in mid May of 2017 and by mid June, 1 million masks had already been sold? Why? Here are my thoughts on why:

The mask works! the mask uses charcoal to pull out impurities from your pores and remove excess oil. You can see this working because the mask will go on shiny and dark but dry and turn light gray/white as it absorbs oil! It’s fascinating and gross to watch! This is a deep cleanse that minimizes the appearance of pores. Activated charcoal binds to dirt and toxins to bring everything to the surface! Mary Kay also holds a patent for the use of navy bean, which brightens skin!

It’s $24! If you’re like me and like to try lots of products you know that there are lots of expensive masks out there claiming to do various things. The Mary Kay Charcoal Mask comes in a large tube that can be used approximately 30 times. That’s $.80 per application! Depending on your skin type, those with oily skin can use the mask 3 times a week. Those with dry skin should use the mask once a week. You can continue to exfoliate as usual!

The mask easily washes off! No painful/damaging pulling! Your pores aren’t going to get smaller if you’re pulling, ripping, damaging your skin! Simply use a wash cloth to wash off the mask after 20ish minutes. The mask contains no glue! No pain, but plenty to gain from using this mask!

Multi-masking! Mary Kay also offers the TimeWise Moisture Renewing Gel Mask to hydrate your skin. This means you can mask specific to your skincare needs! Oily on your T-zone? Use the Charcoal Mask! Dry on your cheeks? Use the Moisture Renewing Gel Mask! I can help you map your skin!

My experience: I first tried the mask at an event at my local Whole Foods! I was masking in public! Talk about some crazy looks! But trying the mask is so fun because everyone can enjoy it (even your hubby!) and everyone is glowing by the end (thank you charcoal and navy bean)! I’m not kidding; the results are immediate because you’re removing impurities as you mask!

When I ordered my mask, I could smell the mask as I approached my front door where it was boxed on my doorstep from UPS! But the SMELL is WONDERFUL! It’s such a clean smell of rosemary, peppermint, and honeysuckle! No harsh smell of chemicals!

I have extremely acne prone skin because of both oily skin and hormonal acne. I actually prefer to use the mask as a spot treatment. I see a spot on my skin that looks like a pimple is forming or a spot where I need to calm the agony, I apply the mask and let it do it’s thing for 20 minutes. I wash off with warm water and immediately or by the next day the pimple has shrunk or is gone!

Want to try it? Let me know!


My Favorite Podcasts

Y’all– since Serial dropped in the fall of 2015 I’ve been a podcast fanatic.

And the truth is, it goes back further than that… Before Serial, I listened to Car Talk on NPR on my car radio while I drove around for an entire hour drinking Starbucks coffee. Car Talk took me back to my Arthur watching days and I still find it hilarious.

There’s just something about the storytelling with the mixed media of voice overs, music, historic recordings, and voice actors that’s addicting.

I like crime podcasts mostly, which many of my friends find particularly creepy. But there’s some fascinating about people disappearing, criminal investigations, and judicial proceeding that gets me interested.

I could probably list a top 20 but I’ll stick to my top 5 for today (besides Serial, the one that started it all):

  1. Up and Vanished- This podcast has been in the news lately because after 12 years there’s been a break in the case of missing teacher Tara Grinstead from a small town in Georgia. I’ve been listening since early on and the host seems like a really easy guy to talk to and get a long with. He really gets people talking and does a good job of researching the case.
  2. Missing Maura Murray- This podcast breaks my heart because for 40+ episodes these guys have been trying to get questions answered about how a young woman could just vanish off of the side of the road after her car breaks down in freezing, rural New Hampshire. The podcast starts off rough (babies crying in the background and traffic noise) but really picks up the pace/gets in the groove quite quickly. I’m left with more questions than I started with but it’s not for lack of trying to get answers.
  3. The Vanished- Each episode is the story of a missing person. I like that the host takes her role very seriously and works to honor each of the missing people individually. If you’re seeing a pattern here it’s because I’ve always been fascinated about how people can just go missing.
  4. Radiolab Presents: More Perfect- This podcast is about the Supreme Court and each episode is meticulously researched. The cases are presented in a way that’s easy to understand and various sides of the arguments are considered. The episode that has stayed with me the longest is the one about the baby adopted and her Native American father fighting for custody (“Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl”).
  5. Stranglers- Find out all you ever wanted to know about the Boston Strangler(s)! This podcast is a little different than the ones listed above in that it uses a fair amount of voice actors. The research is phenomenal and the layout of the entire series is well planned.

Honorary mention (because there are so many good ones out there):

– The Mystery Show- not crime and very light! The host solves mysteries that can’t be solved online.

-Suspect Convictions- from my hometown! Very creepy case about the murder of a 9 year old and the three trials (!!) of the suspect

-Serial- I’m a fan of both seasons 1 and 2 and try not to compare them. 🙂

-My Favorite Murder- I was hesitant to listen at first the hosts just say what everyone is already thinking. And I feel the need to send in my Hometown Murder. Karen and Georgia, can we be friends?

-Generation Why- Excellent questions about some really tough situation.

-Thinking Sideways- It makes me crazy that these guys interrupt each other so much, but they select really interesting mysteries to discuss.

I’m open to any and all suggestions!!

Andell Inn and Kiawah Island, SC

In May of 2016, Joshua and I spent our honeymoon on Kiawah Island, SC! It was lovely and we had beautiful weather the entire time, despite a rainy forecast.

We stayed at the Andell Inn, which is a boutique hotel by Marriot. The hotel is gorgeous and great for couple or small families. It’s in the Freshfields Village area, right after the traffic circle that allows you to head to Seabrook Island or Kiawah Island.

Kiawah Island is notoriously known for being extremely private and exclusive. The island is best known, in my opinion, for the Sanctuary Hotel and Kiawah Island Golf Course that’s part of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. You must have a reservation to enter through the gates unless you’re biking. That’s a little bit too rich for our blood so we were just fine staying down the street.

The Andell Inn has a variety of rooms and we stayed in a studio style, which had a kitchen and living room. The hotel is eclectically decorated, which I liked but was not Joshua’s style. Having a kitchen allowed us to get groceries in Freshfields Village instead of eating out for every meal.

When we first entered our room it was FREEZING cold so we adjusted the thermostat. It never warmed up but the thermostat read 212°F! We call the front desk and they came to look at it and called maintenance for us.

Joshua and I enjoyed the pool and just hanging out around the hotel but the front desk lady kept following us everywhere giving us updates on the maintenance or if they were going to switch us to another room. More than once I thought, “leave us alone!”

The first day we went to Harris Teeter to get some groceries for the stay and take home some dinner.

That night it NEVER warmed up and I was crying in bed because I was so COLD! Awkward.

The hotel has a really nice breakfast spread with a mimosa bar!! The hotel has a bar in the lobby with a porch area that overlooks the pool. There are these huge swings on the porches and those are really relaxing if you can nab one. The pool was good for families or adults.

Maintenance finally fixed our thermostat/AC unit, but it only took two and a half days and many conversations later. The did give us a deep discount, which we appreciated.

The second day, Joshua and I explored the island and went to the beach. You have to pay to enter the public beach area, Kiawah Beachwalker Park, because it’s a protected park. The parking lot limits how many guests can enter here. It was $10 for us since we were there in June, but during the summer it’s $15 on the weekend. We really liked the beach because it was left mostly alone and very quiet. There are lifeguards and changing areas.

There’s a small store on Kiawah Island with the gas station. I don’t really recommend it because Freshfields is just down the street, but if you were in a jam there is that store.

You cannot enter Seabrook Island without a reservation, we learned that the hard way. But we did visit the Bohicket Marina in both the day and evening. During the morning it was a little sleepy but peaceful and it’s fun to look at all the boats. In the evening, it was really hoppin’. There was a live band and people were dancing, kids were playing in the grass, and everyone was lingering to watch the sunset. We ate dinner at Red’s Ice House and their fried fish is AMAZING! Joshua and I both agreed it’s the best we’ve ever had and we want to go back. I had the lobster mac and cheese and that was good too. The sunset was beautiful and it was just a really fun place to be.

I shopped at all the boutiques in Freshfield Village. There’s a Lilly Pulitzer store, Roberta Roller Rabbit (beautiful prints but pricey), a book store, a souvenir shop, a toy store, an outdoor store, and a cute little old timey pharmacy (Vincent’s) with a beautiful Essie nail polish display.

We ate at Le Tela Pizzeria on our third night and it was just alright. We weren’t thrilled. We did have ice cream at the little ice cream parlor though and we just loved the Freshfields community feel. I know they have events during the week for families. It appears some of the places open and close in Freshfields Village quite frequently, as less than a year later there are different options from May 2016.

Kiawah Island is an easy drive to or from Charleston and that was nice too, as we were able to stop on the way to Kiawah. We ate at Sesame, which is a burger place that we are obsessed with! Sign up for the emails to get a free appetizer each month!

All and all, I would recommend the Andell Inn and Kiawah for a sweet little get away!

Easy Flowers for your Wedding

img_5383Okay… confession time: We used NO florist for our May 2016 wedding and the flowers were amazing!

First, my friend Douglas and I handmade all of the corsages and boutonnieres for the wedding with fake flowers from Hobby Lobby. We made four corsages total, for my mum, my great aunt, Joshua’s mom, and Joshua’s grandma. We made nine boutonnieres total with fake orchids (my dad, my step dad, his dad, his grandfather, our four groomsmen, and ring bearer). I’m not crafty, so we had to buy everything like a glue gun. We brought home everything we liked and then just returned all unopen/unused flowers and I would say it was about $50 (~$4 each) and two hours of laughing nonstop trying to make these things. That’s far cheaper than getting these at the florist.

img_0144They looked so good my father in law tried to save his by putting it in a cup of water and storing it in the fridge following the wedding. haha. 🙂

And we did not have to worry about keeping the real flowers looking fresh.

img_0147For my bouquet and my four bridesmaids’ bouquets, we made them as well the morning of the wedding. We went for breakfast around 8am and then headed to Publix around 9:30am for a late afternoon wedding. At Publix, we grabbed all the flowers we liked (but we could have done this more cost efficiently if need be) from the floral section.

Now, my mum, sister, and I scoped this Publix out weeks before the wedding and knew they had a very large flower section that was refreshed every morning. I would not recommend this without some local research.img_5438

Then my bridesmaids and I went home and had a “bouquet making party.” We listened to music on the big front porch of our beach house (where the reception was held) and sorted the flowers by color. It was my vision that we each have bright, multi-colored bouquets but each would be different for each bridesmaid. My bridesmaids each picked their dresses with the only stipulation being that the dress was purple.

Then we each picked the flowers we liked and made our bouquets to our liking. My sister-in-law goes to Clemson and wanted a large orange flower; I wanted a giant bouquet. They turned out lovely and so beautiful!

We used floral tape to keep the bouquets together and tied purple ribbon around to make a handle. I wanted long ribbons on the bouquets that would flow in the wind.


(My bracelet was “something borrowed” and the pin on my bouquet was “something old.”)

All the extra flowers were used as decoration for the reception and we used the bouquets to decorate around the guest book and favors.

It was SO EASY and FUN! If you’re looking to save money and don’t have your heart set on particular flowers, then I would highly recommend this!

My Best Friend Doesn’t Know She’s Beautiful

  Let me tell you about my best friend: She’s absolutely hilarious. She has bright strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s the only person I know who understands my love public health and loves it too. She’s wicked smart. She the type of person you want to be on your team– fun and hardworking; she gets along with most everyone. She’s good with kids and with adults. She loves animals. She’s a safe driver. She’s a bad singer but that doesn’t stop her from belting out her favorite tunes. She likes sports and musicals. She’s pretty much up for trying anything. But she eats her food plain. She’s always willing to talk when I need her. She’s travelled the world but is still close with her childhood friends. We met on the first day of uni and we’ve been friends ever since. She takes my sass and deals out some her own too. She’s the best listener. We were once reprimanded in a college class for talking too much. She’s held me when I’ve cried and I know things about her that no one else knows. When we’re together, we’re better. We laugh louder, we smile bigger, we talk more, we give more.

And she doesn’t know she’s beautiful. This absolutely breaks my heart. I should have told her every day since we met. But even then, I don’t know if she would believe me.

We were hanging out on Monday, drinking hot chocolate, chatting non-stop, and doing a puzzle. Then matter-of-factly she asked, “do you think I don’t get dates because I’m not pretty?” I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say.

Why do girls feel like something is wrong with them if they don’t get asked out on a date? We live in a society where everything is first based on looks. This is especially true in college. We believe if we could just look better, we could be fulfilled. My best friend is beautiful. She shouldn’t change a thing. And yet, she thinks something is wrong with her and that she has to change for others to like her.

God made us in His image (Gen 1:27). We are the only creature in which this is true. He knows the hairs on our head and knitted each of us in our mother’s womb. This is exciting and why God seeks a relationship with us. He’s our Father. We were made by Him are loved by Him. And it’s so painful to know this is true and still feel like you don’t measure up.

But we were not made to measure up to man’s standards. We are called to love ourselves. I believe when we love ourselves, we can love others better, as we are also called to do.

God made the beautiful Carolina sunsets my best friend and I experience nightly. He made the roaring ocean and the soft sand. He made silly, playful dogs. He made the beautiful trees on our university campus, along with the beauty of all our other favorite places. And He made me and you and my best friend. He saw fit that in this world we exist with a purpose. We’re made beautiful in our own ways, yet still in His image.

When we accept this to be true and accept Christ as our Savior, we are made new. Our sins are washed away. Our identity is now found in Christ. We are no longer of this world in the way we once were, seeking approval from man.

And when you look in the mirror, it’s hard to remember all this and feel like it’s enough. You still don’t have a date; your thighs still feel too big; your dress size still feels too high; and your hair still seems to not being doing what you want. I want to encourage you to seek God in this moment. Ask for God to transform how you think about yourself. These negative thoughts are a waste of energy. Pray that you will become the woman God wants you to be; ask Him to redirect your thoughts. Ask for forgiveness for all this self-hate. Thank God for your health. Thank Him for the strength he gives you to do His works, through strong legs, helpful hands, a warm smile… And if you see fit, pray for your future husband and those you will encounter that you can encourage since going through this struggle. Ask God to prepare you for these people.

And never forget, you have me– your friend who loves you, who cherishes you and this friendship, and finds you beautiful in so many ways. I love you, best friend.


Happy Tuesday!

Started this morning early with AlyP at Starbucks before walking to our Public Health senior seminar! I can’t believe it’s our last semester. 

Today was finally cold enough to wear my Barbour jacket, although I wore it all the time in Glasgow in the summer!


I started this post around Christmastime but it’s just as relevant today as it was a few weeks ago. And by ‘started’ I mean I saved a draft with this title in the hopes of reflecting on it at a later time.

Immanuel means ‘God with us.’ God sent His Son to earth in the most humble of ways– as a helpless baby, so that He could become flesh.

Matthew 1: 22-23 says:

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

I love how reassuring it is to know that He is with us and not just when we’re praising Him at church during Christmastime. He’s with us no matter what– when we’re struggling to pay rent, and when we’re trying to stick to New Year’s resolutions, when we’re having a tough conversation with a friend, and when we have nowhere else to go, but He’s with us also when things are going really well– like when Costco is giving out cupcakes as a free sample, and when you’re best friend actually becomes your fiance. We’ve all been in scary moments, sad moments, and joyful moments and He’s there with us no matter what! Even when we feel alone, we’re not.

Reading this should be comforting, not frightening. God being with us is a good thing. He knows of our trials whether or not we come to Him in prayer. No matter how far we stray, He is still with us.

Today was my last first day of undergrad! My first class wasn’t until 5:30pm and I was almost late because my nails were still wet! #senioritis

I walked to Panera this morning/afternoon to have an early lunch with my friend L. It was so good to see her and catch up! She has the cutest new puppy! We also read the Bible together and what’s better than Jesus + bread bowls + long time friends? We’re old boarding school friends and our friendship has taken a turn where God has allowed me to be a spiritual mentor to her.

We read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well from John 4. We reflected on how sometimes we feel like the woman, an outcast, alone. And other times we feel like Jesus, able to share with others about ‘the Living Water.’

We admitted that it’s hard to share God’s love to someone that seems unlovable. Sometimes we need to admit that things are hard. That’s where grace is needed.

Then I came home and did some unglamourous laundry and watched Lie to Me while doing one of those adult coloring pages (which sounds dirty but isn’t!). But in the afternoon, I received an email that said the University owes me money now that I’ve dropped ballroom dance class (haha), which was a huge a blessing because textbooks are expensive! Thank you, Jesus!

Then I talked with my [sometimes] sweet sister Hannah on the phone and we discussed Ruth 1! She got a new Bible for Christmas. Although we were raised in a Christian home, Hannah has very little experience interacting with God’s word in the Bible. It was so GOOD to be in open discussion about the passage. We retold it to each other, keeping accuracy in mind, which is a practice that helps me be able to share passages with others.

Then I went to my only class of the day: The Life and Letters of Paul, which is totally different from the public health classes that I take for my major. I also finalized when the Bible study I’m leading will meet: Monday nights! It’s a ladies Bible study where each week we will focus on a different woman of the Bible.

I went to Zumba with my bestie, where we looked like fools but had fun doing it!

I really felt close to God today (because He wants to be close to us– Immanuel: ‘God with us’) and that this is the kind of life I want to be living: full of time spent in the Word, full of spiritual conversations with believers and nonbelievers, and lots of fellowship.

And just in case you thought I had my life together, let me share with you that I said a very bad word after this happened to my nails: See exhibit A. And I drove through Wendy’s drive-thru between class and the gym (oops) because well, life is messy– just like me eating a burger in my car in the gym parking lot. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time, we get frustrated and stressed, and we forget things like snacks. Yet even in the mundane and messy, God is with us.

 Exhibit A

The Stats: In 2015, I …

  • traveled to 1 new country and 1 new state
  • read only about 10 books
  • took 33 university credit hours
  • worked what felt like a million hours at the dance store
  • watched 219 episodes of Criminal Minds (obviously my proudest accomplishment this year)

2015 in Review


 January: This was a month that has been blacked out in my brain, unfortunately, due to anxiety. Not a great way to start the year! But I could only go up from here! 🙂

February: Moved into my new apartment! The Lord rescued me from a really unhealthy living situation at just the right time. As weird as it was to move mid-semester, it was necessary and I love where I live now. I got the worst haircut of my life this month.


Found out about my internship in Scotland: My fiancee, J, was on the board that placed me on my Scotland missions team, talk about a conflict of interest. 😉

Spring 2015: The spring flew by! I continued to struggle daily with anxiety and was eventually diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder. I chose to fight anxiety with counseling, medication, and a determination to find my “zen,” where I finally found balance in my life.

Finished my term at Carolina’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) as the missions fundraiser. In this role I found a love for creative event planning and an even greater love for missions. I believe all Christian Believers are called to love others and share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ coming to Earth to take our punishment for our sins. I love being part of people’s journeys to love others better and share with others about their faith.

May: Left for Glasgow, Scotland! Dreams do come true! I moved to Scotland for the summer! I worked with a great team to share the Gospel message. I lived in a nice flat with the sweetest girl named Fayla, also an American university student.

On the train to Endinburgh, Scotland

June: Fayla and I visited Edinburgh and realized we loved Glasgow a whole lot more! We celebrated American National Donut Day by eating our weight in Devon Doughnuts at Greggs, Fayla got her third tattoo by the awesome Leslie, we visited Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle, we met our sweet friend K (an American living in North Africa), and visited countless museums. This is when I rediscovered my love for yoga. By the end of the month I too, had a tattoo– something I never thought I would say!


Loch Lomond, Luss, Scotland, UK

July: This was my second American Independence Day spent abroad (2012’s holiday was spent in Paris) and we celebrated all weekend long with s’mores on the balcony, board games, late night drives through Glasgow looking at the city lights, and a US Women’s National Soccer Team win in the 2015 Women’s World Cup! I went to the IPC Swimming Championship and St Andrews to see the Old Course right before the 2015 British Open. Fayla and I ended July with a whirlwind day trip to London! A quick trip to Largs, Scotland to end the month.



I’m feelin’ 22!

August: Back Stateside and it felt very bittersweet. Glasgow instantly felt like home and I would love to go back. My family spent the first week at the beach and I celebrated turning 22 at the seashore. J and I were reunited, which felt so good! I started my senior year of university.


September: I started speaking about my time in Scotland, which really helped me process my time there and how far God had brought me in my faith and my own personal growth into a more kind and confident person.

October: SC Flood! My city suffered devasting flooding and my university was closed for a week. I saw wonderful acts of kindness and a national out-pouring of love for my small city. My  baby sister turned 19! I went to Texas for the first time during my fall break and I fell in love with the work of Roman Vishniac at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.


Why cant I get this picture to upload correctly?

November: School stress really got to me as I tried to figure out which path to take concerning future plans. J and I got engaged, which is so exciting! We celebrated Thanksgiving together with my family. I bought my wedding dress at a charity event for $200!


December: J and I traveled all over SC spending time with friends and celebrating the Christmas season. I become obsessed with handlettering. J and I went to the Nutcracker Ballet (for free!). I finished my fall semester of my senior year. I started wedding planning and discovered I wish I could elope. I’ve applied to seminary for the fall of 2016.


There’s still a few days before Christmas and I’m now home for the holidays and my parents’ house. Here’s to making the end of 2015 count, with time spent with family!


God has brought be so far from where I was in the beginning of the year. He’s blessed me abundantly by answering prayers and providing for me in ways that I did not even know I needed providing.

The year of 2015 was exciting! And 2016 looks to bring even more excitement and changes! Up next: last semester of college, more wedding planning, graduating university, getting married, moving?, and hopefully more blog posts. 😛