November Recap + End of Year Thoughts

Hi beauties!  How was your November?  

To be honest, I can't believe it's already December - I haven't stopped to really consider all that has happened in November, but I just know it was a lot!  A lot of great things, memories made, laughter, family time, a couple of tough moments, and celebrating.

Work

  • Road-tripped to the Outer Banks with Nancy to do a tag-team hair/makeup and photo session for my cousin's engagement photos!  
  • Met with one of my favorites (& designer of this website) Sarah of Native State Design to dream about some creative endeavors I've been combing through over the last several months, hopefully to come to life in 2018!
  • Partied hard at the Southern Weddings Volume 10 Launch Party!  What a fun night to dress up to the nines, celebrate a beautiful print magazine & their team, & hug people I love but don't often get to see outside of a wedding day!  By the way, did you see this editorial I was a part of?
  • Did hair and makeup for my friend Katie's wedding day (& tried Lipsense for the first time for her wedding! What do y'all think of Lipsense?? Gonna compile my thoughts here soon!)
  • Did hair and makeup for my sister-in-law and one of my dearest friend's, Jess', wedding!  I was running behind with HAMU, I was sweating like a pig, I remembered what it's like to be IN a wedding whilst getting hair and makeup done (& have a renewed sense of purpose to provide as much structure, peace, and stability as possible to my clients!) It was SUCH a beautiful day!  Joanne & Amy joined as well to help out the rest of the girls, and did a fantastic job as always!
  • Joined Beautycounter!  After a ton of time, a ton of thought, trying out product, reading up extensively on the business, purpose, and mission.  Click here to read why I chose BC for me and for LULA, and click here to shop with me!
  • Facetimed with my sweet friend Rhi of Rhiannon Bosse Celebrations and got encouraged about business, taking time away, the highs and lows of social media, and dreaming of 2018.  It is SO good to connect with other business owners in your industry to be encouraged and uplifted!

Personal

  • Took care of my little Milly niece and Winston for a couple of days
  • Helped host a bridesmaid day at my home to celebrate Jess pre-wedding!  We got our nails done, visited her new beautiful home, ate lunch back at my place, watch Gilmore Girls, did a little gifting time, and ate dinner at Bartaco (if you haven't been, you need to go! And trust me when I tell you to get a margarita and a pork belly taco!)
  • Left for the beach and celebrated all week long for Jess and Kyle's wedding!!  Woohoo!
  • Slept one million hours after that
  • Had a Thanksgiving Eve surprise date-night with John to Brewery Bhavana at the bar - Pork Bao, trust me on this one too!
  • Made the most kickass apple pie - I use this recipe from BHG every Thanksgiving and it's not for the faint of heart, but it is SO GOOD.
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband's family on T-giving day, then my family on Saturday.  On the day in between, we hiked part of the MTS trail in north Raleigh and the day was just the finest Raleigh in the fall has to offer.  We got our tree - at Kroger : )  Nothing like good prices and simplicity sometimes! 
  • Decorated our tree and our home for the holidays!  
  • Dealt with a little surprise meltdown moment, only to realize I was still dealing with loss - it was the 2 year anniversary of being pregnant, our only time conceiving in the last 3 years.  What a journey!  God is good and present through it all!
  • Reading Animal Vegetable Miracle still, and finishing up the last chapter (December) of The Life-Giving Home.  I highly recommend both of these for your 2018 reading list!
  • Trying to wake up a bit earlier to enjoy more daylight and have extended morning time to do all the things I like to do - time with Jesus, a few chores, breakfast, and working out.  Going well so far!

December + End of Year Thoughts

What an amazing year.  I really want to thank you, my kindred friends, for supporting me through so much change this year!  It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I told you all about it.  I really believe that being vulnerable and transparent is one of the strongest tools God uses in us, to encourage one another, bridge the gaps of isolation, and do some real healing.  I'm really thankful for you!  I can't wait to see what 2018 brings, and I can't wait to share what I've been dreaming up for all of us.  Thank you for your patience, your kindness, and your encouragement with and to me!

In December, I'm looking forward to a few things:

  • One engagement session, one trial, and one wedding (because let's be honest, the extra money is going to be helpful for holidaying!  And, I want to keep my skills sharp and my heart soft!)
  • Hosting our first ever holiday party for a few friends in our home.  I'm a little nervie but the best way to get over that is to just do it : )
  • Maybe sing a little
  • Go see the Governor's Mansion all beautifully decked out in red, gold, and green
  • Hang out with friends and family
  • Attend a few parties as well!
  • Do a little more shopping and wrap my presents
  • Get back in the gym with all the pre-wedding gusto I had a few weeks ago!  It really does make me feel so much better physically and emotionally!

How can I encourage you this month?  Message me or comment below.  Do you have goals posted - link em!  I wanna cheer you on!

All my love Lulettes,

Sam

 

Shop Local Roundup: My Favorites for RDU

For the holidays, I love purchasing as much as I can from local small businesses & artisans.  Even if you're not from my area (Raleigh, NC), many of these stores have online shops, or you can look around your area for some great local options!  When you shop local, you help someone's real dreams come true, you help someone's real bills get paid, and you foster richer economic growth in your community!

1. The Flourish Market

Nestled in the side streets of Gleenwood South, The Flourish Market is providing sustainable, on-trend clothing and accessories with a purpose.  They "partner with 40 brands that work all over the world, providing dignified jobs and fair wages to inspiring artisans and makers in vulnerable communities."  Em, the owner, is one of the most passionate and kind people I've had the privilege of meeting, and I try to send people her way as much as I can.

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2. Cageless Birds

Cageless Birds is the creative family/community surrounding worship leaders/songwriters Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, based in the Triad of NC.  They create beautiful handmade goods, have discipleship schools, and curate the Cultivate interactive magazines.  I ask for one of their handmade leather journals every year twice a year, for my birthday and Christmas.  I imagine my kids and grandkids finding & flipping through the sturdy, timeless pages bound in natural leather, and also love that all the pages are unlined.  I also highly recommend Maker Coffee which they roast/package on their land, as well as the Cultivate magazine!  Shop via their online store.

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3. Sola Coffee

Sola is a coffee, cafe, and shoplet in North Raleigh with a strong love for community and their neighborhood.  Not only do they have delicious high-quality coffee and yummy food, but they often have live music and pop-up markets, which so many people love!  They usually try to keep their markets close to major gift-giving holidays, so keep your eyes peeled for a Holiday market.  But if you miss that, peruse some of the goods they keep on-hand in the store all the time.

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4. Edge of Urge / Lumina / Yellow Dog

So, these are three different shops, but I like to think of them as a trifecta for those visiting in person.  You need to go to all 3, as they are all right beside each other!   Edge of Urge is a store mostly for ladies, carrying all sorts of lovely & quirky giftables including local jewelry, accessories, clothing, paper goods, & trinkets.  Next door is Lumina, the mostly-for-men store perfectly curated for the style-and-utility conscious man. Think oodles of leather goods, all-natural beard oils, weather-proof pocket notebooks, artisan pocket knives, wood-smelling candles, and general adventuring & outdoorsy spirit.  Then you'll want to go grab a coffee, pastry, & loaf of fresh bread at Yellow Dog Bread Co.  Their sweet bread loafs & gift cards make great hostess gifts! 

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5.  Holder Goods / Boulted Bread

Another situation where if you go to one, you need to go to both!  They're right beside each other and bring strong retail presence to the Boylan area of downtown.  Bryan, manager at Holder, has curated a beautiful, fascinating, and warm collection of vintage, antique, modern, and handmade items perfect for gifting to those with a keen eye for design. John loves the pocket knives with handles made of antlers, and I have found a few great books including a vintage Trees of NC booklet, as well as some turkish towels.  And please, please, PLEASE go do yourself the biggest favor and pop into Boulted next door.  They were voted one of the best croissants in America by Food & Wine (and having traveled all through Europe, I can say they rival anything I had from their bakeries!), they grind their flour on site, and I haven't tried one pastry that I don't love!  Try the chocolate croissant or morning bun if it's your first time!

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Are you located in Raleigh?  What do you think of these picks?  Have any more to add?

If you're not local, where are you from?  What are some of your favorite local shops in your area?

Love,

Sam

Sam's Beauty Gift Guide

Whether it's for you or for your loved ones, I've curated a list of my top beauty picks to put in the stocking or under the tree!

I tried to keep as many of these products as clean and non-toxic as possible, at varying price points.  Some I have tried, and some I have my eyes on for myself! 

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1. Flawless in Five Makeup Set - This is a great start if you're looking to makeover your makeup kit!  These are the basics for a solid 5 minute face, using products that don't have any harmful ingredients.  It includes a foundation, concealer, brow pencil, mascara, blush duo, and lip gloss, and you can customize the shades to your liking!

2. Beauty counter No.3 Balancing Spa Set - A holiday set from Beautycounter - the mask is one of my favorites I have ever used, and I use the oil every morning and evening, as a first step before moisturizer and makeup.  The mist is a nice bonus for a mid-day pick me up, especially after workouts.  Great for oily/acne prone skin - but they also have a Brightening and Plumping set if one of those are more appropriate for your skin.

3. Hynt Beauty DUET Perfecting Concealer - This has been one of my favorite finds of the year.  It's vegan AND does an amazing job covering dark circles, scars, and blemishes.  It's creamy but not cakey, and doesn't turn patchy as the day goes on, as so many concealers do.

4. 100% Pure Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder - Also one of my favorite finds, comparable to the Glossier Boy Brow, but without any questionable ingredients.

5. Little Barn Apothecary Facial Cleansing Oil Blue Yarrow + Geranium - I use this cleansing oil for days that my skin needs a gentler, more moisturizing clean.  You rub it on, it takes of makeup and clings to impurities, and then you rub it off with a warm washcloth.  I rinse my face with water a bit more for good measure.

 

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1. My Daughter Perfumes Bloom 23 - a fragrance completely free of parabens and phthalates that smells amazing!  I received a sample in my Petit Vour box and am working through my current fragrance to upgrade to this.

2. The Takesumi Detox Deodorant in Cold Pressed Rose - I have been on the search for the best all-natural deodorant, and though I haven't tried this personally, I am intrigued by the detoxing qualities and scent of this one.

3. Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass - I've tried this, but don't currently own - I'm hoping Santa will bring me some!  It's one of the more luxurious body scrubs I've used, leaving behind a saturating moisture that smells a-maze-ing.  I'd likely keep it in my shower and use a few times a week, especially on my legs in the winter.

4. Body Butter in Citrus Mimosa - Another one I've tried but don't own yet!  My skin gets super duper dry in the winter, especially my hands, middle, and legs, and I'm constantly using body lotion to keep things in check.  This is a super saturated body butter that doesn't feel greasy but still feels substantial.

5. Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish in Rodeo Drive - The perfect holiday red, without harmful chemicals!  I've used Lauren B. for about a year and it lasts about the same as OPI or Essie (5-7 days for me)

6. French Girl Sea Soak bath salts - I am all about the winter bath, since I'm perpetually cold and baths are the only true warming solution!  I prefer bath salts to bubbles since they absorb into the skin, and they look pretty sitting in my bathroom : )

 

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1. Repair & Nourish Collection - My hair also gets super dry in the winter, so I've got my eye on this repairing and nourishing shampoo, conditioner, and split end serum from BC.  The packaging is lovely and I like knowing there are no sulfates, paragons, or wonky fragrances in there.

2. MANGO Gold Hair Ties Pack - A quick way to polish a regular pony!

3. MINU Hair Mask - for when your hair needs an extra amount of moisture, especially for those of us with color-treated hair (it'll help your color last longer!)

 4. R+Co Death Valley Travel Sized Dry Shampoo - I've used Death Valley on my clients and I love the scent and the feel - it's not overpowering.  Plus this little travel size is perfect to keep in your purse for a little pick-me-up as needed!

I hope these suggestions help provide some good ideas for yourself & others this holiday season!  If you have any questions or thoughts, don't hesitate to message or comment!

Love,

Sam