Easy Steps to Self-Pampered Bliss // A Guest Post

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With the dog days of summer winding down, the luxury of laziness will soon be slipping from us as well. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean we must abandon all TLC efforts for ourselves. After all, we’re mothers, fathers, caregivers of all kind, and ADULTS. It’s no joke that #adultingishard. Before the sun sets on this season, clear an evening for yourself and follow along with these simple DIYs to bring yourself to pampered bliss. Give these a try separately or follow along in order for an at-home spa experience. 

Easy Steps to Self-Pampered Bliss – Guest Post by Erica McCready on THE LIFE IN BETWEEN
 

DIY Candle 

Easy DIY Candle – Erica McCready Guest Post on TLIB

Not only are candles the perfect gift, they’re also inexpensive and easy to make!

What You'll Need: 
Fragrance or Essential Oils
Canning Jar
Soy Wax
Candle Wick
Sauce Pan
Measuring Cup

Directions:
Place one pound of soy wax into a measuring cup and place the cup in a sauce pan with roughly 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and allow wax to melt completely. While the wax is melting, place the wick in your container and wrap the end around a pencil, allowing it to rest on the edges. With the wax on the stove top, pour 1 oz of fragrance or 30-60 drops of essential oil into wax. Remove from heat and pour into container. Let set for approximately 24 hours before cutting the wick. Light and enjoy! 

 

Buy Yourself Flowers 

Pamper Yourself – Erica McCready Guest Post on TLIB

This step is not a necessity, however, I highly recommend heading to the grocery store (you’re probably getting wine anyway) and picking up some inexpensive blooms. Nothing brightens a room like a fresh bouquet so, treat yourself!

 

DIY Rose Milk Bath 

DIY Rose Milk Bath – Erica McCready Guest Post on TLIB

Soaking in a nice, warm bath is the height of relaxation in my book. I’m so happy with a traditional bubble bath but every once in a while, you should really #treatyoself and try a new type of bubble bath. Enter the rose milk bath!

What You'll Need:
1½ cups of Powdered Milk
½ cup Epsom Salt
Dried Rose Petals
Rose Essential Oil 

 

DIY Detox Water

DIY Detox Water – Erica McCready Guest Post on TLIB

Nothing says trip-to-the-spa like delicious detox water! There are so many delicious options, all with their own health benefits. My favorite is an old classic for me: lemon and strawberries. It tastes like strawberry lemonade without the added sugar.

What You'll Need:
1 quart of Water
1 Sliced Lemon
½ cup Sliced Strawberries
Optional: 5-10 drops of Lemon Essential Oil for Added Benefits

 

DIY Milk and Honey Mask 

DIY Milk & Honey Mask – Erica McCready Guest Post on TLIB

While soaking in the tub, give your face the TLC it deserves. This DIY mask is incredibly easy and most people already have these items in their kitchen.

What You'll Need:
1/3 cup Plain Yogurt
2 tbs Oatmeal
1 tbs Organic Honey
¼ Banana, Mashed 

Directions:
Wash your face with your regular wash and remove all make up. Apply mask and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat dry. I follow up my weekly face masks with a night cream but that step is completely optional. 

 

At-Home Manicure

Pamper Yourself with an At-Home Manicure – Erica McCready Guest Post on TLIB

Skip the wait and price of a manicure at a salon and grab your favorite polish at home.

Pro Tip: Use coconut oil on your cuticles before trimming! It’ll soften your cuticles and hands and make for an even more beautiful manicure.

 

EricaMcCready_Headshot.jpg

Erica is a New York transplant living in North Carolina. She loves to create and learn how to make new DIY projects, crafts, and all things relating to style. She is the mother of two rambunctious pups and to one human on the way. 

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Three Books // Read, Reading, To Read – Vol. 3

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Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
— Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

HAVE YOU READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY?

Since my previous Three Books post, I have finished: 

The Post Office Girl (didn't like it)
Of Mice and Men (my Old Faithful)
Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson (absolutely loved it)
Gameplan: The Complete Strategy Guide to go from Starter Kit to Silver (I definitely recommend this book if you use Young Living oils)
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (learned a lot and highly recommend)
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (it was adorable and hilarious and you should read it)

and my most recently read book is...

Three Books – Read, Reading, To Read – Vol 3 – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN
 

Recently Read: Rivers of London
(Ben Aaronovitch)

I gave Rivers of London a solid "eh." I was not impressed. The story started off well enough, but I didn't connect with any of the characters on an emotional level, so it was hard to really… care. It was a super quick and easy read, so it wasn't a major waste of my time I guess, but in the end it was just a'ight. It did not leave me wanting more, so I will not be reading any of the other books in the Peter Grant series.

I have the UK version; apparently the book is called Midnight Riot in the States. Anyway, in case you're interested, here's how Amazon describes it:

"Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic."

Again, "eh."

 

Currently Reading: It Can't Happen Here
(Sinclair Lewis)

Okay. Without getting too political, I'll just say that It Can't Happen Here is relevant in a really frightening way. It is, of course, well-written, and I'm connecting with and generally relating to the main character, so far. It's sort of like reading a not-quite-accurate record of the past and a possible-and-scary version of the future at the same time. I think I've mentioned before that I'm actually quite terrible at book reviews, so I'll just share what Amazon says about It Can't Happen Here:

"A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. 

Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press. 

Called “a message to thinking Americans” by the Springfield Republican when it was published in 1935, It Can’t Happen Here is a shockingly prescient novel that remains as fresh and contemporary as today’s news."

Eek.

Three Books – Read, Reading, To Read – Vol. 3 – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN
 

Up Next: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
(Jonas Jonasson)

I recently read Jonas Jonasson's The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and thought it was just the cutest thing, so decided I'd better try another one of ol' JJ's books. His writing style is… I don't know… I told you I was bad at this "book review" thing. I really enjoyed Jonasson's writing style. (Insert shrugging girl emoji here.) Here's what Amazon says about The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden:

"In a tiny shack in the largest township in South Africa, Nombeko Mayeki is born. Poor and orphaned, she quickly learns that the world expects her to die young. But Nombeko has grander plans. Little does this cunning and fearless girl know that soon she will steal a fortune in diamonds, outwit a mad scientist kidnapper, travel across the world, fall in with a pair of diabolical assassins, and ultimately save a king--and possibly the world. 

Jonas Jonasson tackles issues ranging from the pervasiveness of racism to the dangers of absolute power in a charming and hilarious story. In the inimitable voice that has earned him legions of fans the world over, he gives us another rollicking tale of how even the smallest of decisions can ripple out into the world."

Yay, I love it already!

Three Books – Read, Reading, To Read – Vol 3 – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN
 

What's on your To Read list? Give me a recommendation or two in the comments! ⤵︎

xotawni
 
 

Bullet Journaling Inspiration Vol 2 // Basic Planning System

When you work at home, summer can actually be a really hard time. The sun's out and all you want to do is have a picnic in the park all day every day. Motivation is hard to come by. It's especially tough when you've got kids and a teacher-husband who are home for the summer months too, providing plenty of distraction. There's no routine, no schedule, no real timetable, and yet the tasks, assignments, and general "work" continues. 

Bullet journaling helps keep me somewhat focused though, even in the craziest (and laziest) of times. And contrary to popular belief, bullet journaling does not need to be complicated.

Bullet Journaling Inspiration – BASIC Planning – Future Log, Monthly Log, and Weekly Log – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN

While my summertime may be otherwise occupied by park-hopping, city strolls, hours upon hours of viewing (with enthusiasm!) Lego displays and Minecraft worlds, playing superheroes and MarioKart, reading books, and other summertime non-activities, I've tried to maintain somewhat of a schedule for myself to help keep on top of this blog, my design shop, and my Young Living business. 

I've had some success staying on task this summer – at least the most important things are getting checked off, anyway – so I'm going to share with you my very basic planning system in hopes that you'll maybe feel a little less overwhelmed by the thought of bullet journaling!

 

The Future Log

The Future Log is an at-a-glance view of events and dates you've got coming up over the next few months. I created this one in July, and after checking my Google Cal, my kids' and husband's schedules, and my iPhone cal, was able to put this 6-month log together within about 15-20 minutes

The sloppy banner header is not a requirement. (Just in case your panties were getting in a bundle over that detail.) Also, no, I didn't use a ruler to measure space or anything – I just eyeballed it all. If you don't have time to be precise or perfect, then don't be! 

Bullet Journaling Inspiration – BASIC Planning – Future Log – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN

I like to leave room for adding events, and if there's something in particular that isn't set in stone, I use pencil so it can be easily removed from my log. I do not use the Future Log to keep track of tasks; I use the Monthly and Weekly Logs to track tasks, and the Future Log's purpose (for me) is solely to record events and dates that I need to remember.

 

The Monthly Log

The Monthly Log is a more detailed at-a-glance view of your current month's events and tasks. I usually put mine together a few days before the start of each month, and it usually takes me about 15-30 minutes, depending on how fancy I want to get.

Left: Calendar Page
Referring to my Future Log and my Google Cal, I list events and dates on the Calendar Page. Simple.

Right: Task Page
On the Task Page I list tasks that should be completed at some point during the month. I first refer to each upcoming event on the Calendar Page. If there are tasks related to an event, such as packing for a trip, getting a birthday gift, preparing designs for a client, hiring a sitter, etc., I add those to my task list. Then I refer to the previous month's task list. Anything that wasn't completed last month, or any tasks that need to repeat monthly, I will then record in the new task list for the current month. Done.

Bullet Journaling Inspiration – BASIC Planning – Monthly Log – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN

Again, any event on the Calendar Page that isn't a "for sure" is written in pencil. Of course you can just strike through cancelled events, too. 

As for tracking tasks on my Task Page, I use the bullet system as described here under "Tasks".

 

The Weekly Log

The Weekly Log is a detailed at-a-glance view of each week. Over the summer I mostly refer to the Monthly Log, but when I know there are deadlines coming up, I'll whip up a Weekly Log to help keep me on task. I typically put a Weekly Log together on Sunday or Monday of each week, and it only takes about 10 minutes.

It's especially nice to have a pre-made weekly template like this one from Grace and Salt ink (as seen below). I also have printable weekly templates available to All-Access Design Subscribers.

Left: Calendar Page
Referring to my Monthly Log and my Google Cal, I list events and dates on the Calendar Page. It doesn't get much easier than that!

Right: Task Page
On the Task Page I list things that I need to get done within that week. I first refer to each upcoming event on the Calendar Page. If there are tasks related to an event, I add those to my task list. Then I refer to the previous week's task list if there is one. Anything that wasn't completed last week, or any tasks that need to repeat weekly, I will then record in the new task list for the current week. Finally, I'll take a look at the current month's task list and will pull tasks from there that should or could be completed within the week. This might sound complicated, but once you get started it's really the simplest thing, because everything is already written down. You're just compiling.

Bullet Journaling Inspiration – BASIC Planning – Weekly Log – THE LIFE IN BETWEEN

Once again, events on the Calendar Page that aren't confirmed are written in pencil, and I just strike through cancelled events. 

As for tracking tasks on my Task Page, I use the same bullet system as described here under "Tasks".

 

You guys, that's it! I told you it was basic. (And not in Urban Dictionary terms.) Bullet journaling is the only planning system that I've stuck with for this long (I've been bullet journaling for 16 months!). It works – bullet journaling is the most flexible and forgiving planning system out there

There are other really exciting and fun things you can do with a bullet journal too, and I intend to get into that again when I gain back some sort of routine. I'll be here to share when I can!

"Keep cool, my babies."
(10 points if you can tell me who said it. Without Google.)

xotawni
 

I  use Grace and Salt ink's inkDori notebooks with Moleskine Cahier Journals and Soft Cover Notebooks for all of my bullet journaling needs.
And yes, that statement contains affiliate links.