Beauty

How to Have a Spa Day at Home

Do you have those midwinter blues? I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring and warmer weather that will stick around longer than one day. To help break me out of my wintery funk, and to check another item off my 30 Before 30 list, I decided to treat myself to a spa day at home this weekend. Unfortunately, due to a tight budget this month I opted to treat myself at home.

Below I have provided my full indulgence spa day treatment. The best part it is easy, affordable and beneficial. But before you get started, no spa day is complete without a big, fluffy robe!

Get in the mood.

You can’t just jump into relaxing, or at least I can’t. It takes me some time to wind down after a stressful week. Slip into your favorite plush robe, turn on some relaxing music, and sip on a herbal tea or Champagne. Let your body and mind wind down so you can enjoy the experience.

Facial steam.

Facial steam helps to get you into a relaxed state further, and it helps open your pores and prepares you for the treatments that follow. I simply heat a pot of water on the stove, and then pour the hot – not boiling water – into my sink and drape a towel over my head. Feel free to add a few drops of your favorite essential oils, fresh herbs or tea to the water. Breathe in deep and steam for about 10 minutes before moving to the next step.

Body and face scrub.

For this step, move to the shower and use any body scrub recipe that you love. I love to use the sugar scrub recipe below because the olive oil really hydrates rough winter skin. You can also use exfoliating gloves, if you’d prefer. Exfoliating after steam is a great way to help diminish those pesky blackheads and prepare your skin for the facemask.

Nail Polish

Sugar Scrub Recipe

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
Optional: essential oils of your preference

1. Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight glass container.
3. Use scrub on face, feet, hands, or any rough patches of skin that need an exfoliating or hydrating boost.

Hair masks.

I prefer to do DIY hair masks with ingredients I have at home (I like the avocado and egg masks), but I also love this hair mask for the days I’m feeling lazy. After applying your hair mask, just wrap it in a towel and let it sit during the next step.

Bath time.

It’s time to slip into a warm and relaxing bath. Dim the lights, light some candles, turn on some relaxing music and slip into bliss. When it comes to my baths, I prefer some bubbles added to the mix. My go to is Dr. Teal’s lavender Epson salts and foaming bath kit. I also like bath bombs and love this one from Da Bomb. Can you tell I like lavender? Another good thing to add to your baths are bags of green tea as it is an antioxidant and soften skin.

Nail Polish

Quick rinse.

After your luxurious bath, I hope you are starting to feel all relaxed. Take a quick rinse-off shower and use a clarifying shampoo or hair rinse to remove your hair mask.

Facial mask.

After getting out of your bath, get back into your robe and apply your face mask. Pick a mask that works for you, but below are some of my recommendations based on problem areas.

Foot mask.

This step is the cherry on top that truly makes you feel like you are at a spa. While you are letting your face mask set, apply some foot cream or homemade treatment to your feet and wrap them in plastic wrap. Then wrap them in a warm towel and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sleep.

Remove your face mask and foot masks with warm water. Slip into your comfy pajamas, apply your night moisturize, and I dare you not to fall asleep.

What are your favorite at-home spa treatments?

Travel

13 Things to Do Before You Travel

Congratulations! You have booked your airfare, hotels, excursions, etc., and you are ready for your vacation. But before you go, be sure check out this list of 13 things you should do or bring with you before you leave.

1. Put a travel notice on your debit or credit cards.

Every time you travel contact your bank to let them know where you are going. This will help prevent receiving that error message while you are in a foreign country. Additionally, don’t bring all your cards with you – try to limit it to one or two. Also, use RFID sleeves to protect your cards.

2. Always have local cash.

Some places do not take credit cards, so its always good to have some local cash on you. You can convert some amount of cash over at your local bank before you leave. If you’d rather switch some of your cash over once you arrive, be sure to check with your bank on the international ATM fees associated with your card.

3. Obtain international data for your cell phone.

I know we are all attached to our phones, and they indeed come in handy overseas. Contact your phone provider to see if they offer data plans for your destination. If the rate is too high for your budget, bring your phone anyways, and use the WiFi available at the airport, local cafes and your hotel. Trust me – make sure your data is turned off, or you’ll be crying over your next bill.

Another option is just to go device free all vacation long. Enjoy that time with friends/family and soaking up your surroundings.

4. Plan your first and last days.

The first day of your vacation is usually the most hectic. Planning will help you make the most of the difficult day. Try to locate a couple of things to see/do/eat that are within an easy walking distance of your hotel or hostel. Go for the maximum chill factor when you are mapping out your first hours on vacation.

For your last day, keep a packet marked “Last Day” that has all your return flight information, your house and car keys, and anything else to help make the transition to home smooth when you are completely exhausted thanks to jet lag.

5. Pack an extra day of clothes in your carry-on.

Lost luggage is zero fun. Packing an extra day of clothes in your carry-on will help ensure you aren’t wearing the same thing over and over again or those tacky tourist clothes.

6. Check public transit maps.

It is worthwhile to do a little research on the public transit at your destination. Check to see if any lines or stops are not operational, and how they might impact your sightseeing. You may discover that some forms of the transit are free and will be beneficial in cutting down the walking or Uber fares. A bit of research will have you informed on fares, maps, and your itinerary.

7. Find your hobbies in your destination.

You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find at your destination if you do a little research on your favorite hobbies. Like coffee? Find the best coffee shop. Like books? Find a hole-in-the-wall bookstore. The list is endless.

8. Obtain travel guides.

I’m a travel guide junkie and use them for a lot of my research prior and once in country. I find the Lonely Planet versions are extremely informative. If you don’t want to carry the book, you can download it to your e-reader.

9. Check the weather.

The weather is a factor that will either make or break your vacation. A look at the forecast will help with your packing and ensure you are prepared for all your vacation has to offer.

10. Copies of your passport.

Better safe than sorry, and making a copy of your passport is important for two reasons: it’s always good to have a copy in case your passport is lost or stolen and some accommodations require them. It’s best to keep these copies separate from your actual passport when you are packing. Be sure to leave a copy with a family member or friend.

Related: 5 Tips for Taking the Perfect Passport Photo

11. Give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend.

In the event of an emergency, it is wise to have someone at home know your whereabouts.

12. Charge your electronics before you leave.

Charing your devices seems like a no-brainer. Also, be sure to pack your chargers in your carryon, so it is easy to access for those layover charges or on the plane. Lastly, don’t forget to pack your adaptor.

13. Pack snacks.

I’m a big snacker when I travel, and airports are not cheap. Throw your favorite snacks in your carry-on and your packed luggage. Traveling is a lot of fun, but sometimes ethnic cuisine doesn’t sit well with you. Snacks come in handy when that occurs.

What are your favorite pre-trip prep tips?

Travel

5 Tips for Taking the Perfect Passport Photo

People tend not to look their best in identification photos, and the worst part is the results are with you for years. To ensure you get the best picture possible, follow the tips below.

  1. For clothing, wear a solid color shirt in a color that compliments your skin tone. Don’t wear white or black. Additionally, pick a v-neck or scoop neck for the neckline. Lastly, avoid scarves or turtlenecks – you don’t want to seem neckless in your photo.
  2. Wear makeup, ladies! I’d recommend using an oil-absorbing face powder or a photo-finish primer to help prevent the glare from the harsh flash. Also, to help combat the flash add some bronzer and blush to those cheeks, so you don’t look washed out.
  3. Let your hair down! Your hair acts a natural frame of your face so utilize it. Style it, and bring a brush with your to keep your flyaways at bay. Men, consider getting a haircut a week before taking your photo.
  4. Keep your shoulders down and back, and stick your chin out an inch or so farther than you usually hold it. No one wants a double chin.
  5. Teeth are not allowed in passport photos. Practice your smile in a mirror before taking your picture, as you don’t want it to look like a mug shot. Just think of something happy as your smirk. 🙂

There are several options when it comes to taking a passport photo. You can opt to take it at home, but there are several rules to follow to ensure the State Department accepts it with your passport application. I chose to go to a local business to have it taken like FedEx, UPS, or a drug store. It was easy to do and ended up costing about $15.

 

What are your tips for ensuring a perfect passport photo?

Blogging

2018 Reader Survey

Happy Friday! We did it; we survived the first week back after the holidays.

One of my biggest goals for 2018 is to continue growing the community around this space. Thus, the time has come for me to conduct my first reader survey! (Eek!) I really want to hear from you so you can continue to enjoy this space as much as I do. Grab your favorite beverage (because it’s Friday!) and pretty please with a cherry on top take this short survey for me!

Thank you in advance!

 

 

Anything I left out of the survey that you want to comment on, I want to hear from you?

Life

2017 Year End Review

It was the best of years. It was the worst of years. 2017 was one of the most challenging years of my life. It had moments of joy, but a large number of heartache moments as well. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the year:

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. // Socrates

  • My brother got engaged!
  • I bought my first house.
  • Continued to grow this space. (Thanks for your help!)
  • I traveled the most number of miles ever in a single year, approximately 33,000 miles.
  • And I crossed a bunch of items off my bucket list!
  • Countries Visited:
  • New States Visited:
  • Alabama Football Games Attended:
  • Books Read: 37

January

January kicked-off with Georgia’s first “snow” storm of the year, which ended up being full of ice. I spent the majority of the month working on this little corner of the internet, getting it revamped and set some goals for the year. The Tall Man and I also adventured to The Windy City for a very short trip with his work, and my mom and I headed over to Anniston, Alabama for Southern Exhilaration’s first sponsored post. (If you are ever in the city, be sure to check out Hotel Finial.)

bean there, done that

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February

February was a pretty chill month. It started off with the Falcons and Patriots playing each other in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, my team lost and The Tall Man’s won. There were the trips to North Carolina to see my guy, and then some quality time with friends. The short month passed quickly.

March

In two words, March was an emotional roller-coaster. It started off with a trip to Raleigh, but this time my whole family joined me. Not only was it my dad’s birthday weekend, but it was also one of my brother’s best friend’s wedding. We played in Durham around the wedding schedule. I also celebrated one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties with a food tour around Atlanta. Unfortunately, the end of March brought a lot of unexpected changes and heartbreak.

April

April and May were not easy months for me. I decided to take a slight hiatus from this space and worked on figuring out the next steps of my life. Despite the heartache and feeling utterly lost, life moved on. In April, I celebrated a friend’s wedding, spent some time with my best friend drinking wine and shopping, traveled to Santa Monica with a work trip, and concluded the month with a trip to Birmingham to see my smarty-pants brother graduate with his masters.

to everything there is a new season | ecclesiastes 3:1

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May

May brought a lot of travel. I started off with a trip to New York for my third National Geographic Photography Workshop. I always love the opportunity to explore new parts of this city. The following weekend, I hit the road to Rochester Hills, Michigan for a quick work-related trip, and then headed to the beach for a week of some serious R&R.

Meet me in New York. 🗽 #NewYorkCity #NGExpeditions 📷: @meghan_leighh

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June

June was a busy month of house hunting, job searching and getting my feet back under me. I kicked off June with a trip to Connecticut for work and to visit some family. It was a relaxing time, and it felt good to spend some time with my aunt. For Father’s Day, we surprised my dad with an outing to TopGolf.

Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world, can be found at Mystic Seaport.

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July

July was a very low-key month when it came to traveling. I did manage to get in a weekend visit with my best friend and head to Tuscaloosa for an alumni meeting. My family also celebrated my brother’s engagement! 🙂

nubivagant (adj.) // wandering in the clouds; moving through the air.

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August

August was a busy month. The month kicked off with a week-long trip to Buffalo, New York for a client meeting that included a day trip to see Niagara Falls. I also celebrated my 29th birthday with a surprise trip to Denver with my mom and Pack Up + Go. (If you are a planner looking for a little spontaneity, then you need to check out this company.) Then ended the month with a whirlwind trip to northern California for a friend’s wedding and to Chicago for a conference.

birthday (noun): nature’s way of telling us to eat cake. 🎂 #29andfine

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September

September equals the start of football season! My brother and I were able to attend the Alabama vs. FSU game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and then my parents and I headed to Nashville to see Alabama take on Vanderbilt. (Roll Tide!) I was home for basically the whole month, so I put a lot of energy into this space.

October

The biggest and best of October was purchasing my first home! I made the offer on October 3rd and closed on October 30th, so the whole month revolved around all that goes into becoming a first-time homeowner. I also managed to get in a couple of trips, including a trip out to Texas with my dad for the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game. And thanks to Publix, I was able to up my culinary skills with a six-week class through their Aprons Cooking School.

and so a new adventure begins… ?

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November

The theme of my November was boxes. I spent the majority of the month unpacking everything I own and getting settled into my new home. My family had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, which was exactly what I needed after a crazy two months.

December

December was an exciting month! It kicked off with a trip to Madison, Georgia to do a feature on their “Honeymoon” Mansion. December also brought Atlanta a lovely dusting 10 inches or so of snow. The month concluded with my whole family in town to celebrate the holidays.

all the heart eyes for the architecture in madison, georgia 😍

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Thank you for being a part of 2017. Stay tuned for some exciting happenings in 2018! #2017bestnine

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What was your favorite part of 2017?

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