Winter Reads: 2019

At the beginning of the year I realized I had lost my love for reading — mostly from burning myself out on parenting books I felt obligated to read. Many of these are helpful but I noticed when I wanted to burn every parenting book I saw that it was probably time for a break from all the “do this to be a better that” stuff.

I declared 2019 the year in which I read whatever the heck I feel like and behold, I fell in love with stories and words all over again. Now that I’m enjoying books once more I thought it would be fun to do a seasonal recap sharing what I read. Here’s a quick look at the books I read from December to February.

Escape to Vindor by Emily Golus

Fantasy, 354 pages

This was a fun book to read in part because the author, Emily, was also my college roommate. Writing is hard work so it’s pretty cool to see someone I know who studied to be a writer actually doing the work and following through with her dream.

Vindor was a fun break from my normal book genres. I haven’t read anything like this since I finished The Lord of the Ring series. Think Lord of the Rings meets The Chronicles of Narnia and you have an idea of the fun and adventure you’ll be diving into with this story. Find it here.

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Travel Memoir, 268 pages

My sister-in-law gave me this book for my birthday last year and as soon as I cracked it open I couldn’t put it back down. I loved both the writing style and getting to travel with the author through different countries and adventures. It did no good for my own wanderlust as I now have a bunch more places on my list I must see ๐Ÿ˜‰ Find it here.

Wanderlust and my longing for home are birthed from the same place: a desire to find the ultimate spot this side of heaven. When I stir soup at my stove, I drift to a distant island. When I’m on the road with my backpack, my heart wanders back to my couch, my favorite coffee cup. My equal pull between both are fueled by my hardwired desire for heaven on earth. And I know I’ll never find it.

Tsh Oxenreider

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller

Christian Living, 46 pages

This was a super short read at under 50 pages but it packs a punch. I marked all over the pages and plan on re-reading this at least once a year. Highly recommend. Find it here.

The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.

Timothy Keller

Come To Jesus by Christa Threlfall

Christian Living, 92 pages

Christa, like Emily, is someone I went to college with so when I saw she was publishing a book, I signed up for the launch team to read the book and cheer her on. Like The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, this is a short book with big impact. Christa did a great job reminding readers that true hope and help are not found in a change of circumstances but in Jesus alone. I was encouraged to look at hard things as opportunities to grow and draw closer to the Lord rather than seeing them simply as things to get through. Find it here.

Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman

Historical Nonfiction, 330 pages

This is the first book I purchased after I decided to read whatever I wanted. Before, reading a whole book about Alexander the Great just for fun didn’t seem like the best use of my time. I was wrong. Not only did this book improve my understanding of history and culture, there were stories that made me question my motives and character and interesting parallels to Christianity and the spread of the gospel — so how’s that for a waste of time ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to reading more books in this genre as it ended up being something I really enjoyed. Find it here.

So tell me, what are you reading/recommend? I’m always looking for ideas so share away!

5 Favorite Beauty Finds from 2018

I love makeup and I love trying new makeup and beauty products to see what’s out there. Over the last several years I’ve noticed that my skin is really starting to change thanks to age and the hormonal changes that come with having babies. 

My skincare concerns this year were: Fine lines around my eyes, dry skin, and dark spots. I get melasma during pregnancy (dark, freckly patches on the face that never completely go away) so one of my biggest concerns was finding something that could conceal dark spots without being too heavy or sinking into fine lines. A surprisingly difficult thing to find! I want my makeup to look fairly natural and be as good for my skin as possible.

So all that being said, I thought I’d share five of the products I really ended up loving this year.

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting  Treatment and Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.Pair Serum

I got little samples of these products when I purchased something else from Sephora and I ended up loving them right away. I had tried all kinds of foundations and concealers trying to cover those dark spots and everything ended up being too thick and very made-up looking or not heavy enough to actually cover anything. The thing I love about the Tiger Grass is it goes on green (which works wonders for concealing) and dries beige. It has the texture of a moisturizer and goes on smooth and natural. The serum adds an extra layer of moisture and gives a really nice glow.

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

I love Tarte overall so when I was trying all those foundations and concealers Tarte was where I started (and ended lol). I like this BB cream because it does the work of several products all in one (moisturizer, SPF and color) while still feeling light and looking natural. I apply the Tiger Grass products first and then a few dots of this over top (followed by a loose finishing powder, blush, and highlighting powder on the cheek bones). My only complaint (and the reason I kept trying other products for a while) — this doesn’t offer full coverage so I do need something else in addition to help with the dark spots. 

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

I’m a total mascara junkie. For years during high school and college I was obsessed with Max Factor 1000 Calorie mascara and then they stopped selling it in the US and crushed my little soul ๐Ÿ˜‰ It literally took me until this year to find something I like just as well. This mascara is awesome because it’s super buildable without being cakey. The only thing I don’t like about it is it does flake off some throughout the day. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

Eyebrows are hard…at least mine are. I like this pomade because it fills really well and using it with the brush designed for it makes it really easy to shape your brows without looking like Groucho Marx. The thing I don’t like about it is it doesn’t really set your brows so if anyone has a setting gel or whatever you love, let me know! Oh, and unrelated fun fact, my son calls eyebrows “eye-brellas” because they’re umbrellas for your eyes ๐Ÿ™‚

Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner

I just started using this this week and absolutely love it. I’ve always used a crayon liner on my eyelid and a separate liquid liner on the bottom. But this has both in one — a crayon on one end and liquid on the other. Both go on beautifully too. Again, Tarte is good stuff. 

Anyway, I hope if you are trying to weed through the plethora of products out there or just want to try something new that these will give you some helpful ideas. And I’m always open to suggestions and trying something new myself so let me know what your favorite products are in the comments!