So this post might as well have been brought to you by CVS… since I got several of these items off their ad the last week or two. Turns out, the best part about that is that they were all super cheap or even free, which makes them even better!

Carmex Strawberry Lip Balm and Carmex Lime Twist

I gave these two click sticks a try because of the sale, since I’m a huge Carmex fan. I’ve never tried their sticks or flavors before, just the classic tub and tube. I’m in love with these, though. The lime makes me thirsty for margaritas and the strawberry is really sweet. Both of them are really smooth and leave my lips super soft!

Carmex Healing Lotion and Mary Kay TimeWise Moisturizer

I work nights at a job where I sit in a concrete loading dock and under an industrial heater while I handle paper. Needless to say, my skin is kind of a hot mess this winter. I’ve been using the TimeWise for a while, but only recently noticed how soft/awesome it made my skin feel. The moisturizer is super lightweight and makes my skin feel so good I never forget to use it. I also just got the Carmex Lotion at CVS, and I can’t stop using it. My hands feel AMAZING and not greasy. Plus, a little bit goes a long way on both products, so they will last quite a while. I use my TimeWise every day and I think I’ve had this tube since Sept or Oct, and I’m just starting to notice that it’s getting low. I linked to my Mary Kay rep’s page if you are interested in checking it out!

Colgate 360 Optic White Toothbrush

I got two of these at CVS the other day for about 75 cents, after all the discounts. Normally I would never pay FIVE DOLLARS for a toothbrush, especially since my mom gets me them from work, but I think this one would be worth it. It has a tongue/lip scraper thing on the back which is like a little massage on the inside of your mouth while you brush. It was really weird the first time, but I quickly got used to it. The bristles are also really solid and make my teeth feel super clean. I am so glad I ended up getting two– this brush is awesome and I will definitely go back for more when they are on sale again.

Brooks PureCadence 2

So, I’m training for a half marathon with Nicole‘s awesome training plan. She mentioned that she loved these shoes, so I started looking into them. I’m a dedicated Asics girl for 10+ years, but lately I’ve been running barefoot inside and getting into the idea of a more minimalist shoe. I’m definitely not going to be strapping on the Vibrams tomorrow, but my old running shoes were not measuring up. I hit up Peak Performance a few weeks ago and tried these babies on.. it was love! They are definitely different than my old shoes, though! They kind of force me to roll forward onto the ball of my foot when I try to heel strike, and they are a LOT lighter. I also love the color, which is a lot more vibrant than in the picture, and it makes me want to wear them all the time. Unfortunately, since they are lightweight they get a lot fewer miles, so I am trying to wear them only for running. If you want to buy me a second pair for every day, I’ll definitely accept 🙂

My morning smoothies

These have been my morning essential since I started my education program. They are a super easy, super filling breakfast– and at 18-24 ounces, it takes me almost until lunch to drink them! The kids at school are always staring at the drink and asking what’s in it. I always offer a taste, but no students ever take me up on it. Weird.. 🙂 They are delicious, though. My standard recipe is a small banana or half a large one (it’s easy for it to be too banana-y), 4-6 oz of plain or flavored yogurt, 3/4-1 cup of frozen Cherry Berry Blend plus whatever fresh fruit I have. Last week I added some mango, and I’ll frequently do blueberry or peach. I actually really hate the taste of strawberries in my smoothies, so I never add more than what’s in the cherry blend. Then, I top it off with a pinch or two of flax meal and a serving of protein powder, fill the rest of the blender with spinach, and add milk, water, or juice as necessary to blend it smooth.

Since I use frozen fruit, I don’t typically add ice, though if I want it colder I will drop a few cubes into the cup. They take ages to melt so it barely waters it down. I really like the Cherry Berry Blend, since you get several fruits and a decent amount of cherries. Trader Joe’s has the best cherry-to-berry ratio, but Hy-Vee’s is pretty good. I particularly like cherries (especially in the summer when I can get them fresh) since it turns the drink purple instead of green. When there aren’t enough cherries, the drink is brown instead. It’s still delish, even if it doesn’t look like it!

via Relentless Preacher’s Wife… thanks Google!

String Cheese

Stay tuned for a look at my lunchbox on Friday, but I had to mention my favorite part of lunch each day. I’ve been buying string cheese by the 24 pack since the summer, and I usually eat it with my lunch (and sometimes dinner) every day. It’s the perfect mix of cheese, novelty, childhood, delicious, and nutritious! Just do yourself a favor and get the store brand– I’ve tried some of the name brands, and they were weirdly plastic-y. The store brands from ~4 different stores all string off perfectly.

So these are my current obsessions… what are you loving right now?



Getting my Read On!

One of my goals for 2013 was to read 100 books over the course of the year. I substitute teach, so I get about 60-90 minutes of what teachers use as plan time, but what I use to read, pinterest, etc. Occasionally I work out during the time, depending on where I’m at that day, but typically I read.

I thought I would share a few of the books I’ve read so far this year. There were a few ehs, but a lot of really great books so far!

via Random House

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

This book first caught my eye at a Scholastic book fair sale but I ended up getting a few other things instead. Luckily, one of the schools I was at that week had the book and I took a chance. I read the hardbound version, which was absolutely gorgeous. There were decorative chapter pages in black and white that really kept me “in” the book, and Morgenstern‘s writing is fantastic. Her descriptions seemed to go on and on and really allowed me to imagine the fantastical setting that she created. I recommended it to about 10 different friends already and told the librarian that he should get the book to anyone who would read it. I definitely see myself buying this one to read over and over. It was her first book, so I am really excited to see what she comes out with next!

via Random House

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larrson

I heard about this at the same time as the Hunger Games trilogy, so I lumped it into the same category and forgot about it. It was recommended by a teacher at my usual school after he discovered that was, in his words, “a book nerd”! Totally true, and something that many people don’t know about me these days. I was warned about the graphic scenes in the book, which I appreciated, but I definitely felt they were warranted and not inappropriate in the context. I started this book at school and was on page 31 or so at 10:30 when I got home from work– but I got SO into it that I stayed up until almost 4 am to finish it. 100% worth it. I keep meaning to get the second one, but I haven’t started it yet. I also highly recommend this one– especially if you like CSI-style shows.

via Random House

Data: A Love Story, Amy Webb

I read this preview of the brand-new book on Slate a few weeks ago and was very intruiged. I had some… terrible experiences with online dating a while back and gave up on it. I thought this was interesting as a tool to re-evaluate where things had gone wrong for me, and lo and behold, I even found it in the self-help section. Parts of the book were a lot less readable (more math-y and online dating history) than the excerpt chapter, but overall it gave me a lot of interest in striking back out in the online dating world using some of these strategies. Rest assured, I’m not going to the lengths she does! Overall the message I took was more about knowing what you want and not compromising. It was a pretty good read for anyone who’s ever been frustrated with the hot mess that can be online dating!

via Random House

The Memory Thief, Emily Colin

I got this one as a Christmas gift from my dad. I was kind of intruiged by the summary but set it aside for a few weeks. It’s an interesting book, pretty good but I think I would like to read it again before deciding whether I am fully on board with this one or not. In a nutshell, the husband dies in a climbing accident and someone else wakes up with his memories. I thought it was going to be pretty predictable, but it didn’t go quite as I expected so that was nice. I’d say this is a pretty solid beachy-day type read. Not too difficult but it is a little tear-jerker in a couple parts!

False Pretenses, Catherine Coulter (1988 edition updated in 2000)
Persuader [A Reacher Novel] , Lee Childs

Both were good but pretty typical of those serial crime novels. I will definitely check out more by those authors!

Oddly enough, I noticed when I went to get pictures that all my great books were by Random House.. maybe I should be paying more attention to what they are putting out!

Next up on my list:

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley {currently}
The Paris Wife, Paula McLain
The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obreht
plus …
YA books at the school libraries
Random old crime books  in the teacher’s lounges!

I know I’ve read a few more this year but they are escaping me right now– Hopefully I will keep better track of the rest of them! 100 94 to go!

What are you reading these days?