It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s finally cooling down here in Nashville. The leaves are changing colors and I can step outside without instantly sweating. It feels like it took a lot longer for the weather to cool down this year. I blame Global Warming.

Besides the obsessive cleaning and organizing I conquered around the house, my focus is revolving around taking things slowly and enjoying the people around me. I started reading more. Stephen King literature and film  are keeping the Halloween vibes brewing. I’m currently switching lanes with Gone Girl and it’s just what I need right now.

Halloween is next week (!!!). Max and I are actually taking it seriously this year – our costumes have either been non existent or just super last minute for the past couple years. This year we’re coming out with a bang. Also, where are my haunted house peeps at? There’s one down the street from my house and I have to go before the season is over.

One of my favorite things about our neighborhood is how close some of our best friends are. Max and I had dinner with our friends Andrea and Dylan along with pumpkin carving (!!!!!!). As a lover of all holidays, I admire how in touch with the season we are this year.

I didn’t snap a lot of pics (because I was living life) but it was a great time as always. After taco salads we shuffled outside and started carving at the gourds. My skills as an artist are extremely limited so I have this special looking kitty. I tried going off a very simple photo from Pinterest…but Max ended up helping me make it actually look like a cat. True love.

Andrea has a travel blog from her adventures, along with some recipes. I can vouch for her – she knows what she’s doing in the kitchen! You should definitely check her out at the-aword.blog!

That’s about all I’ve got for now. What are you doing to enjoy this season so far?

Love,

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Gardening: Spring 2018

This year has given me a lot of opportunity so far. Max and I have been super busy with our jobs, keeping up our new home, and planning our wedding. Now that we have chickens I thought we might as well really pick up the farm and start a garden.

Smelling the soil instantly brought memories of my grandpa’s garden. It covered most of his backyard. He worked out there all day and I even remember him making a green house out of PVC pipe and plastic draping. I was such a picky eater growing up I wouldn’t touch a thing he grew, but I did help shell the peas. Hopefully I am as creative and successful with my little garden this season as he was with his.

Max found this raised bed garden at Home Depot a few weeks ago. It was very easy to put together. I lined the bottom with cardboard to stop weeds from attacking my plant children. This is all a work in progress, so we will see if the cardboard is sufficient.

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I’ve had on and off luck with my indoor plants over the past couple years. This will be my first attempt at keeping outdoor plants and starting them from seedlings. I also have strawberries and rosemary I plan to add to this garden once the weather is pleasant, too.

So thankful for my friend Jessica Cimon for gifting me these baby plant starters! She works at Laulima Farm in Wartrace, Tennessee. She is the brains behind their high tunnel greenhouse where she studies intensely on how it works and focuses on micro greens and holistic herbal-ism. She started sharing her veggies and eggs with me about a year ago and it’s really inspired me to start all of this. I’m looking forward to how much I learn from her in this process.

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These here are Purple Peruvian Potatoes. They have a high count of vitamin B6, potassium, and anthocyanin – which is an immune booster. They are going to be BEAUTIFUL….purple fries anyone?

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Jessica assured me they are a no nonsense plant, so I can leave them and they should have some flowering in July. This gloomy weather we’ve been having here in Nashville for the past few weeks should get them nice and cozy as they adjust to their new environment.

I poked a hole a few inches deep with a couple fingers and plopped the little potatoes in the hole. The ground was already wet, so I didn’t worry with watering them right now.

Home Depot had jute garden twine and plant labels for cheap so I grabbed some for a little garden organization. I know it isn’t much yet, but it’s so fulfilling to get this progress done! Now just have to be patient.

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The trickiest part was getting the twine straight. But it was overall very easy once I set it into place. My potato holes aren’t in an even line so I just made the twine as straight as possible.

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So now we wait! I’m expecting to get a few more veggies started in the next couple weeks. I feel like my grandparents would be proud at my attempts to grow some of my own food. Any gardening tips are greatly appreciated!

Love,

Asheville Trip 2018

We just got back from Asheville a couple days ago.

The weather was warm (we’re on our 13th cold snap in Nashville) and the mountain air is so clean. Max and I first made Asheville our getaway of choice about three years ago, and I love it a little more with every visit.

One thing I admire about Asheville is how walkable the city is. We spend hours going from brewery to coffee shop to art gallery and everywhere in between. This city has so much art to offer! I bought Max a couple prints for his birthday and I can’t wait to hang them in our kitchen once we get them framed.

Happy Birthday, Max – I love traveling with you and cherish every moment we have together.

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Fall Makeup Routine

I have a lot of time to myself in the mornings but I don’t like to spend much time on makeup these days. In highschool I did a full face almost every day. Why. I also over-plucked my eyebrows, but I’d rather forget about that.

I diminished my makeup collection to pretty much only the necessities so it takes less time. My everyday makeup routine is 80% Glossier. That’s a brand I’ve truly fallen in love with. Cruelty-free. Light coverage. Minimal packaging. Must I go on?

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Moisturizing and priming come importantly before my makeup. I remember the days before I knew what primer was. Not a great time. I absolutely love the Smooth Viper Venom Micro Blur Fix Primer from Nip + Fab. IN. LOVE. My face is smooth and any makeup I put on top of it stays on all day. I’m currently in the market for a new moisturizer but for now I’m finishing up the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream. It’s not my favorite, and it kind of makes my face tingle? In the bad, chemically kind of way. Wouldn’t recommend.

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Okay.. on to Glossier

I was not a fan of the Perfecting Skin Tint at first because it has such a light coverage, but that’s exactly why I love it now. It makes an even skin tone across my face so it helps with any redness I have without changing the color of my entire face.

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I love this shade of Cloud Paint – Puff. It’s so natural. I’ve always been really bad at putting on blush for some reason, too so this is just right for me. I also use it on my eyelids sometimes. The Cloud Paint is probably my favorite product right now.

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Stretch Concealer is a must. I don’t get many breakouts, but when I do… Yeah. This really does the trick and lasts all day. It isn’t cakey – Hallelujah.

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I use the Perfecting Skin Tint in medium, and the Stretch Concealer in light. I learned that through trial and error. The light Skin Tint will be my go-to once I start losing the rest of my tan I got from the beach. However, the medium stretch concealer is too orange-y for my skin tone.

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But the most important part of my makeup routine?  

Brows.

I flick a little Boy Brow though my eyebrows to shape them up a tad, and boom. Done. Now that I finally learned how to properly use the Boy Brow, I love it! Personally, coming from using a traditional pomade every day, I had no idea what to do with this eyebrow spoolie, but it’s much more simple. The shade I chose is brown, but next time I’d like to try the clear.

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I use a little more for a night out, but Monday through Friday, this is what you’ll see me in.

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I’ve honestly never been so obsessed with a brand like I am Glossier. If you’d like 10% off your first purchase, follow this link. Their customer service is also amazing when handling returns or exchanges. (I also work in customer experience, so I really pay attention to those details!)

xx

kayla

Let’s Talk Podcasts: August & September

What podcasts I’ve been listening to the past couple months.

These days I’m listening to podcasts more than I watch television. I’ve been traveling a lot more and popping on a new podcast can make a 5 or 6 hour drive go by 10x faster. True crime stories really catch my interest so I try to find all that I can. Podcasts these days are really going above and beyond normal storytelling. Some of these investigative journalists are actually solving crimes that might have been cold for years. It’s amazing.

Aside from true crime, I have really gotten into fictional stories. I thought it was a stretch at first, but now that’s what I find myself listening to them the most. Here’s what I’ve been listening to these days:

Knock Knock
This true crime story takes place in Starkville, Mississippi. Two elderly women were killed on Labor Day weekend in the early 90s. Now, the grandson of one of the victims is determined to figure out who committed this obscene crime.

I lived in Starkville for two years during college and had no idea this ever took place. Best of luck to everyone involved in this investigation – I hope you get to the bottom of it!

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In The Dark
Jacob Wetterling was abducted while riding his bike home and never to be seen again more than 20 years ago. This podcast dives into the story, the suspects, and how the law enforcement mishandled information. The bigger picture here is – what questions should we be asking when someone goes missing. It’s hard to hear how easily evidence can fall through the cracks. Truly a great listen!

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Tanis
This story is so hard to wrap my mind around because it’s so well thought out it has me thinking…Is this actually in our world? I really can’t explain “what” Tanis is, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Tanis is a truly compelling narrative that I would recommend anyone who is fascinated by lore or urban legend-type stories. Episode after episode I am left wondering. I have so many theories! It’s hard to stop this one.

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Homecoming
Another very convincing fictional story based in a secret military project that went sideways. Soldiers reluctantly took place in an experiment that lead to negative lasting effects. That’s all I can say without giving too much away.
Very in-depth character development with many twists throughout the storyline.
This psychological thriller features a few well-known voices like Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, and Michael Cera!

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xx
kayla

A Day at Kimpton Aerston Hotel

One of Kimpton’s newest hotels recently opened here in Nashville. The interior is to die for with its classic look and modern, industrial details. I got to spend some time exploring it – now I just need to treat myself to a staycation. Every detail is so effortless but creates a polished feel overall. They incorporate art in ways I’d never imagine. The details at the entrance incorporate metal and earth – those are rocks hanging down. Genius. Beautiful. I love it.

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I highly suggest a cocktail from Henley, the Aertson’s artisan restaurant. The restaurant kindly tucked in the first floor of the hotel.

You can’t miss Bette Davis’ inviting eyes as she leads you to the bar. This is by far my favorite art. The books and couches make Henley so cozy. I can definitely see myself snuggling up with a book this winter with a cup of coffee. Is that allowed?

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I fell in love with the bold details and colors everywhere. This is such a gorgeous place.

I can’t wait to come back and bring my girlfriends for a drink soon. Or maybe a date night. Definitely can’t go wrong.

xx
kayla

All photos by Brendan Lowry

You Should Probably Be Budgeting

Some tips on an efficient budgeting method!

Budgeting is something everyone needs to practice.

It can be hard, especially if you don’t think you make enough to put any in savings after bills. I started budgeting recently when I realized I had nothing to fall back on if my cat became ill or need repairs on my car.

50/30/20 rule is a system created by breaking down your monthly expenses. It’s great for those who have the same pay every month. This method can also work for those who work in the food industry or a job where monthly income isn’t always the same. Slight adjustments make this method easy for anyone.

Add up all your expenses.

This includes rent, utilities, student loans, and groceries. All the things that are non-negotiable. This alone will be a real eye opener at how much your paycheck is spent by default.
Normally, this will equal to around 50% of your monthly income.
Now add unnecessary expenses.
 
Essentially, unnecessary expenses include internet, eating out, gym, and cell phone bills. But we all know these are actually necessary – things you could live without though if mandatory. This should be 30% of your monthly income.

These add up fast.

What’s left over?

20% left to savings and future goals. Looking to finance a new computer or save up for a house? That’s where this will come from.

If you spend the same every month it’s easy to direct deposit to a savings account. Then, you’ll never have to think about it. This process is almost fool-proof and leaves you with money for going out with friends, and all those lattes you need to get through the week!

It’s beneficial to transfer something over, even if you’re not able to deposit the same amount of money every month. It’s been a goal I’ve set for myself this year. Now If I ever have an emergency, I am confident I can support myself, and that’s a great feeling.
How do you organize your monthly budget?

FINESSE: Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner Review

Today on Neutral Fig I’m sharing my results with Finesse shampoo and conditioner!

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Recently I’ve been trying to embrace my natural beauty. I took a leap and performed a ColorOops treatment of my hair, followed by a hydrating hair mask. The results are exactly what I wanted – closer to my natural hair color! I loved the darker brown, but it didn’t feel like ‘me’. I wasn’t so surprised by how frizzy my hair was even after I used the hair mask.
I’ve used so many different types of shampoo over the years. I won’t even go into the time I went through a period where I washed my hair with baking soda and vinegar (I also wasn’t shaving my arms or legs at that time, so it makes sense). Anyway, I’ve tried it all – Cleaning conditioners, fancy salon brands, and various brands from drug stores. I’m definitely a “don’t know it until you try it” kinda gal.
For about a week Finesse has been the only shampoo and conditioner combo I used. I researched the company before hand and read they’re known for reducing frizziness. I was hoping it would be my saving grace.
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My hair has a natural wave but unfortunately I apply heat to it so much I swear they’ve lost their luster. I stopped applying all heat to my hair while using Finesse to get the full-effect of the product. Except my bangs…because if you have bangs you know how stubborn they can be.
I was expecting both products to smell floral or like some type of sweet fruit, like most shampoos. But, there’s not much of a scent at all which I found to be quite refreshing. I didn’t need a lot of product to produce a nice lather over my entire scalp so this bottle will last me a month or two.
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After the first wash I immediately noticed how soft it was! It wasn’t harsh on my hair at all and I didn’t have to wash it again for 3 days, which is pretty normal for me.
A week in and my hair is soft and wavy again. I still have frizziness here and there but that’s expected. You can purchase Finesse shampoo and conditioner at Walgreens or order online here.
Thanks, Finesse for sponsoring this post. I received this product in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

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