Semesters are starting up again soon (or for an unlucky half of the four Novel Nests editors, has already begun) so it’s time to discuss what we’ve discovered and loved this summer!
This summer, I’ve started taking baby steps towards living better, specifically living more sustainably and more toxic-free. Part of that process has been switching up a few products in my beauty routine, starting with deodorant. I won’t expound on why traditional, aluminum-containing deodorants are bad for you, but I will say that I’ve found something special with Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant. I recommend the Charcoal + Magnesium and Bergamot + Lime scents.
As mentioned earlier, I’m trying to live more sustainably – and using a French press is a chic way to do just that! First pro: I’ve eliminated the need for coffee filters and plastic-lined tea bags. Second pro: I’ve been making bulk iced coffee for cheap. I simply pour my coffee from the French press to a large mason jar and let it chill overnight. The next morning, I add almond milk and some coconut creamer, let it sit in the freezer while I get ready, then I’m good to go! Buh-bye Starbucks!
I’ve been a workout addict this summer, and Austin’s HEAT Bootcamp has been enabling me. By far my favorite part of HEAT has been the trainers: their positivity is contagious and they never let you sell yourself short. There’s always one more push-up to be had, one more lap to be run, one more pull-up to struggle through. I love it. Going to HEAT five to six times a week has built my self-confidence, not to mention some muscle definition!
I’ve been addicted to podcasts this summer. They’re perfect for traffic-filled commutes and long runs (especially if you get bored when you run). My recommendations are Fat Mascara (beauty and makeup), Full Coverage (more beauty and makeup), The Sporkful (food!), and Rewrite the Rules (interviews with interesting movers-and-shakers, hosted by my friend Alex Starr).
Glow Recipe Pink Juice Moisturizer: I have been loving this lightweight, gel, jolly-rancher smelling moisturizer all summer. It is so refreshing and just seeps right into the skin. The moisturizing benefits are long lasting o it keeps my t-zone from turning into an oil swamp by noon.
Cherries: a bit random, but I have been having a love affair with cherries all summer. They are so sweet and refreshing, especially straight out the fridge. Best of all, they’re a healthy alternative to satisfying my sweet tooth and they contain loads of antioxidants.
Not wearing makeup: another weird one, but it’s one I’ve embraced almost every day this summer. Thanks to a revamped skincare routine, my skin has been a lot happier recently which has left me confident to leave the house bare-faced. While I ADORE putting on my face, there is something so nice about letting my skin breathe all day and rocking an actual no makeup look.
Smashbox 24 hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer: After literal years of complaining about my eyeliner smudging off, Cindy finally said “why don’t you use an eye-shadow primer?” I’m not sure why I hadn’t used it until now but definitely regret having such an easy solution to my smudgy problems and not noticing for four years. This smashbox primer basically glues any liner to my eyelids (though it all comes off easily enough with some coconut oil and micellar water). It was a bit pricey so I’m definitely in the market for an effective drugstore shadow primer.
Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint in Bronze: I know I’ve talked about this one before, but it’s honestly just such a fantastic summer find. It’s sheer and buildable and doesn’t come off with sweat. The slight shimmer in the pigment makes it the perfect for that glowy summer look. It does crease, but it supposed to.
Book by Commodity: I bought this a while ago but decided not to use it until recently because it’s a great summer perfume. It smells like the Dove cucumber body wash but in a super sophisticated way that makes it suitable for me to spray around until I choke.
Every season brings its own newness. Change is a constant, and with change almost always the developmental process of growth. Sometimes the growth is painless, other times it’s uncomfortable and accompanied with the persistent feeling of being somehow unmoored. It’s the feeling of idle drifting that, unless you’re paying attention, can leave you with a sense of stranded-ness in a place unfamiliar. It’s precisely this feeling that has encouraged me to adopt certain stable “rituals” throughout my day. Though it’s summer, one of my favorite new habits has been drinking warm tea in the evenings. I’ve always loved tea, but making a conscious habit of drinking it at the close of each long summer day has a delightfully calming effect. I’m a fairly anxious person, always a little wired, and my productivity tends to feed most on my own stress-induced frenetic energy. So, naturally, I try to look for simple ways I can do daily to calm the nerves. Most recently, this has been the humble warmth of a favorite mug filled with freshly brewed tea. I drink everything: chamomile, mint, jasmine, lavender, red raspberry leaf, rose, bitter melon, ginger, chai. All of these teas have amazing health benefits (particularly, I’ve found, the ginger—boiling fresh ginger root definitely helps with sore throats and slight colds, although this is the one tea I recommend sweetening with a little of honey, as it has a bit of a bite to it). I typically drink these teas unsweetened, but share your tea with a friend and it comes naturally sweet.
This past summer I also picked up music again in earnest. It’s amazing how things come back to you—the familiar chord progressions of at this point well-aged soft pop hits from the likes of Coldplay and Regina Spektor are now tinged with just enough nostalgia to be fun to play again. I’ve also started writing my own music. What a pleasure it’s been to indulge a creative impulse again. There’s nothing like creating something you can call your own, especially when you’ve worked at it until you satisfy yourself. At this point, my music hasn’t hit many ears, but I’m hoping to share more of it in the very near future in the hopes of connecting my own personal experiences with others. Until then, I’ve been uploading covers of some of my favorites to YouTube as my creative project (check out my cover of “On Melancholy Hill” there—it’s my favorite so far).