two years later…

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Flashback to last week, when I pretended my lifestyle is conducive to white jeans on a weekday (hint: it isn’t; not shown: the big lily pollen stain just to the side of the rip on my knee).

It’s summertime and the livin’ is [relatively] easy. I’m forcing myself to work shorter days, take a few afternoons off, and make time for the creative projects that collected dust on my to-do list.

It’s taken C and I years to adjust to the seasonal swing of our business. We used to spend the summer months in a panic, biting our nails and stressing over the drop in sales as if each July marked the floral industry end times. Now that we’re old pros (ha – who am I kidding?) we let ourselves take advantage of the downtime to recharge our batteries and prep for the upswing.

At the start of this month, we celebrated our second anniversary of officially owning the family flower shop. I remember how excited — and nervous — we were to move into our current space and start this adventure together. In some ways it feels like yesterday, but at the same time, my life before entrepreneurship feels like another existence.

C and I were chatting recently about how far we’ve come in the last couple of years, and I confessed to him that I truly believe our business saved me. I casually throw around the term Quarter Life Crisis when describing my mid-20s, but truthfully, I was in a dark place. The flower shop gave me a fresh start: a chance to flex my creative muscles, put my business degree to use, and stay too busy to think about my anxieties and self-doubt. And in the daily grind of the last two years, I bloomed (forgive the cheese) into a strong and capable, albeit exhausted, B-O-S-S.

Of course, I’m still learning. In fact, just today, I finally figured out how to do my own bank reconciliations in Quickbooks. My accountants are so proud; I know because I called to tell them.

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Quick Tip: How to Clean Brass Jewelry

A Pretty Penny - How to Clean Brass Alex & Ani Bracelets C started an Alex & Ani collection for me about a year ago, and every now and then he surprises me with a new one. I love that each bracelet comes with a special meaning; everyone’s stack tells a little story about who they are. After several months of daily wear, my brass Alex & Ani bracelets started to tarnish and leave black marks on my wrist. I was super bummed and thought they were ruined, until I learned this simple trick from a friend on Facebook. A Pretty Penny - How to Clean Brass Alex & Ani Bracelets You’re going to need some ketchup. If you don’t have any in the fridge, take this opportunity to make a trip to Chik-fil-A for waffle fries and pick up a pack or twoI mean, any excuse for waffle fries is a good excuse, amiright? A Pretty Penny - How to Clean Brass Alex & Ani Bracelets - BEFORE Cover each brass bracelet in a thin layer of ketchup, and let them sit for a minute or two on a clean cloth. Then, using another clean cloth, carefully wipe it all off. A Pretty Penny - How to Clean Brass Alex & Ani Bracelets Quickly run the bracelets under warm water to remove any remaining ketchup and dry them completely, and voilá! Good as new. A Pretty Penny - How to Clean Brass Alex & Ani Bracelets - AFTER Update: Use this trick sparingly and pay close attention to your pieces as you clean them. While ketchup is an effective brass polisher, Alex & Ani sent me a friendly tweet to warn that it could damage the finish. So exercise a little caution. :)

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my summer {beauty} top 10

I love sharing my seasonal beauty favorites on the blog. This summer, I’m focused on good sun protection, more natural products, and a low-maintenance beauty routine with a little glow.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk – It’s a splurge at around $30, but this is one of the best sunscreens I’ve ever used. The paraben-and-fragrance-free fluid absorbs quickly and dries to a matte finish, making it perfect for everyday protection from head to toe. On pool and lake days, I know I’m covered; it’s nice to relax and skip the constant reapplications I always think I need with sprays.

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream - If you’ve ever found yourself on a search for an effective natural deodorant, it can seem like an awkward/smelly exercise in futility. Before you run back into the arms of aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex — yikes! — give Soapwalla’s all natural deodorant cream a try. I started using it a few weeks ago, and so far so good. C and I spent a very hot and humid afternoon bartending at an outdoor fundraiser recently, and I left fresh as a daisy.

Some people complain about irritation from the baking soda in the formula, but I haven’t had an issue; maybe because I used Arm & Hammer’s Essentials deodorant before making the switch. If you’re concerned about possible reactions, check out this Crunchy Betty post on pH spray for baking-soda-based deos.

Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Balm - If I had to choose just one lip product to use for the rest of my days, I’d happily pick this one. It’s a must-have for me 365 days a year, but it gets extra points in the summer for having SPF 15 built in.

thebalm Balm Shelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 - Confession: before I buy almost any beauty product, I turn to Beautypedia.  I tried this paraben-free tinted moisturizer purely because it was recommended on Beautypedia’s Best of the Best list, and it’s fantastic for sheer-to-medium natural coverage with sun protection. To make it hold up to the heat and humidity, I set it with a little Koh Gen Do Natural Lighting Powder.

Psst: If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find discounted products from thebalm on Hautelook every few months.

Durance Nourishing Dry Body Oil - I’m already on bottle #2. I use this after every shower. It smells light and clean, and keeps my skin lightly moisturized without feeling heavy or greasy; there’s nothing worse than thick lotion sitting on top of your skin when the heat index is pushing triple-digits.

Lush Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder - This stuff makes me smell like a sweet tart, but in the best way. I use it all over after a shower or bath on days I know I’ll be outside to stay fresh and dry. Bonus: This dusting powder has a real vanilla pod inside that keeps the fragrance going strong through the end of the bottle.

TooFaced Lash Injection Mascara - I feel like this mascara ends up on every “beauty faves” post I write, but I especially appreciate the tubing formula in the summer. Florida humidity is no joke, and nearly every other mascara runs down my eyes by lunch.

Gillette Venus disposable razors - I’m insanely loyal to these disposable razors. I literally won’t shave with anything else, and I have a stockpile in the event of apocalypse or discontinuation (don’t do it, Gillette!). A good, sharp razor that minimizes nicks, irritation and razor burns is a summertime staple.

Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator in Bronze Light - I’m so glad Revlon brought Skinlights back; the liquid and powder illuminators were mainstays in my highschool and college makeup bag. I’m currently using the Bronze Light over my tinted moisturizer for a subtle sunkissed glow, focusing on the places I usually put powdered bronzer: my cheekbones, hairline, nose and neck.

Shea Moisture Hand & Body Scrub - I love a good scrub in the summertime. Whether I’m exfoliating my heels for sandals, prepping for self-tanner, or scrubbing off layers of built-up sunscreen after a day outside, there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned body scrub. Shea Moisture’s sugar scrubs are the best: they’re inexpensive, all natural, and combine natural exfoliants with nourishing oils for double-duty sloughing and moisturizing.

What beauty products are getting you through the summer months?

Image source: weheartit

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