15 Minutes to Make a Difference

carly blogs here; girls love mail; pay it forward; give back; charity;
I just have a quick, but important, post today on our ability to make a difference in just a few minutes. While there are obviously endless ways of making a difference or paying it forward or helping someone out, I'm talking about Girls Love Mail. I first came across the organization a couple of years ago, but it has been heavy on my mind again so I wanted to circle it back around on the blog.

Girls Love Mail is an organization that sends letters and words of encouragement to women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. While there are a few guidelines to the letters,  you can put all of your pretty stationary to good use and send off a note of encouragement. All of the letters are collected at the GLM headquarters and then sends them out to cancer centers and programs.

I think sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed with the thought of giving back, especially when there is so much sadness in the world, but for me this is a great reminder that you can do small things that make a much bigger difference to someone else.
The letter goal for 2016 is 26,000 letters and they're just under halfway to that goal. All you need is a stamp, some stationary, and a little time to send off a letter.

Girls Love Mail
193 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 120
Folsom, California 95630

In the age of texting, emailing, and endless social media apps I think it's easy to forget the power of a little snail mail.

The Gilded Age: Anderson House Washington, DC

dc, places to visit, estates, museums, gilded age, east coast estates & mansions
I've debated writing this post because the only photos I took were from my iPhone-- which isn't the best quality, especially indoors, but I loved these photos too much not to share. My husband and I stumbled upon Anderson House on accident when we were walking from the Woodrow Wilson House to the Heurich House for the Dupont-Kalorama Museum Walk. The walk is hosted by the Dupont-Kalorama Museums Consortium and it opens up many museums in the neighborhood free of charge for the weekend. I love museums, I would go to one every single day if I could and never get bored, but I love old estates and homes just as much if not more. I love the feeling of being transported back in time.


Lately (June 2016)

carly blogs here; cbh; summer quotes; quotes about summer; frozen coffee
Wednesday, we meet again! The weeks are just flying by and even though this is only the first official week of summer, I'm sure it will be officially fall before we know it. I actually didn't get around to making a summer to-do or bucket list, but the theme of the summer is explore with intention. I'm a big homebody and a creature of habit, so I'm making a really big effort to explore new places and restaurants this summer while the weather is on our side. 

I finally tried the Starbucks cold brew a couple of weeks ago and I enjoyed it, but I was a little shocked by the price. It was almost $3.50 for something that tasted way too similar to your regular drip coffee-- so I think I'll stick to trying to make a batch at home.

Normally I'd say I'm not a TV person, but I'm about to talk about a bunch of TV shows so maybe I shouldn't say that anymore? I caught all the way up to the current season of Pretty Little Liars just in time to watch season 7. I wasn't that into season 6, but maybe not being able to binge watch all of the episodes at once will make me more interested in this season. I also watched a little bit of the RHOC but I'm trying not to watch as much reality TV because I get exhausted watching people constantly being mean to each other.

We started watching Feed the Beast on AMC with David Schwimmer & Jim Sturgess... we're three episodes in and it's pretty boring. If there was nothing else on it would be something we'd watch, but with so many other options I doubt we'll keep up with it. I'm also really excited that Mr. Robot comes back next month.

I've been looking for some good exercise band workouts for when we're traveling this summer and won't have access to a gym or weights. Speaking of workout out one of my favorite exercises is a lunge with your back leg on a bosu ball for a bit of extra focus on your core when keeping your balance.

After using an Essie polish on my nails and having it chip like two seconds later (see photo above #awkwardhandpic), I went back to an old favorite- members only by L'Oreal and it's the perfect summer color and the formula is so good. It's thin but opaque so it's easy to apply and you only need two coats max.

Speaking of beauty products, I'm really tempted by this Sephora summer favorites kit. It's $40 but you get a full-size mascara ($32) and a full-size eyeliner ($22), plus four or five other deluxe size samples. While the mascara would definitely be used along with the other products, I'd never use the eyeliner and I'm trying to remind myself that it isn't a good deal if you don't need it.

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!

Summer Salad Ideas

cbh; recipes; summer salads; quinoa
I'm really not a big salad person when it comes to eating at home. I always have good intentions, but I'm really picky with dressing and more often than not when we buy lettuce, it ends up going bad before we get around to using it. I came across these two lettuce-less salads that are really easy to make, last almost a week in the fridge, and are nice and refreshing as the hot, humid summer months are upon us. These recipes have really similar ingredients, but they're also just different enough that you don't feel like you're eating the same thing. Plus, it's always nice when you can use the same ingredients in multiple recipes to cut down on the amount of groceries you need to buy- or things going to waste. I wasn't making either of these to blog, so I don't have any pretty pictures- just a few snaps from my phone. #notafoodblogger


Carly Reads Here | June

Orlando is heavy on my mind and in my heart as we still try and wrap our head around the horrific violence and tragedy that took place. I still don't know the words to say, but I keep praying for the lives lost. Praying for their friends and family. Praying for the city. Praying for our country. Praying for our policy makers. Praying for those who are hurting. Prayer is a powerful form of action. If you're local and able, donate blood. If you're not, donate your time to support a cause or organization that is fighting to make the world a better place and stop all of the hate. I'm linking up with Steph & Jana to share the light and love that is reading. 
carly reads here, cbh, book reviews, recent reads,

pass or purchase again? [vol 7]

recent empties, product reviews, carly blogs here
I always like when I have somewhat of a variety of products to talk about in these posts because I tend to use the same products over and over again. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will definitely recognize a few of these products.
Affiliate links are used throughout this post, so if you click or purchase through these links I may get a few cents. 

Alba Acnedote Scrub | This scrub has lasted me forever-- I first talked about the scrub in this post (almost 2 years ago!) and this is the same bottle. I love using this for the back of my arms, neck, and back as it's a gentle but effective scrub that contains salicylic acid & it has a nice refreshing minty scent & you can pick it up for around $7 at Target.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer | This is another product that has lasted me FOREVER. This is typically something that I always repurchase because it works really well and I know I'm getting a good value since one tube lasts for such a long time. This time around I did actually pick up the Urban Decay eye shadow primer after using a few samples- I do like it, but think I'll go back to Too Faced once I use that one up.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum | This would be a third product that I've had forever and finally got around to using up. It's the second small bottle I've had, and while I didn't mind using it, it wasn't something that made a huge difference in my hair. I'd typically use it on my ends if they started to get dry in-between washes or something on my hair when it was damp. A regular argan oil would work just as well

Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes Mascara | I didn't care for this mascara as much as I had remembered and was pretty happy when I finished it up and could go back to the original hypnose. I wasn't crazy about the scent, and it just didn't wow me overall.

YSL Shocking Mascara | It's very rare that I venture out and try new mascaras, but I had a sample of this from like four years ago that I kept because I really liked it, so during one of the beauty sales I picked it up and it was just as amazing as I remembered. It gives your lashes volume, definition, and length... the only problem is that I found it difficult to take off and flakey. If it were a fraction of the price I would purchase it again and hang onto it for special occasions or something, but I didn't reach for it often enough to use it up before it went bad to be worth the cost.

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb | I ordered this on a whim back in the winter when my skin was extremely dry and was blown away by how amazing it made my skin feel. I originally purchased it to use at nighttime because I thought it would be on the heavier side, but it absorbs quickly and actually wears well under makeup if your skin is on the dry side. Now that we're into the hot and humid months I'll stick to using it at night

Simple Cleansing Wipes | These will forever be my favorite lazy way to remove my makeup-- a must if you have sensitive skin, though I definitely want to try out the micellar wipes soon.

To sum up, I'll skip the argan oil hair serum, doll lashes mascara, & the YSL mascara but a purchase again to everything else. You can check out my previous pass or purchase again posts here.

Book Club & What I'm Reading Next

carly blogs here, literary ladies book club, reading next, to read


Four Books for your Pool Bag This Summer

It finally feels like summertime with Memorial Day weekend behind us, hot and humid weather, and longer days. I've gone back and forth on what to include in this post because I know there are about a zillion new books out that are perfect for the beach or pool, but I wanted to stick with recommending books that I've already read and enjoyed. I also really wanted to pick books that aren't as talked about, or don't already come up on other similar lists. For me a good pool read is something that's a little bit light and fun, but still entertaining and engaging. Something that will keep you captivated, but if you get slightly distracted by a screaming child or annoying insect, you won't totally lose track of the story.

what to read summer 2016, beach reads, pool reads,

Anchored | If you're in the mood for some major chick-lit... I read this last summer and don't think it ever got enough hype-- the story moves at the perfect pace and has an interesting cast of characters with the perfect amount of romance thrown in.  The story follows a local news anchor as she tries to make it big without getting sidetracked by temptation while staying true to herself. (the ebook is on amazon for $3.99)

Along for the Ride | If you're a fan of YA fiction... though I'm guessing if you're a YA fan you're probably up to date on all of Dessen's novels, but if you haven't read this one yet it's one of my favorites. While it's your pretty typical girl meets somewhat quirky boy over summer break, it's impossible not to become completely entranced with the storyline and characters.

Losing the Light | If you want to feel like you've been transported to France... this was one of my favorite books so far this year-- I read it back in the beginning of March and have thought about it a few times since then. There's frolicking in the south of France, a love triangle, and friendship pushed to the limit.

Bitter is the New Black | If you want something that will give you a few laughs... while Jen Lancaster probably isn't for everyone, I definitely enjoyed this book and think I read it all in one sitting. It's based off of real events in her life and she puts her humorous spin on life after losing her job and everything that comes after in searching for a new one.

What are your go-to books for the pool or the beach? What new books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

[linking up with kristen]
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