Thursday, March 15, 2018

7th Blogiversary + Birthday-to-Birthday Giveaway

Beauty is a lot more than just skin deep, but having clear, glowing skin or shiny, healthy hair can do a lot for your confidence, which in turn makes you more beautiful than you already are. Confidence is key and feeling good in your own body is really important.

I wrote that in the first paragraph of my very first blog post on the 15th of March, 2011. You can click here to read that post if you want.

It's been 7 years since then. 7 years since a very ill, sort of lost 22-year-old me decided to try something new, to try to find something I could be passionate about. I needed to find something I could pour my heart and creativity into since I could no longer work or do something that I felt was productive. I was sad and grieving the loss of whatever a "normal" life is supposed to be. I went from being able to do anything and everything I could have ever possibly dreamt of and endless possibilities to being unable to accomplish much more than getting a load of laundry done once a week. When I first got sick in 2009 I truly thought that I would get better but with time I found myself getting a little worse each and every day.

I wasn’t doing anything and I desperately needed to do something. After a year and 4 months, I couldn't allow myself to be down any longer so I decided to make a list. I made a list of things I enjoyed, trying to figure out what sort of thing I could and/or should start doing. I've always loved writing and I also realized I had long enjoyed reading beauty blogs and watching beauty vloggers on YouTube. My love of beauty and my deep affection for writing combined to become my something, my passion. Beautiful Basics was born and here we are 7 years, 409 blog posts, and thousands of followers later. I'm 30 now and much worse but I really do love this blog.

A few of you have actually, surprisingly been here since the very beginning but the majority of you haven't. Beautiful Basics started off as something incredibly different than what it has become. I originally shared very basic bland, boring DIY beauty recipes using stock photos. It was sort of awful. I didn't know how bad it was then, obviously, but I sure do now. Thankfully, it took on a life of its own and somehow morphed along the way into what it is now, which is something I am really proud of.

I can't tell you how much it all means to me and how much each one of you means to me. Each time you read my posts or leave me a comment I am so full of gratitude. I am so thankful for each like and each interaction. I mean that, more than you can ever know. And when companies reach out to me? I'm very thankful they want to work with me. I'm very thankful you want to read what I have to say. The support has been incredible and I'm just very thankful in general.

You've probably already guessed it from the title but it's time for the annual Birthday-to-Birthday giveaway. This giveaway spans the month between my blogiversary and shortly after my birthday, my 31st to be exact, which is why it's called the Birthday-to-Birthday giveaway!

I have a box full of goodies, a wonderful DIY beauty book and a necklace to give away to one of you Beauties! Inside the box there are full sized products, deluxe samples, and a few foil samples, too. There's an amazing mix of stuff! There's even a Kari Gran Essential Balm which is worth $98 alone! The book is called Pure Skin Organic Beauty Basics by Barbara Close. And the necklace is a Chloe + Isabel La Vie en Rose Convertible Necklace. This necklace is worth $56 so this giveaway is huge! I'll ship it anywhere in the world so you're all more than welcome, and encouraged, to enter!

All you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter form below. You can do as many or as few entries as you would like. All entries will be verified! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Talk About Cosmetics - Wander Beauty Lip & Cheek Gels

Have you heard of Wander Beauty? I’ve been so intrigued about the brand for so, so long that when it came time to make a Christmas wish list I knew I had to include them somehow. Then I found the Carryon Wherever You Go kit and added it my list with glee. Turns out Santa (or my Dad) found my list and I unwrapped the set on Christmas morning and have been enjoying this incredible set since then.

The set contains minis of Wander Beauty’s four Carryon Lip and Cheek Gels. The colors, which all have a satin finish, are island Hop, Pink City, Tinseltown and Madisoness. They’re made with hydrating, soothing, conditioning ingredients and color that is easy to blend, buildable and long-lasting. They leave behind a gorgeous stain and work as well on the cheeks as they do on the lips and as well on the lips as they do on the cheeks. I’ve tried many lip and cheek products and I can’t say they all work that way, this is actually incredibly rare, and these minis do it seamlessly.

All four shades are so pretty! Choosing a favorite is hard but it might just be Pink City since it’s a classic, easy-to-wear mauve shade. You’ve also got the fun bright pink Island Hop, peachy nude Madisoness, and rose toned red aptly called Tinseltown. They all have their time and place, so I’ve gotten tons of wear out of each.

Top to bottom: Tinseltown, Pink City, Island Hop, Madisoness

The formula is so smooth and buttery it’s just like wearing an ultra-luxurious lip balm. My lips love the hydration and comfort they provide. They have no scent or taste. The color is gorgeous and lasts so beautifully, on cheeks or lips. After a few hours the balm wears away and you’re left with a pretty wash of color. They blend effortlessly on cheeks and last well as blush, too. These are an absolute dream! The size is perfect, too! They fit in any pocket, purse, makeup bag, hand, wherever! They’re cute but not too itty bitty. They still have a good amount of product and will last a good length of time.

They, like all Wander Beauty products, are cruelty-free, vegan, and free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, and phthalates.

I’m absolutely in love. If they had more colors I would purchase them. And I am certainly even more interested in Wander Beauty now that I’ve found love with these four baby beauty gems. Let me know if you’ve tried anything from Wander Beauty and if you have any favorites from the line.

My Dad bought my gift set from QVC, but you can find the full-sized individual versions (which are much larger) on, Sephora, Nordstrom and anywhere Wander Beauty is sold. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Talk About Subscription Boxes - Feb. 2018 Goodbeing

Every time I open my mailbox and find my Goodbeing box waiting for me inside I’m reminded just how quickly time goes. This year is already flying by, and to quote a great song from my past, “the years start coming and they don’t stop coming”. Maybe once you hit 30 time starts moving more quickly. Or maybe having a monthly subscription box just makes you notice it more. Who knows!

Anyway, skip this paragraph if you’re already familiar with Goodbeing, but if you’re not then check it out because this a basic breakdown for those unfamiliar with the service. Goodbeing is a monthly beauty and/or lifestyle box that focuses on natural and cruelty-free products. You can sign up for the month to month plan or purchase an annual subscription which allows you to save 15%. From there, you can choose either the Standard plan or the Mini plan. With the Mini Goodbeing, you’ll receive 2 items per month, either 2 travel size or a full size plus a deluxe sample. This plan has an average value of $15-$20 but will vary month to month. The Standard plan has an average monthly value of $40-$50 and comes with 4-5 items per month in a mix of sizes that can be full size or deluxe sample sized. And, as an extra (awesome) perk you get to choose 1 or 2 items yourself each month. You can truly customize your Goodbeing experience to make it what you want it to be. You start off by filling out a detailed member survey about product preferences and concerns. Click here to check out the different plan options and how it all works.

Once again, I forgot to take a screenshot of the choices so let’s just nix that idea because I didn’t do it when I chose my products for next month either. I have marked my picks with a *.

I received: Z Skin Cosmetics Neck Firming Cream*, Curandera Remedies Mysore Herbal Salve*, Au Naturale Créme De La Crème in Ivory, Sahajan Restorative Eye Cream, Plaine Products Shampoo, and ReChoc Reservatrol Dark Chocolate.

I selected the Z Skin Cosmetics Neck Firming Cream thinking it would be perfect for my super dry neck. They say the first parts of your body to show signs of aging are your neck and your hands, and even though I’m not super worried about fighting signs of aging (it’s going to happen regardless of how we feel about it) I am interested in taking care of my skin. I must admit that I don’t take very good care of the skin on my neck. I was excited to try a product specifically designed for the skin on the neck but I’m not in love with this. It has more scent than I thought it would so I’m going to have to pass it on. This is a full-sized product coming in at $19 for 1 fl. Oz.

I chose the Curandera Remedies Mysore Herbal Salve, designed to help soothes aches and pains, for my Mom, who has RA. It’s made with Olive Oil, Candelilla Wax, Arnica Infused Tea, 100% Alcohol, Essential Oil Blend (Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Orange, Ginger), and Menthol Crystals. She really likes the smell of this but has no comment on how it works yet. I’ll keep you updated. This is also a full-sized product. You get 2 oz. for $15. 

The Au Naturale Créme De La Crème in Ivory was a fun surprise. Makeup is my favorite type of product to receive in any subscription box. I wish Goodbeing actually offered a monthly makeup box option. That would be so much fun! This is a gorgeous cream shadow in a generously sized deluxe sample pot. I received Ivory, which is described as a cream shade with subtle gold undertones. It’s a beautiful nude that appears to have some shine to it. It looks gorgeous on and the formula is really lovely, too. A full size is 4 grams but this is very nearly there at 3 grams. I love Au Naturale products and this one is no exception.

The 8 mL Sahajan Restorative Eye Cream sample has a value of $25.60. Unfortunately, my sample came a bit exploded but I’m not a fan of the smell anyway. The ingredients look great and it does seem very rich and hydrating, but it has parfum and I’m way too sensitive to any smells to use it.

I received a Plaine Products Body Wash a couple of months ago and received the Plaine Products Shampoo this month. I love the perfect travel sized, eco-friendly aluminum container and I think one of you will love this product so much so it’s going into my next giveaway, so keep an eye out for that! 

I don’t eat chocolate but if I did I would be really interested in the ReChoc Reservatrol Dark Chocolate. It sounds great! This will also be heading directly to the pile of giveaway goodies. 

That sums up my February Goodbeing experience. If you’re interested in signing up, you can click here to do so. With plans starting at $9.95 you’re bound to find an option that works for you whether you’re wanting to try out the beauty box or the lifestyle box. The box ships within the US but also to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and the UK. A subscription would also make a great gift for any beauty lover in your life.

You can also find Goodbeing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

And if you’re already a member I would love to know what you received so be sure to leave a comment below.

(FTC: This box was sent to me for free for review purposes. I am not being compensated for this post. Although, if you sign up with my link I can get a longer subscription for free + boxes to give away to my readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Let's Love Ourselves This Valentine's Day

That's the real me. It's the real me without any editing. That sun flare is real. You can see my cute little eye crinkles (that I love most of the time) and my not so white teeth. Of course, though, that’s me with makeup on and my hair curled. I was even wearing real pants. Jeans to be accurate. Most days I’m in comfy pants and warm, cuddly tops. I’m 30, almost 31, and this year I want to love myself more than ever. For Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about accepting who you are and making peace with what makes you you.

I feel like each person goes through a tumultuous journey when it comes to how they feel about themselves, or how they view themselves. We are our own worst critics and we can be awfully mean.

There is no reason for us to feel like we aren’t pretty enough or thin enough, or that our hair isn’t long enough or thick enough, or that our skin isn’t clear enough. We are enough. We are always enough, just as we are.

I was very lucky. I know this because I still am. My parents always told me that I was beautiful and smart, and funny, and kind, and wonderful. I don’t know what happened but somewhere along the way but I stopped believing they were telling me the truth. I went through a time in my life when I wouldn’t leave my house without a full face of makeup, my hair done, and heels on my feet. I had to be made up just in case I saw someone who would think poorly of me if I wasn’t “perfect”.

My skin was never good enough (even though I was very lucky up until college and had really great skin) and my hair was never right. I was most confident when I was so thin you could see every bone in my body. I thought I was my most beautiful at 115 pounds. Just for the record, I’m 5’10”. You do that math. I started hating the way my teeth looked. I refused to smile in pictures unless I was taking them myself so I could retouch them and make my teeth whiter.

My teeth used to be totally straight, so much so that dentists always believed that I was lying when I told them I never had braces, but my teeth aren’t perfect anymore. I have been embarrassed about my no longer straight teeth for such a long time and I have no reason to be.

Pictures I’ve shared on my blog of myself have been “prettified”. I never alter the makeup or whatever it is I’m showing you but I do get rid of any zits I might have and I make sure my teeth are white, but realistically white because I would never want any of you thinking that I edit my teeth to make them look whiter. I just wanted everyone to think that they really are brilliantly white. Guess what? They aren't!

My teeth are what they are, my skin is what it is, I am who I am and I need to fall back in love with myself because I am as perfect as Kassie can and ever will be. No one in the world is perfect but we are all as perfect as we could and should be. I am beautiful. I am smart. I am funny. I am kind. I am loving. I’m not broken even though I am sick. I’m not ashamed of who I am, at least I won’t be any longer. I am me and I am proud of who I am.

I'm writing this because I want you all to remember that you are beautiful. You are perfect just like you are. Don’t ever look at social media and feel that you aren’t enough. You are. You are perfect. You deserve to love yourself and exactly who you are at this moment and every moment in the future.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Let’s Talk About Change

Things have changed. I don’t know how that quote goes verbatim but it’s something along the lines that the only constant in life is change. I don’t know if it happened when I turned 30 or if it happened in August around the time that I was in the hospital and then diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia but I’ve had this stressed out, yet apathetic feeling towards Beautiful Basics. I don’t love Beautiful Basics right now.

I’m approaching beauty in a way that is different than I ever have before. I’m evolving, and I didn’t allow my blog to change and grow with me. The big secret is this: I’m not that green anymore. I still check labels and have a lot of brands and ingredients that I just won’t allow into my makeup bag (parabens? NEVER!) but my primary focus has shifted from clean beauty to cruelty-free and vegan beauty. The good news is that many vegan products are made with healthier ingredients. I’ve been so afraid to admit that to you since it’s highly likely that you’re around because of my green, clean beauty roots. I don’t want to not use beauty products that aren’t labeled as GREEN. I just don’t. I really like Urban Decay, ULTA brand, Wander Beauty, Nudestix, and Stila. I just do. But of course, I still love clean brands, too.

The second issue I’ve been having, though, is the fact that I am enjoying having less. I don’t want a hundred lipsticks or 40 different facial masks. I have what I want, I like what I have, and I’m using what I have. There’s something so freeing about that. I have 9 blushes/bronzers. Is that a lot for an average person? Maybe. It still might be more than I need but I use them all. There isn’t a single color that I do not like. I have 11 lip colors. I think that’s an awesome and manageable amount. I wear them all and I just think that’s the coolest thing. I’ve had a large collection since I got really into makeup in college and it grew once I became a blogger.

The same goes for my skincare and hair products. I have a single shampoo, that I use every time I wash my hair and have repurchased many times. I know it works for me. Same for my skin care. I have 1 daily moisturizer and 1 cleanser. I’m addicted to them both. I have 3 facial masks, a handful of serums, and 3 treatments. I know them well, I use them, and I enjoy using them.

I previously had more product than I could ever possibly use and I’ve now managed to make it so my beauty stash brings me joy, instead of stress. I’m so proud of myself for this but it makes for a boring beauty blogger.

The final issue I’ve been experiencing is the fact that beauty hurts. Thanks to my Trigeminal Neuralgia putting on makeup is sometimes extremely painful. Using scrubs or masks or treatments can hurt and continue hurting me for days. This alone has changed beauty for me. I want to keep things simple, to keep from getting more hurt, which means I’m not experimenting with new products or trying different looks.

So, things have changed. I have changed. My outlook on beauty has changed. And now, Beautiful Basics has to change, too. In my New Year, New Content post I told you about wanting to change things up but I feel like this post was also necessary. Hopefully, you’ll stick around for what comes next.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Talk About Bath & Body - Kneipp Lavender

In 1891 the brand Kneipp was formed, meaning this brand has been around for over 125 years. You’ll have to click here to learn the full story of Sebastian Kneipp and how the brand began because I can’t do it justice, but very simply put he was a man who believed in the power of embracing plants and nature for good health. Today, Kneipp is a line of products that believes in just that and utilizes different natural ingredients to create health-boosting products.

I’ve been testing out a couple of their relaxing Lavender offerings, which act in a supernatural (for me, anyway) sort of way to promote restful sleep. If you know me at all you probably know I struggle with sleep and although I don’t normally like anything that is strongly scented I am a huge fan of the Lavender line from Kneipp. These powerhouse products are packed with so much lavender they’re bound to knock out the whole house, in a safe and satisfactory kind of way. I live in a 3-story home and when these products are being used you can smell lavender, strongly, in any room of the house but it’s not offensively strong.

I guess I skipped the important part where I tell you which products I’ve been testing and how they work. I was sent the Lavender Mineral Bath Salt and Lavender Shower Foam shortly before Christmas and I’ve been using them regularly to help me sleep. Since they’re so relaxing thanks to their pure, strong lavender scent I only use them at night and they really do help me get to bed sooner and help me sleep much more deeply. I’ve always believed in the power of lavender but these two have so much concentrated lavender power they work well, and quickly.

The Lavender Mineral Bath Salt comes in a large 17.63 oz container that will last a fairly long time since you only need 3/4 of a capful per bath.  The salt, the scent, and the warm water combine to help relax your bath and release tension. The scent is so comforting, and it makes for the perfect way to end any day.

The Lavender Shower Foam has the same gorgeous and relaxing scent but is sort of an odd product. It’s a mousse type of foam, think shave gel, and I just don’t necessarily love the application. It does work great for shaving and since the smell is so lovely it’s still enjoyable to use but it might be better in another scent. Since I only use lavender scented products at night I don’t really have a proper use for this, but I do like it.

Kneipp has a ton of other options, though. They have so many different plants and purposed to choose from like “Stress Free” Orange Blossom and Mandarin, “Joint and Muscle” Anica, “Soft Skin” Almond Oil, “Enjoy Life” May Chang and Lemon, “Back Comfort” Devil’s Claw, just to name a few. There is bound to be something from Kneipp that can benefit you and whatever you may be experiencing at the moment in your life. You can learn more about the brand and their products by visiting their website. You can also find Kneipp USA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

(FTC: These products were sent to me for free for review consideration by the company. I am not being compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

39 Totally Random and Very Detailed Facts About Me

I started a new medication on Monday and I have been super sleepy. I kept trying to write a beauty review to go up this week but kept failing. I asked on Facebook if you would be okay with/interested in a random facts about me post and many of you said yes, so here we go!

Top Row: All Childhood photos
Middle Row: All high school (Junior Prom, Senior Winter Formal, Senior Photos)
Bottom Row: Age 20 to Age 30

I am disabled and I haven’t worked since I was 22. I worked as a camerawoman in college for a month at the local public broadcast station, a smoothie maker at a juice place for about 6 months, and finally a bank teller for 2 years.

I was born in Westminster, Ca but only lived there until I was 4 because our house burned down.

I have lived in 3 states, 6 cities, 7 houses, and 3 college apartments. I have lived in Klamath Falls (in the same house) for longer than I ever lived anywhere else. We have been here for 16 years.

I grew up in the Southern California desert. I was lucky enough to spend my childhood building forts in the desert and playing in the dirt. I say I grew up in Palm Springs but only because most people don’t know where Cathedral City is (right next door). I loved it there and I miss it often, but I love Oregon.

This is where I grew up. My parents (you can see their shadows) are standing in our yard and the desert you see behind me is the desert I was lucky enough to spend my childhood playing in. And yes, I was a girl scout.

I’m an only child. That’s why the desert was so cool. You can’t be bored by yourself when you’re in the desert. We lived across the street from a vast expanse of open desert. There were mountains and paths and open spaces. It was incredible. No buildings or people. It was so great.

I don't like wearing shoes. In fact, I kind of hate shoes. If I could I would always be barefoot.

I love drinking water but I never drink cold water. In the summer I like room temperature water and in the winter I actually like drinking warm/hot water.

I love water in general, really. I love being in the water, seeing water, being near water. I love lakes, river, oceans, pools. I learned to swim at a very young age and have been part fish ever since.

I love to kayak. We started a couple of years ago and now it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do.

Mine is the beautiful blue one. I got it for my 30th birthday and it's great!

I'm a vegetarian, and I have been for more than half of my life.

I'm a cat mommy, but that's not really a random fact because it's not like I don't tell everyone about my fur baby. He’s my sweetheart.

My fur baby is a Turkish Van, or maybe a Turkish Van mix. His name is Hunter and he’ll be 4 in April. I adopted him from a cat rescue organization. He’s the sweetest. He loves soft blankets, fish-shaped toys, watching TV, cuddles, and bird watching out the window.

I also have a dog, who is tied with Hunter for the title of the sweetest. He’s a Boston Terrier/Chihuahua/Shih Tzu Mix. His name is Cooper and he’ll be 8 in June. He has a huge collection of toys and he loves receiving new ones, preferably wrapped because he loves opening gifts. He also loves walks, naps, treats, and singing. He likes to sing while his Dad plays the harmonica. It's adorable.

I have been lucky enough to love 5 cats (CleoCatra, Sassy, Parker, Finn, and Hunter) and 3 dogs (Sebastian, Meg, and Cooper) in my lifetime. I miss the ones who are no longer here very much.

Top Row: Cleo and Sassy (Sassy was a boy, btw)
Middle row: Sebastian and Meg
Bottom Row: Parker and Finn

I love animals and I pretty much adore all types (although I prefer cats the most and dogs almost as much) but my Dad found a tarantula in the desert when I was around 7 or 8 and brought it home to be a pet and I didn’t love her. In fact, I couldn’t stand her. I’m semi-afraid of spiders (especially big ones like tarantulas) and he thought Lady would help me overcome my fear. Nope. She didn’t. I looked at her once and never again. And my parents thought naming her Lady (like Lady and the Tramp) would make her seem delicate. Again, nope.

I’m also really creeped out by frogs. When I live in Florida there was this bight green, red and yellow frog that kept coming up through the toilet in my bathroom, which was gross enough. I always thought, and still do, that bright frogs are poisonous frogs so I was extra afraid of this one. Every time I went and got my Dad (their room was on the other side of the house) to get rid of it we would come back to find the bathroom devoid of frog life. I stopped using my bathroom but thankfully my Dad eventually saw it after months and months of this happening and it never came back.

I love playing games with my family. We are especially into Monopoly, Rummy, and Yahtzee.

I like making lists. I really like it and I make lists about everything and anything. So, this has been fun.

I’ve only ever broken my arm and my tailbone.

I have, however, gotten hurt many times. Like the time I was rollerblading and ended up going down a mountain on my face and ended up needing stitches in my chin or the time I was tubing on the lake with my best friend and we hit some wake and bounced off. I ended up getting caught up in the rope and dragged under the water for what seemed like minutes, but was probably only really seconds. I thought I was going to drown to death but I ended up above water before that could happen. I was left with some wounds that healed and some permanent muscle damage in my left leg, where I was entangled in the rope (in 2 places).

No more than 5 minutes before the accident. I'll spare you the after photo.

And then, when I was little I got 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over my legs. The first doctors my parents took me to said they couldn't do anything for me and that I would be covered in scars for the rest of my life but my parents thought they were wrong and took me to a specialist. I only have one visible scar remaining on my left foot and I like it. It's a constant reminder that my parents will always fight for me.

I had a severe allergic reaction to my 1st MMR shot and almost died. The CDC actually wanted to do some studies on me, but my parents said no. When I moved to Florida they wouldn't let me start school without getting another. Luckily, I didn't have a reaction to that one.

I have had heart surgery. I was 20.

In recovery after my surgery

I was so scared the night before my surgery that I slept in the bathtub in the hotel we were staying in. I blamed it on my Dad and his snoring but I really just couldn’t sleep and every little noise was scaring me so I went into the bathroom with a pillow and a blanket and got in the tub with the fan turned on. I think I only got an hour or two of sleep. You'll be surprised to know that bathtubs are actually kind of comfortable to sleep in, at least when you're terrified.

My Mom found me in the bathroom in the morning and took a picture of my sleeping arrangements for the night. Also, not sure why I'm wearing SO MUCH eyeliner. Leave me alone, it was 2006. It was what we did back then.

The surgery went fine but when I was in recovery the nurses had me stand very slowly after having compression on my femoral artery for about 4 or 5 hours but I burst anyway and gushed blood all over the nurse, my gown and hospital socks, and the room. The nurse threw me down onto the bed like she was a linebacker and applied pressure. They ended up fixing me and I got to go home a couple of hours later.

I like salt. A lot. Too much, actually. I have a salt tooth? Is that a thing? I will always, always, always pick a salty snack over something sweet. Pickles and French fries and mustard are some of my favorites.

I am an actual tree hugger. When I was little my family and I would go on a walk before bed every single night and I would hug all of the trees on our street good night. I would also carry a bag and pick up all the trash I could find! I don’t hug trees anymore but I still adore them.

I always save the best bite of food for last.

I never had to eat everything on my plate, thankfully, but my parents always made me try it all at least once. That’s a rule I still believe in.

I wanted to be an astronaut or an actress or a singer when I was younger. Then in high school, I decided I wanted to be a broadcast journalist, so I went to college for that but then decided I wanted to be a psychologist. Let’s be real, though, I still want to be an astronaut. 

Me with a mural of the Mercury Seven at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in 2010. The Mercury Seven are American heroes and especially heroes to me and every other space nerd in the country. If you don't know they were the very first American Astronauts. They are Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper & Deke Slayton. Alan Shepard was the first American in space.

Nice outfit, me. Where are your pants? I think I'm getting old. Where are your pants? That's all I have to say? Wow.

I love space. I love it so much! I read books about space and watch documentaries about space and dream of space. Retired Astronaut Scott Kelly is actually one of my biggest heroes. I can tell you so many random facts about space and the history of space travel. I’m a space nerd and proud.

This museum was so much fun! I believe this is an F1 engine but I could be wrong.

I can feel energy and auras. That’s weird sounding, I know, but I really can. I can feel what people send out into the world. I can feel if they’re a good person or not and I’ve never been wrong. Some people really do have black souls and auras and I don’t allow them into my life, or the life of anyone I care about. My track record is impeccable.

My biggest goal in life is to be as kind as I possibly can. It’s not hard, but at the end of the day, I hope to never be a dark spot in someone’s memory. People can ruminate on a bad experience with a customer at a store or over a traffic incident, small things, and I hope to never be someone that people ruminate about. I will always approach each day, each moment, with a warm heart and a smile.

Speaking of driving, I don’t. I used to love driving but when I got sick I quit. I still can since I still have my license but I chose not to.

I loved this truck so much. It was a 1997 Ford F-150 Extended Cab Long Bed. It was actually my second vehicle. My first was a 1991 Ford F-150 Single Cab. It was also red. Both were stick shifts. I drove this my senior year of high school into my first year of college but I had to get rid of it when I moved to a small liberal arts college town. I loved it, though. I couldn't park the thing, but I still loved it. It was a good truck. I ended up with an Acura Integra, that I drove for years but no longer own.

I like to paint. I'm not good at it but I love it.

I painted a portrait of Hunter.

I love television and I love books. I like getting to know characters really well, but I do get kind of down after the series ends or I finish the book.

I love notebooks, and having them, but I rarely ever actually use them.

I no longer watch or read the news. I’m still kind of informed but It makes me too sad. The only news I now get is from HuffPost Good News or Love What Matters. They make me cry, too, but happy tears!

I have had many different colors of hair, many of them awful. I’ve been platinum blonde, honey blonde, Laguna Beach blonde (both Kristen and LC), brunette, black, red, strawberry, you name it. I haven’t dyed my hair in about 10 years and I absolutely love my natural color. I’m about 25% pure silver and I think my grays are so beautiful. I can’t wait to see what I look like completely white.

Here are some of photos of bad hair I've had in my life. These are ALL from my college days.
The worst was the weird strawberry reddish color (the one with the crown).

And, that's it! 39 random facts about me complete with a lot of detail and photos. I hope you kind of enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to write and a lot of work, actually. I spent hours finding these photos, and some of them are embarrassing. 

Leave 5 random facts about yourself in the comments. I want to get to know you, too!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Closet, New Mindset

If you saw my last post then you’ll already know that I’m making some changes and adding different kinds of content to Beautiful Basics. One of those topics is organization and it seemed like the only proper first post of the year, right?

I've been tidy and organized for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a little girl I spent hours upon hours the week leading up to Christmas organizing my room and decluttering. And then, in the week after Christmas, I like to do it again to give all of the beautiful gifts I received a proper home. Maybe it's OCD, maybe it's just being super diligent about having what I need and loving what I have. Either way, I really enjoy it.

This year, in my stocking, I received Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. I was familiar with it and its basic principals before I opened it up since it's wildly popular but I'm super excited to actually own it. I devoured in a few short hours and while some aspects of the book are downright bizarre a lot of it is so helpful. It is kind of life-changing because it provides a new frame of mind.

In keeping with my own tradition, I went on a heavy organizational/cleaning/decluttering binge right after Christmas keeping the principals of the KonMari method in mind but also using my own organizational theories. I wanted to get everything in order before the clock struck midnight on New Year. I was so desperate to get it all perfected before we welcomed in the new year and somehow, I managed (with help, of course) to get it all done.

I did this in all aspects of my home. I kept only the makeup I enjoy using and that I will use. I kept only the books that I really love.  I got rid of the pans that no longer work well (we actually got a whole new set). I got rid of all of the pieces of jewelry I don’t wear and only kept the pieces that mean the world to me. I got rid of any beauty products I don’t really like. I decluttered everything. I organized everything.

I am (still) so tired, truly beyond exhausted, but I’m proud of how much we tidied up our lives. It feels great to have no unwanted things cluttering my home or being part of my life when they didn’t need to be. I feel lighter, fresher, and ready to tackle whatever comes my way in 2018!

Anyway, this post isn’t intended to be about the KonMari method but I highly recommend the book to all of you. This series is going to be about how I organize things and tips for you but this post, in particular, is about my closet.

I bought my Mom some velvet hangers (these Amazon Basics ones) for Christmas after she mentioned in passing how much she’d like to change out her hangers one day. I was a little worried it wasn’t going to make a great Christmas gift but she loves the effect they had in her closet. It decreased the volume of her wardrobe by at least half, just because of the thinness of the hangers. And, of course, we got rid of a few articles of clothing she no longer loved along the way. I loved what it did for her closet so I ordered some for myself.

My closet has never been messy. Well, not in the past 7 or 8 years, anyway. My high school and college closets? Let’s not talk about those because I was a huge fan of the floordrobe back then. I now pride myself on keeping my closet clean, organized and very tidy. I have a nice, large walk-in closet and I regularly go through my clothing by taking each piece out of the closet and trying things on and making sure they’re still in good condition. I now hate the idea of having a lot of excess stuff that I’ll just never wear. I’m one of those people who wear the same 10 pieces over and over again so why do I need 100? The answer is, I don’t.

This is proof that I've always enjoyed decluttering (and especially more so when I have the help of my little furry friend). This is my declutter from 4 years ago. I've done it since but haven't documented the journey.

So, I decluttered and switched hangers. Of course, it wasn’t just as easy as that.  I went through and removed each item from my closet, took it off the hanger, and played it all out on my bed. I made two bags, donate and trash (these both ended up being more than just a bag each, but you get the idea). I picked up each piece of clothing and asked myself the following questions:

-    First of all, is this in good condition? Any stains or tears?
-    Does this fit me? And does it fit me well?
-    Do I actually like this item?
-    Do I wear it and will I ever wear it again?
-    Do I like the way the fabric feels against my skin?
-    Do I feel good about myself in this?
-    Does it make me happy?

Here is the before. Although, this is after I decluttered some. I just really wanted to show you the difference the hangers made in my closet.

I forced myself to be completely honest and if I answered no to anything above then I got rid of the item in question. I only hung things back up that I know I want to wear and that I love. I donated the things I no longer like, the things I hate the feeling of against my skin, and the things I have never worn and tossed out the items that were no longer in good condition. I kept only things I will wear right now, with my body as in (no keeping things for when I gain or lose weight), with my current personal tastes. Instead of keeping items that I thought I could one day wear in a certain setting (like a fancy top or a skirt) I got rid of them. I did, however, keep my nice dresses. They’re stored in another closet.

I got rid of all feelings of guilt, thanked them silently for their service (this is a KonMari thing, and it sounds insane but it actually helps allow me to get rid of things without feeling bad), and kept the things that I truly love and will use.

And here's how it looked after. 

Having a closet full of clothes I like and want to wear is really great. I can go to my closet and pick out any item and know that I’ll love it. They all fit me and feel great. Liking every piece that I own makes it so I don’t ever feel like I don’t have anything to wear. Have you ever opened up your closet and felt that way? It’s the worst.

By the way, I also organized by color but you can do it however you want. I think organization only works when it works for the individual. The book also suggests keeping all clothing in your closet, even if it's not in season, but I chose to keep shorts, rash guards, and bathing suits in my dresser. That's what made the most sense for me.

Doing this whole thing has also kept me from shopping much. It’s made me realize I don’t really need clothes, with a few exceptions here and there. It has made me a much smarter shopper and much less impulsive. Let's be real, I don't really need anything so I have been taking my time to decide if an item I want actually adds value to my closet and/or to my life. I have decided to keep a handwritten list of items that I've found and would like to buy. I'm going to keep going back to the list and making sure I actually want whatever the thing is and if it's still on the list after a month then, and only then, can I buy it. However, I also believe that life is too short to not spoil yourself something.

Oh! And one last thing I want to talk about is not saving items you love for special occasions. I’ve done this in the past and refuse to do it ever again. For example, I wouldn’t wear my favorite jeans or sweater because I wanted to save them for nicer occasions and I didn’t want to “waste” them. The only waste is them not being worn. Life is short, wear your nice clothing.

So, that was it. The first post of the new Beautiful Basics, but not the last. I’ll be posting more about organization in the future and showing you how I organize and declutter all other aspects of my home, as well. Anyway, let me know if this post was helpful in any way. How do you organize your closet? Do you have any tips you want to share?

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New Content

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I did! I am so grateful for the really special time I got to spend with my family. It was so great that I wrote about it over on The Sick Life. And now here we all are, entering a brand-new year! I am hoping you all have an incredible year ahead of you full of love, laughter, and light. We can make this year a really wonderful one!

Since it’s a new year I think it’s time for some change. 2018 will bring many changes to Beautiful Basics. I still love all things beauty but I have a lot of other interests that I want to start sharing with you all. I love organizing and decluttering. I love jewelry, a lot. I enjoy trying to find comfort, whether that be in the form of comfy and soft clothes or tools that aid in relaxation. I love my cat and my dog, and the things they enjoy like treats or toys. I love to read and watch television and movies. That all sounds random, but I think what I’m wanting to do from here on out is to create content about living a comfortable and happy life. Or really, I just want to talk about living my best life and all that entails. And, let’s be real, I’ll still post mostly about beauty but there’s going to be more thrown into the mix.

I’ll be back to posting soon, in the next couple of weeks. Until then, take care and have a great beginning of the year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Talk About Subscription Boxes - December 2017 Goodbeing

Okay, ladies and gents, this is it! This is the very last Beautiful Basics post of 2017. I’ve shared 40 different posts this year, a little less than last year but I blame that on recent health developments. I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by. Can you? I think I say this every year. I guess we all do, though. Where exactly does time go? And, speaking of time flying by, today we’re talking about the December Goodbeing box, even though it seems like I just posted about November yesterday!

Let’s get the breakdown out of the way for those of you who may be unfamiliar with Goodbeing, a monthly beauty and/or lifestyle box that focuses on natural and cruelty-free products. You can sign up for the month to month plan or purchase a 6-month subscription (this option allows you to save a little bit of money). From there, you can choose either the Standard plan or the Mini plan. With the Mini Goodbeing, you’ll receive 2 items per month, either 2 travel size or a full size plus a deluxe sample. This plan has an average value of $15-$20 but will vary month to month. The Standard plan has an average monthly value of $40-$50 and comes with 4-5 items per month in a mix of sizes that can be full size or deluxe sample sized. And, as an extra (awesome) perk you get to choose 1 or 2 items yourself each month. You can truly customize your Goodbeing experience to make it what you want it to be. Click here to check out the different plan options.

This month I received: Elate Cosmetics Liquid EyeLine in Joy (full-size), Brazilian Brown Sugar with Cocoa Butter Body Polish, Jivi Moisturizer with Sun Protection in Cucumber Sage (full-size), Jivi Exfoliating Face Wash in Eucalyptus Mint, Fred + Far Greeting Card and Trillion Pin (full-size), as well as a WooBamboo Standard Adult Soft Toothbrush (full-size).

I went a little outside of my comfort zone this month by selecting the Elate Cosmetics Gold Liquid Eyeliner. I don’t really wear eyeliner and if I do I certainly don’t wear liquid, but this looked so beautiful online that I couldn’t pass it up. It looks like liquid gold. It looked that way online but it actually looks that way in person, too. Who can say no to rocking a little liquid gold on their eyes, especially at this time of year? I picked it out with the intention of using it on my inner corners for a little pop of glam, or using it all over the lid for a little something extra. So, I’m not going to use it for its intended purpose (are you kidding? Me? Trying to use a liquid liner with my tremor?) but I’m certainly going to use it as often as possible.  It doesn’t smudge or flake away! The tube is also lovely.

The second item I selected in from Pangea Organics. This brand is one that my Mom absolutely loves so I just had to go for the Brazilian Brown Sugar with Brown Sugar Body Scrub for her. Remember how I said, last month, that I love picking one item for me and one for her? I love sharing the Goodbeing goodies! I tried it first, though, because how could I pass on this? You get 2 ounces of this scrub in a substantial, weighty tub and it smells divine. It’s also a pleasure to use! It is exfoliating and softening, all that you could ever want in a body scrub.

I’ve never actually heard of Jivi before so it’s awesome to be introduced to a new brand. The company itself sounds incredible because for every bottle purchased they donate a meal through food banks across the country to a person in need in your community. And, their products are so natural that they’re edible! I won’t use the Exfoliating Face Wash in Eucalyptus Mint, even though it sounds nice, but the Moisturizer with Sun Protection in Cucumber Sage intrigues me. One of my resolutions for this past year was to finish products completely before opening a new one, because as a beauty blogger I sometimes have multiples on the go at any given moment and some things end up going bad, so I won’t try this one until I’m done with the current moisturizer I’m using but I’ll let you know how it goes. It has great ingredients and it smells nice from what I can tell without opening it.

I love WooBamboo toothbrushes. I worked with them earlier this year and did many giveaways, so I think a lot of you are now fans, too, from what you’ve told me!

Fred + Far is all about self-love and commitment to yourself and the last two items I received are from there. The Trillion pin is all about shining bright, like the diamond you are while the All of You, That’s What I love Greeting Card is a great reminder for someone you love, or even yourself. You can mail it out or keep it on the fridge. I really love the design.

Altogether, my box came to a total of at least $50. I say at least because I didn’t receive a card for the Jivi products so I’m not sure how much the face wash sample is worth.

If you’re interested in signing up, you can click here to do so. With plans starting at $9.95 you’re bound to find an option that works for you whether you’re wanting to try out the beauty box or the lifestyle box. The box ships within the US but also to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and the UK. A subscription would also make a great gift for any beauty lover in your life.

You can also find Goodbeing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

And if you’re already a member I would love to know what you received so be sure to leave a comment below.

(FTC: This box was sent to me for free for review purposes. I am not being compensated for this post. Although, if you sign up with my link I can get a longer subscription for free + boxes to give away to my readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Talk About Cosmetics - Naked Truth Beauty

No matter the time of year I’m all about creamy products that make my dry skin look healthy, flushed and as glowy as possible. But, especially at this time of year, I like looking like I just came inside from spending an hour or two outside in the snow caroling and building snowmen. I live where it’s very cold and snows quite a lot so I’m not disillusioned into believing there’s anything attractive about a windblown and snow cold face. I don’t know about you, but I turn red and blue and purple and it isn’t cute, but I know how to fake it using cream products.

There is something seriously wonderful about a cream blush and highlighter pairing that makes you look like you’re radiating light from the inside out and that’s what Naked Truth Beauty does. They’ve been helping me fake looking snow-kissed and radiant while still looking natural and effortless. They also make it easy with their multi-use, hydrating and worry-free products.

Naked Truth Beauty is committed to socially responsible beauty, products that are good for our bodies, communities, and environment. They believe we should all have access to safe and sustainable products, so their entire line is made by hand by in small batches using simple but high-quality ingredients that come from Mother Nature herself. They also package their healthy, cruelty-free and non-toxic products in recyclable, compostable and/or biodegradable packaging (including their stickers and mailers) that are made from recycled material.

I received two goodies to try out and I’ve absolutely been loving them. I’ve had them for quite a while now but with being in the hospital and being sick for so long they kind of took a backseat. That is not, however, an indicator of their worth or value because they are truly excellent. I’m still unable to wear makeup most days but when I can I definitely reach for these two.

I got to try out the Beam Highlighter in Arwen and Promise Me, Rose Lip + Cheek. In addition to the Beam Highlighters and Lip + Cheek sticks, they also have an assortment of Lid colors. As a side note, all of the products have the cutest names, like As If, you have seen Clueless, right? And Wednesdays, it’s a hot pink color. Get the Mean Girls reference? And of course, there’s the one I picked. I was most attracted to the shade of Promise Me, Rose but Titanic is actually my favorite movie OF ALL TIME. I have seen Titanic an embarrassing number of times. Like upwards of 50. My family moved one summer and I didn’t know anyone where we moved (from California to Florida) so I just watched it on VHS every single day that summer. I can quote it almost verbatim.

Okay, sorry about going off about Titanic. Let’s talk about the products, shall we?

Arwen is an iridescent white-light highlighter that makes me shine in the most beautiful way possible. These very light icy kinds of highlighters always get my heart aflutter and this one is particularly special. It packs a really pretty punch but doesn’t look like I just painted on a ton of chunks of glitter or anything, like some other highlighters can do. It just makes me look healthy and I’m all about that healthy glow. It’s absolutely stunning. 

Promise Me, Rose is the prettiest rosy pink shade that is so soft and feminine. It’s gorgeous! This is one of those must-have go-to kinds of colors to have any makeup collection. I believe this color would suit anyone because it can be worn very sheer or built-up for more wow. It looks great on lips and/or cheeks and I really enjoy wearing it on both.

They are so beautifully formulated that they blend seamlessly into the skin. They don’t feel heavy or sticky at all and seem to just be a part of my skincare regimen. That’s how good they feel when they are on! They’re made with organic ingredients like Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Beeswax and Vitamin E (to name a few) so they feel so rich and creamy. I usually like to apply a cream and then a powder for lasting power but these last well without needing to be set. They are a bit firm when you first go to apply so you need to warm the product up first and then apply as you wish.

As you can tell from the photos, big scarves and messy top knots are the perfect finishing touches to any winter look.

You can learn more about Naked Truth Beauty and check out their entire product lineup by visiting their website. You can also find the brand on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

(FTC: These products were sent to me for free for review consideration by the company. I am not being compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Feature Friday - Healthline Article

Being ill comes with a lot of questions. Since first getting sick I’ve done countless hours of research and one of the websites that I frequent is Healthline. They are the second largest consumer health information site on the web, with an audience of over 60 million users (me included). They have proven to be a trusted and valued source of information for me (and so many others) so when they asked me if I would write an article for them I was beyond elated. I was honored beyond belief. I’m just a normal girl writing from my basement about natural beauty and lifestyle products so the fact that they would reach out to me, considering me a go-to source for organic beauty was unbelievable and truly flattering. 

Anyway, I was asked to put together a list of my favorite organic products so I created an all-star lineup of products that I use and love. I don't want to give anything away, but I included 7 beauty product staples and 1 household hero. If you want to know what made the cut then you’ll have to click here to check out the article. They have tons of other beauty related articles, besides mine, that I’m sure you’ll love as well so prepare to get lost on their wonderful website.

Here’s that link again if you want to see what I wrote for Healthline, and what they wrote about me --> Organic Beauty Products for Radiant Skin.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Talk About Subscription Boxes - November 2017 Goodbeing + Black Friday

I can’t believe we are almost already through November. The end of the year always seems to go so quickly, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the holiday season, so I have no complaints. But it really does seem like just yesterday that I was writing about the October Goodbeing box but here we are, talking about the November box and the goodies I received. Make sure you read through to the bottom because I’m also sharing the Goodbeing Black Friday Deals… and they’ve never had a discount like this before so it’s a pretty cool deal!

Anyway, here’s the quick breakdown of Goodbeing for anyone new to Beautiful Basics who missed the last review or are simply unfamiliar with the monthly beauty and/or lifestyle subscription box. You can sign up for the month to month plan or purchase a 6-month subscription (this option allows you to save a little bit of money). From there, you can choose either the Standard plan or the Mini plan. With the Mini Goodbeing you’ll receive 2 items per month, either 2 travel size or a full size plus a deluxe sample. This plan has an average value of $15-$20 but will vary month to month. The Standard plan has an average monthly value of $40-$50 and comes with 4-5 items per month in a mix of sizes that can be full size or deluxe sample sized. You can also choose either the Beauty box or the Lifestyle box. And as an extra (awesome) perk you get to choose 1 or 2 items yourself each month. You can truly customize your Goodbeing experience to make it what you want it to be.

This month I received: Au Naturale The Anywhere Creme Blush Stick in the shade Adrenaline (my selection), Alima Pure Indigo Eyeliner Pencil (my other choice), Yarok Feed Your Ends, K Voss Nourish MagiK Shimmer Body Lotion, and Plaine Products Body Wash.

My favorite feature of Goodbeing is that I get to choose 1 or 2 of the products I receive in each monthly box. I always know that I’ll at least really enjoy a product or two and this month I am especially in love with the items I selected.

The Anywhere Crème Blush Stick by Au Naturale is formulated so beautifully that it’s absolutely perfect. I am head over heels in love with this gorgeous product. We received deluxe samples in a 3g glass jar instead of the actual 9g stick form the blush usually comes in, but I am really impressed with both the hefty jar and the size. I have a feeling that this product will last a very long time, even with very frequent use. I chose the shade Adrenaline, described as a vivid pink with magenta undertones, but subscribers had many different color options to pick from. I adore these bright pinkish blue shades for the winter. They give my light skin this lovely just in from the cold kind of look and I have already worn this organic, vegan, cruelty-free and completely ethical blush 4 times since I received it last week. I’ve also been using it on my lips and it lasts a crazy long time with no touchups needed. I am so, so happy with this little beauty!

The Alima Pure Indigo Eyeliner Pencil is probably the prettiest blue eyeliner I have ever seen in my life, and I’ve tried my fair share. This shimmering, rich blue eyeliner is so smooth and easy to use. It lasts well and looks gorgeous on.

I haven’t used the Plaine Products Body Wash yet because I’ve put it into my travel stash, but it smells insanely good. It smells of mint and vanilla and comes in the coolest eco-responsible, returnable, refillable and reusable aluminum bottles.

The K Voss Nourish MagiK Shimmer Body Lotion is so cool. It looks so beautiful and I was excited about it but unfortunately it smells too strong for me, and my extremely sensitive nose. If you know me from my blog at all you know that I am extremely sensitive to any smells at all, natural or not, and this is scented to sandalwood essential oil that just doesn’t work for me. This is a full size, though, and it really is gorgeous.

The last product I received is YAROK’s Feed Your Ends. This is a detangler, heat protector and leave-in conditioning spray. I’ve actually worked with YAROK in the past, trying their line, and this product just isn’t for me.

This awesome box has a value of $75. The whole point of subscription boxes is to find some new products you fall in love with and I absolutely have with this one. This box was a big win for me! And I just want to remind you that I’ll be putting everything that didn’t work for me into a giveaway for you. It’s a win-win situation!

As for the Black Friday deals, from November 23rd-Nov 27th:
  • - Anyone who shops (you don't have to be a member) Standard Goodbeing Gift Memberships will automatically get a 20% discount
  • - Regular Members will get 30% off Standard Goodbeing Gift Memberships
(Discount is not applicable to regular memberships or mini gifts.)
Both of these deals will be limited until they run out!

Also, if you are on their email list you will get early access to the special offers code on Wednesday via email.

If you’re interested in signing up, you can click here to do so. With plans starting at $9.95 you’re bound to find an option that works for you whether you’re wanting to try out the beauty box or the lifestyle box. The box ships within the US but also to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and the UK. A subscription would also make a great gift for any beauty lover in your life.

You can also find Goodbeing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And if you’re already a member I would love to know what you received so be sure to leave a comment below.

(FTC: This box was sent to me for free for review purposes. I am not being compensated for this post. Although, if you sign up with my link I can get a longer subscription for free + boxes to give away to my readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)