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Up In The Lighthouse

Top: Thrifted (vintage) | Skirt: Thrifted (vintage) | Shoes: Modcloth (Saltwater sandals) 
Sunglasses: Five Below | Bag: Thrifted | Belt: Vintage 

I have this thing about visiting historic places, museums, and unique sights/stops when traveling! It probably started when I was younger and we would stop at places on our trips that we had been learning about in our history classes at home:) However, that tradition has carried over into my adult life and I love all the places I have visited over the years so full of history, stories, and double as perfect picture spots (obviously).
When we were in Alabama recently we took a trip to Pensacola to visit the Naval aviation museum (such a cool place) and on the way out I asked if we could stop at this old lighthouse which is also a museum. I really wanted to take pictures there, but you couldn't go in unless you paid to go up in the lighthouse so my brother decided to go in with me to take pictures and climb the 177 stairs to the top of the lighthouse. The view was AMAZING and climbing the many steps and seeing the view gave me all kinds of "prince edward island" and "Road to Avonlea" vibes:)
Funny thing....I wasn't allowed to take my bag in with me (safety reasons or something of that sort) so I had my sister hand it to me over the fence so that I could have it as a prop for some of the pictures (sometimes you break the rules to get the shot...lol).
As for this outfit, I found this skirt at Goodwill a few weeks ago and it reminded me sooooo much of this look that Julia wore on Gal Meets Glam and I just HAD to get it because I knew that I could style it in a way inspired by her:) I think it's so funny that a lot of my favorite pieces this spring/summer have been orange/salmon (I am still working on sharing all of them) because I honestly don't like the color orange at all, but apparently when it comes to clothes I am drawn to it for some reason and love wearing it (like this post from last summer) :)

- Madison

Skincare On A Budget

If you know me, you know I LOVE skincare! However, if you know me you also know I don't like paying full price for things or spending loads of money on something just because of it's name. I like to find more affordable options for everything from fashion to skincare (usually)!
With that, I thought I would put together a curated list of my favorite products that I use on a weekly basis that won't break the bank:) I am all about following the Korean 10 step skincare method, but I am also not about to spend a fortune on products. Thus, I have created a good routine of products that follow the 10 step Korean skincare method while still being affordable and full of healthy ingredients for your skin (these products are my staples). The even better part is that most all of these products can be found at your local Target. A few of the products like Mario Badescu are only found at Ulta, Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters, but overall if you don't have access to Target or Ulta you can find most all of them on Amazon for affordable prices.

Affordable 10 Step Korean Skincare:
  1. Oil Cleanser (aka. your makeup remover) - This step not only removes all of your makeup, but oil cleansers actually cause your skin to produce LESS oil. To use apply to your dry face, massaging it into the skin to melt away makeup (or impurities if you are makeup free), then splash water onto your face to emulsify, rubbing it in more...then rinse off or remove with a makeup remover cloth/washcloth (my preferred method). I LOVE the Trader Joe's oil cleanser, but the Burt's Bee's is basically the same formula for a good price. 
  2. Water Based Cleanser (Gel/Foaming Face Wash) - This is what gives us the "double cleanse"! This step removes any access residue or impurities. I have been using this Cerave cleanser off and on for years after it was recommended by a dermatologist. 
  3. Toner - Toners help to add moisture back to your skin as well as reset our skins pH levels. This step can be done by either applying it to your face with your hands, spritzing, or using a cotton pad. I love using the Mario Badescu Aloe/Rose spray! It's not as over the top as some toners as it aids more with moisture and refresh, but it feel amazing on skin and is super affordable. 
  4. Essence - This is known as the heart of the Korean Skincare routine and this Essence from elf is very affordable, makes your skin feel amazing, has a light scent, and gives your skin a healthy glow. Essence is basically a toner/serum hybrid made for hydration, skin repair, and cell turnover. 
  5. Serum - This step is all about targeting specific problems (acne, wrinkles, dry skin, dullness, etc.) with concentrated ingredients! Simply tap them into your skin. I love to use the "Restore" Serum by Valjean Labs because it's a cheap dupe of the Glossier Purity serum (which I do love). 
  6. Eye Cream - Eye cream is not something I ever used to consider in my routine but I am so glad it is part of my skincare now. While there are probably cheaper options out there than the eye cream from Bliss, I personally love this one because I LOVE the philosophy and mission behind Bliss and I know it will last me awhile. 
  7. Moisturizer (or sunscreen at am) - Hydration is the KEY to getting healthy, dewy, and glowing skin so moisturizers are a definite must! I started using the "ex-glow-sion" moisturizer from Bliss and am already on my second container (that's how much I love it)! It smells so light, a bit like Lavender and makes you skin feel super moisturized and calm once I put it on. I typically use this at night before I go to bed and use a sunscreen (MISSHA's Sun Milk) in the mornings. 
  8. Exfoliator - Exfoliating isn't a "have to" (especially if you have more sensitive skin) but it is a key component of polished/clean skin. It is recommended to exfoliate twice a week. I absolutely love the St. Ive's apricot scrub! I have been using it for years and love how affordable it is and how great my skin feels when I use it (some stores even have their own brand of it like Target, and sell it for even cheaper than name brand). 
  9. Mask - Okay, so clay mask's aren't actually a step in Korean Skincare but I make them an active part of my routine at least once a week. I love to use clay masks to absorb and draw out impurities and oils.....definitely my first step when I am having a bad breakout. Ever since I discovered the Freeman "Detoxifying" clay mask it has been my favorite because it is gentle and you can actually see it working....not to mention it is a great price. 
  10. Sheet Mask - Sheet Masks are probably the backbone of Korean Skincare....that's kind of the whole reason I got started on this new skincare routine to begin with. The amazing part about them is that they provide your skin with maximum treatment properties and moisture that your skin absorbs one or twice a week. When it comes to sheet masks you really can't go wrong, but Leaders masks and Tonyholy masks are some of my favorites (Tip: check your local Ross or Marshalls for sheet masks because they always have packs of them). 
  11. EXTRA: Vitamin C Serum - This is kind of an extra step, but has definitely helped brighten my skin. You can use Vitamin C serum as your serum step, along with another serum, or use after a mask once a week. 
Have you used any of these products?
What is your go to skincare products on a budget?


Beyond The Beach

Swimsuit: Target | Skirt: Thrifted | Shoes: Modcloth (Saltwater Sandals) | 
Sunglasses: c/o Sunglass Warehouse | Bag: Thrifted (Vintage) | Hat: Forever21

I've always loved the beach! Whether it is the feeling of sand between my toes, the sound of waves crashing along the shorelines, collecting seashells, people watching, cooling down in the salty water, or simply camped out in a chair reading a book, it's always been one of my favorite parts about summer! With my love for the beach comes my love for "beach style" which often means simple looks inspired by summer, heat, and the ocean.
I have always loved planning my beach looks around the location, but even more often planning them around my swimsuit. With the beach being a huge part of my summers every year I have loved the challenge of creating outfits that incorporate my swimsuit as part of the entire look. Some might simply say that it is just a cover up look, but I always like the idea that I could take what I wear beyond the beach (like this post last summer)
A week ago we took a family trip to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Alabama. Before we left I was at Target with my sister as we were both shopping for one more swimsuit to take on our trip. I searched for a good while trying to find a one piece (because all I have is two piece suits) that fit my style and modesty standards. After a good ten minutes I found this adorable green and white striped vintage inspired suit (that just so happened to be the LAST one in the store).
I have usually always preferred two piece swimsuits over one piece but this year I have really been liking one piece styles. I loved everything about this suit, especially the color and twist/ruching details in the front and knew it would be a fun & cute suit for the beach (plus it matches the beach) and would also look adorable with a linen skirt I happened to have.
It's amazing how all you have to do to utilize a swimsuit as a top is add a classy skirt (like this linen side button skirt), add a few accessories and you have a fun and simple beachy look! I added my Saltwater sandals, a fun vintage straw bag I thrifted and my go to boater hat.
I love how the look turned out! To be honest it kind of reminds me of Anne of Green Gables, or something fitting for the coasts of Prince Edward Island:) 

- Madison

Unlikely Connections

Do you ever look back on seasons of your life and people you met there thinking "there is no way we would have ever met, gotten to know each other or have ever been friends if it hadn't been for ________"

As an Introvert (not that I am making excuses, it is just a fact of my personality) it is often hard for us to make connections with other people, to get to know them, grow together in a common goal, and have healthy comradery. This is often the case because we don't willingly put ourselves in public or group situations that warrant us opening up, getting to know strangers with similar interests, and grow together with like minded people who all encourage each other. 

Throughout my life I have never stretched myself to be in settings with lots of people, mainly because I don't like large groups or new things....unless there is no getting out of something and it is required. When that is that case I might enter into the situation apprehensive, slightly negative minded, and might not think I will grow or come out better for it. However, sometimes life (and God) has a way of surprising me and showing me that there is more to who I am and more to people when I let myself get to know them and open up about something I am passionate about. 

As many of you know, I majored in Family and Consumer Science, but my minor was in Education (I am starting my first year of teaching in the fall). However, if you are not familiar with how many University Education programs work, you often go through a semester or more of education classes before starting your student teaching (at least that was the case at my University). 

Every university is different when it comes to how they present classes, but when I took all of my main education classes it was during the spring of 2017 and it was called Methods. During this time I took I think 3-4 different education classes taught by two teachers (one a doctor and one a professor) in a classroom at a high school (where we completed field experience) along with about 15 other education students. We met two days a week for 4 hours. That might not seem like much, but after you get to the High school at 7:00 am two days a week and have field experience until about 12:30 and then meet with 15 other people for 4 hours it's hard not to get close with those people. 

Going into Methods I had no clue what to expect, and I most certainly didn't know what to expect in regards to a classroom of strangers who wanted to become teachers. However, throughout those spring months we didn't just learn how to be amazing teachers, but we talked about what we saw in classrooms, our highs, our lows, our challenges, our dreams, taught lessons to our peers, worked on group projects, went to seminars, ate lunch together, you name it! 

I remember our two teachers (the Doctor and Professor, both of whom impacted me greatly themselves, as talked about here) telling us that the people around us (taking methods) were the only people who would know exactly what we were going through, and would go through in the future, therefore making them very important in our life. I can't tell you how that spring changed my perspective of Interpersonal Relationships and being open to getting to know new people. We shared many jokes and funny stories in that class, we celebrated with each other when great things happened, we carpooled places, met up for lunch, it was crazy (in my mind) but amazing! Getting to know the group of people in that classroom two days a week helped me grow as a person! I learned to be confident in myself around people, to start conversations, encourage others, get to know what made each of them unique, and look to them for advice, critique, and encouragement.

The crazy thing is that I think for the first time in my life I was in a situation where my "peers" noticed me.......I know that sounds weird, but so often I have a tendency to fade into the background, wishing to be invisible rather than seen (sometimes it is my doing and sometimes it is others), but in that class I was seen and people openly chose to get to know me as a person and future teacher. The funniest thing is that because the class was focused on something I was passionate about I was actually SUPER talkative and interactive (shocker, I know)!! One day one of the guys even looked at me and asked "are you doing okay today, because you seem quiet, not like the typical Madison." I had to laugh at his statement because most of the people in the class didn't know me as a quiet introvert, and I looked at him with a laugh and said "This is actually the typical Madison, you just don't see it in class often.

Those group of fellow Education students and future teachers became so special to me during that spring semester, which was my next to last semester of college. The cool thing is that after our semester and class ended, because of the connections we made most of us stayed in contact. Many of us follow each other on Facebook, keeping up to date with each others lives, and even the next semester when we had to go to meetings and seminars for student teaching we would always make a point to grab lunch together (it was like a big family reunion). I never in my life thought I would meet a large group of people I could be comfortable with, get to know on a mature level, converse with, laugh at, eat lunch with, and know that they understood what you were going through because you had all been there and knew what the other experienced. We may not all be Best Friends, but that spring taught me that people have the capacity for being more than you think. We all have the ability to connect with strangers we never thought we had anything in common with and create bonds that could last forever. 

So I challenge you, whether it is willingly putting yourself into a situation that is new and maybe uncomfortable or entering into something that you don't have a choice about, going into it with an open mind because you never know how much you could grow, how much you could learn from others or the relationships and unlikely connections that could be created there. 

- Madison

Kitten Collar

Top: Shein | Pants: Thrifted | Shoes: Thrifted | Purse: c/o The Cat Lady Box 
 Earrings: Boutique (old) | Sunglasses: c/o The Sunglass Wearhouse

Not something you see me wearing very often on the blog.....jeans that is:) But honestly this whole look is a bit different for me because it is so neutral and simple, but I LOVE it! How could I not though, when the collar of this shirt is a cat draped around your neck!!!
There were so many different ways I was going to style this top (one included wearing it with a cat print skirt) but I decided to go a different route and wear jeans:) This look is definitely more modern for me, very classic, and quite urban (almost a bit hipster) and I really love that. When I reach for jeans I often find myself styling them in unique ways to keep with my own personal unique style.
I wanted something that was still classic and vintage for this look, but also modern so these flair jeans that I thrifted (crazy comfortable) were the perfect piece to pair with this kitten collar top! To keep with my vintage inspiration I paired these vintage white loafers with it that quite remind me of a 1940's dancing film. Since the collar on this top was a cat I couldn't help reach for my new cat purse that I got in my "Cat Lady Box" and it was such a fun statement accessory:) Finished off the look with cat earrings (big surprise) and these fun and simple shades from Sunglass Warehouse.
While I am often someone who loves color, sometimes I am very drawn to minimalist pieces and this look is definitely one of those minimalist looks that still captures who I am brilliantly!


Madison's Power Granola

I've always been a huge Granola fan. I think it is because it is an easy breakfast or snack, its healthy, and there are a handful of different ways you can eat it. Recently I started making granola for my family, whipping up a batch about once a week. I love to eat it with greek yogurt, doused with almond milk, or even over ice cream (non daily ice cream of course). Since I have been making it so much I thought I would share my recipe with you in case you want to try it out for yourself. 
When I was creating this recipe I wanted something that had a lot of natural nutrients, fiber, and a bit of protein so this granola is full of options and variations when making it. 

  • 4 Cups rolled oats 
  • 2 Cups Fruit/Nut Trail Mix (I use one that has walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and cranberries) 
  • 1/2 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Almonds; salted or unsalted (I use whole almonds and crush them myself but you could used slice)
  • 1 Cup Honey (melted) 
  • 1 Cup oil (olive, coconut, canola, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla 
EXTRA POWER INGREDIENTS (not pictured in this batch)
  • 1 Cup Quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1/2 Flax flakes 
  • Extra pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees
  2. Measure out your 2 cups of almonds and pour them into a large ziplock bag to crush until nearly every almond is broken down. You can also opt for using sliced almonds. 
  3. Measure your rolled oats and pour into a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Measure the rest of your dry ingredients (all that you choose to include) and pour them all into the large mixing bowl with the rolled oats. After all the dry ingredients are together briefly mix them together until they are no longer separated. 
  5. Measure your 1 Cup of honey out and put in a glass measuring cup or microwave safe bowl to melt until an liquid/oil like consistency. Microwave in short 5-10 second intervals. Once melted carefully remove from the microwave with hot pads, pour 1 Tbsp into the hot honey, mix, and pour into large mixing bowl. 
  6. Measure 1 Cup of desired oil and pour into large mixing bowl along with everything else. 
  7. Once all the ingredients are in the mixing bowl, grab a plastic or silicon spatula and thoroughly mix together. The mixture should start to stick and clump together. If it still seems dry and a bit crumbly you can add another 1/2 cup oil or honey. 
  8. After everything is mixed together pour onto two large lipped cookie sheets or pans and place in the oven. The granola will cook for about 40 minutes (or longer until golden brown), however check it every 10-20 minutes to make sure the sides are not getting stuck or burned. Do not stir. 
  9. After the 40 minutes are up, carefully remove the pans from the oven with a hot pad and set aside to cool. Once the pans are fully cool (15-20 minutes) you will use a plastic or metal spatula to scrape the granola off the pans and crumble it together. The granola should clump together in some sections and be crumbly in others. 
  10. Store in a large plastic container with a lid or a serial dispenser. Enjoy over Greek ice cream, with almond milk, or to top off your favorite ice cream. 
  11. Stays fresh in a sealed container for up to two weeks.