Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Summer Beauty Picks

With warmer days right around the corner, spring is a perfect time to get your beauty routine summer-ready. I don't know about you, but winter leaves me feeling sort of bleh. I've usually over-indulged in heavy foods, worn thick sweaters and long pants, and haven't seen my toes for months.

Along with getting active and eating healthier foods, I want to use some great beauty products to help me get ready for summer. I created this board with 12 of my top picks to share with all of you. Whether you're planning a stay-cation or going on a vacation, get your skin and beauty routine summer-ready with these products.

Summer Beauty Picks

1. Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Vanilla Body Scrub - One of the first steps to getting your skin ready for summer is by exfoliating. Bath & Body Works' scrubs will definitely help with that! Find one in a new summery scent (like this one!) and make sure to get the corresponding Ultra Shea Body Cream for hydration and the Fragrance Mist to lock in the scent.

2. Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Mist - Tanning in the sun is fun, but isn't always safe. If you're looking for a good self-tanner, I recommend Airbrush Color from Banana Boat. It's easy to apply, and doesn't turn you orange. You can get a little color from one application or build a deeper color over several days.

3. Mary Kay Botanical Effects Cleanse - I recently started using this cleanser and I love it. I'm adding it to my summer beauty routine because it not only keeps my skin clear, but is lightweight and will be perfect for cleansing away chlorine, dirt and sun screen.

4. Clean Clear Morning Glow Moisturizer with SPF 15 - I'm always on the lookout for facial products that have SPF built in, especially during the summer. I recommend starting with this moisturizer, it's light and will brighten your skin.

5. Garnier Fructis De-Constructed Beach Chic Texturizing Spray - Whether or not you're actually at the beach, you can still get beachy waves with this texturizing spray. You can scrunch it into damp hair before you dry, or twist your hair up and leave overnight for extra waves. Who doesn't love an effortless hairstyle during the summer?

6. Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo - I almost never wash my hair two days in a row, so dry shampoo is a staple. I recommend this one because it leaves hair looking fresh and not greasy. Use it to extend the life of your blowout or save time when you're getting ready for the day.

7. Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm - Summertime and the activities that come with it can definitely dry out your skin. Keep your lips soft, hydrated, and protected from the sun with the SPF 20 in this balm.

8. Neutrogena Naturals Cleansing Towelettes - I'm a big fan of makeup remover towelettes, especially when I'm using waterproof products. I really like these from Neutrogena because they are free of parabens, sulfates, harsh chemicals, and dyes. They're great for when you're on-the-go, or times when you might be tempted to go to bed without washing your face.

9. Bliss Spa Fat Girl Slim - I got turned onto this product when I was looking for a skin-firming cream with caffeine before my wedding. After one application I noticed the skin on my arms looking firmer and smoother. It's not a weight loss tool, but it's great for giving your skin and confidence a boost.

10. Bath Body Brush - Another great exfoliating tool is a bath brush. This brush can be used on dry skin, but I prefer to use it in the shower. I apply body wash and use it to scrub dry skin and cellulite problem areas.

11. e.l.f. All Over Color Stick in Golden Peach - I love using a shimmering bronzing stick to create a sun-kissed glow. With this color stick by e.l.f., a little goes a long way, and it only costs $1!

12. NYX Mineral Matte Finishing Powder - Set your summer look with this super lightweight finishing powder. A little goes a long way and leaves a soft finish.

What are your favorite summer beauty products? Share them in the comments!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter: The Obedience of Christ

For the past couple of weeks, I've been going through IF:Equip's Easter study, working through the last moments of Jesus' life, His death, and His resurrection. It's not a new story to me, I grew up hearing these passages. And yet, each time I come to it (or any part of Scripture), I am taught a new lesson, as though I were reading it for the very first time.

This time, I am struck by the total obedience of Jesus to the will of God the Father. He models it throughout His entire time on earth, constantly submitting to the Father, but to me it is most striking as He goes to His death.

Moments before He is arrested by a mob, Jesus goes into the garden of Gethsemane to pray. He is sorrowful, distressed, and troubled--He knows what's coming--and asks His disciples to watch and pray with Him. But they are tired and fall asleep. He goes a little farther into the garden alone, falls to the ground and prays, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me." (Mark 14:36)

In this moment, we see what Jesus wants: to have the cup removed from Him, that there would be some other way. I know we can all relate to this feeling, knowing what we want and asking for it is never hard for us. We are fueled by our wants and desires. But in the next breath, Jesus shows His wants are ruled by His obedience to God as He says, "Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36)

This moment for me is like a punch in the face. How often do I ask for something without submitting to or even considering God's will? And usually my wants are trivial and small, or sometimes even wrong. Yet here Jesus is facing torture, humiliation, betrayal, rejection, injustice, hatred, excruciating pain, separation from the Father, and death, and He still shows complete obedience saying, "Yet not what I will, but what you will."

The cup doesn't pass from Jesus, yet He remains obedient to God's will. A bogus "trial" is held in which false witnesses come forward to testify against Jesus, yet not once does He speak to defend Himself. (Mark 14:53-72, 15:1-20) He simply submits, knowing that at any moment He could have ended it, He could have walked away. He is obedient through separation from the Father, unto His death. (Mark 15:21-47)

Jesus humbles and challenges me in His obedience. His focus wasn't on what He wanted, but on God's greater plan and His submission to that plan. He knew it would bring the worst kind of pain and suffering, and yet He chose to obey.

To really live like Jesus is to adopt all His attributes, including complete obedience to the Father. To be like Jesus is to let go of all the little things we want in pursuit of God's greater plan. We can be honest about what we want, but in the end Jesus' behavior and words should be our own, "Yet not what I will, but what you will."
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