It's been so hot and smokey here in Portland over the last few weeks that the idea of turning on the oven is appalling. There are a ton of wildfires creating a permanent smog layer over the city and that combined with 90+ degree temps has put me into a little summer depression. So during a lucky day of 70-degree weather, I decided to make some jam tarts.

Jam tarts are so easy and simple but I'm still struggling to perfect the amount of jam I'm supposed to put in them. I know the bubble-up effect adds a little bit of rusticness to them, but I want them to look clean! Oh well, they were still delicious. I used raspberry and blackberry jam and a recipe from Martha Stewarts Pies & Tarts book with a lot of cinnamon in the crust.

I've been daydreaming pretty hard about fall and winter lately - even going so far as to buy some new sweaters and tickets to The Nutcracker ballet! I'm ready for the cold weather! I tend to feel my most inspired and productive in the fall - something about that "going back to school" mindset still sticks around, even if I'm not in school anymore. In the meantime, I'll just be sitting in front of my little window air conditioner unit.

I'm not normally a "hiking" person - someone who I imagine to be really fit and doesn't mind eating those dehydrated food packets from REI - but more and more I want to get out and see some of the beautiful places that I live so close to. So, in that spirit, I convinced my boyfriend Harry to get up at the crack of dawn and drive about an hour out of Portland to Beacon Rock State Park. 

We had some trouble the last time we tried to go out for a hike, as so much of the Gorge is closed off from last summer's fire. We almost ended up on one of the toughest hikes by pure accident! So this time I did some research to make sure we could handle it. After a brief panic moment where neither of us had cash and ended up missing the credit card pay station altogether so we drove into the next town to buy a 1-day pass from a gas station, we FINALLY got started on our hike up Beacon Rock. 

For those curious, it literally is a hike up a big rock. They have pathways with railings that switchback all the way up, which was nice, but even so, it wasn't such an easy climb! One of the big highlights for me was seeing peregrine falcons flying below us, which like to nest in the rockface. I was kind of obsessed with peregrine falcons as a kid after reading My Side of the Mountain and interpreting it as a real lifestyle choice. Watching them soar above the forest but below us on the rock trail was surreal. 

The views from Beacon Rock are incredible and well worth the climb. Reaching the top was a little anti-climactic, however. We expected there to be more room at the top to really take in the view, but it was a tiny little point with some craggy rocks and a little board talking about floodplains or something. There was also quite a few socialized squirrels who were clearly living off of treats from hikers. 

Ultimately I was just happy to be out in nature, breathing some fresh air instead of laying on my couch, which is what I'm usually doing. 

Happy Friday! This week has been especially nuts for me - I had jury duty on Monday & Tuesday and very nearly made it on a 3-week trial but it was settled at the last minute. Tbh I was a little disappointed - I've always dreamed of being on a trial! (Weird, I know). 
This weekend I'm debating between going on a hike or going to a U Pick berry place, we'll see which I choose! In the meantime, enjoy some links:

+ Ariana Grande just released God is a Woman and I'm already obsessed - and this still photo (above) is so gorgeous. (Bonus Ari - this cute vid from Elle)

+ SO HERE for this rewriting of art history!!!!

+ My current favorite accessory.

+ I wrote an angry facebook post about how misunderstood this lawsuit is - get educated people! Tons of people in my jury selection group thought this "dumb lady" won "millions."

+ The cutest planter I ever did see!

Hope you have the best weekend yet!

Fourth of July was a pretty chill day for us as we both had to go back to work the next day, but we still managed to have some fun with sparklers! I think this year I finally perfected the long-exposure sparkler photo - with the help of this amazing guide from A Beautiful Mess. The small aperture and low ISO were new tips for me and really paid off!

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday! I really wanted to eat ruffles and dip but resisted. 

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog lately but I'm definitely going to get some more photos up soon! I miss blogging so so much. 

Is that title making you feel uncomfortable? Because it definitely made me feel uncomfortable to write. We're not supposed to talk openly about financial matters unless you've got some brilliant solution to become a millionaire, which I certainly don't. 

I've been avoiding blogging for a while - for a number of reasons. Time, confidence, depression, a demanding job, etc all play into it. But I also realized something that changed my perception of what I was doing with this blog. And that's this:

I can't afford to blog about beauty anymore. 

Let me break this down into a few sections for you. 

1. Buying/testing products

I used to love spending frivolously on makeup products that I was curious about back when I didn't have rent to pay. I'd see a review or YouTube video about a certain product release and I just had to have it to try out, so I'd go get it. My Sephora Beauty Insider points were racking up and the rush I'd get with each new box of goodies delivered in the mail felt worth it at the time. I had a lot of fun makeup, but I had quite a number of products I barely used or that I used once and realized they weren't that great. 

Once I started a YouTube channel/blog, I would justify to myself that buying products solely to review them was a "good investment" because it was creating content for those channels. Now, I've never made a red cent from YouTube or this blog (and that's ok!), so telling myself that spending a ton of money on beauty products each month was ok because it was contributing to my content...probably not the best financial idea. 

2. Keeping up

It's no secret (thank you Instagram stories) that makeup companies send lavish PR packages of their newest releases to big-name YouTubers, Instagrammers, and other social influencers. They often are the first to hear about launches, making days of scouring the internet for clues and being the first to go purchase something obsolete. By the time I, the average person, get my hands on a new makeup product, it's already been blogged/photographed/vlogged/reviewed by dozens of other content creators. It feels like you're always behind and that's because you are! The game is rigged against you on this one if you're a nobody like me. 

3. I just don't have the money anymore

I started pursuing makeup as a more serious hobby when I was living with my parents and blissfully ignoring my student loan debt except to make minimum payments. It felt like I had all this extra income so why not spend it on fun things? In retrospect that makes me cringe. If I'd just spent all that "extra" money paying down my debt, I would be in such a better financial situation than I am now. Fast forward to today, where I've gotten serious about paying off my student loans and have a car payment, rent, utilities, groceries, etc, to worry about. Makeup impulse buys just can't happen for me anymore. I'm not going to buy every scent of a new bath bomb anymore to test it out. I just can't.

So yeah...going forward I'll still blog about things I love, lifestyle things and maybe the occasional beauty bit here and there. Who knows? But my days as a wannabe beauty blogger are over.

I’m beginning to think that I grew up in an especially TV-strict household. When I was growing up, I remember I was firmly NOT ALLOWED to watch The Simpsons – or Titanic even though all my friends who were two years younger already had. But we also never had the “good cable” so I missed out on a ton of shows and consequently never watched such favorites as Friends, Fraiser, Seinfeld, etc etc. And to be honest, I never really thought I was missing much.

BUT! I just started watching The Sopranos after a work lunch where my colleagues were all reminiscing about it. I’m at a time in my life where true crime is super interesting to me for some reason, so a mob show seems to fit right in.

I’m only on Season 2 (no spoilers!) but so far I’m liking Chrissy’s eyebrows, Meadow’s eye-rolls, Tony’s shark-like smile, and Carmella in general. And the theme song is constantly stuck in my head. It’s especially interesting to me how all the women in the show choose how much they know about and how they deal with all the nonsense that goes on with the men in their lives.

Do you have any old shows you’ve recently discovered? Or ones you weren’t allowed to watch? I’d be interested to hear!

A competitor for Lush? Not quite.

I've been a Soap & Glory fan for quite some time - ever since I saw UK beauty vloggers talking it up and frantically trying to find a store that sold it. Now you can get Soap & Glory at your local Walgreens and Target, and they're releasing new products all the time. Some of my all-time favorites include the Flake Away Body Polish and Sugar Crush Body Wash.

When I saw that they'd released a collection of bathbombs, I was intrigued. Since Lush has risen in popularity, I've seen other brands trying to get in on the bathbomb craze. While I haven't been tempted by any others yet, Soap & Glory's winning collection of scents drew me in to these. 

The Fizz-a-Ball comes in three of their signature scents - Original Pink, Smoothie Star, and Sugar Crush. At $5.00 each, they're fairly reasonable for a onetime use product. And here comes the BUT...

I was honestly fairly disappointed by their lack of color and scent. While they smell nice when unwrapping them (from a very difficult to remove layer of plastic), the scent dissipates very quickly once it dissolves in the bath. And there is almost no color payoff at all - it turned my bath a very light pink which just looked a bit icky tbh. There was also quite a bit of silver microglitter that left a ring around my tub at the end. Overall, the experience was ok - not remarkable, didn't really add much.

Depending on what you're after in a bathbomb, these could be up your street - but personally I'd rather have a strong color and perfume if I'm splashing out (pun intended ha) and treating myself to a special bath. 

What do you think? Have you tried these, or any other bathbombs that are worth the money? Let me know!