I'm wrapping up 2018 with a few of my favorite posts from this year! Thank you so much for following along this year, and I hope I have lots more for you in 2019! 

My Favorite Trips
Disney in January, New York in June, and Mexico in November!

My Favorite DIYs & Recipes
DIY Veggie Wash, DIY Laundry Detergent, My natural skin care system, and crunchy Asian Slaw!
These are all tried and true recipes that will save you money and keep you healthy! (Well the Asian slaw does have a lot of sugar, but it can be amended!) 



Favorite Outfits
I loved showing off my Jord wooden watch earlier this year! However white shorts and a tank top are pretty much the outfit you will find me in for most of the year! 


Around The House & Lifestyle
I loved sharing what my ideal evening looks like! Just reading that post makes me feel so cozy. Our home office got a little makeover this year, and we are loving it! Blogging about my projects and goals is one of my favorite things to do- and you got to see that in my tips for a social media free weekend post and I also shared my tips on how to save a little money

And of course a huge highlight from 2018 was welcoming my nephew Lennox to the world in April!



My Favorite Parties
We celebrated my parent's 30th anniversary in August and I absolutely LOVED how my sister's baby shower turned out! February seems so long ago now! 

Most Popular Post to date:

Most Popular Post from this year: 

All in all, 2018 was one for the books! It's amazing how much actually happened this year. Our year was full of new life and some really hard losses too. We both stepped into new roles this year, so there has been so much learning in 2018! We visited new places, met new people and set new goals. 2019 is already shaping up to be incredibly full, but also wide open! Thanks for reading along this year!
Fitness Inspo // Pugs & Pearls Blog

 After indulging in some pretty delicious and unhealthy foods on our cruise last month, I felt really inspired to clean things up when we got back home! The first morning we were home I laced up my tennis shoes and did a 30 minute workout. And then I did it again the next day, and the next. In fact, in my December goals post earlier this month I deciding I would try to keep my streak going all month long. I'm pretty pleased to say that in the last thirty days I've worked out 24 times! 

While losing some weight is definitely one of my hopes, I have noticed several other benefits from keeping exercise a priority this month. Namely: 

I've been having extremely productive mornings.
 Working out in the morning has always been more successful for me. If I wait until later in the day I find that I don't really feel motivated or something else gets in the way. This month I've developed a pretty reasonable and productive routine! Around 6 am I get out of bed and let the dogs out. They also demand their breakfast right away! While they are chomping away, I spend a quick 5 minutes turning on the lights and opening up the blinds. Then I change into my workout clothes and let them out again. Then I head to the living room and put in a workout dvd. Right now I'm doing my Turbofire videos, but Blake and I want to get Beachbody on Demand in the next few weeks for some more variety. 

 These dvds are between 30-60 minutes, so I pick one based on how much time I have. It's been helpful to plan that out ahead of time. After doing my workout I usually jump right into the shower and get dressed. Then I sit at the dining room table and eat breakfast while doing my Bible reading. Depending on how much time I have left, I can do a little tidy up or I have to get ready to leave for the day. 

 It's also worth mentioning that I still have my Orange Theory membership and I do those classes on days when I go into the office physically. I'm going to downgrade my membership next month because I'm only going into the office once a week. If that doesn't work out, I may have to cancel-even though I really love those classes! (The studio is an hour away next to the office, and since I'm mostly working from home now it's not as easy to get those classes in.) 

 Anyway, my point is that my Bible reading and work out are my main priorities to get done in a day-and it's SO awesome to get it done first thing. I feel like my days are set up for success and I just love how that feels. 

I've experienced more positive self talk.
 As a naturally critical person, I'm sure you can imagine how hard it is to be positive about myself. Obviously, I like myself, but I find it all to easy to find things to pick on. This month I have noticed a huge difference in the negative self talk I usually experience. 

 For example, if a pair of pants didn't fit as I hoped in the past, I would have been quite hard on myself about it. Instead, now if something doesn't fit well I have noticed thoughts more like "this should fit in a month at this rate." I haven't weighed myself in years, and I'm fairly sure no differences are obvious to other people-but for some reason exercise just gives you a little more confidence. 

I have not felt guilty about food.
 I know that I will eventually have to clean up my eating habits if I want to see real results. But, this month I have just not worried about food at all. I've been eating when I'm hungry and enjoying wine and dessert with no guilt. Maybe you don't have an obsessive personality, but when you can stop obsessing about something you usually fret over, it's so freeing. 

I feel like myself again.
 In January of 2013, I started working out for the first time in my life. It took a couple of months for other people to notice, but within a year I was smaller than I was in High School, and I was STRONG. The veins in my arms were sticking out strong. I get so proud thinking about how hard I worked then. Again, I haven't weighed myself since then (when you have an obsessive personality getting stuck on numbers is risky.) but I'd say I'm probably 25 pounds heavier and 1 pant size bigger. The problem is: When I think about what I look like, I picture myself 3 years ago. That's who I want to look like. Even within 10 pounds of that version of myself. 

 So, even though I know that 30 days of working out isn't going to get me close to that (reasonably neither will 6 months.) I feel like that person again! The clarity that comes with exercising and a clear vision is what makes me feel like me. Having sore muscles and lots of dirty workout clothes feels so familiar! 

TLDR: I love how I feel after making exercise a priority again.

 I'm really looking forward to carrying this routine into 2019, and I love to hear what you do for exercise! Leave a comment below if you have found a good program, or if you are looking for one. Have you been in shape in the past, but let yourself slip like I have? What is your favorite part about working out?! I have several favorite things, but one thing I love this time of year is to work up a sweat and then go outside into the cold air afterward. It's so invigorating! 

P.S. I am so proud of the deals I got on my new tennis shoes and the Fitbit pictured above! Nike rarely goes on a good sale, but I was able to find an older style on sale at JCPenney for $39! I got $4 cash back on that with Ebates. The Fitbit was actually from Ebay! A woman listed the exact color I wanted almost new. She said she had worn it for a few days and decided it wasn't for her. That day Ebay had a coupon code for sporting goods, so I saved $20 on top of her huge discount for being a used item. Plus 2% back with Ebates! Have I not convinced you to sign up for Ebates yet? Anyway, thanks for letting me brag on my good deals! I always get so excited when I need something and I can get a good deal with a little effort. 
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how to have a social media free weekend! Pugs & Pearls Blog

I feel like this is going to make me sound really old, but here goes! The other day I was driving and I passed a bus stop with about 8 kids standing at it. Now, I remember not being very talkative when I was waiting for the bus in middle school, but every single one of those kids had their chins down looking at their phones. I shook my head a kept going. Then, I was in a waiting room not long after that and noticed all of the waiting patients had their phones out. Could they have been reading a book? Maybe...but I have a feeling that they were all mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. 

It's really been bothering me that we have become so attached to our phones! They are such great tools for so many things-but I have found that I spend a lot of mindless time on my phone throughout the day. And because I love a challenge, doing a social media free weekend sparked my interest! 

My first social media free weekend was in September, and now my goal is to do a weekend each month. I found that the first time I went social media free it was pretty challenging, because I felt like I was going to miss out on something. But, it got much easier the next time. I've got a few tips for you, if you'd like to give it a shot! 

My Tips:
Do some research. 
It may be helpful for you to know exactly what you are spending your time on when you are using your phone. My phone has a 'digital wellbeing' feature that lets me know exactly how much time I am spending within apps. (There is an app called Moment that will do the same thing) Knowing this information is not only eye opening, but very inspirational! 

Pick a good weekend.
You want to set yourself up for success. Don't pick a weekend to try your digital detox for the first time when you know you will regret it. For example, if you are going to be going to a wedding - a place where you know you are going to have the perfect photo to post, you may want to pick a different weekend. If you are going to be cleaning out your garage and will need to post a bunch of things on Facebook marketplace, you might want to pick a different weekend. 

Delete the Apps! 
This is my number one tip. You have got to delete the apps off your phone the night before. The very first time I did a social media free weekend I could not believe how many times my fingers mindlessly went to click on the icons and they weren't there. I would have certainly failed had the app been there to click on. After the weekend was over, I actually didn't redownload a couple of social media apps I had previously used. 

Be prepared to entertain yourself. 
Standing in a line or waiting in a doctor's office are usually times when I would pull out my phone, so if you aren't using social media you might have a moment of boredom. Embrace it! Look around, enjoy the quiet. While it's jarring at first, there are so many benefits to just being present. It's okay to be bored. Honestly though, boredom has been rare for me. I've always found someone to talk to or a book to read if I absolutely needed entertainment. (You may have noticed a lot more book reviews here because of that!)

Fill your time with something else! 
If you are going to give up something, you want to make sure you feel like it's worth it. Replace the time you would be spending on social media with something else. The possibilities are basically endless here. I have found more time to read, and study. If I need something to do, I can text that friend I've been meaning to say hey to. And those are things you can still do on your phone! If you put the phone away all together, there are even more options to add to your productivity! 

The Benefits I've Noticed: 
The main positive benefit I've experienced with these social media detoxes is the fact that I feel less dependent on something. I hate that I've been come so attached to my phone, so these weekends make me feel like I'm in control of who I am-which feels downright good. (And that's how it should be anyway!)

Another thing I really like is that when I log back in on Monday, there is actually stuff to see! When you scroll through Instagram throughout the day, you rarely see more than one new post. Instagram is exciting again when you have lots to catch up on! 

Leave a comment below if you feel like you need to detox from social media! How many social media apps do you use? Do you think you can log out for a few days? Are you the kind of person who needs something to do while you wait? Let me know if you've done a social media free weekend before!
I think I was 13 when we went on our first family cruise. Somewhere is a photograph of me with cornrow braids (with pink and purple beads), braces, and ill fitting clothes from Charlotte Russe staged behind a fake ship's wheel from that cruise. We loved every second of that trip! I can still remember my little brother going down the slide no less than 75 times, trying to set a record. 

November Report
Finish Office Refresh. Done! See below!

Post Office Refresh to the Blog. Done! I shared the photos of our little home office makeover on the 12th! We really love how it turned out, and it's been super functional for us. 

Share Formulate Results. Did it! Formulate is such a cool concept, and I'm really happy to have partnered with them this year. I hope you all entered the giveaway for your own custom set of shampoo and conditioner! The giveaway ends tomorrow, so you still have a chance to enter! 

Switch Closet for Next Season. Yes, and just by the skin of my teeth. Florida has made it really hard to get dressed recently. I wore my coat one day last week, and then by the weekend I was back in short sleeves. Either way it was safe to tuck away my tank tops and bathing suits after our vacation. We were both able to purge a few items too. 

Successfully Film Cruise. Did it and finished the video! I'm so happy we did this. It's made it so fun to show people what we did on vacation without flipping through a ton of pictures. Stay tuned, because on Monday I'm sharing a few pictures from our trip and the video!

December Goals
Just three goals this month!

Continue my exercise streak. As of when I'm writing this, I've exercised 8 days in a row. I'm talking good workouts too, the kind where you are sore the next day. I'd like to continue my streak for the month. Ideally I'd like to go for 6 days a week, with one rest day. You gotta ride the wave of motivation when it hits! 

Do another social media free weekend. When I did a social free weekend a few months ago I really enjoyed it. It was challenging though, which is probably the reason I haven't done it again. I'm hoping to do a social media free weekend the weekend of the 15th. 

Get the yard winter ready. Kinda boring, but our yard needs one more mowing and some things need trimming one last time. It seems like every time I get a chance to do this it's raining though! 

I usually try to pick 5 goals each month, but because goal number 1 is so important to me, I'm giving myself a little slack in the other departments. Plus the year is winding down and we are going to have a busy 2019! Leave a comment below with what you are working on in the month of December! Do you make monthly goals? I think it's a great time to get a head start on new year goals! 
Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

I had my nephew Lennox for a morning a few weeks ago and I just couldn't help but do a mini photoshoot in the backyard! He is just absolutely the happiest and most photogenic baby. I had to share a couple of my favorite shots!

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

Home Body
I told myself I wasn't going to buy this book. I just don't believe in collecting coffee table books. I find that they clutter spaces and just end up collecting dust. So, as much as I really wanted to buy Reese Witherspoon's book, I didn't. I wasn't going to buy Home Body either, that is until I started flipping through it at the store. This is not just a book of pretty pictures, it's actually helpful! She shares different design styles, and helps you identify what you like. I'm not finished with it yet-it's giant! But, so far, I'm really glad I bought it. And when I'm done I'm going to pass it along and not let it collect dust. 

I got glasses a few years ago to help me see at a distance. Although those black frames are super cute, I never loved them. They sat crooked on my face, and I found that they didn't really help enough to make them worth how much eye strain they caused when I switched between up close and far away. So, I quit wearing them. 

When work picked up this summer, I found myself leaving the office with a headache all the time. My screen time has increased tenfold this year, so I was very interested in getting a pair of blue light filtering glasses! Eyebuydirect has some EXCELLENT prices on frames! (Plus cash back with Ebates!) It's easy to add your prescription and add in things like a blue light filter. Love these! 

Kind of a weird thing to be excited about, but we recently added a stack of cloth napkins to a tin next to our kitchen sink. I really love it! It's a great way to save on paper towels and napkins. These are mainly for drying hands, because they aren't super absorbent for spills. I also grab a few for the dinner table and use them instead of paper napkins. I keep a little hamper out for dirty dish towels anyway, so these are easy to toss in for the next load of laundry. The little bucket and sponge holder are from Grove Collaborative, and if you use my referral link to sign up you get a free 5 piece gift set. (Ebates has cash back for them too!)

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

We are such a Google family! We both have (and love!) Google phones, and several Google Homes around the house. And sharing a Google calendar has literally been one of the keys to our successful marriage! Being on the same page is so, so important. 

Anyway, I didn't know how much I would love the Google Home Hub until we got it. We got a really good deal for Cyber Monday, and now I want one for every room. We use our Google Homes every single day, but having the screen in the kitchen is even more useful! Seeing your daily schedule, the weather, easily setting a timer, watching Youtube while cooking...oh! and it displays photos too! 

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

One thing that didn't arrive in time for our office tour was my Erin Condren mouse pad! It's so cute and it matches my planner. Am I a nerd for loving office supplies? Probably. ($10 Erin Condren gift certificate here!) 

I haven't used a mouse pad in years, but my new desk just doesn't work that great with my mouse for some reason. 

Recent Favorites - Erin Condren Life Planner and Mouse Pad // www.pugsandpearls.com

Gallery Wall & Fiddle Leaf Fig
When I visit other people's homes, I really love to look at all of their family photos. I don't care if I don't know who the people in the pictures are! It's just so fun to see glimpses into time. 80s hair...wedding dresses...I love it all. So, for a person who loves that so much, I realized I had very few photos around our own home! When we moved our Disney prints into our office recently, that left two empty walls in the dining room that I thought would make a perfect place to do a gallery wall. 

We bought some great frames at Walmart, and drew up a diagram! Blake is probably holding a grudge against me because I made him lower all the frames after he had already did one wall. (He should have asked me where I wanted them to begin with, I will argue!) 

The fun part was going through old photos trying to pick what was print worthy. I'm still singing the praises of our Canon printer! It's maybe the best purchase we've made all year. It took no time at all to print out some photos, and it will be easy to print new ones in the future to swap out! 

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com
The pattern repeats on both sides of the door, each with 7 frames. 

Additionally, I sold our little bookshelf that was in the dining room on Facebook marketplace, arguably the easiest way to make a sale like that! It wasn't really storing anything important anymore, and it became just something else to dust. Instead, I found a great faux fiddle leaf fig tree to take it's place! It's so cute and a really good fake if you are the in the market! It's from Hobby Lobby, and don't forget that HL always has a 40% off one item coupon on their website! Not to mention 2 % cash back with Ebates right now....can you tell I'm Ebates biggest fan yet? I put the tree in a cute bucket I picked up at Ikea a few weeks ago. It fits perfectly even though I took a gamble and bought it without measuring. 

Recent Favorites // www.pugsandpearls.com

I may need to do an updated dining room post for our home tour! Since I shared those photos I've removed the dog kennel, redecorated the blue dresser, sold the bookshelf, and now added the gallery wall...It's definitely got the same decor style though, so it wouldn't be a jaw dropping transformation or anything.

The Netherlands!
Our plane tickets and hotel are booked for our trip to the Netherlands next year!! We are so excited and overwhelmed with this trip...but mostly excited! Have you ever been before? I need tips!

Leave a comment below with what you have been loving recently! Are you a big fan of Ebates, like me? Let me know if you also love office supplies and geek out about them. Do you love to look at people's photos when you go over to their houses to visit? And, if you've been to the Netherlands please leave your best travel tips for me!!

*Don't forget to enter the giveaway in my last post!*
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I first shared the brand Formulate with you back in July when the company launched! So, I'm really excited to tell you about my personal formulation today, and give you the opportunity to win your own! A huge thank you to Formulate for gifting me my set of shampoo and conditioner and for sponsoring a second giveaway! (Blog Disclosure Here)

Formulate Custom Hair Care System Review // Pugs & Pearls Blog

The Brand & It's Concept
Formulate has such a cool concept! My hair is naturally stick straight, thick...but fine, and I have to wash it every single day. My husband's 100% the opposite-his hair is coarse, wavy and water rolls right off of it. And I'm willing to bet your hair is nothing like either of ours. So, it doesn't make sense that we would all use the same shampoo and conditioner. 

Formulate is a company that makes a custom shampoo and condition to match your hair. First, you fill out a hair profile, and you will be asked questions like what texture of hair you have, and what climate you live in. You also get to select your own scent! It's a completely custom system just for you. Here is my hair profile, where you can see what kind of hair I have, and what my goals are when shampooing.

They get major bonus points from me for being cruelty free!

Formulate Custom Hair Care System Review // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Formulate Custom Hair Care System Review // Pugs & Pearls Blog
The Process
After you fill out the Formulate questionnaire, that's all you have do! Their chemist (yes, literal scientists work on your shampoo!) will get to work formulating your shampoo and conditioner set. Then, just check your mail! I found the shipping to be lightening fast, so if you are running low on shampoo this is a great time to switch! 

Included along with your shampoo and conditioner will be a complete list of all the ingredients in your set! There are no parabens, sulfates or preservatives in any of the formulas. 

So, what happens if your formulation isn't right? Well, that happened to me! My formula needed some adjustments. That's okay! Formulate's customer service is off the charts. Abby was SO helpful and was adamant about getting my system perfectly tweaked. Formulate has an app where you can give feedback to the chemists and make any adjustments. (Plus, if you aren't happy they promise a full refund.) 

I love the scent I chose, and I've absolutely noticed a decrease in the amount of split ends I usually get. 

Formulate Custom Hair Care System Review // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Formulate Custom Hair Care System Review // Pugs & Pearls Blog

The Price Point
After you fill out your hair profile you will be given two options: You can try a 4oz bottle of shampoo and a 4 oz bottle of conditioner for $19.95 or you can get the 14 oz of each (which is what I have!) for $49. The 4 oz bottles are a great way to give it a try (or you can enter the giveaway below and get a set for free!)! 

I'm an advocate for spending money wisely, so please make your own decisions about what you are willing to splurge on! This is not a budget shampoo and conditioner. But, neither is it budget quality. This is much more comparable to salon grade products. You would also expect to pay more for a personal cosmetic chemist creating a product just for you! 

If you are a person who has tricky hair and you've struggled for years to find something that works, I really think this would be worthwhile. If you are a person who can pick any bottle off the pharmacy shelf and it works great, then you go girl! 

Formulate Custom Hair Care System Review // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Wanna give it a go? Please, please enter my giveaway to win your own custom hair care set! One winner will be chosen to receive 1 shampoo and 1 conditioner. The giveaway ends on December 6th, so pop over and enter

Leave a comment below to tell me you've entered the giveaway! What shampoo and conditioner do you use? Are you happy with it, or would you like to try something else? 

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

I thought I had completed our home tour for a little while, but I should know myself better than that. It's so fun for me to refresh a space and make it new again! As I've mentioned a few times, I'm working from home 50% of the time right now and we've been doing some volunteer construction work that requires quite a bit of paperwork and office coordination. Our office went from a seldomly used space to a room we are in every day for a few (or more) hours! 

The Issues
Make sure you stop by our original office post for some before shots. The office looked great, but there just wasn't enough work space. Sharing a desk was starting to complicate things, so we decided to add another one to the space. It took some thought! I always thought this room was very small, but once we started clearing it out I was amazed! We had to rehome one of our leather arm chairs, and the golf clubs got retired to our storage shed. (Blake almost suggested we get rid of them, but I am determined to start playing golf regularly again!) 

I also have to mention Blake's Star Wars collection! There was a lot of it. I love Star Wars as much as the next girl, but it was taking up lots of room and hard to dust. Plus, it polarized the space. He loving decided to take his Star Wars stuff to work, so that our office felt more like a collaborative space. In the near future he is supposed to be moving to a new office at his job and that room has the perfect shelf for his Star Wars museum. (The guy has an actual life-size lightsaber.) We've replaced the Star Wars wall with our Disney print gallery. Funnily enough when we bought those prints this was where I envisioned them going anyway. The Disney prints were in our dining room, so stay tuned to see what we put up instead!

The Solutions
I saw the Kallax desk (desk I bought) system on Ikea's website and I thought it would work really well for me! I have a lot of craft supplies and I have really been hoping to get a Cricut machine, so I thought the shelf system would be great to organize it all. 

We intended to attach the desk and shelf as it is online, but once we got it put together and in the room-something felt off. I played around with it for a few minutes and decided this layout would work much better. This layout allowed for a much better location for our printer and made the room feel huge! 

One of the armchairs was placed in the opposite corner, and it's the perfect place to read or work from my laptop. Mainly though, Bailey has claimed it as her throne to watch me work. The other two pugs love the giant dog bed we plopped down. Pugs have to be near you at all times, so it's nice to have a little spot for them in the office.

Blake's desk has been great, and it's also from Ikea. I can't recommend it enough! I still use our desktop computer, but it's really nice to have been able to clear off that desk and tuck away all the odds and ends that we used to keep on it. 

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

Home Office Makeover with the Kallax Desk from IKEA // ww.pugsandpearls.com

My Desk, Shelf, Drawer, and Chair
Blake's Desk and Chair
Planner and Notebooks & Washi Tape

We have really been enjoying this new layout! It's always so fun to change up a room in your house. I'm especially happy that we did this on a limited budget. Buying furniture is never cheap, but Ikea is such a nice option for nice looking things that don't cost that much. Plus, we had fun exploring the new Ikea in Jacksonville! We've always gone to the one in Orlando before. Jacksonville is only one story, and it's still sparkling clean! Other than purchasing my desk, shelf, chair and the glass whiteboard-we were able to shop our house for the other little touches. 

Most of all this space is functional! We are ready to get some work done! Leave a comment below and tell me if you have a home office! Is it functional for you? Do you share a workspace with your spouse? Does that work well in your family? Do you work from home?! I need all the tips I can get! Also, tell me what you think of my new Disqus commenting service! Is Disqus something you enjoy using?

Make sure you check out the home tour page, so you can see a layout of our house and see how our office fits in!
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