Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Welcome Autumn! What to Look Forward to This Season

Chicago in the Fall

Hello Fall!

The weather is turning, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte came out yesterday, decorations on my shelves, and I’m in the mood to bake. We’re coming upon my favorite season.

Technically the first day of Autumn doesn’t start until Tuesday, September 22, but I like to start celebrating the day the pumpkin spice latte comes out. I tried the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew yesterday and it was so good!

I feel so blessed to have been able to experience 3 seasons of autumn this past year between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

As we embark again on the beautiful season, here’s some incredible things to anticipate in the next few months.

Change in Landscape

I love the autumn landscape.

Desert grasses and tree foliage of sage brush, mesquites, palo verdes, or broad leaf deciduous maple, oaks, and aspen. Deeper greens, yellows, reds, and oranges.

I embraced the contrast of this shot where warm meets cool.

Arizona Desert
Cornfields of Nebraska
Autumn Leaves in Arizona
Mushrooms of North Carolina
Mushrooms of Malawi, Africa

Creatures Calling a New Home

Pollinators such as bees start to huddle in their hives, while butterflies migrate south.

Bee of the Midwest
Butterly of the Midwest
Butterfly Dance

Baked Goods

Fall baking is the best. Cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg. Incorporating seasonal fruits as they ripen, varieties like peaches followed apples, cranberry, and orange.

A Crumb Topped Muffin I Made (recipe coming soon)
Delicious Breads of Jordan

Scents of Autumn

Though the following scent of has notes of a bright and tangy summer, the sweet and sour of the classic drink, I’m still using it for the tail of summer as we transition into colder temperatures and for those days when gloomy weather becomes too much.

Philosophy’s Señorita Margarita Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath

Opening my candle drawer and seeing all the goodies to choose from brings me so much joy.

The glow through the glass, the scent of sugar cookies, juniper, berries, apples, and sandalwood.

Perfumes go from light, crisp, floral scents to deep notes of amber that still have a mild citrusy characteristic.

One of my favorites below (from a lifetime collection of samples) has key notes of Italian bergamot, orange flower, lavender.

Collection of Perfume Samples

Other Edible Treats

Layering plain yogurt, honey, seasonal fruits, topped with crunchy oats and shredded coconut makes for a delicious breakfast or a quick snack. I used grapefruit and huckleberries most recently.

It’s pineapple season on the islands and if you don’t have access to a fresh one, right now Maui Gold Pineapple is shipping throughout the U.S. (except Alaska).

2-day delivery straight from the gorgeous pineapple plantation.

Huckleberry and Grapefruit Yogurt Parfait
Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation

Sounds of Autumn

Imagine relaxing, ASMR, sounds of rain as you sip coffee in a coffee shop, nature sounds, and rustling leaves.

Check out the YouTube Channel Autumn Cozy for a serene, happy, and rich experience while watching an animated fall scene.

Upcoming Book Releases

There are so many exciting publications coming out.

I like to read mysteries, thrillers, and a bit of horror during this time of year.

One I’m really looking forward to is called The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen. Such a beautiful cover!

The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen

Movie Releases

I can’t wait to see Bill & Ted Face the Music. It’s available on demand and showing in theatres this Friday, August 28.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (promo website photo)

What are you looking forward to this season?

I hope you enjoyed my photos along with the visual of amazing things that appeal to all the senses.

Let me know about your favorites and if you participate in the Jibber Jabber with Sue word prompt challenge “picture” by tagging me or linking your posts in the comments below!

Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Switching to the New WP Block Editor: Late Adaptor to Gutenberg 2.0

Welcome to Gutenberg

I’m not sure what the official name of the newest version of Gutenberg is or how WP ambassadors are distinguishing the two “block” editors. All I know is that I was one of those very reluctant, old school WP users who was using Classic up until today.

The initial version of the block editor had many glitches, it was bulky and cumbersome to use. It didn’t feel ready for prime time to me and it was time consuming for me, so I had a delay in switching over.


And I Really Liked Classic

I actually liked typing my posts out in one large paragraph with bits of code in it. It was fast, easy, no-fuss.

I didn’t mind having to switch between the two interfaces, the main and the admin dashboards.

I could accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. There were limitations of course and I didn’t really know the full extent of what the new editor could offer.

I didn’t know what the advantages of the new block editor were. It seemed to be a round-about way of doing something I was already used to doing and I could do it with less clicks, in less amount of time.

My First Post

On January 28, 2918, my first post, Road Trip to Beautiful Taos, New Mexico, was the first post I ever created. It took me a little while to get it down, to learn a bit of code, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, using Classic all the way long.

So far I have published 286 posts.

I hadn’t given the new editor a second thought though for a while.

A New Era in Website Building

However after an opportunity to participate in a bit of beta testing with the newest block editor recently, it appeared that most of my troubles with the first version had been fixed. So I decided to give it another try and have since switched over.

I have also changed themes, cleaned up a few posts.

It’s actually not half as bad as what I thought it would be now that the main bugs have been worked out. The discovery of some pretty neat features and shortcuts have also been a treasure.

It’s a learning curve for sure and has created a totally different workflow for me. A few minor buggy things and quirks still have to be worked out but they’re not a deal breaker for me any longer.

The two interfaces haven’t gone away but the tasks have been solidified in their assigned allottment, with admin view being the dominant, post builder, which is ok, I’m getting used to it.

Navigation is much more intuitive and user friendly this second time around. I’m getting faster at building these blocks.

Still Learning

I have a ways to go before I feel completely comfortable and up to speed compared to my usual process.

After perusing a few posts from the WP Reader where some members mentioned bailing on the platform, I was a little bummed to hear that because I really enjoy our WP community. It is unique to the website building world out there.

I hope you, like me, are able to revisit the latest version of the editor and find a little joy in this.

I just finished a cute book called Beach Read by Emily Henry, so when I saw the option to create a clickable button, Amazon embed, I thought, ok this is pretty awesome.

Overall Thoughts

It took me a couple of hours to convert my site content to the new theme I picked out, Twenty Twenty. About 2 hours to create this post, but it worked!

Take a moment to look around my new style of website, I hope you can appreciate the blocks I used for a more simplified, clean, modern look.

I like how my newly accommodating site uses the full width of the screen, expanded covers as seen on my Photography page, and perfect side-by-side posts like I built on my Recipes page.

There are quite a few options you can make and modifications within those options that allow a lot of visual creativity at first glance.

To know and understand code is an amazing skill and the possibility to use it is still there. The CSS modifier is still there. Both the Visual and HTML Code editors remain. I definitely don’t want to forget what I’ve learned.

I’m still testing it all out. Making tweaks here and there. Deciding if I even need to add any CSS.

I think the amazing thing is, is that I actually have no code in my CSS box at the moment. Below are the codes I embedded to better customize my site before I switched over from Classic. I was using the Rosalie theme at the time.


Welcome to Custom CSS!
To learn how this works, see
.site-content a:link {
                                    color: #53808a;
.site-content a:visited {
                                    color: #53808a;
.site-content a:active {
                                    color: #3364FF;
.site-content a:hover {
                                    color: #6D6A59;
/*Change color of certain text inside recipes #10600201-hc*/
div.jetpack-recipe-notes {
                                    color: black;
div.hrecipe.jetpack-recipe > h3 {
                                    color: black;
div.hrecipe.jetpack-recipe > ul {
                                    color: black;
/* hide header image everywhere except home page | 11968709-hc */
.page-id-4938 .image-header-flexible.container img {
                                    display: inherit !important
/* Hide the site logo / #12026071-HC JB */
.site-logo {
                                    display: none;
.image-header-flexible.container img {
                                    display: none;
/* Adjust the color of the diamond element throughout the main content font */
p {
  color: black;
.site-title a {
color: black !important;
border: none;
font-size: 25px !important;
font-family: Montserrat !important;
.site-description {
color: black !important;
border: none;
font-weight: lighter !important;
font-size: 25px !important;
font-family: Montserrat !important;
/* Adjust the color of the diamond element throughout the Rosalie theme | 10453438-hc */
.site-description:before, .entry-title:before {
  background-color: #53808a;
.site-description:after, .entry-title:after {
  border: 1px solid #53808a;
/*Hide all meta except date*/
.entry-meta .reading-time {
                                    display: none;
.single-post .entry-meta {
                                    display: none;
/* Change Slider Max Height to 500px */
.flexslider .slides>li {
                                    max-height: 500px;
.flexslider .slides > li .hentry.has-post-thumbnail h1 {
color: white !important;
font-size: 20px;
font-family: Arimo!important;
.flexslider .slides .entry-meta span.posted-on time {
color: white !important;
font-family: Arimo
font-size: 18px !important;
/* Reduce additional margin/padding space at the top of website — 20049005-hc */
.site {
                                    padding-top: unset !important;
.image-header {
                                    margin-top: unset;
/* remove gray background of menu | SKO #10440350-hc */
.navbar {
  background: #EDE7E3;
/* widget background white | SKO  #10440350-hc */
wf-active .widget-title {
    font-weight: 400;
    font-style: Arimo;
    background: black;
/*— removes opacity from the related posts / #10440350-HC-PK —*/
#jp-relatedposts .jp-relatedposts-items-visual .jp-relatedposts-post {
    filter: alpha(opacity=100);
    -moz-opacity: 1;
    opacity: 1;
.site-header {
                                    background-color: #cc0000;
.widget-title::after {
                                    border-color: #53808a transparent;
.widget-title {
                                    background-color: #53808a;
/* Adjust the font and box colors of the read more box */
.entry-summary a.more-link {
background: black !important;
color: white !important;
/* Adjust the color of the arrow element on the read more box */
.entry-summary a.more-link:after {
color: white !important;
font-size: 35px !important;
/* Adjust the font of the front page post’s dates */
span.posted-on time {
color: black !important;
font-size: 16px !important;
font-family: Arimo;
/* Change color of the font of the footer */
.site-footer a {
  color: #688D93;
footer#colophon {
background: black;
.site-info {
background-color: black;
/*Center Bottom Footer Links*/
/* Center text on 3rd footer widget area | 10542998-hc EH */
#footerthird {
    text-align: center;
/* Remove period from date of posting and centering date*/
.entry-meta span.posted-on {
    margin: 0 !important;
    position: relative;
    display: inline-block;
    .image-header-flexible {
        padding-left: 0;
        padding-right: 0;
        width: 100%;
.image-header-flexible {
    padding-left: 0;
    padding-right: 0;
    width: 100%;
.image-header-flexible.container img {
    min-width: 100%;
.entry-meta span.posted-on {
    margin: 0 !important;
    position: relative;
    display: inline-block;
.jetpack-social-navigation-genericons a[href*=”goodreads.”]:before {
    content: “\g”;
.jetpack-social-navigation-genericons a[href*=”redbubble.”]:before {
    content: “\RB”;
/* — enhanced widget title / 13537906-HC (MI) — */
.enhanced-text-widget h2.widget-title a {

Let Me Know About Your Thoughts

Have you made the switch yet?

Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Summer is that You? 9 Things I’m Looking Forward To

It’s so hard to believe it’s almost June!

Yet it also feels like it took forever to get here at the same time. Things are opening back up again and it’s such a good feeling. It really felt like summer out today.

1. Yard sales

I don’t really shop a whole lot, nor do I need anything. However yard sales mark the beginning of summer and I visited a really good estate sale this morning and boy was it packed! It was nice to look around, nice to get out. I ended up buying 2 concho belts and some silver turquoise rings.

I came across these antique dishes, aren’t they gorgeous?


2. Caterpillars in the garden

Posing for my camera, what a cutie!


3. Flowers

My mother always has the most beautiful roses growing in her yard.


4. Summer lipsticks

Underneath my mask, you’ll find me wearing Lisa Eldridge’s Summer Pinks Collection. You can read more about these lipsticks on my post here.

Such a soft, fun, summery color range. Pictured below is Go Lightly Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour, one of my most favorite go-to colors for the season, it really brightens my day.

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pinks Collection © 2019 | All rights reserved.

5. Ice cream

My favorite summer treat! The recipe to my Rose Petal Syrup can be found here.

Rose Petal Syrup | Erica Robbin

And it’s awesome to know that there are parts of the world that still celebrate summer with ice cream trucks going through the neighborhood.




6. The ocean

Oh my goodness, my summer will not be complete without it.

What places are you wanting to visit this summer?


7. Summer scents

My favorite summer scent. Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil. It’s glorious. Totally sold out, I don’t think they are making it anymore, so I’ll be savoring my last little bit. #bringbackbobbibrownbeachbodyoil

What’s your favorite summer scent?'beach' Body Oil by Bobbi Brown © 2019 | All rights reserved.

8. Summer reads

I just received this one in the mail and I’m so looking forward to reading it.

The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain.


The Secret Seaside Escape  is the perfect read this summer, promising sandy beaches, stunning rockpools and breath-taking romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Sarah Morgan.


Escape to the seaside with the brand new novel from Heidi Swain, the Sunday Times bestselling author of feel-good women’s fiction!

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .

Check it out on: Goodreads, Amazon, audiobook

9. Ice cream

I think this one is worth mentioning again.

Cotton Candy Dipped Cone from Dairy Queen! Oh my, sounds so yummy! Not my photo on this one, but hopefully you’ll see one in my hand soon with an update as to how it tastes. I usually get the butterscotch one. I’m so curious. Have you tried it yet?


Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 11.25.51 AM

I hope you enjoyed this post, all the things I’m looking forward to this summer, in response to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, with the theme being “delicate colors.”

Let me know what you are most looking forward to and if you participated in this challenge in the comments below!

Featured Gardening Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Creating a Happy, Peaceful Garden Sanctuary

Gardening. It’s so calming, therapeutic, satisfying, rewarding.

A garden is a wonderful place to relax and get energies out, it’s a tangible spot of the expression of you, a creative outlet in itself, a place of solitude as well as a place to share.


And it’s actually a lot easier to get started and be successful at maintaining than you might think it is. It’s one of those activities and hobbies that you just have to get up and do. Let go of the fear of defeat, intimidation, too much work, too much time, or any negative thoughts of “But I can’t keep a houseplant alive to save my life” or “Everything I touch dies.”

Once you see a little bud form or trim a little herb for your latest recipe, watch regrowth, appreciate your garden becoming a comfortable haven for yourself and for pollinators like butterflies and bees, you’ll find yourself becoming even more compelled to keep on gardening.


Falling in love with gardening.

Oh my goodness do I love it! I would have never thought I’d ever be that person, but here I am, obsessed with gardening. I love talking shop with other gardeners. I love getting my hands in the soil, watering to a plant’s heart of content, gathering the harvests, taking photos of insects, and just being outside, taking in the fresh air and observing the surrounding beauty.

My first year gardening, I thought, ok, where do I begin to make it a productive place of comfort?

I had images of garden landscapes from Pinterest on my mind. I wanted to grow oodles of French and English lavender and bright blue hydrangeas. I wanted to eat an abundance of organically grown crisp cucumbers and tasty cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine. I wanted to be friends with all the critters like Snow White and wander freely among the foliage, not burdened with any gardening chore.

Well, dreams do come true.

My first garden, a real success!



Of course gardening does take some work, mostly work directed toward establishing your gardening skills in the first year. The internal and external rewards are so worth it though. Even during times of the most demanding physical labor, it becomes a time of reducing tension and anxiety, in fact, it’s often energizing.

Here are 8 tips to creating the ambience of a hopeful, tranquil, joyous garden.

1. First, get a head start on making homemade compost.

Making your own homemade compost allows you to be resourceful, less wasteful as you save on the amount of rubbish you throw out, becoming more environmentally conscience, and save money.

If you’re even thinking of having a garden this year, I’d recommend starting your compost today.

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 10.34.12 AM

I like to use a large wood crate, unfinished, untreated, 18 in. x 12.5 in. x 9.5 in. which can be found at your local hardware store like Home Depot or Walmart.

I line it with either a recyclable, compostable bag or fine mesh chicken wire. I have the local hardware store cut an untreated piece of wood to fit over top.

It is perfect for composting small amounts of raw kitchen scraps such as tops, skins, cores, along with paper scraps, leaves, and coffee grounds. I add Red Wiggler worms. And it will not emit obnoxious odors if you balance out the nitrogen and carbon ratio and stir it once a day.

I prefer keep a little trowel inside for convenient stirring and a plant on top to disguise it.

You’ll have greater control over what goes into your soil. Sometimes the incidentals that grow amongst your plantables can be just as gratifying as an intentional plant.


Here (above) a mango grew from one of the seeds I had in some of the compost I buried.

2. Then simply start with choosing what you want to plant.

Choose what you want to grow before deciding on a design, all the rest will fall into place.

Take your time strolling around your local hardware, nursery, or grocery store. Take in the landscape of your home and surrounding neighborhood. Thumb through magazines, social media, and online forums to garner some ideas.

Don’t be discouraged by the type or size of space, small or large, structural obstacles, HOA ordinances, the amount of sun, climate, weather, or hearing/reading about gardening woes related to the plants you prefer.

Ask yourself, “What do I want to grow?”

Flowers, herbs, vegetables, trees, a combination? Is there a top choice or a must have in your garden?

Fresh or sweet aromas? Are there certain colors or color schemes you are drawn to? Native plants or ones that are more out of the ordinary?

Are there certain herbs and vegetables in your most commonly made dishes or ones you wish you could grow fresh, offering you less trips to the grocery store? Is there something in particular that you can’t regularly find at your local grocer? Perhaps your interest is piqued in this year of COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, job loss, or food security.


My top must have as far as herbs are concerned is basil. This type (above) is lime basil which adds a unique, zippy flavor to homemade pestos.

You may find out specifics to the plants you choose as you start your gardening journey. One option is picking a few plants that may be more tried and true to your area and a few that would be considered more risky. The results of risky may surprise you.

The initial success of plant growth will be your cheerleader. As you become a more established gardener, you’ll learn how to creatively arrange, manage, and care for plants that some might deem as either difficult or easy.


You’ll also find yourself having a lot more flexibility within the confines of your space as you try out different plants and alternative methods of growing.

Whether a private plot of land, a deck, or community garden, today’s accessibility to soil methodology, planters, structures, and furniture can allow you to easily fulfill your vision in creating your ideal garden.


3. Garden design.

One of the most exciting aspects of gardening is putting your garden together.

Once you pick out the seeds and starters you want, there are many factors you may want to consider. Go around positioning seed packets and seedlings on the ground where you desire to plant them before digging in the dirt.

This way of planning helps to better visualize which plants you want where. Some plants make better companions than others, some need lots of space, some have more height to them, some need more hours of direct sun. You can then organize them according to pH, likeness, size, proportion, shape, convenience, color, season, succession, and overall planting and space fulfilling goals.

I love Secret Garden style havens, with lush green, full foliage, layered and staggered high and and low to provide privacy with pops of color and varietals. Serene, English cottage pathways and Spanish courtyard-esque manicured plots.


I like an almost crowded look. For certain plants I like layouts of rows, others, quite staggered, always an abundance of things that bring me joy. I’m less of a fan of boxy, bare, coffin-shaped garden beds.

4. Making it easy on yourself.

Gardening should be leisurely and delightful, not drudgery.

Having tools and a watering can readily available will help you make spur of the moment decisions in weeding, sprinkling, pruning, and harvesting. This will decrease any procrastination and apprehension that may creep up during gardening season.

This is especially important if you have just planted seeds or baby plants. You’ll want to identify newly sprouted plants against weeds and newbies require gentle, more frequent watering.

5. Decorating to your heart’s content.

Your garden space is a reflection of you and the things that you like.

Wood barrel planters are a nice touch. Classic terra cotta pots can be left bare or painted with safe paints, adding interest and contrast to whatever you decide to plant in them. Ornamentals, an entertaining accessory.

Start with a few things to your personal style and taste. Believe me, the more that people know about you and your love for gardening, the more you’ll be gifted fun, whimsical garden decor.


6. Turning you garden into a place of retreat. 

A garden is a wonderful place for you to relax, read, and snack.

Add a bench, a swing, or simply a chair. Some place to sit, rest, and take in your surroundings and rest in between labor. Think about the position of the sun and the time of day you’ll most likely spend the most time there.

Do you like to get up early or stay up late? When do you prefer to weed and water? You might want to choose a place under some shade or go for the best overall view. Rearrange as often as you please.

Surround yourself with items that make you happy. Chimes, figurines, bird baths. Build it up to a place you’ll see yourself spending time in.


Making your own side table.

And you can easily make a little side table of your own, whether you want to use it for setting down your morning coffee or gardening tools as you work, or for adding heigth to planters.


Just flip over ceramic pot and top it off with a decorative paver, voila! A cute and inexpensive, decorative table!

7. Finding your refuge of inspiration.

Adding little bits of your personality to your garden may happen all at once or over a period of time.

If you want to learn more about creating a personal refuge or are looking for garden inspiration, check out these magazines.


Mary Jane’s Farm


Mother Earth News

Here are some excellent books on gardening.

Gardening 1000

Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small SpacesGardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces by Tara Nolan



garden 500

Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and concoctions for organic fertilizers, plant elixirs, potting mixes, pest deterrents, and moreGarden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and concoctions for organic fertilizers, plant elixirs, potting mixes, pest deterrents, and more by Stephanie Rose



Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or Neighborhood by Philip Schmidt

Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or NeighborhoodLittle Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or Neighborhood by Philip Schmidt



Creating a sanctuary for animals.

Birds are such a joy. Some are quite chatty, some leave a mess so choose your bird house placement wisely. It either case, it’s always so entertaining to watch them nest, feed their little babies, and hear them singing songs first thing in the morning.



Don’t forget, even insects serve a purpose and need a home.

8. Gardening resources.

Phone apps.

Identify and learn flowers and bugs using phone apps. Take a photo right on the spot or import an existing photo to the app and within seconds you’ll get the name of the species and some background information.

Picture This (left) allows you to identify flowers and trees you may see in passing and even help you sort out displaced seeds or scout out weeds in order to differentiate them from your early growth of treasures. With Picture Insect (right), you can identify pests and beautiful, interesting species of bugs.

These apps been pretty accurate in my experience so far, in fact, I am forever grateful for them. From this tree I saw at the market (left) where everything is toxic but the fruits to this Orb weaver (right), walking tight rope, web strung across the cucumber trellis in my backyard.

YouTube Channels I subscribe to.

Babylonstoren Farm

Betsy Begonia

Gardening Forever

Garden Style nw

Jeff Bernhard

Learn To Grow

李子柒 Liziqi


Midwest Gardener

OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening


RHS – Royal Horticultural Society

Rob Bob’s Aquaponics & Backyard Farm

I hope you enjoyed these 8 tips on creating a happy, peaceful garden sanctuary.

Garden Santuary

Let me know how your garden fares!



Featured Gardening Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Starting a Vegetable Garden

Have you been wanting to start a garden and don’t know where to begin?

Well you’ve come to the right place and it’s not too late!

Yes we are in the middle of summer, but you can actually start planning for a garden next year or even start one for this year for what is called a fall garden, meaning you can plant now and the vegetables will be ready to harvest in the fall.

All you need is a seed, soil, water, and sun.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Also be sure to check out my new video: Summer Vegetable Garden Tour.

Seeds and Starters

You can start your garden using seeds straight from a seed packet, dried from a vegetable plant, or as a little seedling or baby plant.

Plant “starters” are infant plants. Some plants do really well when planted from a seed straight into the ground. Others may do better when the seed is planted into soil and given a chance to begin growing indoors before planting into the ground. Starters allow a little more TLC to be given and protection from the elements when they are just beginning to sprout. They then can be transplanted into the ground when they are hardy enough to tolerate being outdoors.

Plant what you want, not what’s in stock

By planting something you enjoy eating, it will be more rewarding than picking whatever is just available at your local big box store or nursery.

I like to grow basic, essential herbs and vegetables as well as ones that are a bit exotic, challenging, and adventurous for the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones that my gardens are growing in. I choose herbs and vegetables I tend to use a lot in recipes, ones I run to the store more often for, or ones that go bad easily because when you grow them in the garden you can pick fresh as you go and not be wasteful.

Note the characteristics of each plant

Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and beets have edible leaves. Some plants are a harvest one and done, others continue to produce all summer long, some produce early, some produce late. These characteristics may be something to consider when choosing your plants.

Plants that grow fast will be more rewarding

Growing a few herbs and vegetables that yield an early harvest will be encouraging and rewarding. It also may allow you to plant an additional something in its place if the first plant’s growing season is done, it may allow your remaining plants to use up some of that now freed up space, or you can use that space for in-ground composting.

Add pollinator attracting flowers and plants

Bees and butterflies help to pollinate your plants, meaning that they transfer pollen from the males flowers to the female flowers that produce the fruit. Flowers can also help to ward off predators and pests, and they also add beauty and charm. I like lavender, mums, morning glory, snapdragons, echinacea, and sunflowers.

And of course, roses are always a good choice.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.


Don’t forget to label your plants! This is especially important if you are a first time gardener and do not know what the foliage of each plant should look like early on and as it matures. Weeds and other edible plant-life may come up and it can be difficult to distinguish them apart from your intended plant and you don’t want to mistakenly pull it out.


Choosing a Theme

Choosing a theme may help you narrow down your list of haves and wants in your garden and allow you to create a garden that is fun and exciting.

Here are some garden themes that are especially fun if you have children who might be helping out in the garden:

  • Alphabet Garden- Use different letters of the alphabet when choosing plants.
  • Butterfly Garden- Grow flowers and plants that are attractive to butterflies.
  • Favorite Book or Movie Garden- Choose a book with a garden theme and recreate it such as Peter Rabbit or Alice in Wonderland.
  • Cultural or Regional Garden- Choose plants relative to a people group, historical significance, region of the world, or according to cuisine you enjoy.
    • Three Sisters Garden- Native peoples from different parts of North America often planted corn, beans, and squash together — a trio often referred to as the “three sisters.”
    • Mediterranean Garden- Basil, dill, oregano, lemon, mint, rosemary, tarragon, sage, tomatoes, thyme, parsley, fennel, eggplant, and cucumber.
  • Fairy Garden- Ferns, succulents, grasses, and plants that have tendrils like squashes and melons, and nightshade varieties such as mushrooms or eggplants.
  • Giant or Miniature Garden- Choose varieties of vegetables that remain get oversized like giant sunflowers or pumpkins or remain small such as baby carrots, sugar baby watermelons, fingerling potatoes, Jack Be Little pumpkins.
  • Moonlight Garden- Pick a few plants that bloom at night like evening primrose or moonflowers. Choose vegetables from the nightshade variety such as mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants.
  • Pizza Garden- Grow the ingredients to make a pizza such as tomatoes, garlic, wheat, basil, oregano, and peppers.
  • Rainbow Garden- Choose an assortment of flowers, leaves, or vegetable harvest that shows off the different colors of the rainbow. Kaleidoscope carrots are a fun one.
  • Salad Garden- Grow the basics of a salad such as lettuce, carrots, cucumber, radish, and tomatoes.
  • Salsa Garden- Tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, peppers, garlic, and cilantro.
  • Sensory Garden- Select plants that engage the all the senses by choosing a variety of flowers or plants that are hard and soft to the touch, ones with distinct aromas and taste, of vibrant color or design, and flowers that attract the buzzing bees.

Choosing a Design

The flowers and vegetables you choose along with the space limitations of your garden plot will help you in your garden design. Characteristics such as growth space, whether you have certain plant types or materials available to grow ones in a vertical fashion with the support of a trellis, as well as climate, and soil type will help further narrow down your plant choices and the look of your garden.

I think the design as far as aesthetics goes is the fun part. Pots, raised beds, and in ground planting in rows or grids are all possible choices in any combination. I’m not a fan of coffin-shaped raised beds. I like squares and designs that give a secret garden feel. Ornamentals are a fun way to add pizazz and charm. Your garden will be unique to you so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through!

Here is what this year’s design looks like in the main corner of my summer garden, I did an in-ground garden with stepping stones in between:


Soil is basically made up of weathered rock materials such as sand, silt, and clay. There are also other soil compositions that can be found in native soil. You can add deficient materials to your garden to help with the success of your plant. Adding your own made compost is a great way to do that.

I’d recommend getting a soil testing kit that will check for pH as well as nutrients.



Rain water is best. It has a neutral pH and can allow you to skip on watering. More often than not, you don’t have to water everyday unless you live in a desert, in which case requires watering sometimes twice a day.

If your garden is needing to water from your city’s municipal water source, test the wetness of your soil using the depth of your fingers and if it’s still wet 1-2″ down, hold off on watering. I typically recommend only watering in the early morning unless you live in a hot desert climate because watering at night can be conducive to plant fungi, disease, and unwanted pests.


Doing a slow, deep watering is usually best so that the water can reach the roots instead of flooding just the surface. Try not to blast your plants with a sprayer but rather water from ground-level. Also not to get water on the leaves, if you do, gently shake off the excess water.


Southern and western exposures typically receive the most sunlight. So you’ll want to place sun-loving plants accordingly. Keep in mind your designated space constraints of full-grown plants because if you over-plant and crowd out your plants, they will compete for sunlight and nutrients found in the soil and they also won’t get adequate airflow to ward off fungi.

Here’s some advice…

It’s much more simple than you may think

The basics of seed, soil, water, and sun is seriously all you need. Once you give gardening a try, you’ll learn your plants and you’ll learn what they need.

Everyone has an opinion

It can be discouraging to read yes about this, no about that and I’ve often found gardening information to be confusing and contradictory. And much like child-rearing, everyone has an opinion about it, a very strong opinion at that. There are also a lot of myths out there and it can be difficult to weed them out.

We all want to be successful, skilled gardeners who can produce both flavorful and dependable produce, quality and quantity. We don’t want to be labeled as someone who can’t grow a plant to save their life, especially in the event of a zombie-alien apocalypse. Don’t be that person, they’re always the first to go in the most gruesome way.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of mourning over dying plants. It’s a bummer watching them slowly shrivel up as they go to their grave, but keep trying, even master gardeners and farmers have their bad days.

Take joy in the process

Gardening is therapeutic. It takes time and work, but it’s rewarding work and relaxing at the same time. The maintenance does get easier once your garden is established and it’s awesome to have something to look forward to.

Experience the joy of gardening like waking up early with your morning coffee and watching bees and butterflies go about. Nothing beats eating a fresh, crisp, non bitter cucumber you grew yourself, you really can’t compare that amazingness to anything you purchase at the store.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

The more you give away, the more you get back


So what did I grow for harvest this summer/fall?

Watch: Summer Vegetable Garden Tour


Alma paprika
Anaheim peppers
Brussel sprout
Bok choy
Butternut squash
Cajun belle
Cajun okra
English lavender
Fish pepper
Green leaf lettuce
Green onion
Husky cherry tomatoes
Japanese cucumber
Kale, two varieties
Kaleidoscope carrots
Mustard green, three varieties
Okinawa sweet potato
Red leaf lettuce
Roma tomatoes
Ruby Queen beets
Spanish peanut
Sugar baby watermelons
Sweet basil
Swiss chard
Thai basil
Thai basil


Busy bee sunflower
May Breeze flowers
New Guinea flower
Suntastic Yellow sunflower

There is so much you can grow!Flower photos.PNG

A fall garden?

There are couple vegetables that do well for a fall garden as the season starts to get cooler. These types of vegetables grow more quickly and do well with the sunshine and temperature change and will be ready to harvest in the fall if you plant them soon.

The growing season from peak sun/heat to first frost can actually be a longer, more abundant pivot point for some hardiness zones compared to the last frost of spring to peak sun/heat.

How to start

You can start by sowing seeds indoors now or plant them directly into the ground. If you plant directly into the ground during peak heat (July/August), be sure to shade them garden from the heat.

What to grow for fall

Varieties of lettuce, kale, spinach, mustard greens, boy choy, Brussel sprouts, green beans, radish, turnips, kohlrabi, carrot, garlic, onion, chive, cilantro make for great fall/winter crops.

In fact you can bury items like garlic cloves as a fall/winter cold season item and they will actually grow for next spring/summer season.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Happy gardening!

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Gardening © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Do you have a garden or are interesting in starting one, let me know in the comments below!

Beauty Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pinks Collection

Lisa Eldridge’s Summer Pinks Lipstick Collection is here! And wow are they gorgeous!

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

The Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks range in shades of pink and come in 2 different finishes, Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour and Insanely Saturated Lip Colour. All the lipsticks are 100% cruelty free and the Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colours are also 100% vegan.

This collection also features a linen makeup pouch in an aqua green color.

Keep reading for more details and closeup shots, also be sure to let me know in the comments below if you have a makeup look you’d like to share!

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Each lipstick is set in a beautiful gold holder with a magnetic closure which is just just so thoughtful and lovely. They look and feel luxurious and amazingly and the gold finish amazingly doesn’t get smudged with fingerprints.

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

A close up of Lisa’s monograph imprinted on the lipstick. They are just perfection.

Go Lightly

Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Go Lightly Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour is a light, vibrant salmon pink semi sheer lipstick. In the bullet this shade looks more like a bright coral but the payoff on the lips leans more towards a true salmon pink with pastel undertone. Add one swipe and dab for an easy, beautifying pop of colour or build to create a radiantly impactful look. This ultra modern, comfortable and luxurious texture feels smooth, light and pleasurable on the lips.

This shade is just like the one Audrey Hepburn applies while riding in the back of the car during a deleted scene in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s which was filmed in 1961. It’s so gorgeous for summer! Maybe we’ll have a girls night this weekend and watch this classic, that sounds like fun!

Love of My Life 

Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Love of My Life Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour is described as a bright, red/coral watermelon pink with a muted neon edge. It is so pigmented and so creamy. A truly dreamy texture that glides on seamlessly and gives 100% full coverage with a demi matte finish and weightless feel.

Can also be daubed on as a light stain for a more subtle effect.

I love this one as well, it makes such a soft, put together statement.

Rainbow Spill

Insanely Saturated Lip Colour

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Rainbow Spill Insanely Saturated Lip Colour is a bright, red/coral watermelon pink with a muted neon edge. It is so pigmented and so creamy. A truly dreamy texture that glides on seamlessly and gives 100% full coverage with a demi matte finish and weightless feel.

It can also be daubed on as a light stain for a more subtle effect.

This one is fun and stylish to wear and goes well with yellow clothing.

Skyscraper Rose

Insanely Saturated Lip Colour

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Skyscraper Rose Insanely Saturated Lip Colour is an electrically modern fuchsia pink. This one is also so pigmented and so creamy, a truly dreamy texture that glides on seamlessly and gives 100% full coverage with a demi matte finish and weightless feel.

Can also be daubed on as a light stain for a more subtle effect.

It’s actually been my lipstick life’s mission to find a shade that brings out the amazing tones of beetroot. Every time I cut into one I fall in love with the color so much I want to dab it on my lips like a stain, and occasionally I do, especially recently with these ones I grew in my garden this year! This shade captures the depth of color beautifully and I’m mesmerized by it!

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.
My garden Ruby Queen beetroot comparison to the incredible shade, Skyscraper Rose.

Summer Linen Makeup Pouch

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.
Close up of the pouch detail.

And how beautiful is this Summer Linen Makeup Pouch? I love the aqua green color which is made of linen. It has Lisa’s monogram embroidered on the side and the sides have gold cording. The zipper pull also features Lisa’s logo. I must say the quality is amazing, it’s sturdy and lightweight, and Lisa certainly did not skimp out on anything with this one. It has a soft, satin material lining and the zipper teeth are smooth to open and the teeth themselves are not cheap or rough which is so much appreciated!

The pouch is available for individual purchase and does come with a purchase of two or more of the lipsticks as well. It is limited edition.

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks © 2019 | All rights reserved.

PS… The Ultimate True Velvet Collection is going to be rereleased soon as well! I wasn’t able to get it on the first round but hopefully I will be able to this time. It features 3 glamorous shades of red along with black velvet pouch.

Let me know if you also got this Lisa Eldridge Summer Pink Lipsticks collection in the comments below!

Also be sure to comment what your favorite film starring Audrey Hepburn is! I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, and my most favorite, My Fair Lady. I really enjoy watching local theatre renditions of it, especially High School plays.

I hope you a lovely day!

PSS… If you are curious about the Paris Coffee and Cake Shop featured in the background, my sister made it for me for my birthday and I’ll be posting a video tour on my YouTube channel soon!

*Some links may be affiliates which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you. If you choose to use them I would like to say thank you and I appreciate the support!

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pinks Collection © 2019 | All rights reserved.
Lisa Eldridge Summer Pinks Collection | Erica Robbin

Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Amazing Deals for Amazon Prime Day 2019

Today marks the start of the two-day event from Amazon where you can find some amazing deals! I love a good sale, especially on items that can be shipped directly to my home and so I thought I would share a few specials going on right now.

Be sure to check continue checking throughout the day for more deals that are launching for the next 48 hours or check out these links to current and upcoming deals that have timer count downs so you don’t miss a sale:

Currently active deals

Upcoming deals

Here is a sneak peek into a few items. You could save more than 65% off the original price so please note that the site stripe links are showing some of the original prices even though they are on sale.

Even if you aren’t an Amazon Prime member there are still great deals for you too!


For Prime Day you’ll find sales of all kinds on beauty and hygiene ranging from makeup, makeup brushes, perfumes, hair care, lotions, soap, dental care, and even hand sanitizer and sunscreens.


From cookbooks to summer reads, magazines, and ereaders, Amazon has deals going on for books, magazines, and electric devices. Also you are looking for some amazing books to read, be sure to check out my Book List.

Amazon has a first reads program that is running deals where you can get 2 Kindle books for free and it’s $1.99 for everyone else. The reading program gives you early access to newly published books, editors’ picks, and exclusive prices: Amazon First Reads

Amazon sells 3 kinds of Kindles and cases for kids.


So many wonderful craft items are on sale including crafting devices, paints, paper, canvas, washi tape, brushes, glue, label makers, and crafting tools. I use a Cricut machine to make greeting cards. It’s so easy, fun, and the model that I have is on sale!

The Kitchen

Sales for kitchen items range from Insta-Pots, thermometers, fondue makers, portable burners, blenders, bakeware, and more!


Everything from cameras, lenses, memory cards, lighting kits, scanners, storage containers, camera bags, and photos displays.


So many electronics!

Gifts for the family

The sale also includes gift cards in addition to popular games, toys, back-to-school items, pet items, and jewelry.

I hope you have a great day and find some amazing deals! Let me know what items you are most excited about in the comments below!

*Some links may be affiliates which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you. If you choose to use them I would like to say thank you and I appreciate the support!

Beauty Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Summer 2019 Beauty Favorites: Skin & Body

Dry Skin Body Brush

| Erica Robbin

Natural bristles help to sweep away flaky skin cells, getting you beach body ready. I feel so energized after using it and it helps to get rid of any little bumps and helps to get me a closer shave.

Blossom Honey Hand and Body Soap

| Erica Robbin

I’ve bought this several times now and enjoy it as a hand soap and also use it to clean my makeup brushes. It’s gentle and effective, breaking up oil, dirt, and pigments from makeup easily. It smells of light orange, with a fresh, yet sweet fragrance that doesn’t get obnoxious with repeated use.

Dead Sea Mud Mask by Majestic Pure

Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser by Kiehl’s

Age Defender Dual-Action Exfoliating Cleanser by Kiehl's © 2019 | All rights reserved.

I was first introduced to this product during a layover at a time I wanted some kind of exfoliation while in between flights. It’s unique in that it offers both a chemical and mechanical means of exfoliation. It comes out like a gritty, black, thin paste-like formula, so know that you’ll be rinsing your face and sink a few times and be sure not to get it in your eyes. It’s gentle enough on my skin to help refreshen and smooth out the texture that I occasionally get when traveling a lot.

Dead Sea Mud Mask by Majestic Pure

Dead Sea Mud Mask by Majestic Pure © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This mud mask is my all-time favorite for smoothing out my skin on a more regular basis especially during the summer. I remember having such smooth skin after swimming in the Dead Sea. I brought back so much wonderful mud and products so I could recreate that lovely, soft, clear skin that I had. After applying this mud mask, I let it dry completely and gently rub it off until no more mask remnant remain, than rinse. It does wonders for pores, blemishes, and texture,

Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask

© 2019 | All rights reserved.

I was first recommended this mask after having had a bit of sun and it worked really well for me to calm and hydrate my face, neck, and back. It’s a skin softening and brightening mask that helps soothe dry, sun-kissed, and dull complexions. The scent and routine application of this mask is truly relaxing.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution

| Erica Robbin

With salicylic acid and glycolic acid, this solution aids in the sloughing of cells, preventing breakouts and smoothing the texture of skin. A few nights a week, I use a cotton pad to apply it to my face, neck, chest, and back, it removes every last trace of makeup and I find myself I waking up with smooth, clear skin.

Kukuiæ Oil by Oils of Aloha

| Erica Robbin

This oil is amazing! I’m probably on my 4th bottle up to this point. I follow techniques from Lisa Eldridge’s Facial Massage Routine, applying this lightweight oil on a nightly basis instead of face creams. It hydrates and smoothes and I wake up with gleaming skin the next morning.

Wonder Glow Face Primer by Charlotte Tilbury

Wonder Glow Face Primer by Charlotte Tilbury © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This is a light-reflecting face primer. You can put it on before applying foundation or wear it on its own for even skin and a soft, healthy, radiant glow.

Trader Joe’s French Liquid Orange

‘beach’ Body Oil by Bobbi Brown

© 2019 | All rights reserved.

Summer captured in a bottle and I don’t want it to end! I love this scent and the oil is amazing at hydrating my skin. It’s described as a lightly intoxicating blend of sand jasmine, sea spray, and mandarin and contains a blend of oils that are known to nourish and soften. It reminds of the warm, beachy fragrance of Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford. It also reminds me of my childhood because of the similarity to the Bull Frog sunscreen we would wear when we spent time on the lake.

Surfer’s Salve by Candle Works

Surfer's Salve by Candle Works © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Mosquitos beware. This salve not only soothes sunburns, bug bites, rashes, and dry skin, but I also noticed that it repels mosquitos. I also love it for my feet.

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil by doTERRA Essential Oils

| Erica Robbin

I don’t know about all the claims of essential oils, but I do know that this particular blend keeps mosquitos away. I keep it in my purse or by the front door and apply a little dab here and there before gardening or going out for a run and those blood suckers turn the other way.

Chesapeake Bay Candle Mind & Body Serenity Scented Candle

© 2019 | All rights reserved.

And lastly, a relaxing, beachy scented candle. I bought this on a whim so I could get free Amazon shipping. It’s a lead-free wick, soy wax blend candle that smells wonderfully fresh and invigorating, yet peaceful and calming. When lit, the green frosted glass gives off a gorgeous glow. It’s very long-lasting, measuring at 70 hours of burn time.

This completes my Summer 2019 Beauty Favorites, I hope I was able to introduce you to some lovely products that you will enjoy as well!

What are your skin and body beauty favorites for summer? Let me know in the comments below!

Also be on the look out for some very special beauty items that I am so excited to share! The package was delivered from across the pond last night and I can’t wait to open it and show you!


Beauty Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Summer 2019 Beauty Favorites: Hair & Nails

In continuing on with the second week of the 3-week Friday series of beauty favorites for summer 2019, here are my most loved products for hair and nails.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volume Shampoo

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volume Shampoo © 2019 | All rights reserved.

I’ve used this line of shampoo for ages, at least 20 years. It’s my go-to shampoo for summer. It works well at volumizing in high humidity and acts like a clarifying shampoo, getting sunscreen and build up out of hair.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This is a hair mask, but I use it as a regular conditioner. It helps to get tangles out especially after a day at the beach or pool. I work it in with a wet brush.

Maria Nila Style & Finish Cream Heat Spray

Maria Nila Style & Finish Cream Heat Spray © 2019 | All rights reserved.

I got this cream heat spray in Marzia’s Sub Box. It makes my hair incredibly soft and find that it actually works amazingly well as a detangler!

Moroccanoil Moroccanoil Treatment

Moroccanoil Moroccanoil Treatment © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This is an old favorite of mine. I’ve repurchased this several times over the years and a little goes a long way. I use it to smooth the middle layers of my hair and ends after straightening. It adds a bit of shine and also smells like a coconut mixed drink with is lovely.

Splash of Grenadine by Essie

Splash of Grenadine by Essie © 2019 | All rights reserved.

My spring and summer signature color! I do wear it all-year-round though as it’s one of those polishes that gives you a bit of a perk even during gray and dreary days. It’s a blue-toned almost Barbie pink, leaning toward the side of fun, yet elegant. It’s fully opaque with one coat and lasts forever. This is my second bottle.

Do You Lilac It? by OPI

Do You Lilac It? by OPI © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Like it says, Lilac, and the perfect shade of it in one coat. It’s fun, soft, and feminine.

Koala Bear-y by OPI

Koala Bear-y by OPI © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This nail polish is like a yummy hard candy. It also is opaque in one coat and has a pretty shine to it. It looks great on fingernails and toenails and looks great with any summer outfit.

Mermaid to Order by OPI Sephora

Mermaid to Order by OPI Sephora © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Imagine the feeling of enchantment as mysterious waters and all the creatures in it call your name. This color always calls my name in summer and I love looking down and seeing the unique metallic teal shimmering on my toes.

What are your favorite hair and nail products this summer?

Beauty Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Summer 2019 Beauty Favorites: Makeup

Today will kickoff a 3-week Friday series of beauty favorites for summer 2019. I’ll be posting my most loved items in beauty, including makeup, hair and nails, as well as skin and body.

Makeup is among those things that never ceases to exist in the world. It’s celebrated in just about every culture, and from generation to generation, it just transforms itself into another amazing expression of beauty and art.

My love for cosmetics and began when I was a little girl. My mom would often paint my nails to match my clothes. I remember some of my most cherished outfits. I adored one style in particular which was black-and-white houndstooth patterned leggings with a coordinating top and silver sparkle jelly shoes. The top had an appliqué with a bright yellow sun on it. I was always so excited to wear it because it meant matching yellow polish, which of course also complimented my yellow four hole button earrings. Gosh, I had to have been like, what, 6-7 years old and I felt so put together!

Growing up, it was such a treat to pick out my beauty wishes for Christmas stocking stuffers from catalogues. Surprises of chapsticks, bubble bath, and hand cream. Scents of lilac and cherry yogurt. And my mom’s Avon lipstick samples, they were made just for me. I do wish those little treasures would come back, they’d be perfect for my purse and for travel.

Things haven’t changed much nowadays. The joy in makeup remains, though I’ve actually been on a product no-buy for about 2 years now and I’m still working through all the lovely beauty items I have collected. Soon I will be making one exception though.

With that I am excited to share my joy you, so let’s begin with makeup favorites.

IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil


This eyebrow pencil has been a serial repurchase for me. The shade is natural, not too red, not to grey, and as it says, universal, suiting multiple types of hair and skin tones. It’s dual-ended with a spoolie brush on the opposite end, making it ideal for travel and convenience.

Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in Mudcake


I received this one in an Ipsy glam bag. If you’re not familiar with Ipsy, it’s a monthly beauty subscription and introduces you to a wide arrange of popular as well as lesser known new and upcoming products to try. I like surprises and it provides a lot of products in travel-size. This mineral eyeshadow is a chocolate brown with shifts of copper and green. It’s a loose pigment so it can be a bit messy upon opening the jar, but I love the color and colorshifting shimmer nonetheless.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Riviera Eyeshadow Palette

Anastasia Beverly Hills Riviera Eyeshadow Palette © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Riviera Eyeshadow Palette © 2019 | All rights reserved.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Riviera Eyeshadow Palette © 2019 | All rights reserved.

I am excited to have won this palette in a giveaway from the YouTube channel Kendy Jane Beauty. Kendy and I started our channels around the same time, she has a fun beauty channel so be sure to check it out! I have enjoyed this palette dearly! I love the smooth and pigmented texture which includes a mix of mattes, shimmers, and glitters. It has perfect color combination for the summer season, whether you are looking for a neutral look or something fun, vibrant, and colorful.

MAC Fresh Honey Mineralize Blush

MAC Fresh Honey Mineralize Blush © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This blush is a warm, soft, deep apricot color with a very faint hint of shimmer. It brings a lot of life to my face in a way that is different from pinky shades. Unfortunately this one looks like it has been discontinued, but I have linked a blush called Love Joy by MAC which is similar. ColourPop and Makeup Geek also have some peachy-toned blushes that are stunning. I have a few from their collections, but I don’t have them with me at the moment to show comparison swatches. These orange-toned shades add a natural, fresh, energizing, sun-kissed glow that is perfect for this time of year.

Make Up For Ever 304 Lip Brush

Makeup Forever Lip Brush © 2019 | All rights reserved.

This brush is amazing for applying lipstick with precision, whether outlining or blending. I have both the square 300 and the rounded 304 and like them both. It has a protective metal cap which stays on very securely to ensure that lipstick doesn’t get all over your handbag after use. The size is small when capped, making it perfect for travel.

Plush Lip Matte in Plain Jane by Makeup Geek


I love the color, texture, and wear of this one! It’s a pinky-berry shade that really perks up my face. Unfortunately I’m now seeing this color has been discontinued, so I’m going to use it very sparingly. This entire line is so pigmented though, so a little goes a long way.

I hope you enjoyed exploring some of my makeup favorites. Be sure to let me know what you have been loving lately in the comments below. And next week’s favorites? Hair and nail products!

Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

2018: The Year of Just Realizing Stuff

“Like, I feel like every year has a new energy, and I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realizing stuff. And everyone around me, we’re all just, like, realizing things…” ~Kylie Jenner.

I can relate to a certain element of finding out what you didn’t know before. So here are 10 things I learned in 2018, some are more personal revelations and some are just interesting facts:

  1. This year I made a YouTube channel, started on Goodreads and Instagram, opened up a shop at Redbubble, and learned how to build this website!

    It’s amazing the things I did to entertain myself with while lying in bed with casts on both legs recovering from fractures the beginning of this year. I’m still figuring out a lot along the way but I’d like to thank the people behind the many resources available. For links to tips and tricks that have helped me along the way and my sites visit:






    Here is a YouTube video I made where I had some fun learning about cinematography:

  2. Did you know that Caesar is pronounced more like Kaiser instead of like seezer?

    Yup, the C is actually pronounced like a hard K in the original Latin.

  3. Are you wanting to learn a new craft?

    I highly encourage you to do so! I took the time this year to learn how to paint in acrylic, oil, and watercolor and I am loving it. Oils are my favorite so far since you can take your time painting with them. Here are my first paintings in each media:

    And here is my latest oil painting project in anticipation of an upcoming partnership between Redbubble and Cartoon Network:

  4. When did the dashes drop off of the word email?

    Apparently I missed this change last year. You can read more about it in this article From E-mail to Email: Is the Sky Falling?

  5. Did you know puffins fly?

    Of course they do, makes sense… but have you ever seen one that wasn’t perched or waddling on the ground? Check out the Instagram posts by photographer Justin Hofman. He takes some stunning photos, including puffins like this one here. They look so imbalanced it just seems impossible that they would fly. Be sure to visit The Nordic Visitor blog for more facts about these amazing birds.

  6. Speaking of birds, what is your interpretation of the Bird of Paradise flower? 

Wrong interpretation of the Bird of Paradise flower, photo courtesy of RedditIt’s called bird of paradise because it looks like the left picture, not the right.

7. Did you know that the word “smog” is a combination smoke and fog?

The word was coined and used to describe smoky fog, its opacity, and odor.

8. Why are key number pads and telephone pads a different configuration?

I’ve always wondered this and it drives me nuts. The article Why is the keypad arrangement different for a telephone and a calculator?  has some interesting theories.

9. The world might actually be better than you think it is.

I read (actually listened via audiobook) a book this summer called Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – And Why Things are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. Be sure to take the Gapminder Test 2018 to see how much you know ahead of reading the book.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling book © 2018 | All rights reserved.

10. Have you ever noticed a piece of clothing shift into a really visually distracting pattern?

Well there’s a name for that and it’s called “moiré” and Lightroom has an editing tool to fix it. You can read more about this strange interference in the article Fixing Moiré in Lightroom.

11. Bonus Review- I have a renewed passion for photography.

It’s something I’ve always enjoyed as a fun hobby, but never took it any further than that. I’m really behind in understanding skills and techniques, gear, and editing for as long as I’ve actually been taking photos. But this year I have learned so much and I now shoot in raw which has been a major change for me. Here is my most popular photo of 2018 and prints are available at Redbubble:

Wailea Sunset © 2018 | All rights reserved.

12. Bonus Shoutout- An artist who inspired me in 2018.

I would also like to give a shoutout to an artist who has inspired me along the way. She is amazing and you can check out her work here: SillySallyMoon.

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2018 has been quite the journey for me and I’d like to thank you for all your support in my endeavors!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you learned in 2018 in the comments below and be sure to include your social media @username (links won’t be accepted) so we can all see your latest projects and works of art! And who knows? You could be featured next year!

*Some links may be affiliates which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you. If you choose to use them I would like to say thank you and I appreciate the support!

Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Finding Inspiration

According to a study conducted by Adobe, almost two-thirds of those surveyed felt creativity was valuable to society, yet surprisingly, only 25% of people believe they are living up to their potential to be creative. Why do you think that is? Have you personally felt you lack the time, productivity, talent, or resources to create things of value? Or perhaps you’ve hit a dry spell and are having difficulty finding inspiration. Maybe you’re like me and most moments of creativity come in like waves of the ocean.

Today marks Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday! He’s one of the most recognizable characters in the world, having been created by Walt Disney and his dear friend, Ub Iwerks, in 1928. When talking about Disneyland, which he claimed to be his most important work, Walt Disney stated “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” I love that.

Mickey Mouse is especially close to my heart because he’s actually the same age as my grandma. And wow does she love the rides at Disneyland! She even enjoys riding the most daring ones with me! Last year I had the chance to visit Walt Disney’s hometown in Marceline, Missouri. It’s a charming town that is full of nostalgia and Disneyesque architecture. It definitely left me in awe and wonder and full of inspiration. You can find out more at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.

Do you feel like you’re living up to your fullest creative potential? What holds you back and what inspires you move forward?

Here are a few ways that help me find inspiration and I hope they help you too. And be sure to keep reading for a special announcement.

      1. Volunteer your time and talents. “The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem” ~Walt Disney. Get involved in activities where you are doing things for other people. Ask yourself, “What can I do to add to other peoples’ happiness and bring them joy?” Check out your local community center, nursing home, or the bulletin board at your favorite coffee shop. There is always someone who would just be blessed by what you have to offer.
      2. Don’t scrap your less than ideal pieces of work. Photography has evolved so much in the last couple years and it has sparked a renewed interest for me. Because I started on film, I found that I have a terrible habit of getting rid of photos that are less than perfect. When I initially took up photography, there weren’t many options to fix problems because of constraints in technology, whether the horizon wasn’t level, the exposure was off, or someone’s shoulder was in the way. Nowadays these types of issues can be remedied much more easily. This has changed my way of thinking and it has given me more freedom to create that beloved image. Furthermore did you know that an ugly broken cake roll can be made into a beautiful and yummy Gingerbread Trifle? Look for opportunities to make the most of your less than ideal creations before you decide they won’t work.
      3. Try a new craft or medium. Learning a new hobby or skill and gaining a better appreciation for it can help you grow as an artist. I’ve really enjoyed painting along with Bob Ross videos. But before I started in oils, I decided to try acrylics. However I’ve learned that painting with acrylics is not my forte but I have great respect for people who do. The acrylic paints weren’t blending properly, the bristles were lifting the paint off the canvas, I pretty much got tired of looking at it. So I’m going to wrap it up and take it to my next white elephant gift exchange party. Can you can relate to the expectation and reality memes like I do?

        Check out online educational resources such as The Great Courses Plus which offers online study courses for professional development, hobbies, travel, history, literature, art, writing, and various languages. I’ve taken quite a few of them and they’ve all been incredibly insightful. Modern States also has excellent study courses for various topics which allow you to prepare for advanced placement or examinations for college credit, for free.

      4. Live in the present. It’s easy to get stuck in the past or the future. “If I only had this… If I only had more… ” Whether it’s advantages, disadvantages, failures, potentials, or attestations, it’s what you do with your lot in life that tells you not only what you are but who you are as a person.
      5. Spend time with nature. Get outside. Go for a walk, run, do some yard work, or plant a garden. Choose an activity that benefits you in more than one way. It’s amazing how easy it is to get distracted while focusing on something else. Take advantage of that distraction because that’s when many creative ideas often come to mind. Be sure to check out my latest YouTube video Flower Blossom Compilation Time-lapse. FLower blossom compilation thumbnail
      6. Write your thoughts down. Keep a notebook or have your device handy and write down thoughts as they come to mind. I find that writing down a few key words right away helps to develop my ideas on a deeper level and in more abundance.Write your thoughts down © 2018 ericarobbin.comOn that same note, take into consideration your device wallpapers and notebook covers. Choose ones that inspire you.DSC02126
      7. Have a dedicated creative space. Whether a craft room, studio, an office, or a cozy nook, having a space that is set aside just for your work will allow you to be ready to create. It can be any place where you can leave your tools and equipment out. It’s a real bummer when you want to create something but lose that inspiration because everything you need is in boxes, it takes too much time and effort to get things set up, and then you start to dread having to clean up afterward. Look for a place with natural light and decorate it with positivity and have at least one plant.
      8. Incorporate your other senses. Whether it’s listening to beautiful music or an encouraging radio broadcast show, lighting a candle, wearing a reminiscent fragrance, or eating one of your most favorite snacks, take delight in all that life has to offer. Chex Muddy Buddies, photo courtesy of General Mills
      9. Stay organized. Maintaining a tidy work space will allow you to go straight to work without having to spend an unnecessary amount of time looking for misplaced brushes or scissors. Keeping your personal life organized can also help you remain focused and lessen the burden when committing your time toward a project. It can be rather difficult to dedicate yourself fully to a project and enjoy the process of creating when you have messes and errands looming over your head.
      10. Plan but don’t over plan. Perhaps you are a person who is motivated by deadlines. Welcome to my life, where most of my best ideas come when my mind is under pressure. This type of creative spirit has its advantages and disadvantages. As a child, I always felt like I needed a rigid schedule, to work ahead, and finish early. However as an adult, I find myself thriving on last minute energy. There is a way to avoid the pitfalls and celebrate the successes of both. By choosing to do simple things early on like getting ingredients out, writing an outline, or choosing paint colors, you can still feel the inertia of accomplishment without becoming overly stressed when you’re up against time.