How I lost 20 pounds in 2 months without exercising.

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I am not good at counting calories or counting grams of fat. I can’t keep up with the calculations of calories per portion and when I try, it drive me nuts. A couple years ago, I was searching for a miracle diet that would help me lose about 15 pounds over the summer. I had tried and failed every diet or weight loss program that I came across- not because they don’t work, but because I couldn’t complete them successfully. I knew that I needed to find something easy that didn’t require portion control, counting calories, and….. exercise.  I needed to find something that I could completely cut out of my diet so that I didn’t have to keep up with anything extra. Something like a ‘just don’t eat this and that’s it’ type of diet. A few months prior, I had just finished a year of vegetarianism and it actually wasn’t too hard for me. (I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could be a vegetarian for 1 year. Not for any particular reason, just to see if I could do it.) It was simple, I just didn’t eat meat and that was it. I wanted a diet similar to this for the simplicity.

Well, I found something that worked for me. I refer to it as my ‘secret weapon diet’ because it works fast, is pretty simple, and I can do it anytime I need to shed a few pounds quickly. Short disclaimer- this is not necessarily a diet that will leave you with long lasting results because it’s probably not something you will want to commit to for the rest of your life. If you are looking for a diet that is actually more of a lifestyle change that you will continue to do for a long time, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. However, if you are like I was and desperate to lose a few pounds in a short amount of time, whether it be for an upcoming event or just to lose that extra weight you gained over the holidays then keep reading.

I am about to share with you how I lost 20 pounds in 2 months without any exercise.

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Books on my nightstand. What I’m reading now.

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books on my nightstand

I’m definitely not a person that reads one book at a time. I have different types of reading for different moods. I love seeing what other people are reading so I thought I’d share my current reading list with you!

grace for the momentGrace for the Moment by, Max Lucado

If you’re looking for a short and inspirational daily read, this is a great book to consider.

Max Lucado is a pastor and a writer. He has written over 89 books about God’s love. His message is simple: God loves you so let Him. I was introduced to his works when I was very young. I fell in love with one of his children’s books, You are Special.

It’s a daily devotional and each day takes about a minute to read. I love the way Max Lucado writes these daily encounters with God. Each passage has a new and different meaning that can be interpreted differently to each of us.

The preface gives a beautiful description of the choices that we should make daily. “I choose love, I choose joy, I choose peace, I choose patience, I choose kindness, I choose goodness, I choose faithfulness, I choose gentleness, and I choose self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.”

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4 Morning Rituals for a Successful Day

Morning Rituals

The morning hours are so important. Your day will likely reflect the energy that you started it with. Good energy or bad energy. Tense vs. calm. Nothing is worse than starting your day by running around the house looking for your car keys, already late for work. You didn’t have time to wash your hair because you over slept and breakfast… uh, who has time for that?  If you start your morning this way, chances are the rest of your day will be spent playing catch up.

A few years ago, I decided that I would try to wake up a little earlier than usual so that I could ease into my day. This of course required me to go to bed earlier which was not easy. However, after I finally got my sleeping schedule down, my mornings started becoming my favorite part of the day.

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“It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming. In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.”

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First Impression: Loving Tan

Laying out by the pool to catch some extra rays is not as popular as it once was. We are becoming more aware of the fact that too much time in the sun will leave you with sun spots, early wrinkles, and can even lead to skin cancer. Tanning seems to be “going out of style.” This is coming from a girl who has spent way too much time in the sun. I’ve got to be honest, striving for that deep brown tan has been quite an obsession of mine for years. I was the girl who would spend 5-6 hours laying out by the pool covered in coconut oil from head to toe. I was the girl who would bake her skin in the tanning bed during the winter months. I’ve always known it was bad for me and tried to make attempts at finding a nice self-tanner or tented moisturizer. Those never worked for me. They would leave me orange, blotchy, or even worse… streaky! Even the ones that partially worked just didn’t look like a real tan and usually didn’t last long on my skin. Finally, after trying what seemed like every self-tanner under the sun, I have discovered a self-tanner that has blown me away! The other products that I’ve tried don’t hold a candle to this product. So, if you’re in the market for something that will give you that just got back from Hawaii glow, look no further.

Tan

The product is called Loving Tan. It’s a mousse type consistency and applies very evenly to the skin. I have the one that you leave on for six hours and then shower off. I believe they have a 2 hour express one now as well. There are three different shades to choose from: medium, dark, and ultra-dark. I have the dark one. Mine came with two mittens as well- one for exfoliating before using the product and one for application.

I heard about this product about a year ago from my favorite youtuber, Jaclyn Hill. (Shout out to Jaclyn!!) I watched a video she posted on how to apply it and her results. Her skin looked flawless so I made a mental note to remember the Loving Tan line when the winter months rolled around. (Summer was quickly approaching and of course I thought I had to have another summer laying poolside.) Months later, I figured I would give it a try because most of the products that Jaclyn raves about, I end up falling in love with as well. So I placed my order and a few days later, I received my little package of goodies. Continue reading

The “Perfect” Woman

Check out this great post! Very inspiring!

Proverbs 31, Proverbs 31 Woman, proverbs 31 girlI’ve been intimidated by this woman since the first moment I read about her.

She’s the woman who has it all together.

The woman who rises early to prepare for the day.

The woman who always reaches out to help the people around her who are in need.

The woman who takes care of her home in such an orderly fashion even Martha Stewart wouldn’t be able to keep up.

The woman who wisely budgets and invests her finances.

The woman who speaks wisdom and kindness into the lives of the people around her.

The woman who works hard and lives each day with purpose.

The woman who cares not just about taking care of her outside appearance but whose beauty shines from within.

The woman who fears the Lord in all her ways and smiles at the days ahead.

Who is this woman you might ask? The Proverbs 31…

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5 Products that will take your skin to the next level!

HELLO THERE

If you’re an avid lover of skin care or you are looking to revamp your nightly routine to take your skin to the next level, then you are in the right place! I’ll admit it. I am a little obsessed with both skin care and beauty products. I’ve recently (I’d say the last 6 months or so) discovered the perfect combination of skin care products for my routine. And I have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin!

I have oily to combination skin and unfortunately it’s pretty damaged from years and years of tanning. (If you want to know how I keep my tan WITHOUT damaging my skin, click here.) The last few years I’ve struggled with bouts of adult acne, lots of texture on my cheeks, and a very dull skin tone. Now that I have found products and have been faithful to my skin care routine EVERY NIGHT, my skin has come back to life!

Below you will find my ‘ride or die’ products that are staples in my skin care routine. I could actually tell you about ALL of the products I love to use but to start off, I’ll share the top 5.

Quick disclaimer: This post is not sponsored whatsoever. I simply love these products and brands and I just want to help anyone that is struggling with their skin.

Moving on! Let the fun begin!

#1. Purity Made Simple | One-Step Facial Cleanser by, Philosophy

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I don’t know what kind of formulation they have in this bad boy but there’s definitely some kind of magic in there. This is the first step in my routine: washing my face. However, this not only washes my face and clears my pours, but it also take my makeup off in one swoop. ALL of my makeup. That might not sound like a big deal but if you know me then you know I tend to be a little heavy handed when it comes to makeup. In other words, I wear A LOT of makeup- especially eye makeup. This stuff literally washes it all away with only one use. When I shower at night, I just lather it up on my face, gently rub around my eyes, rinse it off and BOOM it’s gone!

(Just to measure the effectiveness- I used to use makeup remover wipes and it would take 1 full wipe to remove all of my mascara and eye shadow and then another wipe to remove my foundation.)

Plus, the big bottle is a pretty reasonable price. Especially if you count the fact that it will probably last 6 months or so.

#2. Josie Maran- 100% Pure Argan Oil Light

Josie

I was very hesitant to try this product because my skin tends to get really oily. The thought of putting oil on my face and into my pours made me cringe! But, after hearing some of my favorite beauty influencers rave about it (shout out to Jaclyn Hill!), I learned that oil combats oil and this could actually help with my oily skin problem. So I decided to give it a try.

YEEESSSS!!! It’s wonderful! This has seriously evened out the texture on my skin. I actually didn’t even realize that I had so much texture on my cheeks before but now my skin is so much smoother! One of my favorite things about this beauty oil is that it lasts a long time so you really get your money’s worth! I am using the same bottle that I started using five months ago and I still have over half of it left. I use one drop- literally one drop- each night. I drop it in the palm of my hands (clean hands of course!) and massage it into my skin, mainly on my cheeks and forehead.

#3. Mario Badescu- drying lotion

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What I would have given to have this product during my adolescent years! This is magic in a bottle. Ya’ll, if you struggle with acne, stop what you’re doing, hop over to the Mario Badescu website, and buy yourself a bottle. This will change your skin like nothing else. You can thank me later. 🙂

If you have a blemish or feel one coming in, this little guy will take that blemish away over-night! It’s a pink paste that you apply at night before bed. It’s not something that you would want to use during the daytime, if you plan on leaving your house anyway. You simply stick a Q-tip down in the bottle and submerge it in the pink paste at the bottom. Then dab that paste wherever you have a problem spot. It takes a few seconds to dry and you will immediately feel it begin working its magic. The next morning just wash it off and voila- your blemish is no more!

#4. Clinique- All About Eyes

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Holy moly! This one might just be my number one pick of the bunch. I have been using this eye cream for years. I apply it underneath and around my eyes each night and it leaves my skin feeling like silk! I can always tell if I’ve forgotten to use this the morning after by how puffy my eyes are. This little magic potion is super moisturizing and makes me look like I get eight hours of beauty rest each night.

#5. The POREfessional by, Benefit

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This one is probably more on the beauty side of things rather than skin care, but I just had to mention it. This is a balm that minimizes the appearance of pores. It definitely does the job AND it leaves my skin feeling super silky! I apply this product before my primer each day. It is lightweight and doesn’t have any color or tint to it. On days that I don’t wear any makeup I just apply a thin coat of this all over my face to even out my skin tone. It is probably one of my most prized possessions in my collection and has been for a couple of years.

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There are many more products that I use and adore but the five listed above are the ones that I will restock my medicine cabinet with time and time again because I use them so much.

 

Side note: I’m a subscriber for both Birchbox and Ipsy and receive tons of beauty/skin products from them monthly. These companies send products to you in the mail. There are usually 5-6 products from each company each month. Most are sample size but they usually add in at least one full size. Most of my skin care discoveries are credited to both of these companies.

Comment below on the skin care products that you love! And let me know if you would like to know more about Birchbox and Ipsy. Until next time, Beauty Bloggers!

The Sweetest Melody

little girlI woke up this morning around 6:00, poured myself a cup of coffee, put a big fluffy sweater on and walked out on our front patio. Today is the first day of spring. Why not drink my coffee out on the patio and enjoy the first morning of spring? It was a little chilly but that didn’t bother me too much. It was nice.

The first thing that pops in my mind when I pray in the morning is my students. (normally I pray that they will have good behavior that day but other things as well). “Are they ready to sing today? Are they enjoying our music? Did they practice last night? Did they have to work late last night? Did they eat last night? I hope they’re okay. Today they will be okay… because we get to sing.”

I don’t remember a time in my life without music. We all love music because it makes us feel good. It just does. Since I teach choir, I get to sing and make music all day long! I get to pass that contagious music bug along to hundreds of kids every day. There is just something about singing that makes your soul feel good. But sharing feeling with a group of students- no words can express that sense of joy.

When I was in college, I lived for one specific hour of each day- choir. Stress and worry were gone the moment I stepped onto the risers. I mean, you can’t help but love it. Any time you hear a group of people singing with meaning and with passion, you just have to go check it out. It’s contagious. You might be on your way to an important class or meeting but then you hear those voices and those harmonies. Next thing you know you’re wandering down the halls of the music department and find yourself peaking through the doors of the choir room. “Yessss! I don’t know what this is but this is right!” Well that’s what happened to me anyways.

It was through singing with a group of people that lead me to experience some of my most spiritual moments in life. Singing a sacred Latin text in 4 part harmony with 73 other people… wow. We could all feel it- that transcendental moment of unity. There was nothing else like it.

This week was a good week. We had some really great rehearsals at school and got a lot accomplished. We are preparing for our spring concert and the music is starting to come to life! It’s really amazing to see growth in individual students. Growth and progression as a choir- yes, that’s great but growth in an individual is even more powerful. Months ago I had a handful of students that wouldn’t dare sing too loud in fear that someone else might hear their voice. Singing is very vulnerable. Everyone has a unique voice and putting that voice out there in front of all of your peers- that’s scary. But this week…. we all sang and we sang with passion. Maybe everyone was excited that spring break was right around the corner. Maybe the warmer weather brought out some extra joy. I don’t know what it was but it just the right combination “awesomeness!” That student that would turn red with embarrassment when they would have to sing silly warm ups was all of a sudden dancing and singing in the risers.

I’ve noticed recently how much music affects each of us in the same way. Yes, there are different ways that music moves each individual but ultimately it brings us all to the same place. That place of unity. Sometimes, that’s all someone may need in their life- a sense of unity- like they belong in this place at this time and are part of something magical.

I may be over analyzing these moments or all of this may sound silly, but that’s okay- it’s moments like these that we live for. Our worries are gone when we step on the risers and sing.

“I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” –Paul McCartney

Did I finish the race?

I graduated...now what-

Did I finish the race?I decided to start blogging because I felt like I needed some kind of creative outlet in my life. Blogging has been in the back of my mind for a few years now but during the last few months of my life, I’ve been searching for something. The main focus of my “quest” was to develop a closer relationship with God and experience that “shift” that I hear about in church all the time. After constant prayer and journaling, I have been experiencing that shift that I was looking for, but sometimes only in spurts. Success and failure back and forth, over and over again. But there was one thing that remained consistent. Each and every time that I could feel the Lord moving in my spirit or hear Him speaking to me, His words to me were the same. “Don’t question me. Trust me.”

Let me rewind a bit and explain what has been going on in my life recently. Last May I graduated from college. College was one of the best experiences of my life. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education. I moved back home for a few months and began applying for jobs AND planning my wedding. (After 5 great years with my boyfriend, he proposed and we had set that date for December 7th!)

My dream job was to be a choir director at a high school. Where I live, employment as a teacher is pretty competitive especially in my field. There are numerous english, math, science, and history teachers in every school but normally only one choir teacher. I knew I had my work cut out for me and was prepared to start at the bottom and eventually (I was guessing in about 5-6 years) land my dream job. I was okay with that plan. I mean, I was young, fresh out of college with no teaching experience.

The Lord had big plans for me and that became a reality when I got my first teaching job- a high school choir director at one of the best schools in our area. What??? I still don’t believe it sometimes. Anyways…. I was ecstatic! I just couldn’t believe that I could be so blessed. School began in August and after the first week of school, my fiancé and I moved into our first apartment together. We thought it might be a little easier for us to make “the big move” before the school year was in full swing since we would be getting married in the middle of the school year.

The wedding plans were falling into place and I was already a teacher. Then BOOM!!! It hit me- my life had totally changed. I’m a grown up now. I had a new home and lived with my fiancé and all of a sudden had a full blown career. All good things really, I couldn’t have asked for a better set up. But how strange…. “How do I do this?” That was the question that was constantly running through my mind every day. Am I really old enough to do these things? Paying bills and budgeting (not mine but both of our finances), buying groceries and having food prepared for every meal, planning a wedding and teaching high school students?? Really? When did this all happen? I have no idea what I’m doing half the time. (the previous sentence is in present tense because it’s still relevant 🙂 ) It was a mixture of excitement, adventure and confusion.

My husband and I were married in December and it was the most beautiful wedding I could have dreamed of. The day was perfect from start to finish. Travis and I (that’s his name by the way) had been together for nearly 5 years. I knew that we both loved each other A LOT. After having lived together for a few months already, I didn’t think anything would really change between us after the wedding. Other than my last name of course… which has been a really fun adjustment! However, when I saw him for the first time on the day of our wedding… something had already changed. We both knew it too. It was this overwhelming feeling of love and peace. I didn’t really think I could love him anymore than I already did (that sounds kind of weird but you know what I mean) and on that day I did! It was like a “re-assurance” of our commitment. What a lovely thing marriage is!

Anyways… I keep getting off subject. Here I am now: a committed partner to another human being. We could finally start our lives together as the Scates family. I am a wife and a high school teacher- just what I always wanted.

The “searching for something” comes into play here. While growing up, my mother would tell me that one of her jobs is to help me reach the “finish line.” She’s a big fan of the Tour De France and she would make jokes about her and the rest of my family being my team or pit crew that would help me to reach the finish line of the race. Any time there is a bump in the road or if I fell off my bike, they were there to help me back on and fix my bike so that I could reach the finish line. Everything I’ve completed in life was a stepping stone to the finish line: High school, college, marriage and a career. The race and the finish line. Well… it’s here. All of it. Now that I’m here, sometimes I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m not in the race; I’ve finished it. I’m in a new race maybe? I haven’t figured that part out yet. I’ve been searching for answers. “How do I do this new life? Am I doing this right? Am I a good wife? Am I a good teacher? Is teaching always going to be this hard? Did I finish the race?”

I have been a follower of God for as long as I can remember. Recently, I have been relentlessly seeking God in all aspects of my life. I have been taking my prayers to a different level and trying to keep my focus on Him at all times. Sometimes my focus gets off a little but then when I return, He’s there. I tend to be a bit of a control freak and have been learning to let go and let God take care of these things. I am learning to have faith and not constantly worry about things anymore. I’m not gonna lie… being a first year teacher is HARD. But, as much as I constantly question it, I think this actually is where I am supposed to be.

This is a journey that I’m sure a lot of young women have experienced. Quarter-life crisis?  Quarter-life adventure! That’s better. I don’t have it all figured out just yet (and sometimes that drives me nuts!) but I’m learning. Maybe that’s the beauty of it.

“Don’t question me. Trust me.”

About Me!

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Hello everyone!

My name is Shayla Scates and I am the writer of this fun, girly, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, did I already say fun blog! My life is filled with all sorts of things: love, faith, music, art, fashion, and a whole lot more.

I’ve lived my entire life (well… almost) in Arkansas. I grew up in a little artsy town called Eureka Springs. I went to college at Arkansas Tech University and now I am living in the beautiful city of Bentonville, Arkansas. While I do love to travel (and would love to travel a lot more!), this natural state is home to me and will always be.

Downtown Eureka
Downtown Eureka
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Downtown Bentonville

I recently got married to the most amazing man (don’t we all say that!)… but really, he totally is. Since we have gotten married, I’ve spent a lot of my time learning how to do all of the things the wives are supposed to do- cooking, cleaning, and…. well, learning how to share a bathroom. I have to say… I am really enjoying this wife thing. Cooking has become one of my favorite tasks of the day!

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He is my best friend and I am so lucky and blessed to be his wife.

Anyways…. *wakes up from daydreaming*

I am currently in my first year of teaching. Actually, the year is coming close to an end. I’ve almost made it! While my job title is High School Choral Director, sometimes I feel like my “title” should actually be a 25 page essay- director, pianist, seamstress, accountant, mentor, mentee (i don’t know if that’s a word), trip organizer, nurse, public speaker, professional organizer, counselor, and my favorite- superwoman. Oh the many hats we wear as teachers.

I am a new wife, a new teacher, and pretty much I am new to “life” as I am only in my mid twenties. There is never a dull moment these days… but I prefer it that way 😉