Easy DIY Christmas Gift for Anyone & Everyone

*Note: If you’re my grandparents, mom, or siblings, you might want to skip this post to avoid ruining your Christmas presents. Merry and happy!*

I’m usually one to go ALL OUT for Christmas gifts. Like, break the bank, in-debt myself to Visa, and practically sell my soul to get the very BEST gifts for people… You know, in true Christmas spirit. Really, though, I genuinely love and get so much joy from getting personalized, interesting gifts for each of my family members and friends, and nothing makes me happier than watching someone I love open something they’re crazy about. However, as discussed in a post about BUDGETING a few weeks ago, I no longer have limitless funds (aka credit cards) to spend willy-nilly for the sake of holly and jolly.

So, this year, I had to get a little creative.

Read More

Money Talk

img_8919

img_8795

Recently, I cut up my two credit cards, started paying for (most) things with cash only, and made a BUDGET — like, a budget that I actually use. How boring am I? Stay with me here, because I think some folks out there in a similar life stage to mine might need to hear this.

Cutting the credit cards was the weirdest, and hardest, part of my money transformation. When I was a sophomore in college, I opened an envelope from the bank that I thought was a statement for my debit card, which was probably over-drafted. Inside, I found instead a shiny credit card, accompanied by a note saying I had 700 whole dollars I was allowed to spend.

Boy, did I spend.

At first, I was like, “K, I need to be smart about this. People wrack up credit card debt faster than they can say ‘Nordstrom anniversary sale.’ I’m just gonna use this on big things and emergencies.” Riiiiight.

Read More

Inspiration, Where You At?

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

My ideal weekday would be this: wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., make coffee and a healthy breakfast, write for two to three hours, head to the gym for a solid workout, go home, shower, work some more (writing, answering emails, planning), go to happy hour or dinner with friends, read for an hour or so, and go to bed. Maybe throw in some Real Housewives to that lineup, too.

That probably sounds like the most boring schedule imaginable to a lot of people, but for me—holy smokes—that is a dream. (Also, I’d make sure my weekends would have a LITTLE more excitement. Promise.) Life would be so much easier. I could easily manifest my inspirations and dreams, and each day would be frustration-less and peaceful, right?

NO! Even if I had what, in my mind, seems like the most idyllic schedule, road bumps would come out of nowhere and struggle would ensue, because that’s just how life works. Things change and rarely go according to plan, and that’s alright. I’ve finally come to accept that fact (on most days, at least—though sometimes I’m still in denial and whine about the unfairness of life).

For the most part, I realize that even if I plan away my life to my heart’s content, certain aspects can still go awry. For the control freak in me (which is, oh, probably the majority of me), that’s painful to admit. But for the wannabe go-with-the-flow, spontaneous hippie (which makes up MAYBE 2 percent of me, contrary to these photos), that’s a-okay.

Processed with VSCOcam with c9 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

So, with all that in mind (you know, the fact that life sucks sometimes), how’s one supposed to get anything done—especially in the realm of creativity? Not that other realms are any easier to navigate, but it’s just that, well, they kind of are. Sorry to say it, but more logical, analytical, or tangible work than creativity is work that people can wrap their minds around day in and day out.

I can say that because that’s the sort of work I do in my 9-to-5 job. It’s straightforward, black and white, and maneuverable. Sure, there are obstacles, just like anything else. But in the pursuit of creativity, the obstacle is always, “How can I make something interesting (or beautiful or original or inspiring, and so on) out of nothing?” It’s the struggle of creation. (Which is why it’s called creativity.) Say what you want, but in jobs that don’t surround a creative pursuit, that obstacle simply doesn’t exist.

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

I struggle with balancing inspiration and creativity with the rest of my life all the time. I think everyone does, to some extent. I’ve written about this struggle many times, complained about this struggle to my nearest even more often, and, more than anything else, wracked my brain thinking and worrying about this struggle until my head almost spins. And here I am, again, writing about it, because I’m a little looney I’ve been contemplating this balance more than ever lately.

I don’t always follow my own advice—in fact, I rarely do—but I’ve written down a few notes on how I try to maintain or reignite my own inspiration, even when it feels like the most difficult thing to grasp on to, thanks to life and all its distractions and impurities.

Embrace the reasoning behind an excuse. Look, we’re all humans. It’s practically in our DNA to excuse ourselves when we underperform. (People who command others to never make excuses make me angry. Everyone does it!) Instead of turning it into a grandiose explanation, though, simply accept it. Too tired to write? Too busy to paint? Too overwhelmed to cook? Then don’t, and try again tomorrow. And don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen then, either.

Start. Start something today. Start a list of ideas. Start writing a sentence. Start thinking about a new plot line. Start planning when you can truly start. It doesn’t mean you’ll finish today, and it doesn’t mean you’ll even actually create anything today. But you’ll be setting creativity in motion by not ignoring it or actively placing it at the end of your priority list any longer.

Go easy on yourself. Flexibility is something I work on continuously. Isn’t it true that we’re hardest on ourselves? Punishing myself for being less productive than another day or another person isn’t going to make me feel anymore positive toward working on a goal. Let’s go ahead and allow ourselves the grace we give others, yes?

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with 3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c9 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c9 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c9 preset

(P.S. I have been selfishly SITTING on these stunning, dreamy photos by Aleah Clark, but I finally figured: What better time to post these beauties than in a blog post about inspiration? Enjoy! Also, Aleah is based in California but travels often. She is such a bright and positive spirit, and, speaking of creativity and inspo, she’s beyond talented. Work with her!)

Maxi Dress: Altar’d State

Noruz Organics Skincare Products For One, For All!

noruz organics scrubs skincare products

I am very particular about what I put on and in my body (unless it’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream; in that case, I have zero standards and will eat it all). But really, I like to consume as many organic, fair-trade, non-GMO foods and beverages as I can — without breaking the budget, of course — and I prefer my skincare products to be just as wholesome. There is a difference between treating your body with natural nutrients and products versus pumping yourself with harmful chemicals. You can feel the difference, and you can see it.

That’s why I was so excited to partner up with Noruz Organics. It’s a Dallas-based, organic (as the name implies) skincare company whose products are so good for your skin while also making it feel like its dreamiest version. Trust me. I got to sample two scrubs, the Cinnamon Sugar Scrub and the Green Tea Scrub. I used the latter on my face two to three times a week, and my skin felt significantly refreshed afterward. Green tea is an antioxidant, and antibacterial (good, especially, if you’re prone to breakouts like I am), and it soothes the skin while reducing inflammation. Love.

organic skincare exfoliation

green tea scrub

I used the Cinnamon Sugar Scrub, which by the way smells like the best coffee cake you’ve ever tasted, on my entire body. Not only did I smell like a Yankee Candle every time I used it, I also sloughed away dead skin on my whole body while the raw sugar moisturized and exfoliated and the cinnamon restored suppleness. It’s just as heavenly as it sounds.

The best part is that you won’t find one lick of chemicals in any of Noruz’s products. It’s all organic essential oils, vitamins, and herbs that moisturize, scrub, and anti-age your skin to its most luminous state. Like, where was this stuff in my adolescent, horrible skin-awkward stage? Next on my list to try is the Coffee Scrub, for the obvious reason that I would love to smell like coffee all day, and also because coffee beans help with cellulite and evenness of skin tone. (I’m not too high and mighty to admit that I could use some more help with each of those.)

Enough bragging about my experiences with these fun skincare products. I want y’all to try them out, too! Go to NoruzOrganics.com to browse the rest of their yummy products (they have moisturizers and body butters, too), and get 10% off of your purchase by using the code FRECKLES at check-out!

(Giveaway details below.)

face scrub exfoliator

green tea exfoliate

I’m also hosting a giveaway to win a sample set of all four Noruz Organics scrubs — green tea, coffee, rose petal, and cinnamon sugar — for you AND a friend each on my Instagram! Follow these rules to enter:

  1. Follow me (@frecklesandfigs) and Noruz Organics (@noruzorganics) on Instagram.
  2. Like my Instagram post featuring a photo of me with my Noruz products (posted today).
  3. Tag a beauty-junkie friend who you’d like to get a sample set in a comment on the IG post.
  4. BONUS: repost my photo for an additional entry to win!

Contest ends at midnight central time on Sunday, March 20, and I’ll announce the winner Monday the 21st! Let’s make our skin happy. Good luck!

noruz-organics-scrub

green tea cinnamon sugar scrubs