25 Fun Winter Date Ideas

I love everything about Christmas time; store fronts decorated with sparkling lights, snowmen, and snowflakes, mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows, getting to see family and friends, and all of the festivities that the season brings.

While I love going out to dinner or a movie with my husband, we can go on those kinds of dates anytime of the year. As we get older, quality time spent together is that much more important to us and all the more special!

Today, I’m helping you get a jumpstart with 25 things that should be on your bucket list this holiday season!

1. Decorate the house and fill it with the holiday spirit!

2. Bake and decorate holiday themed cookies. This is a tradition that is still going strong in my family!

3. Attend a tree lighting ceremony.

4. Go skiing or snowboarding, even if it is just on a hill by your house!

5. Drive around to look at Christmas lights and decorations. Some neighborhoods really go all out!

6. Unleash your inner child and have a good old fashioned snowball fight.

7. Make homemade ornaments. They can be as simple or intricate, uniformed or sentimental as you want!

8. Binge watch all of the Christmas Movies!

9. Make homemade hot chocolate mix. Another tradition in my family, and it will always be one of my favorites!

10. Have an indoor picnic. Spread out a big comfy blanket, have the candles or fireplace burning, and enjoy!

11. Make peppermint bark, or any kind of chocolate bark for that matter! There’s no limit to the combinations you can create.

12. Make and decorate a gingerbread house! This is a lot easier nowadays since you can buy the kits at the store.

13. Build a snowman complete with a scarf, buttons, and a carrot nose!

14. Roast s’mores over a fire. If you don’t have access to a fireplace, there are some great indoor s’mores kits too!

15. Go on The Polar Express train ride. To find the one nearest to you, a simple Google search will do!

16. Make all of the winter comfort food; soups, casseroles, breads, etc.!

17. Volunteer at your favorite charity or organization. If time is limited for you, donations are always appreciated, especially around the holidays!

18. Take Christmas pictures to document the end of another year and to be able to look back in the years to come.

19. Go for a carriage ride on a snowy night.

20. Make a pillow and blanket fort. This would be a great place to watch all of the Christmas movies from too!

21. Bundle up and go window shopping. I’ve found some of the best and most unique Christmas gifts this way!

22. Go ice skating. I am by no means a great skater, but something about it just makes me think of the holiday season!

23. Host a game night! Sometimes there’s nothing better than good food, good company, and playing good old fashioned board games.

24. Make snow angels! I’ve loved doing this since I was little, and now that my siblings have little ones, it’s fun to keep the tradition going with them.

25. Dance around the house to Christmas music. Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit more than the songs I’ve been listening to all my life!

What are your favorite things to do during the holiday season?

XOXO,
Leah

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7 Winter Skin Savers

I don’t’ know about you, but my skin can get to feel pretty rough during the winter if I don’t have a skincare routine in place and really stick to it. After growing up in Michigan and going through my fair share of winters, I have a tried and true routine that I can’t do without! Today I’m talking about my ride or dies when it comes to keeping my skin healthy and happy!

1. Grown Alchemist Polishing Facial Exfoliant. This is, by far, my favorite exfoliant that I’ve tried. It is a little on the pricier side, but a little of this goes a long way, and I really do notice a difference when I use it and when I don’t. It’s gentle on my face, but still effective in removing dry and dead skin cells. It always leaves my skin looking brighter and smoother after I use it. I’ve noticed that my moisturizer is also absorbed much better on the days I use this first! If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

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2. Coco Shea Coconut 24-Hour Moisture. This moisturizer pulls double duty for me! Not only is it a great full body lotion, but I have also been loving using a tiny bit on my face! The coco and shea butters leave my skin feeling so soft and hydrated while the coconut oil helps to nourish and nurture my skin. The faint scent of coconut is also nice during the cold winter months as I’ve always associated it with warmer and more tropical weather! At least I can pretend that I’m not freezing with snow and frost around me!

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3. Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe. Just like the last moisturizer, this lotion is also a great full body lotion. When I’m not really feeling the scent of coconut though, I opt out for this one by Vaseline. In my opinion, it’s just as good! The aloe in it is great for soothing my skin if it’s a little irritated from the cold wind outside. Even though there’s Vaseline jelly mixed in, I never feel like it leave my face oily or shiny looking. If you’re someone that loves being outside during the winter, it’ll also help relieve any wind burn or chafing from scarves, headbands, etc.

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4. Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner. When my pores need a little help and I see the beginning signs of a breakout on my face, I always reach for this toner! It’s a great formula that helps cleanse my skin of impurities that would give me full blown breakouts. It also helps keep those excess oils from wreaking havoc! It’s also very cooling and refreshing! I love using it first thing in the morning to help wake me up a little. I just dab a little on a cotton round, wipe it all over my face, and go!

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5. Breakout Box 3-In-1 Ace Treatment Kit. I received this complimentary of Influenster to test out in my latest VoxBox. Each kit comes with 24 Pimple Shrinking Salicylic Acid & Tea Tree Dots, 24 Whitehead-Absorbing Hydrocolloid Dots, and 3 Blackhead-Eliminating Nose Strips. The dots are my new favorite spot treatments! Their design makes them super easy and convenient to use. Just peel one of the dots and stick it where you need to. The nose strips are perfect to help get rid of dead skin, decongest and minimize pores. Peeling this off along with seeing and feeling just how deeply it reached was unlike any other strip I’ve tried before!

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6. Shea Butter Hand Cream. Ever since I was little, this has been a product that my mom has sworn by. She always had a tube of it on her nightstand, and I felt so grown up when she’d let me use some too! Now that I’m older and appreciate good products, I understand why this has always been a favorite of hers! The quality and results don’t lie! A tiny pea size drop of this is all I need to use on my hands, but it leaves them feeling so soft and smooth without feeling oily. With colds being spread and caught so easily in the winter, I wash my hands tons which is not the best for my skin. This hand cream helps combat that while still letting me keep the germs away!

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7. Energie de Vie The Smoothing & Plumping Water-Infused Cream. You know what they say, there’s no time like the present! I may only be in my twenties, but it’s never too soon to take care of your skin. Another product shared with me by my mom, and I love it just as much as the last! I use this twice a day; once in the morning and once before bed. I’m not going to lie and say I eat a perfectly balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and always wear sunscreen because I don’t. This cream helps me combat everyday life though. After using it for months, I definitely notice the bags under my eyes aren’t nearly as bad, the fine lines on my forehead have smoothed out, and even if I’m feeling tired, my skin doesn’t look it nearly as much as it used to!

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What are your must have skin care products to make it through another winter?

XOXO,
Leah

 

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

For me, social media is all about creating a connection with people near and far! While I have so much more planned for the future in the way of lifestyle, fitness, fashion, and food, today I’m sharing ten fun facts! I feel like I’ve been asked about this for a while, and you know what they say… There’s no time like the present!

1. I was born in South Korea and adopted! I lived there for about four months before I was adopted and came over to the states to unite with my forever family. Other than the few small details that my parents were told, I know nothing about my birth mother or father. As I’ve gotten older though, I am so incredibly thankful to them for what must have been a difficult decision! Placing me up for adoption was so selfless, and I will always be thankful for that.

2. I can’t make it through a scary movie to save my life. I am seriously the biggest wimp when it comes to anything even remotely scary! Give me a romantic comedy or musical any day though!

3. I danced for 19 years! From around the age of 3 until I graduated college, I took dance classes. I even got the chance to study at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as part of their Professional Division!

4. I competed in the Miss America Organization! A girlfriend of mine had been competing and winning titles for a few years, and kept pushing me to take the plunge. I guess she saw the potential in me before I did! Once I did, there was no looking back. I was lucky enough to hold one local title and got to compete at Miss Michigan!

5. Exclamation points are my jam!! I probably overuse them, but oh well. Life is too short to not get excited about the little things!

6. 2017 was the biggest year for me thus far! I got to marry my best friend, welcomed a sweet Australian Shepherd puppy to our little family (Ailey), and moved several states away from family! My husband is also in the Army, so it was a whole new ball game of things to learn.

7. My family means the most to me. I grew up living in the same city as most of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. We were in the same schools, same recreational sports teams. I even had an aunt and one of my cousins for teachers! So I knew early on that family was something to cherish. For now, my little family is just my husband, pup, and myself.

8. First I drink the coffee, and then I do the things. With one look at my Instagram you can see that I really like my coffee! Most days it’s just a cup made at home, but once in a while I shake things up with a latte or hot cup of tea.

9. I can say the alphabet backwards. This is not super useful ever, but it always gets my niece and nephew giggling!

10. Food is the way to my heart! There’s just always been something about nourishing the body with good food and the soul with good company that I’ve always loved. Some of my best memories revolve around meals I’ve shared with people!

Do we have any random facts in common? Let me know down below!

XOXO,
Leah

Homemade Dog Treats for Ailey

I’ve shared these on Instagram before, but since I’ve gotten so many messages asking for the recipe I figured I’d write it out for y’all too! This way, your pup can have yummy and homemade treats too!

Note: These are Ailey approved!

What You’ll Need

  • 1/4 Cup of Grated Carrots
  • 1 Tbs of Olive Oil
  • 2/3 Cup of Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 Cup of Mashed Sweet Potato
  • 1 tsp of Salt
  • 3 Tbs of Peanut Butter

If you’re like me, you might forget to preheat your oven from time to time… So, let’s do that first! Preheat your oven to 375°.

Next you’ll want to wash your sweet potato, pat it dry. Rub with butter, and then wrap it in tin foil. I place the wrapped potato directly on the oven rack and cook it for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how large of a potato it is, until fork tender. Once cooked through, mash and let cool.

While it’s cooling I like to get the other ingredients together, measure them out, and get my baking sheet. You can use a non-stick one or just line a regular baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

You’ll mix all of the ingredients listed in a bowl until well combined. Next is the fun part; shapes!

Depending on how much time I have determines what shapes I put the treats in. If I’m short on time, I’ll use my Tbs measuring spoon and pack some of the treat mixture into it so it forms a dome like shape. If I have more time to spare I’ll form them into hearts! It’s really up to you. You could even use a small cookie cutter if you have one on hand.

Once the treats are all shaped and on the baking sheet, I place it in the oven for about fifteen minutes, flipping halfway through! This leaves them with a slight crunch on the outside, but still soft in the center. If you want them more biscuit like, bake until the treats reach the desired texture!

Let cool before giving to your pup, and there you have it; healthy and easy to make treats that won’t break the bank!

If you make these treats for yourself, tag me in your pictures on Instagram! I’d love to see them!

XOXO,
Leah

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Why ‘Along for the Ride’?

When I scroll through any social media platform, I always come across pages where I’m intrigued by the name and the person behind it all. It stands out to me for one reason or another, and I want to learn about the why behind it and what it is that makes it special to them!

Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes and explaining why I choose “Along for the Ride” as mine!

It started when my now husband was in the process of enlisting in the Army. People kept asking me how I felt about him leaving and everything that was involved. I would always say how proud of him I was, and still am, and that I was going to support him 100%!  Marriage isn’t something you do half-heartedly, and ours is no different,

He went several hundred miles away for almost 6 months to complete various phases of training, and now people were saying how brave I was. In my eyes, I wasn’t doing anything extraordinary. I still don’t think I am. I’m just a girl loving my husband the best I can. It was during this time that my go to answer to most things was that I was just “along for the ride”.

Fast forward to almost two years of active duty service, several more phases of training, getting married, moving across the country to be with him, our first home together, and getting our sweet pup, Ailey, and I’m still just as along for the ride as ever!

This was never the kind of life I thought I would be living. Being the girl that loves a good list with accompanying sub-lists, I probably would have told you were crazy! Now that this is crazy and unpredictable life is ours, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Thanks for coming along for the ride with me!

XOXO,
Leah

6 of My Fall Beauty Faves

Today we’re talking about beauty products! I’ve rounded up 6 of the products I’ve been loving the last few months to share with y’all today!

1. Morphe 35F Fall into Frost Palette. I am by no means a beauty guru, nor am I really that good at doing makeup and creating looks. I can count on one hand the number of eyeshadow palettes I have owned in my 24 years of life, but when I saw this one at Ulta, I knew I had to have it! It’s full of colors that are perfect for fall and winter, which I love, but there are also neutrals that can be used year round! I’ve been having so much fun playing around with the different colors to try and get myself out of my gold and bronze only comfort zone! I’m excited to see what looks I can come up with since holiday season is quickly approaching!

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2. Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. This may sound weird, but my eyelids can get pretty oily, so I’ve had trouble finding an eyeliner that stays put and doesn’t make me look like a raccoon. This is hands down one of my favorites! I always get it in the shade Jet Black. The felt tip is fine and so easy to use! It really just glides across my eye. If you know my history with makeup, or lack thereof, you’ll know how good of a thing that really is!

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3. Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer. This is the only bronzer I use anymore, and I always have an extra on hand! After hearing about from friends, I figured I’d give it a shot. The first thing I always notice when I open it up is how amazing it smells! For some reason, it reminds me of being somewhere warm and tropical! My skin can get pretty dry in the winter, so the fact that this doesn’t make me look even more so is a definite plus. I love that it comes in a few different shades too! It has a nice buildable formula and seems to just melt into my skin! It’s easy to see why so many people rave about it!

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4. Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater. I love good skincare and am always looking for great products that don’t cost an arm and a leg! A friend told me about this facial spray, and said that I just had to try it out! Gosh, am I glad that I listened to her! For under $10, this really can’t be beat. I use it every single day for everything from a refreshing spritz to wake up to setting my makeup. The Aloe, herbs and rosewater always leave my skin looking and feeling great, even on no makeup days, and they smell amazing too!

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5. 7th Heaven Peel Off Masks. I’m a fan of almost any kind of mask, but my favorites are the 7th Heaven ones by the brand Montagne Jeunesse! They have a little bit of everything from detoxifying to moisturizing and soothing. Even my husband likes them! We always have a stash of them on hand in our bathroom cupboard so they are ready to go whenever we want to use one. I love using one first thing in the morning if my skin is feeling a little dull or dry, but it’s also a great way to wind down at the end of a long day of work!

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6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Warm Bronze. If you see me out and about, chances are I have this lip gloss on! What initially drew me to it was that it smells faintly like a vanilla frosting Lip Smackers from back in the day! The fact that it is such a pretty dusty rose shade doesn’t hurt either. I love how I can pair it with very minimal and more natural looking makeup for running errands around town or with a full face of makeup for a date night out!

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What beauty products are you loving right now? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

XOXO,
Leah