Posts by mkrier

Hygge House Update: New Living Room

We’ve been in Hygge House for almost a whole year now, which is absolutely crazy to think. We’ve gone through so many ups and downs, we gained a pet, we lost a pet, I learned to cook, I put together furniture, and Cody learned how to deal with me putting together furniture. But despite all this time in our home, we’re still developing our interior design style, and just finding what we really love. Check out the changes we’ve made in our living room in the past year.

Focusing on Slow Design

Slow design is a newly coined term, but it’s really just interior design for the average person. It means taking time to find the right pieces for your home and your style, not just grabbing the first trendy pieces you can get. Another major element of slow design is building out your home with budget-friendly pieces, no matter what your budget. 

For Hygge House, this was a tough process. We didn’t have much furniture starting out, I had no clue what design style I actually liked, and I went a little wild in IKEA right off the bat. After my initial new-home-fever had passed though, I took stock of our new setup and really took the time to learn what I enjoy and what would look best in our home. Lots of time surfing around on Pinterest, spending time in interior design FB groups, and far too much time on Canva mocking up rooms with new furniture

Living Room Today

Dog Crate (similar) / Dog Bed / Schwinn Bike / Yoga Mat (similar) / TV (similar) / TV Unit / Rug / Coffee Table / Couch / Chair (similar)

Now, nearly a year later, we have a new couch, new coffee table, and a whole new layout!

The couch has been an experience. Finding a good couch was super difficult, especially given that we had a super tight budget. It was also something that Cody had some non-negotiables over. There wasn’t much he had an opinion on for the house, so when he did, I made sure to take them into account. It had to be long enough for him to stretch out on and “just be comfortable,” and I wanted to have a chaise on the couch. We loved the Ikea Ektorp and Uppland sofas, but with unknown shipping times and costs, it wasn’t really an option. We ended up with a fairly priced cough from the local Value City. We’re not entirely happy with the couch we have, but it was better than waiting a mystery number of weeks for the stock to come in at Ikea. 

Other new-in items to the living room include the coffee table, the entertainment center, the spin bike, and the crate.

The coffee table was swapped from the Ikea Lisabo to the Ikea Hemnes table. The Lisabo was great, but just not the right dimensions for us. The Hemnes is a little big overall, but the wide shape allows me to have the decor I want, and for us to actually use the table too!

The entertainment center was a pretty easy upgrade, we found what we liked quite quickly and the old center was pretty wobbly, so we were in a rush to get it!

The spin bike was a great addition, I loved spinning before, but my local gym has since closed (if someone wants to go in on it with me, let a gal know!), and I hadn’t been able to spin for a while. Early this summer I found a Schwinn bike on Facebook Marketplace and I love using it with the Peloton app.

Levi’s crate was a less pretty addition to the living room, but after a lot of trial and error with leaving him home alone and moving the crate to different rooms. Levi has naps in his crate, sleeps safely when we’re out of the house, and eats his meals in there now. Eventually, we’ll upgrade him to a nicer crate, something that looks more like decor than just a metal crate, but while he’s still a little destructive, we’re fine to use this one.

The most important change was rotating the whole room 90 degrees. While I would prefer the TV to be hung, it’s so much easier this way! Originally, the couch felt SO far from the TV, and the entertainment center was almost in the doorway. This new layout puts the TV at a comfortable viewing distance, gives Levi a safer corner to have his crate, and makes the room feel a whole lot cozier!

Things will definitely change again, we’re looking into paint colors, the bike may move back to my office, the chair will definitely be replaced, but we’re super happy with the progress so far. It feels good to have one space that really feels like home. Especially when the rest of the place is still in flux!

Adding A Foyer Area

Our home is on the smaller side, and one thing it didn’t have was a foyer. The surprising perk of this new sideways layout is we gained a foyer area! Right now it’s a bit of a mess, and in my true open fashion, I will shamelessly share that with you

Ok, I’ll admit to tidying it up a little before the photo. But while the space is a bit of a hot mess for now, we have big plans.

We’ll eventually be relocating the TV mount to our bedroom and removing the shelf-o-stuff, replacing it with the Ikea Besta as our entryway cabinet. We’ll be accessorizing with an AT record player, my favorite lamp, and a mirror on the wall (any reccs?), just to start. After having the all white furniture for a while, I’m excited to start incorporating some warmer wood tones too with the Besta doors and a new front door shelf coming soon!

Let me hear your thoughts and reccs below or on social! The best way to find me is on instagram, @MoiraTheExplorer or keep an eye out for new things happening in the FB group sphere!

Where Have I Been? Let’s Catch Up!

Summer 2021 has proven to be a busy one! So busy, that the blog unfortunately had to go on the back burner for a little bit. But now, a month has gone by, my schedule is starting to settle a little bit, and I’m adjusting to the new swing of things. It’s definitely been a tough adjustment, but having a full-time job has forced me to reevaluate my priorities, find what really brings me joy on my tight schedule, and most importantly, start addressing my more aggressive financial goals. And secondary perk, being creatively challenged so much every day has me coming up with new ideas for the blog all the time! But let’s get into all the new and exciting stuff going on!

Loppy smile brought to you by oral surgery and facial swelling!

Working Full Time

I’d been looking for a full time job since January 2020. It’s no secret that 2020 was a tough time to find a job, and in the marketing field? Even harder. I’ve enjoyed working for myself in 2021, but it wasn’t quite enough in terms of income and insurance, especially with 26 coming soon! The many (many, many, many!) applications finally worked out, and I got an offer! I started in early July and have been working there for over a month now. I’ve really been enjoying the work, and I’m grateful to have a great team of people to work with and to work for! 

Hygge House & Long Term Home Plans

One of the best things about my new company is that it’s based in Alexandria, Virginia which, if you don’t know, is located in the Washington DC area! C and I both went to college in the area and fell in love with the city and surrounding areas. We’ve always planned to get back to the city eventually and working for a company in the area is the first big step towards that goal. 

That being said, we aren’t about to up and move this hot second. My job is remote for the foreseeable future, so there’s no immediate need to go. Plus wherever we land, we need to make sure it’s got a good sized yard for Levi, which likely means looking at houses, which is a whole new mess of crazy that we’re not even almost ready to get into.

For the next year plus at minimum, we’ll be staying in Hygge House. We’ve made some updates and planned a few more, all of which you’ll see soon! It’s been fun and the house feels very much like a home nowadays and I’m really looking forward to our second winter in Hygge House. 

Running my Small Business: Explorer Media

While I am working full-time, I’m still running Explorer Media as a side-hustle. I’m lucky enough to have the flexibility and the ability to continue this work with my clients. One day I plan on taking my business full-time again, but now isn’t the time for that. Right now my primary goal is to better my skills, learn new ones, and explore a new industry with my work. 

If you want to learn more about my company, click here to head over to Explorer Media!

Exploring Personal Finance

Managing my personal finances has been something that has been a top priority for me since college. I was terrible about managing my money until I was almost 19, in college, and the weight of my impending debt. I’ve not always been the best with limiting my spending, but it’s always been important to me. With my increased monthly income and the federal student loans always changing, I’m looking forward to taking the opportunity to double down on my financial goals. And I’m excited to share that journey on MoiraTheExplorer!

I’ll be honest it’s not going to be the most exciting financial content in the world, but it will be, just like my other content, realistic, reachable, and honest. I’m not sure how much and what numbers I’ll reveal, but there will definitely be openness. Keep your eyes peeled!


The next couple weeks will see summer closing out, I’ll be taking a much needed vacation for a week, and hopefully, finding comfort in my new schedule. I’m very much looking forward to the next steps and seeing what the last half(ish) of 2021 will bring.

Social Media News: New Changes on Instagram’s + What it Means for Influencers and Businesses

On June 30th, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri posted a video announcing some changes on the platform. Among many other things, the standout quote to hit headlines was announcing that Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing app. The industry’s take? Instagram wants to be TikTok. Watch Adam Mosseri’s Video here before you read more!

Instagram’s four new focus areas are: Creators, Shopping, Messaging, and Video. But what does that mean for the platform? Let’s check in on the history of Instagram. 

Instagram’s History

Instagram was initially conceived as an app called Burbn, allowing users to check-in, post plans, and share photos of whiskey or bourbon. It took the location sharing aspect of Four-Square, and added a photo-sharing element to it. After the first round of VC funding, IG’s team studied other photo-sharing apps popular at the time. They ultimately stripped Burbn down to photos, commenting, and liking, and rebranded it as Instagram, a combination of instant and telegram. The initial product was a minimalist app design requiring as few actions from the user as possible. Instagram launched to the public on October 6th, 2010. The app hit 25,000 users on the first day and 1 million users before Christmas. 

Fast-forwarding to March 2012, Instagram had grown to 27 million users. They continued to release other versions of the app for Android, website, tablets, and more. In April 2012, Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock. 


Read the rest of this post on ExplorerMedia.co!

What do you think of these announced changes with Instagram? How will they affect your business or brand? Let me know!

For the Road

What a month! June has been pretty chaotic, and I can’t believe that it’s already gone. This month was filled with job interviews, doubling down on work, wrangling Levi, and a whole week to recover from a pretty crazy oral surgery. I’d love to say things are slowing down for summer after this, but I think it’s going to be just the opposite! I’m doing my best to keep organized and keep calm, making sure to book in time away from the computer to rest, relax, and let my poor eyes recover.

This includes working on my summer bucket list, taking a weekend trip with Cody and Levi, prepping for a nice long road trip, and even planning a dinner party with friends. 

Here’s what you can take for the road from me this month:

For the Bookshelf // City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

I initially got a free sample of City of Girls on my kindle and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. Despite my initial reservations, I really liked the first couple chapters in the preview. I ended up finding the book in a sidewalk giveaway box in my neighborhood, which was amazing. I’ve been looking at it unread on my nightstand for months, I’m finally getting around to reading it and loving it!

For the Home // Felt Storage Basket

You may have seen on Instagram, I recently (once again) rearranged my living room again, but this current set up just feels so right for the space. In the process of creating this new layout, we did end up repurposing Levi’s toy basket. Instead of having his 900 miscellaneous toys scattered around the house, it called for an emergency trip to Target. We found this super cute Felt Basket that’s perfect for the miscellaneous storage. Plus, it’s neutral enough that it’ll work within our evolving home decor style!

For the Locals // Farmer’s Markets

When I lived in DC, I loved going to the farmer’s market. It was my favorite Sunday tradition and I have missed the markets since being home, for a while the local markets have just been small. This year though, the local farmer’s markets have stepped up their game! On LBI, Surf City Farmers Market increased their vendors (including my favorite local shop, Root!) and on the Mainland, Stafford opened their first Farmer’s Market! I haven’t been able to go check it out with Levi yet, but hopefully this week I can get over there to shop.

For the Plate // Vegan Penne Alla Vodka

Pasta is my one true love, and the day I realized I had to go dairy-free I truly mourned for all the cheesy, creamy pasta dishes I had to give up. Finding Jenna’s recipe on The Urben Life has been Life. Changing. It’s such an easy dish to cook and it keeps well in the fridge (lunch leftovers!). I’ve been making it once a week minimum, it’s a true essential in my cooking calendar!

Book Explorer Vol. 8 |Summer Reading + Goals Check-in

Summertime has always been the season of reading, for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I swapped out homework for our local library’s summer reading program, skipped bike rides and sneaking out for chapter books and hiding flashlights under my pillow. Getting older, summer reading took over. Then after college, spending my summer days reading on the beach.

2020 summer reading bookCrazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan posed on a LBI Region beach

This summer, I don’t know how much time I’ll have to get to the beach, but I’m still leaning into the summer reading kickup. I blew through a ton of reading while I was laid up post-op, got a bunch of new e-books, and I’m ready to jump into the rest of my TBR list! 

Currently Reading

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Finished Reading

Summer Reading books One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi placed on a smooth, white wood table.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

4 / 5 Stars
Transcendent Kingdom was a genuinely good book. It was like sitting down with a bottle of wine and getting deep. It was real, it was warm, it was honest, and it was just a really good book. It tells the story of main character Gifty, a neuroscience PhD student at Stanford. The book describes the struggling relationship between mother and daughter throughout their lives through Gifty’s eyes at various life stages. On Goodreads, the book is described as “exquisitely written and emotionally searing,” and there’s no better way to describe it.

I will say, I initially thought religion would play a bigger role in the plot, which I was a little meh about going in. Religion itself isn’t really a major impact, but rather the role of a church, community, and religion in one’s life, which I really enjoyed reading about. 

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

3 / 5 Stars
I was really excited about the premise of One to Watch. Plus-size fashion blogger Bea Schumacher gets a call to be on Main Squeeze, the book’s version of the Bachelorette franchise. The book shares her journey on the show, complete with the many suitors, internet trolls, producer-created plotlines, and all that fun drama people eat up. I thought the book was an interesting concept, especially with the main character being an influencer.

The story was fine, the plot was fine. I really enjoyed Bea, she seems very in touch and real. I didn’t like the actual format of the book. It switches from the main narrative, the actual story, to sharing articles, comments, social media, etc. At first I liked it, but really I just felt that it distracted from the book as a whole. On top of that the male characters were quite flat and toxic. I mean the point of most of them it to be garbage people, so put them aside, but the main male characters are just one dramatic, ignorant, could-have-been-fixed-by-actually-talking-to-each-other eye roll after another. If you really enjoy the Bachelorette franchise, you would probably like the book more than me. I wouldn’t not recommend the book, but it’s definitely not the top of my list of reccs!

Up Next

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Reading Goals Check-in

We’re halfway through the year, so it’s a good time to check in on the reading goals I set for myself back in January. In 2020, I read 75% female authors, 8% authors of color, and 16% non-American authors, one male and one female. For 2021, my goal was to read 40% or less by white authors and 30% or more by women of color. I also wanted to read a minimum of 15 books this year.

So far this year, I’ve read 6 books. All of those books so far have been written by women. Not a goal I’ve set, but still happy about it. Of those six books, 50% are by white authors, which is higher than I was aiming for. On the other side, 50% of the books I read were written by women of color, which is higher than my goal. 

Going forward, I’m planning on incorporating more diverse books into my reading. I’ve quite a few white authors on my TBR list, but I might be bumping a few more diverse picks up to the top. Including Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. 

What’s up next on your summer reading list? And how are your 2021 reading goals?

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Keep up with what I’m reading on a daily basis, follow me on Goodreads! Looking for more non-book related content? Follow my main Instagram, MoiraTheExplorer, and join the newsletter to stay in the know with new blogs, insider info, and bonus content!

Crate, Cages, and Pens, Oh My! Guide to Rabbit Housing

Welcome to The Rabbit Care Guides! This is a series of informative blog posts, each covering different topics in rabbit care and keeping. This includes things like proper nutrition, spaying and neutering, cage sizes, and more, and will feature information from veterinarians and rabbit care experts. This post is going to be covering different rabbit housing options including crates, Cages, and Pens.
Affiliate links ahead, I make commissions on these links to no extra cost to you.

Indoor vs Outdoor 

This guide primarily promotes keeping rabbits indoors. Rabbits kept indoors are safer from disease, bad weather, and predators, they’re easier to keep an eye on their health, and they like to be a part of your family! There are safe outdoor pen options for rabbits, but they won’t be covered in this post.

Indoor Rabbit Housing Needs

For 1-2 rabbits, their space should have at least 24 square feet of exercise space. You want to fit all your bunnies needs (litter box, water, hay, food, hides) into this space and they should still have room to completely stand up, stretch out, or run. Make sure the flooring is soft enough for their feet. Wire, hardwood, or fully plastic floors can be uncomfortable for bunnies, and at worst cause sores hocks on the feet. 
Check out this guide from TheRabbitHouse.com, it’s a great rule of thumb for pen size

Indoor Rabbit Housing Options

The most commonly known types of rabbit housing options include Cages, Dog Crates, Hutches, Exercise Pens (aka XPens), and Free Roam. 

Cages

This is the one that most people know. Rabbit cages alone are not an appropriate housing situation. When combined with free roaming or Xpens, cages are fine. But keeping your bunny in a cage 24/7 would be like keeping a dog in the bathroom 24/7, not enough space!

Most cages you see at places like Petsmart, Chewy, or Facebook Marketplace are often too small for rabbits, despite being advertised for them.

Gus at just 5 months old, a small black and white Dutch rabbit eating lettuce, inside a rabbit cage, before I knew what the best rabbit housing options were for him.
Gus at just 5 months old in his cage, before I knew what the best rabbit housing options were.

Dog Crates & Rabbit Hutches

Dog crates and rabbit hutches are also not large enough on their own for most rabbits. If you have a very large set up and small rabbits, it might work, but it is likely too small. Attaching one of these options to an XPen can provide your rabbit with a great safe place to hide and keep their litter box while making sure they have plenty of space to run and play.

Crates can be easier to clean, as the plastic and metal can be easily sprayed down with a safe cleaner whereas a wooden hutch can be damaged by urine. Crates are also more chew-proof, which is a common past-time for bunnies!

Exercise Pens or XPens

An exercise pen or XPen as its commonly referred to are a great option for your rabbit’s enclosure. You can easily move the panels, add to the cage, and it’s very easy to clean. These XPens can be a cheaper option as well. My rabbit, Gus, is currently housed in a space made of two Xpens. We use the 36-inch high panels, but don’t forget these little guys can jump when they want to, so if you have larger rabbits, you may need taller panels.
Check out the exercise pen I use here

Gus checking out the outside world from the safety of his paper bag hide in his exercise pen.

Free Roam

Free roaming is often known as the best way to keep a pet rabbit, but it’s not the easiest way. This could be free roam in a space bedroom, a single floor, or your entire home. For giant breeds like Continental or Flemish Giant rabbits, free roaming is the only appropriate and ethical way to have them in your home. Free roaming requires your home to be kept bunny-proofed, making sure all dangerous or delicate things are up and out of reach, your bunny is litter trained and fixed, and you’ve provided them a safe, quiet home base. 

More Rabbit Guides

If you want to write for the Rabbit Care Guides, contact me here
If you have a topic you want to see covered in the guides, comment below and let me know!

Other Guides:

Diet for Bunnies: What Rabbits Can and Should Eat (coming soon!)
GI Stasis, Medications, and Recovery (coming soon!)
Emergency Preparedness for Rabbits (coming soon!)
Litter Training and Litter Boxes for Rabbits (coming soon!)
X Myths about Spaying and Neutering Rabbits (coming soon!)
Keeping Your Rabbit Outdoors (coming soon!)
Five Steps to Free Roaming Your Rabbit (coming soon!)

33 Things in 99 Days: Summer Bucket List Challenge

We’re vaccinated, CDC has lifted masking requirements, and a major life update is on the horizon for me, so gals (and guys!) Shot Girl Summer is in FULL swing here in the Hygge House. I’ve got a fire lit under my butt to get up, get out, and celebrate this summer like never before. Some time for my family, some time for my friends, and a whole lot of time to treat the most important person, me!

Years ago, I tried a 101 in 1001 inspired by Mackenzie Horan, but I could never come up with a full 101 to commit to. So, inspired by the 33 Things in 99 days by A Little Bit of Cheers, I’ve gotten my summer bucket list together! I kept it with shorter, more doable actions, including the things I had to put on hold since last summer.

Not sure where to start with your summer bucket list? Check out mine below for inspo, or the original post from A Little Bit of Cheers. Let me know in the comments or on social what you’re doing this summer and let’s keep that summer bucket list going together!

Check this post out in Web Stories below or keep scrolling to read!

33 Things in 99 Days: Summer Bucket List Challenge
Start Date: June 23, 2021 
End Date: September 30, 2021

  1. Spend a Day at the Beach 
  2. Have a picnic
  3. Go to a drive-in movie
  4. Take a weekend vacation
  5. Have a fire in the backyard (with the essentials, plenty of s’mores!)
  6. Go for a hike in a new place in NJ
  7. Watch a sunrise
  8. Learn a new recipe (Maybe from Molly Baz’s cookbook that I won?)
  9. Take a week’s vacation
  10. Visit a farmers market
  11. Go to a sports game (Nats, we’re coming for you!)
  12. Go for drinks, bayside
  13. Host a backyard BBQ with friends
  14. Take on a DIY project in the house
  15. Redecorate a space Done! Living Room Refresh on 6/25
  16. Learn to play Tennis
  17. Make homemade popsicles
  18. Spend a night car camping
  19. Take Levi to swim
  20. Try my first lobster roll
  21. Check out a new winery
  22. Have a girls-only weekend
  23. Make pasta from scratch
  24. Go to a new museum
  25. Host a backyard brunch
  26. Go fruit or flower picking
  27. Place or donate to a Free Little Library
  28. Have a backyard movie night
  29. Host a clothing swap
  30. Create and send a care package
  31. Create a new habit (Maybe taking Levi for park walks every week?
  32. Perform a random act of kindness
  33. Attend a summer concert or festival

Which activity on the list are you most excited for? Which is the first you’ll cross off your list? And what are you adding to your list? Sound off in the comments below or check in on social @MoiraTheExplorer!

25th Birthday: Thoughts & Wishlist

Y’all I’m going to be 25 years old next month. Twenty-freaking-five. Can you believe it? You don’t know me, of course you can. I can’t believe it though. So much has happened this past year and internally I feel like I’ve aged a decade between my 24th and 25th birthdays. I mean I moved out, I adopted a dog, my best friend got married, and I started a freaking business! All in a year! 

I love birthdays. I mean I love my birthday the most, but just birthdays in general. I love giving gifts, celebrating, popping the champagne, baking a cake (more eating than baking it tbh). And just like anyone else, love to get gifts. And I am, in my own words, the pickiest person I know, so I still make myself a birthday list every single year. It’s an open list for everyone in my family, whoever wants it can see it. It works, everyone’s happy, and whenever someone asks me what I want, I’ll never actually forget the things I wanted. 

Picking what I wanted this year was pretty tough. With everything that’s gone on, I just wanted to go out and explore and live. I’m going on two road trips with my SO this summer, both to visit family and to take some time off work. We’re taking more time out and about, spending slow mornings getting brunch, taking Levi with us for coffee. And we’re building up our house, taking it from house to home. Most of what I really want this year is vacation, peace, and the simple joys. But that’s hard to ask for for a birthday. So other than those highly non-corporeal things, here is what I have on my 25th birthday wishlist.

Collage of images representing items on my 25th birthday wishlist including: White Keds Champion, LED Reading Light, Double Curb Chain Bracelet, Books, Patagonia Quandary 5" Short, AT Wireless Turntable, and Washington Capitals Hat

White Keds Champion ($50) // LED Reading Light ($20) // Double Curb Chain Bracelet ($70) // Books // Patagonia Quandary 5″ Short ($60) // AT Wireless Turntable ($150) // Washington Capitals Hat ($25)

LED Reading Neck Light

Is this the ugliest thing I’ve asked for ever? Possibly. Is this the most useful item I’ve asked for? Almost definitely. I love reading in bed but have yet to find a bedside table lamp that I don’t utterly loathe or bulbs that don’t shine like the actual sun. With this LED Reading Neck Light I can sit up and read as late as I want without keeping Cody or Levi up all night with me!

Patagonia Quandary 5” Shorts

I would absolutely not call myself a hiker, but Cody and I have really taken to hiking after our last couple of trips to the Poconos. We had a ton of fun, love the exercise, and the views are stunning. We’re looking forward to taking a few new hikes with Levi this summer, but ya girl is not prepared. It’s not nearly as hot there in the summer as it is here, but it’s still a bit much to be hiking with long leggings. Having a good pair of hiking/walking shorts is a must have and I’m loving the Patagonia Quandary 5″ Shorts!

Record Player

I have a couple of records already, but no record player! I had gotten one for Christmas, but it, unfortunately, had a little damage to it. Now take two, I’m dying to get a record player and start stepping up my record collection! My parents have this Audio Technica player, and I couldn’t imagine having anything better. The quality is great, we’ll connect it to a Bluetooth speaker, and set it right up in the living room.

Books

Hear me out, I know it’s vague. There are a ton of books that I’ve had on my TBR list that I’m dying to read. I don’t know which ones I want the most. Really, anything from the top of the TBR is good. Anything similar to the top of the TBR is a safe pick really. Or a gift card to the local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, any of it. Books are always good. Love books. 

Mejuri Double Curb Chain Bracelet

I love Mejuri jewelry so much. They’re always on my wishlist and this bracelet is definitely a want. I’ve been working on building out a jewelry collection after not wearing any for years. I love pieces that are less delicate looking, and I love gold. Any curb chain accessories, love them. This super cute double curb chain bracelet is definitely on the list. 

White Sneakers

I love sneakers in general. They’re such great go-to shoes and white sneakers are my number 1 summer must-have. If it’s not Sperry’s, it’s white sneaks. Early last spring, I bought these from Old Navy when they were on sale for $5. They were great, but they’ve hit the point of no return, thanks to Levi’s muddy paws. I’m willing to relegate these now greige dirty sneaks to road tripping, Home Depot runs, and dog walking at 6:45am.I was going to buy a new pair myself, but hey, birthday, why not have someone else buy them?? I truly couldn’t pick one, but narrowed it down to two shoes, SuperGa Cotu Sneaker and Ked’s Champion. I’m leaning towards the Keds, but could go either way!

Washington Capitals Hat

The one thing that’s kept my brain in check over the past year(ish) has been getting more into sports. I”m not the world’s greatest sports fan, like don’t ask me any details, but I just enjoy watching football, baseball, hockey, honestly whatever at this point. I like to keep a few merch items around, supporting my Washington teams. I have a couple things for the Nationals, but none for my Caps! Making this new Capitals hat a must-have. I’m a big baseball hat person too, so adding another good hat to my collection is 100% necessary. 


I’m really excited to see what 25 brings and I’m looking forward to the big plans we have for this year!

Book Explorer Vol. 7 | Becoming by Michelle Obama

The sun is shining, the blog is active again, the ‘gram is moving, and y’all I am feeling mo-ti-va-ted. It’s been absolute and utter chaos at our house basically from the day we brought Levi home and I’ve barely had time to think. Things are changing again and we’re all starting to settle into a more regular routine. Which includes me sitting my behind down for some one-on-one time with me, myself and Michelle! I have finally finished Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming, and I loved it, loved it, loved it. But more on that later!

Currently Reading

Design the Home You Love by by Lee Mayer and Emily Motayed

I was super excited to have won a Mental Health Awareness Month giveaway hosted by @VivNunes on Instagram. I won 5 books you can check out on my Instagram, but one that I was super excited to get was Design the Home You Love. Since we moved, I’ve been slowly working on upgrading and designing our home. Let me tell you, it’s no joke, it’s hard! Hopefully this book will help me get my aesthetic more on point, square away my designs, and get this house looking glamorous in no time. Lee and Emily, help me get my home decor sh!t together!

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

I picked up this book at the, no joke, beginning of Quarantine. I swore I was going to read a ton in QT. Turns out, a lot more Animal Crossing than reading. But you can’t rush a good book, and now it’s time to start! I don’t know much about the story beyond what the inside covers say (check that out on Goodreads). I’m interested to get through Transcendent Kingson and see how it compares to Queenie as well as learning more about the role of religion and finding religion again, especially as a person who isn’t religious at all.

Finished Reading

The book I read this month, Becoming by Michelle Obama, placed on a tan fabric couch and white knit blanket.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

5/5 Stars

Absolutely loved this book. I’ve always been the woman to prioritize my career. I didn’t put my life plan on hold for nothing or nobody. The older I get though, the more I’m hearing and feeling the pressure to start a family. Which is honestly comical, I’m 24, I have massive debt, no clear idea of where I’ll be in 5 years, and I almost burned the house down trying to reheat tostones last week. More than that, I’m not sure if I even want kids of my own! I know no woman is beholden to the 2.5 kids/perfect dog/picket fence/at home mom by 28 rule, but the pressure to have that or strive for it is heavy, and will only get heavier the older I get.

But reading through Becoming, hearing the story of a woman who worked hard, prioritised herself, and maintained her strength and identity throughout being the primary caretaker for two daughters, supporting her partner, and maintaining a successful tenure as First Lady. Truly inspiring and it really did reaffirm my belief that I am on the right path for myself. 

Beyond that though, I enjoyed how the book was broken up, especially the fact that she took the time to explore her early career choices and why she made the switch to more community-focused roles. I laughed, I cried, I got a little jealous in some spots, but on the whole, I was very inspired and I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone. Especially any career-focused woman.

Up Next

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert


Keep up with what I’m reading on a daily basis, follow me on Goodreads! Looking for more non-book related content? Follow my main Instagram, MoiraTheExplorer, and join the newsletter to stay in the know with new blogs, insider info, and bonus content!

My Budget Friendly Summer Skincare Routine

Back in January, I committed to taking more time for self care, which included developing a skincare routine for myself. I’ve never been a big makeup/skincare person, so building up the habit required time and patience on my part. Plus keeping it budget friendly skincare is tough! I was doing well with my winter skincare, as someone who is super dry 24/7 in the winter, it was practically mandatory! For summer skincare though, it’s high time to switch it up! So first, an update about my skin, then the products I’m using and last what I’m in the market for!

Before we go forward, I am not a dermatologist, esthetician, or skin care expert. This routine is what works for my normal to dry skin. I recommend these products based on my experience, but if you are unsure on products, you should do your own research or contact a professional for assistance on your skin. 

Affiliate links ahead, I make commissions on these links at no extra cost to you. 

About My Skin

As I mentioned in my winter skincare post, I’ve always been one of those people with decent skin. For the longest time my only skincare was some off-brand “morning hydration” face and body lotion and baby wash. And micellar water to take off makeup, when I remembered. And with that, I only ever had at most a couple pimples or a few light bumps. 

A couple years ago, the universe played an uno reverse card on me and took away my simple, easy skin. Replaced it with sweaty, oily skin summers and dry, cracking winters. I did the bare minimum to care for my skin, mostly just addressing things as they came up, instead of preventing the problems. Summer 2020, I started the process, washing my face more frequently, moisturizing regularly and wearing *le gasp* sunscreen! I aimed for moisture and glowy. Sweaty, but make it fashion, right? Then last winter, we shifted gears into a real skincare routine, adding more products to combat some serious dryness.

So here we are, Summer 2021, and what’s up next for my skin? Well the theme for the season is still simple, budget friendly, and moisture. And between allergies and sweat, glowy-on-purpose skin is important too. I use a lot of sunscreen every day too, especially because I abused my skin in the sun for so long. Not with tanning, but working outside for many summers with literally zero skin protection. It’s taken me a long time to rehab the damage I’ve done, and there’s still some pigmentation and weird texture spots from the sun damage. 

Morning Skincare Routine

Once again, mornings, not my strength. I’ve gotten better about waking up early and having plenty of time for whatever in the mornings. But the universe has blessed me with something new to keep my mornings busy, seasonal allergies! I don’t know what is going on with the pine trees this year, but I’m definitely feeling the pollen. So my mornings are mostly taken up by washing my face, eye drops, allergy pills, and sneezing into my tea. 

Most days, I’m not going far from my desk, my bed, or my kitchen, thank you Covid, 90° weather, and sweeping pollen clouds. On those days I keep my morning skincare simple, a quick rinse with water, pat dry and follow up with CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizer SPF 30. The CeraVe isn’t my favorite, but it does the job. I’ll finish the bottle, but I doubt that I’ll end up rebuying.

On the rare occasion that I do venture out, I’m still keeping it minimal.. I’m a real sweaty betty, so adding a bunch of layers of anything is just going to be an annoyance to me later. I stick to a glowy-on-purpose simple routine and that’s all. I picked out my routine after watching this video from the skincare queen, Charlotte Palermino.

Three budget-friendly summer skincare products: Blue and white bottle of CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, orange and white bottle of CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen, and The Ordinary Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil.

Sometimes I’ll pop a fresh coat on with the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 or Cetaphil first to refresh the moisturizer. I follow it up with The Ordinary Rosehip Oil on my face and neck, going real wild with 3 drops. I rub it out in my hands and then pat it on. After letting the oil sit for a moment, I’ll apply the CeraVe Hydrating Face Lotion SPF 50. I absolutely can’t recommend this sunscreen, it gives a terrible white cast, and I’m pretty pale to begin with. I’ve been on the hunt for a new one with no or less white cast to end my routine with. If I know I’ll be outside in the sun, I’ll just suck it up and deal with the white residue, but if I’ll be inside, I will occasionally use the CeraVe again or just plain sunscreen, neither of which really give you the glowy look.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Four budget-friendly summer skincare products in my nighttime skincare routine: Clear bottle of Garnier Micellar Water, Green and white bottle of CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, short squat white and blue jar of Pond's Dry Skin Cream, and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid.

My nighttime summer skincare routine is pretty simple. I’ll use the Garnier’s Micellar Water with reusable bamboo cotton rounds to remove any remaining sunscreen or makeup.

Two budget-friendly summer skincare products in my nighttime skincare routine: short squat white and blue jar of Pond's Dry Skin Cream, and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid.

Next I’ll rinse with cool water and pat dry after, or some days I’ll use the non-forming CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. After, I’ll use The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2% with B5. Hyaluronic acid helps replenish moisture in your skin and the B5 prevents moisture loss. This is really important in the winter, but moisture is still key year round. Lastly, closing it up with a nice thick moisturizer like Pond’s Dry Skin Cream or Cetaphil on the skin and Aquaphor on my lips. 

What I’m Looking to Buy

My summer skincare routine definitely still has room to grow!

Sunscreen

I had a lot of recommendations for amazing sunscreens like Supergoop and Neutrogena Invisible Shield. I was definitely looking for a chemical sunscreen, the mineral leaves too much of a white cast. And finding a budget friendly option is key. Based on my research, I’ll likely have to sacrifice some budget to get a good product. For most people, the Neutrogena Invisible Shield would be a great, affordable find, but it doesn’t play well with my sensitive skin.

The product I’m considering adding to my summer skincare routine is the La Rochey Posay Clear Skin Dry Touch. It’s SPF 60, not a mineral sunscreen, and most reviews say no white cast. It’s $19.99 for 1.7oz, which is pretty pricey, but I have some Ulta points available and 3% cashback with Rakuten, so I can make the price a little more budget friendly!

Vitamin C Serum

I’m going to start here, finding a Vitamin C serum is hard! A lot of the top rated products are expensive. Like $40+ for 1 ounce of product. It is a lot of product, given that you’re using 1-2 drops per day and it’s a good quality product it’s a pretty fair price. But still, with some running upwards of $80, Woof.

I did some research and narrowed it down to three options, TruSkin Vitamin C Serum, Maelove Glow Maker, and L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives. All three options are less than $30 each. I’m leaning towards trying the L’Oreal first, mostly because that way I can pop it onto the same Ulta order with the sunscreen and a few other things I need.


Let me know if there are any other summer skincare essentials I’m missing in my routine or products I should try out. What’s are your summer skincare essentials? Do you keep it budget friendly, or do you splurge on skincare? Let’s chat below!

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