Posts by mkrier

Summer 20210 Swimsuit Picks

I wanna be upfront with y’all, I hate swimsuit season. Really just spring and summer altogether, not a big fan. It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s sweaty. Then add on being in a swimsuit for potentially hours a day? Yeah not my definition of fun, wake me up when September ends and I can crack my sweaters out again.
Despite that, I really want to get out and enjoy the sun this year, self-esteem issues be damned (she says feeling confident now, but we’re working on it). I need a new swimsuit for this year, and I spent a lot of time shopping for the perfect one. It is literally the biggest pain in the you-know-what, but I wanted to share my work with you, and hopefully save you a little bit of time and frustration. Check out my favorite picks for summer swimsuits below!

About My Size

One thing that drives me crazy, is when bloggers share their outfits and picks without sharing their sizes. So in full clarity, these swimsuits and coverups are all ones that I feel would fit me and my body.

Swimsuit Picks

I shopped around to my favorite stores to find my new swimsuits and coverup including J. Crew, J. Crew Factory, Old Navy, Athleta, and Aerie.

J. Crew

Pro: I love J. Crew. They’re just my style and hit my goal wardrobe right on, every single time.
Con: I find that J. Crew doesn’t quite hit on two other major categories for me: price and model diversity. Price wise, it’s just a little out of range for me. When it comes to diversity, I find it’s a little lacking. A lot of thin and mostly white women. It would be nice to see some more diversity across the board.

LBI Region beach in the background. The foreground has four photos of swimsuits and coverups from J. Crew. First is a blue and white seersucker one-piece swimsuit. Second is a medium blue bikini with boy short bottoms and bow-like accent on shoulder straps. Third is a blue and white seersucker romper coverup paired with white sneakers. Fourth is a oversize white buttondown shirt coverup.

One Piece // Bikini Top // Bikini Bottom // Romper // Button Up

Why I Liked: The swimsuits are super cute and have decent coverage. The one-piece is not something I could wear strapless, out of fear of one (or both) of the girls escaping, but it’s a super cute seersucker and I love the look. The coverups are also right up my alley, cute, crisp, and easy to toss on as an outfit.

Why I Didn’t Buy: Primarily, the price. $100+ for a swimsuit? Not really in my budget. And while I would LOVE to have this romper, I am a long torso lady, and rompers just aren’t my jam, despite my best efforts.

J. Crew Factory

Pro: This is usually my primary J. Crew. The style, the goal wardrobe, and the prices are much closer to my budget, and I can hit the sales pretty well to the basics I need.
Con: I find that J. Crew Factory tends to have a lot of trendy pieces that stray a little farther from the modern preppy look I usually prefer. Which is fine, it just means that there are fewer pieces that are really up my alley, especially for coverups this year. And again, with diversity, it’s lacking here a well with again, a lot of thin and mostly white women.

LBI Region beach in the background. The foreground has three photos of swimsuits from J. Crew Factory. The first is a color-blocked one-piece swimsuit with a medium blue top over the shoulders and a navy blue lower half. The second is a green scalloped bikini with a small tie on the top. The third is a red bikini with a small white floral pattern throughout.

One Piece // Green Bikini Top // Green Bikini Bottom // Red Bikini Top // Red Bikini Bottom

Why I Liked: Cute designs, better prices, and better coverage. The bikini tops seemed pretty secure, and the red bikini and one-piece looked like they have really good booty coverage.

Why I Didn’t Buy: These suits are super cute, but they just didn’t quite do it for me! The price wasn’t quite right, and I feel that based on my sizing, the one-piece isn’t THE most supportive. It just. Eh? These are good picks for the right person, but just not for me!

Old Navy

Pro: More affordable styles, lots of stackable deals, and a much more diverse group of models!
Con: A lot of trendy pieces and colors, which isn’t my favorite thing in the world. And quality-wise, Old Navy isn’t setting any record here. But it’s a good quality for the price!

LBI Region beach in the background. The foreground has four photos of swimsuits and coverups from Old Navy. The first is a dip-dye bikini fading from pink to white to orange. The second is a white one-piece swimsuit with pink, blue, and green floral pattern throughout and a small tie at the waist. The third is a teal one-piece with a twist at the chest. The fourth is a black bikini with a high waist bottom and long line top.

Dip Dye Bikini Top // Dip Dye Bikini Bottom // Floral One Piece // Ribbed One Piece // Black Longline Bikini Top // Black Longline Bikini Bottom

Why I Liked: First and foremost, all of these swimsuits feel like they have great boob coverage. The black longline one might be a little more risky, but even then, it seems like full coverage tops. And again, the prices are super reasonable, especially when you stack sales!

Why I Didn’t Buy: These were almost the ones! My only issue is that I always need to try on clothes at Old Navy for size. And usually, that’s no problem. They have great returns and it processes really quickly. But if I didn’t have to likely do the exchanges, Old Navy might have been the one!

Aerie

Pro: Price-wise, Aerie is right in the middle. Could it be a little cheaper? Yes, but it’s not breaking the bank. Diversity is also a big plus. A lot better size diversity and racial diversity, not that my picks apparently reflect that. I also really appreciate that Aerie models actually look like they enjoy wearing the swimsuits and are like, real people? Not just breathing mannequins, which is really a pet peeve.
Con: A lot of trendy pieces. Like, a lot. Which is tough, because I don’t love buying trendy items. I don’t often buy bathing suits, so I don’t want to get one that’s only good for one season. Lastly, cheeky swimsuits aren’t really topping my comfortable clothing list, and most of Aerie’s bottoms are more of a cheeky fit.

LBI Region beach in the background. The foreground has four photos of swimsuits and coverups from Aerie. The first is a kelly green, ribbed bikini. The second is a black one-piece swimsuit with a tie on the mid-back, and below it a keyhole cutout. The third is a light blue and white jacquard pattern bikini with a small decorative tie on the front of the top. The fourth is a solid blue bikini, with high rise bottoms.

Green Bikini Top // Green Bikini Bottom // Black One Piece // Blue Jacquard Bikini Top // Blue Jacquard Bikini Bottom // Solid Blue Bikini Top // Solid Blue Bikini Bottom

Why I Liked: So many color and pattern choices! It took me a long time to narrow down which swimsuits I put in my cart, and these colors and patterns were so cute. I love that all these suits have pretty good coverage on top and a lot of different fit and size choices for the bottoms, coming from someone who prefers a higher coverage suit.

What I Bought

LBI Region beach in the background. The foreground has two photos of swimsuits from Aerie. The first is a black one-piece swimsuit with a tie on the mid-back, and below it a keyhole cutout. The second is a solid blue bikini, with high-rise bottoms.

Black One Piece // Solid Blue Bikini Top // Solid Blue Bikini Bottom

After a very long search and many arduous hours of online shopping, I finally found the ones! Sarcasm aside, I’m super excited to get these Aerie swimsuits. I love the fuller coverage bottoms, the tops seem pretty supportive, and they have pretty reasonable prices.
The black one-piece was a real winner because it was the only one I found that had more pizzaz to it. Lots of the others were pretty simple, with little bows or nothing at all. This one, despite being plain black, has a cute tie and a little keyhole back.
The bikini was a tough choice, I really had a hard time picking which one to get, because I just couldn’t buy three bikinis, I just don’t go to the beach enough to warrant it, despite the fact that I live like 20 minutes away from the ocean. But I went with the blue bikini because it’s my favorite color, the model looks like she has good support up top, and the matching bottoms were my favorite style!


Keep an eye out on my Instagram in the coming weeks to see how these Aerie swimsuits fit and look, I’ll be posting about them soon! In the meantime, check out similar posts here.

First Three Months of Explorer Media: Thoughts, Goals, + 4 Tools I Love

Cheers folks, Explorer Media has made it through its first 90 days! That’s right, I made a real business, and it has survived the first quarter, pop the champagne folks, we raked in a bucket o cash too. Not really. But it’s been fun. I love my clients, I love my job, and I love working for myself (okay, like 98% of the time). But I made it my first three months and dang it, I am proud!

Hands typing on a Dell laptop in the background. In the foreground a white computer mouse with an American flag pattern sits on a white legal pad next to a tortoise shell phone case with Explorer Media printed on it.

First Thoughts

I’m pretty happy with how my work through Explorer Media is going these first three months. My website came out really well, my major client is pretty happy, and I’m starting to invest some money back into the business. Investing sounds so serious. I bought some really simple desk gear to up my workspace. Keep an eye out on ExplorerMedia.co to see more on those soon. 

On the whole, I think there are a lot of places where I can do better, but I’m not totally unhappy with it.  

Goals for Q2

Add more to my portfolio

I’ve been really slow to write up case studies for client work on the Explorer Media site. It doesn’t look so hot to new clients checking in on the website, and it just doens’t look great to have missing blocks on the portfolio. It’s something I’m trying to make a regular habit of. My goal is posting one new portfolio element every week. 

Attend More Networking Events

Now that I’m finally realizing where my strengths and passions are when it comes to clients, it’s time to hustle and go get a few more! Explorer Media launched a new program for businesses in the LBI Region, and it’s time to put in the legwork and go out to meet new clients. I’m working with my local chamber to boost my reach and find events, I’m ready to go with virtual business cards and cute masks, and I’m finally getting COVID-19 vaccine too!

Be More Active on my Social Media

You know the adage about the shoemaker’s kids? They’re the last ones to get new shoes? It’s the same for digital marketers. Explorer Media socials (and my personal socials!) are always the last one to get posts! I’ve been working on producing more reels, building up my personal following, and just plain being active on my social. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I would really like to get more consistent and have a better showing online!

4 Tools I Love

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

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe isn’t a must-have for social media, but for my communications work, it’s essential. It’s helped me client adjust logo colors, develop print media elements, build annual reports, and more. If digital or print communications are essential to your business like they are for Explorer Media, Adobe is a need.

Canva

While Adobe Creative Cloud is the best software for design, 80% of the time as a social media manager, I’m using Canva. Canva is great, it’s affordable, it has SO many amazing things available for free, easy to learn, and it’s where I can provide clients with elements so they can learn to grow their business independently too. Canva is an absolute must have for me. Canva Pro is also huge. The free plans are great, but with the pro plan there is access to so many more templates, fonts, images, graphics and more. 
Join Canva Pro today!

Constant Contact

I have been using Constant Contact for years and I love it. Most of the Explorer Media clients are small and medium-sized businesses, so Constant Contact is perfect for them. It’s easy to use, it scales to some really great automations, integrated with a ton of other programs, and I really do love it. I was really excited when I was accepted into the Constant Contact Partner Program too, and I’m working on getting my platform certification!
Get a free Constant Contact trial!

Creator Studio

I have tried and tried to find the best social media scheduling software. But I’ll let you in on a secret. Creator Studio is unfortunately the best. Other platforms are exceptionally pricey, have rumors or reduced engagement, or are just a PITA to learn. Creator Studio, is the best so far for scheduling IG and FB content. But I really do need Zuckerberg to figure out how I can schedule stories and reels there too!


I’m really proud of myself for launching Explorer Media. It wasn’t something I really saw myself doing for a few years, but with the difficulties finding a job during the lockdown, I took the leap. I’m nervous and excited and really really looking forward to what I can do!

Welcome Levi + 8 Puppy Essentials

Blog, meet Levi! If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen the news, we adopted a puppy! Levi is a pitbull mix puppy that we adopted from our local Humane Society. We were told he was 4 months old, but our vet thinks he’s closer to 6 months old. He’s an absolute sweetheart and we are so so so excited to have him here with us. The process of getting Levi was a long one, but we had 2 days warning that he was coming home, so er had to scramble to get all his puppy essentials in time!

Medium sized Pitbull puppy, Levi, with black body, white feet, and a white face with a large black spot over his left eye sitting in a hallway with oak LVP flooring while wearing some of his puppy essential gear, the  blue Kong collar.

How We Got Levi

We have been reaching out to rescues and shelters about dogs for adoption for a couple of months to no avail. Mostly rejections, a few ghosts, and one straight up asked for our marriage certificate (like, what??). Finally, I sent one email I swore would be the last application to the local Humane Society. We got an email back that the dog we applied for wouldn’t be a good fit for us with the rabbit, and we were disappointed, but not surprised. But then, the next day I got another email from them saying they recently got in a puppy named Cash who tested really well with cats and could be a good match for us.

The new puppy Levi the first time we met him, the day we took him home.
Medium sized Pitbull puppy with black body, white feet, and a white face with a large black spot over his left eye.
At the Humane Society when we met him for the first time

We applied right away and were accepted. We put our application in on Monday, completely sight unseen! We ran out to grab his supplies on Tuesday night after work and clean the house, puppy-proofing everything. On Wednesday, we arrived to meet him for the first time and take him home!

Real Talk: Levi’s First Week

Y’all I knew puppies were tough, but puppies are tough. The first three days, Cody and I got max 4 hours of sleep. Levi had accidents once a day. He developed a nipping issue. He hated the crate. It was and still is a pretty legit struggle. 

Then, after a week in, Levi got sick. Vomiting five times in two hours, refusing to eat, completely lethargic. I had spent the morning driving my parents dog out for a specialist surgery, and right after I turned around and had to bring Levi to our local vet. Luckily the vet wasn’t super worried about him, and we left with two weeks of medication to get us through until his next appointment for the rest of his vaccines. (Shoutout to Rancocas Vet for squeezing us in on short notice and taking amazing care of all my pets).

I’ll level with you all, there have been many many tears the last week, especially the past couple of days. It’s been really really difficult, but it finally feels like we’re making a few steps forward. We tried a new food, Levi ate, and he’s been playing again. And with the warm weather moving in, we have the windows open in the house and I’ve been sitting outside writing this post in the sun on our porch.

Puppy Plans: Going Forward with Levi

Going forward, we have big plans with this little dinosaur. He has another vet appointment this coming week for his last couple shots. We start training with a local trainer next Friday, which is for training us more than Levi!

Medium sized Pitbull puppy, Levi, with black body, white feet, and a white face with a large black spot over his left eye on the beach at Manahawkin Lake walking towards the camera in the sand while wearing some of his puppy essential gear, including blue Kong leash, pink Kong Harness, and blue Kong collar.

We’re working on practicing manners during car rides, we’re going to check out the local parks and work our way up to visiting the beach before they close to dogs. In November, Cody and I always take a trip out to the Poconos, and we want to get his car manners down so we can take him with us for the 3 hour drive. 

8 Puppy Essentials

I’m far from an expert, but a week in, we learned very quickly what we actually needed, used, and missed. These are the 8 puppy essentials that you definitely need for your pup!
Affiliate links ahead, I make commissions on these links to no extra cost to you. 

Kong Comfort Collar 

We purchased the in Comfort Collar in Blue for Levi.We’ve been happy with it so far, it’s pretty soft on his neck, has a built in loop for tags, and Levi looks so handsome in the blue! 

KONG Reflective Pocket Dog Harness

This wasn’t our first choice of harness, but it’s been really good! Levi is working on his leash manners, so right now we use the harness for a little more control on our walks and car rides. We picked one that had a lot of reflective elements for night walks and could carry his own poops when we eventually take him on short hikes with us. Only downside, it wasn’t available in blue! Levi now wears a handsome pink harness, because he’s secure in his masculinity

KONG Weave Padded Handle Comfort Traffic Dog Leash

10/10 Love this leash! We got it in blue to match his collar and I’ve been super happy with it. This leash comes with two handles, one is a traffic strap lower down on the leash which we mostly use right now. The other is at the end of the leash (duh), but what’s notable about it is that the end loop can be expanded so that it could be a waist loop. It’s like everything you need in one leash!

MidWest Quiet Time Fleece Dog Crate Mat

We initially bought this as a crate mat, but that didn’t go over well, so it ended up being a regular dog bed for Levi. It’s great because it’s washable but it doesn’t go in the dryer, so it’s not super convenient. Levi likes the bed though, he occasionally sleeps in it, mostly loves to play with it or hide snacks in it!

Nutro Mini Bites Dog Training Treats

These are a lifesaver! We jokingly call them motivators, they’ve been really helpful in training Levi, keeping him focused on walks, and conning him to finally get into the house after playing outside. I have NO clue on the actual health value of these, but Levi loves these and they make training so easy!

Fab Dog Floppy Octopus Squeaky Plush Dog Toy

We got this after Levi straight up rejected all his other toys. I’ll be honest, I picked this bad boy because it was pretty cute and I thought it would look nice when I get my home actually put together again. This is one of Levi’s favorites with 9 squeakers and it’s been pretty indestructible so far!

Frisco Fold & Carry Single Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate

I bought this crate years ago for Gus and we ultimately phased it out for him. Luckily I saved it and we’re attempting to use it with Levi now. While it’s not going well, it’s definitely a must have for puppies. 

Frisco Wire Dog Exercise Pen with Step-Through Door

This is probably more helpful for smaller puppies, hard to contain a 40 lb baby! We’re going to give this a try next 


We’re so excited to have Levi here, and we’re looking forward to the next step in our lives with him. Or at least wrangling him! I hope anyone looking to add a puppy to their life finds this list helpful, we completely winged it when we found out we were getting Levi

Book Explorer Vol. 6 | My Reading Mojo is Back!

Happy almost Spring, happy March, happy Tuesday! Ladies and gents, it’s a new month and I’m feeling so ready for it. Especially with my reading, believe it or not. I read two books in February (Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing and The Vanishing Half) and I’m really proud of that. It’s taken a while for me to get my reading speed back up, so having that drive back feels really good. Ya girl got her reading mojo back!

Coming into Spring also has me itching for more home improvements including building a Free Little Library. I love seeing Carly Riordan’s little library, it’s adorable! I’ve been eyeing this set on Etsy, it looks great and it’s made by the family of Todd Bol, who is the original creator of the free little library. I always loved these, and I’m super excited to put one in this spring. 

CURRENTLY READING

Becoming by Michelle Obama

FINISHED READING

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch

5/5 Stars

Absolutely loved Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing. If you didn’t know, I’m very big into politics. I started out my college career as a Political Science major and my first career goal was to be a campaign manager. Love politics. So finding a great book that give a pretty realistic view of politics, from a unique female perspective, gives me women in power, and still takes time to value the perspective of other, diverse characters was fantastic. And, and it was still a really enjoyable nonfiction story.
I’ll be honest, the plot isn’t groundbreaking, this isn’t going to rock your world with a wild perspective, but it’s a really enjoyable book, by a woman, about a woman. If you liked American Royals and are looking for a book to scratch that itch while waiting for the unconfirmed third book, Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing absolutely does it. 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

5/5 Stars

The Vanishing Half covers the lives of two light skinned Black twin sisters living fascinatingly parallel lives. The two girls run away from their Louisiana hometown and eventually lead entirely separate, different lives. Brit Bennett provides every character with a grounded, real feeling existence, with varying stakes and challenges for each. No one view felt more or less cared for by the author. I truly enjoyed the story and the views from so many perspectives, all of which were different than my own. Absolutely loved it, would fully recommend The Vanishing Half to anyone to read.

UP NEXT

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

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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 keep an eye out for my email newsletter!

For the Road | Books, Home Decor, Bites, and the LBI Region

February was a heck of a month, lots of highs and lows. I’ve really stepped up some at work and gotten better at sticking to a decent workday schedule, which is really just all I do nowadays! Looking forward to March though, increasing my business marketing to reach a few new potential clients, possibly some big changes coming for the house, and looking to take on a cooking challenge, we’ll be celebrating Nowruz! It wasn’t something we ever went too wild celebrating, mostly due to picky eaters (ahem, Dad). But keep an eye out for the planned menu soon!

For the Bookshelf // Vanishing Half

Colorful cover of the Vanishing Half

I’ve been really enjoying reading Brit Bennett’s Vanishing Half. I’m more than three-quarters of the way through as of writing this, and it’s just an enjoyable read sharing the story of sisters across time, economics, and race. I would absolutely recommend it. Plus Vanishing Half has the most beautiful cover are, so it can pull double duty as a gorgeous piece on the bookshelf too!

For the Home // H&M Cotton Twill Laundry Bag

Being in a new home and starting completely from scratch on everything has been high effing stress, especially keeping the design on a budget. H&M Home fits exactly that, and it’s my newest obsession. I’ve got my eye on a few pieces and for the past few weeks, I’ve had my eye on this super cute laundry hamper. I’ve been in need of a new hamper for a while, and it’s just one of those little things that would go a long way to start refreshing the look of the bedroom. 

For the Locals // Union Market Open Indoors

Photo of Moira, the blogger at Moira The Explorer, with breakfast at the Union Market, a women run cafe in the LBI Region

Almost every week, C and I are on our way down to Tuckerton to hit the Union Market. Some would argue, it’s not so local, but it definitely qualifies as the LBI Region still. The Union Market is a small women-owned cafe at the Tuckerton Seaport that specializes in healthy food with vegan and allergen safe options and supports local artisans and Makers with products available to purchase. It is my favorite place to get chai, get lunch, or just sit to work in the whole of the LBI Region. Absolutely would recommend, favorite place in town. 

For the Plate // Tate’s Bake Shop Oatmeal Raisin

Is this really a meal on the plate? Heck no. Is it sometimes a meal anyways? I’m invoking my right to remain silent. These are my favorite desserts lately and I cannot get enough. The chocolate chip cookies are amazing too, but oatmeal raisin is the superior cookie.

The Rabbit Care Guides: How to Keep a Pet Rabbit

Jump to Rabbit Care Guides Table of Contents

Almost 3 years ago now, on an absolute whim, I pulled a tiny, cuddle bunny from a small pet shop and brought him home in small cardboard box. Back then, I was excited to have my cuddly carrot-eating little GusGus in his cute little cage. 

And then I learned more about rabbits. I learned a lot more. 

Young Moira, girl with banks and glasses holding baby Black and white Dutch bunny rabbit who inspired the Rabbit Care Guide in her arms and petting his nose.

I never realized how much I didn’t know about rabbits until after I had already gotten one. And that’s the case for so many other rabbit owners I know, some of whom unfortunately learned these things too late. 

Learning all the info has been difficult. So much of it comes from groups or forums online and contradict common sources of information people usually trust like chain pet stores, friends and family, or even some veterinarians. 

What is difficult about learning in these groups is actually sharing knowledge. Often the same common questions are asked, and it’s difficult repeating the same answers. Or worse, looking for new information and being unable to find any reputable or reliable sources.

This Guide

All of that inspired this series of posts, The Rabbit Care Guides. This will be 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.

Black and white Dutch bunny rabbit who inspired the Rabbit Care Guide standing on his back legs and looking up into the camera

This post will serve as a table of contents for this series, continually being updated as new information is published. It is also the best place to ask any other questions about rabbit care that you may have. We can point you to a post that could help or write a post to answer your question. 

Who is the Rabbit Care Guide for?

The rabbit care guide is for anyone. Do you just love rabbits? It’s for you. Looking to get a pet? It’s for you too! New bunny owner? You too! Owned rabbits for years? Yep, it’s also for you. It’s never too late or too early to learn more about rabbits. 

Black and white Dutch bunny rabbit who inspired the Rabbit Care Guide hiding and peeking out of a paper bag

Animal care and keeping is always updating and growing. There are elements of rabbit care that we are learning about now that 5 years ago would never have crossed our minds. It’s important to continue to stay in the know for our pets, making sure we’re providing them with the best care possible, especially for rabbits, who can be a lot more at risk than other pets. 

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!

Table of Contents

Coming Soon

Book Explorer Vol. 5 | Reading Addie LaRue

Not a bad reading start to the year! I was hoping to finish two books, but I only got halfway through my second book. Not too bad at all! I’ve started reading before bed more, which is much easier since most of my books are on my Nook. But I do want to try to incorporate it more during the day and on weekends too. I usually have the time, and I’m much better off getting some pages in instead of staring at Facebook for an hour, as though I don’t do enough of that for work!

Currently Reading

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch (and absolutely loving it!)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Finished Reading

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

2.5 / 5 Stars possible spoilers ahead!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was fine. It wasn’t a good book, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read. The book was long, like way too long. I read classic Russian literature for fun, and this was too long. The first two-thirds of Addie LaRue needed to be cut, or at least condensed. It took that long for a plot to vaguely appear. And even that was weak. It was supposed to be a dramatic love story, the titular Addie LaRue growing and learning to sacrifice herself for those who she loves (I think). In reality, it’s Addie LaRue being in two pretty crap relationships, and sacrificing her life to an abusive man for a mediocre man. It’s a love story that shares two deeply twisted and broken view of “love.” The overall concept is really interesting, the pacing in the last third is spot on, and the prose is truly some of the best I’ve read in a while. But the massively delayed arrival of the plot, the 2-D characters, and the anger-inducing crappy relationships ruin The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue for me.
I would be willing to check out another of VE Schwab’s books, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue to anyone.

Up Next

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
Becoming by Michelle Obama

Did you read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue? What did you think of it? Sound off below!

See My Previous Book Explorer Posts

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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 keep an eye out for my email newsletter!

My New Winter Skincare Routine

Earlier this week I walked about my 2021 goals which included more physical and mental self-care. One thing that included for me was developing a skincare routine. 

I was always one of those really annoying people who always had 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 of years ago, the universe played a sneaky Uno reverse card on me and took away my simple, easy skin. Replaced it with 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. The upside of all the spare time I had in 2020 meant I watched a lot of skincare Instagrams. Like a lot. And I actually started to learn about caring for my skin.

So when winter came again this year, the incredible dryness came with it. Even though it hasn’t been too terribly cold this year, and I’m not going outside that often, I’m still getting cracks on my hands, my lips, and around my nose. And yes, they all hurt so, so badly. But this year I am prepared! I’ve been using these products to keep my skin as healthy as possible, and I use just 4 products almost every night and have amazing results. 

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 to no extra cost to you. 

Morning Skincare Routine

Organized mornings aren’t necessarily my strength lately. The morning “routine” isn’t really much of a routine at all, but rather things I do to my skin at miscellaneous points of the morning.

Once I’m up, I’ll take my Invisalign trays out, brush my teeth, and just splash some water on my face. I’ll pat with a washcloth until my skin is damp and then put on a thick moisturizing cream. Usually, I’ll use a pump of Cetaphil on my hands and face, followed by Aquaphor on my lips.

During the day I’ll add more Aquaphor if I need, or any other chapstick I have stashed around my house. Most days I won’t need to reapply any lotion to my face, but will for my hands. I keep a bottle of lotion on my desk to use whenever throughout the day. Lately it’s been the Unfiltered by Raw Sugar Blueberry & Thyme Hand Cream that I got as a gift from a friend.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

I’m definitely starting to enjoy having a real nighttime skincare routine. I thought it would be a chore at first, but very quickly it started to feel like a luxury! I stick with the routine probably 5 nights a week, which is pretty good for someone who had zero routine at all a month ago.

If I have makeup on, I start off with the Garnier’s Micellar Water and use it with reusable bamboo cotton rounds. If I don’t have any makeup on, I’ll jump into the skincare routine with a quick rinse with water and pat with a washcloth.

Cluster of skincare products: The Ordinary's Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2% with B5, and Pond's Dry Skin Cream

Then I’ll dampen a cotton round with The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. I like it because it’s a very gentle toner and it’s alcohol free. It helps remove dead skin cells from your face and a faster acting hit of hydration for your skin. After that, I squeeze a few drops of Hyaluronic Acid into my palms and press that in my face, neck, and the top of my chest if I can. I use The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2% with B5. Hyaluronic acid helps replenish moisture in your skin and the B5 prevents moisture loss. Last on my face, I’ll use either Cetaphil or Pond’s Dry Skin Cream.

Stack of skincare products: Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment for lips and Burt's Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment.

For my lips, I’ll put on some Aquaphor right after brushing my teeth, and then the Burt’s Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment. I wanted to try the Laneige lip masks, but I just can’t justify a $22 fancy chapstick. My sister loved the Burt’s Bees one, and I’ve been really happy with it. 

Skincare product The Ordinary's Rose Hip Seed Oil

When it comes to keeping the rest of my skin healthy, I keep it pretty simple. I use The Ordinary’s Rose Hip Seed Oil on my legs, arms, and back, and then go use a shea butter lotion (whatever I can find on sale really) on my legs and arms. The rose hip seed oil is supposed to help with reducing scars, so I try to apply it every night. I have incredibly pale skin and I’m super sensitive to bug bites, so living not far from the bay has wreaked havoc on my skin in that aspect. I’ve been using it for a couple months now, so it’s probably too early to tell if it’s made much of a difference. I’m going to stick with it and update you all in a few more months.


Taking the time to care for my skin and using skincare products is a totally new thing for me. I really thought it would be a chore to have a skincare routine and a difficult time to find budget friendly skincare. Really though, developing the habit has been kind of a luxury. And most importantly, this winter skincare routine is saving my dry, crackong skin! Keep an eye out on future posts for a follow up on these products.

Setting Goals for 2021

2020 was a hell of a year, high highs and insanely low lows. I started this year having finished my Bachelor’s degree, having amazing interviews for jobs in DC, in the best shape of my life, and with some seriously high goals for the year. By June, I had spent 4 months away from my SO, had an amazing job of a lifetime offer rescinded, and was entirely unemployed. And then by the end of the year, I had moved into a house with my SO, I’ve launched a small business, really enjoying my blog, and am doing pretty okay financially.

I’m pretty sure I got annoyed earlier this year and deleted all my 2020 goals (which like, fair). So I can’t actually go over last year’s goals. But I can set some new ones for this year! I like to set a lot of goals, but I think I kept them all pretty reasonable. Most of them are a specific, measurable thing, and some are more vague, and vague on purpose. I keep some goals very general because I don’t want to commit to something too massive and regret it, and it lets me determine what “enough” was at the end of the year. 

Can sitting on my couch more be a goal?

This year I broke my goals into a couple of categories, Personal Finance, Health, Work, Home, and Personal. Finance is definitely the most important one to me. At the end of December, I established my own business and officially started working for myself after a year of job applications and a lot of unemployment during COVID. I’m really excited about the new branding and website to be launching before the end of this month. But I’m putting in a lot of work to make sure that I’m making enough money this year to build up my savings, plan for the long term, and start addressing my student loans. 

Personal Finance

  • Earn $5,000 per month
  • Earn $1,000 this year from Moira The Explorer
  • Pay off one Stafford Loan
  • Save $1,000 for a new car
  • Open a retirement account (this one is definitely a stretch goal!)

Health

  • Incorporate more vegetarian/vegan meals
  • Workout 3 times a week
  • Get back into running

Work

  • Launch my new website
  • Launch an influencer marketing newsletter
  • Launch a podcast
  • Write regularly (for Explorer Media, Moira The Explorer, and more!)

Home

  • Paint the bedroom
  • Get home gym/workout corner set up
  • Finish Gus’s cage

Personal

  • Sew more
  • Read more books
  • Volunteer more often and do more in my community
  • Eat breakfast more
  • Cook more new recipes (and really just learn to cook better!)
  • Get back to the barn
  • Do more physical and mental self-care
  • Get up earlier, giving myself enough time to enjoy my mornings!

Like I said, a lot of goals this year, but I tried to keep them all pretty attainable. I want to keep on track with these, so part of my accountability will be checking in with myself and you every couple of months to update progress on my goals. Keep an eye out for those posts, and let me know your progress along the way too! What are your goals for this year? Do we have any similar ones? 

Sunday Sips 1.17

Good morning all! Writing to you on a Saturday night from the new couch, curled up watching Star Wars with C. It’s been a while couple of weeks, and I really wanted to take some time to sit down and write for a little. What’s on my mind, what I’ve been watching and reading, and whatever else. And of course, what made the name of the most, what I’m sipping while I’m writing.

Caption: Credit to Jenna Urben from TheUrbenLife.com

Today’s Sip: Dairy Free Hot Cocoa

Today’s post is brought to you by The Urben Life’s Dairy Free Hot Cocoa Recipe. For most of my life I eaten pretty dairy free, and doubled down on it a few years ago when I became lactose intolerant. One thing I hadn’t been able to find was an easy cocoa mix, and I missed it so so much. I found Jenna’s recipe last week and I have not been able to stop drinking it. It’s so easy to make, and tastes amazing with Vanilla Almond Milk. You should absolutely check it out, and I’m going to heat up another mug.

Girl Scout Cookie Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Girl Scout Cookie Season is here! My neighbor down the street is selling them, and low key, I may have bought $40 worth of cookies already. I’m not proud, but it’s worth it for the thin mints. Order some here and support a local scout!

Stephanie McNeal – Influencer Reporting 

I started following Stephanie McNeal on Instagram a couple months ago and honestly, I love her account. I don’t follow too too many influencers on my own social channels, but I really enjoy her brief overviews of influencer news, updates on drama and businesses, and just providing the general view of the industry. Plus she’s friendly and funny and relatable, which makes everything way more fun.

Fleabag Season 2 on Prime

Fleabag is totally not a new show on Amazon, but I never got around to catching up on the show. I finally watched this week, and it’s totally worth it! Definitely more of a hefty PG-13 rated watch, and not for mixed company. But it is amazing. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing is aggressively real and there isn’t anything better, currently, than Fleabag.

2021 Inauguration & Far Right Response

For those of you who don’t know me as well, the political process is something I hold pretty near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a very political family, I focused a lot on politics in high school, and I went to DC to major in Political Science. I have spent most of my life following politics, and one day I do see myself doing my civic duty to serve in office. For four years I was frustrated day in and day out seeing Trump’s disregard for this country and the office of the president. And every day it seemed to get worse, culminating in what we saw earlier this month, the President of the United States inciting a riot, inciting violence against congress, inciting an insurrection against the US Government. It’s horrifying to see what division Trump and Republican leadership has brought upon us, and the lack of appropriate response from both sides. And it’s horrifying to see the real sides of people, to find out who does and does not care for others beyond themselves.

Closing this post and opening a new week, I invite any and all of you to do all you can to raise your voice and raise others alongside you. This Tuesday is Nation Run for Office Day, and I’m challenging you to pledge to run for office, especially at local or state levels. Check out Run for Something and see where you can make a difference by running in your community.