The One with a New Site

Friends – I have such exciting news!

As my dreams for my blog and photography journey have changed, so have my needs and desires for a website. You can now find me over at kaitbailey.com where I will continue to blog my way through life, love, and the pursuit of beautiful photos.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement along the way. I assure you, I could not do this without each and every one of you.

xoxo

Kait

The One for Four Years

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Four years, my love. Four years since we stood in front of our friends and family and the river and pledged to love one another always, in all ways. What did we know, besides that we had chosen each other? We certainly didn’t know of the wilderness that laid ahead of us, or the fruitfulness that was to follow. We didn’t know how to argue or decide who would take out the trash. We didn’t know when or where we would settle down. And I’m so glad. I’m so glad we jumped all in, at the ripe age of twenty-one, not knowing it all. All we knew was that we had each other and that was enough. It still is.

Happy anniversary, darling. I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone but you.

The One with a Beauty Crisis

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Almost a year late, my quarter-century beauty crisis has hit in full force. I completely changed up my skincare regimen a couple of months ago – I ran out of everything at once and wanted to try something new. And on top of that, almost all of my makeup products were suddenly old or unsatisfactory. Cue the endless trips to Ulta.

Let me start all of this by saying that I really wanted to make a movement towards more environmentally conscious beauty choices. I downloaded the Think Dirty App and felt really guilty about my current beauty choices for about a week. And then I went in search of accessible but effective conscious beauty. After a couple of tries and slightly underwhelming success, I’ve resigned myself to trying conscious beauty products when readily available, but this isn’t going to be the hill I die on. I’ll go ahead and say that it’s just for now, because I might change my tune later on or find some holy grail products that aren’t full of cancer-causing agents, but for now I’m okay with just finding products that work for my skin, ingredients list be damned.

Skincare is always priority number one on my list. I will buy any product that offers smaller pores or glowing skin. I’m a beauty marketer’s dream. I was committed to Philosophy products for the last few years, made the switch to Origins, and quickly returned to Philosophy. Something about the essential oils in Origins wrecked my skin – I’m used to working with a smooth surface and my face was suddenly rough and bumpy. So I ran back to the Philosophy counter and bought this starter kit and returned a bucket of products back to the sweet Origins lady. Another thing to know – I always return products I’m not satisfied with. If I’m shelling out significant money for a product and it doesn’t work for me, I will absolutely return it. I like to make my beauty dollars work for me. The Philosophy kit I bought includes a peel that I am obsessed with, and my skin is calm and happy again.

Once my face was no longer freaking out, I added this SPF and primer product and use it on days when I want something lighter than my tinted moisturizer, or I’ll use it under my foundation since that doesn’t have SPF. My makeup just glides right on, and for make-up free days it just blurs my skin the tiniest bit. I’ll take all the SPF, please and thank you! To add to my makeup kit, I was super intrigued by Glossier just from reading around some beauty blogs, and made the choice to try their Phase 2 Kit. It includes their famous Boy Brow product, which I LOVE, their Stretch Concealer, which I super LOVE, and the Generation G lipstick, which is like a whole other realm of lip product. Love it all (and get 20% off your Glossier purchase with this link!).

Part of my eco-friendly efforts led me to Honest Beauty, which is a branch of Jessica Alba’s Honest Company. The products had decent reviews, you can opt for a bundle (three or more products at a discount) and it seemed like my solution to finding responsible beauty. Some of the products I super love, and some are just okay. I really like the tinted moisturizer (very thick, but love the coverage) and the luminizing powder (I went with the dark shade for bronzer and the light shade for highlight). I like the eyeliner (I’m not much of an eyeliner gal, so I feel ‘meh’ about each one that I try), and I may have gone a little overkill with the shade of cream blush that I chose, so I passed that along to Momma Bear and she approves. I’m happy with the majority of the products and with the brand overall, and will definitely branch out to their other products later on.

And because supporting local business and mommas working hard for their families is always a bonus, I’ve tried out some Younique products and really enjoyed them. On the skincare side, I have’t personally used Rodan and Fields but my mother does and she is a lady obsessed, I tell you. I’ve tried several Arbonne products and have really liked them, especially the foundation. I know sometimes that companies like these can seem a little much (I’m a total skeptic, I get it), but from my experience the products are legit and the chance to support friends and family is so great. If you need hookups, I’ve got three cousins who sell Younique, a cousin and a friend who sell Rodan and Fields, and a friend who sells Arbonne – just holler at your girl😉

As a bonus item that is not at all environmentally conscious but I super love – Essie’s new line of gel nail polish. The colors are gorgeous and I’d buy it for the applicator alone. I’m telling you, such a perfect polish brush, plus no chips for a week… I’m in manicure heaven!

I hope that some of my beauty successes (and mistakes!) will help you on your journey. Let’s hold onto all of this stuff really lightly and use it as a way to express and uplift ourselves, and not to hide or define us.

Happy beauty hunting!

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The One with Staying

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If I could add just one more little piece of travel advice to my previous posts, it would be to give yourself plenty of downtime upon your return.

Friends, we did not stick our landing. We arrived stateside completely exhausted and homesick for our dog. We spent a hurried two days unpacking, doing laundry, and running all the errands. We then headed to western Maryland for a weekend of camping with our friends. From there we went directly south to be reunited with our puppy and spend Independence day with family. By the time we made it back to Baltimore and our own bed, we were plumb worn out. Finally, after a week of rest and puppy snuggles, we’re feeling back to our old selves.

What was especially tough for me was the camping trip. Sixteen of our closest friends piled into four campsites at Swallow Falls State Park, and while you’d think that would offer an opportunity for relaxing and quality time, I could not handle any of it. I was exhausted both physically and mentally, I was overwhelmed by upcoming job changes, and I just wanted to not be traveling again. In other words, I wasn’t fit for company. What I really needed was alone time and what I got was nonstop togetherness in nature. The result included eye rolls, cranky comments, and terse replies.

The panic began to settle in as we drove away early that Sunday morning. I had shown my ugly impatient side. I was everything but kind. As the shame rolled over me, I listed at least a dozen reasons why we should leave our community. Running was my first instinct. When my not-so-pretty side shows, I want as much distance as I can afford. Staying means leaving room to be hurt or rejected, and so running seems that much easier. I rationalized our transition to a new church, found reasons why leaving Horizon and our friends there would be okay and maybe even better for us. Upon our return to Baltimore, my heart was heavy. I felt so uncertain stepping back into the place we’d been gone from and was hesitant to interact with the friends I’d just been so short with. What if I’d hurt them? What if they didn’t want to embrace me anymore?

As I tiptoed back into the community I was prepared to leave, I was enveloped with understanding and kindness – two things I did nothing to deserve. Grace upon grace.

Friends nodded their heads as I recounted our crazy travels, laughed in agreement about those times where you’re just not up for company, and didn’t bat a single eye about my bad camping behavior. They offered up true grace in the form of undeserved forgiveness. It’s been so long since I’ve seen glimpses of that, I’d almost forgotten how beautifully humbling it is to receive.

So we stayed. Despite my panic, we let grace cover our shortcomings. The secret is out – cranky Kaitlin is a real bear. But leaving would be letting shame and guilt and the lies win. Having flaws and big old ugly sides does not make us unworthy of love and forgiveness. Real grace covers that. In the prodigal son, rejection is never what the son is met with, and it is just the same for us. We get the arms full of grace every single time. And while being loved by other human beings means that it doesn’t always look perfect and there’s margin for error on how far that grace might extend, when you’re surrounded by a community of people really living for God’s grace, you find it given to you that much more.

One million thank you’s and shout outs to my camping friends who were all lovely when I was not, and who graciously keep opening their arms and their hearts to me. You make Baltimore our home.