Monthly Wrapup Pin

July 2018

Howdy followers, are you on all the social medias?

I just had the idea of compiling my posts across the various accounts just in case you aren’t on one or the other and are missing out! At first I thought about making it weekly, but I can barely get around to my usual posts. Monthly collections will be easier for me to keep track, allow a cushion for other post ideas, as well as provide more of a variety.




Blog Posts

What do you think? Did you have a cool shark week?
What have you posted this month?

Ancestry pin

How I Find My Ancestors

Hello followers, are you related to anyone famous?

I’m sure that’s why many people into genealogy– to see if their great aunt is third cousins once removed to George Washington. After digging around in my own family tree, I can tell you, celebrity is not a given! Nor is anything else, for that matter. I’ve said it can be quite a privilege, and this post will come from my experiences which may not work for everyone. Heck, it doesn’t even really work for my mom’s side!

One may not be able to go further than one’s grandparents or find pictures. But, as what I find so fascinating from shows like Finding Your Roots, people you haven’t heard of can still offer incredible stories.


First of all, try to ask all the relatives you can about all the info you want or can get. Fortunately, not only had my dad already done a lot of research, but the wife of one of those third cousins considered herself an “armchair genealogist,” and put together her findings. This will be a great starting point so that when you do go searching for paper trails, you’ll have clues for which of those records are a good match for your relative.

For example, if you only know your ancestor is named Homer Simpson, you’ll find hundreds of records for hundreds of Homers. But if you know he’s married to Marge and that they live in Springfield, records containing that information have a better chance of being “your” Homer.

Asking around your family will also let people know of your interest and they can possibly send those tucked way photos in the attic or basement!


I’m sure everyone is aware of Ancestry, but it is by subscription. My library system actually offers a limited in-building free version, but FamilySource (owned by the Church of Latter-Day Saints) is free! I haven’t really used Ancestry, so FamilySource might not be as extensive. But I think it’s a great alternative to form your tree and find basic records like censuses, military records (draft registries can provide physical descriptions of your relative!), marriage records, and burial information. is a paid archive of the national newspapers. Although they require a subscription, they do have transcriptions that show up in Google results. Note that the transcriptions seem computer-generated, so they may be difficult to read, but you’ll hopefully get an idea. If you’ve an ancestor with a unique name and know some nifty search tricks, you may be able to see if they were a celebrity in their town.

For example, if you’re relative’s name is Homer Simpson, search “Homer Simpson” Homer Simpson is actually kind of common, so you may have to use quotation marks around the name. Again, if they go by a middle initial or some other name, you may have to conduct combination searches or throw in that additional info you know like their location, siblings, parents or spouse.

UPDATE! Apparently, they’ve done away with those automated transcriptions 😡 However, some good Samaritans do upload clippings that I believe still show up in Google results, so it can’t hurt to try!

Find A Grave search

Find A Grave

Is it creepy to love a site about cemeteries? FindAGrave users volunteer to take photos of headstones and transcribe info so you can see where your ancestors are buried! I just find that incredible. Also, you may find other info users have uploaded such as who owns the plot, death certificates, obituaries, pictures or other family info. From my use, however, its search is pretty sensitive.

For example if you had an ancestor named “Katharina Augusta Wilhelmine Gustafsson” but married someone named “Henry Johnson,” you may have to search any combination of those names. And I find that sometimes if you include too many names, it will exclude your person! One trick is to just use initials for the first or (optional) middle names. If you’ve a really common name, you may have to play around with your birth and/or death years as well because they don’t include close years.


Google itself can be a useful tool! Particularly if your relatives have that uncommon name. I’ve found distant relatives’s webpages, obituaries, town directories, and even Chronicling America, a service from the Library of Congress that provides free access to certain newspapers! I think that is how I found someone with the same name as my great-grandfather was arrested for stealing pigs. 😅

These are some of my favorite sites which have yielded a lot of information for me. But in some cases, you may just have to pound the pavement and actually visit the places of your ancestors. Search state databases and put in requests, visit church and graveyard files. Libraries are always a good idea. Local ones can always point you in a good direction, and larger ones may have entire sections devoted to town history!

Ancestry pin

Do these tips help if you’re outside of the US? What are you using?
Would you volunteer for Find A Grave? Are you related to any hog thieves?

Monthly Picks Pin

July 2018 Picks

Hello followers, have you checked in with your friends?

I know it’s summer. Maybe it’s the heat? But I just feel kind of in the dumps. Maybe I should’ve actually watched the World Cup? I feel like buying something, but you know me. I can never justify just buying something, and I’m really indecisive.  But I also do like sharing in case anyone else is interested!

The following contains affiliate links.


July Clothing

Super Mario Tee $13 | Flowers Tee $12 | Floral Crop $25 | Floral Skirt $19

I tried to be fashionable, but I was surprised to see the Mario shirt, so I had to include it. The pink floral top is so pretty, but it is from Zulily. You have to create an account with them to even be able to browse their stuff! 😕 And I like the skirt because it reminds me of something from Valentino for less!



Shearling Tote $20 | Necklace $15 | Sam Edelman Sandals $18 | Mermaid Ring $10

Have y’all been watching Pose? This Uniqlo faux shearling bag kind of reminds me of Angel’s coat. The shoes are great for summer. And you knew that mermaid ring was from Modcloth before I even said so, didn’t you?


Beauty Picks

Unicorn Bath Fizz $6 | Mario Badescu Spray $7 | Paula’s Choice Palette $8 | No. 7 Micellar Water $9

Who doesn’t want a unicorn bath bomb? Or an aloe spray? I’ve heard good things about Paula’s Choice skincare (haven’t tried it though) but haven’t heard about their makeup. I’d assume it’s just as good, and look– it’s on sale!



Fox Tea Canister $23 | Mascara Poster $24 | Dear Ijeawele $9 | Marble Candle $22

As cute as this canister is, I don’t think I’d pay $23 for it. It looks like something from my thrift shop! Neat to see Urban Outfitters offering Adichie’s latest. I was going to share a marble plate and a candle, but the other items won out and the two can be consolidated! If your secondhand store doesn’t have cute boxes, let me know, and I’ll hook you up 😜

So what do you think of these posts? Are you in no position to be emptying your wallet either? I tried to make everything in this one under $25. But do you like making wishlists big while we’re wishing? Maybe themes?


tampa travels pin

Port Tampa Library

Hello followers, do you utilize your library?

The Port Tampa Library is one of those buildings I’ve passed dozens if not hundreds of times in my life but never visited. They recently had a reception to celebrate their 20th year, so it was the perfect opportunity to check it out!

Library Exterior

Undoubtedly, the first thing you notice about it is the architecture. I don’t think that many Tampa buildings are skyward, at least outside of downtown. The columns make it look like a bank you might see in a movie (it was actually built as one in 1926!), and it has beautiful marble sides. If only I could take my blog pics on walls 😢

Apparently in 1898, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders trained and departed in the area for the Spanish-American War in Cuba. So there are many signs and displays to inform visitors. There is also a whole room dedicated to maritime history.

Maritime History A scavenger hunt for the celebration even led to a display about the Titanic!

Titanic Display

Soon after it first opened as a bank, the stock market crash of 1929 closed it. The building later became a grocery, clinic, flight school, and boutique. It was nearly demolished in 1993, but a Women’s Club help save and designate it a landmark.

Now that I’ve tiptoed in and explored, I’m excited to visit the Port Tampa Library more! I love the historic feel. And I really need to ask someone what’s with the “Manilla” spelling in their Spanish-American War displays. 

Our county system lets a library receipt admit you to museums!
Do your libraries have any additional bonuses?

June 2018 Empties


Hey followers, did you remember to do that thing?

I totally forgot about doing “empties” posts. Probably because I’ve been trying to cut back on spending and waiting to have enough for a collective post! So apologies that I didn’t write down my findings like a scientist and that some reviews may be vague or indecisive. I’ll try to balance groups with products about which I’ve more to say!

Mango Mud Mask

First up is something I don’t remember too well how it worked. It says it’s for purifying and soothing, but all I recall was that it smelled bad which is so depressing because I love mangoes. It was from Forever 21, but it was made in Korea. Does that alone make it K-beauty? In any case, I wouldn’t recommend it because it contains Dead Sea mud and salt, and the cultivation of those are suspect as heck.

Alba Sunless Tanner

I’m so on the fence about using tanning products like the subtle Jergens lotion I’ve used or something that seems more noticeable. I thought this Alba Botanica item might be a happy medium, but it’s honestly just like the Jergens. I will say that it smells very nice and doesn’t contain parabens or phthalates, doesn’t test on animals, and has 100% vegetarian ingredients. Alba costs more for about half the product. I think it’s worth it (I did use a gift card tho), but if you need to, I’d save your money and just get the Jergens (or something else). 

Product Empties

Dove DermaCare Scalp 2-in-1

A preface for this review: it was just a sample, and I don’t really have dandruff flakes (it claims to leave no visible flakes with regular use). I can get those tiny pieces if I don’t wash. So I’m unsure if this will work for more typical dandruff. It does contain pyrithione zine and has a peppermint scent. Personally, I felt like it didn’t lather well and make me more greasy 😩 

DHC Eye Bright

I think I threw this into my cart when I was trying out Dermstore. It is a clear gel made in Japan. Look, it says “eye bright.” I thought it would brighten my dark circles! I’ve only just noticed it says “eye moisturizer.” What the heck is that? That sounds like what Visine does. Anyway, this disappointingly did not brighten my dark circles. Debatably, it lightened the other nearby skin which sucks!! When you’ve yellow undertones, it looks like you’ve celebrated Independence Day a little too hard.

Rimmel Buff Beige

Rimmel’s Stay Matte seems like the affordable powder everyone recommends. I don’t hate it; I’m just not in love with it. I’m definitely willing to give it another try as I had been applying it with a brush but found smudging with a sponge definitely helps prolong use (I was worried about wiping away foundation). I’m just having a hard time with color matching. Pictured is 012 Buff Beige which I think may be too cool for me. I’ve tried 001 Transparent as I heard that was supposed to be not really pigmented and blend in to every’s tones but still felt it was too light. Maybe it was just my foundation?

Affiliate links
Forever 21 Mask | Alba Botanica lotion | Dove 2-in-1 | DHC Eye Bright | Rimmel Powder

Thank you for reading my unscientific findings!
Do you which Stay Matte shade I should use?