Howdy, hi, hello!


I know, I know. Autumn is here, and I’m talking about sun safety.

BUT. Although the temperatures are cooler, see that bright thing up in the sky? The sun is still shining on us, and we’ve still gotta protect our skin from it.

Since it’s been a hot minute since I threw myself into video form on here, you can delight in the below video, where I highlight some of my favorite everyday beauty sun care products.

Some are more geared toward summertime, but Elements Beauty Shop has just stocked some new beauty products that include SPF in them. Take a gander! Below I highlight my faves from COOLA, tell you why I love them, and even hit you with some sun safety facts.

And just you wait. In the above video, you get to see what it looks like when I leave a makeup setting spray hanging out too long without any practice spritzes. Ciyuuuute.

Below, I’ve included links to my favorite Elements Beauty Shop COOLA products, which I recommend for your time in the sun. They range from the most straight-forward sunscreens to makeup primers, setters, and perfecting cream. 🙂

COOLA Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber
COOLA Classic Body Sport SPF 50 Mango Moisturizer
COOLA Face SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray
COOLA Rōsilliance™ SPF 30 BB+ Cream
COOLA Mineral Liplux SPF 30 Skinny Dip – Sheer Tint

Psst, if you enter “lifeofblyss” in your shopping cart, you earn 10% off!

Or, call or stop by snag your top beauty picks at the Richmond, Virginia local woman-owned Elements of Carytown. They are so helpful and love finding items specific to your skincare needs. I’m always happy to tout Elements for their fabulous customer service (literally, a phone call RIGHT when you make a purchase) and their selection of natural, organic, no-animal tested products.

And! After you make a purchase, tag your purchase with #ElementsBeautyHaul on social media to enter to win a $50 gift card to the store (drawings monthly). Be sure to create an account online too, so you can cash in on the loyalty program.

Interested in more of my favorite Elements Beauty Shop products? Check out my sponsored Pinterest board here.


This post is a sponsored collaboration with Elements Beauty Shop.  All opinions are my own. Thank you, as always, for supporting LOB and its sponsors!


We Got A House!

July 19, 2016 · 12 comments

Okay, let me clarify. Alex bought a house. I live in it. Sooo…. we got a house! 😉

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You may already be clued into this via my Snapchat feed (username: ablyssa). For the past month, we’ve been full steam ahead moving, demolishing, painting, planning, craigslist selling, and reorganizing.

And thankfully for me, in his retirement, my handy dad starting flipping houses. Guess what he spent 16+ days doing?


My dad completely gutted our master bathroom. We weren’t too attached to the bright green and black/white tile, and the bathtub badly needed reglazing. Bob to the rescue!


My dad finished the job yesterday, but we still need to get the bathtub reglazed. Just wait until you see the difference in the new bathroom vs. the old.


I’ll hit ya with some before/after picture realness when we have all our ducks in a row.

But don’t worry! We saved a few of the original tiles to make some coasters for the living room. WHOOP. Also, Alex wanted me to make it clear that he gets photo credit for these beauts:

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Last month, my mom, my sister, and Alex’s mom joined forces with all of us to clean, paint, and move. That week may have been the most exhausted any of us have been in a long while.



Bye, chevron wall.


Hello, rainwash. With my mom and Amy’s help, we painted about 75% of the house.


Smell ya later, orange kitchen.

We’ve still got a ways to go (furniture purchasing, decorating, ceiling fan wiring), but we are really excited about making this charming little Richmond house our own. And if you feel like I’ve been a little MIA, just use your imagination and assume I’m hanging backyard string lights, arranging rooms 217 times, or perusing the best online sales for patio furniture and dining room chairs (speaking of which…. anybody got any gems?).

My friend Bailey will be gracing our house with her design touch, as well. I can’t wait to show you all her great ideas.

Follow along on snapchat, as always!

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Any tips for new home buyers? What was your favorite part of buying your first house? Where’s your favorite place to shop for new home goods?

I need a frequent flyer card for Joss & Main. It’s getting out of hand.


This week, as I turn on the T.V. to start the best part of Monday, I’m suddenly reminded of what I have to look forward to. TWO nights of…

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Buckle up, y’all.

Sidenote: I swear I read something a past contestant posted that the girls aren’t allowed to bring weights, leave the property to run, etc. Why are these dudes allowed giant 50 pound dumbbells?

Chase gets the first one-on-one date. And I realize that I like JoJo and Chase. Not like the way I like cookie cake, but more the way I like apples. They’re good, and they pair well with turkey and cheese.

But the joke’s on you, Chase. You’re not just taking a hot yoga class. You’re taking a gyrate-and-yell hot yoga class. I’m fairly certain this is not real.

And here, I’ve always found it a little awkward to teach new barre clients to tuck.


This is next. level.

They jib jabbed or yib yabbed. I thought that was an app people used to put their faces into little singing, dancing elves.

(Actually, Google tells me its yab yum, and it’s a real thing.)

At yab yum, all was romantic and sexy and JoJo and Chase made out while she straddled him.


I full out Target Lady-ed the whole time.

Ali comes in with the date card, and I’m just annoyed because his presence (and interesting fashion choice) is really screwing up my bracket.

Chad proves once again that he has obviously seen Ben’s season. He pulls a complete Jubilee and says he doesn’t want to go on this group date with 12 other guys.

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Jordan, Tiny Alex, and the rest of the boyband go completely whiny pants and Chad does his best Mufasa impression.

Group date commences, and they’re learning they’re at a sex talk show, and the guys will each tell their own sexual tale.

FFFFantastic. Can’t wait to see what erectile dysfunction guy has on deck for this one. And I silently bet $1 million that Chad takes this perfect opportunity to bow out and and be too cool for the challenge again. Again.


They’re all fine, but firefighter Grant’s pants though.

pants bachelorette

I also think we all just learned that Wells farted during a threesome.


As the guys are prepping backstage, Evan the weenie doctor tells Tiny Alex that he is going to put Chad on blast. He has some serious things planned.

And Evan gets up on stage and takes the opportunity to imply that Chad’s got some side effects from ‘roid rage.

And then he got to witness the effects of said true roid rage.

Honestly, at this point, I’m even less enthused by Evan. This poke wasn’t even funny, and he was asking for the repercussion. I don’t feel bad for him when Chad grabs Evan’s shirt “AND RIPS IT!”

Not that I’m defending Chad. I just think Evan sunk down to his level, and I’m really not impressed by the fact that he can’t even own it afterward.

Chad tries to recover by getting on stage and attempting to full Disney Prince JoJo. He completely crashes and burns, and JoJo denies him of an onstage makeup.

Let me also take this opportunity to say that I’d be swooning over Jordan if it weren’t for his being an apparent big fat cheater. His Jimmy Neutron T-Bird swagger works. I’m not going to be shocked if he’s the one JoJo chooses in the end.

Thank God his ex took to instagram to warn us to not fall too far in love:

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(in case anyone hasn’t already seen that yet).

When questioned, Chad claims he’s a real nice guy. And that he doesn’t have problems with anybody. Ever. In life.

As I’m writing this, I’m curious as to what his Instagram looks like. I have a strong feeling it’s filled with shirtless photos of himself. Maybe with some baby oil, maybe without. Probably showing off expensive clothing since he is a “luxury real estate agent.” Definitely showing the veins, because that’s who he is.

When I investigate, I realize I’m right on the money.

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I should have a career in profiling Instagrams.

So as we move through the group date, Evan gives JoJo an ultimatum. If she doesn’t send Chad home, he’s leaving.

Let’s put JoJo giving Evan a rose and making out with him at the very top of the list of this I never would have expected. I’m not a fan. I went full monkey emoji and covered my eyes.

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THERE GOES MY BRACKET AGAIN. And Chad’s confidence.

When JoJo returns to the rest of the group, she’s followed by Evan strutting around and showing off his new rose like a prized show pony. We all learn Chad as zero poker face when he says what we’re all thinking, “You’re seriously vibing this dude?”

While I think you’re a douche for saying it out loud, Chad, I concur.

Back at the house later on, beady eyes tells Chad to get his act together, and I internally cheer. I’ve been wondering what beady eyes’ deal is, considering half the show, we see beady with the rest of the guys, speaking unfavorably about Chad. The other half, we see him bro-ing out with the 50 pounders. At least Chad is trying to encourage him to be a normal human.


He tells Chad to be a little less Donald Trump and a little more Mussolini. Because that’s where we are with society these days.

Next up, James T’s one-on-one. Just watching him live makes me smile. I don’t even care that (I think) JoJo isn’t into him the way she is some others. James T for Bachelor!

Pause. Can we all just agree to bring swing dancing dresses back? I’m really digging the style. I’m just going to pretend I’d fill out that dress the way JoJo does.


James T. gets a rose after telling her how low his confidence is, and after these two episodes especially, I’m assured JoJo gives out pity roses.

When Papa Chris Harrison comes in and announces there is an all-day pool party on the docket instead of a rose ceremony, Chad is annoyed all the guys want to see JoJo in a bikini. Chad says he already can tell through her dress what she looks like in a bikini. So….. alright.


I think Chad has a problem with everyone and everything. If you told Chad every day would be Christmas for the rest of time and he could eat whatever he wanted without losing muscle mass, he’d find a problem.

Evan pulls Papa Harrison aside to tell him how unsafe he feels around Chad, even with the security guards around. He tells Chris about the ripped shirt, and he reminds me of my twin nieces tattling on each other when one has done something less than awesome.

bachelorette evan whiny baby

Chad might suck, but now, so do you.

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I now have a problem with Evan. Evan actually had a pretty good reason to mess with Chad. Maybe it wasn’t a great idea, but he was given a reason to not love the guy. But, Evan can’t own the fact that he actually did intend to get a rise out of Chad, he actually did intend to embarrass him (again, valid), and to me, it looked like he actually did sorta push him while getting back to his seat in the audience. If you’re gonna do it, man up and stand by what you did. Don’t point fingers and duck your head and deny you did anything wrong. Own it. No one will even blame you.

And Evan, if your monologue was all in good fun, it would have been funny.

Dare I say, after that showdown, I felt more annoyed by Evan than I did Chad.


And just when I’m feeling all agitated, Jordan comes back to sweep me JoJo off her feet. The chemistry is THERE, and we’re all swooning.

When Chad overhears Derek answering a question JoJo asked about Chad, he later approaches Derek to give Hulk-like threats.

derek chad showdown bachelorette

And Derek’s response just skyrockets him to become of my favorite dudes in the house. I liked how level-headed and eloquent he was in dealing with Chad. No one, not even Tiny Dancer Alex, has accomplished this thus far.

Real question. Was everyone hungover as balls after taking shots during the day and having to hang out for a dressy rose ceremony? No, thank you. I would have conducted that shiz poolside in my bikini, then waved ta-ta to go crash immediately following.

But that’s just me. And one of my arch nemeses is day drinking paired with night partying.

A rose ceremony in fancy getup happens, and everyone gets a rose, even Vinny and James F (who you?). Except for Christian (C’MAAAAN! He was in my top 4!), and Saint Nick (UGH).

JoJo and I have very different taste in men. But, I like aggressive men just about as much as I like day drinking before night partying for a month straight, soooooo..

THEN, in our two night special, we are treated to a new exciting destination….



“Oh, yeah, sorry, guys. I know the other peeps got Vegas, Hawaii, Turks & Caicos…. and you got good ol’ PA.”

Not that I’m knocking it. I did grow up 30 minutes outside of Philly.

Luke’s 1 on 1 speaks about mushing, and everyone’s not that jealous.

Forgive me, but I wasn’t aware mushing (dog sledding on a go-kart?) was a thing in PA. But that’s what Luke gets for his first one-on-one. JoJo makes him chop wood so they can heat the hot tub.

The hot tub’s really, really (expletive from JoJo) hot.

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Luke doesn’t care due to the ideal hand placement opportunities this temperature presents.

As Chad would say, Luke and JoJo are really “vibin'”, and they get to dance on stage as Dan and Shay croon their drippingly romantic song of the moment. I see the passion between JoJo and Luke, so I could see Luke going really far. I don’t hate it.

And in the best moment of this entire two-night special, we find out that the 2-on-1 date will be Baby Alex and Chad. Alex is psyched, and he has no lack of confidence in his chances of staying.

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A group date commences, and it’s the traditional “we are split into teams to play a sport with famous athletes present, and the winning team gets more time with the Bachelorette.”


On the football field, shockingly enough, the team with the ex pro-football player wins. Despite a bloodied James Taylor, who played through a broken face.

Some boring TV happens with the rest of the group date, because Chad isn’t present. Robby goes full golden retriever on JoJo (so many hairy men this season), and I’m not really feeling him. But JoJo looks like she is, and I guess that’s what really matters here.

There are more cautionary tales about Chad thrown JoJo’s way.

Hey, JoJo. After living in a house with Olivia and seeing how this happens once, how do you not identify when something like “Chad” is happening?


I get it, though. You had to keep him around for good TV.

Back at the house, Chad decides to up the creepy factor and tell Jordan that after the show, he’s gonna find him. And he’s gonna beat his ass. So, that set him up well for his next date.

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for takes place. The 2-on-1 with Chad and Baby Alex. They go on a hike. It’s awkward.

As everyone in America predicted, when Alex gets his time, he (fairly) puts Chad on blast. He tells JoJo about his full-on Liam Neeson impression of earlier, and JoJo acts like it’s the first time she’s hearing about Chad’s aggression.

After a mini breakdown, JoJo returns to Chad and asks him if he threatened to beat someones ass. His answer? “Well, it’s not 100% false…”


Let’s say it together:

BYE CHAD bachelorette

And just like soaking wet Olivia and her cankles had to stay on the island by herself as Emily and Ben sailed away, Chad was left to walk around in the woods by himself at night while Alex and JoJo made out in a log cabin.

Bye bye, Chad. Until 2 weeks from now…



The Bachelorette Recap: JoJo’s on Fire; The Dudes are Not

June 1, 2016

I did it. I’m back. I watched the Bachelorette, and I have time to blog about it. How better to kick off Episode 2 of JoJo’s bachelorette season than with 1 million fire similes and metaphors?! By now, the dudes have already bonded (save for Chad, who sits in the corner sulking, eating, or using […]

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Introducing Pure Barre Platform: FAQs from Clients

May 23, 2016

There’s a fantastic new workout on the block, and it’s called Pure Barre Platform. Pure Barre Platform is a new fast-paced class designed to optimize cardiovascular results and increase total body strength. This heart-pumping class combines quick bursts of high intensity, yet low impact cardio work with periods of lower intensity muscle-sculpting movements. These 55 […]

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A Pure Barre Demo & The Fit Foodie Run is Back in Fairfax, VA

May 19, 2016

Remember last year when Brittany and I ran the Fit Foodie Run in Fairfax, VA? We’re at it again this weekend! Last year’s Fit Foodie Run was the most fun race weekend I’ve ever experienced. From the pre-race party the night before, to the events before and after the race, to the finisher’s village, I […]

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Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR Race

May 10, 2016

On Saturday, I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Richmond, VA. As everyone knows, with my sister’s fight, breast cancer is a cause I will support to no end, so it seemed like fate that Alex’s mom used to work for Susan G. Komen and is one of the race […]

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Beauty in Bloom at Elements

April 13, 2016

Whose beauty routine needs an overhaul with this crazy, erratic weather? Did you raise your hand? Insert your girly one arm-raised emoji? Me too. And guess what? The ladies at Elements Beauty Shop have read your mind, because Elements is holding a Beauty in Bloom event this Tuesday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. This event will include Erno Laszlo […]

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Things I’m Loving Thursday

March 17, 2016

I’m taking a page out of Julie‘s book by posting a “Things I’m Loving Thursday”. It’s been too long since I did a round up of my favorite discoveries/favorite things. And I really like alliteration. 1. Topping the list right off the bat? Rage yoga. WHAT? You heard me. It’s rage yoga. It’s for people […]

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Happy Bachelor Finale Monday!

March 14, 2016

To avoid suffering the wrath of all of you, I’ve learned I need to write at least one Bachelor-related post this season. I apologize I haven’t been more on top of things, but y’all. Life be cray. Lately, once I get the time to sit and write something up, I don’t have the inspiration, and I refuse to […]

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