Sunday, April 13

March Maven Box Reveiw

Yes, this is a review from March. Yes, it's well into April at this point. Time just keeps getting away from me, okay? ;) I'm officially a week into my trip, but it feels like I've been gone forever... I really don't consider myself a "needy" kind of girlfriend, and I really didn't think that not seeing boyfriend for 3+ weeks would be THAT hard, but holy crap, I am feeling so needy. It's not as bad when I'm out with friends or keeping busy, but sleeping alone is so sad! I hate it, and I'm officially that needy girl... I put a countdown on my phone for when we reunite in Vegas -- ha!  

I'm typing this on part one of my flight(s) to Hawaii (we have a layover in Seattle), and I'm hoping that I miss boyfriend less when I'm soaking up the Hawaiian sun and sipping an endless stream of mai tais. On a semi-related note, I got a spray tan yesterday to avoid being the palest person on Oahu, and now my hands are orange. Cuuuute... ;)

But let's talk about my latest obsession, Julep Maven, for a minute. I wrote up a post a while ago giving the run down of the whole Maven program, how amazing it is to get new, exclusive nail polishes in the mail each month, and how much I love the products. Now I want to show you one of my latest boxes: the March Maven box. The month's collection centered on bright, spring time shades and new lip products to smooth and soften your winter-ravaged pout. Yet again I couldn't decided which style to chose, so I ordered the "ultimate upgrade," which included all 9 new polishes, the luxe lip gloss, and the lip scrub. I also added on Julep's other two new shades: Tania and Rae. 

I will say, that while I really do love all the colors, it felt a touch early for a spring palette up in Michigan. Michigan is only now seeing a little warmth and sunshine, so painting my nails bright, poppy colors felt strange at the beginning of March. I was surprised that one of my favorite colors from the collection was Soraphine, a sheer white polish. I used it as a base and top coat for a pastel tips mani that I shared on my Instagram a while back. (Speaking of which, I am obsessed with Instagram; are we friends?!) I also love Tania, the "mermaid teal glitter," and Rae, one of the "colors of the year." 

I'm looking forward to getting more wear out of the polishes this summer, and the lip scrub is okay, but the real rock star of this box is the luxe lip gloss... This stuff is AMAZING. It's made with pumpkin oil and all kinds of other good-for-your-lips stuff, is a perfectly subtle shade of peachy-nude, has a metal tip applicator that cools as it applies, and most importantly, makes your lips feel like buttah'. I'm telling you, if your lips get dry or rough, you need this balm/gloss in your arsenal! It is the one lip product I opted to include in my 1-quart bag of liquids for my trip. 

I'm still obsessed with Julep Maven. I still tell all my friends about it. My collection is getting ridiculous. 

Get a free box when you sign up to be a Maven here --> Sign Up! <-- and="" at="" checkout.="" code="" enter="" nbsp="" p="">

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Monday, April 7

Ombre Chevron Embroidery

I'm posting this from Chicago, the first leg of my big giant trip. It hasn't really set in yet that this is it, I'm on my trip. I'm catching a bus to St. Louis in just over an hour where I'll be visiting some family I haven't seen in ages. The good news is that my first bus here was nowhere near sketchty, which is what I had feared. Two lessons I've learned so far: for jeans to be truly mutli-purpose they must be a good, unfaded dark wash, and that to secure a good, non-motion-sickness-inducing seat on the bus, you must show up plenty early. 

Anyway, a while back, I posted a chevron embroidery project I stitched up, and I'm still pretty smitten with how it turned out. I bought the pattern on Etsy and switched up the thread colors, and then it sat on a shelf for months because I wanted to "finish" the back and never bothered to look up how. Do you ever do that to your projects? Neglect them because you're waiting to make them "perfect?"

Regardless, that cross-stich project gave me the stitchin' bug, and as with most projects I wanted to come up with my own version. I did some searching and ended up downloading the "StitchSketchLE" app on my iPad and messing around with designs. I wanted something simple, because I'm a simple kind of girl, but you can also use a stylus pen to freehand draw something! You can save and email the pattern file to yourself for printing, and then voila, you've got an original cross-stitch design! 

So I used three shades of green thread, though the difference between the last two does not look terribly obvious in these photos. I also gave up on "finishing" the hoops and just cut the cloth in a sloppy circle and called it good. I'm trying to really embrace imperfections. Tell me I'm not alone in that struggle... Do you have a hard time calling a project "finished?"

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Sunday, March 23

By Bus & By Plane: My Cross-Country Trip

I have been dreaming of a cross-country road trip since before I enrolled in driver's ed classes at age 14. I LOVE road trips, and while I have not taken nearly as many as I would have liked thus far, I am forever trying to talk friends and family members into lengthy drives to far off cities. They usually turn me down. 

As my college graduation drew nearer and nearer this past fall, I decided that this was my chance. Butttt, then the practicality of taking such a trip solo seemed questionable, and both my mother and my boyfriend were pretty concerned about the potential risks. So I reluctantly started looking at bus and plane tickets, and was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the prices were! I made a list of all the cities my friends and family have dispersed to over the last few years, and drew up an itinerary! 

I'm hitting 12 cities in 9 states over about 6.5 weeks. Epic, right?! I'm leaving in less than TWO WEEKS! Ah! I'm starting with a bus to Chicago, then another bus to St. Louis to visit some family. Then I'm taking a bus back to Chicago and my bestie is flying to Honolulu with me! The top group of photos in this post are from my trip to Hawaii last year. I'm counting myself as very lucky to have a best pal stationed in paradise for three years -- can't beat free lodging on a beautiful island! 

From Hawaii I'm flying to Seattle to visit a friend from college, then LA to see a friend from high school. From LA, I'm meeting boyfriend in Vegas for a few days, before we both fly to Denver. From Denver, I'm going to Dallas, taking a bus to Austin, visiting San Antonio, and ending my Texas tour in Houston. The second group of photos here is from a host of past Texas trips I've taken -- a number of my Michigan-relatives have moved to Texas these past few years. From Houston, I'm flying to Jacksonville to see an old college roommate, and then I'm heading home! 

I'm looking at this trip as an opportunity to grow and breathe and explore. I'd like to come back with new perspectives, a better sense of self, and a fresh take on old dreams. I'm excited about the adventure and a little apprehensive about the challenges (money, being away from my boyfriend, general travel anxieties). I'm determined to travel light, nothing but a carry-on and my JoTotes camera bag. 

Planning outfits that will work in both Hawaii and Seattle, and that can go from day to night, has been another challenge in itself. Any pointers for packing or planning or traveling would be appreciated!! 

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Friday, March 14

Crochet Shamrocks

Good news friends. I am 100% healed from my cold-of-death, woot! Now March is halfway over and I have no idea where the days have gone. I'm gearing up for a big trip that I haven't even told you about yet, but more on that later. Right now I want to show you these shamrocks I made from some crochet hearts. Look how cute! And super simple. Check out the full tutorial on the Think Crafts blog and leave some love! 

My birthday is in less than a week. The big 2-4. I'll have to accept that I'm officially in my mid-twenties... MID-twenties. I've been having a lot of dreams that I'm back in high school lately. What does that mean?? Like, I'll wake up and forget that college even happened. Weird, right? I wonder what it means... 

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Thursday, March 6

Crazy Easy Circle Garland

I don't know about you, but I am so over winter weather it's not even funny. This has been one brutal season here in the mitten state, and I have had more cold and flu bugs than I care to recall. Currently, I'm hold up with my worst cold yet, caught in the midst of a "cleanse" I was doing, that I'm now convinced just weakened my system for this monster of a virus. How's that for a run-on sentence? Have you ever done a cleanse? It was awful and I don't recommend it, hah. I quit on "bananas and milk" day because I was miserable enough with this cold -- too miserable to also be starving. And who wants to drink MILK when they're all sick and phlegmy? Gross. And sorry if that's TMI. 

Anyway, let's talk parties. This is my go to, super simple, crazy easy DIY party decor. It works up insanely quickly, uses scraps and supplies on hand, is easily customizable, and it makes a LOT. Of course, if you saw my post about boyfriend's beer + bacon birthday party, you know that's what I made this particular garland for. My brother thought that I had hand stitched each circle onto the garland, HA! As if I have that kind of patience. Or skill. 

All you need is a circle punch (this design by Fiskars is AWESOME), patterned paper (I used scraps), and a sewing machine. Simply punch a whole buncha circles and feed them into your sewing machine one by one. As soon as one is stitched through, thread in the next. If you wait too long between circles, the threads may tangle and break -- it may take some trial and error to get it down. Be sure to backstitch the first and last circles on your garland to secure the thread. Some tips: Be careful of letting one strand of garland get too long, as it could get tough to manage. Use double-sided paper if you can (you can see barcodes on some of my circles above, oops). 

Easy peasy right? Now if anyone has any quick tips to kick colds, I am begging you to share. Seriously. This congestion is killin' me, y'all. 

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