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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