May 31, 2012

Dear Jan,

I hope it's a beautiful day in heaven today. I hope the sun is shining a bit brighter, the clouds are white and fluffy, and there is a celebration going on in your name. I bet you are laughing with family and friends, completely at peace, and happy beyond belief. 

I know you're in a better place, but I will always remember this day as bittersweet... because this day last year, you left this world. 

When I heard the news, I was heart broken. I felt so upset with how it happened. You were still so young, not much older than my own mother. 

Memories came flashing back from when I was little. The way your house smelled. Thanksgiving at your kitchen table. The art supplies you got me for Christmas. The little wooden houses you crafted. Your hugs. Your voice. Your laugh. Your smile...

I couldn't believe you were actually gone.

Part of me felt so upset with myself for moving away. I wish I would have been more involved, called you more, let you know when I was thinking about you, and made more trips back home. 

Your celebration of life was so beautiful to be a part of. I'll never forget how I felt listening to your favorite music echoing through the church. It was like you were right there with us, letting us know that you were OK. 

I often look back on the precious comments you left here... one of my biggest supporters from the start, you always made me feel special and encouraged me to believe in my dreams. I know you were proud of me...

I love you, Auntie Jan. I miss you all the time. 

If it's allowed, I hope you get to pour yourself a glass of wine today... ;) 

But, if not, I hope the angels play your favorite music:

May 30, 2012

That Time I Wore My Blog Colors...

I sometimes catch myself wearing my blog colors... do you ever do that? 

Sometimes I don't even do it on purpose. I'll notice it halfway through the day and suddenly feel completely on brand! 

This happened last week, so I made Josh take some pictures of me in my favorite yellow cardigan from F21. I love yellow. The color seems to compliment my skin tone and instantly makes me feel bright and happy!

I paired it with my favorite black tee from H&M, gray work pants from Victoria's Secret, and some flashy earrings from F21.

I feel silly doing outfit posts. I don't even know why I do them. I figure you guys need to be reminded of what I look like? Who knows.

I just know I'm not on trend, I hate being in front of the camera, and I don't know how to pose outside the "hand on hip" (despite watching literally every episode of America's Next Top Model).  

You can't even see my shoes because they are flats and blending in with the lawn... I guess I could have thrown on some heels for the picture, but frankly, they hurt.

Am I getting old? Or just lazy?

* * * * *

What are your blog colors? 
Get dressed up, have a photoshoot, and show off your brand!

pleated poppy

May 29, 2012

Surprise Sketch! {Round 4}

It has been a few weeks since I posted one of these!

I was inspired to draw a special lady named Jenna who owns a cute accessory shop called Doe Eyed Dear, but she runs her lifestyle blog over at I Never Really Told You, But I Meant To.

Isn't she a doll? I loooove the glasses!

She was super fun to draw! 
Jenna- this is a button you can display on your blog if you'd like:

Confessions of a GDS

Check out these other Surprise Sketches I've done:
Leona | Lindsay | Lily

Hmmm... I wonder who's next? :)

May 28, 2012

The "Blogger's Dream" Group Giveaway!

Today I have a wonderful group of ladies coming together 
and giving away a blogger's dream! 

Whether you're just starting out or have blogged for years, who doesn't love some 
extra exposure, some free design, or a fun new font to play with?

Check out these pretty blogs and their prizes to see how you can broaden your blog opportunities this June! There will only be ONE lucky winner!
Enter with Rafflecopter below :)






Good luck!

May 25, 2012

Meet Emmy June + a Giveaway!

I have an incredible treat for you today... 

The lovely Emily from Emmy June {born in May} is taking over for the day! I've admired her blog for a long time now and I'm thrilled to be showcasing her story today. Be sure check out her answers to my interview questions, especially that embarrassing moment one... OH MY!

* * * * *

Hey hot ladies,
I'm Emily--the girl behind Emmy June {born in May}.
Since you're dying to know, my exact birthdate is May 23rd,
so luckily you're still in the "belated" window and I'm still accepting gifts.

Oh wait, I'm the one giving you a exchange for your friendship, of course

But we'll talk more about that later...

Until then, you should know that I'm a 28-year old sales professional, living in Sydney Australia. Oh, and I'm about to quit my job and travel the world for the next two months before returning to the USA.  

So in the short term, you can expect to read about travel, travel, and more travel.  In the not-so-short-term, I suspect it'll be dog reunions, apartment love, and my rediscovery of Starbucks, Yogurtland, and all the other stuff I've missed after a year in Oz.

Come visit my blog and I'll give you a high five.
When you decide you like me and want to be friends?
I'll love you like a fat kid loves cake.

Kristen asks...

Out of all of your travels, where do you call "home"?
We get asked constantly, "will you miss Sydney?" (Australia, our current home), and the answer is yes.  However, Redondo Beach, CA is home-home and we're pretty convinced it's the best spot on the planet.

How do you take your coffee?
With chocolate.  Mocha frappachinos & cafe mochas.  Starbucks isn't big in Australia, so I might go into caffeine overload when I can get my hands on frappachinos again!

Where did you meet your hubby?
At a Kenny Chesney concert, of all places. Neither of us are really "fans" and I had a boyfriend at the time {whoops!} It's a long story, but it has a happy ending.

What word/phrase do you use way more than necessary?

Do you have a hidden talent?
Many people don't know that I used to be a professional horse trainer.  I've been riding, training, and showing Arabian horses since I could walk.  I've been on horses while they've bucked, reared, and fallen down.  I love it so much and hope to buy my first 'adult-purchased' horse soon!

What is your zodiac sign? Are you true to your sign? Or could you care less about astrology?
I'm a Gemini--intellectual, chatty, curious, and easily adaptable.  I strongly believe in astrology {the true study, not the silly newspaper horoscopes}, however, I don't want to know the future until I experience it, so I don't actively follow it.

Share an awkward/embarrassing moment... 
When I was in India, I went for a massage, only to discover my masseuse was a young 20-something male.  I had to strip down, with only a washcloth-sized towel to cover me.  Throughout the massage, the guy kept making weird, strained breathing sounds, and I was really nervous about the professionalism {for lack of a better word.}  What started as awkward and uncomfortable, become embarrassing and slightly horrifying when he spent a lot of time massaging my boobs, and then I felt his manhood brush against my hand.  Word to the wise--never ever get a massage from a man in a foreign country!

You have furbabies! Tell us about them.
Mazzy: white furball, miniature Siberian Husky {yes they do exist!}, known for being traffic-stopping cute
Toby: grumpy old man, snuggle champion, Manchester Terrier, constantly confused for a min-pin

What do you love about yourself?
I love my confidence in myself.  I have a "bring it on" attitude--there's no challenge, problem, or adventure that feels too big.  I really believe that we can do anything if we put our minds to it.  However, what I call confidence, my husband might call being a know-it-all.

What's something you've learned since blogging?
I've learned tons since I started blogging {specifically here and here.}  The most important thing I've learned is to focus most of your time & energy on creating unique content.  Successful bloggers didn't become that way through link-ups, or leaving tons of comments, or pinning the most on Pinterest.  They became successful through original, unique content.  That's what I strive for!

* * * * *

Isn't she the coolest? Not to mention she has one of the biggest hearts! Her and Lindsay from Trial By Sapphire recently hosted a link up/giveaway called "Flaunt Your Cause" and donated $50 to the winner's cause of choice.

*Amazing lady alert!*


Now, before you go jumping the gun to go follow her blog, 
we got some extra incentives to address here, because she's just that awesome...

Emily is giving away a 
$15 Starbucks Gift Card 
for all you coffee/tea lovers out there! 

Your mocha heaven awaits with Rafflecopter below... the only mandatory entries are to follow Emily and me! GOOD LUCK MY FELLOW CAFFEINE CRAVERS!

May 24, 2012

My First Birchbox Review!

Hey guys! Happy Thursday! One more day until the long weekend, right?

Well, I have a fun post planned today. You might have heard some of my Twitter chatter about a recent decision to sign up for Birchbox. After months of seeing blogger babes showing off their goodie boxes, I decided it was finally time for me to join in on the fun! 

For those of you who don't know, Birchbox is a monthly service that sends you a surprise box of 4-5 deluxe samples based on the profile you fill out when you sign up. It's only $10/month... and really, what is $10? Josh and I easily spend more than that on one visit to Taco Bell... I figured it was worth it. 

You can imagine my excitement when I saw the pretty little box in my mailbox awaiting its reveal. I ripped it open and here's what I found:

Arquiste | L'Etrog
Warm notes of citron, palm leaves, and myrtle combine in this transporting scent, inspired by the aromas of a medieval harvest festival in Calabria, Italy. 
(Full Size $165)

beautyblender | blendercleanser
Keep your makeup sponges and brushes in prime condition with this soy-based formula, which removes built-up bacteria and oil. 
(Full Size $17.95)

Color Club | Nail Polish in Disco Nap
Give nails a gilded look with this luxe metallic polish 
(Full Size $8)

Dr. Jart + | Waterfuse BB Cream
Think of this four-in-one moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, and skin-perfecting tint as the extremely stylish Swiss Army Knife of your beauty line up 
(Full Size $32)

twistband | Skinny Headband
Keep your hair perfectly in place with this colorful elastic headbands. 
(6-pack $20)

Notecards- text messages are no match for handwritten notes on fun, modern stationary. 
(Set of 12, $10)

* * * * *

My thoughts...

Now, first let me just mention, I think the picture totally distorts the actual size. For some reason I was picturing the samples to be a bit bigger, but a lot of those products weren't any wider than my thumbnail.

-Especially the BB cream... there might have been 3-4 uses out of it, maybe. Frankly, I'm scared to try and squeeze anything else out of it for fear of popping a blood vessel. I really wish there were more because I love the product- it went on so nicely and it was very light and comfortable. I could see myself wearing it all summer.

-The perfume... I'm not in love with it, although Josh seems to like it. It's a bit strong for me. I tend to like the light, girly, fresh scents rather than smelling like leaves and harvest festivals...

-I haven't actually tried the makeup brush cleanser because I'm already using the Bare Minerals brush cleanser that I love. However, this one has a nice lavender scent to it, so I might switch over soon.

-I normally don't love gold polish, but I tested it out by painting one nail. I've been walking around with the one nail painted all week and it's got a nice shimmer/metallic look to it. I think I'll paint the other 9 once I give myself a proper manicure :)

-I've been using the headband every day. It's nice, but it's really just a big elastic... seems like I could have made it myself. Makes me wonder who would really pay $20 for 6 of them? I'd rather have gotten a lip balm.

-The note card was a nice little bonus. I'll probably use it at some point. I mostly admire the design!

* * * * *

All in all, I was kinda disappointed after having such high expectations! After seeing what other samples were up for grabs, I feel a tiny bit gipped. But, I've heard mixed reviews on Birchbox... they are hit or miss, some months are good and some are "eh." I hope to get some better items next month. I can always cancel if I get too many vein-popping samples :/

Check out Birchbox to find out more on how you can sign up!

Linking up with Tara from Fabulously Evil and Katie from The Nerdy Kate!

May 22, 2012

Sneak Peek

Here's a little peek at something I've been working on...

(yes, 1:03 AM is a common time on my computer screen)
Can you guess what it is?
(try to see beyond my crappy watermark- I get a little paranoid publishing these vector type images!)

Are they...
A. Part of a new blog design I'm working on.
B. Just some doodles I've been messing around with.
C. A set of icons for my portfolio website.

Psst... look closely and you might find a hint!

May 21, 2012

Hair Envy

Good morning, friends and newcomers! 
How was your weekend?

I considered mine to be successful, and by successful I mean it mostly consisted of vegging, eating, getting tipsy, and hanging out in the same clothes without a stitch of makeup.

Good times.

While I do appreciate a weekend of no fuss, I'm now preparing for a week full of school projects to complete, speeches to be made, blog posts to write, and portraits to sketch.

So why not start off with something completely off topic?

HAIR! One of my favorite subjects...

Before I begin, let me just say, I really love my bob! I felt like I had found the perfect style suited to my face and personality, but seeing all these gorgeous hair trends have left me dreaming of long hair, Zooey Deschanel hair, the hair I used to have before I chopped it all off.

Image via Daily Makeover / Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images
I've been trying to grow it out since the fall. Some of the most heartbreaking moments are when I see all the length I've gained in front chopped off to even out the a-line. It's mostly filled in now, and the color damage from before is starting a good five inches from the roots. Thank goodness for the ombre trend or I'd look like a freak.

Here's where I'm at right now:

I think with another 6-8 inches I might be able to pull off a top knot without using 800 bobby pins, what do you think? How long does it take for your hair to grow?

To keep my spirits high, I thought today I would share with you my favorite hair trends I'm adoring and looking forward to. Do we have any in common?

The Braided Headband via Keiko LynnThe Top Knot via Gypsy Beach QueenThe Side Braid via Become GorgeousThe Pretty Pony via Everything Fab
The Chignon via Project Wedding

Now that I know I don't have to wash my hair every day (seriously, I used to do that) I think I might be able to pull off some of these looks without spending too much time in the morning. 

Which one is your favorite?

May 18, 2012

Meet May's Fabulous Four!

Happy Friday!!! 

How was the week? Did we all survive? 

I have to admit, I didn't think I would get through two speeches in one week, especially with a crazy sinus headache harassing me non-stop, but I did it! I FREAKIN' DID IT!

Few things get me more excited than being done with a speech... like, showing off my pretty sidebar dwellers for example. 

Now, of course each of them is fabulous, but it's my personal duty to let you know exactly how fabulous they really are.

But, you see, I can only expose so much beyond their pretty faces and a few short blurbs... that's why you need to dig a little deeper to really understand what I'm talking about!

They are talented, stylish, hilarious, and straight up BALLIN'
Scroll through and you'll see what I mean... :)

I love... 
Chocolate and anything chevron.
I hate it when... 
People use the word "hate". It's just such a strong word.
I'm craving... 
Usually dark chocolate or chinese food.
I'm afraid of... 
Tornadoes and failure.
I'm glad that... 
College finals are over!

I love... 
Travelling and experiencing new cultures. Trying new foods. Soaking up the tropical sun. Pina coladas and long walks in the rain. 
I hate it when... 
I don't get my way. I am quite stubborn. And I hate losing.
I'm craving... 
Summer days filled with hours of sunshine and a cold drink on one of the many patios in Toronto. 
I'm afraid of... 
Everything! Seriously. Horses, heights, the ocean, spiders, becoming a parent, 
my shadow basically. 
I'm glad that...
I got to marry the best man on the planet. He is the most patient and generous man.  Plus he laughs at all my jokes so he makes me feel hilarious. 
It's his best quality. 

I love...
Fashion, decorating, glitter, my chi-chi puppy dogs and a good cocktail.
I hate it when...
People are unnecessarily rude, snooty, or booshy.
I'm craving...
Reeses. All day, every day.
I'm afraid of...
Lizards and Crickets, Oh my!
I'm glad that...
I'm starting my super-awesome internship next month!

I love... 
Shopping and Starbucks! Also spending time with my family!

I hate it when... 

Things don't work out the way you want them to.
I'm craving... 
I'm afraid of... 
Something happening to my family and loved ones!

I'm glad that... 
I get to share my love of fashion with my readers!

Feeling fabulous yet?

How would YOU finish those sentences?

May 17, 2012

FF + The Tale of the Eight Month Streak

Hey there fashion lovers!  

I decided to participate in AV's Friday's Fancies a bit early this week! I figured it's been a while since I shared some fashion inspiration... :)

Chambray Inspired

Let me just say... that girl looks fabulous- I cannot wait until I get to join in on the top knot sensation!

And how are you liking the Chambray trend?

I discovered it two years ago when I intentionally stole one of my stylish co-worker's looks! I picked up an XL jean-looking shirt at Walmart for $8, paired it with leggings, and cinched it with a belt. I just wore it the other day actually, and felt "on-trend" for a change :)

Yesterday I mentioned on Twitter that I haven't been shopping since September- and it kinda floored some of you!

I'll let you in on a secret... spending extra money expanding my closet has simply not been an option.

I don't like to talk about money (I don't know why it is such an uncomfortable topic to talk about- too personal? Maybe...) but Josh and I have gone through some financial downs during our recent job switches last fall/winter.

This does not mean I'm poor, naked, or begging for change on the streets! We've just been transitioning and really watching where the money goes. If the money is not there- we don't spend it. We work with what we have.

When things were steady I was so used to frivolously spending every couple months... NEEDING to give in to the urge of buying something pretty and new!

Now looking back on these eight months of no-shopping, I really think I'm getting used to it!

I'm actually going through my closet trying to find new combinations and still managing to feel confident when I walk out the door. I'm still expressing myself- just being a little more creative.

I've realized I have so many clothes from years of shopping sprees, and I have enough... I'll survive without a pair of colored jeans... I'll be OK!!

I'll be honest, I tend to stay away from malls, magazines, and fashion blogs. They just end up bringing me down- I don't need to see what and who everyone else is wearing- I'm cool just chillin' in my two year old skinnies and my go-to earrings I've rocked since '07.

Besides, there's always Polyvore- it's just like shopping and showing off my style, but without spending the hard earned dollars.

Works for me! :D

Have you ever gone through shopping rehab? 
How do you deal when you need to cut back?

May 16, 2012


So I'm finally taking Advanced Illustrator, a class that primarily focuses on visual type and identity- aka- getting serious about logo-makin' skills. I personally don't feel as confident creating logos, so I'm excited to learn and have some solid pieces ready to add to my portfolio.

I wanted to share this really interesting class exercise we did the other night. I'm sure it's pretty common in graphic design... the idea was to take 6 words and express them using only 4 black squares.

Wanna see mine? :)

Which one grabs your attention?

So simple... yet so creatively challenging! I love exercises like this because it gets me sketching and thinking outside the box. Our next big assignment is coming up with a set of iconsso excited! I've been wanting to create a special set of GDS-style icons for you guys to use, so stay tuned!

And if you're feeling lucky you MUST check out this group giveaway I'm participating in...
You could win a Facebook Timeline Design by yours truly, 
along with a fabulous mix of other prizes!

Just visit Miss Annelise who is hosting at AUNIE SAUCE or use Rafflecopter below :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 15, 2012

What's your personality?

Have you ever taken the official Jung Personality Test?

Did you know there are SIXTEEN different types of personalities in the world?

I had to take it for my public speaking class and write a paper on it. I remember taking this test in my high school Psychology class and being one of the very few introverts... I'm happy to say I still am an introvert through and through! 

Officially, I am an INFP.
"Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving"
aka "The Idealist"

Image via The Ordained Barista

What exactly does that mean? Well, let's break this down in bullet points...

A perfectionist devoted to pursuing the ideal and living up to it
Main goal is to find my purpose in life
Only happy when there is purpose behind a paycheck
More focused on how I feel about things rather than logic
Driven to make the world a better place 
Puts heart and soul into every project
Flexible and laid-back
Creative thinkers- tend to be good writers
Gentle and quiet with a charming sense of humor
Good at listening and helping solve other people's problems
Will fight and defend personal values with passion
INFP's take up approximately 1% of the population

Can come across as reserved, especially in new situations
Difficult to get to know and tends to be overlooked by others
Doesn't do well in conflict- waits until it works itself out
Doesn't like to deal with hard facts/logic
Don't give myself enough credit
Can develop a "control" problem
Doesn't work well in groups- would rather just do it myself and avoid mistakes
Can be awkward expressing myself verbally
Does not like deadlines, but needs them to turn in what is "good enough"
Becomes embarrassed when the center of attention
Quite disorganized

Famous INFP's
William Shakespeare
Helen Keller
Dick Clark
Jackie O.
Neil Diamond
Julia Roberts
John F. Kennedy
Lisa Kudrow
Fred Savage

My favorite description I came across was,
"They may not take a direct path, 
but somehow they reach their dreams."

It's pretty crazy how closely this profile defines me!
I encourage you to take the test and see what personality profile you are...
it's only 72 questions and takes about 10 minutes. 

I'd love to hear your results in the comments!
What did you learn about yourself?

May 14, 2012

Find me @ Shady Lane!

Happy Monday, dearies!! 

I hope your Mother's Day weekend was fun and eventful! Unfortunately even though the weather was absolutely AMAZING in Salt Lake City I was forced to stay indoors and catch up on school projects.... boooooo! So unfun!!

Today you can find me guest posting on "Celebrating the Every Day" over at Shady Lane's blog! Be sure to check it out...

... and have a lovely start to your week! :)

May 13, 2012

Ode to Momma

This is an ode to my beautiful and fabulous mother, Patti :)

Everyone loves my Mom. She's truly a one-of-a-kind, mostly known for her contagious laughter and love for naughty humor. She specializes in hugs, laughing til you cry, living it up, and being 100% authentic. Oh, Mom... what would I do without you?

I have very creative parents and believe I got a lot of my artistic expression from them. My mom is amazing at scrapbooking, decorating, and photography. She has taught elementary students for over twenty years working with emotionally disturbed children. She takes pride in her work and education, and she's never stopped telling me to go for my dreams. 

I decided to go back to school partly because she was always pushing for it, not in a bad way, but because she knew how badly I wanted to go back and never let me forget. She doesn't even care that it's not a high end university or that it's only for my Associate's... she is proud of me no matter what. 

She has the kindest spirit, is always willing to help others, and actively seeks out the good in life. She travels regularly and is constantly looking forward to her next adventure. "YOLO!" is one of her favorite sayings! (You Only Live Once!)

Unlike me, who finds comfort in my introversion, she is a total extrovert. She can strike up a conversation with anyone and easily makes lifelong friends. She values every person in her life as if they were family. She keeps friends for years and years without losing touch, always making efforts to make plans. I love that she's never afraid to be herself or dance to the beat of her own drum... that's why she probably won't mind that I post this photo, right Mom? :)

On a more serious note, my parents got divorced in January 2011 after 27 years of marriage. It was a really rough time for our family, and although the whole thing breaks my heart and I wish things were different, she has managed to stay strong, enjoy life, and continue to laugh. I know some days are harder than others, but she seems to find a way to celebrate the every day, a quality of hers I'm always inspired by. 

Not to mention, she's the best Nana out there! Even with the 2,000 mile distance she still manages to call, visit, and be present in their lives. This is my little niece and nephew by the way... cuties!!!!

Thank goodness for unlimited minutes. She listens to me complain on my bad days and boast on my best. She may want to tell me how to live my life better, but she always stands by quietly offering humble advice, letting me learn for myself and never judging me for my mistakes. 

It's not easy being so far away from family... it's heartbreaking, really. I would love nothing more than to take my Mom out to her favorite restaurant tonight and buy her a drink, or at the very least just give her a hug. I wish I could be there in person to thank her for all the years she's spent being the best mother I could ever ask for.

It makes me emotional having to put into words my appreciation for her support. You may have seen her commenting around here... she reads every post and dreams big for me, just as I dream big for her. All I know is that without her in my life I wouldn't be where I am today, and for that I will always be grateful.

I love you so, so much, Momma!!

To all the readers who are Moms, Grandmothers, and Mothers-to-be,
Happy Mother's Day!!!