October 31, 2012

The Growing Game...

OK, so I know today is Halloween.

I'm fairly certain your feed will be flooded with fun and interesting costumes, recipes, decor, and DIY's - all perfectly fitting the holiday theme.

I would join in, but there's only one problem... I didn't dress up this year. I don't have any cute kids in awww-worthy costumes, I didn't carve pumpkins or decorate, nor did I bake any sweet treats. I didn't even go through the trouble of dressing up my furbabies (even though I was tempted by Target)! I mean really, what kind of blogger am I?

This leaves me with some pretty limited Halloween-themed blog topics...

However, I remembered it's been almost one year since I started growing my hair out... maybe you have noticed? Last Halloween I went as a cat (so original, I know) and I had an A-line cut that had been dyed a brassy brown tone and the back was about a millimeter long...


The problem with an A-line is it's so short in the back that in order to grow it out you have to go through several heart breaking cuts (and an atrocious mullet phase) to keep evening it out, thus making the growing process that much longer and frustrating!

Flash forward to December - February... still not a real significant change.

May - July I remember finally seeing some progress...

August - September I was getting excited because it started resting on my shoulders!

Which brings us to today... probably another 6 inches until it reaches boob level :)

I know it's no where near my goal of Zooey Deschanel's length, but I like to think it's only a few more months way... OK, maybe eight... or seventeen.

I did change a lot of my hair habits over the months, reducing the amount of washes per week down to two, using repairing products since my ends are fried, and lessening the amount of heat I used during styling. I have not, however, done the most recommended task and gotten regular trims. Like, at all, for about six months now... mostly because I'm scared of losing any length at this point! That would scare me more than Paranormal Activity 4... (which was pretty good by the way!). 

Have you recently played the growing game? 
I'm curious - how long did it take before you could rock the top knot? :)

October 29, 2012

Rock The Coat!

Good Monday Morning, my lovelies!

Did anyone else have to wear a coat this weekend? It got pretty chilly out while wearing my favorite zip-up hoodie, and I was reminded that it was time to start wearing a few more layers. As much as I sometimes dread having to wear one, it's always a bit more exciting when you have some fashionable options to choose from...

What type of coats suit your fancy? I think I tend to go for a bit of elegance, but this year I might try out a furry hood or maybe a fun pattern... still need to find "the one!"

Need more coat-spiration? Check out this video with Bri Emery from Design Love Fest featured in a Lucky Magazine photo shoot... clearly this is a girl who knows how to rock the coat! I promise it will make your day :)


What about you? Is it coat season where you live?

October 27, 2012

Designing CJVZHeartsYou

Happy weekend, lovelies!!! 

The Halloween festivities are upon us... I saw Paranormal Activity 4 last night, and today I'm about to meet up with some family for a witch's hayride, but first I wanted to share with you my most recent blog design I did. You may have seen me blabbering about it on the blog and on Twitter, but here's a little design diary of how it all came together... :)


I really loved this whole look - so girly, soft, and feminine! Plus CJ is, like, the easiest person to work with, and the sweetest. Make sure to go visit CJ and see it in live mode - after reading her stuff I know you'll want to stay a while!

What do you think of the latest? 

October 26, 2012

5 Tips to Follow Your Dreams

OK, so you all know I have these dreams of being a big time blogger/artist/designer/shop-owner... and even though I'm about to celebrate my 2-year blogiversary, I feel like I've just started on this journey and I have such a long way to go. I think it has something to do with how FAST time and life is sprinting by me, which is all the more reason why not just following your dreams, but following your dreams NOW, is so important.

I keep dreaming of the day I can trade in my day job to focus on a full time design biz... but something inside me keeps telling me to wait. It's not that I hate my day job. It's really not that bad - I'm a real estate assistant. I'm good at it, I work with a lot of really cool people, plus my boss is awesome and lets me come in at 10AM (OK, 10:30...).

I see my boss jumping up and down over the fact that he's got 13 under contracts - his dreams of being a badass realtor are coming true. I can't help but half smile whenever I see his obvious joy, because I'm thinking about the dreams of my own that are just waiting on the sidelines... you see, I don't want to be jumping up and down over real estate or a big commission check - I want to jump up and down like I did over CJ's blog design getting completed this week! Every. Day. Very few things in life beat that sense of accomplishment - it's like a pat on the back from Jesus.

We all have our own dreams tugging at our heart to follow them... so what's the trouble? Our logic, our sense of reason, our mind telling us we can't... but, hear me out: if we are logical people, and logical people are out there reaching their dreams, then certainly we can apply logic to reaching them ourselves... right?

Allow me to introduce Stephanie - a girl my age who has made the leap into being a full time artist/designer. She's going to give you and I her five tips to following your dreams... plus you'll want to look out for what she's giving away to one lucky reader! :)

Take it away girl!


store//blog//facebook//twitter//instagram//pinterest//etsy

Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie and I blog over Shades of Color Art. I'm super excited to be a guest on Kristen's blog today - I've been reading her stuff since she was known as "Confessions of a GDS," even before I had my little space in the blog community!

Me? I like to write about interior design, art, and my lifestyle. Today I'm going to share my story with you and talk about some tips on how to follow your dreams!

I am 24 years old and I graduated a year and a half ago with a BBA in Marketing. Right away I went to the corporate world. During this time I became a bitter person, always in a bad mood, and complaining all the time. I wasn't enjoying my life, I wasn't happy with things that were happening, and I became a totally different person.

One day, in a conversation with my boyfriend, he pointed out some things I had been blind to - I was only happy on the weekends and then completely miserable Monday through Friday (of course, I always spend the weekends with him and he makes me happy), and that's when it hit me - he was right... I was working more than eight hours a day doing something I didn't love, coming back to my home to complain about my day with my parents, and then again with my boyfriend over the phone. Every day I was thinking about quitting my job, but I also thought about things like the money, what my family and friends would say, what society thinks, and I wasn't sure what to do.

That's when I decided to get back to what I love most - painting and designing. Little by little, I started to organize this passion of mine - creating, designing, brainstorming business ideas - until one day I said to myself:
"You know what Stephanie? You have to do what makes YOU happy - not what everyone thinks would make you happy. It's your life and you only live once. Forget about what your family/friends think (excluding my parents, they always support me no matter what I do) and start living!"
And that's when I did it... I QUIT MY DAY JOB!! I became the happiest girl of the world! I decided to open an online store, continue painting, work with my marketing skills, and start implementing all these ideas that had been brewing over so much time. Thanks to God, I now work full time with my store and I’m currently studying for my Masters Degree.

Yes, I work more than 8 hours, and sometimes it's exhausting, but hey! Putting all my heart and soul into doing something that gives me joy? That's happiness!

So now I’m going to share with you the steps I took to follow my dreams... because it definitely wasn't easy!


1. Decide What You Want

We, creative people usually have a million ideas in our brain at once, and sometimes it's difficult to decide what we want. For me, it was important to be creating things that I’m truly passionate about. So if you are deciding to jump into a creative business, make sure that you love creating/designing “that thing” because you will be spending hours upon hours doing that.

2. Get Organized

First, you should be prepared to have less than your actual income. If you depend a lot on this money you should save for various months before you jump into this journey. Like every business, you should have a plan. It's okay if you don’t have it at first, but it's really important to organize when you are going to do it, where to do it, and how to do it. I’m very organized and I write down EVERYTHING, so I always have my business notebook handy for whenever I need to write out my ideas and goals.

3. Get Out There

Once I had everything organized I created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, and of course entered the BLOG world. I started telling EVERYONE what I was doing. Some were interested and some were not. I didn’t care - I told them anyways. You would be surprised how many people want to do business with you!

4. Know Your Limits

If you are a perfectionist and control freak like me, you should know that you are not Wonder Woman! Yes - I thought I was and I thought I could do everything all at once. I thought I could paint, design notebooks, design cards, design agendas, take photos, blog, social media, social events, trade shows… all at the same time. The reality is that I couldn't. I knew if I was organized that I could do everything, but not at the same time. Know that you should rest and enjoy your life too!

5. Be Happy

Last and not least, BE HAPPY! This should be a fun journey. Owning a business is a growing experience. You are constantly learning new things and growing as a person. Like everything else, it has its ups and downs, but if you are really passionate about it and put your heart and soul into it, you'll do wonderful things and you will make it.


So if you are thinking whether or not you should start your business… if you really want it, I urge you to go out and DO IT! It's scary and anything but easy, but I can tell you it will all be worth it!


Isn't she amazing? I mean, you got to love a girl that goes out and gets what she wants out of life - go Stephanie!

So to help you get your dreams organized, Stephanie is giving away:
Two Personalized Notebooks & 1 Custom Notepad... a $30 value!!!

I got totally jelly when I saw Erin @ Living in Yellow's version,
and I'm probably going to feel the same about the winner of this giveaway.

Time to get legit, friends... you've only got the next seven days to enter!
Open to US residents only!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 24, 2012

"What's in your Junk Drawer?" Vlog Link Up!

I'm totally feeling so special today! Why, you ask?
Life as a Young Mom // The Way I Am //Thoughts By A Petite Brunette//

Because those fine ladies ^ crowned me as co-host for this month's "What's in your Junk Drawer?" vlog link up series! Why me? Well, last month I suggested the whole junk drawer topic, and apparently they thought it was a good idea...

So... I'm thinking you should back me up here and take 5 minutes to record yourself showing off what's in your junk drawer ;) That's how long it took me... seriously. Do it!

 
You totally wanna do it now, right? 

Don't be scurred! Grab your camera, press record, YouTube that shiz, post it up, 
and don't forget to slap on one of these pretty buttons:

What's in your...?

October 23, 2012

Lately Happenings & Confessions

I just feel like dishing and photo dumping today. OK with you? Alright, here we go...
That's me and my 3-year old nephew, Austen. Last weekend Josh and I had a sleepover with him and my 5-year old niece - it was a rainy day so we made hot chocolate, watched movies, and had a leaf war. It was awesome :) (and no, I'm not sure what he has in his mouth there...)
I started on an idea for my owl painting, but gave this sketch away to my niece - I think it will turn out to be something very similar. I've been working hard trying to check off my "Creations Due" list - I will be showcasing the blog design I just completed for CJVZHeartsYou later this week (although you're more than welcome to take a peek!).
I tried to be trendy (keyword: tried) and did a multi-colored mani (left)... long story short, it was a total fail. I picked up a new Essie polish from Target called "Eternal Optimist" and attempted my first "nail art" manicure (right). Muuuuch better... can you believe I pulled that off without tape?
After catching a cold on Thursday it's been hard getting out of bed in the mornings, but I held in my sneezes on Saturday for a fun night out with friends at Gracie's in downtown SLC... probably shouldn't have had so many shots (even though one of them was a yummy Washington Apple) but that's what Sundays are for... recovery (and leftover pizza, Mountain Dew, football, old school horror flicks...) 

Other than that... 
Here's some confessions from inside my head lately:

1. I miss Jimmy from Boardwalk Empire :(
2. Where can I find a decent flapper girl costume?
3. I'm so torn who I want to come back on America's Next Top Model ... Britney or Leila?! ahhh!!! :/
4. Can we just vote and get this election over with already???
5. I don't care how cliché it is... Pumpkin Spice Lattés are spectacular.
6. Am I fooling anyone with these grown out roots? 
7. According to people's recent opinions... I apparently look like Natalie Wood?
8. I totally believe aliens exist... *peeks up at sky for UFO's*
9. Stephen Colbert is my freakin' HERO.
10. Sometimes wine glasses aren't needed - the bottle works just fine. 

Special shout out to my bestie - it's her birfday today :)

What have been some of your happenings lately?

P.S. I'm so excited to be co-hosting the "What's in your Junk Drawer?" vlog link-up tomorrow with E-Ho and the gang! Come check out more details here!

P.P.S. The winner of TSP's $174 Hair Care Giveaway was announced via Rafflecopter - congrats to Carri DeBlaay Moore!! For a chance to still win big, don't forget to enter October's Group Giveaway!

October 19, 2012

KV's October Group Giveaway!

Oh, how I love a good giveaway!

I'm gonna have a little brag sesh real quick... 

Since starting this blog two years ago, I've won: $100 to Local Hem, $50 to Shabby Apple, $50 to Adam & Eve (ooh la la), $10 to Starbucks, Halle Berry Perfume (that shattered on its way... *tear*), and most recently I won this lovely Wishbone Necklace from Melvin Avenue!

I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty awesome, and personally, I find a lot of beneficial reasons to participate in, host, and enter giveaways:

1. It's a fun and exciting way to show gratitude towards readers
2. It exposes our talent and connects us as bloggers and shop owners
3. It keeps us expanding our networking circles
4. It helps small handmade businesses thrive
5. It's a way to meet new friends
6. You can WIN free stuff!!!

So for those of you who are ready to start upping your chances of winning this month's scoop of awesome sauce, read on, my fellow giveaway lovers... read on!

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Anna Delores Shop

DISCOUNT: 50% OFF // Checkout Code: BLOG1

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J&M's Eye Candy Shoppe

DISCOUNT: 20% OFF // Checkout Code: KVROCKS

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Yours Truly Blog Designs

DISCOUNT: 10% OFF ANY DESIGN SERVICE // Checkout Code: KVCONFESSIONS10
Expires: 10/31/12


Awesome right? #isayawesomealot
Well, it's about to get awesomer. 
I made an executive decision to award only ONE winner for all five prizes!
I have a feeling someone will be doing a happy dance when they check their email next Friday :D
Oh, and this bad boy is open INTERNATIONALLY... good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh and P.S. here are some other giveaways you should know about!

October 17, 2012

Designing Lucyndiamonds

It's safe to say I've become obsessed with my latest project... helping Clara @ Lucyndiamonds with her new blog design! 

Blog design is so much fun because it's like designing someone's personality - and I love that challenge! At first I was a little nervous about how I was going to nail the look she wanted, but it quickly became an exciting experiment. As I sit here staring at it I still can't believe it was me who did it... is that weird? I think I'm still in disbelief that I'm actually out there designing for people.. #thatscray

Wondering how it came out? Take a looksy at the design board below and don't forget to go visit Clara and see it in live mode!



This is what Clara had to say:
Kristen, 
First of all, I am amazed with the whole work you've done - I truly appreciate it! Thank you for making my life a lot easier and somewhat sweeter! I'm really glad that I picked you to design my blog. It was tied between you and another designer - I slept on it and decided that it was you who would do the perfect job.

I want to also thank you for giving me a couple of pointers. I'm still def a rookie in the blogging atmosphere and guidance is always appreciated!

Thanks again! 
-C
Talk about a rewarding experience! Clara- thank you for trusting me and allowing me to design for you. I'm so thrilled with the end result - it's very YOU and I'm so glad you love it as much as I do!


Curious to find out how I can help with your own design needs?
Go check out my design services page!

P.S. Don't forget to enter TSP's $174 Hair Care Package Giveaway - it ends Sunday night!

October 16, 2012

Me Myself & I... Round 4!

Happy 3rd Tuesday of the month my fraaands! 
You know what that means, right?

It's time for another round of Me Myself & I!

Let's get this linky party started, shall we?

{one}
 What is your favorite season? Explain.
I've said it time and time again... FALL. Nothin' better than a little chill in the air, colorful trees, warm clothes, and everything pumpkin flavored.
image via

{two}
 Talk about a moment that changed your life. 
Oh goodness - so many moments to choose. Let's see... my big move to Utah when I was 18, dropping out of college six months later, getting married the year after, going back to school four years later... hmmm. Well, I'm sure a lot of people are going to say this, but getting married has to top the list of life changing moments. If we never made those vows to each other I know a huge and very important chunk of me would be missing.

{three}
If you could be any Crayola crayon color, what would you be and why?
It would have to be Robin's Egg Blue (what do you know, there is a Wikipedia site with all of the Crayola colors and names... #smart). I've always been attracted to those teal tones. I just like that it's a combination of blue and green - kind of like a mixture of two personalities which I compare to my Gemini mind, and the cooler tones mesh more with my style than say, pink. #yesimagirlandihatepink
image via
{four}
Describe yourself as a superhero: Superpower? Name? Sidekick?
Why is this such a tough question? I just keep wondering about what I would wear... probably Robin's Egg Blue (shocker), and I guess you could call me The Robin. My super powers? I can fly, gather, and tweet: fly to explore, gather for ideas, and tweet to share. #basicallymylife
image via
{five}
If you had all the money in the world and could only shop at 3 stores, where would you shop?
Am I totally ghetto if I say Walmart? So convenient and you can walk around in pajamas without anyone looking at you weird... #imbeingserious. I'd also have to say H&M, because no matter how rich I get their stuff will always be cute. And... last but not least, IKEA! That store is genius, man. GENIUS.
image via


Ready to link up #MMI style?

My Beautiful, Crazy Life

As much as I love to break 'em, there's only a few rules to abide by...

-Follow each of your hosts:
October's Co-Host: Nicoll @ The Chiffon Diary
My Beautiful, Crazy Life // Whispering Sweet Nothings // KV's Confessions
Framed Frosting // Life of the Wife // For Love of a Cupcake
-Grab the button and place it in your post
-Put the button in your side bar to help spread the word (optional)
-Click around on a few other bloggers and get to know some new friends!

{Note: If you submit a question via this form, you have a chance to co-host with us!}

October 15, 2012

TSP's Date Night Style Tips & Giveaway!

Oh, hey there lovely readers! 

I hope your weekends gave you enough rest to start a new week, and if not, start sipping that coffee a little quicker because lemme tell ya... you'll want to pay attention to this post!

Miss Shardé is taking over today - a fab style blogger who I've known from the beginning! You may remember when I talked about designing her blog last month, or, if you're one of the ol' G's you might remember when I interviewed her during my Confess to a GDS series? Well, needless to say, she's been one of my blogger favs. From her photos it's evident why her blog is called "The Style Projects," but today I'm taking it upon myself to write her tagline: 

"Inspiring you to treat your hair nice, dress up pretty, and DIY like a boss."

I'll run it by her later... but for now it's time to check out her date night style tips. Oh and puh-leeeease don't forget to check out her giveaway at the end... you'll thank me later.


Hi KV's readers! 

I'm Shardé from The Style Projects

I'll start with a little bit about me. I'm a Texas native living in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. I'm lucky enough to have love of my life as my best friend - our motto is to "Seize the Day" everyday. Last but not least, I believe you can never be overeducated or overdressed, so I am always dressed to impress.

Today I'm sharing some real know-how on getting prepared for a date night with your boo, plus I'm giving away a huge date night beauty package to help you put my tips to the test (look for it at the end of this post!).

Now, getting ready for date night doesn't have to be that hard - simple and chic is the way to go! Most men don't like it when we fuss too much over our appearance (and even if you do - he doesn't have to know!). Here's the way to make your look effortlessly cool...


Let's start with the hair...

Curling your hair with a flat iron creates simply beautiful waves. Since this is my area of expertise, I have a video on what to do! Follow these simple steps to give your locks some wavy love. This works on all lengths of hair, from chin length and beyond!


Now... the outfit is equally important!


Repeat after me, the boyfriend blazer is your best friend. Boyfriend blazer = best friend. 

The boyfriend blazer says chic and relaxed all at the same time! Throw on some skinnies, and, if you wear skinnies the same color as your blazer, it will make you look taller! A contrasting color is just as cool though, and will add some extra interest to the outfit.

Pair your blazer with a neutral top, a statement necklace, and voila! You have relaxed beauty. Add on a pair of simple wedges or heels and you've got yourself a killer outfit. Your boy won't even know what he has comin' to him!

Lastly... the makeup should be simple.


You've already got a great outfit, so you should let your face shine! Don't go all out - hold the eyeshadow, hold the bronzer, and just do your bare essentials: winged eyeliner, mascara, and a touch of blush. If you want to go bolder, throw on some candy red lipstick, or be subtle with a nude gloss.

You are now ready to go out on any date night! Keep these tips for later reference and feel free to pin them - because you know you'll need them eventually!


And now for the giveaway... 
A $174 Hair Care Package so lovely your split ends will beg you to enter!

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner ($19) 
A concentrated smoothing shampoo and conditioner for curly, coarse, wavy or dry hair. Fights frizz with borage oil and grapefruit extract, and leaves your hair feeling like butter! 
A little goes a long way with this stuff!

Davines Oi Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion ($15)
I wrote a whole post on it because it is like a miracle for your hair! Makes it softer, shinier, repairs split ends and prevents from heat damage. A major plus is it cuts your blow dry time down by 20%! Within three uses you can feel an improved textural difference in the hair. Like the shampoo and conditioner, a little of this goes a very long way! You only need one or two pumps for medium length hair.

Ceramika Pro Travel Size Flat Iron ($20)
Great for fixing your hair in a flash or on the go! Also great for really curly hair for getting super close to the root. Why have full size when you can have mini?

Chestnut 100% Human Hair Full Set Clip-in Extensions in 14" length ($100)
Transform your hair from short to long in a matter of 5 minutes! These clip in extensions just take a few minutes to install and are incredibly easy to maintain. The hair can be styled just like your own hair, with the same products and tools you use. It can also be colored darker by a professional- highlighting is not necessarily recommended, but can possibly be done by your hairdresser. 

*BONUS PRIZE* 
Large Ad spot on TSP! ($20)
250x250 for 30 days - featured at the top of the right column for maximum exposure.

PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is open to US residents only.
GOOD LUCK!!!!

October 12, 2012

How Happy We Really Are












Sweater: Banana Republic // Scarf: Old Navy // Pants: TJ Maxx // Boots: Target // Earrings: Old Navy
Photos by Cory Waite Photography

I love this road. 
I never found out where it led to, 
but I don't think that would have mattered. 

It's kind of like life, in that sense.

I don't know where the road of life will take me.
I'm doubtful of the outcome, but inspired by each moment.
And even though the world around me may seem chaotic,
I find peace in that chaos...

Because I have a husband close by with a shoulder to rest my head on,
Two dogs that are overjoyed whenever they sense my presence,
And support from every angle (including you!) reinforcing my dreams.

I realize as I get older the destination seems to matter less and less.
It's always been about the journey, the little things, the lessons along the way.
That to me, is the definition of life.

If we wait for a certain something to make us happy,
dreaming of the day when everything will be perfect,
then clearly, we have missed the point.

Take a moment today to appreciate your life - all that it is, the good and the bad.
Start measuring moments, not just our accomplishments...

Then we might realize how happy we really are