Monday, September 15, 2014

Midwest S'mores Night.

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It seems silly to say that an app changed my life--but that's the truth. People scoff at social media, and it isn't without its shortcomings, that's for sure, but it can be such an amazing tool in bringing together people that would have never met otherwise. 50 years from now, if my grandchildren ask me what the big social media boom was like, those will be the stories I tell--stories of how I made friends like Haley, Tessa, Aimee, Emma, Lindsey, Ronnie, Ana, Jessica, Sarah, Madison.... Yes, social media can be addicting. Yes it can make you feel inferior if you let it. But if you take the reins, amazing things can happen. Lindsey and Ronnie made amazing things happen a couple weeks ago. They hosted an Instagram meet-up/ s'mores night at Lindsey's house. After months (or even years) of seeing pieces of each other's lives online, we would be face to face with our insta-friends, some of us for the first time.

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Meeting people from the internet is usually a little weird, no matter how you slice it, but there was something about that night that made that disappear. Maybe it was the comforting nature of Lindsey's beautiful home, the warm glow of the fire, the crackle of vinyl records playing, the incredible food, or the sound of laughter constantly filling the air--whatever it was, it was absolutely magical. Some of these girls I had been insta-friends with, some I had met in real life, and some were total strangers, but I felt like I had known them all for years.

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The past couple years in Springfield have been great, but they've also been hard sometimes. I moved back home for a couple years between grad school and getting married to help take care of my grandparents, and when I came back to Springfield, most of my friends had gone. The ones who were still around had moved deeper into careers, relationships...and to be honest, I wasn't sure exactly where to begin to make new friends. I sure as heck didn't think to look on the internet, for pete's sake. I also thought that most people my age had established friend groups already, and trying to break into a friend group as an introvert is like a made-to-order panic attack. I thought I was mostly okay, though. I had my husband, I had my cats...and deep down I was lonely as heck. Sometimes, as a woman, you just need other women around. Slowly, people like the incredible Layne began to pop into my life, through--you guessed it, the internet.It was after meeting her that I decided to make it a goal to meet up with my local online friends and to be proactive in fostering real, authentic friendships both on and offline. So when I got the invitation for Midwest S'mores Night, I said yes immediately.

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I couldn't be more glad I did. Over a week later, I'm still thinking about what an incredible night it was. We ate, we drank, we laughed (oh my gosh, how we laughed), we told stories. We were happy. We were open. We were known. There was an air of authenticity, and there was no judgment, just a feeling of incredible love that radiated from every conversation. How often can you say that about any big group of people, much less people who barely knew one another? It was incredible.

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I think back on that evening--that perfect, cool fall evening--and I realize how much I had been longing for that. How much I need that. How much I want more of my evenings to be surrounded by that authentic kind of community. That is how life should be.

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**For an absolutely beautiful, eloquent recap of the evening, take a look at Lindsey's blog post. It captures the evening perfectly.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Project Life: Weeks 34 & 35

I'm behind again...imagine that! Well, actually my Project Life is doing just fine thankyouverymuch, but I'm doing not-so-awesome at blogging my pages....or blogging in general. Grad school has me scrambling like you wouldn't believe. One of my classes was cancelled this week, so I thought I would toss up some of the pictures I snapped of my pages from the past couple weeks. Hopefully I'll get a firm routine established and things will pick back up around here soon.

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PL34R

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P.S. Happy September! How am I saying that already?!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Project Life: 25-26

Annnnnnnnnnnnd........We're caught up! Finally! Hope you've enjoyed all the Project Life stuff, and if you haven't, I hope you enjoy that it's over. Haha. Well, I'll still be posting my weekly spread on Mondays, but the overdose is finished. :) These last two spreads are minimalistic, color-wise. I think the embellishments keep them from being too simple, but I still don't know. I think I'm a bright-color gal in the summer. I could definitely see doing lots of these color schemes during the colder months. Feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comment box!

Week 25, left side:
25L

Week 25, right side:
25R

Week 26, left side:
26L

Week 26, right side:
26R

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Day in the Life

I've seen these floating around the internet for awhile, and always thought they'd be fun to do: a photo an hour for a whole day. The problem, as it turned out, is that I'm incredibly forgetful, so even if I remembered to start in the morning, I'd take about two pictures and then it would totally slip my mind for the rest of the day. I'm not one of those people who is always thinking about my blog content when I'm doing things, so a lot slips by undocumented (honestly, Project Life has helped more than anything else with that!). It's strange, though--the more I document my life, the more I appreciate it. When I was doing my Project Life pages for the week, most of the journaling talked about what an "awesome" day it was--even though it really was a very typical Friday for me. I'd like to do it again sometime now that I've started classes. Anyway, as crazy as it sounds, this was legitimately a challenge, but definitely a fun one!I If you do it (or have done it) yourself, leave me a link in the comments! I'd love to check it out (and I'm a total nosey Nancy).

I decided to do this a few weeks ago on one of my solo days off, since--although I think it would be interesting to show you a day at my work-- privacy laws won't let me take pictures of the cute kiddos I work with. So this is a pretty typical Friday for me. (*Note: These are all iphone photos, for the simple fact that I didn't feel like lugging around a DSLR all day and fielding questions about why I was taking pictures of random things.)

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7 o'clock hour: I usually wake up sometime after 7:00, mainly because Tyler is up and around and I feel guilty (if left to my own devices, I'm more of a 1pm kinda gal...). Generally I whine a lot, and there's some internal struggle regarding actually physically removing myself from my bed. This day was no different.



8 o'clock hour: After I pried myself from the warm comfort of bed, I ended up on the couch because waking up is really hard. I snagged Henry for some cuddling and television, because days off are for being a little lazy, right?

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9 o'clock hour: Somewhere after nine, I started to feel guilty (#weirdo) that I'd just been sitting on the couch for over an hour, so I got my happy little self moving, fed the cats, ate breakfast, and took a shower.

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10 o'clock hour: So, by the time I started putting makeup on, it was after 10. I'm slow getting around on the weekends. Don't judge. I dried and fixed my hair, put last nights/this mornings dishes in the dishwasher, and did a little tidying up around the apartment before I left.

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11 o'clock hour: First stop was one of my favorite flea markets--Urban Market. Every once in a while I pop in just to take a look at the furniture....but I usually end up wandering around the whole store. Like today. That place is a total time-suck. While I was there, I got a tweet from Haley about some new goodies at our favorite scrapbook store, so I added that to the agenda, too!

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12 o'clock hour: I was getting a little hungry, so I stopped by Elle's for some iced coffee....and macarons.....and truffles....and an apple almond tart. (I am doing AWESOME at this whole eating-healthier thing.) But HEY, I only ate the tart and drank some of the coffee, and saved the rest for later. I mean, that's got to be less calories than a whole freaking lunch, right? *shifty eyes* Then I popped by a local used bookstore and headed to Target for a few things (mainly chickpeas, because I am freaking addicted).

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1 o'clock hour: Against my better judgment, I went to the mall. I can't decide if I went because it was tax-free weekend, or in spite of it, but I really needed some new jeans. I still need some new jeans, because I bought shorts, a skirt, a cami, some shoes, and a hat, but no jeans. Darn you Forever 21.

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2 o'clock hour: From the mall I headed toward home, and stopped by Scrapbook Generation. My wallet was weeping when I left, but I was a happy camper.

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3 o'clock hour: I arrived back home, put on pajama pants (judge me, but I never wear *real* clothes at home unless I'm expecting visitors), and immediately became a cat chair. So I snuggled Oliver for a while, and then started on chores.



4 o'clock hour: Laundry began a little after 4. It was a dark, dark time in my life.

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5 o'clock hour: At this point, I'm still alternating between cleaning and being a bum on the couch. #reallife Finally, Tyler gets home around 5:30.



6 o'clock hour: We decided to head to the library, which has become sort of a weekly ritual for us. Tyler has discovered that the library carries comics, so.... :) I have discovered the sweet lavender latte from the Mudhouse location in the library center. It's pretty amazing.

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7 o'clock hour: We drove around town a bit, just talking, because we weren't quite ready to be home.

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8 o'clock hour: We started miss our little fluffbutts, so we started for home. We did have to pull over just once so I could snap a photo of the sunset.



9 o'clock hour: Tyler decided to play some video games, so I ate my macarons from earlier, flipped through some magazines, and painted my nails.

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10 o'clock hour: We popped in Catfish, which I had been dying to see, but had never watched because it isn't on Netflix or Amazon Instant. Tyler, in his passionate love for the library, said to check and see if they had it, and sure enough! We had to go to the north side to find it, but since we were driving around aimlessly for a while anyway, it wasn't a big deal. We watched it and Forensic Files until we couldn't keep our eyes open, and then dragged ourselves to bed.

Whew! That post was a lot longer than I thought it would be, but it was so fun to create! Thanks for taking a peek at my day! Gold star if you made it to the end. ;)



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

5 Favorites: Face

I am far from a beauty guru. If we're being honest here, until a couples months ago, I had worn the exact same brand and type of foundation since high school. I've just been lucky in the skin department for most of my life, so there was really no need to fix what wasn't broken, you know what I mean? As I inch a little closer to thirty (eek!) though, my skin really is changing, and I've had to start experimenting a little to figure out what will work best for this next stage in life. I've added some new things to my skincare routine (you can read about some of my skincare faves here, and a part two is in the works!) and I've started trying to invest a little more in makeup as well. Here are a few current favorites in the makeup department.


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1// Benefit Boi-ing Concealer: I tried this at the recommendation of a girl at Ulta while we were commiserating about dark undereye circles, and it is my go-to concealer--not only for dark circles, but blemishes too. It has the perfect consistency, blends naturally, and covers really well. It also doesn't settle into fine lines, not that I have any of those. Ahem.

2// Benefit Eye Bright Pencil:  I use this in conjunction with the concealer when I haven't slept well and my dark circles are extra out-of-control, which seems to be happening more often now that I'm back in grad school. It works wonders!

3//Benefit Porefessional Primer: Confession time: I didn't start using primer until a couple years ago--actually, the first time I used it was at my wedding, and I didn't use it consistently for months afterward. I have since become fully convinced of the error of my ways, and this stuff is gold as far as my skin is concerned. I consider it a splurge and use some cheaper stuff on a day-to-day basis, but lets just say I'm tempted to apply to work part time with Benefit (I'm a fan, if you couldn't tell by this collection...) and tell them they can just pay me in Porefessional.

4// Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation: I bought this at Haley's suggestion, and I can say 100% that it is the best foundation I have ever tried. And let me tell you, I have tried a ton since beginning my search for a new foundation. I was a bit worried about it drying out my skin, since I have a tendency toward dryness anyway, but so far so good. I mainly use this on the weekends, so my skin does get a break (since it is full coverage), but seriously, I'm in love.

5// ELF Tone Correcting Powder: I adore this stuff. Being a(n extremely) fair-complected gal, I have the worst time finding powder. Either it's waaaay too dark, or it makes me look like Wednesday Adams. This blends perfectly while balancing my skin tone, and--bonus!--it's only about $3.

What are your makeup must-haves? I'm always up for trying new stuff!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Project Life: 22-24

More Project Life weeklies! We're almost caught up! These were some that I completed on my binge-scrap day. I mellowed out a bit for weeks 22 and 23, then went right back to bright colors for week 24. Summer just does that to me I guess. Bright colors everywhere!

Week 22, left side:
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Week 22, right side:
22R

Week 23, left side:
23L

Week 23, right side:
23R

Week 24, left side:
24L

Week 25, right side:
24R

Friday, August 22, 2014

Things I Have Learned This Week.

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1// My brain does not function as well as it did the first time I went to grad school.

2// I am the worst at eyebrows. I can maintain, but when it comes to altering them whatsoever, NOPE. I thought about trying to shape mine today, and then freaked out and decided I couldn't do it (which was probably for the best, since I didn't screw them up).  Also, I'm glad the Benefit eyebrow bar exists--best decision ever.

3// One of my classes requires me to train a giant hissing cockroach. This was not a happy discovery.

4// Oliver loves Tyler more than he loves me, and it kills me. (Henry is still a mama's boy, though.)

5// High levels of stress don't incapacitate me, but they come pretty darn close.

6// Wine helps. So does organization.

7// Awesome coworkers who recognize when I'm struggling and rearrange things so that I get a break from more high-demand kiddos also help. A lot.

8// I get more excited about tattoo appointments than almost anything else.

9// I really really really love school.

10// I also really really love sleep. Sometimes I have to choose between loves.

11// I am much a much happier person after dessert.