4.17.2014

Project Life: March Layouts

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February’s layouts really took up a huge portion of my binder. I started (and still kind of am) worrying about not being able to fit everything in the one book. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with splitting up the year in a couple of books, but I’d ideally like to have everything in one. That’s just how I roll. It’s probably obvious, but Mexico is the reason why the month went on for many, many pages. I now know I could’ve done a smaller book focusing just on the vacation, but that’s the fun part of doing this…I’m learning!

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A few more things I’ve learned in the few months of Project Life (for me):
1) When it comes to pictures, less is more. I’ve been printing close to 100 photos every month. I don’t regret having the extra photos (I know they will be put to use somehow), but I learned that it’s best to keep it cohesive. If I really love the random photos, they can go on a layout at the end of the month. Otherwise, it’s nice to focus on the big moments.
2) Embellishments are fun! One of the great things about Project Life is that the core kits are filled with beautiful, fun, and creative cards that are decorative enough to focus on just those and the cards. However, it’s really nice to add those little touches! I’m having fun throwing stickers on cards and even on pictures. And, in case it isn’t obvious, I LOVE chipboard and foam letter stickers. They are so much fun. It’s nice to have a 3D effect going throughout the book.
3) Part of me is a little crazy and wants to stay cohesive with just the Sunshine core kit, which is hard because I now have 3 additional core kits for future use. I know many people mix and match their core kits, but again, that’s not really for me. However, I am having fun playing with craft paper and cardstock for additional complimentary fillers.
It’s good to be open about this…it’s not going to be perfect, and that’s what’s fun about it!

4.14.2014

On the way.

Last Friday, we drove Maria out to her new home in Virginia. I drove with Maria (so she could bring her car) and my dad drove behind us with Artie. Super cute. The drive was interesting…apparently we didn’t take the “typical” route there and had a couple of moments of worrying we were lost (we were not). What’s a road trip without all that craziness?
Here are some photos from our adventure.

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Making sure we have everything!

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Officially driving…a road trip cannot begin without coffee! I had my first iced coffee of the season! It probably sounds super geeky, but I was waiting for the right moment to reintroduce it. I can’t think of a better time!

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After a moment of “where are we?” , we stopped at Wawa.
I got another iced coffee (you can’t stop me now!) and we checked on Artie.

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“Nice bridge!” Maria said. “Oh yeah, that is nice.” “No…it’s Nice Bridge.” As in, that’s what it’s called.

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Arriving in Virginia and getting close to our destination meant driving with the windows down and enjoying temps in the 70s. Crossed another bridge with this beautiful bridge. We may have gotten there an hour or so later than intended, but we wouldn’t have seen this view if we arrived earlier!

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Welcome to the neighborhood!

I have some more photos from our time, mostly sight-seeing on Saturday. Initially, we planned to stay into Sunday, but we ended up coming home late Saturday. I can’t wait to visit as soon as possible…I already miss my sister.

4.11.2014

This Week’s Greatest Hits

Today, we are off to move Maria to her new home in Virginia. Instead of feeling sad, I kind of feel like it’s not real.
I know it’ll hit me soon enough. Still, I’m happy for her and glad I’ll have a new place to visit…but she’s my best friend and I will really miss having her around. This week was great because we got to spend a lot of time together.

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On Sunday, we had a super lazy day in Maria’s bedroom. We watched fluff movies on TV (like The Ugly Truth) and ate way too much ice cream. It was a dream come true. Perfect lazy Sunday, just as I had hoped.

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Brad and I had a little date after work on Monday, which was nice. After dinner we gambled, and I turned $10 to $60. So that was fun! I don’t do that anymore…back in 2011, we had a lot of luck. It’s smart to stay away, but it can be fun if you don’t mind losing your money…which I do haha.

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On Tuesday, the plan was to go to Jimmy’s Hot Dogs for lunch, one of the few good things left in our hometown. I was unaware, and Maria forgot, that they are closed on Tuesdays! We still ended up having a good meal at a local restaurant and I made us stop by the mall to get this goofy photobooth strip. I really want to take more photos in photobooths!

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Yesterday was gorgeous. It truly finally felt like spring is here. I hope it stays. I took Artie for the last walk for who knows how long, and I love this photo of him. His shadow kills me.

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Finally, we enjoyed some blood orange G&Ts with one of my current favorite candies as a garnish.
Delightful.

Things are going to change a bit around here…I don’t know when it will hit me that Maria won’t be home after 5pm or for stretches at a time, depending on holidays and an open schedule. Still, I’m excited for her and this new opportunity.
I hope it brings all of the best things!!!

4.08.2014

My Story, Lately…Pt. 2

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I just missed the 6 month mark since I quit my full-time job at the CU. I realize that I forgot because…well, I don’t really care about that place at all anymore. In my mind, this is a good thing. I’ve rid my palette (for the most part) and am slowly moving on. 6 months seems both short and long. I’m not where I thought I would be but then again…where did I think I would be? You know?

I mentioned in the first post that I got a seasonal part-time gig at Old Navy towards the end of October. I’m glad my gap in unemployment isn’t too big for my resume. After working the crazy holiday season, I was asked to stay on as a actual “sellebrity” which was exciting because A) I needed to keep working for money and B) not many people were asked to stay and I am so glad I was one of those people. It’s been a strange experience. The schedule is frustrating (I work basically every Saturday from 1-9, meaning I don’t get to have the normal fun weekends that other people do and I often work shifts that start at 5 or 6 am) because it’s not consistent and I never know what day it is. In the beginning, I was getting very few hours. One week, I literally worked a total of 8 hours. One day of work for a whole week. BUT, things looked up after our trip to Mexico. I started getting more and more shifts, usually working around 5 days a week (shifts ranging from 4-9 hours, which is great for retail!). Bigger paychecks, more face time to show what I can do.

Mexico (and the introduction of the Happier app around that time) really helped me put things in a positive perspective. I am prone to focus on the downside of the situation, but I have been enlightened. Life is a little bit easier to bear when you remember the little things that actually matter at the end of the day, week, month, year, decade.

Recently, a friend of mine died. We weren’t extremely close, our friendship existing more-so in one of the best summers of my life, 2012. The last time I spoke with him was before I quit Cross Valley. I was stopping at the liquor store to grab a much-needed bottle of cheap wine and he happened to be there, too. What was supposed to be a 5 minute (or less) stop turned into a half hour of talking. Catching up on the basics and eventually talking about my conundrum.
Though I hadn’t seen him since then, that conversation still sticks with me. When he passed away last week, I was in shock…we all were. And that’s because we all have had great experiences with him. He was a happy guy who enjoyed the finer things in life (“diamond taste” is how his stepmother put it) and left a piece of himself with every person he met (as his father put it). It’s so true. My sister, who was around him a few times, still remembers a conversation about a steak restaurant with him. That was probably over a year ago…but it stuck with her. The reason I believe this is the case is because he lived his life joyously. Everyone has problems and I didn’t know him well enough to know those…but what I saw of him was cigars and tall glasses of wine with tons of ice cubes. He was undeniably himself, no matter what.
It was sad to realize, but there was also a peace of mind to the fact that he touched so many lives in his short time and that we can all remember the positivity of his living.

That was a huge diversion, but it helps my point. That small conversation and our short friendship has stayed with me more than the drama of a place I worked at for 4 years. The good things, guys. The good, even little, things.

Being totally honest, I haven’t been looking for a full-time job and I need to get back on that horse. What I’m doing now is a huge step away from what I was doing, and I enjoy it very much. I love wearing whatever I want, listening to fun music, working with cool people of all ages, talking about clothes with the customers. But it’s not stable enough and I need to get a move on with my life. I desperately want to move out of my parents’ house (yeah, I’m still there) and work on future things like marriage. Those things can’t happen until I find that stability that I had with a full-time job minus the soul-sucking part of it all. Every job will have it’s moments, but it can’t be consistent and stagnant like that.

I realize I might not always get it right, and that I’m not exactly getting it right at the moment.
Am I in a happier place? Definitely. I could be a lot better, though. I want to grow up, but it’s hard.
The main issues is that I have no idea what I want to do and how to figure that out.
Suggestions are extremely welcome.

I will say, though, that it has been fun finding myself in different ways. Through scrapbooking and crafts, through opening myself up to people I didn’t think I would get along with, through being honest with myself and my family and friends and Brad about what I want (in the long-run), and even through the breakdowns that occur every so often when I experience a huge dose of reality. I am a jumbled mess and I have so much more work to go.
Hopefully, in the next six month review, I will be at a whole new place in my life.
Time to get to work.

4.07.2014

Nail Art Lately…

For some reason, March was kind of lacking in the nail art department for me. I wore a design or two until it was disgustingly raggedy (by my standards). I don’t know if it’s a lack of inspiration or a confusion with the changing of the seasons (pastels and brights feel weird when it’s still less than 30 degrees on some days). Still, I have some to share!

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This is a really basic manicure. I used two colors, OPI’s Sparrow Me the Drama for the pink and Sally Hansen’s Pacific Blue for the blue. I taped off a triangular area to paint the pink and then, when that dried, I striped the blue so it would all flow together and add a little something interesting to an otherwise simple design.

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I forgot about these nails! Danny Brito’s Instagram is an awesome source of inspiration for me (and cute dog and Pyrex collection pictures), and I picked a different color scheme to pay tribute to a cool geometric design he did.
I had a lot of trouble with my cuticles this past month, so I think that was another issues. I just painted random triangle blobs of OPI’s Call Me Gwen-ever and China Glaze For Audrey  over OPI’s Don’t Pretzel My Buttons. (Don’t you love nail polish names? I do!) Then I used my go-to black polish, Sally Hansen’s Black Out (the best, don’t buy anything else, it’s less than $3 what are you doing with your life?) and a striping blush to do random triangular outlines.
I would definitely try something like this again.

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This is a fairly proud nail moment for me. As I mentioned, I am obsessed with Target’s One Spot stationery. The great thing about the beautiful color schemes and designs is that they serve as inspiration for other things…like nail art!
This abstract floral design was so much fun and 100% accomplished just by looking at the pencil and blobbing things together. It’s not perfect, but that’s what makes it look so cool. Base is Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, flowers are Sally Hansen Peach of Cake with a dot of Essie’s Good as Gold, basic Wet N Wild white polish for leaves and stems.

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After a spell of boring one polish manis that were on my nails way too long (I don’t care if the colors were pretty, no), I was inspired by a light stripey design by Mr. Candiipants (a revelation I tell you!). She hadn’t made the tutorial so I just went for it with this. She liked it on Instagram, so that’s all I care about. You can see the sadness around my nails, the dryness and blah. I used Fresh Paint Coconut for the base and the stripes were Fresh Paint Pistachio, Butter London Artful Dodger and Essie’s Go Ginza!

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I attempted the Rifle Paper Co. nail tutorial by The Beauty Department and, while I got compliments on this, I wasn’t satisfied. I am gonna say this right now: The tutorial sucks butt. It’s pictures, step-by-step, and that’s not a bad thing…but the painting was done on paper, not nails. It should be on nails. So I see what this stuff looks like on nails. There is one photo of the designs on the nails, but they look different from the step by step and have some added flourish that I couldn’t fit in from trying to do the danged tutorial. Some of the flowers could’ve been bigger (pointer) and some should’ve been smaller. They threw a disclaimer in there that they would look different on the hand…but that’s exactly why they should’ve used someone’s hand for the tutorial. Not paper. Sheesh. Too many colors to name. Sorry.
And next time I try to master an Anna Bond look, I will be using a notebook or design from the internet instead.

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The last nails of the month were my beloved works of art (yeah they aren’t perfect, no I don’t care) in honor of the finale of How I Met Your Mother (still doesn’t feel real, maybe that’s a good thing). I won’t go into detail about the
19 different polishes I used, but I can tell you each thing.
Top L-R: Suit Up! is one of Barney’s catchphrases. A suit was necessary. The (danged) blue French horn from the pilot episode and throughout the relationship of Ted and Robin, the mother’s yellow umbrella, and a heart because…love.
Bottom L-R: A very faint (so faint you can’t see it!) acid wash look with a sparkly star for Robin Sparkles, the ducky tie, an M for Maclaren’s Pub, the pineapple of the pineapple incident, and a butterfly wing for Ted’s drunken tattoo.

And that’s all there is! Looking back, there wasn’t that much of a drought, but it felt like one to me.
Can’t wait to keep busting that rut!

4.04.2014

This Week’s Greatest Hits

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On Monday, I baked cupcakes with yellow umbrellas on them in honor of How I Met Your Mother’s finale.
I was a nervous wreck before the show started and I was a sobbing sap throughout.
As many people are, I am conflicted with the ending. I don’t want to give away spoilers, because I hate them myself.
All I will say is that it could’ve been executed better (waaaaayyyy better) but that it’s still my favorite show and somehow, it’ll all be okay with me in a little while.
Also, big thanks to my family, who watched it with me (funny enough, it was the first time my father ever watched the show) and gave me tissues and didn’t talk and let me have my moment.

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So, I spent a few mornings this week watching every Superfruit video on their YouTube channel. You probably have seen this Beyonce mash-up floating around (it’s the reason I started watching them in the first place and it’s…flawless), but I love Mitch and Scott. They are best friends who crack each other (and me) up and do the silliest things for 10 minutes and I love it. I told my friend Ed that it reminds me of us in college, finishing each other’s sentences and bursting into song and laughter at any and every given moment.
Keep watching ‘til the end of each video for funny bloopers.

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Spent a bunch of quality time with Artie, which is important since he won’t be here after next week.
He, along with my sister, are moving to Virginia. Gotta squeeze in those cuddles while I can.

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Started scrapbooking Marh and I’m super proud of my spreads. They are my favorites of the year so far.
I’m getting the hang of it. (It should also be said that Becky Higgins has officially become an idol for me. Her blog, the Project Life products, her response to fans…she’s great!).

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I bought a bottle of Bluecoat Dry Gin (recommended to me by Kate, thank you!) and have had one (or more) G&Ts every night since. Last night, I changed it up and made a Blood Orange G&T. The recipe I found on Pinterest called for fresh blood orange juice but I couldn’t actually find blood oranges so….
I bought Cara Cara oranges and Blood Orange San Pellegrino and made my own little concoction.
Gin, a decent splash of tonic, mostly the SP, and some slices of the orange to soak in there. Yum!

Some pretty great moments this week, which was nice because there were some bad moments in there, too.
Just more reminders to appreciate the little things in life.
Have a great weekend!

4.02.2014

VIP: A Letter to my Friends and Family

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Today, I am writing this very important post because a recent loss has, as it usually does, made me realize the fragility of life and the importance of living it to the best of your abilities. It’s sad that it often takes something tragic or heartbreaking to realize this, but it is an undeniable part of living.

I wanted to write a letter to my friends and family, to all of you who know who you are or maybe you don’t, to tell you just how much I care about you. It may sound cheesy, but it’s something that needs to be said, even just this once.

As I get older, I see the way relationships change. Some grow stronger, some slip away, some start, and some end. I’m still at the stage where I struggle to understand it, but I’m close enough to a time where I accept it as a part of the process. Regardless of the status of our relationship, I promise you that it means so much to me.

Sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes I have pity parties and think about how I don’t have any friends and my life isn’t like the movies, books, and TV shows I read. But whose is? At the end of the day, I can name people who have made an impact on my life, people I can still talk to today.

To my friends: Wow. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have people who not only tolerate my quirks but openly welcome them into their lives. There is distance. There are opposing schedules. There are spaces and gaps that keep us apart. There’s the other parts of life, the working and the thriving, that take up a lot of our time. But I love you. I haven’t forgotten any of you, even if it’s been months or, heck, years since I saw you. There isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t pop into my head. I could (and should) text or call or correspond in some way, but it seems none of us have the time to do these things. And that’s okay. I am okay with it and I hope you are, too. The fact is, I love you.
I love you for being there for so many years or months or weeks. I am thankful for those of you who have known me since I was even more awkward than I still am today. I am thankful for the people who made the worst jokes with me and laughed forever about them. I am thankful for laying on floors and not understanding how to work basic household appliances. I am thankful for long rides in my boat of a Buick and all of the music we screamed along to. I am thankful for hours of mindless TV and Mario Kart and weekly routines and funfetti cake and 40s and getting my face sticky with deodorant and sharing bathrooms and taking embarrassing photos that never get old. 
There are some people I never thought I would be friends with, and I can say proudly that we have become friends.
There are people I met who I just clicked with and that was it, forever.
There are people I’ve only been a handful of times but have inspired me.
There are people I’ve only ever really spoken to through social media and I look forward to hearing from them.
And, of course, there are people that I miss, that I sometimes wonder why things didn’t work out. Still, there is never ill will or bad blood. To those people, I still think the best. I still remember laying in bed watching TV, sharing snacks and stories and good music. I still care about you. I always will. I won’t forget. I obviously haven’t.
I don’t say it enough, but I love you. I do. I am thankful. Just remember that, no matter who you are or what you think our status in life is, you really, truly made an impact on me.

To my family: Just as with friends, we aren’t always together as much as we used to be. I should really make more time. And I’ll say it all the time, but I know it might not happen because, in a way, I’m kind of working on my future family.
Still, I have been so lucky to have such supportive blood running through my veins. My memories of childhood are filled with swimming and cookouts and Sunday brunch and holidays and sleepovers. Even the rough times have some brightness to them. I know this isn’t the case for many families, and I am forever grateful that I grew up around funny, loving, crazy, awesome people. There isn’t much else to say…you are my family, and so I love you.
I was born that way.

Life is too fast and too short, and sometimes it’s even faster and shorter than you deserve.
We will undoubtedly forget to be thankful on the rough days, to remember to say I love you because we are pissed off or stuck in our heads. That is just how life is. It’s unfortunate, but it can’t be any other way.

I just wanted you to know, for the record, just in case but all the time: I love you and I’m glad I know you.