Saturday, December 29, 2012

feliz navidad

adios, america!

over Christmas, I went on vacation with Jordan's family to a resort in Playa del Carmen in sunny Mexico. these are just a few snapshots I managed with my iPhone.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

notebook sale for a cause

the holiday season is a season for giving. Kinsey, of one of my favorite blogs, Sincerely Kinsey, has created some beautiful and whimsical Moleskine notebooks adorned with a unique polaroid photo and hand-stained pages to sell for a great cause.

all proceeds are going to Project Rescue, a charity dedicated to helping women and children who have been affected by sexual slavery; from rescuing them to placing them in aftercare homes, to giving them vocational training and medical care.

for details on how to support this great cause (and get an amazing one-of-a-kind notebook made by a talented artist) visit Kinsey's blog!

{all photos ©Kinsey}

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


rest in peace, Lucy. I will always remember how you used to bark, and how you loved to play with your red ball, and "Jack." you could always make us laugh with your silliness. it will be a strange holiday season without you, but I hope you will be watching over us all. we love you, Lucy, and we will miss you every day.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


this weekend I visited my parents. my mom was a crafter at a local craft show and I helped. or tried. the car I drive also some issues, so my dad took a look at it for me. I helped. or tried. a few weekends ago when I visited them, we went to the haunted corn maze just around the corner. they have moved to a small town, but at least there are a few fun things nearby. I really like spending free weekends with them. it's nice to just hang out and relax. it will be nicer over Thanksgiving and Christmas, when I have a longer break, and I can spend a few more days.

in a semi-related note, I have been sorely disappointed in my own photo efforts. I've barely been taking any, and I don't really find myself in many situations where I would want to. how sad is that? I think city life or living in very rural areas helps. in Grand Rapids, I would take photos all the time. at my parents' house, there are some interesting landscapes if you can see beyond the plane of the houses. I keep trying to do daily photo challenges, and failing. it's pretty frustrating.

anyway, the apartment hunt is still on, and all is well for now.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

missing oz

I can't believe a year ago today, I was boarding a plane to start the most amazing adventure of my life. well, a year ago today, I was boarding a plane to land in LA and get stuck there for 3 days, but you know what I mean.

I miss Australia HEAPS. I often think of my time there, and all the people I met and came to love. by the end, I didn't even mind the heat so much. if only I could visit again! one day, maybe, but until then, I have some pretty wonderful memories to hold on to. Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oy oy oy!

Monday, October 22, 2012


so, last night we saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower. this book was really important to me throughout my adolescence; I've probably read it half a dozen times. maybe more. so I was super excited when I heard it was being made into a film, and even more excited when I heard that Stephen Chbosky (the author) was directing it. much of the movie was true to the book, and I adored it. there were some notable differences, but as far as books-made-into-movies go, it was extremely similar. I teared up about three hundred times, but that is to be expected when you're very emotionally invested in a story for so very, very long. thank you, Stephen Chbosky, for bringing Charlie, Sam, and Patrick to life, and for making them so funny, genuine, and infinite.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

october birchbox

this month, as many of you well know, birchbox is offering a goop-themed birchbox to some of its customers. I opted in, and while I'm glad I did, I was still expecting a little more! at any rate, here's what was in ze box:

essie | "goop pick" polish in power clutch
Between the cheeky names and the on-trend hues, essie can do no wrong. You can wear this classic shade all season.

Joanna Vargas | Daily Serum
Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas packs her signature brightening serum with vitamins A, E, and C, plus hyaluronic acid. You'll glow, we promise.

Kiehl's | Aromatic Blends Liquid Body Cleanser in Orange Flower & Lychee
This brand's new foaming gel has mood-boosting fruity-floral scent that lingers on skin post-shower.

Naked Princess | Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss in Barely Coco
Show off your (nearly) bare lips with this sheer gloss, which doubles as a subtle plumper.

and my lifestyle extra was:
 LUNA fiber | Chocolate raspberry
These fiber-packed bars are a goop fave. Keep them on hand at all times.

the full-size essie polish was a total score, and the color is amazing. I've never heard of Kiehl's, but it smells really good, so I'm excited to try that out too.

I'm not to certain about the rest. the Joanna Vargas Daily Serum really worries me. when I think "serum," I think oily. and it's supposed to go on my face? to me, that has breakout written all over it. I hope it's hypoallergenic and/or noncomedogenic, because I listed both sensitive skin and breakouts on my birchbox profile. I'm very reluctant to use it.

the only thing that worries me about the Naked Princess gloss is stickiness. if it's not sticky, I'll love it. I already love the name and the shade. it just drives me crazy when the wind kicks up and my hair sticks to my lips. then, I have goopy (pun not intended) gloss stuck in my hair all day and I have to re-apply the gloss that I, seconds ago, discovered I don't like. don't disappoint me!

lastly, the Luna bar. food in Birchboxes is ok. I really enjoyed my Larabar I got in my August box. if it tastes good, I'm all for it. I just tend to get more excited about trying beauty samples is all.

so that's it! my last box of the giveaway I won at the lovely Laura's blog. I have to admit, I think 3 months' worth of Birchbox goddness has sold me on continuing my subscription. I just love getting these little surprises in the mail every month! it's the teeny, tiny, finer things in life.

anyway, I just renewed my subscription, and hopefully Laura got the points, because I tried clicking through her referral link ;) if you want monthly deliveries of high-end beauty and lifestyle samples from top brands, then join Birchbox for only $10/month! you also get expert advice, and you can earn points with every purchase. what's not to love?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

life update

well, well, well.

about time I actually wrote about life.

starting this week, I am no longer unemployed, yay! I am officially a parapro at a local high school. as someone with a teaching degree, this feel like a bit of a step down, but I'm thankful for any opportunity that comes my way. plus, this particular district is super flexible should an offer for a teaching position come my way, which is super awesome.

my dad recently went to Austria for a week on business, and I'm excited to go hang out with my parents next weekend. I can no longer take long weekends to visit them, but c'est la vie. I'm happy to have a job, anyway. it was getting a bit monotonous, being unemployed. I was spending way too much money and spending way too much time vegging out. I occasionally found some productive ways to spend my time, though.

but I think I'm ready for a new chapter. with this readiness comes lots of anxious feelings to find an apartment, but the amazing autumn weather and changing leaves (and lots of retail therapy) are helping sooth my nerves.

I hope I'm happy at my new job. I hope I find my place there, and work well with the people around me. I also hope I remember to take time for myself, and to work harder at being healthy and exercising more. I will try my best to keep life simple, and to embrace the little things that make me happy, and to spend more time with my best friend. I hope you all do too!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

things i love today: blog attack!

maybe it's just because I love all things fall, or maybe the authors on my blogroll are just feeling particularly inspired lately, but I have been blown away by many posts by many of my favorite bloggers. behold!

the very inspiration for this post. a list of 25 things to do this fall by kate over at wake up, lovely. I adore this post. some favorites?

5. Spend a night with your favourite person, banning the use of electricity. Rely on candles and fires.
10. Paint a canvas.
19. Get a tattoo that nobody will see until the summer.
22. Spend the whole day watching the Harry Potter films.

we should all be inspired to make our own lists. thanks, kate :)

hot off the presses! today, sophia (an awesome name if I do say so myself) over at shabby apple posted a fall bucket list entry today. drool. I love the leaf art idea. you have to check it out!

I totally made this pumpkin risotto, and it was totally delicious. totally try it. totally. and check out elsie and emma's other pumpkin recipes over at a beautiful mess while you're at it! so, so perfect and autumn-tastic.

hello! chelsea of zipped is my go-to for fall fashion. everything she posts I instantly want. is that bad? I don't think so. is it? you be the judge.

holy crap, how amazing does this pudding look? I love love love beca's blog. her photos, her adventures, her recipes, her incredible handmade frames. amazing! go check her out.

one of my favorite things about fall is the fashion. namely, tights. and gloves. chantilly, you've done it! she has written a few more season-appropriate posts, and her words are always so real. totally smitten with her genuineness.

katie of katie's pencil box is always posting amazing photos! I know this screencap doesn't to the post justice, but her fall-inspired post got me all excited for the leaves to change, and the crops of gourds to flood the farmers' market.

and last but not least... this has to be my favorite

kinsey of sincerely, kinsey posted the most amazing crochet top diy, made from... a thrifted blanket. how amazing is that?! it totally inspired me to research sewing machines on craigslist. any advice for first-time sewing machine owners? any features/brands I should keep my eye out for?

what blog posts are you loving this fall?

* I enjoy sharing with my readers shops, items, and other things that strike me as unique and beautiful. all opinions are 100% my own. *

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

my first birchbox

holy moly, I am so excited! I spent a few days at my parents' house, and when I got back, my Birchbox had arrived! eee!

Laura of Caffeinated Pinkaholic gifted me a 3-month subscription as a giveaway on her blog! she's the best!
what's in ze box:
 CleanWell | individual hand sanitizing wipes
Germ-busting cloths made with thyme oil

Juicy Couture | Viva la Juicy La Fleur
A "feminine blend" of wild berries, mandarin, and waterlily

TALIKA | lipocils expert
Plant-derived lash serum to spur growth with no side effects

theBalm | Stainiac in beauty queen
A long-lasting sheer gel lip and cheek stain

Yu-Be | moisturizing skin cream
Best-selling Japanese cream for lips, heels, and hands

and my lifestyle extra was:
 LÄRABAR | über in Apple Turnover
Fruit and nut bar

I'm over the moon. this Birchbox thing is so cool. you fill out a profile and they send you samples suited to your preferences. freaking brilliant!

I already tried the Viva la Juicy perfume; it's really nice! I'm soo picky with perfumes, so I'm surprised that I like it. perfect size for my purse too!

I'm excited to use the Lipocils Expert, mostly because I have a nasty habit of pulling out my loose eyelashes. I've seen commercials for lash-growing serums on tv, but I've been wary to try them because of all the horrible side effects (like permanent darkening of the skin and/or irises of your eyes!), and I have super sensitive skin, so it'd likely happen to me. but this TALIKA is made only from botanical ingredients, so it has virtually no side effects. not to mention, it's French.

I also have no experience with lip stains. it says it's for cheeks too, but due to my sensitive/acne prone skin, I'll probably only use the Stainiac on my lips.

there's also some individually-wrapped hand sanitizing wipes, some skin cream, and a Larabar in my box. excited to use them all and will definitely tell about the results!

oh yeah, and you can use this fabulous link to sign up for your very own Birchbox subscription. only $10/month! I know you'll love it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

thank you, gr

I miss Grand Rapids already. it's not that our apartment was the greatest (it wasn't), or the cleanest (it wasn't), or the most updated and modern (it certainly wasn't), but I knew just how to perfectly toast a bagel in our old-school broiler because the rarely fit in our janky little toaster. well, so long as I didn't walk away and scorch the little sucker under the open flame.

no matter what I had a craving for, whether it was Indian food, Chinese, a burger, calamari, Mediterranean, pizza, a latte, fresh produce, vegetarian, pub food, a great martini, or something vegan, I always knew exactly where to go to find it and more than 90% of the time, I could walk a mile or less to get there.

so, thank you, HopCat, for providing the best brews in town. not to mention the best bartenders (hi Jake!) and some tasty, tasty grub to boot.
many a tulip of IPA enjoyed bellied up to this bar
thank you, Stella's, for wowing us with the most delicious burgers we've ever had. and for selling them for cheap on Sundays. ditto, O'Toole's.
thank you, Bartertown Diner, for introducing to Grand Rapids the tastiest vegetarian and vegan dishes, made with local ingredients. if I could eat there every day, I wouldn't miss meat one bit.
vegan burrito so good I might have cried a little...also it was REALLY HOT
thank you, Graydon's Crossing, for always being accommodating when we were craving something different (which we often were). Indian nachos are worth the 2-hour drive back to Grand Rapids. and Mojo Rising on nitro, of course.
beer flight,
and Indian nachos via Graydon's
thank you, XO Asian, for the most cost-effective and delicious lunch specials in town. $7 for a giant bowl of red curry, rice, AND two sides? yes, please!
thank you Rockwell's and Tavern on the Square for mixing the best dirty martini I've ever laid my lips on. bleu cheese stuffed olives FTW!!!
thank you, One Trick Pony for booking some awesome live music and serving up some dynamite calamari. my go-to place when the craving hits!
thank you, Wolfgang's, for rocking breakfast food how it's never been rocked before. guac in an omelet never tasted so good.
do yourself a favor, and order the richard app
 thank you, Martha's Vineyard, for your fantastic, booze and cheese selection. and keep making those peanut butter bars. and Nantucket, I could chow on that awesome bread allllll day.
breakfast with Nantucket bread, mmm
always, always raspberry lambic from Martha's

thank you, Sushi Yama, for the best sushi in town. eel and crispy snapper are the best!
thank you, Fulton Street Farmers' Market, for all the lovely fresh produce West Michigan has to offer. but mostly for heirloom tomatoes. and loads of fresh herbs.
farmers' market fare
thank you, One Stop Coney Shop, for creatively concocting the most delicious hot dogs ever, and turning me back on to the one food I once considered unequivocally unhealthy. sooo worth it.
tell me that's not worth a lost IQ point or two...

all in all, I'll sorely miss Grand Rapids. I'd gotten to know the city well over two years, and I'm not ready to leave. I've also come to know and love the school districts in the area well, especially GRPS. it's just such a bummer that I got to know so many teachers and I think that would have helped me find a job, but there are prospects in Ann Arbor too.

I grew up in the Ann Arbor area, so I'm familiar at least, but I really found my home in Grand Rapids. I've felt most like myself here. and so many good things are happening in Grand Rapids, especially considering this crappy, crappy economy. ah, well, c'est la vie. hopefully I'll find myself residing there again someday. for now, aloha, Ann Arbor. please be fun. and please have apartments available that I like close to the city.