The Holiday Spirit

12.10.2014



Well, my house is officially decorated! The tree is up, the stockings are hung, I went a little crazy at the Dollar Store, and I made an ornament wreath! Not too shabby for someone who had no desire to decorate a week ago. Essentially I woke up Sunday and I was like, okay holidays... I AM READY!!! We went on our nature excursion to get our tree, I went to the Dollar Store and bought a TON of ornaments, and spent the whole day decorating, crafting, and getting our Holiday Cards ready to mail.



Truth be told, I was ALL READY to go to the hardware store and buy a fake tree. I'm eight months pregnant and whole idea of stomping around in the woods to find a tree was just not sounding appealing. BUT, it was super important to Husband that we cut our own tree. So we compromised and went to a farm where you pick your own and they cut it for you. Generally, this works by flagging someone down who cuts your tree and carries it to your car, but after waiting for 10 minutes Husband was having none of that so he cut it himself and carried back to our truck. How cute is he? Also, Wilbur had a strong sense of pride when he found our tree. Probably my favorite part was watching wee little Wilbur try and bound over the twigs through the brush to hunt for trees. He was trying SO HARD to jump high and move fast. It was hysterical.


Behold my homemade wreath :) I am quite proud. I followed this tutorial and it was SUPER easy. I think all said and done it cost me around $15 to make? The wreath shape was around $3 at Joann's and then I bought around 100 ornaments at the dollar store. WAY more cost effective than the pre-made $70 ones I was seeing everywhere...

Guys, I think this may have created a crafting addict. I really really want to make another one. I just need to find a spot in my house...

What kind of holiday decorating have you been up to??

Jamberry Challenge

12.08.2014


{ Day 1 // Day 5 }

So several of my friends have been raving about Jamberry. If you haven't heard of it, it's essentially a nail decal that covers your whole nail and used instead of polish to provide a manicure. I have several friends who are Jamberry consultants now, and they always post the cutest pictures. Personally, I've always been really attached to my Essie nail polish (I have a giant box full), but when my friend Britta offered to send me a sample of Jamberry to try I was like, I mean why not? I am SUPER hard on my nails, so I put it to the test.

Here's what is on each nail:

Thumb: Revlon Gel Envy
Pointer: Jamberry
Middle: Revlon Gel Envy
Ring: Essie
Pinky: Revlon Gel Envy

I've always loved the idea of industrial strength nail polish, so I thought I'd give a gel polish a try. I thought about trying the salon quality gel polish (I looked at Gelish) but WHOOOOOO do those smell toxic when you open the bottle. It's like walking into a can of fumes. I might try it after our baby comes out, but I was no way no how going to use those while pregnant. I know, I am paranoid. So instead I testing Revlon Gel Envy (which does NOT smell like an industrial manufacturing plant) in addition to my tried and true Essie and the new Jamberry.

So here are the results....

The first photo is Day 1. You may be able to tell, but in case not, my Essie polish chipped RIGHT AWAY. As in like an hour later. FAIL. I'm actually wearing Essie again today, which I painted yesterday, and half of my pointer finger nail polish is GONE. Ugh.

The Gel Envy held up okay I suppose. I started to chip eventually, but more like three days in. My nails tend to chip more the longer they are, and this is with them a wee big longer than normal, so I am sure that didn't help much. So the wear I can expect out of the Gel Envy was around three days for me. This is with the Gel Envy base + color product and the Gel Envy top coat.

The Jamberry nail actually held up quite well. I was really surprised. The only thing I noticed was so lifting of the decal at the end of my finger nails. Now, I do tend to be hard on my nails. I like to scratch Precious Baby Wilbur while he naps next to me, do dishes, peel stickers, and all kinds of other things I am sure are not good on my nails. I had a problem with the ends lifting an hour after application, but then I went back and noticed that it wasn't flush with my nail end (it was overhanging). I trimmed it down and that took care of it for a few days. About three or four days in I started to have some fraying at the end of my Jamberry nail. I tried to file it down (which kind of worked), and is what resulted in the ends looking "chipped" even though it isn't. Its showing nail because I filed it at an angle. I talked to a few friends of mine and they recommended that when you apply them, you wait to trim your nails until AFTER the decal is on. That way when you trim it the nail and decal end at the same point. I trimmed mine right before adding the decal, because I always trim before painting, but this makes some sense. They also said you can zap them with heat in the morning to re-bond them to your nails or touch up and lifting you have to prolong the wear.

So what's the skinny?

Pro Jamberry:

1. They wear really well, as in they don't chip and your nails still look perfect several days in.
2. They take NO time to dry because you apply and are done. I think it took me like 10 seconds to do a nail and then I was off folding laundry.
3. Preset patterns. As in you don't have to get at tooth pick out and try and paint a reindeer. It's already covered.

Con Jamberry:
1. You only get one wear out of them. So a typical bottle of nail polish costs me around $10. I get multiple uses out of this one bottle. A set of Jamberry is $15, and I only get one use. However, it lasts longer. So pick your battle.
2. Lifting of the ends. It's a bit annoying. But then again, so is walking around with half a nail worth of polish chipped off... so...?
3. Limited patterns. Guys, I can't wear some of those patterns to work. I work in a corporate office. My managers would look at my nails and be like.. dude.. whats going on with your nails? So I pretty much have to rock the solids. I WISH I COULD WEAR LEOPARD NAILS!!! (add that to the "to do list" for maternity leave)

So whats my verdict? I like them! I don't think I will use them every time on all my nails, but I have a list started of the ones I'd like to use as accents!! And maybe as a special treat??

Here are the ones I've picked out...




(okay - so maybe I could pull off one leopard nail at the office??)

Have you tried Jamberry before? What do you think??

It Takes a Village

12.03.2014

{via}

I know what you are thinking, and no, this post has nothing to do with raising children. What it does have to do with is finding the perfect watch. I mean THE. PERFECT. WATCH.

So I have been on the hunt for the perfect watch for over a year now. I am VERY particular about these things. I have what I call "baby wrists" which means that most watches and bracelets won't fit me. So there is this issue I have with the size of the face of a watch. THEN, I wear bracelets almost every day, and when I say bracelets, as in plural, I mean I have on at least three. So it is essential that any watch I own go well with a good arm party.

I haven't worn a watch in about 10 years (gosh I am old). I use to wear them back in the day, but then I got my cell phone and I was like, why do I need a watch? I can just check my phone? Well let me tell you why I need a watch. Now that I am a 'big kid' with a full time job, I don't walk around the office with my phone on me. And my office does not have a clock in every room, so I am constantly stressed I am going to be late to my next meeting. And if I am being honest (hangs head in shame) I am late more than I'd like to admit just because I don't know what time it is. Therefore, the solution is an awesome watch so I can be on time to places.

So why is this the perfect watch?

1. It has a rectangular face, which makes it easier to layer with jewelry

2. Its rose gold, which allows me to wear it with rose gold, gold, and/or silver jewelry. Trust me, I put A LOT OF TIME into analyzing this because I wanted one I can wear with any type of metal. Rose gold looks epic with all combinations of arm parties

3. It has pave crystals on the face - SQUEE!!

So how did I come to find this watch? Well I was cruising through Pinterest pictures and found the photo above. I had no idea what this watch was called because the Pin links back to the Stella & Dot web page, so the only thing I had to go off was that I knew it was Michael Kors (insert panic because those tend to be expensive right??). So I did what any normal girl my age would do, I posted it to Facebook with an SOS asking my friends to help me find it. Fifteen minutes later and I had two friends who had found it on amazon and ebay, which meant I now had a style number. YAY!!!

So turns out this watch is 'retired' which means you can't find it ANYWHERE. That's the bad news. The good news was that instead of being a $300 watch, it's a $118 watch since it's retired (whoop!!). So now I just had to find it. I found one on Amazon, but call me crazy - I don't really like to order on there from people who aren't actually 'Amazon' selling. I have NO IDEA what I am getting. Is it new? Is it broken? Is it a hack??? Too much uncertainty. So I called my local Michael Kors store, read them the style number, and sent them on an epic man hunt. An hour later my new best friend at Michael Kors had located them in Rhode Island. Since I live in Oregon this is REALLY FAR AWAY - but they are shipping it to me for free, so that's good. Also, one of my BFFs fell in love with it too so I ended up ordering one for her as well. She was going to order it herself, but we figured this was just easier since I had my new BFF on the phone who had two of them in his sights and was ready to place my order!!

So all that said - I AM SO EXCITED TO GET MY NEW WATCH!!! Who knew one Pinterest post could spark this level of crazy obsession.

Have you ever seen something online that you HAD TO HAVE so you went on a wild chase to hunt it down??


Favorite Small Businesses

11.30.2014



{1 / 2 / 3 }

You guys, I am DONE with my Christmas shopping and its not even December yet!! This is a serious first for me. I usually run around at the last minute stressed out because things are sold out. But now, I just feel so relieved! All my gifts were ordered online via Black Friday promotions and are on their way to me! Now I have all month to wrap them (which I will probably do in the next two weeks) and everything is set to go.

A few great things I have noticed about shopping early...

1. Better prices. You can internet stalk the prices on the item you are looking at and wait to buy it at the perfect moment! I got a lot of my gifting done when items were 50% off, which helped my pocket book!

2. Better selection. Things are still in stock when you shop early, so you can get the exact item you want for someone and not have to settle for a different color or style then what you had in mind.

3. Calm. Deep breath. Big smile. I feel calm. No frantic shopping for me this year! I am on. top. of. it!

Ummm... I may also have to confess that I used this weekend as an excuse to get myself a few things. BUT, these items support some great small businesses and are going to be perfect as I start 2015 off with a BANG!!

First on the list is the Simplified Planner. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of this until my friend whipped hers out a month ago and began to profess her love for it. I have a planner I used last year for my business, but it didn't have enough room. I wanted something that had more space for to-do lists by day, notes, events, etc. I have A LOT OF THINGS going on at all times and if I am not organized it's easy to forget something. I posted on my personal FB to ask my friends about this planner and it turns out ALL MY FRIENDS HAVE THIS. I was like, what the hell friends? How did you ALL discover this epic planner and then no one told me?? But they all LOVE theirs. So okay, sold. I needed one too. These things are like hot cakes. I got the last print available because everything else sold out. I love the print though - they are all cute. But damn. Move fast people. Who knew planners were so competitive!

Second, I splurged and got myself a personalized notebook from May Designs. I have developed kind of a secret obsession with cute stationary. I cannot wait to show you all what mine looks like!!! I wanted something cute to carry in my purse and keep business notes in and I think this will work perfect. I also ordered our holiday cards through them and they are SO CUTE. I can't wait for them to show up.

How was your weekend?? What did you splurge on? And how far along are you with your holiday shopping??

Thanksgiving

11.26.2014


I'm sitting on my couch right now, with my feet up and it feels fabulous. I've spent the last few days reflecting on gratitude and all the things in my life to be thankful about. I have so many blessings in my life! Here are my top ten favorites:

1. My Husband. He will always be my number one. He has always been such a source of support in our marriage, but it has been even more amplified in the last few months of our pregnancy. He has been at EVERY doctors appointment, held my hand every time I have had my blood drawn (which sure seems like a lot these days!), helped comfort me when I've had an emotional moment about the size of my booty, my lack of clothing, that I can't reach my feet, or that I get out of breath every time I go up the stairs. He truly is the most amazing gift I have ever been received.

2. My Family and Friends. They say it takes a village, and I totally plan on putting that to the test. So far I've received countless offerings of support from friend and family to help us out as we balance three jobs, broken furnaces, and more. Whether it be a cooked meal, watching our Precious Baby Wilbur when we are stuck late at work, or even picking me up when I had to abandon my car because I couldn't drive (hello leg pain). Thank you all so much.

3. Baby Girl. We haven't officially met, but I can already tell you are going to be a riot. You already have such a little personality in there! Husband and I are looking forward to all the adventures we will have and watching you grow. We love you so, so very much.

4. Precious Baby Wilbur. Oh my sweet, sweet Precious Baby Wilbur. Sometimes you are a barky little butt-head, but we love you so very much. Thank you for all the hugs (yes, dogs can give hugs, even with tiny short legs), the puppy kisses, the snuggles, and the many laughs. We are so happy to have you as our firstborn.

5. Our Jobs. I am so thankful for the jobs we have. For Husband's job which he finds so much joy in, which helps support us, and covers our healthcare needs. Oh healthcare, what would I do without you! I am thankful for my day job which provides me the opportunity to work with great friends and learn new things. I am also thankful for my Stella & Dot career, which has provided so much growth for me as a person and a friend. And has provided extra income that helps us pay for unexpected expenses (eh hem... new furnace) and will provide extra money for us so I can take maternity leave when Baby Girl arrives.

6. Our Home. I bought our home many moons ago, as a single woman, looking for a place to hang my hat at night. Since then, we've painted and improved and really made this place feel like our own. I may have been slightly cursing this house when the furnace finally broke, but at the end of the day I am so, so grateful that we have a roof over our head, a place that is "ours", and somewhere we can grow our family, spend time with friends, and play outside. Having a sense of "home" is so important, because it grounds us and gives us a peaceful home base.

7. Creativity. For the first part of my business career (or essentially when I got out of school) I spent all my time at a desk, nose to the grindstone, working away for crazy hours. In the past few years I have focused on making more time in my life (albeit not quite as much as I would like) to just be creative. You can define creative in many different ways. For me, I choose to express mine creativity through this blog, photography, decorating our home, and fashion. Doing so has made me feel so much more whole. Like a complete version of myself.

8. Health. Oh my word, I've never been so focused on my health as I have been the last few months. Growing another human, having countless tests done, and visiting the doctors every month REALLY makes you conscious on what your body is doing and how it is handling change. I am so thankful that our family is healthy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

9. Events. So this one may seem a bit weird, but I am so happy to have a life full of events and opportunities to see friends, meet new people, and be social. Whether its a book club (okay, I haven't 100% launched this one yet but it's in the works), my ladies Bunko Nights (hey!!), the Stella & Dot shows I do where fabulous women invite me to their home and share their BFF's with me, gatherings with friends, etc. it's so important for me to have these venues to get out and be social. And knowing that we are expecting our little one in a few months, I feel like these events are going to become even more crucial to my sanity!

10. My Customers. Thank you to every person who has bought a bracelet, a necklaces, a bag, a gift, or a little something for themselves whatever it may be from me in the past year. Having the opportunity to help you all define your style and gift gorgeous jewelry has been SO MUCH FUN! I appreciate every transaction, big or small,  and every time you opened your home and friends to me so we could all hang out! Thank you for giving me this great career and for all the fun and joyous moments that come along with it.