Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Wrap Up and August Goals

Does August really begin tomorrow? This month has flown by. It is ironic, I guess, how each month’s topic for my Happiness Project has been EXACTLY what I needed to work on and also very challenging. When this month started I thought it would be so easy with my topic being friends, but I found that being a friend is hard when it seems like effort is only being shown on one side.

July: Friends
-Be generous
-Show up
-Don't gossip
-Make a new friend
-Write cards to friends near and far


Most of my closest friends live in Seattle or out of state, so hanging out with them wasn’t really an option. Towards the beginning of the month my sister and I spent a Sunday afternoon and wrote about 20 cards to friends and relatives near and far. I never know what to say in cards, but I knew it was important to make an effort. It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would and I received so many little notes back saying how much it was appreciated.

At the beginning of the month I went to a morning brunch to celebrate/support one of my mom’s best friends, (who I refer to as aunt,) who has been through some very difficult things in the past year and a half. In the middle of the month Ashlee and I went to a friends barbecue picnic, which was fun, since we hadn’t seen him in a couple months. And yesterday we spent part of the afternoon with our cousin who we haven’t seen much and went shopping, plus we went out to the Matador for dinner.

I think this month was exactly what I needed. It reminded me that to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend. I also learned the hard lesson that just because you prioritize someone in your life doesn’t mean they prioritize you in theirs. In the end though you have to be kind of friend you want someone to be to you and let everything else just roll off your back. I am very grateful that although I may not have tons of friends, I have a few dear ones who I would do anything for and I can trust without question.

This next month will be an interesting one and a little more objective as far as my goals. My topic for August is Money and my goals are as follows.

August: Money
-Read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
-Buy needful things
-Indulge in a modest splurge
-Make a donation
-Spend out (make the most of what I have)

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

25 before 26 recap

Hi darlings! Sorry I have been MIA; work drained me this week. I was COMPLETELY on my OWN because EVERYONE in my office was either on vacation or working out of town. Talk about nerve-wracking! I'm only a temp who has been there less than three months! I guess it shows that they have faith in my skills and abilities otherwise I wouldn't have been left on my own. It surprisingly went VERY well, but I was SO busy. I'm looking forward to having my co-workers back next week!

Tonight Ashlee and I are going to The Matador to celebrate our birthday with a few local friends. I'm really looking forward to it! I see stuffed jalapenos, nachos and margaritas in my future! Yum!

Seeing as how my birthday is just around the corner (MONDAY!), I decided I wanted to do a recap of my 25 before 26 goals. While I didn't accomplish them all, I did do quite a bit.

*1. Visit Jenny in Georgia & go to Tybee Island *10/28/10-11/1/10
2. Meet Amanda irl! (THIS MUST HAPPEN IN THE NEXT YEAR!)
*3. Get a more permanent job (that I like)
*4. Visit my Seattle girls (I only got two see a couple of my girls.)
*5. Go back to my natural hair color (As close to natural as I'll get.)

*6. Go on a road trip *May 31-June 7
7. Do 1+ DIY project a month
*8. Get/Stay out of debt/save $ *Out of credit card debt in 12/10
9. Move out of my parents' house (NEXT YEAR?)
*10. Get current on my photo albums (Still in progress.)

*11. Get a record player & start a vinyl collection *4/9/11
12. Get a second tattoo (NOT YET)
13. Run a 5k
14. Buy a car
15. Go to Coachella Music Festival in Indio, CA

16. Go to a midnight showing of a movie opening
17. Go on a date (I don't know whether to laugh or cry that this hasn't happened. Ha!)
*18. Re-watch & catch-up on Grey's Anatomy *I just need to see season seven (also watched all of Buffy)
19. Read the complete works of Jane Austen (I got part way through of Sense and Sensibility...)
20. Stitch a needlework/embroidery sampler (I bought a book, does that count?)

*21. Go on a hike *8/10
*22. Go to Canada (Whistler/Vancouver/Victoria) *8/10

23. Add more merchandise to my etsy shop and reach 50sales.
*24. Re-create/paint the Paul Smith rug hanging shown in Carrie's apartment in the Sex & The City Movie (inspired by Miss James) *started sketching
*25. Take a dance class *change to guitar class 4/11-5/11

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There is so much to look forward to in the coming month! We begin August with my BIRTHDAY! Plus, I am in the process of writing my 26 before 27 goals, as well as a Happiness Project update. Next month you can look forward to some guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers, as well as a special giveaway! I can't wait to share these things with you! I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend! Loves!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Monday: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Saturday night my family saw Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers perform at an outdoor concert. It was an early birthday present for Ashlee and I and I've been looking forward to it for months. We had a fabulous evening and great seats! Steve is an amazing performer (hilarious and entertaining) and the Steep Canyon Rangers were fantastic. Steve was makes me want to learn how to play the banjo! :) I especially loved the songs: Jubilation Day, Athesists Don't Have No Songs, Can't Sit Down, Go Away Stop Turn Around Come Back and King Tut. Enjoy the pictures below that Ashlee took!

Ashlee and I

Dad Mom Ashlee and I








Sunday, July 24, 2011

who

At church today our vacancy pastor preached on Romans 8:28-39, about how nothing can separate us from the love of God. Pastor Lee has worked in many disaster situations. This morning he spoke and shared pictures about working at ground zero after 9/11. His stories brought tears to the eyes of many. I still cannot believe that it was nearly 10 years ago. We will never forget.

The point that Pastor Lee was making was that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. On earth we have so many WHY questions. Of course we do! Just look at the news! Why do bad things happen? Why is there evil, hate, despair, depression, addiction, etc.? Why? We don't understand.

Our WHY questions are answered with a WHO.

We need to look at WHO our God is! Our God is sovereign, all powerful, loving and mighty to save. We will never understand why things happen the way they do on this side of heaven, but we can TRUST in WHO our God is. He is faithful and will NEVER leave us. There is NOTHING so terrible that you can do that can stop God from loving and forgiving you. There is not a rock bottom deep enough that can keep God from you. God can use even the most terrible circumstances for His glory.

We will not just survive, we will be victorious. With God we are CONQUERORS.

This was exactly what I needed to hear today.

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sunday best: a little vintage

I haven't done an outfit post in forever! I've been dressing up for work, but I seem to have no time to actually take pictures. This is what I wore to church today. Thanks to Ashlee for letting me borrow her skirt! And thanks to Keiko for sharing her hair tutorial.


Shirt/Tank: Forever 21
Skirt: Red Velvet
Shoes: Seychelles
Necklace: Premier Jewlery
Ring: Vintage

Thursday, July 21, 2011

thank you

Thank you Jenny and Noelle for your comments on my previous post about finding passion. I really appreciate what you had to say. You both brought up great points that I haven't thought about before. If you missed the conversation, it's not too late to jump in. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I think lately I've been wondering about when and where I can find passion that I miss the day in front of me. I want to work on living more in the present, seeking God's will and finding beauty in the small things. I still want to make an effort to find my passions and work them into my everyday life, but while I'm searching I don't want to forget to live.

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P.S. I did a honey cinnamon face mask last night and loved it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

love your skin

Okay ladies. Let’s talk skin. I will assume that most of you are like me and have dealt with acne at some point in your life. My skin has been especially terrible the past few months and I was at a loss for what to do.

Last August I broke down and bought ProActiv hoping that it would work a miracle for me, after all if it works for Jessica Simpson and Katy Perry it would work for me and then my singing career would take off. That’s how it works, right? While my skin cleared up a little, it didn’t do any more than the other cleansers I previously bought from Target.


While on our road trip Jenny mentioned that she read about the oil cleanse. My first thought was “WHAT?! Why would anyone rub oil on their face? Gross!”

What is it:
So here’s the scoop. Many of the facial care products strip away the oil from our faces so our skin tries to compensate by creating more oil and we end up in a vicious cycle without solving any problems. Oil actually dissolves oil. Don’t be afraid of applying oil to your face, it won’t cause blemishes. The concept of this cleansing method is when you massage your skin with oil it will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and is stuck in your pores. The steam will then open your pores and allow the oil to be removed.


How you do it:
So mix together castor oil (this is the base because it’s the oil that draws out the toxins and dirt in your skin) and whatever other oil you’d like, grapeseed, olive, jojoba, etc. (I personally have been using grapeseed oil.) If you have extra oily skin, (like mine has been), I recommend using more castor oil, but no more than 75%. If your skin is dry you can use as little as 25% castor oil. I started out with a 50/50 ratio of castor oil to grapeseed oil and after a few uses decided to increase the castor oil.

Mix the two oils together. I have mine in an old creamer bottle that has since been washed and had the label removed; it works especially well because it has a little spout for pouring. Pour a teaspoon-tablespoon amount in your hand and then massage it into your face for at least a minute. Then get a wash cloth wet with as hot of water as your face can stand, wring out the extra water and cover your face with the cloth until it is completely cool. Then wipe the remaining oil off your face.


I do this one or two times a day. Sometimes I will leave the oil on my face while I’m showering and allow the steam to help open up my pores. I don’t even use moisturizer any more because the oil is just enough. While I still have some breakouts, I can tell that my skin is healthier.

Thanks to Jenny’s suggestion, I also have started using apple cider vinegar as a toner. I want to get witch hazel and lavender essential oil to add to it. This mixture isn’t as harsh as the store bought toners. Now I need to find a cute little bottle to put the mixture in.

I love that I have found a natural and inexpensive way to take care of my skin. I also recently read about a honey facial that I'm dying to try.

Read about Jenny’s experience HERE.
Read more about the oil cleanse and natural toner HERE, HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

confessions and passions

Okay. Confession time. My sister and I have been watching Make It or Break It all last week and this week. I absolutely love it. It’s a little late for me, but I want to be a gymnast now. Ha! But then again after watching Grey’s Anatomy I wanted to be a surgeon (minus the blood and guts, plus McDreamy), after Celebrity Rehab I wanted to be a psychiatrist and after Biggest Loser I wanted to be a personal trainer. Perhaps I'm a bit impressionable? ;)


I love this show in particular for a couple reasons. I’ve never thought about the lives of elite athletes or Olympic hopefuls before and I find it completely fascinating. (Yes, I know, it’s only a TV show.) It amazes me that such young people already know what they want in life and work so hard to achieve their goals. They are focused, determined and disciplined. (Okay, in the show they are distracted too, but that’s just to add drama.) They are champions fighting for their dreams. I’m almost jealous of what they have. Their goals are specific, measurable and even tangible.


I suppose that’s why I’m drawn to this show. I want what they have. I want to be so passionate about something that I want to get up and do it all day, every day. Their love of the sport is so beautiful. While to some it may only be silly competitions, to them it everything; it is life. I want to want something that bad. As usual, I feel so lost. Yes, I am working and that’s great, but I’m not necessarily excited about it. I’m trying to figure out what I want from life and what I need to do to get there.


I’ve been thinking a lot about passion lately. I tried to make a list of passions, (music, art, relationships, food, God, health, fashion, books, movies) but I think I just wound up with a list of interests and hobbies. I’m trying to figure out the difference. I read this article a couple weeks ago about finding passion. I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think makes something a passion? What are you passionate about? Are you actively pursuing your passion? Why or why not? Are you working to turn your passion into a career? Is your passion your vocation?

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

gratitude

My loves,

It’s been too long. I was talking with my sister yesterday about how I sit down to blog and nothing happens. Perhaps I just haven’t had anything to say or the energy to say anything. That’s okay though. I’ve needed some space to think and be.

Here’s just a little update of life.


As you may know I’ve been on the hunt for a job for over two years. Ugh. Just writing that is enough to discourage me; it’s been a rough couple of years. In March, partly due to my Happiness Project and partly due to great friends, I signed up with a temp agency. Quickly I was assigned to a call center position, but after three weeks I knew I couldn’t stay any longer. I waited patiently and looked for other positions…nothing. There were possibilities, but due to our trip to Savannah and road trip across the country it was difficult to apply anywhere and be like “oh, and I need two weeks off right away.”


Amazingly enough I was called for a week long position a couple weeks before my trip. (Thank you God!) It was perfect and I was grateful. Here I am nearly two months later at the same position. I am working at a Lineman College as an administrative assistant, grading tests, placing orders, taking phone calls and doing all sorts of projects. I am still a “temp”, but it definitely has the potential to turn into a permanent position. While this isn’t my dream job, I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I have always thought that if I was given the chance to be placed in front of an employer that I would have no problem proving myself.

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I am so grateful for how God provides and in ways I would never imagine. He always provides. Without fail. While my office can be busy enough to drive you mad, like today was, I am enjoying the challenge of prioritizing and learning new tasks, as well as getting to know new people. I have really connected with a co-worker, this week especially. She has taken the time to share with me about how the office works, has answered countless questions I have and has taught me about many different office tasks. I appreciate her so much.

So while I never could have imagined myself working at a Lineman College (I didn't even know what a lineman was until I started!), I am excited for this opportunity to propel me forward to whatever is next in my life.

Monday, July 11, 2011

life in cell phone pictures

Hey lovelies! I've been a little short on blogging lately, so I want to share some pictures with you that I've taken on my phone. My twitpic/yfrog hasn't been working, so I figured my blog was the perfect place to share my photos. I guess out is also fitting that this is the first time blogging from my phone! ;)








Friday, July 8, 2011

looking forward

Hi lovelies! I was poking around on the internet when I stumbled across pictures from the Harry Potter premiere. Emma Watson looked gorgeous! She is such a classy young woman.

I can't believe this is the LAST movie! I adore the characters and it makes me sad to say goodbye to them, but then again I get way too emotionally attached to so many fictional characters. I'm silly like that. We are going to go see it next week to finally celebrate Father's Day now that my dad is home.




I think this is the sweetest picture.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

fashion inspiration

These photos have been sitting in a file on my computer for months. I figured it was about time to share them. I love saving pictures to use as fashion inspiration for later.

Speaking of saving pictures, do you have a pinterest account? I love mine! I used to have pages and pages bookmarked with things I wanted to remember, but now I have them all neat and organized in one place! I still have six invites. If you want one, be sure to leave a comment with your email address. I have to spread the love. I even got my mom hooked on pinterest; I think she loves it more than I do! :)










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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Civil Wars

I have been wanted to share this with you for awhile, but the days seem to be flying by before I can sit down and write. Last Monday Ashlee and I went to see The Civil Wars perform at the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise. If you know me personally or follow me on twitter, you know how much I adore The Civil Wars; I just can’t seem to contain my love for them. I want to wrap myself in their music and free fall into their voices.


I’ve been watching their tour dates, hoping and wishing they’d stop in Boise. I freaked out when I saw they were coming! I planned to buy my tickets as soon as they were released, which was kind of silly of me, but I couldn’t help it. I called the box office immediately after some trouble buying tickets online. The girl said that I was the first one to buy tickets and since it was assigned seating asked where I wanted to sit. Um, hello?! The front row, please! Needless to say, I’d been counting down the days.


I was so impressed with the Egyptian Theater! I’m not a fan of crowds because I think it brings out the stupid in people, but the assigned seating helped to counteract that. The theater was found in the 1920s and is lovely inside. Ashlee and I may have had front row seats, but I would have been happy sitting anywhere in the theater.


Rayland Baxter opened for The Civil Wars. I had never heard of him before and was delighted to hear him play. It was just him and his guitar, singing about love and women, birds and mountains. Ashlee and I picked up his CD, which unfortunately isn’t available anywhere else yet, but you can listen to some of his stuff online.


The Civil Wars were up next and they were even better than I imagined. (Side note: I LOVED Joy’s dress! I want one just like it!) I’m pretty sure they played every song off Barton Hollow, plus some from their EP and a couple covers. I was in heaven. Their set was understated, as is their album; just their voices, a guitar and occasionally a keyboard. I love seeing bands interact with each other on stage, John Paul and Joy were no exception. They were silly and fun, yet passionate and moving. They sang, danced and laughed, for us and with us. It was a lovely night.


Before we took our seats we stopped by the merch table and I picked up a copy of Barton Hollow on vinyl. Lucky for us, after the show was over Joy and John Paul went outside and greeted their fans. As much as I miss seeing shows in Los Angeles, I was grateful to be in Boise. The Civil Wars sold out three shows in Los Angeles and seeing as how Boise is smaller (and didn’t sell out), we wouldn’t have had the same opportunity to meet them.



Because of where Ashlee and I stood after the show was over we were some of the first to say hi, have them sign my record and get a picture with them. As we said goodbye and turned to leave, Joy said something to the effect of, “Such tall and gorgeous ladies.” Haha! So sweet. I wish I could have spent more time getting to know them. They were such a delight! Afterward, Ashlee and I walked back to our car, squealing and screaming along the way. What a wonderful night!


Photos by Allister Anne

Stop by The Civil Wars website and read their amazing bio. Plus, click on FREE and download Live at Eddie's Attic. I wanted to post four videos of them singing, but figured one was enough. If you have time I recommend watching more, but then again I'm a bit obsessed. ;)