Friday, July 31, 2015

Five Reasons I Love Ohio

(Snapped this picture yesterday when I needed reminding of why I like Ohio: it's so pretty. This picture can't do it justice.)
My opinion of living in southwest Ohio changes daily. Usually with my mood. Some days I love it, some days I loathe it, some days I'm pretty indifferent. 
Lately I've been pretty negative about it. I met some new people at church through VBS this week, and a lot of them asked how much longer I'll be living in Oxford. I cringed each time I said "two years minimum, but up to three years." Are you serious? Two to three more years here?! I don't know if I can handle two to three more months.
Since I've been so negative, I decided to make a positives list. Just five things that I like (but probably love) about living in Ohio.
1. I've made so many great friends // Seriously though. The Lord knew what he was doing by bringing these people into my life. I made friends quickly at orientation with people at school that have made lasting impressions. I don't know if I could survive grad school without some of these people. They completely understand why I'm stressed out because chances are either they're currently stressed about the same things or they've been stressed about the same things at one point. Not only that, but my church family is beyond amazing. The welcoming kindness that pours out of my church can bring me to tears.
2. I've been exposed to more places than I probably would have if I stayed in Indiana // My favorite place that I've visited so far? New Orleans. I never would have gone to Nola if I wasn't in grad school. I have friends from so many different states and countries that if I ever want to travel, I'll have connections. (I'm even going to New Jersey in a week with a friend from grad school - never would have thought I'd travel there!)
3. I'm getting a great education // This one is a two-for-one point. I've made and will continue to make so many great professional connections that will be so valuable one day. The second point? I have the best boss. While it would suck not having great friends around through school, without my boss I would have quit a long time ago. He's so understanding about everything and is so encouraging. Not every professor is like that - I've worked for a professor that wasn't very nice (pretty sure he never knew name) and it was so hard not to quit.
4. My relationship with the Lord has a good way // I'm much more realistic now than I was in college. But I think that's been a good thing! For so long I was in a Cru bubble, unaware of how it was going to be to walk with God in the real world. The hardest thing I've learned is how to allow the Holy Spirit to fill my cup instead of allowing humans to do that. While I love human-to-human encouragement, do you know how sweet it is to allow God to speak his own truths right to you? (Hint: so stinking awesome)
5. I'm still close to home // I think I was placed no more than 3 hours from anyone I love for a reason. Yes it sucks to make a day trip back to Indiana but if I really need to see my friends or family, I can do that. If I lived any farther away I would have to be more careful about planning trips back home. I love my independence but sometimes you just need to go home.
I believe a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's some of my favorite pictures from Ohio:
Dan and Zach // My first friends in Ohio

Bethany and Lindsay // The reasons I'll visit Michigan so often

Jen and Taf // The two people that keep me sane in chemistry department (Also I wouldn't be where I am in research if it weren't for Jen)

New Orleans // My favorite place I've gotten to visit since moving to Ohio

My community group // These women are a source of constant encouragement and love

Lindsay // Four words: Lindsay and Ashley forever

My research group // This is my first line of support when things in lab start going wrong (which is often)

The Zachtivities crew // Between mud runs, canoeing, and volleyball, they're the reason I get to enjoy the sunshine
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Makeup Routine

[My makeup bag is a medium cosmetic bag from Vera Bradley. This pattern is sold out, but there's so many cute ones!]

Remember how I said I'm a graduate student in a chemistry lab? Yeah. Because of that, there's usually little motivation to put thought into my beauty routine. Case in point: Last week I wore the same thing every day. Nike shorts, t-shirt, running shoes.

Even being a grad student, I still like to put some effort into how I look. That's why I love my makeup routine! I can easily cut things out and still look put together. So if you're a grad student like me, or just a busy person in general, here's my routine that you're free to adapt to your life:

I always start with my skin first. (After washing my face) I start with primer. This primer is a little pricey but by far my favorite investment. I use this stuff every single day no matter what. I also always use this Mary Kay moisturizer with sunscreen. Never skip sunscreen! If I'm wanting to put a little more effort into my face, I use this CC cream from Almay. It provides great coverage without being heavy like a liquid foundation.

My eyes are always next. I've come to find that good brows are key to looking put together. I'm in love with this eyebrow kit from e.l.f. I've always been a fan of CoverGirl mascara, but this type is wonderful. It's the Full Lash Bloom mascara. It's perfect at lengthening, thickening, and volumizing my lashes. For a little more effort, I use this eyeliner and this eyeshadow kit.

Last, I use bronzer and blush. I typically use this every day just to give my face some added color. This bronzer from e.l.f. is so great. I put a little on the top of my forehead and down my nose (where sun would naturally hit my face). I also put a little under my cheekbones to add some quick contouring (let's be honest - I do not have time for full contouring nor do I even understand it). Finally, I add this blush to the apples of my cheeks. (This blush is pretty pricey but I got it in my Birchbox one month and it lasts forever.)


From start to finish, this whole routine takes me about 7 minutes max. Less if I cut some things out! It took me a while to get the hang of some things (especially my brows), but after some practice it became pretty routine. 

Even with makeup, I will always swear by having good skin as a great foundation. I wash my face twice a day (morning and night) no matter what, and I never go to bed with makeup on. Ever. I love to use this Garnier face wash at night to scrub off all the dirt and oil from the day. I use these makeup remover pads from Almay as well. In the morning I use this Mary Kay cleanser. Don't forget your sunscreen every morning as well!
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Craft Coveting

I love crafting. Unfortunately my research has been picking up a lot of steam recently so I haven't had a chance to craft as much as I want. Even so, I can pine after crafts I want to do. Here's a few I came across on Pinterest that I would love to tackle in the near future:

How adorable is this coffee table?? My current one is way to big for my cozy living room (cozy is a code word for small), so I need something to fit the space better. The pin didn't lead to an actual tutorial (such a bummer), but it looks like it's just two crates stuck together (wood glue? nail gun? both?). So simple right?

Speaking of my apartment, my bathroom floor is not pretty. Thank goodness someone had the idea to make peel and stick floor tiles though! I would love to cover my bathroom in grey tiles similar to this one. Here's a link to the tile I've mildly fallen in love with.

One can never have too many wreaths. I love how clean and fresh this one looks. Of course with fall coming up, I may add in some orange, red, and yellow. This pin was just a picture with no link. But, check out my For the Home and Crafts and DIY boards for more wreaths (and many other things!)


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

30-Day Minimalism Challenge

I came across a 30-Day Minimalism Challenge a while ago on Pinterest. I don't know about you, but my life seems to be so cluttered with things, thoughts, and to-do lists. I had been meaning to actually start this challenge, but life got busy. Then this morning I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this post from Pocket Fuel. I was half-heartedly reading the devotional when I read this: "Chasing our tails. Lost in the noise. Carried through life by the chaos and the endless tugs of our "to-do's, to be's, and to not's." Umm, is she in my head?? I've been feeling so bogged down with those tugs of "do this, be here, don't feel that way." Reading this devo reminded me that I wanted to complete the Minimalism Challenge. What better time to declutter my life than when I'm feeling incredibly overwhelmed by life itself?

So here it is! The 30-Day Minimalism Challenge. The link has the challenge (pictured above) plus the rules for each day. You can do them in any order, but you should aim to do them all within 30 days. 

I'm starting today (hence the first picture!) with number 3: declutter your digital life. I've set up instruments to run all day so I'll just be sitting at my desk. What better way to spend this spare time (other than reading science articles)? I'm excited to declutter my life. Moving made me realize just how much stuff I have. It's not necessary!

I'd love to have some company with this challenge! I'll try and update where I'm at a couple times before I'm done. 

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Favorite Blogs

Figured I'd share the love with some of my favorite bloggers:

Brighton The Day // This girl is so real (follow her on Snapchat - she's hilarious)

Southern Curls & Pearls // She has the cutest outfits

Chronicles of Frivolity // I loved her Bible Study posts - so good!

Natalie Metrejean // This is the woman who wrote the Wholeheartedly devotional - love her!

Evergreen & Ivy // I love the variety of posts she has


Monday, July 6, 2015

Fruit Pizza

In Oxford, the 4th of July is actually celebrated on the 3rd in the form of the Freedom Festival. There's a parade and a whole big party at the community park on the 3rd complete with fireworks. And since we got that day off anyway, we decided to celebrate along with the town! A pretty big group of us got together to grill, swim, and enjoy the holiday. Since it was a cookout, everyone brought something. My go-to dish to bring to cookouts is always fruit pizza. It's a pretty big hit so I thought I would share the recipe I use to make it!

Sugar cookie // I used two rolls since I was making it on a full cookie sheet
1 package of cream cheese // I like to keep the icing thin to make the fruit the star of the pizza
Powdered sugar // 1 1/2-2 cups
Fruit // strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, pineapple

Step One // Flatten and spread sugar cookie dough on the baking sheet. Like I said, I used two rolls because I was using a cookie sheet. Using more dough also made the whole pizza thicker and therefore easier to eat in my opinion! Bake the cookie according to package directions.
(Totally forgot to take a picture of this part, but my hands were covered in dough.)

Step Two // Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl until creamy. You can use more or less powdered sugar depending on how sweet you want it. I used probably closer to 2 cups this time.

Step Three // Once the cookie is done baking, stick it in the fridge to cool down. After it's cooled, spread your cream cheese icing.

Step Four // Cut up any and all fruit you want to put on the pizza. I stuck with pretty standard fruit, but you totally use different fruit!

Step Five // Distribute fruit evenly across the pizza.

Step Six // Cut into pieces using a knife or pizza roller and enjoy!


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