Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back

2015 ends today y'all!! So crazy!! This was a great year, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be even better. Here are some of my favorite memories from this year (in no particular order of importance!):

1. I saw three professional sports teams play (four counting the tennis players).
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Tigers
Cincinnati Reds
Then I went to the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and saw so many amazing tennis players (including my fave, Roger Federer)!
I love sports so getting to go to one NHL, two MLB games, and a tennis tournament this year amazing!!
2. My niece was born.
And we share a middle name so basically I'm going to be her favorite aunt! I love all of my nieces and nephews but I always gets so giddy when a new one comes into the world!
3. I got to travel this year.
Detroit in January and July, New Orleans in March, Ann Arbor in May, Pensacola in May, Chicago in August. I love to travel so just visiting these places made me so happy! But I have many other places on my list of places to visit in 2016. Most taking me farther west than I've ever been!
4. I turned 25.
Everyone always asks you if you feel any older on your birthday. My answer has always been no...until this year. I actually feel older. Maybe it's the invisible pressure I feel to have my life together. Maybe it's because this is my last year on my parents' health insurance. Whatever it is, 25 makes me feel older, but in a good way! I definitely love being 25.
5. I passed my written exams.
I told myself I wouldn't really talk about this until I passed my oral exam and officially became a PhD candidate, but this was a significant milestone in 2015! I never thought I would finish these exams. They were plagued with a lot of failure, drama, and incredible amounts of stress. But the Lord is good and faithful and brought me through them and to him alone be the glory for that!! (Can I get an amen?!)

These five things stood out the most to me when I think about 2015. But there were so many sweet memories made that were as small as an encouraging note or text from a friend at the exact time I need it.

I pray this next year is full of joy and laughter and adventure for you! I'm looking forward to everything that 2016 will bring! God bless you and have a wonderful new year!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Planner You Absolutely Need!

Hey y'all! Can you believe 2016 is almost here?? It's so crazy! This year absolutely flew by!!

Being a grad student, I'm constantly juggling different projects as well as trying to balance my school and social life (so much easier said than done, amiright?). I've been wanting to really take 2016 by the horns and start the year out nice and organized. And wouldn't you know it I came across this wonderful lady's new planner (go take a look at her website!).

I mean just look at that picture. Who wouldn't want one??

Just look at all these cover designs:


Now that I've hopefully caught your attention with pretty pictures and a gif, here's everything you need to know about this planner:

1. It's all delivered online.
There's no hard copy you have to wait on. Just buy it online, download it, print it out, and file it in your favorite binder! It's available in two different sizes: A4 (Australia/UK...the designer is from Australia!!) and US letter size (8.5" x 11"). The A4 version is designed to be spiral bound while the US version is designed to be either spiral bound, placed in a 3-ring binder, or assembled with the Discbound system. Personally I'm going to print mine out at a copy store (so they look really nice) and put it in a pretty 3-ring binder.

2. There's two editions to chose from.
There's the Life Edition and the Faith Edition. They're completely identical except the Life Edition has motivational quotes each week while the Faith Edition has a scripture verse.

3. It has so many features.
Here's a list of everything you get:
-Nine gorgeous cover designs (ALL included!) to choose from (including coordinating cover pages for each month...my OCD is screaming with joy right now)
-Yearly goal setting pages
-Three goal planner worksheets
-Master year overview
-Year calendar
-Birthday calendar
-Christmas gift planner
-Full page monthly calendars
-Twelve monthly master lists
-Twelve monthly budget worksheets
-Twelve master weekly schedules
-Note pages at the beginning and the end of each month
-Dated daily layouts, weekly view
-January and February 2017 monthly calendars so you can plan ahead this time next year
-Five bonus planner project worksheets

4. It only costs $19!
You can keep the cost super low by printing your planner at home and using a 3-ring binder. If you're more into spiral binding, check out Office Depot and Staples! For around $60, you can get this planner printed and bound.

5. It supports Amazima Ministries.
20% of the profit from this planner goes to Amazima Ministries. They provide education, food, medical care, and vocational training for the poor in Uganda.

If I still haven't convinced you, check out this link for even more information on this planner from the designer herself!

Before I wrap this post up, I just need to talk about my favorite part of the planner: The weekly views.
At the top of the Faith Edition, there's a box for your prayer list. I always have a prayer list floating around somewhere but I never remember where I last placed it. With this planner, your prayer list is right where you're planning the rest of your life! I love it!!

My final opinion:
This planner is so perfect. From the stressed out college student to the mom juggling her house with 4 kids under 5, this planner covers everything you need to plan! Yes it's large and won't fit in your purse. But think of this as your command center. This is where your whole life is planned out. My smaller agenda is going to be more of a supplement for this planner. Thankfully being a student I carry my backpack with me so my planner will likely be with me every day anyway. If not, it'll be sitting on my table ready for me to check it before I leave in the morning and when I get home in the evening.

Here's one last look at this amazing planner:

So, if you're like me and you want to get your life all organized for 2016, head on over to A House Full of Sunshine and purchase your amazing planner! 

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NYE Sparkle

I recently saw a pillow (or bag or something) that said "Glitter is my favorite color." Truer words have not been spoken! I love glitter and shimmer and sequins and sparkle. And what better time to wear anything sparkly than at New Year's! This is the one holiday where it seems to be totally acceptable to wear sparkle or sequins from head to toe. So go for it! Here are some sequin/sparkly pieces I've had my eye on for a while for NYE:

Dresses
Pair these dresses with a simple shoes and accessories. Or not if you're going all in on sparkle!
Click here
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Tops
These pair well with a solid skirt or pants and fun heels. You could even use a sparkly clutch with them!
Click here
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Skirts
Similar to the tops, pair these with a plain, solid top. Tank tops, t-shirts, sweaters, whatever you're comfortable in!
Click here
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Click here
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Whatever you end up wearing for New Year's, be comfortable!! You're going to be up until at least midnight, so you might as well be comfy! Comfort is even more important if you're going to be walking around town and dancing. No one wants to bring in the new year with aching feet or itchy arms because of their outfit. 

I hope you have a very happy new year and 2016 brings lots of laughter and joy to your life!!

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Monday, December 21, 2015

No-Fuss Holiday

When I'm home for Christmas, I don't want to spend all my time getting ready. I'd much rather spend time with my nieces or helping my mom in the kitchen (even if I complain...sorry mom!). So how do I cut my time getting ready? Here's a few ideas:

For you hair
Work with your natural texture
I have awkwardly curly/wavy/straight hair. And I have a ton of it!! I've found that it takes a lot less time to curl the straight parts than it does to straighten the curly parts. I use this curling wand to curl the straight parts and tame the super curly parts (I bought it with a coupon code because it's expensive. Try this one or this one for more affordable options!). Embrace your natural texture - it's so much easier to go with what happens naturally than to force it to do something else!

Keep it out of your face
Whether you're playing with kids or cooking in the kitchen, you'll likely be pushing your hair out of your face. Braid your bangs, twist them back, clip it half up, French braid it (I'm a fan of only French braiding the top half), the possibilities are endless! Check out this Youtube video on how to "braid" your bangs.

For your makeup
Pick one feature to be bold
For me, it'll be the lips this Christmas. Especially since I've found a couple red lipsticks I love. If I'm going to do a bold lip, I'll keep the rest of my makeup simple. Here's a breakdown of my makeup routine I'll likely use:
Wash my face
Put on lotion
Primer (it keeps your makeup in place)
Foundation (I've recently fallen in love with Mary Kay cream to powder because it doesn't budge but it's super light - perfect for hanging out in a warm house!)
Light eyeshadow (or no shadow!)
Mascara (if you want eyeliner, add it here)
Blush/bronzer (combo palettes are so great because it's a two-in-one)
Lipstick (go bold! Check out this lipstick from Revlon and this one from Maybelline for super long-lasting color!)
e.l.f. makeup setting spray (super cheap AND it works!)
That's it! This whole makeup routine takes me about 5 minutes.

For your outfit
Be comfy!
You're likely to be either in a car, sitting around a table, or rolling around on the floor (maybe that's just me!). The last thing you want to do is to be uncomfortable. If your Christmas is anything like mine, it's pretty chill. We also cram a lot of people into our house so it gets pretty warm. I'll likely wear my favorite pair of jeans, a light top (anything cotton is great because it's breathable and won't make me too hot), and Christmas socks (because duh!). Here's a couple outfits I've worn recently that might make an appearance at Christmas:
(This was my Christmas card this year - how cute is my cat? Also that top is from Wal-Mart!)

(This was my Thanksgiving outfit)

(Rocking the Canadian tuxedo!)

(White is bold when there's food involved but it's so cute!)

(No skinny jeans - what's happening?!)

Whatever your holiday looks like, I wish you so much joy and happiness!! I love love love Christmas and hope you enjoy time with family! Do you have any tips on how you plan to keep the fussing to a minimum this Christmas?

Merry Christmas and may the Lord bless you and your family!!
xoxo

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Birchbox: Unboxed

Hey y'all! I thought I would try something a little different for my Birchbox review by making a video! Disclaimer: I'm not a video person. At all.

I linked everything and answered a few questions I realized I didn't have an answer for in the video at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!!



(After making this video I tried it and I love it! My hair is so soft and not greasy [insert praise hands emoji]!!)
(After some investigation, you get more than 2 colors and there's different palettes - I'm changing my mind about this stuff!)
(The skinny version is currently sold out on the Birchbox website, but here's another link to it)
(They have other scents too!)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Deck the Halls!

Christmas is my favorite time of year!! I especially love to decorate for Christmas. I usually decorate right before I go home for Thanksgiving so I can enjoy my decorations for as long as possible.

I've been trying to use my camera more and learning how to use it in manual mode instead of automatic. These pictures are the first of many in my trials and errors in learning how to use my camera! Here's a tour of my apartment all decked out in Christmas!

I made this wreath last year for my door. It was a Pinterest idea (obvi). I used a styrofoam circle/wreath, dollar tree ribbon, dollar tree ornaments, and a hot glue gun. It was so easy!

Don't mind the antenna - I cut the cable cord over the summer. I love the deep window sills in my apartment. Especially because they make a great makeshift mantle! (Yes, I got my cat a stocking with a cat on it. I'm not sure if it's because my grandma and mom always had the best stockings or what but I love them!)

My other window sill holds the wine bottles I spray painted gold. I love these because I just switch out flowers depending on the season. I hit up the dollar store for these flowers last year!

These two guys made their way into my home my first year in Ohio and I love them. I'm so happy I found a place to hang my snowman this year - last year he just sat propped up against a wall. And the reindeer is probably one of my favorite decorations. He was a great TJ Maxx find!

I love decorating my TV stand! It's such a great shelf space! And yes those are gold pumpkins. They're just so cute I couldn't throw them out!

I love prints! I bought the Joy to the World print from Wishful Printing. They have so many prints and most are just $1.50! The All is calm all is bright print is from Dawn Nicole. I joined a Facebook group of hers all about hand lettering (something I'm trying!).

My mom convinced me to get the red and gold ornaments and I'm so glad I did! How pretty is my tree at night??

I love reflective ornaments! And I couldn't resist getting a picture in my (super nerdy) pjs.
[Quick note, my bottoms are from Old Navy (link here) and are insanely comfy! As soon as I get home from school I put them on. They're flannel but they're thin so you won't sweat (take it from the ever-warm girl here). Plus there's so many patterns!]

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Bonus: Here's my favorite Christmas sweater:

I found it at a thrift store in Ohio. It's more like a sweatshirt really and it's incredibly comfortable! It says: Wesołych Świąt, which is Merry Christmas in Polish. This started out as an ugly Christmas sweater purchase, but I wear it often in December! (So excited to wear this to our department holiday party tonight!)

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