Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looooong Distance

Photo Credit: Images by Jaimie

My best-friend and I have been in a long distance relationship for over two years.
My husband is my best-friend and "best-friend" as in soul-mate because let's face it, Ryan would rather stick a pencil in his eye than stand in line at Victoria's Secret or see a new Broadway Show.  However he is my absolute best-friend and I love him for many reasons, but you'll find out one of those many reasons with this post.
This past week has been challenging.  Scratch that, the past two weeks.  It's just one of those times when things just aren't going your way.  To give you an idea of what my job is without getting into details, here's kind of what I do:

So to say the least, it requires a lot of time studying and 100% perfection.
It's stressful and I have spent a lot of time focusing on that.
Things weren't going my way the past two weeks, no matter how much time I was putting in and it was frustrating.  I started feeling down on myself and my confidence was severely lacking after awhile.  My husband spent our entire Thanksgiving break motivating me.  I know it sounds silly but he would occasionally remind me of my past accomplishments and just give me affirmations.  He put so much energy into making sure that I felt better and today went off without a problem.  I had to re-take a test and although it wasn't flawless, I got through.  
I also took a quiz on new material and got 100%

My husband couldn't have been happier.  It's absolutely wonderful to be able to share in that type of happiness with someone.  It wasn't a fake or planned type of happiness, he's genuinely happy that I'm so excited. So to say the least, I have an amazing husband (yes, I'm bragging) but he's also a wonderful partner.  We aren't without our occasional fights, arguments, and moments of deep loathing stares, but we work through all of it.

We're a mil-to-mil couple, meaning that we're both in the military.
He's in the Marine Corps and I'm in the Air Force, and if you know anything about the different branches sometimes working together, the Marine Corps and Air Force don't overlap.
So Ryan is stationed in one place and I'm somewhere else.

This is where you can insert the whole, "well that totally sucks."

Why yes, yes it does.

It's been like this for two years.  I'm either in school and he's stationed at a USMC base, or when I became active duty, we're at two different locations.

It's not like this was some kind of surprise...
If the military wanted you to have a spouse, they would have issued you one.

It comes with the territory.  You could both be in the same branch and never be at the same base.  It all just depends. We're actually incredibly fortunate for multiple reasons but Ryan and I did plan on when/how we got married due to our military lifestyle. 

However, the good news is that Ryan is almost done!!
We're fortunate to be stationed fairly close to each other so that we can visit twice a month.
Thanksgiving was a treat because we had four days together.
Soon, we'll get to be together fo-eva.
I know, it sounds like the lyrics to a bad love song, but I am sooo excited.
We finally get to be together and just be married.
One of the most challenging aspects of being married and long distance would be the  
constant pick-up of where we last left off.
It's easier to get into petty arguments because you're not used to the way someone does something,
but on the flip side, it can be easier to ignore certain things because you don't want to waste the time you have together with fighting.
It'll be an adjustment, but something that I'm definitely looking forward to and quite possibly the best birthday/Christmas present I could get :)

\\\in other news///


I just saw Lawless and it was intense.  I don't do well with graphic violence/blood and there was lots of it.  The movie is dark and covers a family who sells their own batch of moonshine during Prohibition.  There were many parts where my roommate let me know when it was okay to look at the screen again.  
Despite all of the violence, Tom Hardy was in it and I adore him.
Did I ever tell you guys about when I met him?
They were doing premieres on military bases for the movie, Warrior, and he 
literally sat right next to me in the theater.
We were c-h-a-t-t-i-ng. I was probably 50 shades of red (haha get it) and the man is gorgeous and his accent, whoa man.  But anyways, I'm a huge fan and The Dark Knight Rises comes out on December 4th!  Oh hello Bain.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blog Obsessions for November

After my ranting and raving in my previous blog post about the lack of quality blog content, I came across this wonderfully refreshing blog from Bobbi and I thought about compiling a list of my favorite blogs and why I follow them.  Lead by example, right?

today i'm bobbi

I've been obsessing over this blog all morning and I'll give you my top three reasons why.  The first is that Bobbi provides enriching content in her posts and it's always entertaining.  The second is that she features beautiful photography from her adventures.  I love her book reviews but more than that, she provides links to awesome articles that get your brain a-churnin'.

Jordan is also a fellow Marine wife and I think her blog is classic and charming.  She puts together product reviews every now and then and she just seems like somebody I would like to hang out with.  When I first found her blog over the summer, I literally looked through every post because she's just that much fun.  However, she's also one of the bloggers that I wish would have more content versus less but what can ya do?  What you'll find on Jordan's blog is a mixture of Southern charm, recipes, her adventures on the East Coast before she moves to California, and awesome gift/product reviews.


Lindsay's blog is so much fun! Her posts are always informative, fun and stay true to herself.  She's also introduced me, via her posts, to other interesting bloggers, articles and new products.  I always appreciate the perspective she gives to her posts.  She recently posted about 100 dreams and making a list of goals that's pretty interesting. What you'll find on Lindsay's blog is a mixture of eco-friendly awesomeness, daily yoga positions (she's an awesome yogi), and just adorable genuineness.

The Daily Tay

Taylor is hilarious and her posts are both witty and charming.  Her weekly posts titled, "Best Week Ever" cover current events with her clever twists.  Not only is she hilarious and we're both Thetas and I found her blog on accident but came across a post about being a part of the Greek system.  And they said being Greek would pay off... ;) What you'll find on Tay's blog is a mixture of hilarity, current events, her lovely dog, and even glimpses of her own adult children's book.

Ruthie is amazing! She is a person that balances her faith, DIY, crafting, and marriage with such grace and ease.  She also has a super adorable Frenchie named Ernie.  She's also one of those people that I love to follow on Instagram because they're just too cute. What you'll find on Ruthie's blog is a mixture of Christian faith, DIY projects, recipes, book reviews, and pictures of her wonderful fambam.

Those are five great blogs, each with completely different vibes.  Check em out and let me know if there are other blogs that I need to frequent!  I sponsor a few of the blogs and I'm reviewing this simply out of purpose.  We need blogs with great content and these are a few great places to start!


Criticisms from a Content Snob and Other Weekend Delights

This blog post is a long one and this weekend has been wonderful.
I'm going to talk a little bit about my weekend, the dwindling content of blogs, a rant on the social media intertwining religion into politics, and then rave about new tactics using social media and religion (gosh, talk about a double standard).

Let's get started
To have the opportunity to do absolutely nothing or everything has been such a privilege- I'm referring to the rare, yet beautiful natural occurrence of a chill weekend.  I have been stressing and working countless hours (and by countless, I've actually had to record them but that's another story).  So for me, this weekend has been sheer bliss.  I have my husband here and my wonderful roommate is actually in Vegas enjoying the holiday with her family

So I've had some time to go over my Google Reader account and update my blog.
Have you checked out my new header (yep, right up there)?  It took me a couple of hours but I actually really like how it turned out and I greatly disliked the one I had up previously, but we all have to make-do with our own temporary fill-ins every once in awhile.  I'm still updating my buttons and pages here and there so please be patient and kind with me :P

I've also taken a look at my sponsor page and I've made the decision that I don't want to charge people for being a "sponsor" on this page.  I was more than thrilled to have 37 Google Connected readers on this page alone, but I also believe that's due to investing more time and $$ (so literally investing into my blog) and I have been seeing the benefits.  
What I do want to emphasize, however, is that this is a lifestyle blog.   I craft whenever I have time, bake when I crave sweets (which basically every 5 minutes...the craving not necessarily the baking) and give reviews when I can.   Like how many others have started, this is an outlet for me.  You're not going to find a giveaway here for quite some time, unless some ridiculously creative soul decides to sponsor me, and I do feature the people who swap buttons with me but many of those bloggers are in the same boat as I am, and we're just adjusting the sails to the storm that is Blogger.  I do love reading other blogs and hearing the stories from the perspectives of interesting, often incredibly entertaining people.  Right now, I'm just in the mood to swap- so feel free to swap with me.  If you go to my sponsor page, I would love to have you as a guest and there's no charge or devious trick up this blogger's sleeve.  Simply put in the promo code and you're welcome to promote for 30 days on the page and to keep on promoting for months after.

...and here is where I become the content snob

Something I've noticed from the bigger, "granddaddy of all blogs" 
types is that their content is starting to waver.  
*Looks around* 
not that I'm saying it's the fault of any of the bloggers 
but seriously, the content is starting to lack in a negative way.  
I'm seeing a lot more fluff and not a lot of the original style posts that made me want to subscribe to those bloggers in the first place.  So I pulled out a friend flush.  I'm sorry, I would like to say I feel terrible, but it had to happen.  I'm seeing that these once awesome blogs are having 3000+ readers but are doing more giveaways than actual articles, more outfits of the day than what's really on their mind and that bugs me.  Going off on a small rant, outfit of the day posts bother me because I'm not entirely sure what their purpose is...other than to show people either 
a). how to dress b). what you have in your closet c). what you can afford
It's filler- and not very good filler at that (apart from dedicated fashion blogs). 
I wonder if the pressures of having that many readers, combined with sponsorships starts to degrade the quality of a blog.  People are busy and lives are to be had, not everyone can spend the amount of time it takes to run a highly effective blogging system.  
Nevertheless, my suggestion for revision on those types of posts would be to wear that cute outfit while doing an awesome activity.  In the caption, you can have the details of the outfit but the post itself will talk about something worthy of having your readers visit your blog.  

Single paragraph content also swims into this category as well.  I'm seeing a very small topic being stretched over a paragraph and that being considered a full post.  
I'm excited that Google Reader features one of my favorite blogs at the top of the page and then quickly let down as I read the "new post" from some of my favorite bloggers and it's a recipe or the entire post is dedicated to an invitation design.  Not that I don't appreciate a scrumptious meal that I can whip up in under 20 minutes or that your party theme is super adorable 
but gahhh you're killin' me smalls!

We follow lifestyle blogs, or at least I do, because you've invited us into a very intimate part of you- your perspective of your life.  Your ups and downs, glimpses of your partner and families, the things you're reading, heck, even the cleaning products you use. I miss the spontaneity.  I love Instagram, and I follow many bloggers through that social media.  The worst is when they say, I'm saving this for a post next week. Post, share, and let us envy you now versus in seven days. Where's the fun in that? ;)

We want the stories, so make them good.
In fact, your stories are already good...just keep posting.

\\\ back to our regularly scheduled blog post ///

 Rants, Raves, & Reviews


I saw this on Pinterest
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it or how to accurately verbalize this, but I don't like it.
I'm a follower of Christ and something about this specific message rubs me the wrong way.
Honestly, I think it has something to do with how during this entire election season, one political party seemed to be using religious zealotry against a very politically divided country.  Mud slinging was occurring non-stop (from both parties) and I saw this message weeks later, 
after the election results occurred and that in itself also puts a bad taste in my mouth.
I don't consider myself all that religious but I do follow the teachings of Christ.
I know it sounds contradictory but I love God, I'm just not a huge fan of many of his followers.
He cared about everyone and forgave the outcasts of society and 
died for everyone's sins so that we could all be forgiven.
I don't feel comfortable associating him with the horrible things 
said and that still occur post-election season.  Post-election, people (not everyone) have been rude and to me seem very un-Christian-like.
I understand that not everyone may feel the same about this, but if you choose to comment, please keep it considerate, with thoughtful commentary.

But to switch up the bad vibes, let's head on over to my  
 cuz I found this totally amazing blog 
that has this link-up called, "Let's Get Praisy."
Jami Nato relates Bible verses to rap and pop song lyrics.
Say whaaat?
chyeaa and I absolutely love it!

Source: Jami Nato, The Nato's
Now everytime I hear these songs, I think of different Bible verses and I think that is awesome!
It's innovative, fun, and makes me want to teach CCD to high school students.
Well maybe not that far, unless they let me use the wisdom of Jami Nato.
You can find more links on her blog.  I need to contribute something- oh you fancy, huh?

I've also been dying to read a few books.  The first is Gone Girl and I have been seeing mad reviews for this novel and have yet to click purchase for Kindle.  I need to make the commitment.  The constantly mentioned plot's twists and turns are driving me to read this every single time I see it, either at Target or on Amazon.  I've also been wanting to read Junot Diaz's, This is How You Lose Her.  People are starting to quote it and saying it gives a realistic look on love (it is a fictional story, however).  I'm also interested in The Round House, which has been featured on Oprah's reading list throughout numerous magazines and e-mail lists (I get them all).  On a sidenote, I'm sort of obsessed with Oprah, I mean who wouldn't want to be the best gift-giver on the planet?  Last, but not least, I love the Young House Love blog! What an adorable family!  They've just come out with their first book and I've been all over their Instagram feed as they go to their first book signings.  I just love the vibe that family gives, they're awesome people.

Gone Girl: A Novel This Is How You Lose Her

The Round HouseYoung House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love 

Now that it's officially past Black Friday and as you saw in my last post about my home decor for the holidays, we finally were able to put lights up!  I love love love the holiday season and I am so excited to be able to spend this year's Christmas season with my husband.  Afghanistan will not have him this year, although that is not the case for many, so please have our service members in your thoughts this holiday season.  With my husband in tow, I am glad to be starting some of my favorite traditions, including Starbucks holiday drinks, Christmas music while driving to work, admiring holiday lights, finding the perfect Christmas present, watching holiday movies and so much more!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Meet Kayla from Sealed with a Kay

Happy Saturday Err'body! 
I would like you to meet one of my new bloggie friends, Kayla, from the blog Sealed with a Kay.  I met her by being sponsors on another blog and I love checking out her new posts.  She covers different aspects of her life and it's a good variety of fun posts, so definitely check her blog out. I just did and found another cool blog and new Instagram feed to follow.  #clutch 

Although she's not a huge fan of the holidays, she does have some fun traditions that she shares here:

Believe it or not, I'm not a huge fan of holidays, but I do like the time off from work! Mike and I don't really have holiday traditions that we do each year. We enjoy roasting pumpkin seeds, decorating for Halloween, getting zombied out for the Houston Zombie Walk, I enjoy making as many pies as possible for Thanksgiving, Mike enjoys eating them :), but most of all, because our friends and families are so scattered all over the world, we enjoy visiting them as much as possible, and if we happen to spend a holiday with them- even better. Flying standby is hit or miss, so holidays can be especially difficult depending on where we are trying to fly. This year, we are hoping to spend the holidays with some of Mike's family in Peru.


Friday, November 23, 2012

GIT-R-DONE: The Fast, Easy & Cost-Effective Approach to Holiday Decor


That really shouldn't make a difference to anyone who knows me because, to be honest, I decorate starting November 1st.  However, for the rest of the holiday-sane community, most people try to decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  This is something I never quite understood coming from Wisconsin, because as I sit in the balmy weather of Central California, my Midwestern kinfolk are huddled inside as Wisconsin is a whopping 23 degrees outside.
 Can anyone say,  
Baby it's cold outside?

I know you've already heard me complain about how un-Christmasey it feels here in Central Cali due to the lack of snow and the irony of having snowflake/snowmen decor, but I have made a few adjustments to my decor and thought I would share them with my bliggety blog community.
I've combed the pages on Pinterest for inspiration and came up with a few concepts that may help you out this holiday season and go a little easy on a college graduate budget.
The children hung their stockings by the fire with care

I love the little details when it comes to designing.  Attention to detail can turn any space into something fabulous.  After seeing advent calendars of mini-stockings, I went on Etsy to see if I could find something similar and only found expensive options.  Target came to the rescue with $3 mitten ornaments that came in a pair.  I took red ribbon with a stream of white dots and hung that along the fireplace.  I then separated each mitten and hung them up with mini clothespins.  It turned out really cute and is one of my favorite decor pieces in the house.  The mini clothespins also came in handy for another idea that's farther along the page.

I ended up buying 5 pairs, so this cost me a little over $15, which definitely  beat the $100+ cost of similar items that I found on Etsy.


Mini-Ornament Christmas Tree
Shadow box, scrapbook papers and ornaments cost under $20
I had a few ideas in my head for this concept before creating it and I kind of just went with what I found at our local Michael's.  Instead of purchasing a frame or shadow box like many Pinterest instructions say, I found a wooden shadow box in the unfinished wood items aisle at Michael's for around/under $7.  I then bought blue metallic scrapbook paper as well as a specialty snowflake paper and all of this was for the background.  To actually create the tree, I bought a package of mini ball ornaments that come with about 27 ornaments.  I hot glued the mini ornaments, while layering them on top of each other and it created this beautiful stacking effect.  That was basically it.  A really easy craft piece that is perfect as display piece. 

Shades of Gold
Cost under $10 to recreate these deer
Normally you find decorative deer pieces ranging from $30-$50.  I spotted a few paper-mache deer at a local craft store called Beverly's and here's the kicker...the only cost me $2 each!  I picked three different shades of metallic golds and one is more like a copper but all I needed to do was paint them.  They look incredibly sharp in front of any mantle, coffee table or just an entrance-way piece.  Right now they've made their home on the mantle as I figure out how I want our decor to go.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I'm sure you've seen these tutorials all over Pinterest, but these trees are so easy to make!  The trees themselves can range from $2-$6, depending on the size.  The best part is wandering the aisles of your local craft store or that craft tub at home and figuring out how you want to decorate them.  The imagination can run wild with these.  I used textured yarns, glitter, feathers, etc. on the ones that I created.  I plan on making more and turning my mantle into a forest that any winter wonderland would be proud of.

An Alternative to Christmas Canvases

Cost me under $10 for this lovely canvas-want-to-be
I have been swooning over the adorable prints featured on Pinterest and Etsy.  As a person who has done quite a bit of graphic design, I've been itching to make some prints.  However, frames can get expensive.  You can, of course, make prints to fit your already existing frames and then swap out those family portraits for some holiday cheer or you can try out this tip.

I wanted to have Christmas canvases but paying for large canvases is not for the faint of heart.  Well I'm always determined to have my cake and eat it too, so I went to home depot and bought pieces of wood planking.  Essentially they're really thin shelves.  They're a little long, but that's easily fixed at home if you have a saw/those kind of materials and I also think that Home Depot (and similar stores) can adjust them for you as well.  It cost me under $7 and looks amazing on my mantle. I painted it with black acrylic paint and let it dry, then free-handed the lyrics, "O Holy Night, the Stars are Brightly Shining" in white acrylic paint.  It brings the entire room together and I love it!

Oh There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Does anyone love getting mail as much as I do?  Christmas amps up that excitement as I receive cards from friends and loved ones who are now all over the world!  I wanted to decorate our kitchen a little more but wasn't entirely sure how, apart from adding kitchen towels embroidered with holiday cheer.  This is so easy to do, you'll just love it.  I bought wide ribbon from Michael's, around $3 and cut appropriate lengths out to match the length of the cabinets and 
secured them to the back of the doors.  The mini clothespins I used from a previous project, mentioned above, were perfect for attaching Christmas cards and photos.  It definitely adds a little extra warmth to the kitchen.

Schooled by a Chalkboard

If you don't have a chalkboard and have your own living space, you really need one.  Why has this turned into a need, instead of simply a want?  Well it's because a chalkboard is so versatile.  From daily reminders to becoming a decor piece, it has a ton of uses that expand from just being a old school staple.  Chalkboard font has become an art and it's also just a lot of fun.
You can check out my experience making a chalkboard here.

That basically wraps up what I've done so far in terms of decorating.  We have our tree up and my husband has put on our new tree topper, a star!  It's our first Christmas tree together and we're so excited.  It's decorated with both our ornaments and my roommate's, so it's filled with a lot of memories for being a new tree.

Today in the mail, I received this from one of best-friend's, Courtney:

You all knew that I was going to try it. I know a good present when I see one ;)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Dilemma

It might just be me, in full-blown rosy retrospection of Wisconsin winters, but to quote Dorothy,
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore
...but quite literally, we're not.

We're in central California and this has to be the weirdest winter dynamic I have ever been a part of.

I'm used to this:

but instead, I now have this:

To say this is a strange dichotomy would be an understatement.
I am now trying to figure out the best way to hang up holiday lights because we don't have gutters here.  Is it weird to have snowflake decor when there really isn't any snow?
The Walmart has snowmen, snowflake lights and pine trees with fake glistening snow.
Um excuse me, it was 80 degrees yesterday.

A year ago I was throwing snowballs and trudging through slushy sidewalks on the UW campus and now I'm listening to satellite radio from NYC with them telling me I can go ice-skating at Trump's Ice Rink for free (this is in New York).

It doesn't feel like the holiday season here.  My new home just put up their city lights on the lamp posts while I drove through the city during lunch.  During the day, they looked like really ugly tinsel-ridden Christmas trees but in the night, all lit up, it was a little taste of something magical.
It was the first sign of the holidays around here.  It's not like there's going to be a Christmas snow.
I'm not entirely sure what I'm expecting out of this itty bitty city, but I sure do miss the grandeur of the holidays and the beautiful lights displays.

Yeah, I know it's Disney but c'monnnn this is awesome!
Nevertheless, I still plan on doing my best to make this an amazing Christmas.
That's why I wanted to share this awesome organization with all of you called Wreaths Across America.  It's a program that places wreaths on grave sites of fallen military members.  I visited Arlington National Cemetery, probably eight years ago, and to be in such a memorable and honored place was really moving.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier brought tears to my eyes.  With this program you can choose to donate multiple wreaths or do a pairing where your purchase is sent as a donation to the program and you too, also receive a wreath for your home.

Consider choosing this program as part of your holiday decor and I certainly hope you're enjoying the season thus far.  I know I'll be enjoying the sunshine, even while listening to "White Christmas."


Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Friendsgiving!

I've had a rough week.
I ended up messing up one of my academic goals and I had to play a vigorous game of catch-up for the past four days.  That game has only intensified as I try to do better in my training school.
The best thing that did come out of this week was that I met some awesome people, people that I may not have interacted with as much as I would have otherwise.
Messing up on an exam, although making me feel awful, was a sobering event.
I've re-routed how I choose to study and have spent hours at the schoolhouse studying everyday as long as it's open.  It also forced me to keep an open mind in choosing new goals and that's just life.

My friends, my awesome crew partner, my caring roommate, my husband and then my family back home were all cheering me on this week.  It was so greatly appreciated.
 Therefore when I woke up today, I knew something epic was about to happen.
F r i e n d s g i v i n g
A time for me to attempt to make my first Thanksgiving dinner all on my own.
My roommate and I headed to the commissary to stock up on groceries for the week and to get materials to make a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal.
I made a turkey, my roomie made mashed potatoes and rolls, 
and I also made stuffing, gravy and green bean casserole.
A couple of our friends came over and enjoyed a yummy meal and good times.
We swapped memories of our families and experiences being new lieutenants.

As this week starts, I have been reflecting on what I am thankful for-including my blessed life.
Last night, I was perusing Facebook and came across the idea of looking up an old acquaintance.
She got married a few years before I did and her husband was in the Army.
I noticed that a few things were off, mainly the very lacking presence of her husband.
They had this incredible marriage that was just so adorable.
He was KIA a couple years ago during a deployment.
That same year Ryan was on his first deployment.
I saw pictures of her crying as she received his body at Dover AFB and I couldn't help but cry.
When Ryan was deployed, I thought about what that might be like for me.
In my head, I had this scenario of having to report to the Colonel of our detachment and having him sit down in front of strangers as they told me that my husband had his youth stolen from him.
I spent over seven months having trouble sleeping and praying for as much contact as possible with my husband.  When Ryan came home in May of this year (a couple days after I graduated from UW) it was the best feeling I have ever had.  Having the Patriot Guard riders escort the white buses in and hearing the roar was incredible.  I ran around the bus and jumped into my husband's arms.
I am so thankful for that moment and all our future possibilities and opportunities.
The depth of sacrifice from our veterans and their families will forever floor me.

I am so thankful for my husband and the love that we have.

Spending four years in college and working my booty off to get good grades was well worth it.
I graduated from an amazing university and earned my commission as an Air Force officer.
It may have not been easy, but it most certainly was worth it.
My life has been filled with amazing experiences and people who have forever changed my life.
I am the first college graduate from my mother's side and the first military officer, as well as first female military officer.

I am thankful for the opportunity of higher education.

I have done a lot this year.  Graduated, moved from Madison back to my hometown and then to California.  This ever-changing, fast-paced life has been awesome.  I lived in two different cities in California and have had two different houses here.  I have been able to explore so many different cities and even head to L.A. to see the Cirque du Soleil show, Iris.  I've seen the beautiful Pacific Ocean and California mountains.  I've gone wine-tasting for the very first time.  Right out of college I have a job and a home and food on the table, I am incredibly fortunate.

I am thankful for the roof over my head, the beautiful views right in my own backyard, the opportunity to have a steady job and the food on our table.

...and this year I will get a New Year's Kiss. 
I am incredibly blessed.

Have a wonderful week and may you appreciate all that you have.



Friday, November 16, 2012

Change is a Good Thing


After much deliberation, I would like to unveil the newly named version of my blog.
I initially started with my name because I really wanted this to be an outlet to offer my name some branding with the crafting/DIY/design world but after awhile I decided that a fun name might be just the trick I need.  Who knows, if I get bored of it, my actual name will still be there ;)

The Simplicity of Being Curious was inspired by my love of books and my incredibly curious nature.  I tend to be spontaneous and I love going on adventures.  I wanted it to be very personal to me.  I know a lot of folks feel that their blog names are reflective of who they are but I often find myself looking at titles along on my Google Reader and wondering who exactly that is and what they're about.  I like to have fun and I occasionally throw some humor around, so I thought the title was perfect for me.  I'll be updating things around the blog and updating my advertising buttons.
That being said...


The last time I had a swaportunity, I was able to meet Kayla and Jane and a ton of new readers!

Enter Promo Code: changeisgood

and receive a month of free swappage here on The Simplicity of Being Curious.
Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 Wish List

1. Nikon D3100 Camera

I have always wanted a DSLR camera and swooning over Pinterest pictures and other blog photos will soon come to an end. My husband is planning on getting me one as a combined birthday/Christmas present and I am so pumped!

2. Silhouette Cameo 

I love crafting and having Silhouette ideas pop up on my Instagram has seriously made me wantin' one of these.  

3. Books

I am a big fan of Oprah's digital book club.  I love getting her e-mails on the latest books to try.
They always have such fun categories.  One of these books that I have been dying to read is Gone Girl.

4 & 5. DVDs

Classics are always so much fun to watch and Singin' in the Rain is my favorite.
The songs, musical numbers, and all of it are a blast and a half.
I also love Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's. She reminds me of an ambitious young college girl and I think she represents a little bit of all young women out there.

6. Threebirdsnest Accessories

Fun fact...I obsess over fun winter and fall accessories and what could fit those impulses any better than the Threebirdsnest on Etsy?  I love her products and I have been waiting to order one for awhile or learn how to knit/crochet like a beast.  One or the other...I will have a knitted headband ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meet Jane from Taingamala

Meet Jane from Taingamala, one of my awesome blogger friend swaps for this month.  When posed the question, what are some of your favorite holiday traditions, here's what Jane said:

Growing up, my mom was amazing with holidays and they were nothing short of magical. Now, that I'm an adult I try to keep some of that same holiday magic alive. I love to bake and every Christmas I make my signature pineapple upside down cake. Living in Hawaii it seems like the perfect holiday dessert. Baking and the holidays always went hand in hand for me. The smell around the house, the warm kitchen and gathering with friends and family to enjoy what comes out of the oven.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sconnie Gift-Giving Guide

Since I am missing the wonders of my beautiful home state, I thought a Sconnie gift-giving guide would be the perfect touch to reminisce on all I love about being a Badger.
Friday nights as an adult are a weird thing.  I can't really get away with going to Ian's for mac-n-cheese pizza in the wee hours of the morning.  Mainly because there isn't an Ian's out here but also because I'm a responsible adult <--worst worst--="worst--">
But when all fails, this $25 tee expresses exactly how I feel many a day ;)
I MISS MADISON (University of Wisconsin Badgers)

I have a necklace very similar to this and I absolutely love it.  It's a simple, yet charming way to show off your Sconnie pride. I adore the tiny heart detail.  While most of these necklaces are pricey, this comes in at $15.

My heart's in Wisconsin - aluminum
Source: zailove on Etsy

The Jellycat Woodland Badger is so adorable.  At 12" he is just the perfect size to cuddle up with during a chilly night or pulling all nighters in college.
Jellycat Woodland Badger 12"
Source: Amazon for $20

One year I asked for a Badger Snuggie and now I have three Badger Snuggies.  If you are without a Badger Snuggie, remove yourself from the rock you've been hiding under.  At $25, popularity is worth its price.

Wisconsin Badgers Printed Collegiate Snuggie Blanket
Source: Badger Planet
Do you ever get those wonderful Pinterest urges and realize if I make this, it will look awesome.  However, if I mess it up, it will be a really expensive waste of materials?  Well in case you've been swooning over the nail-and-yarn art, World on a String gives you some gorgeous options for reasonable prices.

Wild Wisconsin-stained
Source: henriettabloomfield on Etsy
and we can't forget the Green Bay Packers Go Pack Go!

Green Bay Packers- Stained Small
Source: henriettabloom on Etsy
Sometimes, you gotta do a good ol' #TBT

Vintage University of Wisconsin Badgers Acrylic Pom Hat Beret
Source: IKnowWhatImWearing on Etsy
I would totally LOVE to wear this on game day.  Love me some Badger gear.
But if that doesn't stand out enough for you, check out these totally adorable headbands from WisconsinSquirrels.  For $14, they're totes mcgoats adorbs. Yes, so much slang- so little time.
Wisconsin "Motion W" Sequin Headband (NEW COLORS)
Source: WisconsinSquirrels on Etsy
We dabbled a little bit in home decor, but if you want to add your own Badger-ific, Sconnie touch to items- this cross stitch is for you.  For $4.50, get the pattern and invest in some embroidery thread.  You could put this on a tote bag, sweatshirt, tee, or whatever.  It would be a really cute gift for any Sconnie.

Badger PDF Cross Stitch Pattern
Source: Nrapture on Etsy
Speaking of cute little touches, these would be perfect in any Badger home.  Not only do they have that adorable heart detailing, but it's in the cardinal red and white.  Perfect!

Wisconsin Love Tea Towels
Source: RecreativeCrafts on Etsy
Now many of my good friends have graduate from Madison and other Wisconsin schools.  They're growing up, getting married and having wee lil Badgers themselves.

Here are a few of my favorite items for love, marriage and baby carriages:

Wisconsin Wedding Gift - Personalized State and Heart - Custom Wedding Date - Anniversary - Location City State Modern Art Print - 8x10
Source: EmbieOnline at Etsy

University of WISCONSIN BADGERS block fabric handcrafted football armband wedding bridal garter
Source: BosBlossoms on Etsy
badger baby
Source: lynleameiser on Etsy
Alright, well since I basically want everything on this page, I think it's time to call it quits.
Hopefully this will spark some creative gift-giving this holiday season.