Sabtu, 27 Desember 2014

Winter Red

Winter Red



I've been avoiding purchasing new beauty and skincare products this month and I've also been trying to go through all of my makeup and skincare products and look at what I have quite critically, deciding what to keep and what to pass on to the people around me who have requested the things that I don't want any more because I have a whole lot of extra beauty product and samples. They sit around or get used once or twice and I decide they're not right for me and I feel guilty just having them when I know I'll never use them again.

I recently went through my lip product pocket and dug out this MAC Ruby Woo lipstick I bought a while ago in my hunt for the perfect red. It makes for an interesting photograph but I think that it's just a bit too dayglow against my skin for everyday use. I've decided to hang onto it for the time being because it's a very charismatic color. I don't think it looks bad on me, per say, it's just a little louder than my usual makeup but I think it'd be fun to wear out places, especially at night so I'll be putting it back into rotation.

If you're curious, I did eventually find my perfect red lip color: MAC's Russian Red. A makeup artist put it on me and I fell in love instantly and went and bought the shade the very next day and have been wearing it ever since!






Jacket: Land's End (Somewhat similar here)
Pants: Madewell
Dress: Madewell
Shoes: J. Crew

Senin, 22 Desember 2014

You Should Know: Turn Your Laptop Into an Inspiration Board

You Should Know: Turn Your Laptop Into an Inspiration Board



You probably spend a lot of time on the computer. If you're like me your morning starts with grabbing a cup of coffee, opening the laptop, logging into a blog feed aggregator, (feedly for me, thanks Steph!) and catching up on the day's news, emails, and posts.

If you're a blogger (and I know many of my readers are!) you probably spend even more time on the computer editing photos or videos, writing up posts, communicating, and promoting your blog. I think my computer is probably the tool I use the most, even more than my camera. As soon as I got my first laptop, I knew that I wanted the thing I sat in front of for a long time to be not only functional (files organized, unnecessary programs deleted as soon as they became redundant, appropriate things backed up on an external hard drive) but also beautiful which is a lot harder when you're sitting in front of a cold piece of aluminum with a clacky keyboard.

Over the years I've put two things into place to turn my laptop into an inspiration board, both physically and digitally.

First, I use the rotating background photo feature on my mac to create an inspiration board. I have a folder saved on my desktop called "Desktop Photos" and whenever I see a beautiful piece of typography with a great quote or statement I right click and save the image to that folder so that it gets thrown into the queue. I have about thirty or forty beautiful quotes saved and they rotate every five minutes so that I never know what I'm going to get. Sometimes, when I close a program in frustration or wake up groggy in the morning and open the laptop lid I get a quote that makes me laugh or spurs me on and reminds me to put my best effort into everything. There's a lot of wisdom in this world and it's important for me to pay attention to it!

Second, I slip small momentos under a clear hardshell case and sometimes use washi tape to help keep them in place. When I got my first macbook I decided to invest in a case to protect it since I was traveling a lot at the time. I just wanted a basic clear case to keep the computer as simple as it came. A few years into having a clear case on my computer I discovered that I could slip things under the case and voila! Instant inspiration board! Over the years I've had a myriad of different things: pages torn from magazines, inserts from albums I have purchased, and assortments of small things that I've collected along the way. My most recent case iteration isn't completely clear because I bought a cloudy one on accident but I figured I'd give it a go and I do like how it looks - it tones down whatever I have on the back of my laptop which gives it a calmer and less cluttered feel.

(Clockwise, from top left corner: The wine tag from a glass of wine from one of my favorite restaurants in Denver, "Adieu Tristess" clipping from a magazine, a 1940's photo of a girl on a motorcycle that I found at an estate sale, my name as written by the amazing Jessica Triggs, Coffee sleeve from a favorite cafe in Milwaukee, JR's old ID card from when he was a bike messenger) 


Kamis, 18 Desember 2014

What Have You Accomplished This Year?

What Have You Accomplished This Year?



December makes me feel like I haven't done enough each year. I keep an extra close eye on my calendar because the days seem to be scattering faster and faster as the month rolls along. As I lose my December,  I start looking ahead to January, making plans and goals for the upcoming year: "In January I will...I'd better start doing..."

I find that the things I've actually done this year, those well earned and wonderful things that move us forward in life, that are the foundation we are building our next years on get diminished into things that simply were. I don't honor them like I should: my goals and projects kept me company throughout the last year and helped propel me forward into where I am now, ready to take on a new set of goals.

I don't feel like I've done a lot but the reality is different when I calculate it. We moved across the country again. I re-settled into a new home. I made friends here and re-joined an old circle of friends I had dearly missed. I finished up a school year in one of the most difficult classrooms of my career. I took the horse I rode in Colorado from a walk to a trot to a canter, and took thousands of beautiful photographs of my life. I had a birthday, had an anniversary, went to Canada twice, and started work on a large project as well as lining up some traveling for 2015. I don't think I figured much out this year - this was a year of questions, not answers - but I do know that I got somewhere. My heart is at peace.

So, what have you accomplished this year?  That's my question to you as we walk forward into the next year together. I beg you to honor and not diminish the things that you have done this year as the foundation for all that you hope for and plan for next year. Let me know what you are proud of. Flip through your blog archives, journal entries, or sketchbooks and remember the things you've forgotten you've done.





Yes, I broke my rule of not portraying Detroit as a ruined city but when you find yourself here with a bunch of friends you just have to seize the photo opportunity. Sorry, Detroit. 

Shirt: From a clothes swap with friends
Pants: Madewell
Shoes: j. crew

Senin, 15 Desember 2014

Everyday Workwear Makeup Tutorial

Everyday Workwear Makeup Tutorial

This week I wanted to put together a tutorial for the makeup that I was wearing in my workwear photos for you all! It's an easy, effortless look perfect for every day  casual wear or a work day. 

Podington Bear - Ember


➳ Product List:
MAC - Blanc Type Matte Eyeshadow  (
Smashbox - Photo Op Trio in Screenshot (
The Face Shop - Make Me Star Waterproof Gell Liner (
Revlon - Eyelash Curler (
Makeup Forever - Smoky Extravagant Mascara (
The Face Shop - Design My Eyebrow Brown Color 2 (
MAC - Pro Eye Makeup Remover (
MAC - Pro Longwear Concealer N15 (
Clinique - Rich Nude Rich Texture Blush (Not Available Any More...I should invest in some new blush!)
Makeup Forever - Mat Bronze Matte Bronzer (
NARS - The Multiple Luxor (
Makeup Forever - Rouge Artist Natural N9 (

Kamis, 11 Desember 2014

The Compass

The Compass



God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Rilke's Book of hours I.59







Coat: Barbour
Jacket: Unknown
Jeans: Madewell
Boots: Steve Madden
Scarf: Unknown

Senin, 08 Desember 2014

You Should Know: Winter Workwear - Three Essential Cold Office Survival Tips

You Should Know: Winter Workwear - Three Essential Cold Office Survival Tips



This was a year of huge changes. We moved from Colorado to Michigan (talk about culture shock!), I took a break from teaching, and there are more big things in store for us this year, too!

One of the big things that changed was my work dress code. As a teacher it's all about comfortable shoes, durability, and whether or not you have to dry clean your clothes because when you work with 26 eight year olds your clothes will get dirty.  This year I have found myself working in a very different setting! I sit most of the day and the dress code requirements are a stricter than my Colorado Elementary School (no jeans, ever!).

I work in a large drafty studio with huge windows that was built in the early 1900s and the heating and cooling in that place is very inconsistent! I've learned a lot about staying warm at work this year and I wanted to feature a few practical office appropriate outfits that I can wear to work and share what I've learned about working in a c-c-cold place! Luckily I do work in a creative/design oriented department so being fashion forward or trying out a new look to see if it's going to work is totally just needs to be professional!

1) Layer Up! - The temperature of my workplace fluctuates from day to day so I have found that layering is the perfect solution. I'll wear three or four thin layers to work so that I can adjust to whatever temperature they decide to set the building at that day. An example of layers would be something like a cotton base layer (tank top), a long or short sleeved shirt, and a blazer or sweater. Sometimes I'll even pair a larger sweater over a blazer or a larger blazer over a cardigan. Layers, especially if you concentrate on a singular color palate and correct fit, can look completely professional. I rotate a few large pashmina scarves with my coats every day, too, and can pull those and put them on even after my coat has been taken off or use them on my lap or around me as a blanket under my desk, too! 

2) Fabric Content Matters! - This is the most important tip I can give you. If you really want to stay warm invest in some wool or cashmere sweaters, blazers, and base layers. I know for sure that a wool sweater is going to be significantly warmer than an acrylic sweater or cotton sweater of the same weight. I don't like bulky, shapeless layers so picking thin layers in the right fabrics helps me to stay put together looking and feeling. The blazer featured in this post is actually a polly/wool blend and is incredibly warm and cozy! I have a few vintage blazers that go a step above and beyond and are a thin wool suiting with a silk lining and they are the warmest of them all! Silk can keep you incredibly warm even though it is very thin. 

3) Coffee/Tea/Hot Cocoa is your friend! - Does your office have a hot water heater or coffee maker in it? Drinking warm beverages really does help warm you from the inside out and can be a great way to cope with a freezing office! If your office doesn't have one, you could consider bringing one in. Many years ago I worked for one winter in an office that didn't have anything like that set up. I bought a super cheap electric kettle (with an auto shut-off!) and some tea and brought it in for everyone to share to help us stay warm and cozy under the guise of it being a winter treat for my co-workers. Everyone loved it and started bringing in their tea, hot cocoa, and even a french press coffee maker for everyone to share. I only invested about thirty bucks in the whole thing but it really helped me stay warm and build the office community. 



Jacket: Express (ca. 2006, so no longer available.)
Blazer: Ann Taylor ( can't find this online anywhere! I'll update if I do.)
Shirt: Old Navy
Shoes: J. Crew
Purse: Franklin Covey (somewhat similar here)

Kamis, 04 Desember 2014

You Should Know: How to Make Your Own DIY Luxury Sleep Mask

You Should Know: How to Make Your Own DIY Luxury Sleep Mask

Sleep is important, right? It's a fact that's drilled into us from an early age but so many of us, myself included, struggle to get our required 8 hours a night. I don't know if you're like me, but I'm a very light sleeper. I need white noise, complete darkness, and the right type of pillow (memory foam!) in order to make it through the night without disruption.

Recently, I saw Lisa Eldredge's Long Haul Flight beauty routine and the thing that stood out the most to me was the fabulous sleep mask she uses on flights. It had two ribbons instead of an elastic band, was filled with lavender, and was made out of the loveliest fabric. I wanted one to use to sleep with on a nightly basis instead of just throwing a T-shirt over my eyes. When I looked at the price tag (around $100!) I decided I could make my own luxury sleep mask using scraps of fabric from my fabric stash. Surprisingly it took me only about five to ten minutes of sewing to make this! Photographing it took far longer.

DIY Sleep Mask

- Scrap Fabric
- Pen
- Paper to draw pattern on
- Thread
- Ribbon
- Sewing Machine
- Pins



1. Take the paper you are going to use to draft your pattern and draw a sleep mask pattern. You can trace one you already have, you can trace a pair of sunglasses (like I did - old, giant, vintage Ray Bans make a great sleep mask pattern!), or download one from the internet and print it (try here!). Go ahead and cut it out and try it on for size to see if you want to modify it at all!



2.  Fold your fabrics in half and stack them on top of each other. I decided to use three per sleep mask - a silk inner lining that rests against my face, a cotton interlining to make sure it blocked out all the light, and a fun japanese linen to decorate the outside! Add the pattern that you just drew on top of it (folded in half and lined up with the folds of the fabric!) and cut through all the layers of fabric. You can also cut them one at a time if you need to.



3. Pin the silk layer and the interlining together and sew around the edge so that they become one piece. This will make the silk easier to work with, especially if you used lining silk like I did! 


4. Take your ribbon pieces and pin them to the RIGHT SIDE of your fashion fabric. I chose to have them cross so that when they were tied they angled up above the ponytail I always have in my hair when I sleep. Run a few stitches to secure the ribbon so they don't move while you sew the rest of the sleep mask. 



5. Secure the ribbons to the center of the sleep mask using pins - this makes it more difficult to accidentally sew the ribbon into the edges of the sleep mask when you in the next few steps.


6. Pin the RIGHT SIDES together - this means that I put the silk fabric facing the ribbons that I had just secured onto the fashion fabric and pinned. Sew around most of the edge but leave a little gap to turn the sleep mask inside out. 


7. Turn the mask inside out using the little gap that you had left. 


8. Press the sleep mask flat, and concentrate on pressing clean seams for that gap, too. We are going to use the pressing + topstitching to close the gap instead of hand stitching the gap closed. 


9. Topstitch around the whole mask. This will help stabilize it and close the gap in the mask as well! All done!!!



If you have any questions or need anything explained further please feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email! If you do make this project I'd love to see a picture, too! 

PS: Have you checked out my giveaway? I'm giving away a few of my favorite beauty products to celebrate my November Beauty Wrap Up! You can find it here

Senin, 01 Desember 2014

November Beauty Wrap Up!

November Beauty Wrap Up!

My newest beauty wrap up is up and running! I think I will be doing Vlogs wherever possible for beauty posts because it's so easy to demonstrate how the products work using this format!

Also included in this month's beauty wrap up is my very first blog giveaway! Check out the video (you can click here to skip directly to what I'm giving away) to see what I'll be giving away and use the rafflecopter below the video to enter!

Elizabeth Royal - Ashes

➳ Product List:
Kiehl's Rosa Artica (
OST C20 Original Pure Vitamin C Serum (
Sonia Kashuk No. 27 Gel Eyeliner Brush (
Makeup Forever Aqua Creamliner Sample set (full sized here:
Holika Holika Nail Polish (Various nail polishes here:
Holika Holika Jewel-Light Waterproof Eyeliner (
MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover (
Vitamin Cleansing Dessert Magic Cream Soap in Berry Mix Extract (
Sheet Masks - My Beauty Diary (Huge assortment here:, Holika Holika ( and Etude House (
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (ttp://

(Some links may be affiliate links, FYI. None of the products in the above video were given to me by the company, I purchased some of them and a friend with too much makeup gave me the rest!)

Selasa, 25 November 2014

Chicago for the Weekend - A Travel Vlog!

Chicago for the Weekend - A Travel Vlog!

I had so much fun making my Toronto travel Vlog that I decided to take my camera and a better SD card along to a weekend trip I took with my mom in Chicago.

We checked out a cupcake ATM, looked at Christmas Decorations, went shopping, and went down to China Town! It was a great, but short, visit to a cold city!

Selasa, 18 November 2014

Travel ABCs

Travel ABCs

I don't really post long blocks of text very often on my blog. I prefer pictures, (or a video these days!) and a couple of paragraphs. But, when I saw this on Yalanda's blog, Laugh Anyway, I couldn't resist. I try to make a dedicated point of remembering things - I'll actually sit there and it'll look like I'm doing nothing but I'm actually conjuring memories and re-enforcing them and the details of things in my brain. And some of my favorite memories are travel memories. This was a great exercise in pulling up some long forgotten, rusty memories, and it allowed me to dig through pictures of some of the trips I've taken in my life that I haven't peeked at in a while!

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, 2012
(a)ge you went on your first international trip: When I was 18 months old my family moved to the Philippines! I don't really even remember it! I do remember lots of flying later in my childhood, though - Philippines to London, via Frankfurt, back and forth between the states and the Philippines, and so on. This was back in the day when your friends could wait with you at the airport gate and you could peek into the cockpit and chat with the pilots halfway through an international flight if you were a bored child.
(b)est foreign beer you’ve had and where: I wish I could drink beer! Celiac can be kind of a bummer...
(c)usine [favorite]: I have to say I love Thai food above all other cuisines. After that is Korean, Japanese, and then Philipino, in that order. Clearly I spent my formative years in southeast Asia...
(d)estinations- favorite, least favorite, & why: Of the places I've gone to I have loved Paris the most. I know everyone thinks it's over rated and expensive and the Parisians are rude and all that but my trip to Paris with my sister was a dream. A perfect 1860's apartment with carved marble fire places, parquet floors, and corniced ceilings near the St. Michelle, a generous host, and the entire grey City of Lights and the Eiffel Tower and the wet streets and the street lamps reflecting and the fashionable ladies with drivers getting out of their town cars and scarves and coats and kids sitting in front of the Notre Dame at two in the morning breakdancing and watching and yelling and bottles of champagne to finish the trip off with. To be young and to be there... Paris is indeed the movable feast.

Now my least favorite...that's a hard one. I don't think I haven't liked anywhere I've gone. Some places have surprised me more than others (I did not, for example, expect to fall in love with Japan hardcore when we were there in 2009 because I had written it off as the land of anime) but there hasn't been a place I haven't liked.

Picture 028
Singapore, 2009
(e)vent you experienced that made you say wow: There have been so many because I am easily awestruck. I think maybe some of the strange things out in the desert and maybe the stars at night in the middle of Utah and that warm, inky blue darkness and the Meteor shower coming down in all directions, tiny scattered stars blazing their way across the sky, flaring and dying against the background of the milky way splashed above it, bleeding light in every direction. 
(f)avorite mode of transportation: Trains. With Internet. The most civilized way to travel distances these days. 

IMG_9688 1
Somewhere outside of Anchorage, Alaska, 2013 (This photo was taken at 2:00 AM!! This was the darkest it got our whole trip!)
(g)reatest feeling while traveling: I think that feeling of just being somewhere different, and in everything, learning. Adjusting, and changing as a person. The best trips are the trips where you are better because you've gone.  
(h)ottest place you’ve ever traveled to: Manila, the Philippines, in the summer. Oooh yeah, equatorial countries in the summer sure know how to make you suffer! 

Reyes Point
Point Reyes, California, 2010
(i)ncredible service you’ve experienced: I've been to some outstanding hotels - there was one in New Orleans that sticks out in my brain, The Roosevelt, as being a terrific place with impeccable service. We always stay at the Hilton Garden Inn outside Toronto and the front desk staff know us by name and are incredibly nice and always hold our luggage on Sundays so we can walk around the city unencumbered. The true gold star service award goes, without a doubt, to the resort we stayed at in Peurta Vallarta, Casa Velas. The resort is amazing to begin with. The staff are wonderful and took care of everything. Beyond that, though, while I was staying there I got stung by a sting ray and needed to go to the Emergency room in Mexico. I was at the detached beach and the cabana boys, bartenders, and beach people dropped everything to help me. They phoned the main resort and got me a driver, a car, a translator, sent the hotel manager along with me and my friends, and helped me negotiate the medical system in a country where I did not speak the language. They waited at the hospital while the nurses dealt with the sting ray sting, helped me get the two prescriptions I needed (antibiotics, because the stingray barbs carry bad bacteria), and made sure I was doing OK for the rest of the stay because my mobility was limited with the stingray barb. Truly top notch service. I've never experienced anything like it anywhere and we've stayed in some super pricy places!

Ouray, Colorado, 2012
(j)ourney that took the longest: Milwaukee to Manila. Via LAX, usually. 
(k)eepsake from your travels: I always buy wearables. Repeat places tend to get things along a theme - Santa Fe and Moab each have a piece of Silver and Turquoise Jewelry. Major cities like Paris and Tokyo get major wearables - a winter coat in Tokyo and a dress in Paris, an evening gown in Singapore and Penang. I also buy cosmetic wherever I go... but that may be more of a compulsion and less of a keepsake. 

Picture 424
Penang, Malaysia, 2009
(l)et-down sight, where & why: I can't think of any place I've ever been let down by. Maybe Marseilles? But it was more just a rough interaction with a person and unfortunate timing because they were rioting in the suburbs and the ones we had to get through were on fire than the actual city being terrible. 
(m)oment when you fell in love with travel: I think travel was such a normal thing when I was a kid because of how much we moved. It was like breathing for us for many years. I think the moment I realized I needed it was when I stopped doing it very often. I took it for granted, that's for sure, because it was a way of life for my family. When I got married, though, I realized my husband wasn't much of a traveler. I think I had assumed everyone who was adventurous like traveling but I realized it wasn't like that. He liked adventuring but what qualified as an adventure was different for him. He likes activities that involve the risk of breaking his neck. I like getting lost in new places where I don't speak the language. So...I guess I realized I was in love with it when it was gone. We've come to a compromise - I just go by myself or with friends now but it took many years of being married and trying to negotiate him coming with me to get there! 
(n)icest hotel you’ve stayed at: I've stayed at some nice hotels but truly some much nicer houses, among them a privately owned tutor era hunting house in the UK, that Paris Apartment I mentioned above, and several other lovely private homes of people who have opened their doors to me and my family as we've gone around the world. 
(o)bsession- what do you take photos of while traveling: People. I want people in the pictures because often, at the end of the day, it's not where you were, it was who you were with. 
Picture 138
Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee, 2009

(p)assport stamps- 32, in all four passports. 
(q)uirkiest attraction you’ve visited & where: Dollywood. The Dolly Parton Theme Park in TN. There's truly nothing else like it in the world. I love it so much. Every time we visit relatives near it we try to make time to stop there and ride the roller coasters. 
(r)eally frightening- a place where you felt unsafe or uneasy: Marseilles. My sister and I were followed by a crazy man who was grabbing at us up and down the streets of that city until we went into a bank (the first open building we could find) and explained to the guy at the front desk that we were being followed. He went outside and chased the old coot away and then we decided to go home because we had had enough of Marseilles. On the ride home we were stuck in terrible traffic - the suburbs were rioting at the time and they were burning things down so the smoke from the buildings on fire was floating over the interstate and making it hard to see and creating a terrible traffic jam. Just a rough travel day, but we had gone to try to see the ocean and oh, that Mediterranean Sea. She sure is beautiful.

Rust and the Desert
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2011
(s)plurge- something you have no problem spending on while traveling: Clothes. Jewelry. Because I'm going to wear it again and again, and again. I don't buy souvenirs that are little decorative things because I like minimalist looking homes, but my closet is ever-expanding. 

The Second San Fransisco Day
San Francisco, CA, 2010
(t)ouristy thing you’ve done: There are so many. JR and I love touristy things. We went whale watching in Prince William Sound in Alaska on one of those dinner cruise boats, except we brought our own dinner because I read the boat dinner was terrible (totally the way to go!) 
(u)nforgettable travel memory: JR and I randomly went to an old temple in Japan. Totally unexpectedly because he had a very, very long layover (almost 24 hours). After we got some sleep in a teeny tiny little hotel we started wandering the outskirts of Tokyo. The garden of the temple we visited had been cultivated for over a thousand years. I had never been to a thousand year old garden before and the whole thing was so beautifully landscaped and fresh, timeless but also old in a way that I hadn't experienced before. Everything was purposeful, nothing was wasted. It was tranquil and serene and hushed and I couldn't believe that the people who lived at the temple were doing the same work someone had done a thousand years earlier. I think that visiting Japan was a completely pivotal moment in my life in a lot of ways, and the garden had a lot to do with it. 

Arches National Park, Utah, 2011
(v)isas- how many and for where: six for the Philippines since we lived there for seven years (and a declaration card from traveling there the 90s, too, shoved in one of my old passports!), one for Japan. 
(w)ine- best glass while traveling: I don't really drink much so I don't really remember! 
e(x)cellent view & from where: The Eiffel Tower - the lights of Paris at night are no joke! A band called Geographer sings a really great song about it and it has a line that goes, "The roofs of the city like an ocean spread for miles..." and even though the song is kind of sad it's really lovely to have it help me remember that view! 
Also, instead of going to Canyonlands National Park in Zion, UT, go to the nearby Dead Horse Point State Park. Even though the name is more ominous, the view is more incredible and it's way less crowded (and has super nice bathrooms!). This is one of my many Moab ProTips. I should probably get my Moab City Guide up and running soon! 

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, 2011
(y)ears spent traveling: Always. My whole life, I guess.
(z)ealous sports fans and where: Hmmmmm... this is a really hard one because I don't pay too much attention to sports besides the equestrian disciplines and generally adults who watch equestrian events are quite subdued (unless their children are competing. Horse show moms are a whole different story. Oh, and Kentucky Derby watchers, too.). 

Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2012