Monday, February 9, 2015

Now Seeking New Experiences

To wrap this post up in one sentence before I've even gotten past the intro, experience usually doesn't find you, you find it.  Week after week, I go from home to work and back again.  I rarely take alternate routes, make unnecessary stops or spontaneously change my destination.

This past weekend, I was reading a blog post by LaTonya Yvette which featured photos of her and her son in front of an amazing mural of a woman breast feeding a child.  Instantly, I thought how lucky she is to live in New York where there must be countless wonderful murals and street art to enjoy and photograph.  On second thought, I realized that I live in Los Angeles where there are countless murals and lots of street art and many amazing things to enjoy and photograph.  I just don't make the effort to seek those things out.

I often shy away from new experiences because new things give me A LOT of anxiety.  I often google new places I'm going to visit just so I can get a feel for what the location looks like and the general atmosphere in which I'll be spending some time.  It's super odd, I know, but it helps me feel less anxious.  And, if it's between cyber-stalking a new place and not going at all, I choose to be the creeper checking everything out in advance.  Most times, I have to force myself to do new things, but in the end it's usually very worth it.  The events I'm most freaked out about end up being unforgettable experiences that I'm happy to have had.

Here's the deal.  You're not going to find amazing if you're not looking for it.  You'll never explore the world if you're constantly hiding in your own little corner of it.  You have to go and find and try.  You have to seek new, exciting experiences and discover your own murals.

This week, I challenge you (and myself too!) to experience one new thing.  If you'd be so kind, come back afterward and share your experience in the comment section!  Thank you for reading and happy Monday!

<3 n

Friday, February 6, 2015

Greek-ish Salad-in-a-Jar

This salad isn’t truly Greek, but when in America, do as the Americans do and make it your own I say.  Yes, I know many a sacred tradition has been destroyed by the injection of American “culture” but bear with me - the recipe’s pretty tasty!  Here it is…

2 tbsp Greek Dressing
6 to 8 Kalamata Olives
1 medium Tomato
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
1/2 Cucumber
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1.3 oz Feta Cheese (I used an 8oz chunk and sliced it in sixths for 6 salads)
3/4 cup Chick Peas
1/2 Red Onion
1 Grilled Portobello Mushroom (I marinated mine lightly in Worcestershire sauce)

Ensure each ingredient is chopped (if necessary) into bit-sized pieces, layer into your mason jar in the order listed and there you have it!  Since I’m a vegetarian, my meaty element was the portobello mushroom but for J’s salads I replaced the mushroom with bacon.  As I made three salads for him in advance and stored them in the fridge, I made sure to drain, squeeze and pretty much wring out the bacon to remove as much of its grease as possible.

In other news, I’ve been a big mason jar fan lately as have many others as a quick Pinterest search would attest.  Their classic classiness combined with their multitude of uses makes them both a form and a function.  I’m thinking of doing a future post featuring mason jars and the ways we use them around our house.  What do you think?

I hope you enjoyed this post!  Happy Friday and happy weekend!

<3 n

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Very Thankful Thursday: It Could Always be Worse

This Thankful Thursday post will be short and sweet as I’m very tired today.  This week has been slightly rocky, but I’m trying desperately to look on the bright side as there are so many things which I know my family and I are lucky to have - most of all, each other.  Things can always be worse (knock on wood).  So when it seems like all is lost and you don’t see a way out, focus all your energy on what you do have, the resources you can find and the people who love and support you.  Don’t give up ever for that is the surest my to secure the fate of which you are most fearful.

<3 n

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Valentine's Day Outfits 2015!!

As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I put together three outfits inspired by our little ones and all the love I have for them.  Make sure to click the numbered links below each photo to shop your favorite items!

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

1 - 2 - 3 - 4

<3 n

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My January Favorites 2015!!

Welcome to my very first monthly favorites post!  I really love watching monthly favorites videos and posts because they're like a bunch of mini reviews stuffed into one tidy package.  That is why, this year, I’ve decided to do my own monthly favorites blog posts.  I hope you enjoy them too!  Let’s begin, shall we?

First up, we have the Clarisonic Mia 2.  I must confess I am not kind to my skin and I know it’s a terrible, terrible sin indeed.  I often fall asleep in my makeup and the deep-cleansing ritual I formerly employed included a lot of harsh scrubbing with rough wash cloths.  No more!  I love how clean the Mia 2 gets my skin and how quickly it completes the task.  It truly killed two of my baddest birds with one stone.  It’s quick and easy so the once-daunting task of removing my makeup in the evening is now a breeze and it’s so effective I don’t need to abuse my skin to feel completely clean.

Next is Urban Decay’s Naked on the Run palette.  I have used this almost everyday since I received it from J for Christmas.  The eyeshadows are well-pigmented and the blush and bronzer are great.  The reviews I’ve watched have agreed that the palette could do with the addition of a darker shade, but I think it’s an awesome little kit all the same.  I would highly recommend it to someone just starting out with makeup as it offers a good sampling of neutral shades and it contains everything you need (minus foundation and concealer if you partake of them) to create a beautiful, natural look.

I don’t always buy nail polish, but when I do I am on a quest to find the perfect neutral-y baby pink color as well as any product that helps my manicure last.  I am not a girly girl when it comes to my nails.  I wish I was, but my life just doesn’t allow for it.  I do a lot of cleaning, scrubbing, outdoorsy tasks, etc and it all takes its toll on my nails.  I really want to start getting regular mani/pedis both for the sake of my nails and as a little bit of ritualistic pampering.  Anyway, back to these favorites.  I picked up a beautiful soft pink, a base coat and a top coat from Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure line.  I was very impressed with how long my nails stayed chip-free and shiny and I will definitely be purchasing other colors from this range.

As the state of the packaging may tell you, this product has been with me for a while.  I purchased it some time ago and gave it couple tries, but for some reason I drifted away from using it (I don’t remember why).  Within the past month, I revisited Neutrogena’s Shine Control Primer and I’ve been loving it.  It feels a bit gritty upon application, but I believe sacrificing a super smooth application for a shine-free face is pretty worth it.  I apply it under Neutrogena’s Nourishing Long Wear Foundation and I am very pleased with the combo.

This brilliantly pink purse is a little summery for the current season, but I love it sooooo much!  And, hey, I live in California.  No one can accuse us of having a winter.  This beautiful bag came from Target with a small price tag and a big discount (I got it for 30% off last month I think and someone told me they are 70% off currently).  I Instagrammed a photo of this purse along with a couple other pink items today.  Check it out here if you’re interested. :)

Next up we have an oldie (as tech standards go) but a goodie - my iPhone 5S.  I’ve had this phone for a little over a year and I’m still as happy with it today I was when I first unboxed it.  I am featuring it as a favorite this month due to its performance despite many unfortunate moments lately.  In early January, on a rainy day, I dropped my phone into the gutter which had turned into a small rushing river due to the rain.  A moment passed before I even realized I’d dropped it and another couple moments passed before I finally found it, made an effort to shake it dry and then waited for it to die on me.  It never did!  To my surprise, my phone was still working an hour, a day and now a whole month later.  My phone has also endured plenty of other drops including a face plant in the parking lot and a swim in the shower.  Except for the damage seen above, my phone remains unharmed and I remain a happy iPhone user.

This is my newest gadget purchase - the Intuos Pen & Touch Tablet.  My dad bought me a similar device when I was little and it was one of my favorite things all those years ago.  I remember one of the first things I drew with it - a bowl of fruit.  This time around, I was just as excited as I was back then.  I haven't had a moment to really work with it, but the few test drives I’ve done have been quite promising.

I’ve used mason jars for almost everything this past month from food storage to gifts and everything in between.  They’re clear so they perfectly showcase whatever you fill them with, they’re inexpensive (I purchased a pack of twelve 32oz jars for $9.99 at Target) and they have a wonderful homemade look.  I have a foodie post coming up on Friday featuring a mason jar so be sure to look out for that!

Looking back on the impromptu trip to Bath & Body works that led me to purchase this candle, I could kick myself for not buying every last one they had.  I believe the scent has been discontinued save for their wallflowers product which is cool and all but I’m a candle girl.  The Sunset Beach scent smells like what you'd imagine the perfect beach to smell like on the best day ever - warm, sweet and just enough sand to let you know you're at beach but not enough to get stuck in your swimsuit.  It's wonderful.

Lastly, I have another scented favorite which also has beachy qualities.  This Febreze spray smells like sweet, sunny, salty sea air.  Lovely!  I'm not sure why I've been so attracted to summery things lately.  The season won't be here for months and I'm not even a huge fan of summer.

Well, that is it for my January favorites!  Thanks so much for reading!!  If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and if you have a January favorites video or post to share, please leave me the link below!  Thank you!

<3 n

Monday, February 2, 2015

Motivational Monday: Try, Try Again

There’s a reason the old adage above has stood the test of time.  It is some of the best advice that’s ever been uttered.  As humans, our failures always outweigh our successes.  It’s simply in our nature.

To say I didn’t succeed this past month would be an understatement.  January was a complete fail for me.  I was sick and subsequently got others around me sick.  I didn’t complete the gallon-a-day water challenge.  I haven’t blogged consistently.  The list goes on…

I thought about quitting my blog altogether because I don’t want to be one of those people who makes promise after promise to do something big and then ends up disappointing again and again.  Although my posting history says otherwise, I really care about blogging.  I love writing and creating.  I’ve just let life get in the way which I know is unacceptable.

At the risk of failing once more, I am setting out to make this new month a great, goal-fueled and accomplishment-filled period of time.  I know the only thing worse than failing is giving up and refusing to try, try again.

If you’re having a hard time reaching a goal (or multiple goals for that matter), please know that you are not alone!!  I am in the same seemingly sinking boat.  I’m highly disappointed in myself, completely lacking in commitment and experiencing an overload of self-doubt.  I’m going to try again however and I encourage you to do the same.

Please comment below if you’re going through a similar slump or if you’ve got some great advice on how to dig oneself out of a rut.  I’d really appreciate it!

<3 n

P.S. The photo behind the quote was taken from our balcony last week! :)