It’s Finally Friday!

This week I’ve been very productive, and I think it’s putting me in a better mood. I love the feeling of getting something done (at least after it’s done); and my to-do list for the next couple months is a mile long, so it’s nice to get some things crossed off. I’m trying to make sure I have everything I need for three different trips, while also getting ready to move out.

First of all I’ve been up late into the night every day to do research for our road trip in July – it’s really happening! Turns out saving money can be the most time consuming thing of all. I had the general plan of where we wanted to go done long ago, and if money wasn’t an issue, I would have just ordered everything through hotels.com and been done already. But I’m determined to stay frugal, and this trip is all about outdoor experiences, so I’m making sure to know about every possible free campground close to where we’re going (which mostly means BLM areas and boondock camping). By the way, did you know that some places charge 30-50 dollars for us to set up a tent for a night without using any amenities at all? That’s definitely not what we’re looking for (you could get a bad hotel room for that). Even when we’re camping at the Grand Canyon we’re hoping to stay in a $12 a night campground.

Is it ridiculous that even writing about this has me all excited with a big grin on my face? I’m determined to make this the best summer ever. Well, second to the summer we got married, which is still a pretty tall order.

When I’m not on my computer planning I’ve been doing house chores, packing up and throwing away things we don’t use on a daily basis, and going shopping for the things we still need for over a month in the wild. And I still had time for a fun movie night at a friends place. So right now I’m feeling pretty accomplished! :P However, I’m sure that feeling will go away as soon as this cold weather disappears and I can spend my time in the sun with a good book.

I also just got Julie G’s new Cruise Collection in the mail yesterday! These polishes are absolutely perfect for spring and summer – the colors are adorable. I’m really looking forward to trying them all, and I’ll make sure to share the swatches with you when I do. I’m currently wearing Miami Beach, and it’s gorgeous! I bet it will look amazing out in the sun.

Tahiti, Rio De Janiero, Old San Juan, Canary Islands, Miami Beach, and Santorini.
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Now me and Andy are headed to Atlanta to hear his cousin play a concert! Check out the Milk Carton Kids!

Manicure Monday: Silver Plaid

I’ve been googling “plaid nails” for inspiration (ah, thank god for google), and some of those designs really amaze me. My free-hand painting isn’t quite where it needs to be just yet though, so I settled for a simpler pattern. Since I love sharp lines, and knew that even with taping they might not be perfect, I decided on using striping tape as a finish because it hides any uneven lines you might have painted underneath. I’m actually very happy with this look.

I used Pure Ice Internationally Known, Essie Blanc, and Seche Vite as a top coat.
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On my accent nail I used regular scotch tape to section off the white area, and I removed it carefully as soon as the polish was on. I then added a top coat and waited for it to dry. Using silver striping tape (which you can get really cheap on Amazon) I taped the plaid pattern, and cut the ends off using small nail scissors. Then I added more top coat for a shiny finish.

On the other nails I just used a small dotting tool (a bobby pin would also work) to create the dots.
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Link up with Glitter and Gloss if you have a link to one of your own recent manicures!
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Btw, which background do you like better, light or dark? I can’t decide.

Sunday Laziness

Am I the only one who can sometimes be so lazy that I’d rather yell across a couple of rooms instead of getting off my butt and finding the person I’m talking to? Sometimes I’ll even resort to texting… Ah, the shame. To my defense that normally only happens when I’m sick. Or tired. Or just really caught up in a good book.

It’s made for some interesting conversations, though. Especially since I’m normally in the living room or bedroom, while Andy spends most of his time in our office – often wearing headphones and playing video games. By now we have a running joke of me yelling something, him getting up to check on me, and me saying “oh, while you’re up could you *insert favor here*?” with a big grin. Somehow I find this much more hilarious than Andy.

The other day, for the first time, it wasn’t my laziness that interrupted him though.

Andy: (playing a video game with headphones on) Are you talking?
Me: No, I didn’t say anything.
Andy: I can’t talk right now.
Me: What?
Andy: (getting up) What are you saying??
Me: I never said anything.
Andy: Ahh! I’m in a stressful mission!

He then left the room in a hurry while I laughed my butt off. Yeah.. I might not win the wife-of-the-year award anytime soon.

While we’re talking about laziness. I have been completely out of it all day; hardly being able to stay awake or focus on anything. And I blame it on our food coma last night. We made a delicious chicken dish, ate it while watching The Italian Job, had brownies for dessert, and played Rayman on xBox while snacking on skittles. You know. A regular healthy Saturday night.
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That’s why I’ve decided that it’s the perfect day to sit on the couch and read travel articles while planning our road trip – Seriously, I’m addicted! And when that gets old I’ll be watching Lost Girl or reading Ashfall. Both are great choices for Sunday entertainment!

What are your Sunday plans?

My 5 Favorite e.l.f. Products

I’m probably not the only girl who spends quite a bit of money on makeup every year. I would like to be able to save wherever I can, but cheap makeup is often bad makeup. It might simply not look good, but it could also dry up your skin and give you breakouts. Which is why a bad product can often be more expensive than it seems.

Eyes Lips Face (abbreviated e.l.f.) is known for their incredibly cheap makeup, and the last couple of years I have realized that some of their products are pretty good quality too. I normally put in a couple large orders a year, so that I can use their free shipping offer – on orders over $35. E.l.f. still can’t replace my favorite brands, but there are some products that I am more than happy to save some money on, and here are my top five favorites:

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Waterproof eyeliner Pen – $2.00

I always buy at least three of these eyeliners with every order. I love how easy it is to use and how long it lasts. It doesn’t do great on your wetline, but it’s perfect for a nice cat eye look. My only complaint is that it doesn’t last quite as long as its more expensive equals, but for the price I think it’s more than worth it. I still have a couple other eyeliners that I love, but I will still keep stocking up on this one too.

Angled Eyeliner Brush – $3.00

I am no expert when it comes to makeup brushes, but I have been very happy with several of the brushes in the e.l.f. Studio collection. The one I use the most though, is the angled eyeliner brush. I’m a fan of gel or cream eyeliners, especially those that are waterproof enough to be worn on the wetline. I use one from Make Up For Ever, and I need a brush to apply it. I’ve used my brush for over two years, but it started looking a little rough so I just now bought two new ones. I don’t see the point in paying more for a brush from a different brand when this one works so well.

Makeup Remover Wipes – $3.00

The wipes from Neutrogena used to be my favorite until I decided to try these from e.l.f. I still love them both, and in quality I would say they are pretty much interchangeable, but the ones from e.l.f. smell much better and they only cost 15 cents a wipe, versus Neutrogena’s 26 cents a wipe. Not a life-changing difference, but I think it’s enough to be worth it for something you use daily.

I also haven’t noticed any negative side effects – breakouts etc. – from either product, but I always make sure to rinse my face off with warm water after I’ve removed all my makeup, so that no residue from the wipes is left. I think that is a good policy for any makeup removers, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Mineral Infused Face Primer – $6.00

A good primer is a must if you want your makeup to stay on all day. And it makes your skin nice and even so that your foundation goes on looking better. I ordered the Tone Adjusting Green, which is ideal for minimizing redness and correcting blotchy skin. My cheeks tend to get a bit red – and even more so during the summer. I have used mine for a few months now and I’m very happy with it. Make sure you only use a tiny bit of it, though! It will make your face oily if you use as much as you think you need. If that happens just use a facial tissue to blot off the excess cream/shine. I use it everywhere in my face except on my eyelids, where I’ve been using an eye shadow primer from Too Faced – it has been working so well that I’m not ready to switch it out.

Matte Lip Color – $3.00

I only own the color Rich Red, but I’ll definitely be getting a couple new ones in my next order. Bright or dark red have always been my favorite lip colors though, and this one does not dissapoint. The color is bright and gorgeous, and it LASTS! It stays on for longer than my MAC lipsticks (which I still love) – and without clumping. The color will fade a bit, but it will still look great after a whole night out.

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What are your favorite products from e.l.f.?

Nail Polish Tutorial – Dotted Flowers

I got good responses to my nail polish tutorial on Christmas trees this past December, so I figured I’d try making another one. Like last time I stuck to a seasonal design, and I also couldn’t help myself since I keep seeing gorgeous flowers everywhere I go right now!

Let me know if you like it and I might just make a few more!

  1. Paint your nails in a base color of your pick. I prefer a soft pastel so that the design stands out, and since I’m currently in love with everything that reminds me of spring I used a lovely shade of yellow from Lime Crime called Crema De Limon.
  2. Then I used my largest dotting tool to create five dots on my nail. I used Essie’s A List.
  3. I practiced the shape I wanted on paper a few times first, since this is something you’ll want to do fast so that the dots aren’t dry before the next step.
  4. Use a smaller dotting tool, or a toothpick, to create a line from the middle of each dot to the center of the circle. Nailsartvids has a great video on how this will look if you stop right there. However, I wanted the lines toward the center to have more color, so I dipped the dotting tool in the red color again, and re-traced the lines I just drew.
  5. If you messed up in the previous step (like I did on my leftmost line), just use a toothpick, or pointed dotting tool, dipped in your base color and cover it up.
  6. This last step is optional, and I used Essie’s Blanc to create another dot in the middle of each of my flowers.

When everything is dry you can finish it off with your favorite top coat! I love Seche Vite, but be careful not to smear your design.
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And here’s the finished look. Add as many flowers as you want, just use smaller dotting tools to regulate the sizes.
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Looking at the pictures I think I might prefer the flowers without the white dot. It’s cute both ways, but I think they look a bit more unique in the before-pictures – even though in these pictures they are too textured since I hadn’t added a top coat.
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What do you think?

Packing Up

I have officially started packing up our entire apartment! …and it already looks like a bomb went off in here…

We’re not moving until the end of June, but we’ll be so busy until then that we just have to start early. Andy’s graduation is in a month, so he won’t be able to help until he is done. And a couple days later I leave to go to Norway for three weeks. When I get back we are possibly going on a beach trip with his family, and as soon as we get back we have to move out. Oh and our cross-country road trip will start on the day after our move is done, so I have to get all those plans in order before then too. But even though the thought of all that gets me a little stressed out, I can’t help but to smile because I know this summer will be amazing. And now that we’re moving it kind of signifies a new stage of our lives, which is very exciting.

But, all that aside, moving still seems like a very daunting task…

I honestly had no idea what to do first, but I started by packing up all of our winter clothes and now I’m completely clearing out the closet in our office so that we’ll have somewhere to stack all of the finished boxes. After only a couple hours of working I have already found numerous things I had forgotten I owned, and I’m struggling to be efficient when all I want to do is sit down and go through every little memory I find! :P Yup, I’m definitely the sentimental type.

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Oh, and while cleaning I found so many coins that I decided to take them all to the bank, and it ended up being over $35!

Five Things

I used to do these Five Things posts a long time ago – I got the idea from Cupcakes and Cashmere. I thought it was a good idea to sit down on Sunday nights and think about all the things you did the past week that made you happy. Even if it was just a tiny thing that made you crack a smile. Those are often the things that matter the most, and we should all make sure we don’t take them for granted.

And since this has been such an amazing week, starting with Andy passing his thesis defense and ending with a great day with one of my best friends, I thought it would be the perfect time to write another post about the Five Things that made my week special.

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{Andy passing his thesis defense makes me insanely happy! Though you can’t tell in this picture – we had a lot of fun celebrating.}

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{And and I had such a blast on our scavenger hunt, and I loved spending all that time outdoors.}

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{There are gorgeous flowers everywhere! Spring might have just become my favorite season.}

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{I can’t stop thinking about seeing my beautiful little niece for the first time in May! They are sending me so many pictures!}

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{And I am finally starting to get a hang of this whole smoky eye thing! Took me long enough.}

UGA Scavenger Hunt

These last couple of days me and Andy have been on a fun scavenger hunt all over campus, and the city in general. The graduate school came up with a long list of things that you have to find and take a picture with, and the team with the most points win. Wish us luck! The prizes aren’t huge, but it’s a fun game, and since the weather has been absolutely amazing, it’s been fun to be outside together and do something different than normal. Take a look at the list here.

What I’ve loved the most is getting to see parts of Athens that I’ve never bothered visiting before. When you live somewhere you hardly ever take the time to see the museums, monuments, and famous places of your own city. That’s something you do on vacations instead. At home you get into a routine and pick a few favorite places that you go to every weekend. Which is why, after 4 years of living in Athens I had still never seen The Tree That Owns Itself, even though it’s on every list of things to see while in Athens.

Now that we’ll be moving soon I realized that I wanted to have seen all those small things that make our city special. So this scavenger hunt has been absolutely perfect for that. Today we went to the UGA sports museum for the very first time and it was really, really nice. We took a picture of Herschel Walker’s Heisman Trophy (for the hunt) and took the time to see the rest of the school’s achievements while we were there. We especially enjoyed the football section.

Here are a few of our many silly pictures. I especially like the one from the bus where we had to ask a stranger to take a picture of us while we “look at this map like we’re confused”. Because that probably doesn’t sound strange at all.
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Here is yesterday’s outfit while we hiked through town. A couple of pictures required us wearing Georgia shirts, and the weather was way too hot for anything other than a light skirt. So this was my compromise (including Converses for walking).
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Hmm, I really am in need of a tan right now.
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We’ve done more walking in the past three days than I normally do in two weeks! So now I’m more than ready to relax with some good food and a cold beer. I hope everyone has a great weekend in the spring weather!

Cross Country Road Trip

First of all, thank you guys so much for all of your positive responses to my video blog! I really, really appreciate it. I was a little nervous that no one would watch it at all, but it seems to have been received pretty well. So I am going to take some time and brainstorm for new ideas for future vlogs!

Second of all, I have spent the last few months obsessing over an idea that Andy and I came up with for summer vacation this year. We are on a tight budget, but we wanted to spend some quality time together and celebrate the end of a really awesome 4 years (5 for Andy) in Athens! And I don’t know about you, but when I think about cheap things to do away from home during the summer, the first thing that comes to mind is camping. Especially after we bought our own tent and went on a great camping trip to Three Forks this past fall. So we sat down and tried to figure out where we might want to go camping, and decided that the best thing to do was to pack up our car and go camping across the country. Road trip!

Here is our initial plan, but I’m sure it will look different by the time we are done. We just have to start somewhere.
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We’ve decided that the trip should take about a month, and that we’re mainly spending money on gas and food – but even there we’ll be saving as much as possible. We’ll have a cooler for food and there are plenty of places to camp for free, especially if you plan ahead. Oh, and we’re buying a national park pass! (Only $80 for annual access to all American national parks.) That is our main goal for the trip. To hike and camp in several of the amazing parks on the west side of the country. The ones I’m looking forward to the most is Yosemite and Yellowstone. And probably death valley, although it’s going to be horribly hot when we’re there – in July.

Our first stop was Barnes and Noble for some reading/planning material! We ended up with these two great books. I love the layout of both and how thorough the authors have been. But my favorite has to Your Guide to the National Parks. I have been reading it almost daily for over a month now. The dreamer/planner in me is really going crazy!
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I am more than open to advice if you’ve done long road trips before, or if you’ve been to any of the places on my map. And let me know if you want to read any more about my planning process. If not you can still come along on our trip through the blog!

Cause For Celebration

Andy passed his thesis defense yesterday!! I am incredibly proud of him and I just can’t stop repeating it in my head. After five long years of hard work he can finally stop to breathe, and in one short month he will officially get his PhD in Mathematics!

I went to his defense and, even though I understood absolutely nothing, he was great. (Seriously, out of a 50 minute talk there were probably only four sentences that made sense to me.) He didn’t sound the least bit nervous. Afterward we went out to dinner with his adviser, committee, and friends from the math department. Something like this has to be celebrated, even if it is a Monday night! Which is why the two of us ended up downtown for a few extra drinks.

And we’ll be celebrating again this weekend, for everyone in Athens who is interested in hanging out!
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On a weird side note, am I the only one who hates washing my hands or putting on lotion with my wedding ring on? I just can’t do it. That, paired with my awful memory, is the reason that my ring is strangely absent in this picture. I didn’t notice it until now!

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