Q2 Update to 2018 Goals. New Year, New Goals

Q2 Update to 2018 Goals. New Year, New Goals

At the beginning of January I posted my 12 goals for the 12 months of 2018 (Not one per month, just a nice numeric alliteration of sorts). Since studies show that sharing goals gives you the same burst of endorphins as actually completing them, it’s even more important to keep reporting on progress. Thus, here’s my Q2 2018 update! (For Q1, see here) New Year, […]

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What’s your life philosophy?

What’s your life philosophy?

Gretchen Rubin discusses her 12 Personal Commandments at length between her podcast and her book, Happier. I’ve always believed in the importance of having core beliefs that direct how you view the world. For example, I believe people are inherently good and that Iowans are bad drivers. Personal Commandments are directives based on your core beliefs. Having simple approaches to a life philosophy helps you […]

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Nine by Independence Day Project Pan Conclusion

Nine by Independence Day Project Pan Conclusion

I know how cliche it is to comment on the speed with which time passes. But dang, this year is flying by. And this little project pan is no exception. But, the Fourth of July has come and gone. So here are my results. Smashbox Light It Up Contour (This is one of three mini palettes that were in the Smashbox Light It Up Kit from […]

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Hacks for disconnected solo travel

Hacks for disconnected solo travel

These days nearly everyone has a smart phone. They’re invaluable communication and information tools. At the same time, a number of studies show that reliance on our smart phones takes us out of the moment. It prevents us from embracing the present and seizing the joy of our environment and experiences. You don’t have to go to an overpriced resort in a hipster city to […]

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Stop letting your fantasy self hold you back

Stop letting your fantasy self hold you back

We all have a fantasy self. The person who paints and rides their bike to work while we watch television and endure long commutes in our cars. Through dating, I’ve met a number of people whose fantasy selves travel internationally while their real selves spend their finances and time on other activities. I know someone who has been “learning Spanish” for years, but still taps […]

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Summer Bucket List – 18 for Summer 2018

Summer Bucket List – 18 for Summer 2018

Summer officially begins June 21st. The days of being a student, complete with free summers, are long gone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mark the change in seasons with summer-specific celebrations. As such, here’s my summer bucket list to complete before autumn begins. Leashes at Lauritzen – Take Bentley to dog night at the botanical gardens. Usually we easily recoup our admittance fee in […]

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Setting SMART financial goals

Setting SMART financial goals

I’ve talked before about SMART principles of goal setting. One of the key principles that drives my decisions is that I don’t want to have regrets. Identifying goals is an important step to find maximum happiness and fulfillment in the short lives we have. When evaluating my financial goals, I struggled to make concrete, SMART goals. How was I going to know if I wanted a house […]

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Is your fantasy self cluttering your life?

Is your fantasy self cluttering your life?

I’ve written before about the “fantasy self.” On the surface, having a fantasy self seems like a great thing. Aren’t you supposed to visualize the person you want to be, then go and achieve it? So when is it really a problem to have a fantasy self? From a minimalism perspective, the fantasy self is an aspirational being that prevents us from living our best […]

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Intro to SMART goal setting

Intro to SMART goal setting

I started getting serious with goal setting over a year ago. I developed categories: financial, social, professional, relationship, spiritual, etc., and I spent some time thinking about what I wanted from each area. When I decided to create a visual inspiration for my agenda (a “vision board”) last year, I wanted actual goals. I didn’t want a vision board of black and white photos of […]

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Are you living your fantasy life?

Are you living your fantasy life?

A “fantasy self” is a term used in minimalism communities to describe the person you imagine yourself being. When you picture you at your best–at your most productive, accomplished, skilled, wonderful, happy self–what do you see? Are you a successful businesswoman who gets takeout sushi for lunch and always looks sleek in brand name suits? Are you a multi-talented artist juggling painting, photography, guitar, writing, […]

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What I learned from the Whole30 (and Whole30 Results)

What I learned from the Whole30 (and Whole30 Results)

A month ago I shared that I’d been trying a Whole30. My reasons were plentiful: breaking sugar addiction, evaluating my relationship with food and my food habits, getting healthy, etc. Now, three weeks later, I’m ready to talk about takeaways. Sugar My relationship with sugar hasn’t changed much. I had already been reading labels and eating low-sugar for a while before beginning my Whole30. The […]

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Six ways to hack your lunch hour

Six ways to hack your lunch hour

At my job, I have an hour lunch break for lunch. This has always seemed like a waste of time to me. Let me eat at my desk–especially days when I’m in a groove or have more work to do than hours to do it–and leave a little early to get home to my puppy! (Priorities) Maybe your time suck isn’t your lunch hour. Maybe […]

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Nine by Independence Day – Project Pan Update

Nine by Independence Day – Project Pan Update

With just over a month to go, it’s time for a nice little update to my current project pan, Nine by Independence Day. Smashbox Light It Up Contour (This is one of three mini palettes that were in the Smashbox Light It Up Kit from 2016, the whole set retailed for $45. The closest available item is this Smashbox Contour Kit.) Does this look different? Maybe […]

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Bootcamp ideas to kickstart habits and boost your happiness

Bootcamp ideas to kickstart habits and boost your happiness

If you’ve visited this blog before, you’re probably familiar with my monthly bootcamp series. (If you’re new, welcome!) Monthly bootcamps are based on the idea that you can do anything for 30 days. If something seems impossible or overwhelming, what about doing it for only 30 days? Bootcamps can be customized to what works best for you. If you can only devote a week or […]

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The Bachelorette Bracket Cheat Sheet for Becca

The Bachelorette Bracket Cheat Sheet for Becca

It’s the best time of the year–the time we pour over Bachelorette contestant photos and bios, trying to figure out the best odds for our Bachelorette fantasy brackets. This season ABC waited a while to announce the Bachelorette cast members. But they finally spilled the beans (to those of us who don’t follow spoilers). I kept with my tradition of compiling a simple printable Bachelorette […]

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Highlights of Torun, Poland, as a solo traveler

Highlights of Torun, Poland, as a solo traveler

Growing up in the same state as Carhenge, my barometer for the ambiguous term “interesting” was set to a different level than many of my peers. In travel, I find the unusual and less-frequented sights as enjoyable as the storied and iconic ones. The Eiffel Tower is your must-see structure in Paris for good reason, but Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Père Lachaise is strangely unforgettable, […]

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What is project pan and why would you do it?

What is project pan and why would you do it?

I’ve been tracking “Project Pans” for months now. Keeping an ongoing project pan was even one of my 2018 goals. Watching certain members of the “project panning” community on YouTube, this language became very natural to me. Leading me to forget that perhaps it wasn’t as natural to others! So what is project pan? “Pan” is the term that refers to when you hit the […]

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Monthly bootcamp progress report

Monthly bootcamp progress report

I’ve been advocating for a regular monthly bootcamp since October. While I’m sure others also take this approach to skill and habit formation, the idea came to me from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast, when they talk about National Novel Writing Month (which I successfully completed in 2016). Bootcamps fill a variety of purposes. Maybe there’s a habit you want to form but committing to it […]

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Is there ever a right way to share your sorrow on social media?

Is there ever a right way to share your sorrow on social media?

I’m a fairly private person (says the woman who posts semi-personal blog posts twice a week). It took a great deal of thought for me to open my instagram and twitter to the world. And even then, I don’t use it to share truly personal things. I keep to photos of my dog and stories about makeup. I have one acquaintance where I know the […]

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Fitness, Fad Diets, and the Whole30

Fitness, Fad Diets, and the Whole30

I’m on day 20 of the Whole30. I thought it would be simple to explain the dietary limitations that come with a Whole30, but I’ve found few people speak the language of “fad” diets like Whole30, Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, etc. What is Whole30? Whole30 is an elimination diet. For 30 days you remove certain foods from your diet–focusing instead on eating fresh vegetables, fruit […]

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Nine by Independence Day – Project Pan

Nine by Independence Day – Project Pan

Nine by Independence Day? It makes no sense! Why not Four by the Fouth of July? (Too few products.) Why not 14 by Bastille Day (I’ll out of town for the update!) Why not 11, which is at least 7+4 (July 4th!)? Here’s the great thing about my approach to project panning… no rules. I was fond of the repeating “N” consonance in Nine and […]

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Q1 update to New Year, New Goals!

Q1 update to New Year, New Goals!

At the beginning of January I posted my 12 goals for the 12 months of 2018 (Not one per month, just a nice numeric alliteration of sorts). As keeping goals at the top of mind is essential to actually completing them, here’s a Q1 2018 update! New Year, New Goals: 12 Goals for 12 Months in 2018 1. Catch up on podcasts This goal was […]

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5 by April Fools Project Pan – Conclusion!

5 by April Fools Project Pan – Conclusion!

Are you getting tired of my Project Pan posts? Well, tough. Keeping a running project pan was on my 12 goals for 2018 list. So while I have half finished posts about imposter syndrome, the idea of a fantasy self, and my January trip to California (so long ago!), you’re going to keep getting project pan posts. Here’s my “5 by April Fools” Project Pan […]

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Returning from my blog leave of absence

Returning from my blog leave of absence

It’s been exactly two months since I posted–a period I generously refer to as my “leave of absence.” After my failed stab at Blogtober, I’d been great about posting regularly. However, I let life get the best of me. I say, “I let” because this was my choice not to keep up with my blog in the midst of everything. I’ve called myself a productive […]

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5 by April Fools – Project Pan

5 by April Fools – Project Pan

Are you getting tired of my Project Pan posts? Well, tough. Keeping a running project pan was on my 12 goals for 2018 list. So while I have half finished posts about imposter syndrome, the idea of a fantasy self, and my recent trip to California, you’re going to keep getting project pan posts until I get myself reorganized. Which I will do. Soon! Here’s […]

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9 by 29 on the 9th Project Pan Finale

9 by 29 on the 9th Project Pan Finale

My birthday has come and passed. I am 29, a year from 30. I had such a great birthday and am so excited for the next twelve months. With my birthday, here is a semi-belated finale of my project pan that I structured around my birthday. Here’s a link to the first post. Pixi Beauty Mini Brow Trio (Ipsy Item, Full Brow Palette Retails $12) […]

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30 by 30… only one year left?!

30 by 30… only one year left?!

Happy Birthday to me! I have one year left to complete my 30 by 30 list, and it’s going… OK. Without any ado, here are my remaining items, with notes on all remaining (and recently completed) ones. For previous updates, here’s my: first post, 2 years out update, and 18 months out update. The List 1. Fly first class 2. Visit California I have been […]

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Resolution Check-in and Rude Resolution Awakenings

Resolution Check-in and Rude Resolution Awakenings

It’s February, which means that for the vast majority of Americans, New Years’ Resolutions may be a thing of the past. Few people meet their resolutions, a proven fact that has many contributing factors. One of those factors may be that you aren’t setting the right goals. Reflecting on the twelve goals I set for this year in my February resolution check-in, I found that […]

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Boxycharm retrospective: Do I still love/hate that product?! (Year Two)

Boxycharm retrospective: Do I still love/hate that product?! (Year Two)

Just like last time, this is a retrospective on the year-long “Is Boxycharm Worth It” reviews I do each year. As it was getting kind of long, I decided to break it down into two parts, each part focusing on one of the years. I know so much more about make up and what is good and what works for me now than I did […]

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Boxycharm retrospective: Do I still love/hate that product?! (Year One)

Boxycharm retrospective: Do I still love/hate that product?! (Year One)

I’ve been receiving Boxycharm for two and a half years now. The first two years I did a review, breaking down the value of the items I liked, loved, and hated compared to the overall cost. (Year One, Year Two) I’ll be doing that again for Year Three. However, recently I was cataloging my entire make up collection as part of a general organization/project pan […]

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The unexpected way my meditation boot camp may be working

The unexpected way my meditation boot camp may be working

I pick an activity to do each month for every day. I’ve had a dry month, studied language for fifteen minutes a day, tried to post a blog a day, and now, I’m meditating every day. I found a simple app to track my meditation boot camp, conveniently called Simple Habit. This free app has seven-day sequences of five-minute mediation sequences. There are also premium […]

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How to make a vision board that works for you: 2018 edition

How to make a vision board that works for you: 2018 edition

Last year, I made a Vision Board as the cover for my agenda, so I would see it first thing every day. To do so, I used the eight categories: Career, Finance, Health, Personal Growth, Self-care, Spirituality, Friends and Family, Romance. I created manageable mini goals for each category that fit the “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-focused, Timely) criteria. Then I tried to find visual […]

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9 by 29 on the 9th Project Pan

9 by 29 on the 9th Project Pan

I turn 29 on February 9th. My birthday is a big deal to me. My primary love language is gift giving, which means that any gift giving or receiving holidays are huge to me. For Christmas this year, I’d finished all of my shopping before December even started. Since my birthday is so important to me, I set a lot of things around it. In […]

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New Year, New Goals

New Year, New Goals

New Year, New Goals: 12 Goals for 12 Months in 2018 My strategy has been to incorporate my overarching goals into smaller projects. So, general items from my life-long bucket list are on my 30 by 30 list; items from my 30 by 30 list make it onto my seasonal and monthly goals list. I like this approach as it allows me to keep my […]

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December bucket list finale

December bucket list finale

I posted my December Bucket List at the beginning of the month, with some key activities I wanted to complete this month. I did pretty well, with the only real difficulties being watching the movies. Forcing myself to relax and watch a holiday movie ended up being a super positive experience. Without further ado, I give you my December bucket list finale. Count Christmas trees […]

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The 12 Pans of Christmas Finale

The 12 Pans of Christmas Finale

The 12 Pans of Christmas project ends tomorrow officially. Alas, I am providing my update now! No time like the present. I’ll be moderately cranky if I hit pan on one of these remaining items in the next 24 hours, but such is the danger of posting early. Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleanser (Boxycharm Item, Retails $47) – Finished last update REN Evercalm Global Protection […]

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December monthly boot camp: Language learning

December monthly boot camp: Language learning

For my December monthly boot camp, I opted to study a language for 15 minutes every day. As my Polish skills declined dramatically after living in Poland, I felt it behooved me to try to get back to the point I was at where I could at least give directions and order a pizza! I’d used Duolingo to study language before, including brushing up on […]

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Arie’s Season Bachelor Contestants Cheat Sheet

Arie’s Season Bachelor Contestants Cheat Sheet

The Bachelor is coming back to televisions in January, bringing with it the requisite FOUR Laurens. I don’t even know that many Laurens in real life! For the Bachelor Contestants Cheat Sheet pdfs in 8.5×11 and 11×17, skip to the end. To check out the contestant bios yourself, head to ABC here. For further insights into the contestants, compliments of yours truly, keep reading! Contestant […]

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Face lotion reviews – Sephora Favorites

Face lotion reviews – Sephora Favorites

One of the items on my 30 by 30 List was to get a good skincare regime. I’ve definitely upped my moisturizer and face wash game, but I have no loyalty to any particular brands or products right now except for the Ponds make up remover wipes. Like with mascara, I turned to the Sephora sampler kits, purchasing Sephora Favorites Quench Your Skin on sale […]

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December bucket list

December bucket list

My December bucket list is quite short (for me) and contains mostly the basics that really define the December holiday season for me. Count Christmas trees My family lives near a bunch of Christmas tree farms. It became tradition for us to count the number of Christmas trees (on cars) we see on any given day driving home from school or church or whatever. Our […]

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Bath and Body Works Candles Worth Repurchasing

Bath and Body Works Candles Worth Repurchasing

Today was the annual $8.95 three wick candle sale at Bath and Body Works. I am a huge fan of Bath and Body Works candles. Lighting three wick candles has consistently been one of the little treats that give me great happiness. In addition, lighting candles helps my small basement apartment from smelling stale. I’d heard the sale would be happening from comments on a […]

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Dry November? Monthly “boot camp” update

Dry November? Monthly “boot camp” update

In October I decided to begin doing a thing every day for a month. In October, my mission was to write a blog a day. I didn’t make an announcement about my November plans, but I did a dry November. Sober, out at a karaoke night, a friend told me I’d planned this month’s “boot camp” poorly. “You’re doing it wrong. It’s sober October, bender […]

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The First 12 Pans of Christmas Update

The First 12 Pans of Christmas Update

Just under three weeks from embarking on The 12 Pans of Christmas (and four weeks from its completion), here’s my first 12 Pans of Christmas update. Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleanser (Boxycharm Item, Retails $47) – DONE I really enjoyed using this product. I like all of the Dr. Brandt products I’ve ever tried. I probably won’t rebuy unless I find it on an amazing […]

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Don’t let your gratitude end with Thanksgiving

Don’t let your gratitude end with Thanksgiving

Whole libraries have been written about the importance of gratitude. It improves your mood, boosts your outlook on life, and–I would argue–brings like-minded, gratitude-filled people into your life. The psychological and social benefits of gratitude are well documented. I have never been a fan of Thanksgiving. I don’t enjoy the dry turkey or dry rolls or dry stuffing (and every year, at least one of […]

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Confession: I love tourist traps

Confession: I love tourist traps

My mother recently asked my brother and I which tourist traps we thought were the absolute worst. My brother started listing places I loved–Carhenge in Western Nebraska (It’s a whole car-art reserve!) and World of Coke in Atlanta (My photo with the polar bear is awesome!). While the definition of “tourist trap” can vary widely, there’s something about cheesy, often ridiculous stops that brings people […]

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12 Mascara Showdown: Which mascara is best?

12 Mascara Showdown: Which mascara is best?

I have naturally oily lids, deep-set eyes, and stubby little eyelashes. Looking for the perfect mascara has been a challenge. Some of the criteria I’m looking for includes the following: Does not flake Does not clump Lengthens and separates Does not transfer to the top of my eyelid Does not burn my sensitive eyes (Sometimes, when I cry or my eyes water, my eye makeup […]

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The 12 Pans of Christmas, #ProjectPan

The 12 Pans of Christmas, #ProjectPan

I’ve seen a few of the Project Pan folks I watch on YouTube begin a “12 Days of Christmas” pan. This is a collaboration that I am in no way a part of. However, I am stealing the title and the concept of using 12 items before Christmas. From my October Project Pan Finale, I’m carrying over the following four items: Dr. Brandt Pores No […]

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The October Project Pan Finale

The October Project Pan Finale

With the end of October came the end of my very first ever project pan. An important part of goal setting is being held accountable. So you, lucky reader that you are, get to hear all about my month-long progress (or lack thereof) with these 8 products. I already have my next project pan planned out and written up. So stay tuned. The state of […]

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Blogtober failtober? Finding success in failure

Blogtober failtober? Finding success in failure

I failed. And yet, I didn’t. I found success in failure. I dropped the ball on my 31 days of 31 blogs, but those days I didn’t post didn’t define my month. My last minute start on the project didn’t help my reach my goal, but that’s mostly a learning opportunity for next time. I also found that the nights I failed to post something […]

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The five reasons to take a photograph

The five reasons to take a photograph

This past year is the first time I’ve had a camera nicer than the most basic point-and-shoot. For a recent project, I was evaluating my vacation photos, and I began to contemplate the reasons amateur photographers use their cameras, especially in a travel setting. Often I’ve heard people talk about how their photos languish on their phones or Facebook, never to be sorted through or […]

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Final fall bucket list update

Final fall bucket list update

Fall bucket list final update! 1. Costume Bentley “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there. I’m just modeling my custom, one-of-a-kind Lepredog costume, which I will be wearing every Notre Dame football game, to various costume contests, on Saint Patrick’s Day, and maybe other days when I’m feeling particularly lucky. Just for fun.” – Bentley, who doesn’t hate this costume at all. I took him […]

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Lipstick swatch and destash-a-palooza part 2: Nudes and pinks

Lipstick swatch and destash-a-palooza part 2: Nudes and pinks

After putting all of my clothing into the Stylebook app, I’ve found my subsequent purchases were less frequent and smarter. With my increasing interest in project panning, I thought it would be fun to categorize all of my lipstick colors. This is part two of my posts on my extensive lipstick collection. For part one, go here. NUDE ARM SWATCHES Just like in round 1, […]

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Lipstick swatch and destash-a-palooza part 1: Reds

Lipstick swatch and destash-a-palooza part 1: Reds

A half-hearted longing of mine has been to swatch all of my lipsticks, destashing dupes and formulas I don’t like as well as creating a record of shades on my skin tone. I’ve never really done extensive swatching of anything before, which should be obvious from the fact that I began with the reds. Thanks to ELF’s lipstick remover and some patience, my skin tone […]

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9 horror movies worth watching this Halloween

9 horror movies worth watching this Halloween

I’ve watched quite a few horror movies in my life. I have always liked pop culture, and horror movies have a way of entering our collective societal conscious. They reveal something about our culture–what scares us, what excites us, what social ills we fear. Alien’s Ridley Scott is iconic because she plays a working class woman more likely to follow procedure than emotion, a novelty […]

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Fall Bucketlist: Pumpkins and Scary Movies

Fall Bucketlist: Pumpkins and Scary Movies

I completed three of the five items on my October bucket list today. Last weekend I picked and cleaned pumpkins, fresh from the garden. Then I left them on the kitchen counter for the next week, a bright pop of orange brightening the room. This lasted until the guilt of a Sunday afternoon finally kicked my butt into gear. I committed myself to carving at […]

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Review! 2017 Sephora Favorites, Give Me More Lip

Review! 2017 Sephora Favorites, Give Me More Lip

I’m a lipstick addict. I love lipstick and usually carry a variety of shades with me. This year, when the Sephora Favorites, Give Me More Lip, came out, I thought about thirty seconds before plopping down the $68 to try a wide variety of brands and lipstick types. The biggest problem with my review, below, is that I have no swatches. I gave away a […]

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Finding gratitude in the least likely of places

Finding gratitude in the least likely of places

I had the worst evening last night. Looking forward to a quiet night, reading in bed before falling into an early slumber, I let the dogs outside to go potty one last time. A great friend I hadn’t talked to in a couple weeks called to catch me up on her life. I let the dogs in, and wandered into my room while chatting with […]

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The female heroes of my childhood: Marie Curie

The female heroes of my childhood: Marie Curie

At work yesterday, I proudly proclaimed that Polonium is my favorite element. I was only partially kidding. I have dramatically yelled at Jeopardy contestants for not knowing Marie Curie discovered Radium and Polonium. “It’s named after her home country, you dum dums!” I probably* screamed. *I’m sure I used worse language. The idea that I have a favorite element is somewhat amusing. Despite excelling in […]

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Vacation minimalism – keeping it light packing and souvenir shopping?

Vacation minimalism – keeping it light packing and souvenir shopping?

I used my phone to pack for a multi-week trip to Europe. It wasn’t until shortly before departure day that I finally buckled down and pulled out everything I would need for the big trip to Italy and Greece. Using my Stylebook closet app and my travel agenda, I packed carefully, coordinating my outfits with the amount of walking I’d be doing. I checked the […]

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Make up Newbie to Make up Maven: YouTube make up tutorials

Make up Newbie to Make up Maven: YouTube make up tutorials

Make up Newbie to Make up Maven: YouTube make up tutorials to change your beauty life My first foray into makeup was when I “rescued” some ice-blue shimmer shadow from my mom’s wastebasket. In seventh and eighth grade I would occasionally wear this shocking, glitter-ice shade on my lids, with no other make up. As part of a competitive dance team, we had a specific […]

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Fall Bucket List!

Fall Bucket List!

One of my 30-by-30 list items was making the most of every holiday. I want to decorate gingerbread houses, dye Easter eggs, drink green beer for St. Patrick’s Day, and watch Bill Pullman give the most inspiring speech a President has ever made on the Fourth of July. A problem with my 30-by-30 list was items like this are not measurable. So I felt I’d […]

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Stop feeling guilty about your guilty pleasures

Stop feeling guilty about your guilty pleasures

Hi, my name’s Amanda, and I consider myself an intellectual with an appreciation for many types of music and literature and a wide knowledge of current and historical events. I also primarily read romance novels. I watch YouTube makeup tutorials. I never miss The Bachelor. I enjoy building houses in the Sims and own almost every expansion pack available for Sims 3 and Sims 4. […]

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Reevaluating goals: monthly “boot camp”

Reevaluating goals: monthly “boot camp”

With fall  beckoning to me with the promise of cozy sweater weather, it was worth it for me to reevaluate my goals. August brought an update to my 30 by 30 list. However, looking at my agenda, I realized that the cover I’d created with visual representations of my 2017 goals was lacking something. It no longer inspired. I was feeling lackluster, unmotivated. I needed […]

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Breaking news: readers aren’t all looking for the same story

Breaking news: readers aren’t all looking for the same story

A recent article in the New York Times featured a round-up of upcoming romance novels. Of course, they chose to have a man write this article, despite the fact that authors and publishers of these novels are often women. My twitter feed was up in arms over the condescending way the article was written. It screamed “Oh, look how cute these stories are for these […]

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Embarking on a #ProjectPan

Embarking on a #ProjectPan

There’s a constant war between my Kondo-strategy of ridding myself of things that don’t bring me joy and my intense love of a good sale. As such, I find that there are so many products I love but have stocked up on a little too seriously, leaving me with three back up conditioners in a world where I am in need of shampoo. Riddle me […]

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Treat Yo’ Self, a primer on self care

Treat Yo’ Self, a primer on self care

Maximizing every opportunity for happiness in your day-to-day is the best way to achieve greater happiness overall. Thus, you should “Treat Yo’ Self.” One podcasts I listen to regularly is Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier.” I haven’t read her books, but I love the podcast’s brief conversations about health, happiness, and habit improvement. In a very old episode (I’m listening from the beginning and am a year behind […]

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Blogtober: October blog-a-day goal

Blogtober: October blog-a-day goal

I’ve been neglecting my blog somewhat. And my agenda and my goal setting and my work out routine, etc. Basically, I’ve been neglecting most things that have been making me feel centered, happy, and accomplished. The result being, I spend quite a bit of time feeling less-than-great about myself. Luckily for me, we’ve reached the autumn season. And while you shouldn’t have to wait for […]

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How I hacked NaNoWriMo

How I hacked NaNoWriMo

I’ve wanted to win NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since I first heard about it. The goal is to write 50,000 words–the size of a novella–in one month. In high school, I was over 20,000 words into a story about a zombie physics teacher who seduced his students in order to grow his zombie army. (Please don’t spend too much time psychoanalyzing that plot line.) […]

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The perfect photo may already be in front of you, a life lesson

The perfect photo may already be in front of you, a life lesson

At a wedding last year, I was playing giant Jenga with some friends. A photographer, capturing images of the happy reception, came upon our game. Snapping away from different angles, he encouraged me to stop smiling. This is the first time in my life a man has asked me to stop smiling. I was caught by complete surprise by his request. Yes, I’d been aware there […]

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How to create a successful morning routine

How to create a successful morning routine

Typical morning routine suggestions are useless. “How to be a morning person” articles are usually written by people who never had to try. And advice like “put your alarm on the other side of the room” is about as useful the “How to save money” listicles that tell you it’s cheaper to make coffee at home instead of buying it at Starbucks, even though you […]

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30 by 30 – 18 months to go…

30 by 30 – 18 months to go…

A while back, I published a “30 by 30” list of 30 things to do before I turned 30. Then I published a two-years-to- update. Another six months down, I’m evaluating my slow but steady progress in this 30 by 30 update. I still have 16 items to cross off my list, but with a year and a half, to go, that’s less than one a […]

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Boxycharm Review – Still valuable the second year?

Boxycharm Review – Still valuable the second year?

Another year, another Boxycharm Review. Year two has come and gone. With it, I have had some disappointments (October 2016) and some highlights (OFRA’s Rodeo Drive highlighter in particular). I have learned so much more about makeup and feel far more qualified to comment on the quality of the products received vs. just a “fun” or “wow” factor. I decided to streamline this review more […]

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5 ways using a daily agenda improved other parts of my life

5 ways using a daily agenda improved other parts of my life

Since I began using this agenda system back in early March 2017, a number of other organizational responsibilities have fallen in line. 1. Mail? What mail? I recently moved to a new apartment. One of my concerns was mail getting lost in the shuffle. My old apartment was not the most reliable when it came to notifying you of mail in the first place, so […]

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Rachel’s Bachelorette Bracket Cheat Sheet

Rachel’s Bachelorette Bracket Cheat Sheet

As I’ve been out of the country for two weeks now, I missed the premiere of The Bachelorette! I also missed my opportunity to create a Bachelorette Bracket name/face cheat sheet. However, I am back from my travels. It is Memorial Day weekend, and I am jet lagged. After waking up at 4 a.m. (again) this morning, I decided there was no better way to […]

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How to get organized on the cheap: A guide for the budget-minded planner

How to get organized on the cheap: A guide for the budget-minded planner

There are so many excuses for not maximizing the way you use your time. My handwriting is messy and even with rulers as guides, my bullet journal will never be as neat as those on every how-to blog. Making a color-coded planner takes too much time. Etc., etc. The primary reason I used to avoid getting organized sooner? Cost. One  problem with organization is that […]

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Summer Mix 2016

Summer Mix 2016

It’s the time of the year that I begin putting together my summer mix. As I’ve begun work on 2017, I figured it’s time to write about Summer Mix 2016. Distance gives you clarity, and even almost a year out from that summer, I find my take on the events swirling and shifting, the meaning becoming clear then muddy again. If you’d asked me at […]

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30 by 30 – Two years left update

30 by 30 – Two years left update

A while back, I published a “30 by 30” list of 30 things to do before I turned 30. If you’re reading this on February 9th, 2017, then there are officially two years left to complete my list. So here’s my big update! Fly first class Shortly after posting this list, I won business class international tickets! May will see me on a first class […]

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If you want a great relationship, know how you like your eggs

If you want a great relationship, know how you like your eggs

There’s a scene in Runaway Bride in which Richard Gere challenges Julia Roberts on how she likes her eggs. In his infinite wisdom and clever investigative reporting, his character has realized that Julia Roberts’ character always eats her eggs however the man in her life best likes them–poached, scrambled, sunny-side up, etc. To me, that scene always seemed so poignant. It was an example of how […]

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What’s the Problem with Ghosting Anyway?

What’s the Problem with Ghosting Anyway?

Moderately unpopular opinion time: In the modern world of dating, “ghosting” doesn’t deserve its bad rep. Bear with me on this. I’m not encouraging ghosting. If you’ve at least met the person face to face, you probably should let that person know that you aren’t feeling the love. However, if you haven’t even met yet, why do you have an obligation to tell this person […]

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Countdown to the Best of Amanda’s 2016

Countdown to the Best of Amanda’s 2016

The last thing we need right now is another countdown of the terrible things that happened in 2016. At least that’s my reason to focus on the best parts of 2016. When I started thinking of this blog, I anticipated it being “things that happened to me.” But, as I collected my list, I found all my highlights were “things I did.” I am proud of […]

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Bachelor Brackets, Cheat Sheets & More – Nick’s Season!

Bachelor Brackets, Cheat Sheets & More – Nick’s Season!

Next week marks the beginning of Nick’s Season of The Bachelor. This year, ESPN & ABC have announced their own Bachelor Fantasy League, so my little fantasy league is abandoning our traditional brackets down at The Bachelor Bracket to try something new. I made a handy cheat sheet for you all, since I’m incapable of remembering the women’s names until the very end. I assume […]

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A Northerner’s Adventures in Gumbo: Cooking When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

A Northerner’s Adventures in Gumbo: Cooking When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

I hate cooking. I’m not very diligent about following directions. I like a lot of flavor and tend to overdo seasonings when I don’t measure carefully. A friend was coming over my parents’ house while I was dog sitting their Australian Shepherds. To compensate him for his long drive into the boonies (I grew up next door to a buffalo farm/pasture), I promised I’d cook him dinner. […]

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30 by 30 List: 30 Things to Do Before Turning 30

30 by 30 List: 30 Things to Do Before Turning 30

A good friend and former roommate of mine, Lola, worked on a 30 by 30 list that was pretty boss. I reached a turning point in my life where I found I wanted to put myself out there, take more risks, and avoid unexpected regrets. So, with my intel-gathering habits, after the first obvious items, I began looking at lists other people came up with. […]

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A year in: Is Boxycharm worth it?

A year in: Is Boxycharm worth it?

With my June 2016 Boxycharm, I officially paid for (and received) twelve months of Boxycharm. Since I love both stats and a good deal, I put together a cost/benefit analysis for myself and other people who might be interested in subscribing to help determine: Is Boxycharm worth it? (Spoiler: My take is a cautious, “yes.” For a look at my Year Two results, click here.) I got hooked […]

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Summer Mix 2015

Summer Mix 2015

2014 moved along and so did I. Flash forward a year, and I was working at an engineering firm. Fun fact: most people have no idea how little most engineers evidently think of other peoples’ intelligence. It wasn’t the dream job, but it was a job. I adopted a puppy. I was steadily dating my S.O. of the time, going on a year plus of […]

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Summer Mix 2014

Summer Mix 2014

Every story has multiple sides The subjectivity of truth is something that I doubt I will ever get used to, and I’m skeptical of those who find it easy to bend their minds around the fact that there is no objective truth. As a historian, we are taught that every aspect of your history book is an argument. Western Historians are fond of rebuking Frederick […]

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Summer Mix 2013

Summer Mix 2013

Coming from a year in a foreign country, I felt more culture shock moving to Utah. Perhaps it was about expectations. I thought a place in the U.S., a quick 14 hour drive from Omaha, would feel more like home than a country in Eastern Europe. However, in that small town in Utah’s mountains, I felt more like an outsider. With a 98% Mormon population, […]

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Summer Mix 2012

Summer Mix 2012

Living abroad is an amazing experience. It’s a blessing and a privilege.  If I had to do it again, I would make some changes. I would be more forceful about getting into language classes; I would tutor more frequently; I would go to more ex-pat mixers; I would spend more time out on the town. I would focus on soaking up everything that Warsaw had […]

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Summer Mix 2011

Summer Mix 2011

Since my last post was three weeks ago, know I am at least three weeks behind schedule. So I’m going to try to shove the last posts into the next two weeks. Wish me lucky and productivity. With that small author’s note to hold me accountable, I’ll get back to our regularly scheduled program. Summer Mix 2011 The spring of 2011 was a roller coaster. I was […]

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Summer Mix 2010

Summer Mix 2010

Let me share an embarrassing secret. Sometimes I think I may be slightly psychic. A neurologist would probably have great explanations for all the little moments in life when you think to yourself, “Sam is going to comment on the state of my silverware drawer.” Only to have Sam comment on the state of my silverware drawer half an hour later. Usually these are tame, […]

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Summer Mix 2009

Summer Mix 2009

After my 8-week service project the prior summer, I had to work for cash moneys. And so in 2009 I obtained a summer position at the public power district. Paying $5/hr more than my awesome position at SuperTarget, I had nothing to complain about except for the general arrogance of the engineers I worked with. With an American Studies degree, you get used to the […]

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Bachelorette Bracket Cheat Sheet – JoJo’s Season!

Bachelorette Bracket Cheat Sheet – JoJo’s Season!

From 26 suitors to 20. The first picks of the Bachelorette Bracket season are a joyful adventure in guessing. (Remember the season I thought Kelsey the school counselor had potential? Yikes. I missed the mark there.) Based on a few producer-selected answers to generic questions (“You have how many tattoos?”), I use my keen understanding of the Bachelor franchise and unrelenting optimism (“Of course they […]

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Summer Mix 2008

Summer Mix 2008

In 2008, I completed my freshman year at Notre Dame. Grant junkie that I’d become, I applied for and received a stipend to work at a homeless shelter in Omaha. The shelter I worked at is one of the largest shelters in Omaha, and it is a “wet” shelter, meaning it serves people, even if they are drunk or on drugs. It is a shelter […]

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Summer Mix 2007

Summer Mix 2007

Describing music is like tasting wine. The most amateur of wine tasters still feels the bitter, drying tannins, even if she’s unable to describe them. She can taste the sweet, the fruity, the oaky flavors, but she can’t identify their levels of complexity with the expertise of a seasoned sommelier. I’ve visited nearly all the wineries in Nebraska, and I’ve developed a moderate vocabulary in […]

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Summer Mix 2006

Summer Mix 2006

In 2006, the whole world revolved around me. I had been accepted to three different summer conferences—Cornhusker Girls’ State, the Notre Dame Global Issues Seminar, and the Colonial Dames of America Washington Workshop.* Between the weeks away, I labored hard (or hardly labored) at Super Target, with my ultra glamorous job of passing out food samples twice a week and restocking the meat department other […]

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The Anatomy of a Summer Mix

The Anatomy of a Summer Mix

My summer mix habit emerged in 2006. My first important CD compilation was the result of a brand new driver’s license. Naturally, I needed the best songs to blare out the windows and moon roof of an old, green Toyota Camry named Harold. Convinced that my close-knit group of high school friends enjoyed my musical selections (spoiler alert, this assumption was wrong) and still mad […]

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Bachelor Brackets and Face/Name Cheatsheet

Bachelor Brackets and Face/Name Cheatsheet

I love The Bachelor. So, naturally, I spent more hours than I care to admit (two… maybe three) looking at the bios of the new bachelorettes and setting up my bracket. My first night picks are always a train wreck. I never pick the woman whose hero is Britney Spears and who once jumped off a boat naked then tended bar (was she still naked?). This […]

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An Introduction

An Introduction

Cleaning out my computer, I came across the final superlatives for my high school class. The senior newspaper staff was responsible for writing superlatives that were funny, personal, and (sometimes) sincere. Most likely to dress her babies in glitter is working her way up the fashion/design ladder, and based on her Facebook photos, she looks good doing it. Most likely to lobby for the rights of […]

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