writing in red lipstick.

Four Desserts

Every once in a while I get the urge to spend all day in the kitchen and pop out a ton of creative meals and desserts. This is why Pinterest is extremely dangerous for me, all the gorgeous photos and inspiring recipes. Can I just get a Food Network quality kitchen already?

Some of the recipes I've been dreaming of lately include: Chocolate Banana Braided Bread || Grilled Honeyed Peaches || Pineapple Sorbet || Brooklyn Blackout Cupcakes

What are you planning to bake next?

My Summer Road Trip Essentials

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GIVEEXTRAGETEXTRA #Walgreens #CollectiveBias
Today is the first day of summer, and if you're anything like me, you can't wait to hit the road and start ticking down on your summer bucket list! I've got plans to do tons of hiking, vineyard tours, kayaking, a few trips to the beach, and hopefully a week-long trip with my friends sometime soon! Summer, to me is synonymous with driving. I'm always headed somewhere, and thats why I've teamed up with Walgreens and chosen to share my summer road trip essentials with you today!

The driving portion of road trips can be kind of tedious at times, so you've definitely got to pack things that will not only satisfy your basic needs, but things that will keep you prepared and entertained as well. I pack a separate bag for these items, as I know I'll be reaching for them throughout the duration of my trip.

First things first, picking a bag that will hold all your essentials is key. Canvas totes are really easy for road trips as they can easily be taken to the beach, on camping trips, and then thrown in the laundry later on if need be. I was able to pack all of my favorite travel items and even had room for more! My road trip essentials include:

The Basics: Keys, Phone Wallet.
Obviously you couldn't go anywhere without these things, but make sure you don't overlook them when you're rushing out the door!

Health & Comfort Necessities:
These are things you'll definitely miss if you leave them behind. Things that keep you staying, looking, and feeling happy, comfortable and fresh. These items include but are not limited to:
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Bandages (or a mini first-aid kit)
  • Prescription medication & ibuprofen
  • Water bottle
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand lotion
  • Extra® 35-stick pack gum

During road trip season, I'm always chewing gum, especially when I travel for long distances. Gum always seems to help when you're on a plane or up in the mountains. I'm not sure if there's any science behind it, but I swear by a good stick of gum to keep my ears from hurting because of altitude changes. The new Extra® 35-stick pack is available at Walgreens in both Spearmint and Polar Ice® flavors. You can find it in the aisle with the candy, as well as up front near the register. Not only does the Extra® 35-stick pack have durable and recycled packaging, there's more gum to share with your road trip buddies, and it's super easy to just pop in your bag and go. That sounds like a win/win to me! Be sure to check out the Give Extra, Get Extra community page.

You'll get hungry, so don't forget your Healthy Snacks. I'm all about fruit, pretzels, trail mix, and the occasional protein bar. Since there's usually really awesome food wherever I'm headed, I try to keep it light with the snacks. You feel better in the long run too!

Last but not least, you'll need your Electronics:
  • Headphones
  • Phone charger (both wall and car)
  • Camera
  • Camera charger
  • AUX cord
  • Music and/or audiobooks
  • GPS or smartphone direction app

What are your summer road trip essentials?

7 Things

It's that time again, time for some inspiration! While I'm here avoiding the mid-June VA humidity, here are seven more things I'm loving lately! Stay cool, friends ;)

1. I may have mentioned it in a previous post, but I've pretty much jumped on the minimalist bandwagon. Though I'm always careful to label myself, I'm really attracted to the idea of minimalism, and have been taking steps to reduce my clutter and only shop for things when I need them. One youtuber I've recently subscribed, Rachel Aust, to has some cool videos on the subject, and though she is much more extreme with her "theme" than I could ever be, the results are really intriguing and visually striking! She owns almost zero color! So interesting.

2. I've started an ethical fashion and beauty Pinterest board, and I'm adding new stuff to it all the time. Why not follow along?

3. Honey garlic shrimp? Don't mind if I do!

4. I just bought a new pair of (faux) snake skin pumps, and these fun heels are next on my list. I'm having such a shoe moment!

5. Finding Dory! Well worth the 13 year wait. I went the morning it opened, no shame in my game.

6. I put together this midcentury modern style table last night. It took me a while (why are the instructions in DIY furniture never quite clear enough?) but I LOVE the result. It's gonna be so cute in my room!

7. This guy freaked out when he saw a bear jump in a river. I've watched the video a million times, and it only gets funnier!

What are you loving lately?

Etsy Spotlight // An Interview With Sweet Sequels (+Giveaway!)

Hey friends! Today I have a special treat for you all, as I'd like to introduce you to Haleigh from Sweet Sequels! She has been one of my favorite Etsy sellers for a long time, and I knew you all would love her art as well. Being an English major and a total book junkie myself, I love all of Sweet Sequels' designs. With bookmarks, coin purses, baby books, and plush dolls featuring literary greats, you can keep your favorite books and authors even closer to you than ever before. Not only are her pieces gorgeously handmade, they're great conversation pieces!

I asked Haleigh a few questions about her business and creative process, and she was so full of insight and wisdom. Enjoy her answers, and be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post. You won't want to miss it!

- Please tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Haleigh and I am owner and creator of Sweet Sequels on Etsy. I live in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in North Central Wyoming with my math teacher husband and my precious five-month old, Abraham. I am a stay-at-home mom and a regular day for me and my boy is hanging out with our bunny Mose, reading, and painting pretty bookish things (this last one normally happens when the wee one is napping).

- When and why did you start your shop? 
I started my shop in 2013 shortly after I graduated from college. My degree is in English, but I didn't want to be a teacher or an editor, and "professional reading" isn't a thing. Ever since I was a little girl art has been a passion of mine, so I decided to incorporate my love of books and my love of art into a business. 

- What are your goals for your shop in the future? 
I would love to eventually open a brick and mortar shop - part bookstore, part bookish accessories, and perhaps part café. This is a longterm goal though; as for shortterm goals I hope to continue to grow my business online. I recently launched my own website (sweetsequels.com) and started selling on Etsy Wholesale, so we'll see where that takes me!

- What are your main sources of inspiration?
BOOKS! But I also love love love being in the serenity of nature, whether that means hiking or gardening or reading in the sunlight.

- Do you have a favorite Etsy shop besides your own?
I love shopping on Etsy and supporting small business. Some of my favorite shops are Genevra Bell Illustration, Plum Wild Shop, and Mattson Made Shop.

- What has been the most challenging part of being a business owner?
My baby was born in November, right in the midst of the holiday gift buying rush. I didn't want to put my shop on vacation, so the first month or so of Abe's life is a blur of feeding, crafting, packaging, changing diapers, and sleeplessness! He was a good little motivator though - and luckily a good enough baby to let me do it all!

- Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out?
I didn't get my first sale for a few months after opening my shop, and I didn't start getting steady sales for probably a year. It takes time! Also, I would advise not to box yourself in to one type of product; experiment with your product line until you find your niche, and then go for it full force.

- What are your all-time favorite books?
This is probably my least favorite question ever...I have so many! Books I could read over and over again include The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter series, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. My favorite classics are probably The Great Gatsby, Les Miserables, and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. The best book I've read recently would be Matilda by Roald Dahl... I could keep going but I'll go ahead and stop there. ;)

- What Hogwarts house would you be in?
Ravenclaw, of course.

A peek inside the Sweet Sequels workspace!

- What are 3 material objects you can't live without?
Number one: I hate to say it, but I really couldn't survive without my computer. Number two: I don't know if my entire book collection (over a thousand books probably, but I haven't counted in a while) would count as just one, but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyway. Hmmm for my third one...my sewing machine.

- What would your ideal day be like? 
My days are pretty ideal as they are, but one of my favorite days recently was while we were on vacation in Arizona and went on a hike through the cacti-ridden desert. It was beautiful and I could spend lots of days like that.

The Giveaway!
Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter to win:
Sweet Sequels Great Gatsby coin purse, 
Bright Young Things - A Modern Guide to the Roaring Twenties, 
and a Too Faced Lipstick of your choice! 
Contest ends 07/01 and is open worldwide.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to check out Sweet Sequels on Etsy and Instagram!
Thanks Haleigh!