Tuesday, April 22, 2014

weekly art update #2

This week I painted something inspired by this little space. I've always wanted to do something lipstick related and I finally got the opportunity to do it! I've been really into repeating patterns and prints lately, and I might continue with this theme! Let me know if you have any ideas for paintings, as I'm always looking for new perspectives!

Have you made anything lately?

Monday, April 21, 2014

etsy love - wanderlust

My etsy obsession has returned with full force. This time, I've been really into things that inspire travel, comfort, and correspondence. I've got an extreme case of wanderlust right now. I want to go camping, hiking, backpacking, trailblazing. This will likely last a while, as I have to water down my travel plans for now. I've substituted a lot of my need for new places by getting in contact with penpals from all over the world. 

My old tried and true treasury embedder (to make it clickable on the blog) is broken for the time being, but you can click HERE to see the items featured here in all their glory. 

Where are you hoping to travel to?
What are you obsessed with on etsy right now?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

- currently -

The lovely view on my Geology field trip to Accotink Creek in Annandale, VA

READING: Lately I've been all over the place with books. I can't pick just one! My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler is my latest, and I love reading it for a good chuckle before bed. In the less fun reading department, I've been poring myself over textbooks. It's finals season, folks!

WONDERING: If I'll be able to travel much this summer like I plan to. I'd like to finally be able to take a vacation after the 5 straight semesters that I've been at school!

FEELING THANKFUL: For my friends and family. I always try to set time aside and express my gratitude. Those close to me have been ever so wonderful lately and I am so glad to have each of them in my life. 

EATING: I've been all about Kind bars and mini babybell cheeses. Before that it was wasabi almonds. I go through food obsessions at least once every few weeks. I'll always be down for a Diet Pepsi and a Butterfinger too!

WATCHING: Oh dear. I've honestly watched 100+ episodes of 30 Rock over the past week and a half. Non stop Liz Lemon, I love it. Having Netflix on while I'm doing homework or blogging is like my go-to ritual to relax after school and work.

WORKING ON: A project for my Geology class, future "Business Babes" interviews, and managing to squeeze in some art hopefully!

LOVING: The fact that season 2 of Orange is the New Black is coming out in just a few weeks! Also super into my style tumblr lately. Such class!

ATTEMPTING: to work out a savings plan for the road trips I'm hoping to take in the next few months. We're definitely going to Philly, and maybe Boston too! I'd be so happy to see Nashville as well, but I might have to save that one for another time.

WANTING: a more "professional" wardrobe, to get classes over with, and of course, with my yoga obsession, I'm lusting after a pair of Athleta yoga tights!

I've also signed up for "The Favorite Color Swap" by Chaotic Goddess Swaps. I'm so excited to participate, and you can sign up here too! Maybe we'll be partners :)

What are you up to lately?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#FitTeaDetox - Detox Tea Review (+ Target giveaway!)

Last month, I was contacted about trying a new product called FitTea, a detox tea that promises "Give us a few weeks and we'll give you a new waistline." Though I'm not particularly avid about losing weight, I was feeling a bit sluggish there for a while, and decided to give it ago. Especially since reading that it is all-natural, energy and metabolism boosting, and aids in digestive health. You can't really go wrong with that! Being a budding health nut myself, I was excited to see that FitTea is made with only all-natural ingredients.

This is what FitTea has to say:

" FitTea is made with Organic Green Tea, Oolong Wu Yi, Organic Rooibos, Ginger, Pomegranate, Guarana, Birch, Stevia, Corn and Honey Powder.
These ingredients provide a fast-working and natural detox. These natural ingredients have other benefits besides detox, which includes weight loss, increased energy levels, suppressing the appetite, and natural antioxidants. 
Natural teas like FitTea have been used all over the world for thousands of years for weight loss and increased energy which helps anyone with a fitness program."
FitTea also encourages that their product:
"Boosts immune system, promotes fat burning, promotes and soothes digestion, and has antimicrobial properties."
I got the FitTea starter kit, which comes with a 14 day trial, the fat burner supplements, and a convenient water bottle to help you drink it on the go. I liked the taste of the FitTea, as it was earthy and herbal, and was naturally sweet, so it didn't need any extra help. There's also a decaf FitTea, which is great for anyone who wants the boost without the extra caffeine.

I noticed that the supplements reduced my appetite quite a bit. As I'm prone to boredom snacking, this was nice for me, but I made sure that I ate healthy, well-rounded meals regardless. You gotta eat, people!

I definitely saw more energy and focus during this trial, which was definitely welcome! Overall, pairing nutritious meals with some hooping, yoga, and a few long walks with friends, I lost about 5 pounds without really trying. Of course results will vary and it's not going to make anyone lose the Freshman 25 overnight, but I can see this product working well for someone who has plateaued in a training or weight-loss program, or someone that needs an extra boost. See what other people think about FitTea and their results!

The best thing about this is that I had no intense life changes, strict dieting rules, or even any real sacrifices at all. I drank a cup of tea each day, took the supplements before breakfast, and got on with my normal life. It was a nice way to say goodbye to the winter bulk without having to give up too much. FitTea was very gentle and had no crazy side-effects.


Would you ever try a Detox Tea?
Why or why not?

*this product was sent to me by the company for review purposes

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

my first experience with Yoga.

Yesterday I tried Yoga for the first time! My friend Maddy and I decided to do it on a whim. I bought a cheap yoga mat and put on my underused gym pants and hit the studio. I thought it would be like any other workout, but I was pleasantly surprised. After a little relaxation and breathing exercise, we learned the basic poses and did a few more difficult stretches with straps. The whole process was very replenishing and we finished up feeling super relaxed and in touch with ourselves. I especially liked the closing bit where our instructor ended with "the light in me honors the light in you. Namaste."

Maddy and I are already making arrangements to go back tomorrow! I can see us quickly becoming full-fledged yogis, for sure. The only thing that would hold me back is the expense. Not only do I want to go on a no-holds-barred shopping spree at Lululemon, the class cost can quickly add up! We're currently looking for a budget-friendly studio in our area, or we will have to resort to doing yoga in my living room with a little help from YouTube. Anything to feed the addiction!

Have you ever done Yoga?
What is your favorite pose?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

weekly art update #1

I've had a bit of a creative streak lately, especially since I've been making things for the thousand and one friends that had birthdays this month. I gave all my girlfriends these easy, pretty glittered block letters, and I was excited to pick up the brush again and get inspired by a pretty Lilly Pulitzer print.

My housemate Sabrina and I decided to do a craft trade, since I fell in love with this yarn color combination, and Sabrina has been really into knitting lately. We haven't decided what I'm going to paint for her yet, but I'm always up for an art trade! (hint to all you artists out there!)

Also, I just bought a whole load of new paints and canvases during the huge sale at Michael's that I'm really excited to start using!

Have you done anything arty lately?
What's your favorite kind of craft?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The 10 Worst Blogging Mistakes I've Made

I've made a lot of mistakes in my 3 years of blogging. Some of them I've learned to fix, others I still continue to make occasionally. Of course, no blog is perfect, but identifying a little trouble before it gets out of hand is a good way to keep things peachy on your side of the blogosphere.

These are the mistakes I've made and how you can avoid them:

1. Centering Text
For almost two years, each and every one of my posts had centered text. Paragraphs upon paragraphs of center aligned words, just because I liked my writing to be lined up with my photos. Thinking back, it makes no sense. Center aligned text is choppy, sloppy and hard to read. Avoid it like the plague unless you're using a one line caption. 

2. Neglecting to respond to comments or emails
I've always had trouble responding to comments via my blogging template, but I usually make sure to return a comment, especially if it's heartfelt or the user asked a question. Every once in a while, things get lost in translation, or I can't find a way to contact the commenter. Unfortunately, I'm also notorious (in my own mind) for forgetting to respond to emails. This is usually open the email on my phone, tell myself I'll respond when I get back to my computer (especially if it requires lots of detail), and then forget to respond. Then, I remember to respond a few days or weeks later and it makes me look like a total flake. Staying on top of comments and emails is a great thing to practice, especially if you're just starting out. It will build good habits and you won't end up like me :P

3. Not publishing to Facebook or Pinterest
For a while, I was skeptical about the exposure I could gain from other social media sites, but once I jumped on the bandwagon, it proved to be worthwhile. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and especially Pinterest are great tools for growing your audience and allowing your voice to be heard.

4. Blogging for the sake of blogging
When I first started out, I was convinced I had to post every single day. That lead to a lot of meaningless, lackluster content. It's important to know how often you can comfortably create content without feeling pressured, and to put your best foot forward when coming up with posts.

5. Linking to the wrong source
Tumblr and Pinterest can often lead to broken links, so be sure if you're featuring content, you know where it actually comes from. Once finding the true source, link back to that. Try to avoid linking to Tumblr posts and Pinterest pins if you can help it.

6. Doubting the blog
It's easy to get caught in a downward spiral with blogging. It doesn't matter if your last few posts didn't get pageviews or comments, there's always a future! It's possible to get new exposure on old posts, and it's possible to double your exposure in a matter of days. All it takes is a positive outlook, some effort, and a love of blogging.

7. Focusing on numbers
One of the worst ways to get stuck in a rut while blogging is to pay too close attention to your followers or view count. If you're worried about numbers, you'll have less energy to put towards networking, writing posts, or discovering new ideas. Sit back, relax, and get inspired!

8. Doing too many blog awards / linkups / tags
While tags, linkups, and blog awards are fun ways to produce easy posts, make new friends, and give you a little break in your schedule, they shouldn't be all you do. Make sure you balance your posts, and don't load your blog with 15 tags in a row. Keep everything in moderation!

9. Neglecting to work with a schedule
An editorial calendar is something I've always wanted to make, but for some reason I've never been able to set it in stone. Of course you should leave yourself a little wiggle room for new and exciting content, but sticking to a schedule is a great way to feel like you're on top of things when it comes to blogging. It's up to you how you want to design it. Some people do a certain type of post every Monday, others make a monthly schedule all at once. Finding a schedule that works for you is an empowering blog choice.

10. Using a title that isn't right for you
For two years, I blogged under my namesake. It took me a while to realize that wasn't the correct fit for me. Using my given name made me feel less inspired when it came to creating content, because I knew, with my name attached, it would have to reflect the "me" that I wanted the internet to see. That was just too much pressure in the long run, so I decided to change my blog's name. Since then I've felt more free to blog, and have had quite an increase in readers and quality feedback.

All this being said, any mistakes you've made, or will make are just points to learn from. There are no real rules in the blogging world, and if something works for you, by all means, stick to it!
Now get out there, write some posts, and follow your blogging dreams!

What are your worst blogging mistakes?