An SNS/Dip Powder Nails Review

Monday, September 25, 2017

Painting my nails or having them done has always been a fun pastime for me. It’s a stress-reliever, and not to mention it’s an excuse to express myself with whatever color I see fit on my hands.

But, a few months back, I decided to try something new: the SNS/Dip Powder manicure.

It all started when I was talking to one of my friends, and she had a particularly fabulous manicure. I asked her if they were gel and how she liked them. Imagine my surprise when one, they were not gel, and two, they were SNS (a brand of dip powder) nails that hadn’t damaged her nails at all. In fact, they’d only made them stronger.

Then, more ladies - both women and girls from high school to adulthood - had lauded the joys of the dip powder manicure, and they encouraged me to try it as well.

It took a few weeks, but I eventually decided to go for it.

And, y’all…it’s worth it.

What’s a Dip Powder Manicure?

A dip powder manicure involves your nails being coated with powder as opposed to just a polish or acrylic bonding. There is a bonding agent, but it’s more akin to a base coat than a sealant (with the exception of the top coat).

There is always a “base coat” between layers. The color is applied in two layers, and it feels like dipping your fingers in powdered sugar. Then, finally, there’s a clear layer, and then two layers of top coat that only takes four minutes to dry, and you’re totally set.

Occasionally, depending on where you go, there is a drill used, but it’s more of a buffer. It does not - and should not - hurt. If it does, please go elsewhere.

How long does it last?

Three, up to four weeks without chips. If that doesn’t draw you in, I’m not sure what will.

Here’s a dip powder manicure the day I went to the salon:



And here it is three weeks later:



I’ve had it last up to four before, but my nails generally grow a hair slower, so please keep that in mind.

How much does it cost?

Depending on where you go, a dip powder manicure can cost $45-$60. It’s generally ten dollars more than a gel manicure. 

But when you’re looking for a place to go, please make sure that there’s a general positive client review base. You don’t want to leave with cut-up cuticles (which has happened to me before, and it’s never a fun time). A great salon will give you a great manicure for a reasonable amount.

Who is this for?

Go for the dip powder manicure if:
  • You do a lot of labor-intensive work (such as farming, retail, etc.), or have a job that requires you to have a professional appearance (business, secretary, etc.)
  • You, to be honest, don’t have time to do your nails weekly.
  • You’re traveling (No need to bring nail polish with you on a trip! Save that space in your liquids bag or checked luggage and avoid spilled nail polish.)
  • You’re getting married! (No need to worry about chipped nails on your wedding day)
  • You’re in a wedding! (I did dip powder nails for the first time for one of my best friends’ weddings to cut their cake. I’m so glad I did.)
  • You’re going to prom! Or some other special occasion.
  • You’re sick and tired of removing glitter polish by hand (SNS glitter colors are some of my favorite manicures ever - see above)
  • You’re sick and tired of your nails being so brittle (My nails have not broken since I’ve been getting dip powder nails)
  • You want to!


Have you ever gotten an SNS/Dip Powder manicure before? Would you want to get one? Let’s talk in the comments! :)

What's in my Daily Makeup Bag | Fall 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017



The last time I did one of these posts was…November 2015?

Yep. Time for an update.

The last makeup post I did was on “Makeup to Fly Out the Door With.” A lot of those products (or, at least, the types of products) are actually ones I still use and love. My makeup routine these days is quite simple, with an emphasis on natural tones, simple graphic eyeliner, and (sometimes) an accent lip depending on the day.

By “makeup bag,” I mean the bag I keep on my vanity that I reach for every single day I go out. Some days I use all the products; other days I just use a few if I need to get somewhere fast.

Onto the products!

Face:

Eyes:

Cheeks:
  • Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush Wardrobe - This is an awesome blush palette! I usually wear the shades “Baby Love” and “How Deep is Your Love?” (The full palette was Limited Edition, but you can buy individual shades here.)

Lips:
  • Lipsense! (I’m not a distributor, but Lipsense is by far the best long-wearing liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried. Would you guys want me to post a full post on lipsense? Please comment and let me know!)

Anyways, that’s my daily makeup bag. What makeup are you guys loving lately? Any tried-and-true products? Let’s chat in the comments!

Quick disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of the above websites I've linked. I just want to share my makeup with you guys. :)

A 1 Corinthians 13 Love

Monday, September 18, 2017



I've been thinking about love a lot lately. I think that's a given since I'm dating a pretty awesome guy, but nonetheless, love has been in my brain box for awhile.

The way it’s been on my mind may be a bit different from what you might be expecting. Awhile back, I found a story on Pinterest about a little girl who had a crush on a boy. Her mother told her to take the passage of 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 and replace the word “Love” with the boy in question’s name to see if he really was a nice kid.

"Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth."

Now, I’m not sure if that story is true or not. But I did try this with Cody’s name, and I’m proud to say that he fits the description. He cares so much for me, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he has my best interests at heart. He makes me feel secure in our relationship, and he makes sure we talk things out if either of us has a concern. He doesn’t brag, he’s humble, he’s polite, he’s kind to others, he’s nice to everyone, and he certainly doesn’t keep tabs of any disagreements we’ve had. He loves the Lord more than anything. And he makes sure I’m happy and loved. Believe me, I feel that way and so much more.

My goal is to be a 1 Corinthians 13 girlfriend so I can reciprocate the same kind of love. It’s a daily goal, and while I’m nowhere near perfect, I can certainly strive to be the very best and have his best interests at heart as well.

It involves me doing and being the following:

  • Being patient: waiting patiently for the next time I get to see him and being strong in doing so.
  • Being kind: Giving him compliments, telling him how proud I am of him.
  • Not envying: Not sitting around coveting the time we could be spending together, but cherishing every ounce of time we do get (and savoring every moment of our relationship long-distance, like the our nightly Skype sessions and daily phone calls and texts).
  • Not boasting: Not bragging about my own accomplishments and celebrating him more instead.
  • Not being selfish: Placing his interests above my own, being there for him no matter what
  • Not being provoked: Listening to everything he has to say whenever we talk anything out, making sure that he knows he is heard and cared for
  • Not keeping a record of wrongs: Making sure communication is open to prevent arguments, and seeing the very best in him always.
  • Rejoicing in the truth: putting God first in our relationship; after all, He was the one who gave it to us.


If you’re in a relationship, try this with your significant other. If you’re not in a relationship, try this within your family or friendships. Are you loving others the way they deserved to be loved: the way Christ loves them?

I tell you what...I'm thankful for my guy, I'm thankful for all the kinds of love in my life - family, friends, my fur baby Azalea, and my church family - and I sure am thankful for a 1 Corinthians 13 love. :)

Friday Five: 9/15/17

Friday, September 15, 2017

SO much great stuff happened this past week, y’all!

I got to watch my boyfriend signal. FINALLY.



I took a quick day trip to visit Cody at his college town. I got to watch him do his work in person (formations for his college football team), which was so exciting. I’m so proud of Cody for achieving his dreams, and I look forward to going to more games!

Lipsense

Specifically, neutrals and darks (i.e. “Apple Cider,” a peachy nude, and “Mulled Wine”, a rich berry).



Pardon the snapchat screenshot, but this was the first day I wore "Mulled Wine." I’ve been hooked ever since.

My New Author Website!



In other news, I took a huge design (and website!) leap and transferred my author website from Blogger to Wordpress. I’m so excited about having a space to showcase my work and give writing updates and advice. I’d love to see y’all over there sometime! Check it out and follow here. (If you stop by, leave a comment and let me know that you came from here on [Savannah] in Wonderland.)

(Also, do not fear...[S]iW is still sticking around. Consider my author website my business portfolio, [S]iW my fun outlet to chat with you guys.)

Fall Weather

Fall is FINALLY upon us. It’s mainly been in the sixties and seventies here in my hometown, but at the first touch of cooler weather, out came the flannels, jackets, and beanies (see snapchat screenshot above).

Indian Food

Absolutely nothing beats good indian food, y’all, especially a good Chicken Tikka Masala. My recommendations in Middle Tennessee: Shalimar (Nashville) and House of India (Franklin).

What have been your favorite things this week?

Wonderland Reads: Recent Reads #1

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hey hey! :)

I’ve read a couple of books lately in an effort to get out of a particularly janky (read: 4-month-long) reading slump. I did find a couple of good ones, and I want to share those with you.

Renegade by J. A. Souders



Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
I liked the premise of this one a lot. It reminded me of the “Bioshock” video game series with its setting, and, I'm not gonna lie, an underwater utopia-gone-wrong story was super appealing. 

Was it a tad teen-angsty and dramatic? Yes. But was it still a good YA read with a great thriller plot and a good cast of characters? Of course. This was a good book to get me reading again.

The only reason I’m not continuing this series is that I was not really crazy about the ending. Other than that, good story and setting.

Rating: Four elaborately-built underwater sanctuaries out of five.

Roar by Cora Carmack



In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.
Now, THIS one was a fun ride!

I love a story with a good, well-established magic system, and I love me a good, strong-willed female protagonist, and I really love a well-written romance. This one gets the triple crown from me. Yes, I will be continuing this series, too.

Rating: Five thunderstorms out of five.

What have you read recently?
Titles and synopses from Goodreads

Travel Essentials

Monday, September 11, 2017



I love travel. That’s absolutely no secret. I love sharing travel posts and how-to’s with you guys, and I also love prowling YouTube and Pinterest for various travel-related things.

One thing I keep seeing pop up on my YouTube feed has been guides for “travel essentials.” It got me thinking…if I could recommend only a few items as essential for any traveler - seasoned or casual - what would I suggest?

That’s what I’m aiming to do today. I’m going to share with you ten items I feel are essential for traveling anywhere and anytime, for any length of time. (And, of course, these essentials are goodies in addition to your necessities…pack everything you absolutely need first!)

1. Blue Jeans

No matter where you go (or when you go), one pair of blue jeans is so insanely versatile. Just pack one or two for a weekend getaway, and pack at least two for a longer trip (especially abroad.

2. Basic T-Shirt (or Two)

Like jeans, basic tees are versatile. Pack a white one for the ultimate classic staple, and add black and gray for variety (and more versatility…neutrals go with everything). Don’t be afraid to add color, too; solid brights and pastels are a lot of fun and are easy to layer with pieces. Speaking of layers...

3. A jacket or cardigan

Traveling in layers is always a good idea, no matter what time of year it is. Make sure you have at least one layer with you that you can easily access or take off. (At the very least, you can roll up that layer and use it as a pillow on your journey.)

4. Socks!

Whether you are on the road or on a plane, a pair of socks are necessary. At the very least, they keep your feet warm on cold planes or cars. Beyond that, they protect your feet from germs at security and other places you may need to remove your shoes. Keep an extra pair in your carry-on or personal item (or road trip bag).

5. Zip-loc bags

Y’all know I love packing cubes. But I do have to say that zip-loc bags do the exact same thing in a pinch. Carry a few extra for laundry, separating certain clothing items out, and toiletries. I would avoid wet clothes, though.

6. Scarves

Scarves are phenomenal. Roll a scarf up to use as a pillow in the car or on a plane, and - of course - wear that scarf on cold days.

7. One pair of amazing walking shoes

If you can only pack one pair of shoes, wear some that you could walk for miles in. Or, at least as much walking as you’re planning on doing on your trip (i.e. don’t wear heels to Disneyworld).

8. Headphones

Sometimes, all you need is great music. Or to sleep. Either way, headphones are a personal favorite essential of mine.

9. Cross-body bag or purse

Wearing something across your body is a great idea if you’re planning on going to any major metropolitan cities, or crowded areas in general. It’s better to keep your valuables safe (or, better yet, not bring anything extremely valuable with you that’s not a cell phone or currency) in case of pickpockets.

10. A copy of your itinerary (plus other necessities).

Finally, it’s best to make sure you keep a downloaded copy of your itinerary somewhere on your phone, or a paper copy in your bag. That way, you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going, and you can also let others know where you are. (Also, if you’re traveling a greater distance, bring copies of your driver’s license/passport.)


What are your travel essentials?

Friday Five | 9/8/17

Friday, September 8, 2017

Before we start, I’m going to leave this thought here: I turn 26 in one month from today. 

Happy Friday Five, everybody! :)

Barista Parlor, Once Again



I love their specialty coffee. I really really do. The coffee I had this week had notes of blackberry and grape jam.



Also, I tried their breakfast burrito (featuring sriracha sour cream!). It was pretty great.

“…Ready For It?”



Speaking of pretty great things, I love Taylor Swift’s newest song!

Organizing!

I have been on a mission to clean out my closet. It’s been going really really well! This organization kick was something I’ve needed, and it’s been a lot of fun.

I’ve wanted to color-code my clothes in my closet for awhile now, and the fact that I can do that now (and have done it) makes me giddy.



My current goals. (Insert heart-eyes emoji here.) Photo credit here.

NaNoWriMo Prep

I’m fully aware it’s not October yet (Preptober for all you National Novel Writing Month regulars), but I’ve been preparing for writing a novel this November still.


One way I’ve been doing that is reading Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. Chris Baty is the founder and creator of NaNoWriMo. My mom gave me this book as a surprise gift, and already, it’s helped me so much with the coming months of preparing for this huge (and really really exciting!) project. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (and gaming in general, really)

Finally, a gaming favorite! Gaming isn’t as massive of a hobby of mine as it used to be, but when I do play video games, I love it.

I finally picked up the latest Legend of Zelda title for the Wii U, and so far, I love it! Now, I’m not too far (I just made it past the first dungeon), but I’m really into the various smaller mechanics of the game (like cooking and the ability to use magnet magic to solve puzzles).

Also, I’m a firm believer in playing video games to help your writing. As such, story-based games with crazy-massive sprawling worlds like The Legend of Zelda (and also Xenoblade Chronicles X) have been my jam lately.


What have been your favorite things this week?

Bullet Journal Setup

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

-


I’ve started dabbling in bullet journaling again.

Reason why I say again is that I have in fact tried full-time bullet journaling before. However, I figured out that while bullet journaling isn’t for me full-time (I can’t scrap having a calendar to plan future events), I still really love the system and wanted to use it somewhere.

Quick intro before we go further: the Bullet Journal system was created by Ryder Carroll. It’s meant to simplify any lists, events, collections, whatever you want in one organized space. If you want more info on how the bullet journal system works and how it got started, check out the official website here.

Now, this is still in the very early stages, but I am so, so excited and happy with the way these pages and spreads are turning out, and I’m loving using this system already. I can definitely tell a difference in how productive I’ve been. Listing has worked really well for me in the past, so why not take it a step further?

Supplies

Before we get into how I use my bullet journal, I figured it would be a good idea to tell y’all what I actually use to bullet journal (yes, I consider bullet journal both a noun and a verb).


So, how do I use my bullet journal?

Index



I use a Leuchtturm 1917 grid notebook. I’ve dabbled with the dotted notebooks before, and I think either that style or this one works just fine.

That being said, I love the way that the Leuchtturm is laid out. I take full advantage of the Contents page and have been using it to create, well, a table of contents. This is a traditional bullet journaling element that I’ve stuck to.

The one thing that I've changed slightly is that I have the months color-coded and highlighted so I can find them easier.

Key



One thing that I embellished a bit is the key page. I copied the key from the Bullet Journal app, and so far, it’s working well for me.

Trackers/Collections



Now, we’re getting into the fun stuff. I’ve created collections and trackers: one collection for blog posts (which I don’t have pictured because spoilers), and trackers for the books I’ve read this year and what movies I’ve watched on Netflix.

Other trackers/collections I have not pictured here: travel in 2017 (still working on that one, and it has future stuff that I'm waiting to share here) and Monthly Favorites (which I used to write my August Favorites last month!).

Daily Log



Finally, here’s my Daily Log…so far.

“Hey, Sav? Where’s your Monthly or Future Log?” you may be asking me. Here’s the thing about the way I’m bullet journaling right now: I am using this in tandem with my Erin Condren planner. As such, I really don’t need a future or monthly log right now. Now, that could change, but this is what’s working for me at the moment.

As far as functionality goes, I LOVE this. I transfer my to-do lists from my Erin Condren planner to my bullet journal as I see fit, and I've been finding that I've been accomplishing so much more with it. Here's hoping that this continues! If so, I'll update you guys.


Have you ever tried bullet journaling? Let’s talk in the comments! :)

Thirty Date Ideas

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In the three months I’ve been dating my boyfriend Cody, I’ve had some really fun adventures. And even before that, when we were still talking, we went on adventures, too. Based on my adventures and experiences, I really really wanted to share some fun date ideas with y'all. 

Guys, feel free to use this list to surprise your girl (trust me, you’ll be glad you did). Girls, if your guy asks you what you want to do one day or night, feel free to consult these ideas. Plus, most of these can cost little to no money, or they don’t have to cost a thing (especially the Dates In) with a little imagination and stuff you already have around your house.

Ready? Onto the dates!

Dates In

  1. Watch a movie that’s special to you both/is a big part of your relationship.
  2. Watch a movie that’s special to you in the nostalgic sense (i.e. the new Power Rangers movie, classic Disney, etc.).
  3. Is there a movie either of you haven’t seen? Watch those two movies one night.
  4. Start a new series on Netflix that you can continue on future dates (OR, if you’re long distance, one you can watch while apart and discuss...Cody and I LOVE "Stranger Things", and it was a big part of our starting to get to know each other).
  5. Speaking of series (and back to movies), start a trilogy or series of movies that you can continue on a weekly or daily basis (perfect if your guy or gal hasn’t seen Star Wars or Lord of the Rings). Bonus: get your friends who haven’t seen these series involved as well! This would be a fun double- or triple-date.
  6. Take a night to marathon one of your favorite TV shows (check your local listings for this…one of my and Cody’s favorites to watch together is Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives on Fridays).
  7. Do a Bible study together. There are some great ones from She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth.
  8. Play a few rounds of multiplayer video games together (think Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., games where you can co-op on a level, etc.)
  9. Cook together! This is fun especially if one or both of you are adventurous with food. Bonus: Plan an entire meal and serve it to your family and friends.
  10. Play board games! Many games are at least 2-player at minimum. If you’re both savvy with strategy, go with Settlers of Catan or Monopoly. Want to just straight-up fight to the finish? Uno or Sorry are your games. Bonus: extend Date #7 with this one and bring in family and friends.
  11. Camp in! Grill hot dogs and make s’mores in your microwave and then build a pillow or blanket fort. Bonus: combine this with Dates #1-#8
  12. At-home drive-in! Get one of your cars, whip out your phone or tablet, connect it to your car’s speakers, and BAM. Instant and free drive-in. Plus, you don’t have to pay extra to bring in your own food!
  13. Are either of you coffee buffs? Try making a Starbucks copycat recipe! Or, make smoothies/slushies (Kool-Aid slushies are easy and AWESOME). This is a quick and easy way to cap off a date.
  14. Speaking of capping off a date, making cookies or dessert together after a night out is always a great idea.
  15. Just take the time to talk! You’ve probably had a long or busy week…just catching up will lift both of your spirits and help you support each other as a couple.

Dates Out


  1. Arcades! I ADORE arcades, and these are a fun way to get competitive without getting crazy-active (unless you want to play some Dance Dance Revolution ;] ).
  2. Tour your hometown! Check out a historic landmark you haven’t been to in awhile, or just drive around.
  3. Speaking of touring, visit a city or two over and browse landmarks there.
  4. Speaking of your hometown, check online for any festivals or farmer’s markets coming up. Most of the time, these are free to browse, and the only thing you may buy is food (which you should totally do, especially if there are unique food stalls or trucks…one farmer’s market near my hometown has the BEST tamales I’ve ever had).
  5. Go to the zoo or aquarium. It’s super fun to find out your significant other’s favorite animal or what animals are special to them or their family.
  6. Try a restaurant serving a type of food you’ve either never had or have only had once.
  7. Try a restaurant with a unique dish (like rolled ice cream or ramen).
  8. Go to a concert together! What better way to learn your boyfriend or girlfriend’s musical taste? (Also, check for free concerts.)
  9. Go to a bookstore. Give each other ten minutes to pick out something that they think the other might like with no obligation to buy it. This tiny competition is another great way to get to know your guy or girl.
  10. Go to a museum together.
  11. Go to a sports game together. In Nashville, we have hockey, football, and minor league baseball, with the occasional soccer game. My boyfriend’s college town has an awesome minor league baseball team. Either way, this will be fun to do in your own city or when you’re visiting your long distance guy or girl.
  12. Go bowling! Bowling is a super easy and fun way to get active and competitive. Plus, many places have discounted or all-you-can-bowl nights, so check online!
  13. Go hiking! Check out trails near or far (if you’re willing to take a day trip).
  14. Speaking of trips, take a daylong road trip! Drive a few hours to a major city and have a blast.
  15. Do something that either of you have never done before.

Want to pin these lists for later? Go for it!





What are your date ideas? What’s your favorite date you’ve ever been on? Let’s talk in the comments! :)

All-Time Favorite Bible Verses

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy September!

In lieu of a Friday Five this week (since I just did a Monthly Favorites and I feel like I’d just be rehashing some of those in a normal Friday Five), I decided to list five of my all-time favorite Bible verses, and give them to you in pastel-colored graphic form that you can save to your phone, pin to Pinterest, message to someone, whatever.

Why? Well, for a few reasons: one, I know that a lot of you readers have started school or know someone who’s started school; when I was in school, Bible verses helped me a whole lot. Two, it always helps me to have scripture handy in times of trouble, whether that’s for me or someone I love. And three, I just wanted to share some of my favorites with you. :)

















What are your favorite verses?

August Favorites | 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I can’t believe August is over tomorrow. But there’s so much that I’ve loved, and I can’t wait to share those loves with you today.

Beauty

I’ve still been really loving Lipsense. There’s just something about having a long-wearing lipstick that makes things easier, especially when I have a jam-packed day. Lately, I’ve been loving the brighter colors: specifically “Kiss for a Cause,” “Strawberry Shortcake,” and “Blu-Red.” I’ve also thrown in some “Sheer Berry” in for good measure, especially with Fall coming up.

Also, I’ve gotten into a new mascara: the Make Up For Ever Excessive Lash mascara. A sample came in my latest Ipsy bag, and so far, it’s the only mascara (that’s not tubing) that doesn’t leave a crazy amount of smudging under my eyes. Yay!

Fashion




Fashion-wise, my favorite thing has been to pair fun graphic tees (or blouses with fun patterns) with skinny, high-waisted jeans. (I actually own those exact jeans in the example above.)

Places



My favorite place this month has to be Montgomery, Alabama. I got to visit my boyfriend there towards the beginning of August, and it was a blast. (If you want to learn more, click here to read the detailed post).

Organization

I am absolutely still loving my Erin Condren planner. It’s been the best tool for keeping track of my months and weeks.

Also, just yesterday, in fact, I’ve started a new adventure: bullet journaling! I touched on it briefly in this post, but I decided to take the plunge and try out bullet journaling as a listing tool and tracker. Keep an eye out for a post on this in the future!

Writing

My biggest writing favorite is the fact that I self-published my second short story to Amazon: “The Pirate College!” It launched on the 15th. If you want to buy a copy, check it out on Amazon, or if you want to learn more (and read an excerpt), check out this post on my author site.

As I’ve been preparing for NaNoWriMo (!!!) and just writing in general, I have been trying to build two habits: one, going to the library as often as I can to write and plan, and two, writing 500 words a day. Now, these habits aren’t 1000% in place yet (mainly the 500 words one…I’ve skipped days due to being super busy, illness, and just not knowing what to write), but I’ll be working on them in the months to come.

Music

My top 5 songs for this month are:
  1. “Look What You Made Me Do” - Taylor Swift (Can we take a moment to talk about her music video? Because it was INSANE. In the best way.)
  2. “I Like Me Better” - Lauv
  3. "Feel It Still" - Portugal, the Man
  4. “Basket Case” - Bastille
  5. “Friends” - Justin Bieber feat. Bloodpop

Random

I’ve been dabbling in drawing again! For those of y’all who don’t know, I’ve loved to draw ever since I can remember. In fact, if I wasn’t a writer, I would have gone to school for sequential or graphic design and drawn my own comics for a living. These days, my drawing is really just a hobby, and I’m totally okay with that.



I drew this self portrait on my mom’s iPad Pro using the ProCreate app. I can’t wait to play with it more and see what else I can make!

Also, I got to see Cody at the end of the month. He was stopping through on his way to one of his football team's away games.



So that's cool. :)

Verse

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” - Philippians 4:13


What have been your favorite things this month?

The Art of the To-Do List

Tuesday, August 29, 2017



One of my very first posts in my first year of blogging was on to-do lists. I still adore the to-do list; while it’s definitely not a new idea to stay on top of life and stay organized, there’s something to be said about making (and keeping) a to-do list on a daily or weekly basis. Keeping lists, at least for me, is crucial since I work from home.

Now, I definitely feel like there are different methods to keeping lists. In today’s post, I want to share some methods I’ve discovered with you, and you can modify them for your needs as you see fit. I’m going to also rank them from simple to more elaborate.

Good ol’ Notepads

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The notepad is a good way to keep daily lists running, especially since you normally toss a sheet of notepaper (and by notepaper, in this case, I mean tear-off pads and sticky notes) once it’s done.

Plus, there are some cute notepads out there.


Like this one.

So, in short, notepads are good for:
  • Short-term, day-by-day tasks
  • Grocery/shopping lists
  • Quick reminders and notes (stick them to your mirror or nightstand)

A Dedicated To-Do List Notebook

I consider this a step up from the traditional notepad in that you wouldn’t tear out these pages. Instead, you would keep track of your lists in a dedicated space.

When I was in middle school, we were actually required to keep one of these for homework. I actually wound up keeping this method through my college years, just because it was awesome having a list specifically for these tasks. For college, what I would do is go to the library, outline what I would do, and then highlight each task as I got it done. It kept me productive during my dedicated study sessions.

This one I bought for my last year of college was from May Designs.

I guess the 2013 me never got around to Labs 5B and 7B that day, ha!


The to-do list notebook is good for:
  • Student things (homework, tasks, meetings, etc.)
  • Keeping track of what you did during a given week

Within Your Agenda or Planner

Like to keep everything condensed in one spot? The planner method is for you.




I currently keep to-do lists in my Erin Condren planner. I use the vertical layout and dedicate one box to to-do lists. And it’s been a wonderful thing to see what I’ve needed to do not only during a given day, but within the context of a week.

Also, you can use this method in weekly and hourly layouts, too. It’s all up to you.

So, use the planner method for:
  • Keeping both calendar events and to-do list items in the same place
  • Keeping track of items throughout a week
  • Making lists of things to get done during your week without assigning them to a specific day (Erin Condren planners have a sidebar that’s great for this, but other planners have space for this, too…shop around and see what you like.)

Bullet Journal!

Do you like to get creative? Say hello to your new little friend: the Bullet Journal.



The Bullet Journal, a system created by Ryder Carroll, pretty much turns your calendar and to-do list items into a huge listing system, and it’s a phenomenal tool for tons of people. A quick search on Pinterest for bullet journaling has some of the most beautiful artwork and layouts I’ve ever seen.

I’ve dabbled in this system before, and while it’s not the best system for me to use as my only planner (since it’s tricky to plan ahead with it), I will say that it’s amazing for keeping lists and tracking habits, as well as itemizing collections and things you want to do. Plus, I recommend using the bullet journal system if you’re a writer (for more info, check out my post here).

Bullet journaling would be a great fit for you for:
  • Simplifying your planning and list systems into one notebook
  • Keeping track of habits and things you want to see and do (especially on a monthly basis)
  • If you love being creative with your listing, planning, and tracking (especially if you love the idea of a blank canvas to do it all in)


How do you keep to-do lists? Let’s talk about it! :)

Friday Five | 8/25/17

Friday, August 25, 2017

It’s Friday! (More like Fri-Yay, am I right? ;] )

Let’s talk about five specific things!

The Solar Eclipse!

Look how gray and dusky the sky is! And the street lamp!

It seemed like everyone was watching and waiting with bated breath for the eclipse on Monday…and I was one of them.

We weren’t in the exact path of totality, but it did get dark. Our street lamp turned on, and the crickets went crazy for a little while. It was as though it was 6 PM instead of 1 PM. I consider myself a space nerd, and I love stuff like this. It was really, really fun to watch the eclipse with my mom, and I’m glad I got to experience at least a small part of it.

The whole “writing 500 words” thing

It’s been going pretty well! I’ve been going back and forth between using Fighter’s Block and good old Scrivener to accomplish this. Have I been doing this all week? Well…I did miss Monday and Tuesday, but I DID make up for it and write 1300 words on Wednesday.

Library Days

Speaking of writing, I spent a couple days this week at the library doing some writing and NaNoWriMo planning.

Oh, what’s that? Did I mention NaNoWriMo?

I guess now’s a good time to announce that I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month this year! The past couple of Novembers, I spent the 30 days writing 30 short stories, essentially writing two anthologies with a grand total of 60 short stories now in my portfolio. Now, I feel like I’m finally ready to take the plunge and actually do NaNoWriMo for real. 50,000 words? Bring it.

(And, yes, I know that you’re supposed to wait until October to prep, but my novel needs a ton of character, world, and plot development before I move forward.)

Lemon Tea & Honey

I have been sick this week. The jankiest of colds has been going around, and I caught one. Yippee.

Luckily, herbal lemon and ginger tea and honey has helped. A lot. I drink that in addition to coffee if my throat’s bothering me.

“Look What You Made Me Do”

I can’t finish off a Friday Five without talking about Taylor Swift’s newest single that came out less than twelve hours ago.


Of course, I love her music. However, I’m curious to see what this turn to electro-pop-punk means for the rest of her album. But, I tell ya…she can write music. The lyrics are pretty awesome. And I'm excited for the video to be out Sunday!


What have you been loving this week?

The Surprises

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I'll be honest, I had no idea what I was going to write for today. All I know was that I wanted to write something, because I had an itch to write, I just didn't know what. Then, while on Skype with my boyfriend, he gave me an idea..."have you written about the surprises?"

Sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee, and grab a snack. Let me tell you a story.

Before Cody and I started dating, we really didn't know each other that well beyond being just acquaintances (despite knowing who the other was for ten years). But there was a way that he got to know me that I didn't know about until after the fact...and now that I think about it, it was pretty genius.

It all started when he came home from college for his birthday weekend. We were still talking at this point, but he wanted to take me to dinner. But the catch was that I had absolutely no clue where we were going. That is...until we pulled into a restaurant I love near my hometown, J. Alexanders. That was the first time he'd ever surprised me, and it was an absolute hit.

But little did I know that the ride didn't stop there.

One time, after he surprised me with more adventures (and a record!), I decided to surprise him. I made a picnic for us that we ate at the park, and then we went bowling. But then, instead of calling it a night, he asked for my keys...

...and we went to Dave and Busters.



I think that one was one of my very favorites. :) Mainly because he turned my surprise back around on me.

But my top favorite was the one that he made for our 1-month anniversary. He totally surprised me by taking me to one of my all-time favorite places in Nashville...and, again, I had no idea. I just mentioned it in passing, and bam. Surprise.

So, why the surprises?

I found out that Cody was using the surprises to get to know me. Before taking me to Dave and Busters, he had no idea I loved video games as much as I do. And since we're both pretty adventurous foodies, he took me to some really cool restaurants as surprises, and he knew I'd love them. But it was a way that I got to know him, too. The surprises helped build the friendship foundation before we started dating.

Also, he still surprises me today. :)

I'm so thankful to God for Cody, for the surprises, and for everything else in between. I'm just thankful for a guy who supports my dreams, and I'm excited for the adventures to come.

Wonderland Reads: Series Review - "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" + "Necromancing the Stone"

Monday, August 21, 2017

Every year, I set up a reading challenge on Goodreads. It’s a fun way to keep track of what books I’ve read during the years I’ve set these goals, and it’s also a great way to look back on what books I loved (and maybe find similar titles in the future).

This year, I’ve set a goal to read 15 books. And one of those 15 books I’ve had the absolute pleasure and delight of reading is Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride.



Here is a synopsis for the curious:

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he's doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. 
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. 
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Y’all, I. LOVED. This. Book.

The writing style reminded me of another old favorite series of mine, Off to Be the Wizard. It was a riot with great characters and a storyline that kept me gripped from page one. I devoured this book in 24 hours.

I wish I could say the same of its sequel, Necromancing the Stone.



I hate to DNF (did not finish) any book, but after a week and a half of just reading a few pages on and off, I decided to call this one quits halfway through. 

The humor just wasn’t there for me in the sequel…the main character was whinier, and the story took some very, very strange directions that I wasn’t a fan of. The bright side? The gnomes (who had names like “Chuck the Norriser) who would provide comic relief. I guess I was expecting it to be just like the Off to Be the Wizard series I loved (which, I actually liked the second and third books just as much as the first). 

So, at the end of the day, I’d recommend “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer.” It’s definitely one of my new favorite books of all time. Maybe I’ll give the sequel another shot someday, but for now, I think I’ll venture elsewhere.

Final Ratings:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer - five pandas out of five
Necromancing the Stone - three gnomes out of five


What books have you read lately?

images and synopsis credit: Goodreads

Friday Five | 8/18/17

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hey, y'all! This Friday Five has some pretty epic stuff in it, not gonna lie.

Well, why wait when I can tell you all about it?

I published a short story!



"The Pirate College" launched Tuesday. It’s a story I had an absolute blast writing, and I am thrilled that it’s finally out! (If you want to buy a copy for Kindle or paperback, click here. If you want to find out more about my self-publishing and how I got started, click here.)

Bic Gelocity Pens

These have been my office supply of choice as of late. I love the bright colors and how fast they dry. (You can pick them up on Amazon here.)


Barista Parlor Coffee


Now, if y’all have been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much I love Barista Parlor. But it had been a good while since I enjoyed a cup of one of their specialty coffees, and, y’all, it was good. (The one I tried last night had cherry pie notes. Cherry pie!)


Fighter’s Block

These days, I’ve been trying to write at least 500 words a day to stay conditioned creative writing-wise, and also just because I love it. It’s been a fun habit to build.

But the thing that’s really helped me build that habit has been this web app. As you type, you play as a little character trying to fight off a monster. The more you type, the faster you win. The less you type, the monster has a chance of winning. Video games and writing? That’s a serious win-win for me.

If you’d like to try it, check it out here.

These Verses

"Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” - 1 Corinthians 15:58

“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10

What have you been loving this week?


Just a quick disclaimer before I go: I am not being paid to advertise specific items. I just want to share what I love with you guys. :)