30 before 30

somebody around here had a birthday this week... yep, little ol' me!  wednesday i began the countdown of the last year of my 20s.  how did this happen!?!  i am a bit sad that i only have one year left of my 20s but i'm determined to make this year count.

last year i made a 28 before 29 list and i was a bit ambitious w/ it and didn't accomplish a lot on the list.  today i sat down to make a 30 things to do before i turn 30 and i'm pretty happy with this list.  i think everything on here is definitely able to be accomplished in a year.  so here's the list...i look forward to checking each thing off...

1. start planning and save for 30th bday trip to nyc (decided to stay closer to home for bday)
2. visit biltmore estate
3. visit savannah, ga
     ---september 2012 vacation
4. spend the weekend in kansas city
5. take a completely random roadtrip
6. see a horse race in hot springs
7. go to a concert
8. spend a day at the ocean (trip postponed until a few months after birthday)
9. visit a state i’ve never been to
     ---louisiana - september 2012 (on my way to florida/georgia for vacation)
10. save more and spend less
11. bake 30 different kinds of cupcakes
12. make french macarons
13. make homemade ice cream this summer
14. stop comparing myself to others
15. seek God more
16. put more emphasis on my health
17. complain less
18. try to be 15 min early instead of always running late
19. mail cards to at least 5 people a month
20. read at least two books a month - and review it on blog
21. create a blogging routine instead of posting randomly
22. re-design blog
23. work on getting a bachelor’s degree
     --- researched; decided to not pursue at this time
24. stop being so unapproachable
25. push past my comfort zone
26. ride a rollercoaster
27. take a 30 day fast from tv (going to movies w/ friends excluded)
28. start scrapbooking my daily life - project life style
29. run a 5k
30. do a project 10-pan
          ---started july 11


around here

it's been quiet here on my little blog for a few days now.  i'm staying busy, enjoying the end of may.  i'll be back this coming week w/ more blog posts.  but for today i thought i'd leave you w/ the biggest change around here...my hair!  i'm still getting used to it as i haven't had blonde hair since i was a child.  so it's still a bit of a shock every time i walk past a mirror, especially in the morning. ha!

i hope you have a lovely holiday weekend and remember all the sacrifices that have been made by our military so we can enjoy the freedom so many take for granted...

~ jess


god is writing my love story

ever feel like your friends got on this great cruise boat and you missed out...  it's so easy to look at someone else' life and compare their lives to your own.

society is ever changing, but it doesn't necessarily influence everyone's life.  anymore it is common to wait until you are in your 30s to marry and start a family.  try telling that to the older people in your life.  like when at the age of 23 my grandpa told me i was already an old maid. ha! he said it half joking and very lovingly of course.  and now there's my nanny who at age 84 constantly reminds me that i need to hurry along so she can see my wedding and hold another great-grandchild.

by your 30s you've had plenty of time to finish college and be well along on your career path.  ummm, yes, i can check both those off my list.  at 28, nearly 29 (in 2 weeks) i've been out of college and at my current job for 7 years this week.  i started as an intern, then graphic designer, lead designer and currently an art director.  however some things, like a house of my own still elude me.  of course living at home until your in your 30s seem to be all too common now as well.

but then there are always those who kick society aside and choose to marry and start their families early.  one of the girl's i graduated hs with became engaged the same night!  and some friends from school and church who are years younger are already married and have lots of children running around.

sometimes i enjoy the quiet, knowing that i should cherish these years.  these are the times i'm still able to be selfish.  i choose what to do w/ my time - meeting up with friends randomly for dinner and movie and staying out til 2am.  i choose what to do w/ my money - shopping weekly for beauty, fashion and crafting.  there is way less stress on me.

but now, especially as i'm nearing the last year of my beloved 20s it becomes ever more present...that longing for someone to spend the rest of my life with and have a family.  it's during these times i must constantly remind myself that yes, god is writing my love story.  you see i choose to give him this part of my life because i know he will choose the perfect person for me in his time, which is perfect timing.

it isn't always easy to choose god's path, but it's the path i'm choosing to take...




when i hear the word "triangle" my mind instantly goes back to 8th grade level geometry.  algebra had seemed like a breeze to me compared to geometry.  i just didn't get it!

fast forward many years - around 17 - and i'm digging triangles now.  of course i'm not trying to figure out the degree on them. ha!

studio calico presented several challenges last weekend for the national scrapbook day.  i really wanted to jump right into them, but alas i'm such a procrastinator at heart.  oh well!  it was still fun to work on this layout.

i used the february studio calico kit - daydream believer for this layout.  a few of the accent pieces are just from my stash.  when i sat down to create this layout i actually had a rough start.  first i took the yellow cardstock from the kit and did some masking and spraying with mister hueys but i just did not like how the colors looked together.  i kept trying and trying to use it but just couldn't push past my dislike.  so i scrapped that piece of paper and ended up using it to mount this layout to.

~ jess


usa project

do you like to travel?  i really do.  for as long as i can remember i was traveling someplace.  my grandparents lived in michigan (where i was born) but my parents and i lived in arkansas so from the age of 7 i spent my summers up there... my last summer up there i was 16.  and from the age of 14-17 at the end of may i would go on school trips to international competitions for ace (accelerated christian education).  it feels odd now if i go too long without some kind of road trip.

so for a couple of years i have been wanting to make some kind of piece to show all the states that i have visited.  i bought a cork board about a year ago and have been looking for just the perfect map to mount to it ever since.  then i ran across these pre-cut state pieces from studio calico.  hello!...perfect.  in fact, so much so that i'm not the only one to think of using it for this project.  amazing how great minds think alike!

it was super easy to put the pieces together and i was amazed that they fit so well on the cork board that i had already purchased.  i used my atg to stick them to the cork.  not sure if this will hold them on permanently but i guess i'll see!

i had a few decorative pins and then "borrowed" some from my mom's sewing stash to use.  i sat down and made a list of all the states and towns that i had visited.  then i just pulled up google maps to get an approx location for each of the cities.  i was going to put tags on each pin listing the city, but i thought that would look too cluttered.  i'm liking just having the pins for now.  however i am thinking of adding some kind of small envelope w/ like journaling cards to list each city, year and reason for visit.

there are a few states that i don't have pins in taht i have technically been to.  but it's just states that i passed through on my way to another state and didn't stop there besides spending the night in a hotel or grabbing something to eat.  so for this project i chose not to include them.

part of this project is to encourage myself to get out and visit the remaining states i haven't visited.  in case you can't tell from the pics, i've been to 16 states and have also been to washington d.c.

here are the 16 states i've visited:
arizona - flagstaff, grand canyon, phoenix
arkansas - too many to list!
florida - destin, panama city, orlando, cocoa beach
illinois - mt carmel
iowa - des moins
kansas - wichita
kentucky - benton, paducah, shepherdsville
michigan - trenton, detroit, warren, sterling heights, port huron, sault st marie, most northern point (unsure of city name)
missouri - branson, kansas city, st. louis, columbia
new mexico - carlsbad, santa fe
new york - niagara falls
north carolina - high point
oklahoma - too many to list!
tennessee - memphis, nashville, knoxville, chattanooga
texas - dallas, tyler, san antonio
virginia - charlottesville, alexandria

~ jess

polish review - revlon buttercup and calla lily

revlon has really been coming thru lately with me  on their polishes.  they are a great price point, come in some great shades, including some amazing dupes for high end, fantastic color range and good formulation.  i've been looking for a lovely yellow for a while now and youtube has really been buzzing about the buttercup shade. so the day i went into ulta revlon products were on sale for bogo 1/2 off.  i decided to pick up the buttercup shade and also the calla lily.

buttercup is a lovely light pastel yellow.  nice and creamy, everything you'd want in a spring yellow.  calla lily is a creamy off-white with lovely micro shimmer glitter (i wasn't really able to capture it in the pics).  here's where the praise for these polishes starts to diminish in my opinion.

i think i must have just got a bad bottle of the revlon buttercup.  for starters the brush seemed shorter on it than the calla lily shade and also some of the bristles were rough and a bit longer.  it just made application a pain.  also, the color was very streaky and thick.  if i tried to put on a thin layer i only had streaks.  so i ended up having to use three layers of the buttercup to try to get it to look decent.  thankfully seche vite top coat can cover a multitude of "sins". ha!

now onto the calla lily shade.  i could tell from the bottle that it would be a sheer color, but i was hoping i could get it opaque in three layers.  wrong!  it took five.  i will say though that it applied much easier than the buttercup shade.  this is a lovely shade though and would be beautiful with an opaque white applied under it first.

even though the application was a bit of a headache, i have to say that both shades were really lovely.  so if you don't mind working with them a bit, they are a great purchase.  like i said though, i do think the brush on the buttercup shade i purchased was just a lemon.  oh, and the wear on these polishes was very good for me.

~ jess


love at first sip

as a crafter/designer, lately it seems most of the time that i work on projects and only ever reach a point where i'm just satisfied with them.  i want to go being just being satisfied and falling in love.  i had had this idea for a layout mulling in my head for a while.  finally i sat down and put it to paper...

and you know what, i LOVED it.  you may not think it's phenomenal, but i'm loving everything about it.

first i wanted to incorporate some more magazine/catalog clippings into layouts.  so i grabbed an anthropologie catalog and found some great images that would go perfectly w/ the pic i had in mind.

the next big thing was to put some acrylic paint on the page.  and not just little bits of paint, but to mix in some modeling paste and really get some texture going on.

and finally i went with some colors that would really pop off the page - coral, teal and yellow.

seriously, this is one of those rare moments where there is nothing i want to change about this layout.  it's just completely me...

i'm hoping i can bottle it up and really get into a great groove with the next layouts i work on...

~ jess


currents - 05.03

listening: jane eyre soundtrack ...love to listen to this to relax me to sleep

reading: nothing really.  still have the same 3 books i need to finish but can't get into them...

eating: loving the lean pockets made w/ pretzel bread...soooo good

drinking: sobe lifewater w/ coconut water

wearing: new clothes today...went shopping last night

feeling: ready for the weekend

weather: sunny...think it's supposed to be near 90 every day

watching: really getting into unforgettable on cbs

waiting: to get some work down on my car...trying to hold out til i have to

wanting: to be more productive

needing: to finish some invites for a friend's baby shower

enjoying: meeting up w/ friends for lunch during the work week

wondering: how people remember the prompts for daily pics

working: on more youtube videos

~ jess


polish review - zoya belle

last week zoya and birchbox launched a package of limited edition blogger nail polishes.  there are 3 shades in the collection - belle, kate and coraline.  belle was inspired by capitol hill style.  coraline inspired by eleventh gorgeous.  and finally kate inspired by the small things blog.

of course as soon as i saw tweets and emails about this collection i rushed out to buy them.  they retail for $22 for all three bottles and ship free.

the polishes are very lovely, especially for spring and summer.  all three are a sheer jelly polish and only one has shimmer.  i currently have kate on my toes.  today's review however is about belle, which is the one polish with shimmer.  as soon as i opened the package this is the one i was immediately drawn to.  it's a beautiful pink that has a coral/gold shimmer to it - i wish i'd been able to capture this better in my pics.  surprisingly i don't have anything else in my collection like it.

now since these polishes are sheer, it did take three coats of this polish to become opaque on my nails.  they apply very easily and dry beautifully.  here's my one and only problem with this polish.  it wore horridly on my nails.  as you can see in the pic above, i had major wear on my thumb nail and that was less than 24 hrs after applying the polish.  i used the same base/top coats i normally do and did nothing out of the ordinary in my every day life to cause extra wear.  i'm not sure if it's just the nature of the sheer polish or what...  next time i think i'll put down a base of an opaque pink first and use this polish as a top coat.

~ jess