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Grateful Heart

| On
July 30, 2014
(photo by Death to the Stock Photo)
Today in my editorial calendar, I had planned to write a post to go with the Grateful Heart linkup on Ember Grey. It's a linkup where anyone can share posts that share their gratitude at the current moment. So that was my plan. And then a monster sinus infection invaded my life. I spent my night cradled a roll of toilet paper and blowing my nose every five minutes while taking NyQuil religiously every four hours to no avail. Last night sucked.

And so I wasn't feeling like blogging much at all, especially a gratitude post. But you know what? I'm up for a challenge. 

Things I'm Grateful For

The inspiration I receive from the blogging community. I really, really love looking through my Bloglovin' feed these days and just admiring all the wonderful thought that goes into the posts. There are so many beautiful + well written blogs out there and I'm glad that I've been able to discover them!

A flexible boss. I already talked to her today about work tonight and she was totally nice about it--telling me just to do what I can and not to stress out about it.

Khan Academy. Okay, sounds silly, I know. I needed to refresh on my calculus II material since I'm going into calc II or III this fall but haven't taken a calculus class in like three years. I thought I was going to have to pay for a refresher course, but I've found that I can take a quasi-course for free online! Yay!

MY LEFT NOSTRIL JUST CLEARED. I'm not even kidding, this is the best thing to happen to me all day. You never really appreciate breathing out of your nose until you can't.

Alright, that may be all I can manage right now. But still! Even that little list cheered me up a little. 

What are you grateful for?

Playlist #27: Guitar Instrumentals

| On
July 29, 2014

I've been so busy lately, between last weekend's craft fair and working, that what I've found is I really need good background music to my life. I need music that can provide that background noise without taking my focus away from what I'm doing. You know, I always love to sing along with music, but sometimes I just need to do my own thing. This playlist is all about that--play it while you work, read, cook, etc. Save the singalong songs for the car.

P.S. Muriel Anderson is phenomenal--she plays the harp guitar and composes her own music. I first heard her at a local concert in Charlotte. If you like this playlist, you should definitely listen to more of her stuff!

What have you been listening to lately?

(photo by Death to the Stock Photo)

Weekly Goals #37

| On
July 28, 2014
Helloooo! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty fun, between the craft fair and shopping with friends, except for this crazy weather! It's been insanely windy + cool (think low 60s!) + we haven't had a good beach day in a week! Oh well. This week is pretty routine. Other than working, my only real plans are hanging out with the gal pals tonight, potentially dying my hair turquoise/purple (whaaaa?! just the tips!). 

What are your plans for the week? 

Last Week's Goals:

+ Exercise 120 minutes. Rocked this. As of Friday, I had only put in 40 minutes and got discouraged. But then I remembered that I still had three days to go! In the end, I finished the week with 135 minutes, mostly of walk/runs and conditioning. Yay!

+ Read for 30 minutes a day. I came fairly close to this one. It would have been a lot easier to get the reading in if I had had good beach days, but I just had to read inside most days. I finished Ender's Game and surprisingly, hated it. It was awful. Speaking of awful, I'm reading a Jon Sharpe western book (I think called Desert Death or something like that) and I just can't take it seriously. Also: too many sex scenes. 

This Week's Goals:

I want to do something a little different this week, maybe for the future as well. I'm going to separate my goals into categories (body, mind and blog) so that I make sure I'm working on different areas of myself. Hopefully this means my goals will be more interesting and varied!

+ Body Love: exercise 120 minutes and run the 5k race. My town hosts a Summerfest every year and I'm pretty sure I saw a sign somewhere that there's a 5k race? I probably won't be able to run it all, but that's okay. But, I'm giving myself permission to wuss out if it's expensive/conflicts with my schedule, since I'm not sure when it is.

+ Mind Love: find a new podcast to keep my mind going during the summer. My favorite podcast to listen to during walks is True Murder because it's like watching SVU while exercising, but it's not exactly the most mentally stimulating. Anyone know of a good science/easy French language podcast? 

+ Blog Love: comment on three blog posts every day. It's really low, I know. But I am so guilty of being that silent lurking blog reader. If you comment on my blog regularly, I probably read your blog. I am just awful about commenting. But, I will say. If you don't have disqus, I don't bother. Get that installed, yo.

What are your goals this week?

Catching My Eye [links I like]

| On
July 24, 2014
+Free, bold and fun fonts from Holly Marie Designs. I'm digging Oxalis.

Worldometers shows real-time statistics for approximately everything. From the population to the number of cell phones bought to hectares of forest loss, it's interesting to literally see our world in numbers. Interesting: there are almost 900 million undernourished people and yet, today there has already been 90 million dollars spent on weight loss programs in the USA.

70 of the most useful sites on the internet. Most are for fun, but some really are useful. Plus it's a fun list to read! I'm a total appaholic but I'm also always on the lookout for cool new websites. Lists like these help me find new tools for the most random things.

+ This set of infographics on lakes and oceans blows my mind. The best quote: "Sperm whales dive about this deep (2800m ish). They come up covered in wounds and sucker marks so presumably there are big squid down here? Man we know nothing about the ocean."

+ Take fifteen minutes to improve your blog with this mini-project from Elembee. Definitely something I need to do soon!

+I'm always interested in hearing about how other people spend their mornings (here's my morning!), so I love this series from Yes and Yes about mornings in different countries.

+So interesting--a photographic series on how kids change in their first year of college.

+I've shared this at least five times, but this video of whale sharks swimming peacefully in an aquarium in Japan makes me feel like I'm going to tear up every time. These are my favorite creatures on earth for their beauty and grace.

+Because I'm always a sucker for all things organized, I love these tips on keeping an organized editorial calendar on Elah Tree.

+The Dress Your Tech series on DesignLoveFest always offers gorgeous desktop backgrounds, but I'm especially in love with these blue watercolor dots by Jessica Stevens.

Weekly Goals #36

| On
July 21, 2014
Hey friends! I hope you've all had lovely weekends and are ready for a wonderful week! This week, I don't have a whole lot going on until SATURDAY. Saturday is the big day! My town holds a big fair where crafts, food, antiques and all kinds of stuff are sold. There's a pancake breakfast beforehand and it's always a really fun time to shop around, hang out with friends and of course, buy stuff. But! This year, I'm selling cards that I have been making (and haven't even shown you!). More on that in a bit. 

What do you have going on? I really love reading other people's weekly goals posts, and then seeing how your week goes! 

Last Week's Goals:

+ Finish tattoo calligraphy project. If you remember, a coworker of my sister hired me to design her tattoo for when she gets inked this fall. I was having a lot of trouble with it since the only capital letter in the design was 'C' and that's possibly my most boring and least pretty uppercase letter. But I finally finished it and sent it to her and she loved it! There's nothing like that feeling of nervously presenting your work to someone and having them appreciate it.

+ Do the 7-minute workout 14 times. So I was super flexible with this one, but I'm still checking it off my list. I only did the 7-minute workout six times, but I also went for two, 40-minute walk/jogs and a long walk yesterday. So I exercised enough. I will say that I am a fan of the 7-minute workout! I found one that I can do on a park bench with step ups, dips, push-ups and such. Yay for exercise!

+ Finish designs and print my cards for this weekend. Sort of success. 90% of my designs are finished but I'm waiting for my paper + envelopes to arrive. Unfortunately, there's not really any sort of printer/office supply store within half an hour of me, so I just have to wait. But I'm confident that they'll get here in time!

This Week's Goals:

+ Read for 30 minutes a day. I'm in the adult reading program at my library (me so nerdy) and I have to read a book each in the fiction, nonfiction, historical, western, romance, sci-fi, and mystery genres. I've got the fiction and non-fiction section covered easily and I read And Then There Were None this wee, so mystery's done too. This week, I'm working on Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card for the sci-fi category. Any historical/western/romance recommendations?

+ Put in 120 minutes of exercise over the week. This doesn't count by 15-minute walk to the beach everyday. If I'm wearing my heart-rate monitor, it counts!

That's really all I can think of for this week! Have a great week, lovebugs!

Color Files: Tangerine

| On
July 18, 2014
When I'm working on design for my blog or others, I'm constantly amazed by the way that color can transform lines. It can add a totally new attitude to a design or even make YOU feel things. Colors can hold memories and associations. I know whenever I see a certain shade of blue, it makes me thing of Lake Michigan. I bet you're the same--ever see a color and immediately think of your college's colors?

One of my favorite colors these days is tangerine. Tangerine can feel summery, clean, fun, fresh and invigorating. It can give energy, provide inspiration and wake you up. It feels lively and warm.

Crossbody bag / Roller Date Stamp / Swimsuit / Heels / Pillow / Bracelets - source not found

Anyone else obsessed with tangerine? How will you use tangerine--in your outfits, design or art?


| On
July 17, 2014

Reading / a weird variety of books for my library's adult reading program. I'm supposed to read a book each in the romance, mystery, western, sci-fi, fiction, non-fiction and historical genres. This week, I'm trying mystery with an Agatha Christie novel. Big yays for trying new things!

Listening to / the same songs over and over again since I'm having trouble transferring my iTunes library to my new laptop. For some reason only like a hundred of my five thousand songs will transfer! Poop that.

Working on / getting in a fitness routine. It's so hard sometimes! I went on a run with my younger brother this morning and he made fun of me for being slow during approximately 98% of the run.

Eating / string cheese, oddly enough. Well I suppose it's not that odd since I'm a huge cheese person. I like to pretend it's kind of healthy?

Hoping / that work isn't too insanely busy during our village-wide barbecue on Saturday! But it's usually our biggest night of the summer so I should stop hoping. 

Watching / House, which is my go-to show when I'm not in the middle of another. Ever since I finished the finale of Orange is the New Black (which was phenomenal--it gripped at my soul, you guys), I need a new Netflix show to work on. Any recommendations?

Loving / my tablet! I swear, I don't know how I lived without it. It's totally a cheapie, but it works just fine for me. I use it every night at work, for taking inventory, for tracking our cash flow and for checking off cleaning tasks and such. And then I also use it for my hand-lettering, and of course, Netflix.

Hating / the weird influx of flies around my house these days. I live in between a forest and a lake, so naturally it can be quite buggy. And with storms rolling in the last few days, it's gotten sooo much worse. Every time I open a door, at least six flies come in and I have to spend ten minutes going all samurai on them with an old flip flop. 

Wanting / allll the cute cards in the world! Like this one or this one or this one or this one. Especially after looking through all the cards on Treat, I just want to send a card to everyone in the world!

Writing / lots of tweets! I feel like I've been missing out on conversations with you and my other readers and I'm trying to be more active on Twitter to keep up with you!

Planning / just the beginning ideas of a future collaboration/blogging group! Sound interesting?

What's going on with you these days?

My Favorite Way to Make Long Distance Suck Less

| On
July 16, 2014
Long distance relationships suck. They really do. But H and I have worked really hard to find ways to make it suck just a teensy bit less. One of our favorite ways is writing letters to each other. At first, it seemed a little silly. I would always end up telling H what I wanted to tell him in the letter before it even got to him! But now, I love getting and sending letters because they are a guaranteed smile in our sometimes lonely days.

Sometimes though, life gets in the way, and I don't have time to sit down, write a letter, go buy stamps, and take my letter to the post office. That's where Treat, a new branch of Shutterfly, comes in.

On Treat, you can pick out a card and write it, all on your computer. All you have to do then is put in the recipient's address and it'll send it off! And it turns out to be the same price as a cute card and a stamp would be anyway. And the cards are adorable--this is the one I sent H last week!

Eight Arm Hug - Thinking of You Greeting Cards - Hallmark - Teal - Blue : Front

How sweet is that? You can add in your recipient's name and even a photo of the two of you, so that they can fold over the card and frame it or pin it up somewhere when they're done!

And if you're not a letter-writer, Treat makes birthdays sooo easy! I'm one of those people who loves the idea of writing all my friends birthday cards, but I always forget! Now, I've just popped all their birthdays in the handy birthday reminder section of my account and it reminds me to send them a card! Or you can even write a card and schedule it to be sent up to a year later!

Anyways, I was just introduced to Treat and wanted to share it with you! Let's be honest: Treat is pretty cool and we all need it in our lives.

Big eight-arm octopus hugs to Treat for letting me try out these cards! All opinions are totally my own, because who doesn't want to send a card with an octopus on it? No one, that's who.

Missing Links: immortal jellyfish + fireflies + printing a human heart

| On
July 15, 2014
(photo by Matthew James Fox, graphics and editing by me)
Pssst...if you haven't taken my super-short blog reader survey already, I would love if you would! Like really. :)

Wow, it's been like a month and a half since my last edition of Missing Links! Missing Links is all about links, articles, infographics and resources, written in common English for normal people interested in the sciences. I'm thinking I'm going to make this a monthlyish post since I know it might now be all of your favorite post, but I still want to post it! Even though it's summer and I'm not in class, I'm still trying to keep my brain going (more on that soon). Part of that means reading articles and science journals regularly, which is something I already like to do. Soooo, here are a few of my recent faves!

+ 5 small creatures capable of causing massive amounts of pain. Okay, I'll admit, I've never sat around and wondered which small animals/insects can cause the most pain, but this is still a super fascinating article. Also, that box jellyfish is actually gorgeous. I kind of want to cuddle with it but apparently I shouldn't want that.

+ There was once a woman who had immortal cells. I reviewed the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks awhile ago, but in case you haven't/don't want to read a long book about cells, here's a short recap. It's one of my favorite books of all time.

+ Scientists are trying to use 3D printers to manufacture a human heart. Yeah, seriously. Even more surprising, they have already successfully created splint, valves and a human ear. A team from University of Louisville estimates that they may succeed at creating a human heart within 3-5 years!

+ Holy weird. There's a kind of jellyfish that can actually age backwards. As it grows old, it can change its method of producing cells so that it actually becomes physiologically younger. In theory (aka without the threat of predators), these jellies could live forever. Tell me that's not freaking amazing.

+ Just sort of randomly interesting, here's an article with really cool photos where you can find out how cork is made. It's apparently a very technical and precise process. Who knew? 

Weekly Goals #35

| On
July 14, 2014
Happy Monday! Now that it's summer, Mondays are actually happy because they're my one day off! Seriously, I never understood how much I would love Mondays until I started working this job. Even though it's my day off, I still have some errands to run to pick up some stuff for the shop--it seems like there are always errands to run. I tend to put them off as long as possible because the nearest restaurant wholesaler is like an hour away and who has time for that? But then I ran out of napkins on Saturday so I kinda need to go...napkins are actually kind of important in ice cream shops, as it turns out.

Anyways, that's my day! This week should be more of the same old stuff. I'm working every night and beaching it every afternoon (I really do have a pretty sweet deal). One exciting thing: our town-wide barbecue and square dance is on Saturday! My town is super teeny but everyone gathers in the field in the park and we all have a big pork barbecue dinner together. It's really so much fun! I love living in a small town.

Last Week's Goals:

+ spend time being intentional with H when he comes to visit. I think we aced this! After he left, I realized a bunch of things I forgot to show him, but he still saw a lot of my life in those five all-too-short days. We had such a nice time and I miss having him here already! He would stay up for me to come home after work and we recapped our days before going to bed. Now it feels weird to come home to a house of sleeping people!

+ write all my thank you cards! Well I was totally up to date on this, but then I got two more gifts (not that I mind! ;). So I've still got a few to do, but I'm definitely considering this a success.

This Week's Goals:

+ Finish my tattoo calligraphy project. As I mentioned the other day, I was hired to calligraph a tattoo for someone and I'm struggling with it a little. As it happens, the one capital letter it includes is 'C' and my 'C' is so boring. I'm driving myself crazy trying to make it pretty. But I'm working on it.

+ Finish my print designs and order them! This is a big step for me since I only have a few designs done. I'm really sort of scared about this for some reason because it's the first real monetary investment I've put into this project! If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions for preparing my prints for this fair, let me know!

+ Exercise. I've been SO bad about exercising since I don't belong to a gym here and I just get distracted whenever I try to work out. Or I get overwhelmed at the thought of an hour of exercise since I'm so out of shape. I've started doing the 7-minute workout to help combat this. This week, I aim to do 14 sets of the 7-minute workout--so only about 15 minutes a day.

That's all for today! I think I may go back to doing these every week since I'm posting more frequently these days. So for once, these might actually be weekly goals! What are your goals + plans this week?

DIY Design: Make a Font From Your Own Handwriting

| On
July 12, 2014
Over the last few weeks, I've been adding my own hand-lettering to my blog, just here and there. Personally, I think it adds a fun, personal touch! But what if you don't want to (or don't have time to) hand-letter every graphic you need for your blog? Fake it!

A few days ago, I downloaded the InstaFontMaker app for my Android tablet (which is free in the Google Play store!), just to noodle around with it. It turns out, it's ridiculously easy to make a font out of your own handwriting! Just take your phone or tablet, open the app and write every letter as it prompts you. Then, you can email it to your computer where you can open and install it like any other font file! 

Just a few tips: I found it was easiest to use on my tablet as opposed to a phone. It gave me more space for my wrist and it was easier to get a big view of each letter. I also used a stylus (just a plain old $12 Targus from Target/Walmart) and I found it made a huge difference in neatening up each letter. 

Just for fun, you can download my handwriting font, which I've titled Swirl. Have fun! If you make your own, I'd love to see it!

6 Good Things Right Now

| On
July 09, 2014
(photo by Nick West for Unsplash)
Guys I've been so pouty today. My head hurts, my room is messy, I miss H and it's everyone's fault but mine. Even though he only visited me for five days, H leaving has really thrown me for a loop and I'm still in that short-term depression stage that comes right after visits in long term relationships. Sigh. 

Anyways, I'm gonna be an optimist today and talk about a few things that are awesome right now, even when a few things aren't. Really, life is pretty good. 

1. I got two really exciting hand-lettering jobs. One is making hand-lettered chalkboard signs for someone's 40th birthday....

2. ...and the other is even cooler. I'm working to calligraph a design for a girl's tattoo! Ever since I saw the tattoo that Rebecca Caridad did for her brother, I've loved the idea and I'm so excited to work on it!

3. Work is going smoothly. The 4th of July week is the very peak of renter season in my town on Lake Michigan and naturally all of those tourists flock to my ice cream shop at night to cool off. Good for business but not for my stress levels, so I'm glad that things are calming down a little bit.

4. I'm having a lot of fun working on my note card + print line (which will hopefully be out in the fall). I'm constantly scanning Pinterest and the internet for short, new quotes. I really like using short, simple maxims that you can remember easily. Some of my favorites for prints are...

"Good things take time."
"Wherever you are, be all there." (Jim Elliot)
"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." (Teddy Roosevelt) 

5. It sounds a little mean, but now that H isn't here, I have more time to read. Seriously, just trying to look on the bright side! I'm currently reading Revenge Wears Prada, the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada.

6. My tablet. It's an Android Venue and Android drove me crazy for a little while but now I have to say, I'm kind of obsessed. I got it as through a Dell promotion and it cam free with a laptop I was going to buy anyways. It's so much fun to use it for my hand-lettering and keeping my documents organized for work and all. Also, Netflix is so much better on a tablet than on an iPhone. Yay!

What good things are going on in your life?

4 Visually Inspiring Pins

| On
July 08, 2014
Early early this morning (read: before 5 am), I took H to the teeny-ten-gate airport near me and sent him off back to North Carolina. And though I know in my heart that I'm meant to be in Michigan for this season of my life and he's meant to be in NC, I'm still thoroughly pouting that he's gone. To cope, I'm trying to occupy myself and my mind with anything that I can do without thinking of him. So pretty much, I've settled on Netflix and Pinterest. 

Despite my mood, I'm still (as always) gravitating towards bright, lively greens and yellows. It just feels like summer!

Something about these colors never fails to cheer me up just a little bit. Leave your Pinterest URL so I can follow you! Follow me here.

Why Long-Distance Relationships (Sometimes) Rock

| On
July 07, 2014
(This picture has nothing to do with this post, but it looks kind of pretty right? Taken in Marseille, France.)
Welp. Sometimes life has a way of getting ahead of you. I had glorious plans for my blog this summer--I was going to get back to posting (nearly) every day, commenting on all my fave blogs (I promise I'm reading, just silently) and staying in the game. 

But I kind of forgot that I sort of have stuff going on. You know, life. I promised a June Recap on Wednesday (umm, like five days ago). But H came to visit and we had five glorious days of pretending to be tourists, eating yummy food and having feel-talks. 

Having H come visit is and was so wonderful. He's my best friend and the one who knows the most about me in the whole world. So obviously, having him 800 miles away from me two months out of the year and 450 miles away for another 9 months of the year sucks. But long distance has been really good for us in a lot of ways.

We form separate lives. In North Carolina, H and I have a lot of mutual friends, which is great. But sometimes, I just want to go shopping and he just wants to watch movies and drive around with the boys (or whatever they do). 

We've learned to communicate more effectively. We both work a lot and because of the service around where I live, our phone calls are infrequent and often cut off in the middle. Hearing his voice is so much more special to me now that I don't get to hear it all the time. 

We've learned to trust each other, so much. The first time we lived apart, I struggled with jealousy about a certain female friend of his (who, by the way, was totally on the prowl). Since then, we (meaning I) have learned to trust him and ourselves and our relationship. 

Lastly, receiving handwritten cards and letters = the best. I think that's self-explanatory. There's something so familiar and homey about getting them and recognizing his weird handwriting and the way he never dots his 'i's.

Also, I have more time to catch up on Netflix without date nights. Kidding. 

Anyways. Rambling over. 

This has been a sappy post about H, thanks to my dad for buying him a plane ticket to visit me and to H for loving me. Love you poopface. Sorry for writing a blog post about you without asking you first. 

Desktop Wallpaper: Yosemite View

| On
July 01, 2014

GUYS I'M SO EXCITED. H is coming to visit tomorrow! And it's only been two weeks since I've seen him so that's not really a huge deal, but I'm really excited to show him around the town where I grow up and work and live for part of the year. It's one of those places that I know inside and out and it's so dear to my heart. And naturally, H is so dear to my heart and I just need him to meet my town.

I've actually gotten sort of obsessive about it--I've already made a detailed itinerary for what we're going to be doing for the next five days--cherry picking, pizza at my favorite place, bike riding, visiting the state park, going to the beach, walking in the 4th of July Parade, going to the Tabernacle (church) with my family, etc. It's a big deal! So already, I can tell that July is just going to be swell.

But June was pretty great too! Among the highlights, I graduated, went to California and settled in Michigan for the summer. Tomorrow I'll recap June a little more thoroughly, but today I just want to share one little bit of my California trip (since apparently I'm never going to get through all my pictures).

The natural beauty in CA was just gorgeous and this was one of my favorite spots in Yosemite. I know it's not a particularly creative shot but guys. It was impossible to take an ugly picture.

Even more than just the view, I love the story behind how these mountains came about--through rivers and glaciers freezing and melting over thousands of years. What a great reminder that good things really do take time. 

To download, just click through on the picture and save the full-size photo which is linked. Then set it as your desktop background!

Enjoy the wallpaper and the rest of your Tuesday!

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