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Recent Design / Sprout Blog

| On
January 27, 2015
Hey y'all! So a little while ago, I started doing some design for other bloggers, here and there. Since then, I've worked with some awesome blogs + shops on creating an eye-opening brands for their passion projects. 

One of my favorite recent projects is this one, for a soon-coming blog called Sprout. Being a plant lover, I immediately loved the name. The woman behind the blog, Naomi, started gardening as a form of zen to deal with her stress-filled career. 

Sprout is a blog that follows not only her gardening but also her personal growth into holistic health and happiness. In the design, we were inspired by the concept of boldness, imagery of vegetables and gardening and loose brushstrokes. Needless to say, we really connected on this project!

Thank you Naomi for letting me help you build your new blog! 

Curated Weekly / 11

| On
January 23, 2015

This week has definitely been one of those that flew by but yet last Friday feels like forever ago! I made an impromptu decision to visit my grandmother (who lives about two hours away) for the weekend. Let me tell you, it was just wonderful. I don't even know how to put my love and respect for that woman into words. I talked a little bit about her here!

We had such a slow weekend together (I can't think of the last time I went a weekend without internet!) that it was a little tough getting back into the groove of school. Funny how just a few relaxing days can make you forget about work! 

I've been working a lot lately on my fitness certification to hopefully teach strength and kickboxing classes. At our gym, I'm being mentored by a current teacher and I'll slowly start taking over her class. This weekend, I'll be leading the warm-up and teaching the basic punches and kicks. I'm so excited that I'm really getting started on it! I can't wait to have my own class. (Side note! PLEASE leave me comments with your favorite workout music! I'm seriously on the hunt for good songs to use.)

And in case you missed them...

I've been listening to a ton of hip-hop/top 20s type music to use in my fitness classes and so when I get a chance, I hide myself in some folk music to balance it out. Arlo Guthrie recently came to campus for a concert and I couldn't make it, but I've been listening to a lot of his music and similar artists to make up for it. Specifically, I'm loving my Pandora stations for Peter, Paul and Mary and The Mamas & the Papas.

But seriously--leave me fitness music recommendations! Anything from currently popular music to 80s is fair game!!

Recently, I saw that an old blogging friend of mine (Lisa Nagel) has been churning out some beautiful, beautiful art. Lisa has inspired me for a very long time--she's the one who first got me using beads to deal with my anxiety. She really is a beautiful soul and her art so reflects that. And of course, I'm a sucker for all things plant and especially cactus related so of course I love these. If only I could decide on one! I also follow Lisa on Instagram and I love seeing little process shots and her mantra "Trust the process."

Cactus No. 2 Canvas Print

Vibrant love notes in paint No. 5 Art Print

Cactus No. 1 Art Print

Last week, my main goal was to get to bed on time so that I could be awake for my early morning classes. I didn't do so hot with this one, but it's all good. I didn't fall asleep in class! :) Here are my goals this week:

1. Get ahead of blogging again. I used to be so on top of blogging and had every post planned and written at least a week ahead of time. And here I am writing this last Thursday night for Friday morning. 

2. Come up with tools and plans to deal with funky days. Whenever I hit some sort of anxiety or stress lately, I just been sort of shutting down for the rest of the day. Yesterday, I started worrying about a decision and after that, it was so hard to get anything done because I was in such a bum mood. 

What are your goals for the week? How do you deal with funky days? What music do you listen to when you work out? (We went all over the place today, topic-wise!)

On Blogging: Leaving Quality Comments

| On
January 21, 2015

Commenting on blogs is something I've been thinking quite a bit about lately. I've always considered myself a "lurker"--I read tons of blogs. I probably read 20-30 posts every day but only leave two or three comments a week. That's a really low percentage! 

As a blogger, I love getting comments on posts that I've spent a lot of time on. And to me, the community is a huge part of why I love to blog and while not impossible, it's pretty hard to stay present without leaving comments. It's also tough for me to get to know readers who don't leave comments.

This week, I'm committing to visit the blog (if you have one) of every single person who comments on my blog and leave a comment. So if you've been a silent reader, just leave me a quick comment so we can get connected!

Even if you're someone who comments all the time (good job!), don't forget to make sure you're leaving quality comments. All the time, I'll see a blog post with twenty comments, but they will all just say something like "great post!" or "I agree!" and then a url at the bottom. Let's be honest, that doesn't contribute to the community. Here are a couple tips that I use when I comment:

1. Respond to something in the post. If the blogger takes a stance on anything, it's easy to share your opinion--whether you agree or not! For example, you could comment on this blog post that you know what, you think blog comments are totally pointless and if you have to comment on a blog, it should be as short as boring as possible. So yeah, that could be your response to my post. 

2. Share a similar experience or something from your own life. When I read posts about other college students, it's super easy to leave a comment about a professor or class of mine that is just like theirs or something like that. With a little effort, you can find some common ground.

3. Ask a question. If you're reading a travel post, ask the blogger how they decided on that destination or what their favorite part of the trip was. 

4. Respond to other comments. This is where a well laid out commenting platform like disqus (which I highly recommend) comes in handy. In disqus, if you respond to another commenter, they'll receive a comment and hopefully come back to continue the conversations. Plus, disqus automatically includes your url so that I can come visit you!

 Are you a loyal commenter or habitual lurker (I'm shamefully raising my hand on the second one)? Don't forget--comment on this post (use one of the tips above or just tell me your favorite animal) + I'll come visit your blog! 

My Goals for the Semester [A College Girls Blog Tour]

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January 20, 2015
Photo By Jan Erik Waider

Hey y'all! Today, I'm trying something new. I wanted to share this post about my (mostly) academic goals for the semester and I also thought that there were a couple other college bloggers who might want to join in as well! So we decided to make a mini blog tour out of it. If you enjoy this post, please visit Gina, Jordan and Aly and see their semester goals!

I'm already two weeks into my semester and already I can tell it's going to be a good one. I'm settled in with friends and into the swing of classes and I'm ready to make some great things happen. Here are my plans for the semester!

1. Get all As. Last semester, I came sooo close and ended up with one B+ (which happened to be my first ever--it was a sad day). I'm in some tough classes this semester (chemistry, agricultural genetics, intermediate french...) but I'm seriously determined to show that I'm as sharp as always. 

2. Follow my planned sleep schedule. Because I'm totally the kind of person to feel proud of myself for getting in bed at 10:30 and then to watch Netflix until 1 or 2 am, I've set goal bedtimes and technology-free times for each day of the week, depending on what time I have to get up in the morning.

3. Invite people to the lunch/study/the gym/events with me. I meet all sorts of interesting people in class but the hard thing for me is taking those acquaintances out of the lecture hall and making them into actual friendships. I think making a study group is an easy first step and then maybe following some studying with some burritos (because yes please) and then we'll pretty much automatically be best buds. Maybe. 

4. Go to office hours. I'm actually really, really bad about going to office hours. I think I've been to maybe two office hours, ever. That's pretty bad, This semester, my goal is to visit my professor's (or TA's) office hours in the first month-ish of classes. But I may get tripped up by the fact that one of my professors' offices is more than two miles from me. Two miles! That's a long way to walk just for office hours. So we'll see about that one...

5. Set aside at least two hours a day of non-schoolwork-related technology-free study time. That means no social media/blogging/texting/Trivia Crack for two hours a day. I did this a few days during exam week in the fall and it was amazing! I'm going to try to make this a near daily habit.

What are your goals for the semester (or next few months)? Please go visit the other girls' blogs! :)

Curated Weekly / 10

| On
January 16, 2015

This week was...nice! Just uneventful. I'm getting into the swing of classes + work is beginning to pick up but not so much that I feel like I'm drowning. I always like the first few weeks of the semester because I get to meet new professors and kids in my classes + that means new friends! 

Today, I'm especially excited because I'm surprising my grandma with a visit for the weekend! My grandma is this cute little, surprisingly feisty and funny German lady and she's kind of my favorite thing in the world. I just saw her a few weeks ago for Christmas but I miss her already. I had been expecting to spend the long weekend all by my lonesome since my roommate and approximately all of my friends live close enough to go home for the weekend. So I'm excited that I get to hang out with my grandma!

Buuuut, today I'm not so excited because I have a French exam. Probably while you're reading this. That's not fun.
+ 4 affordable brush fonts from Forth & Wild
+ 10 stupid simple ways to save money on groceries from poverty luxe.
+ I use this linen pattern photoshop tutorial all the time in my design.
+ A productivity playlist from Strange & Charmed
+ The foolproof way to learn to code from Allyssa Barnes
+ Yoga poses to undo a day spent at your desk.

I recently saw that an artist that I love named Kim Janssen was featured on a sort of radio show of live music filmed in Amsterdam, appropriately titled Amsterdam Acoustics. I found a series of videos on Youtube + I've started listening to them as the background to basically everything in my life. It tends to make for really good background music for work. Have yourself a listen!

Last week, my goals were to finish one of my design projects (done!) and work on being more intentional with my time. Seriously though, that last one is something that I'll never quite achieve, but I can always work towards. I'll admit that I watched a lot of Netflix and chilled out a lot, but for once, I feel like I didn't do it at the expense of my schoolwork and exercise. Only thing was I didn't get to bed quite early enough this week and I was dog tired when I had to get up for my early morning classes. This week, my goal is to get to sleep at my goal times so that I can actually be awake during my 8 am genetics class. 

What are your goals for the week? Share a favorite post y'all!!

Baby Steps to Minimalism in Your Beauty Routine

| On
January 15, 2015
Baby Steps to Minimalism is a new recurring series about my efforts to cut out things in my life that are neither good for me nor making me a happier human being. Join me!

I am not a minimalist person by nature. I love to shop and I love my stuff. I do. I'm not a huge fan of uber-minimalist interior design or fashion. I love color--lots of it. But there comes a point when having more things doesn't make me happier, it somehow makes me less so.

I know this and I know that you know this. It's nothing new. But how can we tell which things make us happier and which things leave us wanting more? I think the answer is to experiment with it. One of my unofficial goals in 2015 is to cut out things that aren't good for me and/or making me happy. If something isn't doing either of those things, there's no reason to keep it in my life. 

The first thing I thought of was my beauty routine. I've never been someone who loves being in the shower or playing around with makeup, but yet here I am taking long, hot showers and wearing a face full of makeup, every single day. It definitely doesn't make me happier to wear lots of makeup and spend thirty minutes getting ready in the morning + I'm pretty sure it's not doing me good.

I'm challenging myself to try these little itty bitty baby steps into minimalism + I'd love if you'd join in!

+ Take shorter, cooler showers. Obviously, this'll seriously cut down on the energy that your shower takes and it'll keep your skin + scalp from drying out in the winter.
+ Use one (or more) fewer items in your daily routine. Plus people will notice more when you do fancy up! Maybe even take a day off of makeup here or there. On an average school day, I wear foundation, powder, liquid eyeliner and mascara (and bronzer/blush/eyeshadow about half the time). My goal is to forego the eyeliner (or at least stick with a pencil) at least a few days a week and save those last three items for special occasions. 
+ Take a few days a week off from straightening, curling or blow-drying your hair. It's so good for your hair and makes getting ready so much easier!
+ Just buy less. Whenever I see something in the beauty aisle that looks cool (or oh my goodness, smells good) I tend to just buy it. Half the time, I use it once or twice and then it sits in my cabinet. Now I'm trying only to buy new products when I am totally or almost out of what I have.
+ When possible, use natural products. I haven't explored this idea too much but I've heard about using oatmeal or honey on your face and baking soda and apple cider vinegar in your hair.

Why minimalism? Less attachment to beauty items helps us be more comfortable in our own skin. Plus if you ever had the chance to go on a jungle exploration trip, you can start worrying about buying a plane ticket instead of how you're going to survive without your hair dryer.

What do you think about this whole idea of minimalism? Would you ever try any of these things? 

6 Books I'd Like to Read in 2015

| On
January 13, 2015
This Christmas season, without school taking up all my time, I decided to read two books. I love to read but I just don't get to much during the school year (which, yes, is a sort of lame excuse). Turns out, I totally failed with this and only read one book. But as I've been looking around for what books to read, I've been updating my to-read list. Here's what I'm thinking for the next few months! Please leave your own suggestions in the comments! :)

1 / Anything That Moves by Dana Goodyear
2 / The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert 
3 / Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
4 / We Only Know So Much by Elizabeth Crane
5 / Four Fish by Paul Greenberg
6 / Tigers in Red Weather / Liza Klaussmann

What are you reading these days? What was the best book you've read this year?

January Goals

| On
January 12, 2015

Instead of making resolutions for the whole year, I'm really focusing on monthly goals. Here's what I'm planning on the rest of this month!

+ Begin a hand-lettering course. I've been eyeing a few around skillshare but I wanted to wait until I got into the swing of my semester before I started it. I'm not positive I'll be ready to start by the end of the month, but I'll be working on it!

+ Read one book start-to-finish in January. I'm still working on finishing up Orange is the New Black but I plan to completely read a book in January. It is wayyy too easy to tell myself I don't have time to read, but let's be real, I totally do if I could just get my butt off facebook. I have a new Agatha Christie book + I'm thinking that's the one.

+ Visit the Museum of Natural History. Seriously, it's right on campus (like right next to my gym and one of my classes) and totally free for me but I've never ever been. I can't believe it! There was a cool exhibit about sharks in December and I kept telling myself I was going to go, but never did, and now the exhibit is gone. This month, I'm committing to visit.

+ Write a guest post! I'm trying to be intentional about connecting with other bloggers, not just hiding in my own little blog corner. 

+ Get a routine down to help me manage the semester! This semester, along with normal classes, I'll be designing (more info), working on my independent research problem (yay fungus!) and working on my certification to teach group fitness classes. It's gonna be crazy busy + I'm so excited...but I know having set routines will be a huge step to making sure I don't go insane.

Curated Weekly / 9

| On
January 09, 2015

Well it's Friday! I made it through (almost) my first week of classes. Early, early Monday morning, H and my dad took me to the airport for my flight. A friend from school picked me up and I spent the rest of the day unpacking and getting settled! I even made it to yoga twice this week! I've had a super productive week, full of meetings and scheduling and running errands to prep myself for a wonderful semester. 

I have to admit, I'm excited about this semester! I'm especially excited for genetics and my French class--and to continue working on my fitness instructor certification and on my research. I've started a new research project (feel free to skip if science bores you) about pathogenicity of the Gaeumannomyces fungus after storage. In normal terms, I'm taking a bunch of fungus (looks like this) that has been stored in different ways and seeing which of the samples can infect plants. Exciting!! To me, at least. Yay fungus. 
+ Dorm showers make me want a bathtub like this one so badly.
+ This inspiration bracelet from has the cutest quote!
+ I love this collection of free guided meditations.
+ Looking for a new planner for 2015? [The Blog Market, again!]

These two moodboards from Saffron Avenue. I love how she uses some similar colors (grey and yellow with pink/purple) but by changing the shades and imagery, gives the moodboards totally unique feels. Color is powerful!

Simply Peachy - Logo and Blog Design - Saffron Avenue : Saffron Avenue

Logo and Brand Design :: Two & Three Designers :: Saffron Avenue

I was really on top of everything this week, just like I planned! I unpacked right away + got my textbooks. I've set up binders/notebooks for each class so everything has a place--yay!

This week's goal is to finish my current design project and finish updating my blog. I've already gotten some starts on new design projects since I announced my design yesterday + I look forward to making those a priority! In addition to those goals, I just want to set an extra goal to be intentional with how I spend my time and more importantly, making sure I don't waste it on social media. 

How was your week? What are your goals for the week?

Color Files: Flint

| On
January 06, 2015
While I have always been a huge fan of color, the older I get, the more I tend to dress in neutral colors. The majority of my closet these days is white, black, navy, grey or taupe. And while that sort of sounds boring at first, it's actually really freeing because everything matches and I can mix them in tons of different ways. Plus I feel kind of stylish and French chic. Or something like that.

Anyways, I thought grey deserved to be the color of choice for the revival of the color files series, specifically this medium grey, not light, not dark, that I'm calling flint grey.

Also, just a handy reminder--it's spelled grAy in America and grEy in Europe, or when you want it to look prettier, like I do. :)

Anyone else with me on the neutral-toned wardrobe thing? I especially love adding a small touch of color like these three accent colors above. 

Curated Weekly / 8

| On
January 02, 2015

Spending this week with family has been nice, but I am definitely ready to get back to school! I've always been that way--the last few weeks of summer are torture for me. I get so bored of all the free time and want to get back to work (though it hasn't been much like that now that I work). I've spent the weekend in freezing Michigan with my family, eating lots of good food and playing lots of card games and going on lots of walks. 

We celebrated New Year's really low-key this year. Usually a friend of mine has a huge party but she's not in town this year. We made a pot roast at home and went bowling with a cousin in town. After that we just came home and ate an apple pie that I made!

On Monday, I'll fly back to Florida and classes start on Tuesday. I'm especially excited for my genetics and French classes this semester, though those will be the toughest. I can't wait for all that this new year has to bring. Happy 2015!

While working on an upcoming post (I'm resurrecting the color files!), I was browsing through my colors board on pinterest and I was loving all the bright hues on there! It sounds kind of silly, like I inspired myself, but I love what I had collected on that board. It is very much summery and bright colors, so maybe that's my cue that it really is time to get out of Michigan and head back to sunny Florida?! 

This moodboard is just to show you a few of my favorites, but you can see the rest + their sources on my colors board. Also, why are birds so pretty?!

My big goal this week is to stay super-duper totally on top of things so I can start the semester on the right foot. When I get back to school, I'm going to make sure I unpack right away so I don't have my suitcase taking up space on the floor for two weeks (it happens). I'm going to read over all my syllabi carefully + plan out how I will organize my notes for all of my classes (since I usually just stick it all in the textbooks). I have a couple people I need to meet up with to exchange textbooks or other things and I'm going to make sure I do that ASAP. Basically, I'm gonna be super proactive about being ready for the rest of the semester!

That's all for today! What are your goals for the week (I know you made some)? Don't you just love the colors in that moodboard?

Happy New Year!

| On
January 01, 2015

Have a wonderful 2015!

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