Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favs - Blogs

It's Friday! That means Friday Favs!

Today I've decided to share a few of my favorite blogs. I periodically read a bunch of blogs, but here are two that are never-miss-a-post worthy!

     Kristin, a fellow Iowan, posts mostly recipes in her blog. She usually writes three times per week and features amazing pics of the dishes she creates! I've probably pinned half the recipes she's posted, but I've made a few of them too. Her directions are easy to follow and the dishes I've made turn out delicious. Kristin has a young son and has a page related to being a new parent. Recently, Kristin found out that she had celiac disease so her recipes since that discovery are gluten free. 

     This is the blog of one of my sorority sisters. I probably love it because it is her, but I think Gabby has a great blogging voice. Gabby's posts are about her life so the topics vary, but she frequently focuses on running, home projects, cooking, and travel. Gabby's posts are not always on the same days of the week, but I never miss one thanks to her Facebook page. I love it so check it out!

Bonus: This isn't really a blog but I recently signed up for theSkimm. It is a news site (I guess it does have a blog too) that sends an email each weekday morning with a quick summary of a few national news stories. It is a nice overview of what is going on in the world. I like to enjoy it with my coffee and breakfast.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Stitch Fix!

*This is not a sponsored post. I pay for these clothes myself. However, this post does provide referral links for new sign ups which gives me a little credit to go towards my next box. 

Stitch Fix

Getting a Stitch Fix was an item on my 30 before 30 list. I got my first box a few months after I created my list. I loved the surprise of it all, but the items are a bit of a splurge for me so I've spread out my fixes since.  

What is Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix is a personal stylist service that ships directly to your door! You sign up by creating a "Style Profile" where they ask everything from what styles of clothes you like to your budget to your sizing. You can even link to a Pinterest board to help show what you like. You choose the date you want to get a shipment. A Stitch Fix stylist chooses 5 items of clothing or accessories and they are sent to you on that date. You determine how often you'd like fixes and pay a $20 styling fee for each box which goes toward your purchase. That fee is lost if you don't purchase any items. You can choose to get fixes automatically every month, but I schedule them individually. I got two last year and I'll probably do the same this year. Lastly, if you purchase everything in your box, you get 25% the total purchase. A prepaid shipping envelope is included for any items you want to return. 

To tide me over in the 6ish months that I've been waiting between fixes, I've been into reading Stitch Fix Reviews. Here are a few that I follow regularly:
Lauren's Latest
Spoonful of Flavor
The Box Queen

Feb. 2015 Fix!

Check out the items in my most recent Fix! 
(Sorry about the spotty pics - the fault of a cute vintage mirror!)

#1: Kensie - Conrad Speckled Chevron Dress

I loved the style and print of this dress. My stylist must know I have a weak spot for black and white dresses. The cut was girly, but there was a touch of wild with the faux leather on the shoulders. At nearly $90 this one would be a huge splurge for me right now plus I'm not kidding when I say that I have enough black/black & white dresses to wear one each day of the week (with 4 leftover...). Also it was a bit big and I don't think it does anything for my figure. I'll be sending this one back.

#2: 41Hawthorn - Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer

Loved this blazer! The fabric is of great quality - it feels sturdy, but soft. I almost always roll/push up long sleeves so I was glad to see that these sleeves were a 3/4 length. The ruched detail was girly and added interest without being distracting (sorry, it was hard for me to get a picture of it). I've been wanting to expand my blazer collection and this one may be my next purchase. 
Today's task will be to try it on with other items in my wardrobe to see how it fits in! This may be the item I keep...

#3: 41Hawthorn - Beatrice Exposed Zipper Dolman Top

This is a great basic top! It's flattering and easy to wear. I've imagined it being dressed up or down. The back zipper is a cute and sassy detail. 

At first sight, I thought I'd definitely be keeping it, but I'm less sure now. I think I could easily find something similar at a better price and I'm not sold on the polyester feel of the fabric. 

#4: Rune - Evelin Printed Pencil Skirt

My first thought upon pulling this out of the box was "There is no way this will fit me". I was partially right. I LOVE the print of this skirt, but its tight fit just isn't me. (Tight is for yoga pants and yoga pants alone) I loved it with the 41Hawthorn top, but I don't think I would wear the skirt much. 

#5: Octavia - Mondo Colorblock Cross Stitch Infinity Scarf
Such a cute scarf! Super cozy and I love the two types of stitching. However, I'm trying to think spring and my scarf collection is a bit obnoxious already.

Help! What do you think I should keep? 

Verdit: I kept the 41Hawthorn - Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer and I'm very happy with my choice! Overall, I enjoy the Stitch Fix experience including trying pieces I wouldn't pick up off the rack while shopping. I'll probably sign up for another box in the future. 

Are you interested in getting a Stitch Fix yourself? Check it out here

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saving Encouragement

I feel like I can't browse on Pinterest without seeing a quote about encouragement. There are boards upon boards entitled "Encouragement" containing what I can only assume to be words that that pinner finds encouraging. I decided to take this idea and make it my own. 

While general quotes can be empowering, I think words meant for you can be even more powerful. So, I've started a "Words of Encouragement" File. At first it was going to be this cute physical file folder filled with nice words from others, but it in an effort to conserve paper, I've kept it digital. This also makes it easier to store and add to. 

What's in this file? 

Emails with kind words. 
Screenshots of uplifting texts. 
Word documents summarizing verbal encouragement. 
Images of powerful quotes. 

What do I do with it? 

Open the files and read. 
See the list of documents and instantly feel better. 
Notice the names of great people in my life.
Know a place of encouragement is just a few clicks away.

What brings you encouragement? How do you preserve encouragement?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favs - QC Philanthropy Events

This week of Friday Favs has some set up...

Part 1:
Confession: I have a bit of an obsession with The Bachelor. I know, I wish I wasn't wasting my life watching, but I just can't look away. If you haven't heard, the current Bachelor is a farmer from Iowa. I have a love/hate relationship with that fact. 
Hate: I think that they are portraying Iowa in an unfair way at times. FYI it isn't full of hot farmers leaning on fences looking at fields. 
Love: The show did feature real Iowa places when they had dates in Iowa!
Because of the misconceptions fostered by the show, I've made it a personal mission to celebrate my home state. 

Part 2:
One item on my 30 Before 30 List is to attend Philanthropic Events. 

So, that leads me to today's Friday Favs...Philanthropy Events in the QC! 

1. HAVlife Martini Shake-Off
Picture taking is not a priority for me at this event!

     The Shake-Off is one of my favorite days of the year! A ticket gets you into this martini tasting event! Different QC restaurants and bars come to the event with 3-4 innovative martinis. Guests get to walk around tasting and socializing. They serve food too! This year it was a pasta bar. Last year they had a pasta bar and a mashed potato bar. Proceeds go to HAVlife, a local nonprofit foundation that works to prevent lost potential of youth through support of participation in athletics, music, and the arts. 
If you go in 2016, get a DD. For the past two years, a friend's mom drove us to the event and my dad drove everyone home. Having fun is so much easier when you're being safe! (Also it's usually chilly outside so the door to door service is pretty great!)

2. Davenport Jaycee's Brew Ha Ha
     This event is set up just like the shake-off but with beers. It's held in a park in the fall so there are a few tents holding tables with various beers to sample. A ticket gets you a glass that is used for tasting plus its a great way to give new beers a try! Proceeds of this event support local charities and programs. 

(This is by no means a comprehensive list of philanthropic events in the QC. These are just two of my favs.)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Aren't nicknames interesting?

Some people love nicknames others are embarrassed by theirs. Some nicknames are fleeting others last for years. I got my nickname from a co-worker at camp during high school. Honestly, I haven't thought much of it recently until today.

I recently experienced a loss. No need to go into the details now, but I've been struggling with it for a few days. I emailed the other members of church council to let them in on this change in my life and two responses appeared in my inbox within moments of each other with a similar reaction. The message: you'll get through it, Rachel. After all, it's in your nickname. You see my nickname, Mighty, is in my email address.

Mighty could be defined as showing superior power or strength. I'm a fairly petite women, but I think the word describes me. I am strong. I can be powerful. I will make it through this challenging time. Actually, this struggle will probably help me become even mightier. 

In conclusion, I'm thankful for the people in my life that care about my well being and future. I'm so lucky to have this support system. I'm incredibly thankful for that nickname given to me years ago. I've always loved it, but today it became even more meaningful. Here's to being myself - to being Mighty. 

Do you have a nickname? How do you feel about it? Does it provide you with determination or does it feel defeating? 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favs - Hair Care Edition

It's Friday the 13th! Yikes!

Another Friday, another set of favorites. This week it's all about hair care! 

My hair care routine is super simple. I have a bit of an addiction to hitting my snooze button so a quick and easy hair routine is vital to me looking my best, but getting on my way on time! I own maybe six hair care products (not including shampoo and conditioner), but these three are my must-haves! 

     I LOVE this hairspray! It keeps my style ALL day (who am I kidding it holds over night too - I regularly wake up with curly hair from the day before), but stays flexible. Buying this for the first time was a huge deal for me because of the price, but I always loved when my stylist at Pure used it on my hair so eventually I caved and I'm so glad I did. 

      My hair is naturally very straight, but I love wearing it curly. The trick is to keeping it curled and this styling spray does just that! I just spritz, comb, and curl and my hair looks great all day! 

      I have fairly limp hair, but this volume boosting mist helps out a lot! About 10 sprays gives my hair volume without a heavy product. My hair is still touchable and flexible. You know how hair can get kind of crunchy with moose? Yeah, this doesn't do that. It's a bit of a splurge, but I use it almost every day and I've had this bottle for about 4 months and it's not even halfway gone. I'm guessing it will last almost a year. 
(When I want a lot of volume, I do use a bit of this davines moose)

All opinions shared are my own and I received no compensation for these reviews. 

Are any of these products on your favorites list? What are your favorite hair products? 

Thursday, February 12, 2015


30 Before 30 Update 

Celebratory snacks after my 1 gallon donation!

Last month I finally reached my 30 before 30 goal of donating a gallon of blood! I've earned a prestigious and coveted car window cling! (I've now edited that goal to give 2 gallons before I turn 30) I started giving in high school, but was not a very diligent donor so it took me a ridiculous amount of time to reach that one gallon goal.

I got to celebrate this accomplishment with a tour of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (Well, I deemed it a celebration. It was really an event with my church 20's/30's group. Our gatherings are focused on service, study, or social so this week was all about service!) We got to follow a drop of blood through the whole donation process. The tour started with the donor area (in which I was very familiar) and then went to the labs where the blood is processed and tested and then finally to the area where the blood is package and sent to hospitals. It was so interesting to see all of the happenings between me donating and my blood actually reaching a donor! 

Why I Give

The post-donation snack is a huge perk, but I give because it feels good to help others. Donating blood takes less than an hour and each donation helps up to 3 people! I've had various family members who've received blood donations that have helped them in a time of need so I love being able to do that for others. 

Anyway, that's one thing off my 30 Before 30 list! I wonder what I will conquer next! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paper Cuts

Yesterday, I got the most terrible paper cut. It's right under the fingernail of my right pinky. As you can guess, it's obnoxiously painful considering how small it is and how quickly it was made.

There is one thing I like love (it is Valentine's Day week after all) about paper cuts.
Crazy, I know.

I love that everyone gets them. In this world of classification and division, paper cuts are something that everyone experiences.
All races and religions can relate to the painful sting.
Rich and poor occasionally feel that hate for a piece of paper.
Young and old are amazed by how such a seemly innocent material can be so hurtful.
Each nationality can empathize with forgetting about the injury and applying hand sanitizer or applying pressure.

I have a concern though: A paperless society.
  • The default for Church Council documents is to receive them electronically and bring a tablet/laptop for viewing at the meeting.
  • My boyfriend, high school teacher, requires that most of his assignments be submitted electronically.
  • My sister and all of her high school classmates have iPads so textbooks are virtual.
  • I turn my grad school papers in via email.
  • My office is working to eliminate paper files and store everything virtually.

While I believe this transition is awesome for the environment and I can't help but wonder if we may be eliminating a great equalizer.

Without paper will paper cuts become a thing of the past?

(P.S. This post is not about me being anti-environment. I'd classify myself as a green thinker. I'm a huge supporter/actor of reusing and recycling.)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Favs - Skin Care Edition

Hurrah! It's Friday! 

I'm going to celebrate the end of the week by sharing a few of my favorite things.

My favorite skin care things to be exact! My grandma has great skin and luckily my mom passed it along to me! My skin tends to be dry though too (thanks, dad!) so taking care of it is important to me. 

[Side Note: If you know/meet my grandma, you'll see what I talking about. If people don't know my mom, and see my grandma and I together, they often ask if I'm her daughter. I think it's because of her good skin. She loves it (so feel free to make that "mistake")!]

Anyway here are my skin care favs! 

1. Yes to Grapefruit - Exfoliating Body Wash
      I love this body wash! The size of the exfoliating substance (I have no idea what to call that, but I think you all understand what I'm talking about. Right?) is perfect. It definitely makes my skin feel fresher as it removes dead cells, but it doesn't strip my skin like some exfoliating products. I can notice the difference between days I use it and days I don't. Plus it smells AMAZING!

2. Neutrogena Naturals - Nourishing Night Creme
      My skin gets terribly dry - like flaky-red-itchy dry. Especially this time of year. I'm so glad I found this product! It's a night cream so I put it on after I wash my face before bed. It helps my skin stay hydrated, but it isn't greasy and doesn't cause any acne problems for me. It's also great for day use to help get rid of a patch of dry skin (think a nose during a cold). I use this one for day.  

3. Jergens - Ultra Healing
      I can't even count how many times I apply this to my hands in a day! As I just mentioned, I have super dry skin. So to help this I've tried countless hand lotions. Some don't really hydrate and others are so greasy that they don't really absorb into your skin and simply feel gross. This one is my absolute favorite. I've even recommended it to random people at Walmart (Well, that may have happened only once and she asked me why I liked the lotion I grabbed from the shelf). The Up and Up version is okay, but Jergens is best! I guess I'm a loyal Jergens user - I use Jergens Shea Butter for my legs and arms.  

4. Neutrogena Naturals - Purifying Pore Scrub
      This pore scrub is awesome! The exfoliating substance is very fine so this scrub feels gentle, but it still makes my skin feel renewed and clean. It keeps my complexion clear and is gentle enough for every day. 

*All views shared are my own. I received no compensation for these reviews. 

Are any of these products on your favorites list? What are your "can't live without" skin care products? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

List Obsession

I found these lists in about 3 min of Facebook Timeline browsing. We're obsessed with lists. 

I'm not talking about the positive lists that help one keep track of things to accomplish or items to purchase while at the store. I'm referring to the lists that send you into a black hole for roughly 15 min to 2 hours. 

Has it happened to you? You're just browsing Facebook or Twitter and then snap to realizing you've spent an embarrassing amount of time reading silly countdowns. I admit that I'm guilty. Then, after we find a great one, we share it with others leading them into the same time-wasting fate. 

Why are we obsessed consumed by these lists?
Is it the titles or taglines? The funny pictures or gifs? The opportunity to space out or get a break from work? 

I admit that I fall for them too, but I'm going to try to change my ways. 
I'm vowing to spend my time actually living this week and not on reading useless countdowns or reasons for something. I'm going to reach out to a friend to chat, pick up a book instead of my surface/phone, or work on a blog post. We'll see how this goes. 

I may have to make and exception for lists about sloths... #toocute

We got over 13 inches of snow over the weekend! The trees are gorgeous, but the roads are a different story.