What's the deal with Female Foodie? / City Tins 2016

I have new business to attend to!

If you have yet to find out through one of my other forms of social media, I have had the honor of being appointed the Milwaukee/Wisconsin foodie on femalefoodie.com!  This is all thanks to the lovely person who started Female Foodie, Brooke, and her willingness to allow Milwaukee to become part of her fabulous blog of all things food!  

Seriously, I'm so pumped.  
I've gone on four missions so far and have thoroughly enjoyed each one.  You can read the first one that's been posted HERE from my trip to Lulu Cafe & Bar in Bay View!  Basically I drag everyone there, so I figured it would be the perfect spot to start with.  

This is such an exciting opportunity for someone who loves to try new restaurants as much as I do.  I feel like I'm always the one who's recommending places to people and finally I have some credibility behind it!  

I just love everything about her site.  Even though most of the postings are restaurants from other parts of the United States (and some international), it would be a great way to get ideas for places to eat while traveling!  Or if you're like me and just like looking at photos of really good food, no matter the locale.  So I highly recommend making your way over there.  Not because I'm a blogger there, but because it's a really great collective of the best restaurants out there!

Follow @femalefoodie on Instagram to stay up-to-date!

In other foodie news...

This is what I got for my uncle and my mother for Christmas.  City Tins are like a foodie's dream come true.  You pay $30 and get at least 20-25 coasters.  Each coaster represents a restaurant/bar/lounge in the area (Milwaukee for me) and is worth $10 off a $25 purchase.  They're good for 2016.  The best part is that most of the coasters are for restaurants that I either already love or wanted desperately to try.  I think we've used three of them so far.  Pretty sure before Christmas you could get City Tins for Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis.  Now it looks like Minneapolis has sold out.   

Perfect timing for me, since I have this new foodie position to fulfill!

I've been dying to eat at Black Sheep, La Masa, AP Bar & Kitchen, Pastiche, among others!

That's all I have for now, but from the looks of it, I'll be eating like a king for a while.

3D Photo Canvas DIY

I posted a photo of the newest addition to my bedroom a while back on Instagram.  A few people asked me if I bought or made the 4x4 photo "canvases" on my wall, and I most certainly did craft them myself!  My original idea for this corner was a bit different.  I was going to use all 4x4 photos, and they were all going to be landscape scenes from my Europe trip without people in them.  Everything was going to be flat to the wall!  The 4x4 blocks of wood were originally for a different project.  Then I realized that some of my favorite scenic pictures have people in them, and also that having them completely flat would be kind of boring.  I thought would look better if it looked like this, and it turned out to be a really simple DIY!

1)  I obviously had to get photos developed, which I usually do at Walgreens because there's always some kind of discount for large photo orders.  I don't order 4x4s from them anymore.  They're more expensive than 4x6 and are no longer printed matte without an additional cost, which is basically why I was doing them in the first place.  I just print everything the cheap way in the typical 4x6 size, then crop them myself when I need 4x4s.

2)  You could really do this on any type or shape of wood from a craft store/home improvement store, but I had 4x4 squares cut from an old entertainment center (long story).   I liked having thicker pieces of wood for this project because I wanted it to have the 3D look on my wall.  I painted the edges black with acrylic paint.

3)  To adhere the photos after cropping, I just painted on a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wood block and then lined the photo up on top to stick.  You're able to slide them around for a little while if you don't stick it on perfectly on the first try.  You can always trim an edge if something is really off.  I didn't even bother to do a top coat of Mod Podge just because it really didn't seem necessary!  If I was going to display them in a different way where they might have been bumped around a bit more, I would have done a top coat.

4)  To actually hang them on the wall, I used double sided tape for the 4x6 flat prints and Command Strips for the blocks of wood.  Mine were really light, so I only needed to use half a strip.  And double sided tape is what I usually use to keep photos really flat to the wall.  Making sure that they're lined up perfectly is kind of difficult, but you don't necessarily have to arrange them in perfect rows either.  If you do, lining up the top row is the hardest part.  I usually measure to where I want the top row to start and stop and go from there.  Once you have that top row all set up, you should be able to follow it really easily for the rest of your rows!

That's pretty much all you need to know to create something similar to mine!  If you have any other questions, let me know in the comments and I will be happy to answer!

PS:  If you're not crafty at all and don't feel like trying to be, you can purchase photos mounted very much like these from Walmart or Walgreens.  I've ordered these before for Christmas presents.  Although the DIY way is much more wallet friendly!

Post-Christmas Sephora Haul!

I've spent the last week waiting for the Sephora shipment that has finally granted me VIB (Very Important Beauty) Insider status!  I've spent the past 10 years just being a Beauty Insider (lame) so this is a nice upgrade.  It doesn't really mean much of anything, but I did get a 10% off shopping pass, complimentary makeover, and a free shipping coupon.  I picked up a whole bunch of new products with a Christmas gift card (and accidentally spending double the amount of said gift card, whoops).  I haven't tried any of these yet, but here's an overview of what I chose!  

Ooh and I finally cashed in my points when I made this particular purchase.  I actually waited until I had 500!  Usually I blow them on smaller prizes once I reach 100, as I've never been one for delayed gratification.  For 500 points, I could pick from either the Bobbie Brown Skincare Must-Haves or the Make Up Forever Backstage Faves.  I chose the latter because there was lipstick, lipgloss, primer, microfinish powder, and Smoky Extravagant mascara which I already love.

I decided to finally try one of the Melted Liquified Longwear Lipsticks in Jelly Donut from Too Faced.  I've seen them dozens of times on the different blogs that I follow.  I've just always thought they were lipglosses, which I'm honestly just not a huge fan of.  There's that gooeyness factor.  Turns out they're lipsticks in the form of a lipgloss and they come in a lot of great colors!  I'm excited to try this one. Here's to hoping it lives up to the hype.

I can't get enough of Pantone's colors and shades, so of course I had to check out the Pantone Color of the Year Lipstick!  I'm also a sucker for cool packaging.  There are two Pantone Colors of the Year this year, Serenity and Rose Quartz, but I wasn't about to buy a blue lipstick.  Sorry, Serenity.  I love the pale pink shade of lipstick for Rose Quartz and I don't currently have anything like it.  I'm already imagining the outfits I'll wear it with!

Yes, ANOTHER lip color!  I have a problem, I'm obsessed with brightly colored lips.  My own, of course!  Actually, this is a rather neutral color that I picked up from Urban Decay.  It's a Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Lovechild.  This one was (and still is) on sale, which is pretty much the reason I added it to my cart.  I had a 20% off sale item coupon and I was curious as to how "super-saturated" this particular lip color actually was.  I have high hopes!

Lastly, I grabbed the Sephora Collection Flatter Yourself Contour Brush Set.  I've had this one on my "loves" wish list for quite a while now, but I've never gotten around to actually buying it.  For years I've been watching these makeup Youtube videos where they're using stippling, buffing, and angled brushes, and I have yet to buy my own.  Brushes are expensive!  This set was a pretty good deal, and they're so soft!  Like, amazing quality.  It comes with a little carrying case too.  Can't wait to try them out with my Anastasia contour palette.

No more makeup shopping for me for a while!  And no more lip color shopping for me...forever.  We'll see how well that goes for me (seeing as I have 10% off my next purchase which expires in a month).

Til next time!

It's 2016

Oh 2015, what a year it has been!

Graduated college with another straight-A semester, traveled a lot, got a job, left a job, got a new puppy, and learned a whole bunch about a lot of things!  Mostly more good than bad.

Exactly one year ago, I posted one of my first blog posts titled, "It's 2015."
It was kind of a list of my New Years resolutions, but more just a few things I wanted to accomplish by December.  Here's a brief recap:

1) Read 25 books.
2) Leave the country.
3) Make fewer impulse purchases.

I can safely say I accomplished two out of the three, woohoo!  I think the ones that I actually followed through with can give you insight to the type of person I am...  I need specific, clear goals or else I forget about them and leave them completely unaccomplished.  Vague resolutions are hard to follow through with because they're not defined well enough.  It's easy to lose momentum when you don't really know how to gauge your success.  I'm talking to you, "make fewer impulse purchases."  What is fewer?  How many did I usually make?  And how was I supposed to define what an impulse purchase was?  That was stupid.  I still agree with the idea behind it, but the wording was a little too general for me.  And definitely too hopeful.  So I think you can probably guess which resolution I didn't do too well with.  Seeing as I planned a random vacation to San Francisco for Halloween AND I bought a DSLR camera on Black Friday, I can't say that the amount of "impulse purchases" made by moi lessened in any way, shape, or form.  Fail.  On the other hand, I absolutely LOVED the things I randomly spent big money on, for example, the two things I just listed!  Great decisions.  Always a bright side.  Obviously I should still do something about this spending issue...

Onto the goals I actually did accomplish:

Not only did I read 25 books, I read 26!  Really, I'm amazed by myself about this one.  I've always liked reading, but I really didn't think I could do it.  And I was totally right in that I wouldn't read during school.  Even though I could have, I didn't want to.  So once I graduated, I really kicked this goal into high gear.  Check out what I read on my Goodreads page, I update it frequently!  People always ask, how do you find time to read?  Like I have more hours in a day than they do.  My advice would be to pick one thing that you do that's unproductive and eliminate it.  Use that time to do whatever it is that you "don't have time to do."  Mine was watching Friends every night before I went to bed, from anytime between 10pm and 12am.  So do you really want to accomplish something?  
What's your favorite show to binge on Netflix?  Well not anymore.
If you really want to do it, you'll find the time. As one of my fave authors (Elizabeth Gilbert) says, "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."

My next goal was to leave the country.  I really only put that on there because I knew I was already doing it.  The trip had been paid for, booked, and planned.  Still, I was afraid that there would be some unforeseen circumstance that would prevent me from leaving!  Who knows.  It was on my list because I had never done it before and I neeeeded to do it.  Well, mission accomplished!  And I had the time of my life, if my Italy blog post was any indication.  (Still trying to put together a Greece and a Turkey blog.  It'll happen.)

...and then I should note that there was this unofficial resolution in my head where I decided that I should put lotion on my arms and legs after every single shower I took, which I hadn't been doing.  Sounds stupid, but the air is really dry in the winter!  So it was legit.  I followed through with this one as well!  It came to the point where I can't skip putting on lotion without feeling uncomfortable!  What a feat, hey?  Start small, I guess...

New year, new resolutions.  I now know in advance that my little hopes and wishes definitely have to resemble goals rather than general resolutions!  

I guess I'll just call these my 2016 Things To Do:

1)  Read 40 books this year.  I started out by topping my book goal from last year.  I don't think I'm at the point where I can successfully read one book per week.  I decided on a number between my most recent goal of 25 and the number of weeks in a year, 52.  This means that hypothetically I'd have to read 20 books by June and then 20 after that.  Since I read the majority of my books in 2015 after I got back from Europe in June, I think this is totally doable.

2) Track my spending through the app Level.  Since I obviously wasn't too great at limiting impulse buys, maybe I can at least keep better track of them if I have them laid right out in front of me.  I saw this app on the Today Show yesterday and it seemed like a good idea for someone who...went on a vacation to the West Coast this fall and still has absolutely no idea how much they spent?  That's me if you were wondering.  I also know for a fact that I spend too much on Starbucks and eating out with my friends.  It was especially bad when I was living at school.  This app allows me to create categories of my spending.  It keeps track of these things for me!  I'm hoping that I'll see it at the end of the month and get a better idea of whether or not I have a real problem.

3)  Open my Etsy store by March.  I keep saying I'm going to do it.  People keep telling me to do it.  I'm already selling things without a store and I know that I could have a really successful ~side hustle~ if I would just figure out my pricing and DO IT ALREADY.  This is one of those situations where I have to set an exact time frame.  Either that or I'll procrastinate so hard that I don't open the shop until November and then claim to have met my goal.  Not so fast, future self!  It would be really awesome if I got enough of an inventory that I could sell it at some type of craft fair.  Ha, maybe that will make next year's list.

4) Visit a state I've never been to.  After my BIG TRIP, I definitely got bitten by the travel bug.  Luckily I have a variety of friends who are willing to go just about anywhere at the drop of a hat!  One of these friends was the impetus behind the planning of my California trip, and I'm so glad I got to do something like that!  Turns out that I am an expert-edging-on-OCD vacation planner.  I have this need to see and do everything big and small.  It worked out in our favor.  Since that went so well, I'm determined to do it again to a different state I have yet to visit!

5)  Write one blog post per week.  I have the ideas, I just need the drive to do it.  It's like I'm afraid that if I blog about too many of my ideas within a short span of time, I'll run out of them for when I want to post later.  I've realized that it doesn't work like that.  There will always be new, different, and good ideas and they are likely to keep flowing continuously.  There really is no reason to delay.  The author of The Happiness Project (one of my 2015 books), Gretchen Rubin, writes about this exact same problem.  That's kind of how I solved mine.  She says, "Pouring out ideas is better for creativity than doling them out by the teaspoon."  Tru dat.

So I've officially blew my resolution list from last year right out of the park!  That's kind of the point, right?  I don't know, I'm still not very well-versed in the New Years resolution business.  I do my own thing, and I guess it's working for me.

Along with these OFFICIAL GOALS of 2016, I'd like to take more classes on things I want to learn about (photography, videography, calligraphy, figure drawing, I don't care!), try new restaurants (if you've heard of City Tins, I have Bar & Lounge AND Restaurant, yikes), and find more awesome places to take awesome photos (and do it often!)  And probably go to the gym way more, doesn't everyone say that?

Big dreams, man.  But doable, nonetheless!

Other than that, expect lots more posts this year!  I have a ton of ideas and it's my opinion that the world needs to see them ;)

Also, a new signature for 2016!