These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I'm starting a new series..."These are a few of my favorite things."
Every week I'm going to showcase one of my favorite things.

This week's new favorite thing - Abba Haircare, especially the Color Protection Shampoo.  I was recently turned onto this brand by a girlfriend of mine.  Their products are vegan, paraben free, free of synthetic color additives, or sulfates (and the list goes on!).  In addition, the shampoo has a sweet, nutty almondy scent that I can't get enough of, I just want to keep making up excuses to wash my hair!  Plus, I feel like this shampoo really does protect and even enhance my color - a necessary quality in a shampoo for those weeks between foils!

Pricing depends on where you buy it, I spent $16.99 on an 8 oz. bottle at my local drug store, only to find I could buy the 33 oz. bottle on for the same price.  Thus, I have switched my source!

Stay tuned for this continued series next week...


How Do You Search?

What's your search engine?  
Yes, yes, boring, yawn-worthy question I know, and I'm sure this post will seem a bit trivial and seemingly sponsored, but I assure you, these opinions and thoughts are solely my own!  I recently discovered and converted to for web searches.  Having been a google girl since..well, what came before google?...I was a tad reluctant to switch to bing's search engine.  Google has always been a reliable, tried and true finder of what I need, but my friend Carol convinced me that it wasn't the only way.

Unlike the simple layout of google, bing's backgrounds change daily.  Amazing, stunning photographs capturing gorgeous places and animals from all over the world.  The discovery of each new photo alone is worth a search.  In addition, you can earn bing points (who knew!) redeemable for red box rentals, amazon gift cards, charity donations, yadda, yadda, among other things.
So...have I convinced you?  If you're a photography junkie like me, give bing a whirl for a week, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

P.S. If you're a new reader, this is not a "normal" post, I am a tech-nut in the slightest, but I just wanted to pass on the insider tip in case one might find this advice useful :)



It's been such a whirlwind week, I haven't even had a moment to write about my birthday!  Last Saturday I turned 30 (gasp!).  I celebrated with my besties at a friend's cabin in Leavenworth, Washington, a charming, German-inspired town, blanketed in snow.  

On Saturday, my actual birthday, I woke up to the house covered in shiny, Happy 30th streamers, and bedazzled decorations (all coordinated by my wonderful husband).  The rest of our friends arrived, making a total of 13, and we spent the day lounging with gossip magazines, taking leisurely walks in the snow while boys played an inventive game of basket-football.  Our plan for dinner was to do a progressive around-the-world dinner, starting at 6:00 with Asia, 7:00 Europe, 8:00 Central/South America, and 9:00 America.  Needless to say there was plenty of food and beverage options.  

We had just started digging into our Asian appetizers (spicy chicken lettuce wraps, spring rolls with dipping sauces, and mai tais), when a surprise walked in.  My parents, sister, and her boyfriend walked in the kitchen and yelled SURPRISE!  Surprise indeed!  Katie and Greg had flown up from LA for the weekend and my parents drove them over, all to surprise us for my birthday dinner!  We had cake and sang happy birthday, among other festive songs, and had a raucous good time!

All in all, it was one of the best birthdays ever.  I can tell that 30 is going to be a great year!

{my birthday cake at the party pictured above}

Advice on Saving

Truth: I've never been very good at saving money.  Well, technically, that's only partially true... I am really good at saving for a vacation, especially for destinations abroad.  Once the seed of a travel idea is planted, I am 100% on board the saving bandwagon.  My bank and I become BFF again, and every penny counts.  

Saving for other things; car, house, life, (you know, the important stuff), I'm not so good at that.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not raking in the credit card debt either, I just have a harder time pinching my pennies during Nordstrom sales and the like.  Luckily, my husband is an excellent saver.  He was born to save.  His saving habits numerically put my saving habits to shame.  But I'm learning, and converting into a saver, just a wee bit more each day.    

I read all kinds of magazines that claim to have the answers to saving, but I figured I'd put this question out there and see what YOU all have to say.  How do you save?  What's your system or strategy?  A certain number per month?  Cash envelopes?  I am BEYOND curious and eager for advice, feedback, and everything in between.  A "by golly this works" end-all-be-all solution would be fantastic, but I'm not holding my breath. :)  So if you have some words of wisdom from your own experience, I'd love to hear your thoughts; what works, what doesn't, and any tips for the future so I can further my saving endeavors.


Movie Night

Have you seen Pitch Perfect?  It's pretty entertaining, plus the added bonus of a few catchy musical/dance numbers.  Starring a lot of the same actresses from What to Expect When You're Expecting; Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson.  The premise, a college girl choir's competitive and dramatic road to Nationals.  Sounds a little bit like Glee, I realize as I type this, but this movie was way funnier.  

Now take into account the plot isn't Oscar-worthy in the least, it's totally predictable, and characters burst into song and dance spontaneously.  If that still sounds appealing to you, definitely rent it for yourself!  I was laughing out loud throughout :)


Looking forward to my birthday this weekend!


5 Years of Blogging

Today marks 5-years of this blog.  Five years, holy cow!  I've always heard others utter the expression "time flies" off hand, but now I'm really beginning to gather the meaning of the phrase.  I don't often sift through my past posts through the years, but I take comfort in knowing that they are there, documenting, cataloging my thoughts, musings, worries, and feelings of each day I decided to write. It's  a unique glimpse word-worthy events of my life, a way to relive past triumphs, sadnesses, and everyday thoughts.  

So, 2013, here goes.  Aforementioned in my goals for 2013, I do intend to commit more to my blog this year, and continue this practice of thinking and writing for the future.  I hope you'll stay with me.


Goals for 2013

Goals for 2013

+ Blog more.
I kind of found myself in the midst of a blogging slump toward the end of 2012.  I attribute much of that to my change in job and overall increase in busyness.  However, I'm writing down my intentions for the new year with the intent that my words will hold me accountable to be a more responsible blogger.

+ Save more.
My husband and I have consolidated our accounts and have a goal number in mind to save for 2013.   

+ Take more pictures.
Now that I'm armed with my new Nikon, there's is no excuse why I can't take more pictures.  I'm prepared to arrive camera in hand to snap and capture the life around me.  

+ Eat out less and eat more vegetables.
I mean this is relation to take-out.  My husband and I fall into a once-a-week (at least) take out routine, whether that be carry out pizza, pad thai, or pho.  This is a habit we're hoping to break this year and replace with more vegetables and leafy greens...  Wish us luck!

+ Watch less TV.
Another lazy habit that's so easy to fall into.  Work a long day, crash on the couch, and lazily turn on the TV...  The goal is to cut back on the nightly TV regiment and substitute it with other projects, sports, and activities.

+ Worry less.
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a worry-wort.  It's hard for me to turn off my brain to unwind, relax, destress, and I'm hoping this year to make a conscious effort to try and change that.  Not sure exactly how as of yet, but that's my goal.


2012 Year in Review

It seems the older I get, the faster the years fly by.  Cliche, perhaps, but certainly true.  I turn 30 this month.  3-0...yikes!  I keep thinking, have I accomplished everything I wanted to do in my twenties?  Ultimately, ruminating on the past goals, finished or unfinished doesn't seem to help anyone, so here's to looking ahead!  

My 2012 goals, here's how I did...

+ Drink more water
YES!  I can easily say I did this, I even uploaded a "drink more water app" on my phone for a brief time period (seriously).

+ Travel somewhere new
* Montana in February
* Ireland in June
*Kauai in December 

+ Do a better job at separating work and home
*Not sure if I will ever be able to do this completely, but I think I'm doing better...

+ Continue to try new recipes and bake consistently

+ Try and eat more locally, organically, and sustainably
* A work in progress, but in addition to eating better, I've made a conscious effort to use products without parabens, also a good step in the right direction

+ Only buy clothing I love and enjoy wearing (not simply because it's on sale)
*Yes, my wallet is very thankful for this :)

+ Try and do some of the projects I've pinned on pinterest
* DIY projects, not so much...
*Recipes, YES!  

+ Make soup on Sundays
* A few times; here's a few examples

+ Spend as much time as possible with family and friends
* Always trying to do more of this

I think overall I did pretty well!  Stay tuned for 2013 goals...