Apr 082015
 

I don’t consider myself trendy or even especially stylish. 

I do think that I have a style – my style.  Not that any element I would classify as “my style” is uniquely mine, but there are definitely looks or parts of looks that I see repeated on my person several times each week.

I wear a lot of black on black; layers like woah.
I like to wear a interest-insight-sharing T-shirt under a cardigan to the bar.
I rarely wear heels and swear by flats 99% of the year.
And I like to stack accessories, especially bracelets with a watch. I’ve almost always got an arm party going on.

Recently I shared a peak at some accessory organizing on Instagram and Ali asked me “What are your favorite places to buy bracelets?” 

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Here’s my answer to Ali’s question.

Garage/Yard Sales, Thrift Stores, Etc. – Every year during my small town’s “Garage Sale Days” I’m on the hunt for one fun piece of jewelry to add to my collection.  Good Will, Salvation Army and the like often have great costume pieces, too.

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Mystic Knotwork – I came across this small American business by way of Martha Stewart and I have purchased from them several times since; a couple of times for me and couple of times for gifts. My most recent purchase is my favorite: the silver diamond paracord shackle bracelet. 

Riled Violets – Okay, so this Etsy shop is actually for hair ties, but I really like using the sparkly and patterned elastic hair ties as additions to my wrists when they are stacked.  This site has TONS of colors, designs, and variety packs, including a “choose your own” which is always a favorite for me. Also, dear Crossfit/Weight Lifting friends, please see this: Bar Bell and Kettle Ball Ties

MantraBand – it should surprise no one at these little bands engraved with words to remind you of the mantras you are focusing on in life are a favorite of mine. I wear my “one day at a time” band several times a week and have a lengthy wish list of other mantra stating bracelets I’d love to add to my collection.

Acre – I love the necklaces here, too.  This knot bracelet has been on my wish list for ages! 

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bama + ry – I’ve talked about my love for bama + ry at length in the past, but it is definitely worth mentioning again in terms of wristwear.  I love my hand stamped healthy living blogger bracelet and  textured copper cuff for both stacking and wearing alone.  I’m also REALLY digging this stacked colors bracelet and am resisting the urge to buy it for myself as I type this! This gold chain bracelet is a bit dressier than my normal tastes, but I really dig the multi-chain-look.

purevida – I was first introduced to puravida when I received a bracelet as a gift from a dear friend.  Every bracelet purchased helps provide full-time jobs for local artisans in Costa Rica. This brand has grown way beyond arm candy, on top of their 15+ different bracelet styles.  You are likely going to find something you want on this site.  My current top 3: silver hammered flat bar in seafoam, LGBT Pride Awareness braided, and flat braided grey stripe.

BookFiend – These are on my favorite go-to gifts for friends; custom engraved bracelets.  Great for a graduate, musician, or actor in your life that has a certain quote, lyric, or line in your choice of font on your choice of color.  Such a great gift to show someone you care or to mark/celebrate a season in your life!

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Good Works – This is another company I learned about through being gifted a bracelet from a friend and another company that donates a portion of profits to charity.  I love my You are Beautiful friendship wrap bracelet and have my eye on several others, including a couple from the bangle line.  Good Works sells a bunch of scripture-designed accessories perfect for your Jesus-loving friends, too.

Stalking the Wild Snark – I love the coin/charm wrap bracelets from this shop and have gifted them to loved ones across the country, as well.  I love the idea of gifting luck!

boo + boo factory – I love every item in this shop and browse through the new additions regularly, but I haven’t bit the bullet and purchased anything for myself yet.  This is a great idea for my next fitness challenge reward, though. I love the geographic shape pieces and the chain cuffs.

Bravelets – I’m obsessing over every style on the site, but especially the stitched leather and original leather styles.  Bravelets have a mission – to help you be strong and brave in tough situations, a visual reminder on your wrist of the strength within.  Bravelets is a nonprofit that supports YOUR causes with your purchase, you can shop by style or cause. 

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Get crafty with yourself!  Here’s a few super fun tutorials for making some DIY wearable artwork of your own:

What is your favorite place to buy bracelets?

Feb 012015
 

lists

I leave for Vegas tomorrow* and my life feels one part put together and three parts a total mess.  I am just about fully packed, and by that I mean FULLY PACKED – no room for any-single-thing-else.  In an effort to rock my “don’t over pack” goal, I’m using only a backpack and duffle bag for the five nights I’ll be in Vegas and I’m taking every inch of space available to bring the items I’m promising myself I’ll use. 

I’m bringing gear to work two trade shows, celebrate my way through a retirement dinner party of a dear work friend, try my very best while bowling and playing Las Vegas bar trivia and even running a few times while I’m in the warm weather.  That’s an awful lot of fun packed into a short trip (and an awful lot of outfits needed, too) and I’m both excited and exhausted, and I’ve not even made it to the airport yet.

Also packed in my bag is a slew of hotel and purse friendly foods.  I like to keep some healthy eats on-hand when I travel to both save a little bit of cash and make choosing a nutritious snack as easy as possible for myself.  I consider all travel vacation-mode, and I will no doubt be having my fair share of indulgent moments on any trip I take – if I can make a few of my snacks both free and healthy, I call it a win. 

travel snacks

Currently in my snack pack I’ve got:

past travels

Other snacks I often travel with:

  • Twizzlers – they are a road trip MUST, in my book.  And if I’m feeling especially nostaglic for high school soccer, white cheddar popcorn along with it.
  • pretzels
  • carrot sticks
  • grapes
  • berries
  • bite sized tomatoes
  • crackers
  • any sort of nuts

Do you have travel snack MUSTS?  What are your go to bars for keeping in your purse? (I’m not the only one who does it, right? I love that KIND bar and the Coconut Cream Pie Lara Bar best!)

 

*Of course, as I write this I am waiting for the projected 8-12 inches of snow to start falling to ground late this evening, so we’ll see when I actually get around to taking off on that plane to Vegas.

Jan 112015
 

2014 Opener

Oh, 2014, I hated you so hard.

 

It was a difficult year, but like other years marked in the story of my life as the darker chapters it was a year full of growth and getting to know more about myself than I could have ever expected. These lessons and life changes have been some of the highlights of the past 12 months, and I’m grateful that 2014 does have some bright spots that I will continue to remember fondly.  I ran my first half marathon and found my super power. I conquered many challenges and “opportunities for solutions” [my office’s way of avoiding the word problems] while gaining more confidence at work, as “my day job” continued the transition into “my career.”  I furthered my relationship with the Beef Checkoff and am proud to be a Beef Expert Bureau Member. We added another fuzzbucket to THS HQ and I watched a lot of great television and laughed through a lot of hilarious podcasts. 

The last quarter of 2014 was by far my favorite of the year, and I feel like I ended on a high-note in terms of feeling like my life was truly enjoyable, or at the very least filled with many truly enjoyable days.  I got to spend time with people that I love and made decisions to go after what I want and stop apologize for wanting it.

 tear it up

I didn’t plan to set resolutions or goals for the new year, but I did spend some time thinking about what I wanted to feel when I looked back when it comes time to shift my thinking from 2015 to 2016 next December.  Late this past November, I stuck a poster-sized post-it on my wall and scribbled “2015” in the upper right corner.  It sat blank on my wall through all of my holiday prep, remained empty while I was off-to North Carolina, and still sat ghost-white when I returned, until days after I rang in the new year and started scrambling into my January.

The strength that I felt as 2014 came to a close is what is helping me propel myself into 2015 feeling happier than I have in a long time.  When I started to really focus in on my intentions for 2015 I found a common theme throughout the list – connection.  In 2015 I want to feel connected.  Once this was clear to me, the word CONNECT was written boldly in green marker on the post-it, directly to the right of the year.  I want to take the time to plug in and connect in several energy-stirring areas of my life.  I want to seek new connecting opportunities and be open when they appear in unexpected ways.

the end of it

Connect with my innermost self. Even though I don’t know what that really means right now, I feel very strongly pulled in a direction of self discovery.  An emotional peeling of the layers to get to the core.  Step one is letting go of what was and focusing on what is ahead. Ready, set, go.

Create avenues for connection with my co-workers.  Late last year I decided that I was going to try to strengthen the friendships I had with the people at work that I felt a connection.  I also decided that I’ve said “I wish I had a group of people to play bar trivia with each week” to myself for too long, and that creating a bar trivia team with my work friends would be a great idea for the new year.  I talked it up all last month also tried to make it one of my official work goals, but management did not seem to think it was a good fit. 

Another biggie for me in terms of connecting with my co-workers is taking the conversation beyond the weather.  I’m not saying I want to jump into the deep end of conversations, but I want to at least take one step away from the shallow end.  At least to start.  I’m trying to focus on asking better conversational questions and aiming to actively listen instead of think about what I might want to say next.  

Connect with the open road.  I don’t want to lose my love affair with running, and I know that easing back on my mileage over the winter has been a big help in my not getting bored with running during my heavier training months.  This has been the trend for the past several years.  In 2014 running was redefined for me, as something I did – run, to someone I am – a runner. I am eager to get back out on the street on the regular come spring time.  For now I am spending my fitness energy on running when I can and doing activities that will make me a stronger runner come the sunnier days.

Stay connected with special relationships, and find new ways to keep connected with loved ones across generations.  With snail mail, and Facetime, and mobile/internet games, and group text messaging, and hopefully some in-person visits, too.

Make neighborhood connections.  Visit local establishments and get to know the owners and employees. Be a good neighbor.  Participate in community events.  Support my village. Buy local. Be local. 

cheersto2015

Cheers to a blank-page-feeling, hope-filled new year, my friends.  I’ve poured one out for all that was lost during 2014 and I’m raising a glass to all the potential connections in all our lives this year! May we be open to the unknown and willing to take the first step.