Friday, August 29, 2014

My Desk Makeover

Around sometime last week, I realized that I wasn't using my desk like a desk anymore. It had become my storage area. There were papers, books, cups, bags, and miscellaneous items cluttering the entire space. And since I have 3 shelves attached to the top of my desk, all of those were cluttered as well.

I began by clearing everything off each surface and determining what I wanted on my desk. I looked at every book, tested every marker, and sifted through every piece of stationary. Then I came up with a few organizational tips to save myself space that I'll share today. Please forgive the yellow lighting in my photos, that's just the way my light fixture makes things look in my room.

As you can see, everything is much cleaner. I can finally see my books if I want to read one and I can actually fit my laptop on my desk with space to spare. It's slightly embarrassing for me to look at the 'before' picture now, but that's what happens when things pile up, literally.

A big help for me was to take several school boxes full of markers, colored pencils, crayons, and stack them under my desk in a container just beneath my drawer. Without those boxes stacked up on my desk, I had room to take that space and get creative.

On my desk now: 5 jars full of utensils, small clear box of stationary and notepads, 3 writing books, rainbow container, coaster, my daily planner, and of course, my laptop. Something you might not notice in my 'before' photo is that I used to have a big sheet of clear plastic covering my desk. Since I got this desk when I was younger, the plastic covering was originally a protection so that I wouldn't mess up my nice wooden desk. Lately, it made the desk look dirty, and since I'm no longer a kid, it's the first thing that I took off.

Organizing my utensils was my favorite thing to do and I love the way it turned out. You can't tell from my 'before' photos because they are buried, but I had 2 big cups that were full of pens and highlighters mixed together. I liked the idea of separating them, and my mom found a vase and several jam jars that she had in her kitchen. They were perfect for the new clean look I was going for, but I also decided to add some color. So put some craft glue around the tops of the jars and then tied 2 pieces of matte ribbon twice around the top. I now have a vase for my scissors, and jam jars holding my paintbrushes, highlighters and permanent markers, pens, and pencils.
If blogs that feature home decor have taught me anything, it's that stacking books and putting them on display can be a decoration piece. I recently received these books and while I'm finishing them, it's fitting for me to have them right where I'll be writing.

The top shelves of my desk were mostly just cleared of everything so that the books could be seen. But that doesn't mean that I can't have some things on the shelves at all, just in the right places. I enjoy having my bible at the corner of my bottom shelf, stacked with a journal I got in Italy where I write inspiring quotes and bible verses, as well as a paper weight that belonged to Mennonites in the 70's. On the other end of the shelf, my family photo from a few years ago seemed necessary, since I think that a desk should have at least one personal photo on it.

My uncle has gifted me these Harry Potter figurines throughout the years, and I definitely wanted to keep these on my shelf. Seriously, who gets to have a bobble head Fluffy? Now with the rest of the clutter gone, I positioned them in front of my Harry Potter section. The Harry Potter reading figurine is honestly one of my favorite things in my entire room. And now it can finally be seen on my shelf.

What does your desk look like? What are your favorite organization tips for a desk?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tech Accessories Wishlist

I've always been enchanted by the items on Etsy, ranging in price from cheap to extremely expensive.  If you ever want something cute and handmade, it will be on Etsy. Lately, my laptop has been feeling a bit plain, so I began searching for cute yet cheap tech accessories. Here are a few of my favorites.

(From left to right)
1. World Macbook Decal Sticker- I've seen so many decals, but this one stands out to me because it has a graphic quality and a vintage feel. It also calls attention to the fact that with a computer, we are able to connect to people around the world.

2. Tangle-Free Wrapped Earbuds- I've been wanting some of these earbuds for a while. My earbuds are always getting tangled, and these just look so pretty! But don't worry, if the blue + white color combo isn't your thing, you can select a different style you'd like them to look like when checking out (feminine, masculine, edgy, normal, etc.)

3. Portable Charger- These are so handy! If your phone is always going dead, or you're traveling, this is perfect to have stashed in your purse. I like this particular one because you can just slip it onto your keychain and you're good to go.

4. USB Drive- Who says your flash drive has to be boring? There are so many cute and colorful ones out there. I've had to use one constantly for school, so why not make it fun? I love this geometric-inspired drive because it works for any age.

5. Earphone Holder- If you don't want to get colored earbuds like #2, you can get some of these. They snap around earbuds to prevent them from tangling. With many neutral colors to choose from, these are great for girls and guys.

6. Sticker Macbook Keyboard Decal- I never knew that there were decals for keyboards! This isn't something that I necessarily need, but why not? Injecting color into the boring parts of life make me happier and puts me in a better mood.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Insta-Becca: Pink Oranges

For some, this past week was the final week of summer. I had my last week of nannying and met up with friends who are headed back to college. And while many are transitioning back to school and work, I'm holding onto the sweet moments of summer that are still lingering.

Last week, I watched Yahoo live stream as Taylor Swift announced her new album, debuted her new single, and showed off the music video Shake It Off. I've been a huge fan of hers for many years and I'm beyond excited for her first pop album to drop in October!

Quite jealous of model Cara Delevingne's brows and hair in the September issue of Glamour. I'm feeling the beauty inspiration!

New wallpaper for my phone, courtesy of this post in the Dress Your Tech series from one of my favorite blogs.

Drank coffee, read novels, shopped, and chatted with these girls at La Madeleine. Nothing better than maintaining great friendships with high school friends.

Shopping loves of the week- 1. date book  2. yummy stationary  3. sunnies (similar)

For more photos and to see what didn't make it to this post, follow me here on Instagram!

Have a great week!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beauty Friday: Sally Hanson Top Coat Review

I love it when I am recommended products, but more often than not, I'm happier when someone points out a bad product to me. That way, I'm able to avoid wasting my money. I have never done any product shaming before, but here I go! I hope you find this helpful.

Product: Sally Hanson Triple Shine Top Coat

As someone who constantly paints my nails, I have found that applying a top coat over nail polish is a necessity if I want the polish to stay on my nails for a week without any chips. It also adds shine. I ran out of my top coat and decided to pick this one up. It's from one of the newer Sally Hanson lines, and I was surprisingly disappointed. I'm a huge fan of Sally Hanson polishes, particularly this one and this one. I've also heard some good things about the new gel nail polish line, so I was so shocked when this top coat was so bad.

Now from a distance, you might say that my nails look okay. Not wonderful, but they look fine from here. But wait until you see them up close.

Pink Polish: Revlon Top Speed in Guava

Do you see it? There are bumps all over the polish. If you've seen air bubbles in your polish before, this is it. Now most air bubbles show up on the nails when someone shakes the bottle before using it, which I don't do. I paint my nails with 2 light coats of color, and then a light layer of top coat over them. My process has always worked fine until I used this product.

The first time I used it, I thought it was a fluke. I had used it on top of a Covergirl polish and this happened. The second time I used it, I put it over one of my Sally Hanson polishes, it's own brand. The same thing occurred. This here is the third time I used the top coat. I think it's safe to say that I'm done trying.

I went back to the store and bought the top coat I was using before- Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat. After painting my nails tonight, it worked beautifully, like a top coat should.
Yellow Polish: OPI Brazil Collection in I Just Can't Cope-acabana
Now up close you can see that the bumps are gone. There is still some mess around the cuticle area of my nails, but that is always the case for me after my nails are dry (The excess washes off my hands the next morning). This is what a top coat should do- keep nails free of chips and smooth. As of now, I will continue to repurchase my Revlon top coat.

I will give the Sally Hanson top coat this- it was very shiny, as you can see from the pictures. Now in comparison, the Revlon top coat does not look shiny in the picture, but that is simply due to the fact that I had to photograph my nails inside, without natural light. In real life they are quite shiny.

This experience did not ruin Sally Hanson products for me. It's the first bad result I've had, so I will continue to purchase and repurchase my favorite nail polishes from the brand. I might become concerned if I have similar experiences with some of the other more recent products. Perhaps the Triple Shine line has a thick formula that tends to create air bubbles. It is also possible that I just got a bad bottle.

Do you agree with my review? Have you tried this product? Would you throw it away or apply it differently?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fashion Inspiration: Nicole Richie

I've always admired Nicole Richie's style. Her love of bohemian fashion is clear, but she never looks like she's trying too hard or going overboard with her outfits. She always seems relaxed and comfortable in her outfits, and isn't that what the bohemian vibe is all about?

FYI- Some of these pictures are older and some are newer. I just picked a few of my favorite style pictures without looking at the year she wore them.

There's a definite theme with the white shirts and jeans. They're a great staple. This reminds me that any outfit can look amazing with some great accessories like a colorful scarf and sunglasses.

Do you see what I meant before? Even when Nicole is dressed up she looks so comfortable! This first dress in blue is something I'm used to seeing her wear in the magazines. I've seen her countless times in long, printed dresses. It's what she likes, and I consider it to be her signature look. The mustard dress is my favorite because of how chic it looks. I always used to think that in order to look chic, I would need to wear something black, streamlined, and boring. But that's not true. A flowy, colorful dress like this is amazingly chic the way Nicole styled it.

Which look is your favorite? Does her consistent and laid-back style inspire you?

Update: See You 3x a Week

Yay for structure! I've got some great things planned for this blog, and since I have few readers at this point, I'm not at all afraid to try some fun things! I will be blogging 3x a week.
Here I am in my room, barefaced except for some lingering lipstick. I'm always talking to you from here this way. So here's how things will go:

Monday: Insta-Becca; a recap of my 5 favorite Instagrams of the week, sometimes they will be things I'm currently loving, current changes or just some observations. This post will pay homage to Emily of Cupcakes & Cashmere, whose blog I've been reading for 5 years now and has a weekly 5 Things post.

Wednesday: Inspiration; a much-needed boost of inspiration from various sources will be posted in the middle of the week. It will be fashion inspiration from celebrities, youtubers, or bloggers, also decorating, music and food inspiration. You can be sure I'm passing on what catches my eye that week.

Friday: Beauty Friday, Foodie Friday, Fashion Friday; this day will be about 1 outfit, 1 recipe, or 1 beauty item I've tried. It will not necessarily mirror my inspiration from that Wednesday, but it will come directly from something in my life.

That's it! You'll notice that the schedule is quite loose and I've done that on purpose. I wanted to give myself a schedule, but also allow myself room to play and be creative. It might seem weird now, but hopefully you'll go on this journey with me, look at my pictures, and read some of my words. I promise that you'll get used to the pattern.

I'm overjoyed that I've made the decision to commit to this blog as my own creative outlet that will motivate me to grow and change. It's gonna be a blast!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5 Changes

It's strange to see all the Back to School signs and posters everywhere I look. It's odd because for the first time since I was 2 years old, I will not be going back to school. I continue to look for a full-time job where I can use my writing skills while I watch as 25% of my friends go back to school or continue on to grad school. I'm truly beginning to feel like I am at the next stage of my life, and with that, I've been feeling the need for more structure. I'm currently redoing my work space and desk as well as planning an actual structure for this blog. There will be an update on my blog schedule soon, since my favorite blogs are the ones that post every weekday or 3x a week. I can tell you this though; I will post at least one "5 Changes" post like this once a month (possibly twice a month).

Without further ado, here are 5 recent changes I've made and recognized in my life:

I've been plagued by dry skin this summer, particularly dry elbows. In June, I purchased a Vaseline lotion which hadn't been doing the trick but I continued to use it for a while anyway. Recently, I picked this lotion up on a whim while shopping at HEB, and it's been great. I can actually feel a difference in my skin.

For the first time ever, I was the speaker at my church last Sunday. I grew up in this church and I've read scripture, passed around the offering, served communion, lead the singing, and played my violin, but I had never been the speaker. This summer, my church did a series where individuals were asked to speak about a person or persons who inspired their faith. I talked about a female bible professor who I'm still friends with today and how she encouraged my experience with prayer. I read several quotes from Prayer by Richard Foster, and ended my speech with the paragraph above.

This necklace from JewelMint. I was introduced to JewelMint a few years ago while watching beauty videos on youtube. Lately I haven't heard much about it. Baublebar seems to be what everyone loves now, and I do enjoy that jewelry site. It's been over a year since I bought something from JewelMint, and when I saw this particular necklace, I fell in love. Contrary to my family's first reaction to my "very spiky"necklace, I received many compliments when I wore it to church on Sunday. It stood out in a great way against my navy shirt.

Thanks to my Gregory Alan Isakov Pandora station, I've found some great artists. (Side note- listen to his song Big Black Car) Recently, one artist named Josh Garrels has caught my ear. His songs Jacaranda Tree and Train Song have been on repeat whenever I'm on the computer. When I looked up lyrics to some of his songs I found them to be just as wonderful as his music.

I saw this little one minute mask in the September issue of In Style and decided to pick it up. Most masks I've used are cooling or make my face stiff, but it was so refreshing to put this mask on my face and feel it heating up. There was also the added bonus of it only being on my face for one minute. The reason I don't use masks often is because of how much time they need to work, so I will be using this more often.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Going All Out

My style is bohemian. Comfy and girly too, but mostly bohemian. There are times when I get dressed and a family member will say, "Really?" or "That's interesting." Not necessary in a bad way, but my family does think I dress boldly sometimes. Whenever I wear the white fringe vest I'm wearing above, instantly look boho. Even though the outfit I'm wearing here is comfy, casual, and perfect for summer, I did get looks from strangers because I went full boho.
I'm not someone who dresses for the sole purpose of getting attention. Like most people, I dress the way I do to express myself. Most of the time, I don't dress in a crazy, bold way. But there are times that I do feel like going all out, or full boho. It's hard to work up the courage, because no one wants to look like a caricature or like they are trying too hard.
Tank: Wet Seal, Vest: Forever 21, Maxi Skirt: Wet Seal, Sandals: Old Navy,
Mixed Metal Bracelet: Ten Thousand Villages, Nail Polish: Essie Bikini So Teeny

For the record, I could've gone farther. I could've worn a head chain or braided my hair like a flower child, which I often do. It still surprises me that an outfit like this, which I am completely comfortable in, can elicit stares from others.

My advice to anyone would be to ignore others who try to get you to dress differently or question what you're wearing. I love my family and friends, but respectfully, they tend to have girly, classic, or casual styles that don't match up with mine. It's hard for some to appreciate an outfit when they don't like that particular style. Look to those who share your love of style. I am always drawn to clothing worn by the Olsen twins, Vanessa Hudgens, and Nicole Richie. When you've found your style, look to your inspiration and stick with it! And don't be afraid to go all out.