Julep’s August Wonder Maven is MY SISTER! + GIVEAWAY!

*This post is in no way sponsored by Julep.* 

Subscription boxes feel like the latest trend that isn’t going away. And I’m okay with that. I love subscription boxes. I’ve done a wide variety of themes and companies, but the one I keep keepin’ on with is the Julep Maven box.  If you’re unfamiliar with Julep, it’s a beauty brand that started out as a nail polish company but has since branched into other make up and beauty products such as face masks, lip sticks, eye shadows, etc. 

A few things that make Julep different:

  • Julep’s founder and CEO is a woman, which is (sadly) a big deal in today’s society. She also strives to be accessible via meet ups in cities across the country and live chats on social media. I love that a beauty company has a CEO that is inspiring to other women. 
  • Along those same lines, Julep’s “thing” is being “brave pretty.” Basically, being “pretty” is what any individual decides it is. Their social media campaigns are always asking customers to tell them how they define brave pretty. I love that. 
  • Subscription boxes are more flexible than other companies. You can select a pre-curated box, or you can select your own items. If you aren’t feeling the items in any month, you just skip it. You can also shop the products outside of the subscription boxes, and there are periodic campaigns with mystery boxes where you have no idea what you’re getting. Essentially, there’s a little something for everyone. 

So what’s the point of this blog post besides free advertising for a company I love? Well, every nail polish has a woman’s name. And every month, there is a Wonder Maven polish. This polish is named after a specific woman. Awhile ago, I nominated my sister, Alysha, to be a Wonder Maven and did a quick write up on why I think the should be selected. Guess what?

Julep picked her!!!!!! They featured her on their blog and it’s so exciting! Check out the post and why they picked Alysha! Spoiler – I get a shout out in the post. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Alysha Wonder Maven 3

Meet August’s Wonder Maven

 

Also, the polish is LOVELY. 

http://www.julep.com/alysha-wonder-maven.html

I am so excited and so proud that I am giving away one ALYSHA polish to celebrate my awesome sister! I may also throw in some other freebies.. you never know ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

giveaway210a-default

To Enter – comment below and tell me how you #bravepretty or share a story about a woman who inspires you! 

WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Using random.org, Megan was selected as the winner!  Megan, I am sending you an email to the account you tied to your comment right now. Reply with your address so I can send you your prize! 

 

 

#100HappyDays: Days 1-10

I have a great friend, Kirsten, who I email with multiple times a week. She and her husband, Doug, are in the Peace Corps in Rwanda, you can read all about them, here:ย https://midwestpcvs.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/st-louis-couples-love-for-art-english-fuels-projects-in-peace-corps-rwanda/

Anyway, through the course of our emails it became apparent that I always had something to complain about. I am not proud to admit this, but I am someone who has every reason to be happy, yet, I let my summary of my day be filled with the tiny gripes in life instead of the tiny celebrations. Anyway, Kirsten recommended that I check outย http://100happydays.com/

Essentially, it is a challenge to take a picture daily of something that makes you happy. To switch your focus from the things that are bad or negative, which is human nature, to the things that are positive.

I have actually been loving this project! I am sharing on Instagram under “sasharoundtheclock” (so feel free to follow me!)

Well, a few of my close friends (Kirsten included!) have told me that they don’t have instagram but want to keep up with my project. So I have decided to do some weekly recaps here on this blog, where the forum is better for story telling and giving you a deeper glimpse into what is going on behind these photos.

Now, I am on day 22, so clearly I am behind on that! So I am going to do weekly 10-photo recaps until we get caught up!

Here were my first 10 days, starting on March 6th.

Day 1

3 weeks ago

Watching tv from bed… Wonderful end to the work week and so relaxing! #100happydays

I decided to start my posting on the very day that Kirsten recommended it. So while this might not be the most inspiring tale of what makes me happy, I think a lot of people can appreciate that glorious feeling of snuggling into a couch or bed and watching tv or reading a book at the end of a long work day.

Day 2

3 weeks ago

Drinking wine with my dear friend! #100happydays

I got to spend almost an entire day with my dear friend, Nancy! We had a rocky start to our day – we had planned facials together and then one of the estheticians called in sick and my appointment was cancelled. Never fear, though, we saved the day! Nancy got her facial, and then I met her at the salon and we explored downtown St. Charles, wandering in and out of little shops together. I also came back over for dinner and to craft, but we ended up having great conversations over an amazing bottle of wine (Stag’s Leap FAY) that Nancy was kind enough to share with me. I love this amazing, fun friend!

Day 3

3 weeks ago

The weather was nice enough that I got to wear my flip flops! Looks like it might be pedicure time though…#100happydays

I absolutely love letting my feet be free! I went to the University of South Carolina for undergrad, where flip slops were a MUST. I always love when the weather gets nice enough to bust out my Old Navy flops!

Day 4

3 weeks ago

Had fun making this one-sie for a friend! I love having time to be crafty! #100happydays #embroidery

You may or may not know, but I got a sweet sewing machine for my birthday from my parents and my husband. And then I got an awesome cabinet of embroidery thread from my mother in law for Christmas, and some accessories from my sister (which you’ll see featured in part in a minute). So embroidery is my new hobby! I was so excited to be commissioned to make this for my coworker’s daughter’s first birthday! I have an extra, too, that I haven’t been able to sell so I guess I’ll have to wait for someone’s kid to turn one…haha.

Day 5

3 weeks ago

Great appointment at my dentist- my only long term care provider (other than my dad). Dr. Lambert and his staff are great and I had a cavity free appointment!#100happydaysย #dentist

Here’s a plug for my dentist. I’ve been seeing him for 5 years and he and his staff are just GREAT. I had an awesome, cavity free appointment. Whoo hoo!

Day 6

2 weeks ago

Practicing my embroidery by making a present for my dad’s bday! Shh it’s a secret!! #100happydaysย #embroidery #family

More adventures in embroidery! If you can’t read it, that says “Karachi Doc” and I made it as a birthday present for my dad. My dad is an amazing man. He is a child neurologist and he grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. He is a true testament to the idea that you can achieve ย your dreams if you work hard and persevere. Love this man!

Day 7

2 weeks ago

Seeing these cute giraffe themed gifts daily reminds me of my sister and makes my heart happy!!! They certainly make my craft room more stylish!!@sparkle__ninjaย #100happydays

My baby sister (she’s 25 but will always be my baby sister) is so thoughtful and my desire to be crafty is rubbing off on her! She made the mason jar pin-cushion pictured. Yes, the lid of that mason jar is a PIN CUSHION that she made, and then I can keep the loose pins INSIDE the jar. I love it! She gave me a ton of accessories to get my sewing hobby off of the ground. When I see things like this in my house, it makes my heart really happy and reminds me how loved I am!

Day 8

2 weeks ago

Early start to daddy’s birthday weekend!#100happydaysย #roadtrip

You saw, above, that I made a hat for my dad’s birthday. Well, I also drove to Warm and Cheerful (that’s Centerville, if you don’t know) to celebrate my Dad’s birthday! The picture is really pointing out that it was 3:43, so I was getting a head start on my drive! Good thing I did, because the weather and rain meant that I got in pretty late! It would have been so much later if I had worked until 5!

Day 9

2 weeks ago

Got my dad to do a birthday selfie with me!!! Love my daddy and happy to celebrate him today!!#100happydays #family

Got my dad to take a selfie with me on his birthday! I am not the best selfie taker. I guess I need practice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 10

2 weeks ago

Made it to my home at the end of our#bestieroadtrip!!!!! Excited to spend the week with@sparkle__ninja !! #100happydays #sisterweek#sistersinstl

The best long drives are long drives you get to share with a friend! ย This amazing girl decided to spend an entire week with me before embarking in employment. We had so much fun, and you’re going to see that in the next ten that I post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Birthdays are in the air.

This week, there were SO many birthdays!!!!

 

This is the week that I celebrate both my wonderful Mom (Nov. 7th) and my wonderful baby sister (Nov. 10). Happy birthday to two of the best ladies I have ever known!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Also, can you believe Alysha is 23???? Does that mean I have to stop calling her my baby sister? ๐Ÿ™

 

This week, our dear friends Ben and Laurel also had a sweet baby girl, Madilyn, born on November 8th! ย We can not wait to get a chance to meet her!

And, one of my oldest friends (since 8th grade), Jeff, had a birthday on November 9th.

 

As a side note, today is Sunday and I still consider Sundays to be part of last week. ย In my world, weeks run from Mon-Sunday, and then start all over with work on Monday. ย So in my world, I can properly say there were a lot of birthdays to celebrate this week, because I am on the last day of this week.

Happy Halloween!

My baby sister sent me a halloween package that included a mummy-cupcake kit! They turned out SUPER cute! So cute, that we made a double batch (the box made 12, and we bought extra ingredients and made even MORE!) so that we can send some to my work and some to the dessert contest at Jonathan’s office tomorrow! (I hope I win!!! Competitive spirit, ignited!)

 

Here is a picture of some of the best looking ones!

 

 

So cute, I had to share! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween! ๐Ÿ™‚

Where has the last month gone?

Well, it’s been busy!

Last post, I was in Kentucky visiting my little sister for family weekend! She is already a rockstar in her program and I am super proud of her!

I came home on a Thursday, and on Friday, we left for a birthday camping trip for my hubby. We had 20 people go all together, 7 of which were kids! Wow! What a group! It was a ton of fun! Jonathan has the pictures on his phone, which I do not have. So, hey! Jonathan! Send me those pics! haha

The weekend after that, I had my enrollment ceremony into the Missouri bar! So my dad and Alysha came to St. Louis to watch me take my oath and get my certificate. I am officially an Attorney and Counselor at Law! Whoohoo!

And then the next week, I had interviews galore. Which worked out, because in ten days I will start my new job! I am super excited!

So I have ten days as of now of FUNemployment. What am I doing with it? ย I cleaned the livingroom, bathroom, basement, and kitchen yesterday. I am working on finishing a picture book for my friend, Laurel, with pictures from her baby shower. I am going to start (and maybe finish?) a scrapbook of our trip to France. I am going to add a page to my anniversary scrapbook. And I am going to WORK OUT and do some meal planning so that when I start working I can try to keep my progress.

Speaking of working out/progress… october began my “THIS TIME I’M SERIOUS” weight loss plan. Yeah, yeah. You’ve all heard that before. but… but.. this time I’m serious! haha

I have lost 3 lbs in October, so that is a nice, healthy rate. I had been hoping to lose 8 this month, but I guess that’s not happening. ย I didn’t actually start til Oct. 8th, so I’m still happy with it. ย I just need to keep on track.

So, yeah. That’s what’s been up. What has everyone else been doing? ๐Ÿ™‚

Brut Risotto, with seasoned chicken

This week, I am visiting my sister, Alysha, in Lexington. She loves mushrooms and my “cheesy rice” (which is her affectionate term for my risottos.)
So I invented a new one for her!

I am going to tell you guys how I made this, but I wanted to add a few notes.
First, halfway through, I decided my approach was wrong. That being said, it turned out DELICIOUS. And that’s in Alysha’s words. And she is one of the pickiest/highest standards eaters I know, so that means alot! So, I am going to describe how I did it. I am sure I could edit the recipe so that it doesn’t abruptly change part way through, but I hesitate to do that without testing it myself.

So, if you decide to attempt this recipe, I recommend reading through the entire risotto process up front so you know what’s going on!

For the Seasoned Chicken, all I did was grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil (the kind rated for frying!) and preheat the oven to 350. I rubbed 1 tbspn herbes de provence and 1 tspn rosemary over both sides of the chicken. I let it cook for 12 minutes on each side,and then let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. The chicken baked while I worked on the risotto.

For the mushrooms, I melted 1 tbspn butter in a small sauce pan, and added 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms. I let them cook slowly on low heat, and stirred them occasionally while cooking the risotto.

Risotto:
Ingredients: (ingredients listed twice means they are used in different steps and should be separate)
1 tbspn butter
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1.5 c arborio rice
1/4 c peas
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tbspn balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
3 cups water
1/8 cup Brut
1 cup Brut
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
juice of half of a lemon

For the risotto, you will need three liquids.
Liquid 1: 1 cup Brut, set aside for later.
Liquid 2: heat broth, balsamic vinegar, 1/8 c brut until warm, but not hot. Keep on low heat.
Liquid 3: 3 cups water, set aside for later.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tbspn butter. Add onions, and cook until very slightly caramelized. Cook slowly so as not to burn the butter.
Once onions are tender, add the arborio rice. Stir for about 2 minutes. Rice grains should look glassy.
Turn up the heat, and add 1 cup brut (liquid 1). It should absorb in a bubbly way. If it isn’t, turn the heat up.
Once it’s absorbed, begin adding liquid 2 one ladleful at a time. Let each ladleful absorb completely, continually stirring the risotto, before adding the next.
*********************
Here is where I decided the risotto was off. About 4 ladlefuls in, I decided the broth was a bit too pungent. At this point, I added the juice of half a lemon and the peas. I also switched the liquid three. You can alternate between liquid 2 and liquid 3 as much as you want, tasting between each ladle to decide if the flavor is too weak or too pungent. I used pretty much only liquid 3 from this point on, which,if you remember from above, was plain, room temperature water.
*********************
Continue adding liquid a ladleful at a time until rice is cooked. Once rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.
Serve with sliced chicken and mushrooms.

I had the best days, with you :)

First, the song that’s been in my head as I’ve been thinking of the last ten-ish days…

The song is about her mom, but it’s a super cute song about her childhood, and she keeps repeating “I had the best days, with you.” I love it and I want to use it for a project for my momma for mother’s day one day. But it just generally makes me nostalgic for my childhood. So it also makes me think of my baby sister. ๐Ÿ™‚

We have had SO MUCH FUN together! I am so glad I was able to take over a week and just hang out. No gigantic plans, just spending time together.

What did we do? Let’s see. We cooked together. We worked out together. We watched a lot of Olympics and viggled together. We each got sick (whyyyy does this always happen to us??) and took care of each other. We went to the outlet mall… twice! We shopped together. We did face masks together and tried new make up together. We found the Lexington public library and got books. We went to the movies. We went to the Kentucky Horse Park, and it was magically free on the day we decided to go and we got free hats! We went wine tasting together. We spent a bunch of time at the Whole Foods together, LOL! We had car rides and sing alongs and I got Alysha hooked on Jane by Design and we started a marathon.

I couldn’t ask for a better week. ๐Ÿ™‚

We bumped heads a little too, and I was reflecting on that a bit this morning. I really think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am having trouble accepting that my baby sister is not my baby sister anymore. She is a smart, independent young lady who doesn’t really need her big sister the way she used to.

Is this how parents feel? heartwrenching. haha. But I can say I am super proud of the woman my sister has grown up into. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I will ALWAYS call her my baby sister.

(And I’d like to take a little credit, too ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Anyway, it’s 9:17. I’m going to wake up the sleepy head and spend a few more hours with her before I head back to the Lou. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cooking for People You Love

I don’t like cooking for myself very much. If I’m left to my own devises (cough cough college) I will largely eat microwave popcorn and apple sauce (something salty, something sweet, something soft, something crunchy). Yeah, I know. VERY nutritious.

But cooking for people I love… I LOVE doing it! And I love concocting new recipes!

Today, I concocted some for my sister.

I made cilantro lime chicken thighs with skillet corn and green beans.

Here are the recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
2 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone removed optional depending on how you like it
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 Lime
1 tspn Honey
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn Pepper
1 tspn Adobo (optional)
1/2 tspn chili powder (optional)
1/8 cup olive oil

Mix olive oil, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, honey, salt, pepper, adobo, and chili powder in a bowl. Place skinless thighs in bowl, and cover with the marinade. Let sit for atleast 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 30 minutes.

Green Bean and Corn Skillet

Ingredients:
2 ears of corn
1/2 lb of green beans
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbspn cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tspn salt
2 tspn honey
2 tbspn butter

Cut the kernels off of the corn and place in skillet. Cut the ends off of the green beans, and chop green beans into bite sized pieces (I always cut them into thirds). Place in skillet. Add water, broth, and cider vinegar to the pan. Bring skillet to a soft boil (bubbling but not violently bubbling over), and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until beans are tender. The liquid should cook off. If it cooks off before the beans are cooked, add a little more water. Once the beans are done, drain off any excess liquid. Add the butter, honey, and salt. Stir around. Taste, and add more butter/honey/salt until it suits your fancy!

This meal was delicious! I finished it off with a slice of whole grain toast. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post-Bar Transiency

Transiency: n. The state or quality of being transient.
Transient: n. a person who is staying or working in a place for only a short time

So, the bar is over. It’s over, it’s done with. I either passed or I failed but it’s completely out of my hands at this point. My exam is off in the shadowy world of bar examiners, and in mid-September I will know if I managed to score enough points to call myself esquire.

So, worrying? No point. There is no point in worrying about things that you can not change. So, instead of worrying, I am going to enjoy this freedom.

I say freedom because, as my dear husband pointed out to me today, for the first time in my memory, I have no current obligations and no cloud of future obligations hanging over my head. I am completely free in this moment.

There are no summer assignments. no summer internships. no preparing for classes, no buying books. In my future is a hazy, indistinguishable, unknown blur. I can’t really embark on any undertakings until I know if I passed or not. I can’t plan, I can’t prepare.

So I am going to be transient for a little while. I am looking at August and September like two months to visit family and friends.

And I consider this period to start now. Even though I’m home at the moment. Because, a few minutes ago, I was not home. I was in transit from Jeff City to home. And I don’t intend to remain home for more than a day and a half.

What am I doing with my transiency? I am seeing the baby sister. I am seeing the big sister. I am seeing the parents and the friends back home. I am going back to see the baby sister for family weekend at EKU. I am going to Chicago with friends. I am camping. I am going to Lake of the Ozarks to stay in Jonathan’s company’s corporate condo.

I am doing many transient things. I will be here sometimes. I will be there sometimes. Who knows where I will be at other times.

Okay, so some of those transient plans are already planned for after I will know whether I passed or not, but after I know whether I passed or not, I only have two weekend trips planned, and other than that, I will be here. Figuring out my future.

But for now, the future is uncertain and so are my plans!

It’s freeing and terrifying and crazy and scary.

And sort of really cool that I get to go spend large chunks of time with my family during this transient time without worrying about days off or bosses or anything like that. I know that’s in my future somewhere ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, my first adventure begins Friday, and I will be headed to Lexington, Kentucky to see Alysha! AND I CAN’T WAIT! ๐Ÿ™‚

Spring Break Recap

So, something is wrong with me and I took NO pictures!! WHAAAT? And this post is way over due because I sort of forgot I have a blog for a bit. OOPSY! Anyway.

I had an awesome time in Ohio for spring break! I hung out with my lil sis, and we had adventures (of course!)

Among the fabulous things we did:

– Movies:ย  21 Jump Street and The Lorax

– Mani/Pedis… gel polish is fabulous!

– Shopping: at the outlet mall, at target, on the web!

– FOOD! We had chinese, italian, pizza…. and Jeni’s Ice cream!!! I highly, highly recommend it! http://www.jenisicecreams.com/ย they ship to all 50 states. SO DELICIOUS and so many unique flavors!

– TV! Alysha got me addicted to Haven, which is a scifi show. Im usually not a huge sci fi person, but this show is awesome! I highly recommend it, as well!

We also went to Centerville to celebrate Daddy’s birthday, which was really fun and really nice. We even got him to play Apples to Apples, which was hilarious!

Anyway, it was a fab spring break and now I miss my fam ๐Ÿ™ Good thing I’ll see them in May when I graduate!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks, Alysha, for having me all that week!!!!! You Rock!!!

 

Also, I had intended to tell my favorite Alysha story for St. Patty’s Day, but I was so busy taking the ethics section of the bar that I forgot ๐Ÿ™ย  Guess it will have to wait until next year… wahahahahaha!