What’s in my bag

November 21
No comments yet
*

top | sweater (similar) | pants | shoes| bag

I have been putting off this post forever. I don’t even know why, but I always love to read “Whats in my bag” posts so it is time to do my part and share. I don’t carry a ton in my bag, but there are a few daily “essentials” that I feel like I always need at arms reach.

First of all lets talk bags. If size and weight was not an issue I’d basically carry a diaper bag around constantly. I love having the ability to toss a snack, water bottle, or recent purchase in my bag. It just makes life easy. Sadly, I don’t think carrying around a giant bag really works for me so I strive to keep myself with something big enough for the essentials and a little more, but not huge.


I am currently using this bag and it is perfect. I love that is a mix of casual and professional. I can wear it to work or to yoga without feeling over or under dressed. I do like to change my bag out on occasion, but I don’t like to feel like I have to. (Budget friendly option here.)

 

Contents:

Sunglasses: I swap between these in matte black and these in gold.

Wallet: Kate Spade (Similar)

Lip balm: Carmex

Lip products: It changes all the time but today I am carrying this in lolita and this in homeslice.

Nail file: These are inexpensive and disposable.

Spin pins: I love using these for quick top knots on the go. The best part? They don’t leave bumps in your hair like a regular ponytail does. I like the gold ones as it adds a touch of class.

Notebook: I usually have a small field style notebook like this.

Headphones (for audiobooks): Regular apple headphones.

Powder: I’ve been enjoying this light powder foundation from Tarte. Perfect for on the go.

Zip pouch: I like to carry a the smaller items in this little pouch from Tarte. I love this leather one.

If I am going to be out and about for the day I usually toss in a snack , water bottle, and my planner.

So this is a peak into what I carry. What are your daily essentials?

 

Holiday outfit ideas

November 19
No comments yet
*


Alright, we are finally midway through November so it is time to start talking holiday outfits. Generally I don’t go too overboard with special clothing, but each year I like to add a few new pieces that feel Christmasy as well as wearable during the year. Here are few items I have either purchased or are eying.

Printed Ponte-Knit Stevie Pants for Women - Red Buffalo Plaid

I don’t know when it happened, but Old Navy came out with a new pant style called Stevie. It is a mix between leggings and dress pants and is totally work appropriate. I found this super cute buffalo plaid version of the pant and decided I had to have it for the holidays. I will wear these to our holiday work event and maybe a party or two. They will also be great for church services or a big Christmas dinner as they have lots of stretch. Even if you hate buffalo plaid check them out and see the other colors and prints.

4739fd1265e0badf963c6d14f49c62a2_best

Looking for something a little fancier? I am in love with this take on the little black dress. Perfect for a nicer work party, cocktail party of even New Year’s Eve. (If you decide to leave the house.)

phone case

What outfit is complete without a matching phone case? I love swapping out cases depending on my mood and the season. I am eyeing this one. It is fun but still a little classy in case you need to whip it out in a meeting. My current non-holiday favorite case is this one from Amazon.

One of the best ways to dress up an outfit or bring new life into it is via a snazzy handbag. I generally go for very plain muted bags, but something like this really makes an outfit. Pair it with a simple dress for almost any holiday event. Looking for my current go-to everyday bag? It’s this one.
I hope these ideas have given you a little wardrobe inspiration for the holiday. If anything take the time to reevaluate your own closet and see what older items might be able to be styled with newer items to create new outfits. Don’t forget to accessorize!

 

RELATED POSTS

Fall favorites

November 13
No comments yet
*

The heat is finally starting to subside here in Florida and so I figured it was time to talk about some new favorites.

I kind of have a thing with houseplants. It is kind of a love hate relationship. I love them, they hate me. I have been keeping my eyes out  for a fiddle leaf fig and a split leaf philodendron for some time, but hadn’t run across any that worked for me. This month I ran into both of them at Home Depot and was super excited to take them home. I just love the way a houseplant can add life, greenery, and warmth to a room. (They also make a great place for the lizards that sneak into my house to live.) Also, since they are INSIDE my home they are a little easier to remember to water as I see them every day. I also have a majesty palm and a corn plant.

I have never been a big tea drinker, however this fall I have started to get into drinking tea in the evenings. My husband and I enjoy having a cocktail or beer to unwind in the evening, but I was starting to feel that the unneeded alcohol and calories were starting to catch up with me. I knew that I still wanted a nice treat for the evenings and tea seemed to fit the bill. I have been enjoying herbal tea both at home in the evenings as well as in the afternoons at work. Usually around 3pm I want a little something but don’t want coffee anymore. I have been drinking this english breakfast tea at work. It has a higher caffeine content, but still lower than coffee.  I have been enjoying this herbal tea variety pack at home.


So, if you haven’t heard, Stephen King is kind of in right now. “It was super popular in theaters and everything eighties is great. Although I never read his older titles, I have enjoyed King’s newer works. They are more on the thriller/suspense side instead of horror. Anyways, his newest title, Sleeping Beauties came out back in September and is a great read. If you’re looking for a book to get lost in over the holidays, this is your book

Lastly, I am in love with these loafers from DSW. I used to be all about ballet flats, but when loafers started being a thing again a few years ago I was all in. I bought them in black but am probably going to go back for the taupe. They are the perfect blend between a work and casual shoe and super comfy.

 

Ok, that is it for today, what are you crushing on right now?

RELATED POSTS

The Happy Planner Girl- Goal Getter planner

November 5
No comments yet
*

So Me and My Big Ideas recently launched The Happy Planner Girl line of planner products. This line includes planners and accessories in four different themes. These planners all retail for $29.99 and are available online, at Hobby Lobby and Jo-anns.

maxresdefault

Glam Girl–  More of a girly setup with teals and pinks with a lined vertical layout. (Love the lines!) This planner would be perfect for a beauty blogger or makeup lover.

Daydreamer– This planner is filled with pastels and has a zen feel. Lots of florals and chill inspirational quotes are all over the line. The planners feature a horizontal layout.

Trendsetter– More of a girly setup with teals and pinks with a lined vertical layout. (Love the lines!)

Goal Getter- This planner includes goal setting pages, neutral colors, and hourly days in the weekly view.

Each line includes classic and mini size planners and the best part is that these planners are DELUXE planners and include brand new metal discs. Exciting, right?

img_3986

So, like I said I decided on the Goal Getter planner to use as my 2018 home planner. This planner is geared to people with busy schedules with an hourly setup and extra goal planing sheets.

img_3984

Ok, first of all, can we talk about this marble? It is perfect.  I just got a marble phone case and I love that it will match. I am even thinking about using the marble on the outside cover instead.

img_3981

So let’s get right into it. One of the things that drew me to this planner was the goal setting pages in the front. They are not super intense, but feel like a great way to sit down and reflect/look forward at the beginning of the year. I am already looking forward to spending time thinking about how I want to form my 2018 and these these sheets are perfect.img_3980

Now we are on to the months. Where in the other planners this area is used to write down birthdays/special dates/ect, the Goal Getter planner uses this space to revisit those goals and see where you are. A great way to stay on track during the year.

img_3978

The monthly view brings us back to something we are used to. Nice and simple grayscale which is my favorite. That way you can customize the planner and color schemes to your own needs and wants.

img_3977

 

So next is the weekly view. Like I mentioned before, this one has an hourly system which is new to the Happy Planner. I like how there is a space for general to dos or priorities on the top. I am still thinking about how I will use this planner, but am coming up with some ideas. Because my schedule is fairly set I don’t write my work schedule in my planner, however my husband’s schedule is a little more irregular so I always write it down so I know when to expect him and such. So instead of writing it just with a bullet point sticker I think I will go to the hour he gets off work and write it there.  The same with dinner, I will write it in at the time we plan to eat. This will help give the days a more linear feel which will help with busy days.

img_3979

The day only goes from 7am-7pm which will work but does not encompass my entire day. However, generally I don’t have multiple evening events so I can just write the evening plans on the 7pm slot and keep dinner in the 6pm.

 

So one of the most popular aspects of this new planner launch is the metal discs so I went ahead and took one out from this planner and one from a regular planner and compared them.

The discs are aluminum and seem the be the actual color, not painted. This is great as the paint on the plastic discs sometimes chips and with these discs it will not. Also, weight wise the discs were fairly comparable so you don’t have to worry about the new discs weighing you down. As far a durability I was unable to break or bend the disc with my hands, however you will see from the photo that my comparison disc did break, actually while I was removing it from a planner for this use.

As of now I have not heard of the discs being sold separately, but that does not mean it won’t happen in the future. At the least if you grab one of these planners now you could put the metal discs in another planner in the future which is great.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

 

 

Let’s talk self-care

October 16
No comments yet
*

It feels like self-care has been a big buzzword for the last year or so. I never got too into the word because I saw such a range of things associated with it. At first I saw people wearing facial masks and proclaiming that self-care. Then I’d see that going to the gym or drinking theiir morning coffee proclaiming it was self-care and I just became confused. So I’ve basically ignored the idea until recently. I recently actually spent a little more time looking into the idea and started to put together my own definiation of self care.

I consider self-care any activity or task, that is not a given, that is done to better onesself that is not a required life function but makes you a better person in that you are healthier, happier, or in a better mental state to tackle the day or week.

So to me this can be taking time to go for a walk in the morning, going to bed at a decent time, or even prepping lunches for the week on Sunday so it is done. (That really does make me a better person all week long.)


Once I came up with this definition I started to think about what I already do and what I can do to make myself better for the world. I realized that one of the activities I have been doing regularly, getting my nails done, is apart of this definition. About a year ago I joined a membership program at a local nail salon. With the membership I get one salon service a month, I do the gel mani and basic pedi, along with a one polish change. Because of the membership I know I am paying for the service each month so there is no financial thought about spending the money which is great. I know the cost is set aside and taken care of, all I have to do is schedule the appointment and show up. I usually go after work as it is on my way home.

At first glance this does not seem to fit in with my definition of self care, however it does make me better. Personally, I am horrible at doing my nails. I can’t “stay in the lines” and I generally just find myself frustrated afterwords or embarrassed with the results. Although I am not a hand model, having nice manicured fingers and toes makes me feel better about myself which in turn makes me more confident.

 


As I did some more thinking about what makes me a better me I realized that when I practice yoga regularly I am more happy, fit, and emotionally strong.  I realized that I wanted to start practicing on a regular basis to better myself both physically and emotionally. I have found a local studio and will begin taking classes regularly there. For me, yoga classes in studio are the best option as I get distracted and busy at home and end up rushing through my practice or skipping it for what deem more important at the time. Just like with the nail salon, the studio is a  monthly prepaid system so I don’t have to make the financial choice each time which is perfect for me.

 

These two activities make me a better person for me, my husband, and my workplace. Are they right for you? Who knows. But I do urge you to take the time to think about what you can do to set yourself up to be the best you. It can be anything, but only you can figure out what. Do you already know something that you’d like to do more regularly to make you the best you? Please share it below or tag me on Instagram or Twitter.

Fall fashion in warm climates

September 27
No comments yet
*

img_3213

As a resident of Florida and a basic girl I have the same problem every fall. I want to wear all the cute clothes but I also want to not die from overheating. Everyone on Instagram is going around sharing all these cute sweaters and boots and scarves and I am just sitting here hoping I can make it through the day without sweating through my tank top. I want all the cute things, but I always have to ask myself if it is really practical. Over the last few years I have learned some ways to make fall fashion work in florida.

Lightweight layering pieces

Skip the heavy sweaters and go for light, open sweaters. These can be paired with a tank to give the illusion of layers and fall color but without dying.
Here are a few I like:

 

Skip the boots for booties or mules

I know those mid-calf boots are adorable but they just don’t get enough fall wear around here. Try simple booties in a light color or mules. Although I have not yet jumped on this new mules trend I plan to get a pair soon, maybe in leopard. The best part? They are slip ons!

 

If you must wear a scarf, pick a thin breathable option

I opt for light cotton options. These are a little harder to find in the fall, but keep an eye out year round for scarves in fall and all-seasons colors.

 

Skip the tights

Tights are all the rage with skirts and dresses this time of year, but just skip them and go bare. A denim skirt with booties is a super cute fall look and your legs will thank you. Now that denim skirts are back I am just wishing I still had my old ones from high school.

 

 

 

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. – Amber D.

 

stay positive

RELATED POSTS

My Instant Pot

September 19
No comments yet
*

unnamed

The current biggest fad in kitchen gadgetry is the Instant Pot. What is an Instant Pot you ask? It is a seven in one magic mystical cooking device. It is a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a pressure cooker, and a yogurt maker. It sautés, steams and might even read your dreams. OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the picture.

I had been lusting after this pot for about a year when I finally grabbed on on Prime Day from Amazon in July. The most popular function of this device is pressure cooking. In the past, pressure cookers were stove top devices that many of us remember being warned about as children. I remember my grandmother having one and my mother being scared to death that she would hurt herself with it. So when people started talking about pressure cookers again I was surprised that nobody was concerned about safety. After doing a little research I realized that these new cookers are much safer and have several fail-safes set up to protect users. 

So the idea is that this is a total time saver. In pressure cook mode  it cooks meat, both frozen and fresh in no time and can prepare the types of dishes you generally make in a slow cooker in a fraction of the time. Pressure cooking is great for dried beans which we have recently converted to. I used to cook my beans in a slow cooker and it just took all day. In the Instant Pot I can get them done in a fraction of the time.

I’ve been using mine for a few weeks now and have been enjoying it. My only complaint is that many of the recipes online say something like “from raw to on the table in 15 minutes,” Which totally skips the time it takes the machine to get up to pressure as well as the time it takes to release said pressure. So keep that in mind when planning out a timeline with an instant pot.

 

Anyways, here are a few recipes I have made and liked:’
Orange Chicken (Even the hubs liked this and he’d never had it before)
Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes  (I added a packet of carrots for a one dish meal)
Simple shredded chicken (from frozen!)
Potato Salad (Or at least the potatoes and eggs)

I’ve also  successfully cooked baby back ribs, frozen ground turkey, and hard boiled eggs and I can’t wait to make yogurt in the future.

Do you have an Instant Pot? Please share your favorite recipes with me! Also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I am sharing my Instant Pot successes whenever I can.
bake bread

My favorite planner stickers

September 3
No comments yet
*

Please note: This is not a sponsored post. Affiliate links are in use.

There are a lot of companies out there making planner stickers these days.  At first they were few and far between, expensive and online only. Now it seems you can get them everywhere. By far my favorite planner stickers are the Happy Planner Value Packs.

You get your monies worth. These packs retail for about $20 but often times you can get them for less on sale or with coupons. Each pack comes with 30 sheets so this is less than a dollar a sheet at retail price and even less when they are on sale.

img_2772

I love cute stuff as much as the next girl, but I want stickers that help me make the most of my planner. When I use stickers in my planner I want to mix both function and form. I like to keep two types of sticker books at hand, cute ones, and fictional ones.

 

img_2775

If you have a Michaels nearby that is great, but if not you can pick up a set on Amazon with free prime shipping if you’re a member. I hate waiting for stuff, so I love how accessible these are. By just having one of two of these around I can make a super cute layout that really helps me make the best of my week.

 

Have you used these stickers? What did you think?

 

 

 

RELATED POSTS

Summer Favorites

August 30
No comments yet
*

So it has been a hot minute since I have done a favorites post, but I think it is time to get back into it. I have a few fun things to share today and I’ll try to get back into sharing on a monthly basis.

 

I have been loving this Stok refrigerated cold brew coffee. I generally just make regular coffee in my french press to use for iced coffee but this stuff is just too good. I got it on sale for $3.99 for the 48 oz bottle at Publix which seems great. The only downfall? It is so good I could drink the entire bottle in a few days.

 

If you’ve followed me much you might know that my husband and I run a board game blog. We have been running around the last few months trying new games and even went to Gen Con in Indianapolis to play new games. One of my favorite new games we have tried is Cottage Garden. I love how beautiful and calming the art is. Although the game itself seems very chill it is also a great logical competitive game. My husband and I love to play together on a quiet evening as it is a challenge but not too much. It is also great for kids as it involves lots of great analytical thinking skills.

 

About two months ago I was in a Walgreens minding my own business when I saw that the e.l.f. section of the cosmetics area has a bunch of clearance signs. Of course I had to check it out. I don’t use a ton of e.l.f. products, but they do have a few I am loyal to. Read about those here.  I was super lucky and found many of their products half off. I bought a few of my favorites as well as a few new items which included this foundation blurring brush. So I took it home and there it sat for almost two months until I really needed to clean my regular foundation brush but hadn’t and then remembered I had this. Let me tell you. I LOVED it. Super soft, smooth, lots of bristles, and no fall out. It really does live to the name of blurring. Prefect for your favorite liquid foundation.

 

My birthday was in July and my super sweet sister got me the Tartelette In Bloom Clay Palette from Tarte. I had been wanting a new eyeshadow palette but kept telling myself that my old Naked 2 Palette was enough. This palette is everything you could want in a palette. Rich colors, lots of options and great pigment. I love that I can make day and night looks and all of the colors are ones I will actually use. (thanks sis!)

Ok, that’s all for today. I will check back next month with a new list of favorites. Have you tried something new and loved it? Comment here with what is is or tag me on instagram or twitter.  I’m @_amberdowns.

What I do with old planners

August 8
No comments yet
*

One of the questions I always get asked is what I do with my old planers. I know everyone’s answers and reasonings will be different, but my answer is a easy one. I keep them. I store old planners on a shelf in my office; close enough to be grabbed and reviewed at any time. I do not keep old planners that I did not use. I keep my planners for both practical and sentimental reasons.  These reasons work for me but may or may not work for you.


When I start a new planner for a new year I go back to the monthly spreads of my previous planner to find any important reoccurring dates; birthdays, anniversaries, ect. I also note the date of events that happen every year such as 5Ks and festivals. Generally speaking these types of events take place on the same weekend such as the third Saturday in July. If the upcoming event is just an estimated date I put it on a sticky note and put that in the monthly spread of my new planner. This makes planning out vacations and other events much easier.

I also use my old planners to remember when things happened. Often times I will reember something like “I don’t remember the day she had the baby, but I know it was the same day as my hair appointment and I think it was July.” Then I can go to July, see when I had my hair done, and make a pretty good guess that is the child’s birthday. I also go back and use my old planners to remember when the last time I had a doctor’s appointment, had the carpets cleaned, and other infrequent tasks. I win a lot of bets with my husband this way. :)

The last reason I keep my old planners around is for the sentimental value. Just flipping through an old planner or notebook from a few years ago opens up a whole wealth of memories that you may have almost forgotten happened. Just like we take vacation photos to remember great trips, flipping though an old planner is like a trip down memory lane remembering what life was like then. I am sure these memories will be even more precious as time goes by.

Do you keep old planners? What do you do with them? Share below!

 

What I do with old planners

RELATED POSTS