12.31.2013

Christmas Vacation Recap

Fortunately (unfortunately?), my Christmas was not quite as eventful as the Griswold's, but it was still wonderful to say the least. Here are a few photos showing the fun adventures I had over the last week or so...

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I enjoyed my Christmas tree with special ornaments and decorated my faux mantel with Mr. and Mrs. Snowman.

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Made and gave dip mix ornaments, aromatherapy mug rugs, and bath bombs. I also participated in my first cookie exchange and baked 14 dozen peanut butter blossoms!

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Spent time traveling to Tampa to visit my dad and step-mom with my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. I got to snuggle with that sweet girl, woke up to palm trees every morning, and played in the sand with that sweet boy!

Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas, filled with family time, wonderful and generous presents, and so much love! I hope you too had a wonderful Christmas!




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12.23.2013

The BLOGmopolitan Quiz

I randomly came across the Blogmopolitan quiz on Two Thirds Hazel and think it's just so fun! I always love reading the answers from celebs in Cosmo, so I HAD to join in and do my own.



Head over to Two Thirds Hazel and join the fun!



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12.20.2013

5 on Friday: 2013 Recap Edition


I'm excited to once again join Darci and the other lovely ladies for 5 on Friday! In no particular order, here are my top 5 moments from 2013 thus far:

-ONE-



I trained for and finished my first half marathon! It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was such an amazing experience. Half Mary Round 2 starts in January :)

-TWO-



I celebrated with 2 of my closest friends for their weddings. I was fortunate to be a part of both, and I couldn't be happier for Andrea & John and Sara & Kyle!

-THREE-



I made it to finals for an NFL cheerleading squad. I didn't make the squad, but I worked my butt off (literally) and loved every second of it!

-FOUR-



I moved in with Kyra J, and we haven't killed each other yet! Kidding (sort of), but really he's such a blessing to have in my life, and there's no one I'd rather have around. The man makes my lunch, does the dishes and laundry, and makes me feel so loved. I'm spoiled (and I not so secretly love it)!

-FIVE-



I was selected as a top 10 finalist for the next Fox Sports Midwest girl. I entered on a whim with zero broadcast experience, and I am proud of myself for going after it!




Let's get the weekend started shall we? Here's what I will be jamming to over the next few days...




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12.19.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Internet Geek

Are you ready for the final installment of the 2013 Jane Not So Plain Gift Guide? Today, I'd like to share some ideas for the "Internet Geek" in your life. As I have mentioned it before, I work as a Social Media Coordinator, so I spend the majority of my time on the Internet. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, blogs, I love it all and get really excited about the interwebz. Geek part of 1? That's me!

Quirky Cordies

In my geeky dream world, I would have multiple large monitors, speakers, wireless, the works. More stuff means more chords, and this chord organizer is cute and handy, too. At work, I have my laptop connected to a large monitor with a keyboard, mouse, printer, etc., and the chords drive me bat sh*t crazy. I need one of these things in my life!

Pandora One Subscription

The majority of the day I am listening to music while I'm working. I would assume this is the case for most people working strictly on a computer and the internet. A Pandora One subscription would be such a nice gift...no commercials and unlimited streaming all.day.long!

HTML for Dummies

I have a couple HTML books, but I am always looking for more! It's on my bucket list to become "fluent" in HTML, so the more resources the better. This book would be a great gift for any blogger too. While my HTML knowledge is limited, the small amount I do have has helped tremendously when it comes to JNSP.

Internet Cat Ornament

Oh grumpy cat! It would be hilarious to give someone this ornament. I personally would love it! If your "Internet Geek" is anything like me, they'd appreciate the humor in this gift for sure.

Portable Phone Charger

So, not only am I a huge tech-geek, I also love using the interwebz on my phone. If any of you are the same way, then you know it drains the battery really fast. The nice thing about these "lipstick" chargers is that they are rechargeable and provide a full charge to your phone battery. Most of them come with a charging chord only, so you'll need to carry your phone charging chord with one end being a USB, too. But, there have been so many times that I've needed to charge my phone and have the charger, but no outlet to plug it into. Or, I am somewhere that I don't want to leave my phone. Whoever invented these things is a GENIUS!

Like and Dislike Stamps

Another silly thing that any Internet Geek would appreciate the humor of! I don't even know what you'd actually use them for, but I bet you could find SOMETHING to do with them :)

Blog, Inc.

If you have a blogger on your gift list this year, then I am sure they would appreciate a book like this. I know I am always looking for ways to improve JNSP, so this type of resource would definitely help!


I hope you've enjoyed the 2013 Jane Not So Plain Gift Guide as much as I have! I loved rounding these ideas up and sharing them with you. With that being said, I am a firm believer in giving gifts that count. It doesn't have to be expensive, but as long as it's from the heart, that's all that matters!




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12.16.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty Queen

Happy Monday, JNSPers! I hope you had a great weekend and are ready for today's gift guide. Here are my picks for "Beauty Queen" in your life:




Fragrance Sampler

I think this is such a genius product! It's 12+ perfume samples with a coupon to redeem for a full size bottle of one of the fragrances included. I received this a couple Christmases ago, and I loved it! Perfume is an excellent gift, but picking out a scent for someone else can be a little tricky. When you go this route, it guarantees that the recipient will get a scent they love!

Maskcara IIID HAC Pack

I just got my IIID foundation last week, and I am loving it so far! Highlighting and contouring makes such a difference in the final look of your makeup, and this product takes out some of the difficulty. Any makeup lover would have fun learning about this new product & technique!

Kate Spade Earrings

These earrings are all the rage right now, and they are super cute too! I love the boldness of the gemstones and like that they're a little dangly. Kate Spade for the win!

Pretty Hair Ties

Who doesn't need hair ties? I am forever leaving them around the house and eventually losing them all together. These fold-over elastic hair ties look cute on the wrist and even cuter in your hair!

Sephora Makeup Academy Palette

Ok, this is my favorite makeup product OF ALL TIME! Sephora comes out with a new version of this palette every holiday season, and it is such an AMAZING value. You get 75+ eye shadows, 15+ lip colors, 5+ blushes and more for $50. I bought this for myself a couple years ago and still use it pretty much everyday. I cannot recommend this product enough!

Burt's Bees Chapstick

Kind of like hair ties, I am forever misplacing my chapstick! The original Burt's Bees chapstick is my favorite to use, and I can never have enough tubes laying around. It's a great add-on gift or stocking stuffer!

Gel Manicure Kit

I asked for this for Christmas this year, and I have a feeling that I will be finding this under the tree (AKA I went with my mom to buy it...). I seriously cannot wait to get my hand on this! I love shellac/gel manicures because they last so much longer than regular nail polish, but I definitely don't need to be spending $30+ dollars every two weeks to get my nails done. Enter this handy dandy little thing, and problem solved! I can do it at home. Yay for pretty nails without spending an arm and a leg!



Come back tomorrow for the final installment of the Jane Not So Plain Gift Guide




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12.12.2013

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal

I'm taking a short break today from the Jane Not So Plain Gift Guide to join the fun for a couple link parties!

FatChick2FitChick

Let's start with Amber and Jennifer's Festive Favorites!
  • Favorite Christmas song: Santa Baby and All I want for Christmas is You (Mariah's version!)
  • Christmas song you can't stand: That stupid one with the dogs barking the whole time...it grates my nerves so dang bad!
  • Favorite holiday movie: Elf, Polar Express, The Santa Clause
  • Real or artificial tree? Artificial
  • White or colored lights? White on the tree and colored on the house
  • Matching or random, personal ornaments? Both! I have some matching ones to fill the gaps between the personal ones.
  • Favorite ornament. Minnie Mouse dressed as a ballerina sitting on top of a ball ornament. I got it when I went to Disneyland for the first time...senior year of high school.
  • Angel or star tree-topper? Angel growing up, but now I have a big bow.
  • Does Santa wrap presents or leave them unwrapped? Santa is a wrapper!
  • Favorite childhood memory. I remember one time when I was REALLY little, and all of my cousins were at my grandma and grandpa's house on Christmas Eve. We were playing in one of their rooms and talking about Santa coming. We were chatting back and forth about how we had heard Santa's sleigh in years passed and all that. It just reminds me of the magic of the season and makes me happy!
  • Coffee, hot chocolate, or eggnog? Hot chocolate with Rum Chata, a splash of Captain Morgan, and topped with whipped cream and crushed candy canes.
  • Christmas morning at home or do you travel? Well, it varies/depends. When I was little, we started the morning with my mama, then went over to my dads. As we got older and my dad moved out of state, we'd either spend the day with my mom then head out to see my dad later in that evening or the next day.
  • Traditional or unconventional holiday meal? Mostly traditional. 
  • Christmas card style? I haven't sent out a "family" Christmas card yet, but I will probably do personalized photo cards when the time comes. Those are my favorite to receive!

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Next up, we have "Finish the Sentence..." with Jake and Holly!
  • My favorite Christmas was...the first Christmas Kyra and I spent together. He surprised me with beautiful diamond earrings, and our relationship was still new and the season seemed so magical. Also, it was the first Christmas we had my nephew, so it was just all really special!
  • The worst Christmas I had... has not stuck in my memory. Either I completely blocked it out, or none of them have ever been that terrible. Let's go with the latter...
  • That one gift that made me scratch my head and say, "Hmmmm" was... every year at work, people always make a bunch of treats to pass around, and I got some biscotti. It just tasted weird. It was a lovely gesture, and others may have liked it. But, I did not. 
  • I think the worst gift to give is... something impersonal. In my book, thoughtful gifts are the best to give AND get. 
  • At Christmastime I typically... am nuttier than a fruitcake. I usually have to finish up making presents at the last minute, plus there are always a bunch of social obligations. It all just kind of stresses me out. 
  • Typically, family Christmas... is lots of fun! I am blessed with a great family, and we (usually) have a good time together.
  • It is so hard to buy for... my dad. He doesn't like "stuff," and he is in the position to buy what we wants and/or needs. Again, I like thoughtful gifts, and I always struggle the most with coming up for something for my dad. 
  • My favorite Christmas traditions are... the ones I mentioned here. ]
  • Santa, baby, bring me... a million dollars. No, but seriously.



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12.11.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Health Hound

Today is round 3 of Jane Not So Plain's Holiday Gift Guide! Here are a few ideas for the fitness aficionado in your life. Whether they are an avid runner or just health-conscious in general, these ideas will be well received!



Jelly Belly Sports Beans

I love these sports beans especially for marathon sweat sessions! These are ideal for the distance runner for an added fuel source. I'm not a huge fan of the gels or chomps because of the texture. These taste more like candy! The fruit punch flavor is my favorite.

64oz. Water Bottle

Hydration is key for anyone who is interested in keeping their health in check. This size bottle ensures that the drinker is getting the recommended intake of water. Fill 'er up in the morning and you're good to go for the rest of the day! Not only does it help for better workouts, but staying properly hydrated also helps with clear skin and washing away the toxins in your body.

Road ID

If you have someone on your list that loves running, walking, hiking or anything else outdoors, a Road ID is a great idea! They are completely customizable and help first responders in case of emergency. Gotta stay safe out there!

Yurbuds

These are the only earbuds that I will ever use again. They stay in your ear, enhance the sounds of your MP3 player so you don't have to keep it turned up as loud, yet still allows the noise around you in. The fact that you can listen to music and still be aware of your surroundings is super important.

Compression Tights

Who doesn't like fun workout tights? These specific tights are great for cold weather running, but they are great for at the gym too. And, they're at a great price point. I love these!

Suja Elements Fruit Juice

Most health nuts have already jumped on board with juicing. Take the work out of making juice at home and treat the recipient to a bottle or two of this cold pressed juice. It's yummy and healthful too!



I hope you enjoyed today's gift guide! I have a couple more for you, so be sure to come back tomorrow and Friday!





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12.10.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Domestic Goddess

I am SO EXCITED to share today's gift guide with you! Is there a "Domestic Goddess" on your list to buy for this year? Well, I've got some great ideas for you!



Erin Condren Life Planner

I have had my eye on these beauties for a long time now! If your "Domestic Goddess" is anything like me, then she wants to plan, plan, plan and stay organized, and an Erin Condren Life Planner is the perfect tool to help with that!

One Trip Grocery Bag Holder

Make unloading groceries a snap with this handy little holder! Load the bags onto this gadget and in the house you go in only one trip.

Engraved Wine Glasses

First of all, I love stemless wine glasses. I feel like they are little sturdier than stemmed ones, and they are very chic looking too. Plus, getting a set engraved would be a nice, personal touch for a really special gift!

Silicone Spatula

I don't have this exact spatula, but I do have a similar one that is amazing! They are great for scraping the edges of bowls to get all of the batter, mixture, etc. out and ready for cooking. Once you get one of these, you'll never want to use anything else!

Fuller Brush Spiffy Maid

I have a Fuller Brush canister, and it is the best vacuum ever! Investing in a quality vacuum will save money over the years, and they seriously clean better than any other vacuums I've used. Trust me!

Reusable Keurig Cup

I love my Keurig, and I use it religiously! While there are lots of K- and V-Cups to choose from, a reusable Keurig cup provides endless possibilities because you can choose any ground coffee you want. And, as an added bonus, using a reusable cup reduces waste and saves money over time. That's a win all around in my book!

Handmade Note Cards

Making or purchasing handmade notecards is always a great gift idea, especially for the "Domestic Goddess." I know I'd love to receive them!



Check back tomorrow for ideas for the "Health Hound" in your life!




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12.09.2013

Holiday Gift Guide: DIY Diva

I am SO EXCITED to officially kick off my first-ever Holiday Gift Guide series! With these ideas, I hope to make the holiday shopping season a tad easier for you. I have included gifts of many price levels, so no matter your budget, you'll be able to purchase gifts that are sure to be well received!

Today, we're going to start with my ideas for the DIY Diva in your life...


E6000 Glue

Hands down, this is the best glue to have in your craft supply stash. I mainly use it to attach rhinestones to fabric, but there are a million and a half other uses too!

Hobby Lobby Gift Card

Who can say no to a gift card to Hobby Lobby? A DIY Diva certainly can't!

Washi Tape

There are so many fun things you can do with washi tape! I especially love using it to pretty up gift wrap and cards. But, the possibilities definitely don't end there!

Mr. Sketch Markers

I love love love these markers! Not only are they great markers, they smell good too :)

Baby Lock Sewing Machine

Any DIY Diva will probably want/need a sewing machine at some point, and you cannot go wrong with a Baby Lock! Word to the wise....NEVER buy a sewing machine through a "Big Box Store." Please purchase through an independent retailer. The customer support is SO MUCH better, and they are so much easier to work with. You won't regret it!

Twine

Baker's twine is like washi tape, so many uses! Again, I like to use twine for pretty packaging.

Rotary Circle Cutter

My sister got me this exact cutter for my birthday, and it's awesome! It cuts perfect circles, ranging in various diameters. And, it cuts paper and fabric, so it's great for the paper crafter for the sew-er.


What do you think? What would you add to this list? 


Don't forget! Come back tomorrow for ideas for the Domestic Goddess!




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12.06.2013

Big Things are a Happenin'

I am so excited to tell you guys about something I've been working on lately...


The JNSP Gift Guide will be presented in 5 parts, spread out over 5 days. The series will kick off on Monday and will feature gift ideas for 5 different "types" of people in your life:

  • The DIY Diva 
  • The Domestic Goddess
  • The Health Hound
  • The Beauty Queen
  • And the Internet Geek

I personally hand-picked each of these things, and I feel like I can confidently suggest these items because I have interests that fall into each of the categories. I AM these people, so I hope that my recommendations will serve you well this gift-giving season!

I hope you are just as excited about this as I am! See you back here on Monday!

PS
I have not been/will not be compensated for mentioning any of the products in the 2013 Jane Not So Plain Gift Guide, and there will be no affiliate links. I am sharing products that I love. Plain and simple! 



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12.05.2013

Christmas Traditions


I love this time of year, and I am so excited that Holly and Amy are having this link up! The holidays are always kind of weird for my family because my parents got divorced when I was really little. I never knew any different, but the holidays can be a little tricky when there are 2 celebrations of everything. Now, I absolutely love having 2 of everything because it means that the celebration lasts twice as long!

Here are my favorite holiday traditions:

-ONE-

Decorating the tree with my mom and sister. My mom has this little ornament that is half a nut shell with a miniature sleeping mouse in it. It's so cute, but my sister and I always fought about who got to put it on the tree. While I don't help mom decorate the tree every year anymore, I do love getting to see it with all of the ornaments. It represents so many wonderful memories that have been accumulated over the years.

-TWO-

Watching A Christmas Story with my dad.

-THREE-
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Seeing the Magic Tree in Columbia, MO. No joke, the man who started the Magic Tree is named Will Treelighter. Coincidence? I think not!

-FOUR-

Exchanging ornaments with Kyra. Each year we have been together, we have gotten each other an ornament. Two years ago, I got him a golf-themed ornament, and he got me a Twilight one because it was the first movie we saw together. And, last year, I got him an origami crane made of sheet music, and he got me two doves, or love birds as he called them. These ornaments are so special and will be kept for years to come.

-FIVE-

Watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.

-SIX-

Getting stockings from my dad. Seriously, these are the best stockings ever! They are giant, over-sized ones and completely full of fun goodies!

-SEVEN-




Mr. & Mrs. Snowman. My paternal grandmother had these out every year, and I always loved them. When she passed away, I was fortunate enough to inherit them, and now they are a staple in my Christmas decor.

-NINE-

And my most very favorite Christmas tradition is a new one that started when my niece as born. Every year, we spend the day at my sister's in our PJs. We open gifts, nap, eat, drink, play games, and enjoy each other's company. Being with my family is my happy place, and there's so much love we share when we are together. It's the best!




Those are my favorite traditions. What are yours? I am always looking for new/more ways to add a little cheer to the holiday season!

12.03.2013

Beauty PSA


I have a confession to make...I had never cleaned my makeup brushes until this weekend, and I have had some of them for years. It's gross, and I will FOR SURE be making it a routine habit to clean them.

So today, I am here to remind you to clean your makeup brushes. It's so easy to do...in a bowl, mix warm water and some soap (hand soap is fine, as is dish soap). Take each brush and swirl it around the soapy water. Let soak if needed. Then rinse them with warm water until the water runs clear. Leave out to dry on a towel.

If your brushes are anything like mine were, you'll have to replace the water often. After seeing the nastiness of the water, I cannot believe I was using those brushes on my face. Ew.

I am going to start cleaning them once a week and using a daily sanitizing spray. Not only will this help my brushes last longer, it will also aid in taking care of my skin. I whole heartedly believe that taking good care of my skin now will delay the onset of wrinkles, age spots, etc.

Here's to clean makeup brushes and healthy skin!



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12.02.2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Sami's Shenanigans

Happy Monday, JNSPers! I hope you had an awesome long weekend and a great holiday. I know I did!

My mom and I kicked off Thanksgiving with a Turkey Trot 5k, and it was such a great way to start the day. I didn't PR my 5k time, but I ran (almost) the whole way. It was my first bout with cold-weather running, and I loved it! I have a couple more races coming up, so I will be running more often which will hopefully help me PR.

Side note: I got my first pair of running tights, and they are PURPLE! I super puffy heart love them! 

I think I mentioned it before, but Kyra and I hosted Thanksgiving. It was my first time hosting a holiday get together, and it was really awesome. Kyra did pretty much all of the cooking while I got the apartment cleaned, organized, etc. We made a pretty good team, aka no major disasters or fights! Woohoo!

Friday, I worked from home which translates to me laying on the couch in my PJs while I worked on my laptop. It was 10 kinds of glorious! Friday evening, I went over to a girlfriend's house to hang out and have pizza & wings. Gotta love girl talk and chick flicks!

Saturday was a lazy day mostly, but Kyra and I saw Catching Fire with my sister and brother-in-law. It was an awesome movie! I have read all of the Hunger Games books, and the movie aligned really closely with the book. Even if you haven't read the books, I highly recommend watching the movies!

On Sunday, I went wedding dress shopping with my cousin who has been my BFF since I was born. She's only 8 months older than I am, and we were pretty much destined to be best friends. I am honored to be in her wedding, and it was so awesome being there as she said yes to the dress!

Me and the bride-to-be
I wrapped up the day with a trip to Michael's and decorating our apartment for Christmas. I didn't get everything done, but it was nice to get a start on things. There's a floating shelf above our TV to serve as a faux mantel, and I am super excited to decorate it for the holidays.

Overall, it was an amazing long weekend. While there was a lot going on, it was all so much fun and filled with happy times. This month is going to be crazy busy, but it's going to be such a blast celebrating the holiday season!

See you all back here tomorrow for a beauty PSA!



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