Pink Papaya Review

i was recently sent some products from my Pink Papaya consultant to review for you guys. i also decided to give video reviews a try. still not sure how i feel, but it was easier than typing it all out ;)

note: i think the sound and my mouth may be slightly off. sorry about that...i personally hate watching anything that has that problem but i didn't have time to recreate the video.

if you're interested in purchasing any of these products (or trying something new), go HERE to shop at my exclusive shopping event! you can get 10% off your order, but you must include your correct contact information so that the discount can be applied!

my current go-to outfit

i want to start this off by apologizing for the slanted background. i swear, my camera decided to tilt after i made sure that it was straight. i guess that's what i get for using a tripod and remote shutter release. oh well.

can i also say that as i'm writing this, my neighbors below me are having some sort of weird, mid-day 90's pop dance party in their apartment. i kinda want to go join.

anyway, to the good stuff. this is one of my favorite go-to outfits. it's so comfortable, so easy, and perfect for a warm spring day. also, that bag. i love that bag. i never thought i'd really get into the whole spike trend. and then i saw that bag at tj maxx and knew it had to be mine. so it is.

tee: Cotton On
skirt: Target
bag: Steve Madden via TJ Maxx
sandals: Target (similar)
necklace: Madewell (old)

Giveaway: Simply Lulu Style

today's giveaway comes from Lulu of Simply Lulu Style. here's a bit about her:

I'm a perfectly imperfect wife and mom to boy/girl twins I affectionately call my "nuggets".   Simply Lulu Style shares everything from fashion and beauty, to food and home inspirations, along with some crazy stories about my crazy life.

her blog is full of great style, recipes, home inspiration, and much more! i asked her a couple questions about her personal style, and here's what she had to say:

how would you describe your personal style?
Probably a prep at hear with some trendy things mixed in.

if you could only shop at one store for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Right now it would totally be Gap.  Loving the fact they have COLOR!  And it's a great middle price point.

what's your favorite go-to look right now?
Skinny jeans, tunic type shirt and either a blazer or sweater (since spring hasn't decided to show up yet)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

high five for friday

1. my roommate and i went to a charity basketball game and i got to meet my favorite Duke player. we're in a serious, committed relationship now. don't tell my boyfriend ;)
2. spring colors are my favorite.
3. i can't get enough of my new Keds from Madewell.
4. interlocked arms makes for a much better nap.
5. new DIY gallery wall above my desk (don't worry, i'll have an entire post dedicated to this next week.)

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

Falling for Friday - Guest Host

THE place to come link up all the fabulous things you are totally obsessing over each week. Whether it be some brilliant new handmade goodness, a totally inspirational blog, or a little video that made you practically pee your pants... whatever it might be... we want to see it! We all love sharing those things that just make us drool, so consider this your formal invitation to join Dawnelle and Kelly each and every Friday!

Rules of the Road
1. Please be kind, follow blogging etiquette and follow along with all three hosts via
GFC, Blog Lovin', Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... your call!
We just don't want you to miss any of the goodness!!

Kelly at Westover Manor
Dawnelle at Just Dawnelle
Lauren at Lauren Elizabeth

2. Please link to a specific post, not your main URL.

3. Lets make it a party! Click around and visit 2-3 other blogs!
Be sure to let them know you stopped by.
Let's make some new friends!
Because, really... who doesn't love a new blog friend, right?!

4. Grab a button and link back to the party so we can spread the love around!!
(Text links are great as well!)

5. Please keep linked posts related to your finds for the week.

6. Give us a shout out via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest...
The larger the party the more fun for everyone!!!

the greatest day of my life

the title of this post is probably a slight over-exaggeration, however, it's the only way i know how to express my joy.


one financial management exam and one visual merchandising display stand in my way of being free of the perils of school forever. my goodness, that just sounds beautiful.

i will say, i'm incredibly, incredibly grateful for the opportunity to go to school and to earn a degree. i realize that it's a privilege and not something to be taken for granted. however, i'm incredibly, incredibly, grateful that it's just about over. i'm ready for the next chapter. one that won't include online homework, labs, and endless group projects.

oh, and i obviously celebrated this momentous occasion by getting froyo with my sister. and i'll probably find ways to continue celebrating over the next 2-3 weeks, roughly.

*someone pointed out to me on twitter that i don't necessarily know where life will take me and it may not be forever. true. however, if there's one thing i'm fairly certain of (mostly because i say so), it's that i will not be enrolled in a class ever again. but, ya know, never say never, i guess. 

my workout routine + a giveaway

the strangest thing happened to me several months ago....i started working out regularly. and enjoying it.

i've never been a very active person. i played park district sports as a kid, played basketball in middle school, and spent my freshman year of high school as a cheerleader. and that's about it. i never got into working out and hated running. even into college, i'd go through phases of working out 2-3 times a week and then just stop. i don't know what it was. thankfully, i had pretty healthy habits when it came to eating and my lifestyle (and good genes), so i was generally happy with the way i looked without exercising regularly.

and then, something happened. well, two things happened.

one - my sister somehow talked me into running a 5k with some of our friends last october, so i had to start training for it. which means that i actually had to run...on a treadmill. i'll be honest, i hated myself for a little bit when i started. but, as i trained more and started to see that my body was actually made to exercise, i started feeling better about it.

two - my now-boyfriend came to visit in august and there was a chance i was going to have to get into a bathing suit. call me crazy, but whenever i find out i'm going to have to be in a bathing suit in front of people (especially a cute guy), working out suddenly seems like something i want to do.

so, those two things were my original motivators to get exercising. i never did it to lose weight (honestly), that was just a natural side effect of it. now, it's hard for me to imagine not exercising on a regular basis. the weirdest part? i actually love running now. it's incredible how good i feel after a run on the treadmill or outside. and my whole body feels stronger, especially my legs ("duh", you say).

my typical workout includes the following:
+ 2 mile run (or 30 minutes of cardio exercise)
+ 40-60 weighted squats (i hold 15 lb dumbbells in each hand and squat over a bench)
+ bicep curls
+ tricep extensions
+ tricep dips on the bench
+ optional ab workout (it's amazing how much stronger my abs/core have become just from running, so i don't do specific ab exercises very often)
-- when my boyfriend reads this, he'll probably laugh. it's a typical "girl" workout, but i don't know enough about weightlifting to know what to do! (note: if you haven't noticed from photos, he likes to lift weights...a lot. the man's arms are like the size of my head. not complaining. but, one of these days, i'm going to make him show me how to actually lift weights.)

a natural side effect of exercising regularly is making better and healthier eating choices. i stopped drinking pop (as we midwesterner's call it) altogether and cut out a lot of junk food. i haven't cut out anything completely (mostly because as soon as i tell myself i can't eat something, like ice cream, that's all i want to eat.), but i make much better decisions because i feel so much better when i eat healthier.

an important part of exercising is wearing the right clothes, am i right? i get most of my clothes from Target, TJ Maxx/Marshall's, and Old Navy. they're usually pretty inexpensive and have proven to work well for me. if you're in the market for some clothes, check out they have great brands at incredible discount prices. i'm kind of dying for this hoodie:

want to win a $50 gift card to spend on new exercise clothes?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*in the spirit of full disclosure, will compensate me with a $50 gift card for this post. which i will spend on that hoodie.

the best shorts

top to bottom: 1, 2, 3
shorts have always been the hardest thing for me. they're either too short, too big in the waist, too tight in the leg, etc. so i've always had 1-2 pairs of shorts that i actually wear every summer, which means that i wear the same shorts a lot.

i'm happy to report that this summer is going to be different, thanks to old navy and their shorts. these babies fit perfectly, are just the right length, and come in great colors. typically, i have to go up a size (from my typical pant size) for shorts, but not for these.

i may or may not have invested in four pairs already. let's be honest, at less than $20 a pair, i'll probably own every color by the end of the summer. i'll be keeping them in business.

Spring Fling Giveaway!

Pinterest giveaway collage copy

Prize Package #2: Nikon 3100 DSLR camera
JoTotes camera bag (your choice)
Kristen Duke’s beginner and intermediate photography eBooks
Prize Package #3: $50 Gift card to Hoop-La Earrings
2 pairs earrings from Elisabeth Ashlie Jewelry
$25 Gift card to Caroline G
$50 Gift card to The Chic Orchid
How to enter copy

STEP 1: Pin the following:
The Chic Orchid

Step 2: Click on each of the 12 images below to follow these amazing companies/bloggers on Pinterest:
Chic Orchid-Logo[8]162902_178386078850988_3932249_n150534_177682888924813_3259085_nhoopla logoOr so she saystatertots logo copyJo totes logogetawaytoday_1333494179_600
Step 3: Fill out the following form (so we can contact you if you win):

Giveaway will end at 11:59PM (MST) on April 26, 2013 . Three winners will be chosen using and will be notified via email within 48 hours of the giveaway close. Winners will be announced on the post, not on Facebook. The winner must respond within 48 hours of receiving the email or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary. The total prize package has an msrp value of $1,250.00. No purchase necessary. 2-night stay in San Diego is transferable, should the winner wish to gift the stay. It does not include transportation to/from San Diego, California. Must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Pinterest. Facebook and Pinterest will be completely released by each entrant. One entry per person. Entry includes filling out the form above including name, email and pinning. One entry for filling in the form. You are providing the information to the The Chic Orchid who will in no way sell or give your information to anyone including Facebook or Pinterest.

Giveaway >> Ivy Lane Accessories

today's giveaway comes from the wonderful Gina of Ivy Lane Accessories. she makes the cutest earrings in lots of colors and patterns. i even have my own little collection started:
see what i mean? CUTE. my current favorites are the hearts, but i love them all. want to win TWO pairs of earrings of your choice? enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

high five for friday

1. i updated my custom blog icon to reflect the recent changes around here and i kinda love it*
2. i'm not ashamed to say that my favorite thing to get at Baskin Robbins is this clown. it's just so good. and reminds me of my childhood. which, i'm apparently still very much living.
3. chipotle. for dinner. (or any meal, really). that's where it's at.
4. fresh blooms from the farmer's market are my favorite.
5. Milo decided to branch out a bit this week and polish his nails...this was him trying to decide which color he wanted.

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

new around here and curious about what H54F is? just go here.

*to get this icon on your iPhone/iPad home screen, visit my blog in safari, click on the arrow in the blue footer of the safari window, select "add to homescreen"

brainstorm like a rainstorm

i made a discovery about myself the other day. i tend to brainstorm like a rainstorm -- i think i just made that up. thinking about trademarking it.  what the heck does that mean, you ask?

well, i've noticed that i get a flood of ideas all at once. it's like something happens in my brain and i'm suddenly the most inspired i've been in days or weeks. i can't seem to write down my ideas fast enough. one thing leads to another, and suddenly i have 10 blog posts drafted, three new business ideas, and 18 outfits i want to share with you guys. okay, maybe not quite that many, but you know what i'm sayin'.

i need to take advantage of it because i know, like a rainstorm, my inspiration will suddenly disappear and i'll be left staring at my computer screen, totally blank. is anyone with me on this? what do you do in those times of being uninspired?

top: Francesca's (similar)
shorts: Old Navy (in-store only) -- similar or similar
belt: Target (similar)
sandals: Target (similar)
necklace: Kate Spade Saturday
bangle: Kate Spade (similar)
rings: Kate Spade (similar and similar)

my kind of event

there's a local cat rescue, Safe Haven, that throws an annual cat masquerade ball. oh, and they're giving away two tickets to one lucky winner!

here's some of what Safe Haven has accomplished:
- adopting 500 stray cats into great homes
- sterilizing 800 more cats in the SAFE Care Clinic for a 45% increase, saving an additional 2,400 lives
- bringing 51 cats to Safe Haven from euthanizing shelters, hoarders, and other dangerous situations
- vaccinating another 300 cats and dogs for rabies for only $5/each
- giving out 3 tons of food to support 70 animals and their families with free pet food this quarter

interested in attending and supporting their cause?

leave a comment with your email address and i'll choose a winner tonight!

i've re-branded and here's what you need to know!

i've been itching to do this for awhile and finally took the plunge. i'll be honest, it was kind of scary. well, maybe not scary, but stressful. coming up with a new name i like, changing all of my usernames, making sure that i can have usernames that are similar/the same, etc. there's a lot to think about with this and i'm glad it's over.

i'm really excited about it. i was looking for something a bit more personal to me and, well, i figured my name was pretty much as personal as i could get.

you may notice that i have a new URL: so, feel free to bookmark that baby. (however, you will be automatically re-directed if you search for my old URL!)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

my favorite kind of outfit

this particular outfit is kind of my favorite, and i didn't realize it until i saw the photos. these lace shorts are super comfortable and can easily be dressed up or used for a more casual look. also, i recently re-discovered this chambray shirt in my closet over the weekend. i tend to do that a lot - forget about clothes and then re-find them and then wear the crap out of them. it's a weird thing. cannot be explained.

want to get your hands on these shorts? just go to The Chic Orchid's website and snatch them up. and, you'll get them for a great deal.

The Chic Orchid offers new deals monday-friday at 6am MST, which is awesome because they offer great products at prices way below retail. they have limited quantities - so if you see something you love, you gotta snatch it up quick.they also do a weekly instagram contest where you can post your #ootd (outfit of the day) and tag #chicorchidstyle for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate. winners are randomly chosen every if that's not enough good news, "like" their facebook page to get updates and to learn about the latest deals!

note: mine are a size s/m (i wear a size 2 pant, so choose your size accordingly)

top: J Crew (similar)
shorts: c/o The Chic Orchid
sandals: Target (similar)
earrings: LOFT Outlet
rings: Kate Spade (similar or similar)

what's your dream?


i was reading a book the other day and it was talking about how most people have some sort of dream that they're working towards in their life. whether it's a dream of a specific career, having a family, achieving a goal, or something else. it got me thinking that i don't really have one overarching dream for my life, besides having a house full of kittens all the time. there isn't something specific that i'm working towards. yes, i'd like to get married and have a family someday. and yes, i'd like to have a career that i love. but, there isn't that one specific thing that i'm trying to achieve. right now, i'm okay with that because it means that i can choose to do whatever i want. i don't have to make certain decisions in order to fulfill my dream, whatever it may be.

but, i wonder if that will wear off and i'll feel the need to be working towards something? or maybe i'll realize that i do have a dream, i just didn't know it was there? who knows.

do you have a dream?

GIVEAWAY // Molly Suzanne Boutique

today's giveaway comes from Molly of Molly Suzanne Boutique. she offers really cute products at a great price. check her out.

i'm swooning over this polka dot scarf:

i also love this, these, and these. do you sense a theme?

use the giveaway tool below to enter to win a $40 shop credit! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY // The Serena Saga

today's giveaway comes from Serena, of The Serena Saga. Serena has fabulous style and i also really love the look of her blog. you should probably go check it out. and, after you've done that, enter this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY // Crave Jewels

i have another fabulous Crave Jewels giveaway for you! i'm currently drooling over this beautiful necklace:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

high five for friday

1. one of the perks of having a sister that's about the same size as me is getting to share clothes. and, by share, i mean steal. forever.
2. girl time with my sister and this girl is my favorite.
3. i cleaned out my bathroom cabinets and learned something new about myself: i'm a secret hoarder. at least i'm prepared for the next couple years.
4. these cats, they're just perfect.
5. the perfect spring color. (Essie's "Bond with Whomever")

how has your week been? link up below and tell me about it!

looking for the H54F button to add to your post? you can find it here.

pinterest recipes i've tried and liked

98% of my time on Pinterest is spent looking through the "food" category. it's sick, i tell you. anyone else with me on this?

i've been pleasantly surprised to find that many of the recipes actually are as good as they look in the photos. you can find some of my recent favorites below. for the rest of my food board, go here

oh, and share any of your favorites in the comments below!

Raspberry Lemonade Cake
Caprese Quinoa Salad
Baked "Fried" Pickles
Light Chicken Salad
Crispy Edamame
Nutella French Toast

(all links included direct you to my "pins" - click on the photo on my pinterest board, and it will take you to the recipe!)