Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{Guest Blogging on La Mia Vita}

Hey everyone! We're back from Berlin! It was an amazing trip, but we are absolutely and utterly exhausted. Tonight was my cousin Julie's last night in Europe. She spent it here with us in Amsterdam and is heading back home to Portland tomorrow. We're definitely sad to see her go - it's been so comforting and fun having family to hang out with. I'll be back tomorrow with part one of our Berlin photos, but for now I wanted to let you know that I'm over on La Mia Vita today guest blogging for Nicole. She just moved to Barcelona!! Pretty awesome, right? Head on over to read about Corey and I's greatest adventure to date... I bet you can't guess what it is... ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

{Thoughts on Blogging & Such}

I’ve been thinking a lot this week. About everything, but mostly about blogging. Sometimes I am totally feeling social media and the blogosphere and all that. I feel so incredibly inspired by everything I see and read, and I feel proud to be part of such an amazing and supportive community. Other days I wonder why I blog and I feel kind of like a weirdo for doing it. I get insecure when I think about people in my life who might come here and read my blog and think it’s stupid, think I’m too positive, think I’m bragging, think I’m ugly or dumb or can’t write. I think all of these terrible things. Sometimes I desperately want to put more time and effort into this blog – have more sponsors, more followers, more comments. And then other times I wonder why the hell I even care about that stuff? Who cares how many visits I get? Why am I blogging anyway? It’s a question I am seriously thinking about. To be honest, I don’t get very deep on my blog. I am a very thoughtful and inquisitive person, but I stay pretty surface level around here. There are lots of reasons for that. For one, I don’t know who’s out there reading this blog so it can be super intimidating (and frankly a little strange) to bare my soul to all of you. And on the other hand, I can't stop thinking about how more often than not when I tell people I know in "real life" I write a blog, I just get really weird stares and questions wondering why I would put my life on the internet. It is pretty weird if you think about it, right? But most days I know why. It’s because I read all these blogs that give me such great ideas for anything and everything (dinner, crafts, gifts, you name it!), I read blogs about people who make me want to be a better wife, sister and daughter, I read blogs that remind me to be thankful for everything I have and everything I experience in life. I want to be one of those blogs for my readers. I want you all to come here and to feel good and happy and inspired and feel like if you have a dream then you should go out and get after it. I never, ever want anyone to come here and read what I write and think I’m just bragging or that I think I am the coolest person ever who cooks and bakes and takes photos and has an amazing husband and perfect little life. Yeah, right. NOBODY is perfect. I wear ugly things, lose my temper, feel depressed some days and wonder why anyone would ever look up to me. But this blog helps me find the good in my life, in myself and in the world. I don’t want to come here and post about how mad or sad I feel about some things because who’s that going to help? Not me and not you. I actually have no idea where I’m going with this. This week was just one of those weeks where I was feeling a little more reclusive and private and didn’t feel like posting much. But I wanted to come here and “talk” to you in a sort of stream of consciousness. I just wanted to be real and to let you in on a few things that were going on in my head. I don’t know where I want this blog to go or what I really want the purpose of it to be. But as long as I am inspiring you and as long as I’m having fun then I’m going to keep at it. I appreciate every single one of you for coming here to see what I post and I love hearing from you guys. Sorry for the rambling today. I hope at least one person will read this and relate to my random thoughts :)

We’re off to Berlin tomorrow so I’ve got to go pack and clean (the not-so-glamorous part of traveling!). Hope you all are having a wonderful week. 

And what's a post without a photo? I snapped this one a couple weekends ago on an evening walk in Amsterdam. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

{Beauty Must-Haves}

I've had a few questions via email and on my Formspring for what hair products I use as well as what my makeup routine is. I thought I'd answer here in case anyone else was interested!

I recently changed my makeup almost exclusively to Bobbi Brown. She came and spoke at a work conference a few months back and I was completely smitten with Bobbi as well as her brand and what it stands for. She believes that "beauty isn't about looking perfect. It's about celebrating individuality". Her makeup is super natural, gives great coverage, but at the same time feels light on my skin. Here are my beauty must-haves and a few reasons I love them so very much and would recommend every.single.one to you.

1. Bobbi Brown Corrector: This is the miracle worker right here. I naturally have dark circles under my eyes and this corrector brightens and covers those circles in seconds flat. I never used a corrector before, but now that I do, I will never go back!

2. Bobbi Brown Concealer Kit: This is a no-nonsense, award-winning concealer. Covers blemishes, dark circles and the like. The pressed powder that accompanies it sets the concealer for long-lasting wear. It's not super cakey and thick like some other concealers I've used!

3. Bobbi Brown Illuminating Finish Powder Compact Foundation SPF 12: Love, love, love this powder. I used to use Mac StudioFix powder because I liked how much coverage it gave me, but it made my face feel sort of trapped (do you know that feeling?). This pressed powder can give you different degrees of coverage based on how you apply it (damp sponge, dry sponge, face brush) and it feels light and airy. Can't say enough about this product!

4. Bobbie Brown Bronzing Powder: I think the key with bronzer is finding the right shade for your skin tone. I went to Nordstrom and got help at the Bobbi Brown counter and they did a fabulous job. Gives me a glow without looking fakey orange. 

5. Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush: I was never the girl who had all the fancy makeup brushes. I told the woman at the Bobbie Brown counter at Nordstrom that I wasn't interested in having a million brushes that do a million different things. I'm a simple girl when it comes to beauty and I wanted to keep it that way. She suggested 3 essential brushes. This is one of them. It makes me feel like I'm at the spa every morning as I put on my bronzer. Feels amazing on my skin and applies my bronzer flawlessly. I'm a changed woman.

6. Bobbi Brown Face Brush: See #5. I use this brush to apply my pressed powder and love it just as much as the bronzer brush. 

7. Christian Dior Eyeliner Pencil: I've used this eyeliner since I was 14 and I just can't betray it - even for Bobbi Brown ;)  

8. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Bronze: This is one of my favorite beauty products ever. This is the one Bobbi Brown product I used from the beginning. If you want to look flawless and glowing, you need this. Trust me. Uh-may-zing. 

9. Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening Mascara: I change my mascara pretty much every time I need a new tube. I just haven't found one that absolutely wows me yet. I got this one as a sample and I feel the same way about it as I do with any other good mascara: It does the trick, but it doesn't perform miracles... Do you know one that does?

10. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15: My makeup routine actually starts with this moisturizer. Gives some color to my face and evens things out. In the summer I just brush a bit of bronzer on top and add mascara and call it a day. During the winter I proceed with concealer, powder, etc. 

11. Morrocan Oil Hair Treatment: Oh my hair... Or shall I call it "the fro", "my mane", "the beast"... All common names for my long + thick head of hair! Don't get me wrong, I know it's a blessing to have this much hair, but taming it can be so tiresome and irritating. Morrocan Oil really helps keep the frizz to a minimum, cuts down on my drying time and it smells soooo good. I heard people rant and rave about this product forever and my friend finally got me some as a gift. Now there's no turning back.

12. Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush:  I use this brush to set my concealer using the powder from my Creamy Concealer Kit. I also use it to apply eyeshadow (though I normally only where eyeshadow on nights out!).

So there you have it! My beauty must-haves. Am I missing anything? Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments, by email or on my Formspring. Really hope you guys enjoyed this post - I know it's different from the usual!

Monday, January 23, 2012

{Weekend Recap}

Is it Monday already? Just like the week, this past weekend flew. Here's what were were up to:

+Friday I took my cousin to a cute little French restaurant along a canal for dinner. It was so fun catching up and partaking in some good 'ol girl talk.

+Brunched at Le Pain Quotidien (and enjoyed the most delicious freshly made mint lemonade)

+Experienced the Anne Frank museum. It was incredibly powerful and heart wrenching. If you're ever in Amsterdam I recommend you not miss it.

+Shopped around the Nine Streets.

+Took my cousin to our favorite Thai restaurant

+Discovered a new (adorable!!!) pastry/sandwich shop called "De Laatste Kruimel" (The Last Crumb) that is dangerously close to our apartment.

+Started Season 3 of Dexter. 

+Met our downstairs neighbor who had us over for drinks. She's super sweet and she gave us a bunch of restaurant suggestions we can't wait to try!

+Had dinner with a bunch of coworkers who are in town from the States. You have no idea how comforting it is to have them all here. I miss their familiar faces!

What did you do this weekend? Do you feel like you need another day to recover like me?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: The Egg

Happy Friday! This week flashed before my eyes. It's my second week in a row working out three times a week. And not just any workout, but the tough one hour classes at our gym at work! I am feeling so great. Seriously, the endorphins are flowing. Not even this awful rainy weather can get me down! This weekend my cousin is in town and we are super excited to show her around the city (and I'm excited to have a shopping buddy!). Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! If you're looking for a new blog to get lost in, check out one of my wonderful sponsors - The Egg!

Meagan started The Egg, a local Jackson Hole blog, as a creative outlet to give her friends and family a glimpse of the Mountain Lifestyle.  She writes about her adventures and the day-to-day life in the Tetons.  She recently teamed up with "Dishing Jackson Hole" as a blogging contributor, where she writes about the best of her little mountain town's grub and cocktails! When's she's not off playing in the mountains she is traveling the world - she tries to visit a new country every year - and so far she's stayed true to that goal. I hope you all enjoy Meagan's blog as much as I do! Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

{Scenes from a Sunday Stroll}

This past Sunday it was gloriously sunny in Amsterdam. It was also freezing, but that barely phased anyone in the city a bit. When those blue skies come out everyone is happy and the city is bustling (even more so than normal) with people hoping to enjoy the sight of the sun. We had planned on going to a museum on Sunday, but after brunch with a friend I knew I wouldn't want to spend any more time inside. Corey and I instead spent the afternoon walking around the Jordaan, one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Amsterdam. We happened upon a boat cafe and decided we should sit and enjoy a cup of coffee (me) and a beer (Corey). It was one of those days where we walked around chatting away about how incredibly happy we are that we chose to go on this crazy adventure. There have definitely been dark days (literally and figuratively) but when that sun shines, everything becomes clearer and we know we made the right choice. 
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

P.S. Thanks to Kyna from Great Expectations for these Photoshop Actions! I'm having fun trying something new with my editing <3

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{Outfit Post: A Chilly Winter Day}

We had such a great weekend. The perfect mix of fun + relaxation. Saturday we met up with friends for authentic Italian brick oven pizza, beer and games. It was a blast! This is what I wore. 

{Anthropologie Hat, Tulle Pea Coat (old): Similar, H&M Sweater (old): Similar, TopShop Stretch Skinnies (LOVE THESE), H&M Leg Warmers, Paul Warmer Boots: Similar, Cole Haan Bag: Similar}

Monday, January 16, 2012

{Sneak Peek: Evelyn Zoe Newborn Photos}

I'm so beyond grateful Evelyn Zoe decided to show up a week early so I could meet her when I was home for the holidays! She is the cutest little thing I've ever seen! I was lucky enough to take some photos for Megs and Jeff and I couldn't have been happier to share in the excitement and joy over their new baby girl. I'm only showing a peek at the photos for now as I know Meghan and Jeff are planning on using a few for their birth announcement and I don't want to ruin the surprise for friends that read my blog, but I just had to brag about gorgeous Evie and share at least a couple! 

Meghan and Jeff - You made an incredibly beautiful and precious little girl. She is so ridiculously lucky to have you both as parents. I can't wait to watch Evelyn grow, watch how she changes your life and witness the love you clearly have for each other now multiply for this little one. Congratulations!

Friday, January 13, 2012

{New Years Eve in Amsterdam}

Corey and I flew back from the States just in time to celebrate New Years Eve in Amsterdam. We had plans to join friends for a house party, but realized upon arriving that we were way too jet lagged and exhausted to do much, plus we had a terrified pup to attend to. You see, fireworks are illegal in the Netherlands every other day of the year, so people go nuts on NYE. From the time we woke up we started hearing them go off. As the day progressed the cracks and booms got louder and louder, and once we even thought our windows would blow out (seriously). We spent much of our day staying inside consoling Henry, who's not a fan of fireworks. In the evening we sat around and drank strong Belgian beers (out of champagne flutes) and talked about our wishes for 2012. Around 11:30 we decided we should at least go out for a bit and experience the commotion and smooch under the colorful bursts of fire at midnight. 

We walked about three blocks to Nieuwmarkt (where we also bought our Christmas tree!) and as soon as we stepped outside we were surrounded by thousands of people, crowded streets and terrifyingly close firecrackers being lit all around us. I saw a girl chugging whiskey out of a nearly-empty bottle of Jack Daniels, and the smell of marijuana surrounded us. It was clear that people had come from all over the world to celebrate the beginning of the New Year here - and they wanted to bring it in with a bang. We stood together for a while in awe of all the chaos and couldn't help but feel like we were in the middle of a war zone. We had to dodge fireworks more than once as people threw them off their balconies down onto the congested streets. The whole scene was like nothing I'd seen before. It was 4th of July on steroids - and with no rules. Drunken people lighting off fireworks wherever and whenever they wanted - regardless of how many people were around.

At midnight things really went crazy. We kissed at midnight, took a few photos, and then realized that by now Henry must be having a mild heart attack and we'd better get back. Plus, I was scared for my life and was more than happy to go back and seek refuge in our apartment. I figured our quiet street would be saved from the madness, but when we finally turned onto it we found some drunken men lighting off huge fireworks right in front of our door. They were so big you could feel their vibrations deep in your chest. We ran up to our apartment to find Henry shaking uncontrollably. We quickly consoled him and turned some music up loud to try (naively) to drown out the noises coming from outside. We were glad we decided to stay home with him that night (save for 30 minutes)! The fireworks didn't stop until around 4AM, so our jet lag woes continued into the next day. All in all we were happy to be here and experience the craziness that is Amsterdam on NYE, but I have to say that next year you'll probably find us holed up in a cabin in the country - far, far away from it all. 

{Fun with Photo Booth}

{Heading out into the madness...}
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}
P.S. I've added a poll right under the Followers widget on the right side of my blog. I'd really appreciate your response! You can choose as many options as you like.  THANKS!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I don’t really make resolutions, but I always like the hope that a new year brings. And I’m normally really good with goals if I take them seriously. Instead of making a few general goals for the year and probably forgetting about them by February, I thought I’d take a different approach (inspired by the Happiness Project, actually) and dedicate each month of the year to a different “resolution”. Maybe this way, a few of them will actually stick and become habits. Here’s the plan:

JanuaryCook with a new vegetable/try a new recipe at least once a week. We get stuck in the same asparagus, brussel sprout, broccoli rut dinner after dinner. Hoping this will help me learn about some new veggies and have fun experimenting in the kitchen! {note: last week we cooked with pumpkin from scratch for the first time, and made a stir fry with Bok Choy and Cabbage - all thanks to our crate we now get delivered every Saturday}

February: This one is simple, but one that I struggle with. Drink more water. The goal will be to drink the recommended 64oz of water a day. And on top of that, I want to stretch every night before bed. I've been wanting to work on my flexibility for years, and now I have no excuse!

March: Work out at least three days a week (trying to set realistic goals - obviously I'd like to try 4 or 5 days, but baby steps!). Doesn’t have to be super intense, just get to the gym and get at least 20-30 mins in. Bonus points if I get to the killer workout classes at our gym at work!

April: Learn to use the film camera (Canon AE-1) my father-in-law so generously gave me last year. I'm really intimidated by it, but I have the manual and I'm learning more and more about photography with my DSLR, and this is something I really want to master!

May: This one is straight from The Happiness Project: Don’t Gossip. I hate to admit that I can definitely be intrigued by a good piece of gossip, and even worse, sometimes I find myself actually contributing to gossipy conversations. Yuck. Let’s be honest, while sometimes it can feel fun or even enjoyable to take part in these sorts of conversations, do we ever feel good once we walk away and it’s over? For me, no way. I always remorsefully ask myself why I opened my mouth, whether it be a piece of juicy work gossip or telling my mom something my sister said. May is going to be all about keeping to myself  - unless I’ve got something nice and productive to say, of course J

June: Don't complain. Simple, right? I do it a lot and it's  habit I plan on breaking.

July: Step away for the iPhone. Over the last couple years my iPhone has pretty much become permanently attached to my hand. I always have it on me, I'm constantly checking email, twitter, Instagram, etc etc. It's like I feel that if I'm not checking everything all the time I'll miss something. And when I do have time away from my phone (like when I was just home for Christmas my phone wouldn't work) I have a mix of feeling pure bliss to be so free of it all, while experience severe anxiety that someone is trying to reach me and I'm not responding. I want to pay more attention to what's going on around me, be more attentive to my husband and just realize that I'm missing a lot more being on my phone than if I were to just forget about it.

August: Choose joy. This one's inspired by Ashlee (have you checked out her blog? It's an all-time fav). I want to wake up and make every day a good day. I want to find the good in everything, even the crappy days/situations that get thrown my way. Life is what you make it - and I want to make it great.

September: I want to use this month to organize. Clean out the closet, unsubscribe from emails I hate getting, clean my desk at work... All that good stuff.

October: Learn how to paint. I have no idea how I'm going to do this, but one thing this winter has taught me is that I need an indoor hobby I can partake in that doesn't involve a computer. I love blogging and social media, but sometimes I feel like between that and work I live on my laptop. Not good. I've always been intrigued by people who can paint, and I think I want to be one of them :)

November: Send more mail. We travel so much and I think it'd be fun to send postcards and such. Also, just random notes. Who wouldn't love a little unexpected card in their mailbox?

December: Start a new holiday tradition. 

So what do you think of this approach? Would you try it? What are your top resolutions for 2012? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Lemons, Avocados & The Bay

I planned on posting about our NYE in Amsterdam today, but for one, I’ve been in a bit of a funk these last few days, and for two, I have another amazing sponsor for you guys to meet, so I thought the fireworks could wait until Wednesday.

Meet Tammy, from the blog Lemons, Avocados & The Bay. She is an adorable 20-something living a dream life in gorgeous San Diego, California. Her and her boyfriend bought a home and renovated it last year, love to travel and enjoy life’s simple pleasures (like indulging in delicious brunches and spending a cozy Saturday night curled up on the couch watching movies). Head over to her blog and follow along on her adventures – you won’t regret it!