use it: nail polish

Polishes I’m loving lately: 

L’Oreal Colour Riche in Jet Set to Paris: I’ve been interested in trying this line of nail polish for little while now. Coincidentally, I’ve been looking for a royal blue shade – so it all worked out! This polish was a reasonable price and easy to apply. It did chip a little easily, but I didn’t put any top coat on it and was working in a pool a lot, so take that as you will.


Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Right Said Red underneath OPI’s Minnie Mouse collection in Nothin’ Mousie ‘Bout It: I have blogged about my love for Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure before, so we won’t get into that. Instead let’s discuss my love of OPI’s special nail polish collections, such as the Nicki Minaj collection or this summer’s Minnie Mouse inspired group. I think OPI has some of the most fun polish names in the business, and I’m always happy with the results I get when I use the brand. I was super excited for Nothin’ Mousie ‘Bout It. I’ve been really drawn to glitter polishes and top coats lately, and not only is Nothin’ Mousie ‘Bout It have a very faint pink glitter gel, but it has adorable pink hearts in it! The application of the polish was a bit involved, at least in order to achieve the look I wanted. I first only got the pink glitter gel on the brush and smoothed that on my nail. Next, while it was still wet, I dabbed individual hearts where I wanted them. I waited for that all to dry, and then I smoothed just the pink glitter gel on again over it all. It lasted well and made me so happy every time I looked at my nails!


Essie Sand Tropez underneath Essie Luxe Effects As Gold As it Gets: I’ve had Sand Tropez since last summer, but haven’t used it since. It just feels like a summer appropriate shade, both in looks and name. I have gotten pretty tan this summer from working at the pool so much, and the soft beige looked great in contrast. I added As Gold As it Gets over it, and the combo is my absolute new favorite for summer. I can’t get enough!

What polishes have you been enjoying lately?



use it: sarah pinto

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest



Hello everyone! How are you? Do you have big plans for this weekend?

I’m working all weekend, and relaxing at my house when I’m not at work. While relaxing, I  read a blog post by Carly about cute notebooks from Target. The post reminded me of my planner, which I’ve briefly mentioned my love for before and inspired me to share some more about the designer from whom I purchased it.

A few months ago I searched Etsy and found Sarah Pinto (who also has her own website). Her planners are cute, made on recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly ink, and are the perfect size to stash in a purse. They have a monthly calendar of the year at the beginning, followed by weekly spreads complete with space for notes and to-do lists.


Source: via Kelly on Pinterest



Her products are affordable and ship quickly, but that’s not the most appealing reason to buy. On top of being cute, functional, and eco- and wallet-friendly, they support a great cause. Pinto’s youngest son was born with a heart defect and has had several procedures and surgeries. A portion of Pinto’s profits are donated to Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. If you’re in school and need an academic planner for the upcoming academic year, want to send a postcard to a friend, or need a notebook to jot ideas down in, I highly recommend you check out Sarah Pinto. Cute products that serve your purpose while also paying it forward? What else could you want?!


Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

use it: nail polish

Polishes I’m loving lately:

China Glaze Captiol Colours (Hunger Games) in Riveting: As both a big nail polish and Hunger Games fan, I of course felt compelled to add some of China Glaze’s Capitol Colours collection to my personal polish stock. I was immediately drawn to Riveting since I have no orange polishes yet and because to me it just screamed “the girl on fire.” It applied quite easily. I can’t attest to its staying power because I had to remove it earlier than planned (due to attending an event for which bright orange nail polish was inappropriate), though it did not chip for the few days I was wearing it.


Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Cherry, Cherry, Bang, Bang: I’ve shared my reasons for admiring Salon Hansen Complete Salon Manicure before, so I won’t go into details about the quality of the formula again. However, I can’t stress enough how much I just LOVE this color. It’s beautiful and bright without being neon. Every time I looked at my nails I just felt happy!


China Glaze Capitol Colours (Hunger Games) in Smoke and Ashes + Essie in Peach Daiquiri: I originally intended to wear just Smoke and Ashes, since I had recently purchased it and hadn’t worn it yet. However, tomorrow is the last day of school (which teachers enjoy just as much as students!) and my birthday is in a couple of days, so while black nail polish is certainly sophisticated, it wasn’t quite as fun as this week requires. I attempted to use Peach Daiquiri to create a black-and-pink French mani, but ended up creating way too thick of a pink line at the top of my nails. I adapted and decided aimed for ombre nails instead. I horizontally painted 1/3 to a 1/4 of the top of each nail pink. After each horizontal line dried, I then (with a trace amount of polish on the brush) painted pink vertically over the already-dried black. Results – solid pink tops of nails, dark purple/pink fades in the middle, with very light pink and purple (or even black) bottoms. It’s not the best ombre job since (a) wasn’t even planning on it when I started and (b) I didn’t use a sponge to shade like most tutorials recommend, but I still like it for my first attempt. In any case, it definitely fulfills this week’s fun factor!


Do you enjoy special collections of polishes? Have you tried ombre nails or any other unique nail trend lately?


use it: nail polish

Hello, everyone! Did you have a great weekend? I did! I got to spend a week straight with Dan, which was so nice. We hadn’t been able to spend that much time together in awhile. Then to have such a nice week followed up with my favorite holiday and plenty of time spent with my family; it was just perfect! : )  This week I am house-sitting and enjoying the down time that comes with it – including Law & Order: SVU marathons and painting my nails. As I’ve mentioned, I was never big on beauty products and trends until recently, and I’ve become especially addicted to painting my nails. Here are my latest and most adored shades:













OPI by Nicki Minaj in Metallic 4 Life: I really love this shade. It’s a nice deep black, and while I wouldn’t normally wear black polish, I’m drawn to it due to its flecks of cool silver glitter in different sizes and shapes.The color combo is sleek, simple, and sexy. It’s the perfect shade for almost any season. I’m so glad I picked it up! I recommend using three coats for a very solid look to the black base. Paired with a clear top coat, it lasts quite awhile!













Revlon Nail Enamel in Minted: Pastels are are pretty popular this season, especially mint! I was excited to find this shade in the aisles of Walgreens one afternoon while on a magazine pick-up trip. This color went on pretty easily. I put on roughly two shades of this color, and then swiped on a clear top coat. Again, it lasted well. Seeing the color on my nails always made me smile, and I got a bunch of compliments on it!













Essie in No Pre-Nup: I found this shade in Ulta. It seems to be a more “rare” color, since I’ve never seen it at Target or Walgreens, and online it says to visit a local salon for the color. I thought it was a more solid color of a thicker liquid, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how diluted the color and polish itself is. It’s a nice nude pink, with the pink undertones becoming more clear each additional coat. I loved how the shade looked with three coats, and it was so easy to apply. Plus, I just love the name for some reason! It’s cheeky.














Essie in No Pre-Nup + Essie Luxe Effects in A Cut Above: After I applied No Pre-Nup, I applied A Cut Above. A Cut Above is a gorgeous, deep rosy pink glitter, whose sizes vary even more than the glitter flecks in OPI’s Metallic 4 Life. A Cut Above is a much more loose glitter style than As Gold As it Gets, which is much more gel-like. I added one layer of A Cut Above and let it dry completely. I then added a second layer. However, when I added the second layer, instead of swiping it on normally like I had the first layer, I lightly dabbed and then swept at the spots on my nails that had no or little glitter already. Finally, after the second layer of A Cut Above dried, I added a clear top coat. I adore this polish combo. The pink nude doesn’t take away from the pink glitter, but rather enhances it, and every time I look at my nails, I feel like I’m looking at pink disco balls. Instant mood boost!


What shades have you been loving lately? I can’t get enough of this season pastels (lilac is at the top of my wish list!), glitter top coats (clearly), and the Hunger Games Capitol Colors China Glaze collection. I also cannot wait for OPI’s upcoming Minnie Mouse and Amazing Spider-man collections – they look awesome!



use it: cool stuff round-up

Lately I’ve been trying to stay better hydrated in order to have more energy, and I’ve taken to drinking my water with a ton of ice. Sometimes I wish there was a way to make the ice water a bit more interesting. Conveniently enough, every now and then while perusing Pinterest, Tumblr, or the web in general, I come across some products that are just plain neat. Over time I’ve found a bunch of fun ice cube trays and molds. Here are my favorites:

Duh-dun. Duh-dun. Duh-dun-duh-dun-duh-dun…

LEGO my ice cubes!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest


“Babushka” dolls – love!

Ice cubes that can doggie paddle!

Rubber duckie, you’re the one!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

And my FAVORITE one…Han Solo in carbonite!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Would you use fun ice cube trays? Which of these do you like, or are there different ones from around the web that you enjoy?

use it: nail polish

Though I’m not a huge beauty product person, my interest has increased over the past couple years and I’m always on the lookout for useful, bang-for-your-buck goods. I’m especially a sucker for nail polish. My favorite colors as of late are:
There’s no need for any base or top coats, and it lasts without chipping for at least a week (maybe more if you are better at maintaining polish than I am!). I love the shade All Fired Up – it’s the perfect, classic “Matchbook Mag” red.
Essie in Peach Daiqiuri + Essie Luxe Effects in As Gold As It Gets
I love Essie nail polish for its adorable bottles, cute names, and gorgeous shades. This fun pairing was just what I needed to brighten up the gray days of February in Cleveland. I fell in love with the Luxe Effects and want to collect all of them. Next time, though, I will use a clear top coat in addition to the top coating of Luxe Effects in order to make the job last longer.
Butter London in No More Waity, Katie
One of my best friends, Elizabeth, got me this polish for Christmas this past year. We are both big “royal watchers” and adore everything to do with the Middleton sisters and 2011’s wedding of the year. I was excited to get this shade not only due to fact it was created in honor of the royal nuptials, but also because it is truly a beautiful shade. A glittery polish, I applied two-three coats until the shade appeared solid on my fingers and added a clear top coat. It holds up well for basic day-to-day functions, but not so much for tasks that require a great deal of handwork, like big cleaning projects or something of that nature.
In addition to wanting to try more of the Essie Luxe Effects line, I really want to try out Zoya nail polish, as I’ve heard a lot of good things about it in the blogging world the past few months. And of course, I’ve been wanting to try Deborah Lippmann polish for quite awhile now. Have you tried either line? What do you think? What are your favorite brands and shades?

use it: usps 2012 stamps

Hello, everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty great! I had Starbucks with a friend Friday night, spent literally all of the day Saturday at the conference championship meet with my swimmers (who did AWESOME!), and went to a bridal fair on Sunday.

I really enjoy “snail mail,” for various reasons, and this week I plan on sending several cards and letters. Have you seen any of the United States Postal Service’s 2012 stamps? I’m excited to head down to the post office and pick up some. My favorite ones are:

Cherry Blossom Centennial
Dogs at Work
Mail a Smile (Disney Pixar)
Earthscapes: Natural
William H. Johnson
Heart Health
Frank Capra
The War of 1812: USS Constitution
Santa and Sleigh
Do you enjoy sending cards and letters to friends? Which of these stamps or other ones listed at the link above do you like?

use it: spotify

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Have you heard of Spotify? Dan‘s dad introduced me to it. It’s an awesome new Internet-based music application that is basically Pandora meets iTunes. You can listen to radio stations, subscribe to playlists created by other users, browse new music and top hits, or search Spotify’s catalogue for a specific artist/band, song, or album. While not all artists or bands put all or even some of their music on Spotify, TONS do and most of them allow their albums to be played in their entirety. Once you’ve found the music you were looking for, you can listen to it, “star” it, and/or add it to a playlist you’re creating. The Spotify application includes a library component, where you can store music you’ve imported (from other places like iTunes), bought, starred, and/or added to a playlist.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Something that is particularly neat about Spotify is how you can use it to share music with other people. Each song or playlist featured on Spotify is given a link, which can be sent to friends via a variety of mediums. Also, if you link Spotify to your Facebook account, the application will show you all your Facebook friends who also have Spotify and what they are listening to. You can also send them tracks or playlists by dragging and dropping them on the friend’s name. The music will then appear in your friend’s Spotify inbox (another component of the application) for your friend to discover the next time he/she is using Spotify.
While I haven’t used the radio option on Spotify that much, I love searching for artists and listening to whole albums. Once I’m listening to an album, I can search related artists, play the artist radio to find similar music to listen to, or read the artist biography. I also really enjoy creating playlists and subscribing to playlists advertised on the brief commercials or that friends are listening to. Right now I’m loving my subscriptions to ’80s Smash Hits!, Country Music Awards, Top of the Charts, and The Ultimate Holiday Playlist (as shown in the image above).
I highly recommend trying Spotify. I absolutely love it! (Note: I have the basic, free Spotify application which I use on my Mac. For information on Spotify Premium, click here. For information on Spotify Mobile, click here).
Do you use Spotify? What do you think?

thing i’ve been meaning to blog about, use it edition: amazon kindle

After I started a job in Columbus, life got very hectic and I took an unplanned break from this blog. Since leaving that job and moving again, I’ve returned and recommitted to regularly blogging at Beagle & Bear. Part of that returns includes a blog series called “Things I’ve Been Meaning to Blog About,” which is made up of posts I intended to publish in summer or early fall but haven’t yet. This post is part of that series.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

This past summer, at the recommendations of my fiancé Daniel, my friend Elizabeth, and my 88-year-old grandmother, I purchased an Amazon Kindle. I stalled on getting an e-reader for awhile for a few reasons: I like to read in the bathtub, I didn’t want to continuously have to buy books in order to read them, I didn’t want to contribute to the world of books dying out, etc., etc. However, after really thinking about it, I knocked out those excuses pretty quickly – I mostly read magazines in the bathtub. Public libraries are starting to lend e-books, books can be borrowed from other Kindle users, and Amazon has its own lending library. I could still buy new hard copy books by favorite authors or other interesting books from used bookstores. Etc., etc.

So after meticulously Googling information about Nooks vs. Kindles, I went to Target and got myself a Kindle (specifically, a Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers). I absolutely adore it!
  • It can hold SO MANY BOOKS.
  • It uses e-ink technology, so there is no sleep-interfering blue light like there is on a computer, phone, iPad, etc.
  • It’s super light to hold. Not the biggest benefit for younger people (unless you have weaker wrists), but huge for older people like my grandma or people who read often and for long periods of time.
  • You can make the words bigger or smaller (this was big for me, as I technically need glasses to read).
  • Amazon has “Kindle Daily Deals” of the day, in which you can get a book for around $1.99 (give or take a dollar, depending on the book). I enjoy discovering new books and authors this way, and don’t feel guilty about purchasing one every now and then!
  • I was really interested and excited by the concept of Kindle Singles
  • I have an account with Amazon that I use often. Connecting my e-reader to an already existing account rather than having yet another account at another website was appealing and is helpful.
  • I can lay on my side in bed reading without having to move at all except for the side of my thumb that presses the forward page button. So useful in fighting my insomnia and helping me relax/fall asleep easier!
  • There are tons of super cute Kindle cases you can buy and use! I love the Vera Bradley one that Dan got for me! (it’s pictured above along with my Kindle)
If you are a book lover, I would highly recommend a Kindle (especially the keyboard edition!). It’s not going to replace hard copy books in your life or make you go broke. It’s just going to make your packing for trips lighter and your reading-before-bed routine sweeter.
Do you have a Kindle or another type of e-reader? What do you think?

things i’ve been meaning to blog about, use it edition: babycakes cupcake maker

After I started a job in Columbus, life got very hectic and I took an unplanned break from this blog. Since leaving that job and moving again, I’ve returned and recommitted to regularly blogging at Beagle & Bear. Part of that returns includes a blog series called “Things I’ve Been Meaning to Blog About,” which is made up of posts I intended to publish in summer or early fall but haven’t yet. This post is part of that series.

In June, my wonderful friend Elizabeth got me a Babycakes cupcake maker for my birthday. It is an awesome tool for people like myself who love baking, love cupcakes, and/or love cool kitchen appliances.
The Babycakes cupcake maker bakes sweet treats in 5-8 minutes. The longer the cupcake maker is on, the faster the batter bakes (which is when your sense of smell comes in!). While the cupcake maker has non-stick coating, which makes any clean-up rather simple, it is necessary to use cupcake liners while baking. The cupcake maker can make mini-cupcakes (obviously!), mini-muffins, brownie bites, or mini-pies (additional pieces are included with and needed for the appliance in order to make mini-pies).
The first sweet treat I made with my cupcake make were simple but delicious strawberry cupcakes with pink vanilla frosting. Those cupcakes (and all the others I have made with the cupcake maker, for that matter!) taste just like cupcakes baked in a traditional manner. Plus, using the cupcake maker is really fun! I am definitely interested in other Babycakes products.
I haven’t yet used my Babycakes cupcake maker to bake any mini-pies, but I certainly intend to do so this fall and winter. While I enjoy pies at any time of the year, they seem especially tasty and special throughout the holiday season. Any suggestions on what type of mini-pies I should make first (after pumpkin, of course)?
Have you ever used a cupcake maker or a Babycakes product? What do you think?