the quest for all 50

Throughout my blog journey so far I have been able to share a lot of my interests and passions with you. One that I haven’t touched on too much so far is my love of traveling. I have been fortunate to travel to many far away places even before I was a college graduate which isn’t the case for many people.

I grew up in a family with parents who always appreciated the value of a family vacation on a yearly basis. I have been able to visit many states with my parents and brother and spending time together as a family is always a good change of pace and allows for time to reset and recharge. One of our favorite vacation spots is Disneyworld….but there is so much to talk about there that I’ll have to save that post for another day πŸ˜€

The summer before my freshman year of college I spent a month backpacking Europe with 2 of my closest friends, visiting four countries: England, France, Germany, and Italy. It was an invigorating experience that taught me a lot about myself and learning to grow comfortable with independence which was the perfect experiment before moving to college.I have also been lucky enough to travel to Japan where I got to experience major cultural differences, learn more about their history, and try some very interesting food along the way!!

Although I have a so-called “bucket list” of some different countries I want to visit in my lifetime I also think about how unique the United States is. We are such a large country that is filled with different experiences from coast to coast. Just by traveling across a state-line you can find yourself in a whole new landscape with people speaking with interesting accents and eating food that is unique to their part of the country.

When I think about making travel plans I have to remember that looking within the US at different states is a great option to experience something new without traveling far away. My grandpa Roger is one cool guy and he has the privilege of saying that he’s traveled to all 50 states. He and my grandma did much of their traveling in road trip style to cover a majority of the states. Back in 2015 I was lucky to visit my grandpa’s 50th and final state with him on a family trip: Hawaii. I love listening to his stories about all of the places he’s visited. When I asked him what his favorite state was he said Hawaii, so it sounds like he saved the best for last!

In an effort to be on the “quest for all 50” myself I decided I wanted to buy something that would help me to keep track of all the states I’ve visited. When I was shopping at Micheals the other week I found a metal hanging map of the US and knew it would be the perfect piece. I hung it up in my room with the background of my painted styrofoam ceiling tiles and Β think it looks great! I bought small gold stickers to place on each state as I visit it. I will look forward to experiencing what our country has to offer through the years and I hope to share those travel experiences with you here on the blog as they happen! 17 down and 33 to go!!

Enjoy your weekend! Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice #questforall50

xoxo Jen

 

 

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a grateful fridge

Yesterday I received 2 Valentines (how lucky am I!) One from the world’s best dog and one from the world’s best parents. I think Luna may have received a little help picking out the card…. πŸ™‚ When I got home last night I hung both of the cards up on my fridge, as I often do with any cards I receive. As I was hanging them up I took a second to look at everything I have hanging on my fridge at the moment and I couldn’t help but smile.

There are days where life feels overwhelming or stress of different things piling up seems to feel like too much. I also have days where I feel pretty lonely. Living alone can definitely do that to you, but don’t get me wrong there are TONS of great things about living by yourself. As I was hanging those cards up last night and admiring the different things I have up on my fridge, I felt grateful.Β 

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As I looked at thank you cards, postcards, wedding invitations, photos, baby shower invitations, funny and sentimental magnets I was reminded how much I have to be grateful for in my life. How neat is it that I have important people in my life who are willing to give me a note of thanks, people who extend an invitation to their wedding to me, photos of baby cousins who I am blessed to have, and even a letter asking me to be a bridesmaid for a best friend of mine?

P.S. One of my favorite parts of my fridge is the Napoleon Dynamite magnets πŸ˜€ They were given to me as a graduation gift from a teacher of mine who knew just how much I love that movie and they still crack me up to this day.

I am always one to hold on to cards from any occasion. Once or twice a year I sit down and go through a special box I have filled with cards from past birthdays, graduation, Christmas, and other events. I love to read the special messages and words people wrote to me throughout different stages of my life. When I read them there are often tears at reading the words of someone who is no longer in my life and there are just as many smiles at the words of those who always know just what to say to make me laugh.

I’m happy that last night something as interesting as the perspective I have on my fridge could make such an impact on me. Now I am looking forward to keeping my fridge as I place where I hang things that make me smile and remembering to take it all in as often as I can. Even though the Christmas cards I received are taken down and packed away in my special box to look at later my fridge is still full of reminders of all the great people I am lucky to have in my life and how many things I have to look forward to!

What do all of you have hanging up on your fridges that makes you smile? Or do you have another place in your house where you keep things that are special to you?

Thanks for reading!!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

manicures for less $$

One thing that’s true about me is that I always have my nails painted. Always. I can’t remember exactly when this all started but since I can remember I always have made sure that my nails were painted. My box of nail polish grew over the years at an exponential rate and I soon had every shade and style of polish: matte, glitter, neon….you name it, I probably had it.

I love the routine of painting your nails. Sitting down, taking everything out, choosing a color, and then focusing in. Call me crazy, but I even find the process relaxing. During my undergrad at NDSU me and my roommate and best friend Dana used to take study breaks at our kitchen island to paint our nails, relax, and chat.

Even though I love painting my nails, there is one thing that I grew to really dislike about it. I would always be extremely focused when painting my nails and always wanted to make them as perfect as possible. I am very detailed and slow. I always loved how my nails looked when I was done but usually within 48 hours I was mad. I would look down and one or two nails would be chipped, the paint got smudged while they were still drying (which takes FOREVER), or one of the many other problems that can happen.

I sometimes get pedicures at the nail salon but historically have never spent time/money getting my nails done since I liked to do them myself. When I was in a friend’s wedding in September of 2016 I decided to splurge and spend the money to get a gel manicure with the color she had chosen for us for the wedding. I was IN LOVE. The polish looked amazing and I loved that they were my natural nails and nothing acrylic or fake. I spent weeks just WAITING for something bad to happen to them (chips/cracks) and nothing did. I told myself there was no way I could go back to regular nail polish after experiencing gel. But there was one big problem….

Money. I couldn’t justify (or afford) to get my nails done for 40 dollars (or more!) a visit. Even though the gel polish lasted a long time it still wasn’t going to be do-able for me. On TV around that same time I remember seeing an ad for gel lamps and gel polish you could buy in the store. I remember being very interested and checking in to it right away. I brought up the at home gel kits to a few different people and lo and behold I received an at home gel lamp for my birthday as a gift in November 2016!

Then began the 2nd era of my nail polish life…..AMAZING gel nail polish nails at home for so cheap it’s ridiculous. All thanks to the Sensationail gel lamp, starter kit, and nail polish selections. Below is a picture of the style of lamp I have. Mine was purchased at Target but you can find it at Walmart and probably places like CVS too (or Amazon, as always!). The one at Target is located right in the nail polish aisles so very easy to find.

The best part about this is the price….the lamp itself starts around $23, depending on where you decide to buy. You’ll also need to buy some polish colors and the base/top coat to get you started but you’re looking at an investment of less than 40 dollars (the cost of ONE manicure at the nail salon) to have an at home manicure set-up.

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Now when I paint my nails at home with the gel kit and lamp it takes about 15-20 minutes to complete the process. After I’m done with the gel top coat and seal it under the lamp my nails are dry in vritually seconds and you can rinse them in the sink to get them clean and then you’re off. No sitting around waiting for polish to dry, just to have it get wrecked anyway.

Also, I used to have to paint my nails about every week and now it’s more like once every 3 weeks, unless I want to change the color sooner. The polish is also very easy to remove which I know is something people are worried about with gel. They provide you with some foil strips where you can soak your fingers in acetone to remove while wrapped in the foil, but often I can just peel mine right off after a couple of weeks without any difficulty at all.

Here is the manicure I did this weekend. I am loving the wine/burgundy color that is nice and rich for winter.

If you love the look of gel but are tired of spending all the money…or if you’re sick of painting your nails with classic polish and having to re-do them all the time….this is the perfect solution. If you have any specific questions about the product let me know! I’d be more than happy to help.

Have a great week!!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen