Thursday, February 27, 2014

{vacation recap, part II}

I've resorted to writing blog posts on the bus now. Isn't that sad?

Anyway, this is the last post about my vacation. I know you're just as sad as I am.

We stayed at the Atlantis resort again. When I first went years ago, we stayed at the main tower with the bridge. {my brothers refer to it as the "Oprah suite", because this place is obviously her go-to vacation spot. a giant hotel with thousands of kids.} It was great, but there were sooo maaany peeeople. This time we stayed at The Cove, which is a little quieter, more secluded, & has an adult pool. The former being the most important part. 

And even though I'm riffing about the amount of people at Atlantis... honestly, the hotel is great. The service was pretty good, the rooms were amazing, & the view were beautiful. It's also worth mentioning that besides our shark adventure, we stayed at the resort the entire time & not once did I feel stir crazy. 

My sibs were obsessed with the slides & lazy river {pretty fun}, so they were at the main hotel pool most of the days. Dyl & I stayed on our side, flip flipping between the adult pool & the beach. It was perfect. The Cove is definitely the place to be if you travel to Atlantis. {
It's apparently a regular celeb spot. too. A bunch of NBA players were there last week, none of which I know the names of---although my brother shared an elevator with Shaq---& a rumor spread like wildfire that Kimye had arrived. I didn't believe it for a second, & I was right in doing so.}

This trip also signified the first time I've ever participated in any casino activity since turning 21; I did some slot machines & played a few hands of blackjack.  I kind of dominated the slots--even though I didn't walk away with much, ha--but wasn't so successful with blackjack. I wish I had photos of my first gambling experience to share with you all, but when I took out my phone to snap a pic, I almost got us all kicked out. About three men walked up to me at once, hands on their guns hips, & told me to put away my phone. I'm OBVIOUSLY a rookie at this thing because I totally forgot about that rule. Yikes.

And to do my celiac due diligence--the hotel was okay about gluten free options. You just need to plan ahead. If you want a bagel or pasta, you have to call about 45 minutes before your reservation to get it brought to your table. But, as always, we packed some bread & snacks just in case they didn't have anything, & I'm so glad we did that. 

Rest of the photos...


^^view from our room

^^some Jersey Shore-esque shenanigans were going on around those center beds every day

Now back to regularly scheduled programming :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

{a few things}

Is this not the most wonderfully awkward picture ever? 

^^Liv circa 1994

The bangs. The plaid. The Peter Pan collar. The face contortion smile.

My new twitter pic, obviously.


Coldplay's new song "Midnight" has been on repeat for 24 hours.

UGH. That band.

I joked with Dylan yesterday that we should forgo our next tropical vacation & instead just follow Coldplay around the world. 

...I'm like 1% kidding.


Virgin America keeps sending me emails about amazing flight deals. I have a friend in Las Vegas, a friend in Seattle, a few friends in LA. Where first?? {Britney is calling my name hard.}


My mind has just been going crazy about my gallery wall. I am ordering a painting today--& also in the process of designing a more few prints--& I can't WAIT until it all gets hung. I know I say that every week, but it's true.

Also, while we're on this…I had a correct guess about my painting! My friend, who is a doctor, said, "All I see is a liver, but I know that's wrong." Well…it's not! She was right: it's a liver. My mom calls me "Liver" sometimes, so the painting is an ode to my nickname. Sounds odd, I know, but I love it. At least it's pretty to look at?

ps. Only my mom can call me that.


Thanks to Good Morning America, "Let It Go" is now stuck in my head {& considering I only know the first two lines of the chorus--"let it go"--it's extra annoying}, so I'm off to listen to Midnight & get the day started.

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

{our bahamas shark adventure}

See anything interesting in this photo?

Just a bunch of sharks, right? Well, let's look a little closer...

Little closer....

There we go. 

Yes. That would be me, my dad, sister, & brother. 
Surrounded by 40 SHARKS.

^^so happy & oblivious to what's about to happen.
And we're all leaning over because we pretty much couldn't stand up in those bodysuits.
OMG the tightness.

^^saying our prayers or clutching our oxygen tubes? your guess.

It was wild.

^^contrary to how it looks, I'm still alive

^^before we jumped in, we asked him, "Ever been bitten before?"
His response? "Well, does a boxer go into the ring not expecting to be punched?..."
Okay, then!

^^just putting the shark to sleep...

^^...before taking it over to me!
And even though my body language says get the heck away from me, 
I actually leaned closer & felt the darn thing!

I actually wasn't as scared as I looked. {Let's be real---the goggles don't do me any favors.} The scuba diving part had me more freaked out than the sharks. Just the idea of being under water for that long was hard to wrap my mind around. 

BUT...our instructors & diving guides were AMAZING & I never ever felt unsafe. We were in totally good hands. If you're ever in the Bahamas & up for an adventure, call Stuart Cove. My family & I went out with him on his private boat a few years ago & had the best time. For this trip, we knew we had to bring it to the next level, & his crew did not disappoint. They've worked on a ton of movies {like the Pirates of the Caribbean films!} & know their stuff. They even brought a diver down to take photos & video. So glad I have proof I did this because, really, would you have believed me otherwise?

It was a trip highlight for sure. But I like it up here.

^^my brother was the only one who had the mental capacity to pose for a cool photo

Friday, February 21, 2014

{vacation recap, part I}

One week away from this blog & I missed it!

I'm back in SF writing from the comfort of my newly-painted room. The past few days have been just what I needed. I returned to California tan, relaxed, happy, & full of many memories.

{Although I did wake up this morning peeling--on my face! ugh!--missing my family, & already moving at lightening speed at work.}

It's like I never left! But I did--& I have many photos to prove it.

I almost didn't bring my camera. I didn't check a bag--just packed in a carry-on--so my space was very limited. But right before I left I decided I definitely needed to bring it. So I ran to Urban Outfitters, got this backpack, stuffed all my camera essentials in it, & thanked myself for five days that I did.

We had many photoshoots on the beach. I really wish my other two brothers had come down to the beach on the last night too, because the light was gorgeous & I really wanted a photo of all of us ;) Next time!

^^one of my fave pictures of her ever

^^love this girl.

I'll share more about where we stayed & what we did in the next post. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

{happy valentine's day + a short blog break}

Happy Valentine's Day!

Did anyone make the cupid cupcakes? Wish I still had one left over :)

I got the best surprise in the mail from my aunt & cousin this week. They sent all the girls in our family t-shirts with giant hearts on them. Totally wore that today with red jeans. Thanks Vic & Pix! xo.

As a single gal, I don't have a Mr. Valentine this year, but I'm off to spend a few days with some people I love most in this dad & 75% of my siblings. Including my fave...Dylan!

I've got two looong flights ahead of me {please, pilots, get around any snowstorm, mmkay?}, but it will be SO worth it. Sunny, warm, relaxing days are on deck & I can barely wait another minute. In less than 24 hours I will be on the beach. Hallelujah.

I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend! If you're still buried under snow, try to stay warm & sane :)

I'll be taking a few days off from the blog, but I'll be back next week with a photos, stories, & a tan. 

Happy weekend!

ps. I may not have a man on this holiday, but I do have my room. It was painted yesterday & I'm pretty much in love. IN. LOVE. I'll share more when I get back.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{favorites lately}

1. These shoes.
Most comfortable things ever.
My mom & I have tan, my sister has black. 

2. Watercolor
Can anyone guess what it is?

3. The way San Franciscans block traffic.
{that's a cable car}

4. When Goodwill has brand new IKEA frames for $11 total
...the same day you were about to go to IKEA & buy them all at full price.

^^this is the third time this has happened in two months

5. This Office flashback.
I'm seeing BJ Novak tomorrow night. Can't wait.

6. My room is getting painted tomorrow!
Here was the winner:

The week is half-way over! Hooray!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{a little dresser update}

I love IKEA, but I hate that "standard" look. I don't want someone to walk into my room & think…oh, that's from IKEA. You know? My dresser does that, & it was time to do something about it.

After finalizing the colors in my mood board, I've been looking for anything coral to add to my room. Lo & behold…Anthropologie had something. Knobs, to be exact. In the sale section.


And they only had six left!

Meant to be.

You have to wait a little bit longer to see the full thing. But it was the perfect pop of color that was needed. Does it still look like it's from IKEA? Heck yes. But it's not as boring as it was before. I have one more idea for this dresser that I'm mulling over, but for now, the knobs are good enough.

**Sorry for the terribly colored photos. Ugh. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

{little changes / goal update}

Happy Monday!

A few blog changes...

Most noticeably, I added that picture of me over on the right, which can bring you to the new "About" page. It was a bit outdated, so I took this rainy weekend as an opportunity to spruce it up a little. I also cleaned up the side a bit too.

I'm excited to announce a new affiliate! One King's Lane. Anyone ever shop there? It's my favorite. I literally have to stop myself from buying something from there every day--it's just that good. If you've never been, click that banner to the right & check it out. You will not regret it. Or maybe you will, if you spend a lot :)

Goal Update:

Nothing major, but as I'm working at my February goals, I'm trying to simplify my spending habits. Mainly my monthly bills. A few months ago I sat down & took the time to think of all the services I use that have automatic monthly charges. This is what it came down to:

- 3G for my iPad - $30/month
- Netflix - $15/month
- Adobe Photoshop CC - $20/month
- Google Storage - $2/month
- Vimeo Plus - $10/month
- Bluehost {domain for my photo site} - $9/month
- Amazon Prime - $79/year
- InStyle & People mag - $80/year

That's a LOT! {Did anyone's jaw drop? I'm still picking mine up from the floor.}  It actually made me quite nervous embarrassed.

The first to go were the magazines. I was signed up through my school, so it renewed automatically. They were also still going to my PA address, so it was really a waste.

The second thing to go was 3G for my iPad. I'm not traveling as much as I did in college, so I'm not on trains or airplanes every week anymore. I really only use my iPad at home or in the random cafe, which always has wifi. So that was stopped. I can always start it back up again, but for now…I'm sticking to wifi.

Vimeo Plus was an easy stop; I'd only been a member for 2 months, but since I rarely post videos, it was a waste of money. {And outside of the free membership, it really just allowed a bigger GB storage & processed my videos faster. But I can wait an extra 30 minutes for free, you know?}

Amazon Prime is addicting, but another big expense that wasn't really used.

All of that was cancelled months ago, but Bluehost was where I was stuck. I left it be for a while, but this weekend I really thought about it again. I was SO excited to start my photography business last May & the website was the product of days & days of work. I had a few clients here & there over the summer, but job hunting & other things soon took all my time. Now that I have a full time job, in a city where I don't know enough people to really network for clients, the time I originally thought I could commit to it just didn't work out. I'm not shutting down OAM Photo + Design, but I've decided to close the website. I really couldn't justify spending money each month on a site that wasn't getting regularly updated. Ya feel me? It really bums me out, but I know it's the right decision. I may open up a Facebook page for it--since it's free. ha.--but I'm going to wait a few weeks to do that. I really miss photographing clients, so I'm going to slowly bring it back into my daily life somehow.

So here's where I am now:

-- 3G for my iPad - $30/month
-- Netflix - $15/month
-- Adobe Photoshop CC - $20/month
-- Google Storage - $2/month
-- Vimeo Plus - $10/month
-- Bluehost {domain for my photo site} - $9/month
-- Amazon Prime - $79/year
-- InStyle & People mag - $80/year

I watch something on Netflix nearly every night, so every bit of that monthly charge is used. Could I go without it? Sure. But for now…it's staying. As for Google Storage, I need that to keep this ol' blog running :) Same goes for Photoshop, so they're both staying too. {The old versions were a one time fee, but Photoshop CC is a monthly subscription that covers all updates that may debut. I sweet-talked my way into the student price, so it's way more affordable that the regular fee of $50/month.}

After all that...I feel SO SO SO relieved. I honestly don't miss anything that I cancelled, which just goes to show that they were just draining away my savings for too long. I really encourage anyone to do this. The list was so much longer than I had in my mind, & it's really eye-opening to think about what you need vs. want.

Friday, February 7, 2014

{st. valentine cupcakes}

I was in the mood to bake…so I did!

I was fully inspired by Oh Happy Day for these cupcakes, but I decided to add my own twist.

Once you bake the {red velvet} cupcakes & frost them, all that's left are the arrows!
{to create the hearts, I did nothing fancy---I just cut the tip of an icing-filled ziploc bag}

To make the arrows, this is all you need:

^^two pieces of paper per arrow

^^voila! as you can see, not every heart or arrow needs to be perfect :)

& to answer the obvious question…they were delicious. 

Now make them!

**My cupcakes were made from Williams Sonoma's GF mix. The mixes are sadly not made anymore. UPDATE: HOLD THE PHONE. THE MIXES ARE ON SALE. BRB GOING TO BUY OUT WILLIAMS SONOMA. Cream cheese frosting is the only flavor worth a red velvet cupcake, & when I don't make my own, I am partial to Duncan Hines. 

PS. If you double the butter amount by mistake…like I did…they taste just as good. Maybe better.