Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Schwine Design Giveaway!

It's no surprise to anyone that I am an Etsy addict - I love all things handmade.
I love them even more when they're made by friends.

So, let me introduce you to Schwine Design - a fabulous Etsy store for handmade jewelry, crafted by my friend Lauren. When I first met her, her fun jewelry was the first thing I noticed. I was so excited to find out that she made it all herself.

"Ive been crafting for many years, since a young child.. I was introduced to the art of jewelry making about 4 years ago. My favorite part is the creativity and freedom I have with it. There is no right or wrong way to make the jewelry, because I design it. I really enjoy letting my mind wander and coming up with beautiful creations."

Summer is always the perfect time to indulge in new, fun, brightly colored jewelry and Lauren's store is the perfect place to do it.
"At the moment, the summer is inspiring most of my designs. Even though the summer inspires my designs, they can be flaunted at any time of the year."

Right now, Lauren's shop is featuring a lot of hemp jewelry but she loves a lot of other materials like mood beads, greek ceramic beads, ribbon, swarovski crystal, wood beads and lamp work beads. She also loves sterling silver. In addition to fun and different materials, she loves different techniques like macrame, wire-wrapping and bead-weaving.

"Right now my shop features mostly hemp, however I hope to expand it one day, and sell a variety of jewelry including silver jewelry."

The best part of it all? Lauren is offering to add a little extra style to your summer jewelry choices - for free! She has agreed to give away two fun designs to readers here.

It's taking a lot of determination to actually give this away! It's so cute and classy. The ribbon was hand-dyed by Lauren to a fabulous light blue and is woven with silver chain. I've seen designs like this in high-end boutiques for expensive price tags. Personally, I rather support local hand-made jewelry like Lauren's. Besides, it could be yours free!

Lauren is also including this fun summer design! Floral accents are always in style but more so than ever. I'm a huge fan of the color orange (another surprise, right?!) and love this, too. 

To enter to win a bracelet, go visit Lauren's Etsy show and tell me which piece of jewelry is your favorite! It might be tough to decide, I know. Leave a comment here describing it, once you pick! While you're there, if you make it a favorite, leave an extra comment.

To get a better chance of winning, you can get a few extra entries by doing the following:
1. Like "Schwine Designs" on Facebook!
2. Follow Lauren on Twitter!
3. Post a status or tweet about this giveaway with a link to this blog post!

"Check out this fun summer-time jewelry giveaway from Live Beautifully and Schwine Designs."

For each of the entries, you must post a separate comment! You have until 8:00pm on Wednesday, July 6th to enter. At that time, I will choose the winner through a random number generator and get the jewelry to you when I get home from vacation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Places to Go & People to See

I love to travel - to see the world, or at least a little corner of it. It helps inspire me that my friends are now dispersed all about the Eastern coast, outside of Pennsylvania.. even if it breaks my heart a little. Last night, in a moment of brilliancy, my new favorite co-worker, Sharon, suggested a trip to the National Zoo. I meant to take Aiden, but it was the first day of summer playground. Somehow, instead, I ended up still headed to D.C. for a day with my best friend. Somehow, despite our mutually crazy schedules, we had a mutual day off and without any planning, we ended up spending it together.

So, today's Ten on Tuesday is all about the places I love to go and the people I love to see.

1. Washington, D.C. is of course home to one of my favorite people, which makes my love for it even stronger. In addition, it's home of the National Gallery of Art, some of the best bar-b-que I've ever eaten and today, it was home to a lot of fun.

2. Philadelphia is hands down my favorite city on the East Coast, so far. Despite it's dirty streets and busy horn-honking drivers, I adore it. I always dreamed of school in the city and had settled upon Drexel. My pocket had other thoughts. I still owe the city some of my favorite concerts past, trips to remember and friends to visit.

3. New York City is a place that took me far too long to visit. The convincing factor was the fact that one of my favorite friends, Rachel, calls the Big Apple her home. I'm a sucker for any city with bright lights and subway trains, so of course I fell in love on my first visit. I can't wait to go back.

4. Missouri is the furthest thing from a city on this list. On Sunday, I board a plane for the middle of nowhere. For wide rivers, fireworks, cowgirl boots and four-wheeler rides. This not-so-little state is home of many family members, and so it's a classic on my family's list of vacation spots. Thankfully, we aren't driving twenty plus hours in an un-air-conditioned van with a toddler this time.

5. Millersville, PA is on this list for obvious reasons, reasons needless to post here.

6. Hershey, PA is home of a hospital near and dear to me. It's a special hospital with a wing devoted to pediatric cancer patients. A hospital that treats Kasey. Though it's sometimes a hard place to visit, the hospital and the town are important to me.

7. Charles Town, WV is a place forgotten but an old favorite. Today, on the drive to and from the Nation's capital, there were signs leading the way to horse races and memorable family vacations.

8.  Paris can't be matched by any other place on this list. It's filled with incredible food, cobbled streets, and my favorite language. I hope to one day return to the city - hopefully with a marketing internship or maybe, with my other all-things-French-loving friend, Mark.

9. New Orleans received a little competition for bar-b-que today. But blackened chicken in DC can't compare to the Joint. Yesterday, I flipped through facebook photos of our Spring Break trip and laughed over airport floor naps, cute construction boy smiles and british accents. And reminded me how desperately I need to learn to make gluten free pecan pie.

10.  Pittsburgh, PA makes it last on the list because it's never been a favorite of mine. When looking at colleges, I made a few too many drives to this northern area of the state. I hated them all. Though my best friend has called it "home" for the past two years, it's now her permanent home - meaning I've got to make more frequent trips and learn to love this way-too-cold city.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Today's Sunday Snapshot is being brought to you by Sunday's lesser relative, Monday morning. This weeks Sunday was filled with watching Glee for hours, celebrating a momma and baby to be, impromptu music sessions, crying baby racoons (yeah, not the fun part) and roasting overly large marshmallows on a bonfire in my backyard. I would be lying if I said this week was anything close to good (minus a fun Tuesday lunch..), but the ending wasn't quite so bad.


This week is another full week of working lots of hours, finally seeing my girls again, and anxiously awaiting a few days off from the world. Sunday, we board a plane headed for Kansas City for a week of family, four wheelers, good food and fireworks. In the meantime, I'll try to stop by this little space a bit more often.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Summer Lovin'

Today marks the first official day of summer. Though I've been celebrating a season filled with sunscreen, late nights, no classes and extra time with Ryan for almost the past two moments, I'd like to stop and give summer a warm welcome.

That's why today's Ten on Tuesday list is about the things I'm loving this summer.

1. It is officially the summer of nail polish. For some reason, I find myself much more motivated to paint my nails regularly once summer starts. Perhaps it is because of exposed toes in strappy sandals, or the extra free time. Either way, I'm loving all kinds of nail polish this summer but especially Sally Hansen's (Sally is my favorite brand!) crackle overcoat in Ink Splatter and Fractured Foil and Deborah Lippmann in just about any color but especially Across the Universe, Today Was A Fairytale and Some Enchanted Evening. I can't wait to own every color in both collections. If you want to own some Lippmann nail polish of your own, you can order it from What She Buys with free, same day, shipping (if you order by noon!).

2. For those of us with curly locks, summer can be a real issue with humid and chlorine filled days. Typically, I cut my hair short before the summer but this year, I am trying to donate 12 inches to Wigs for Kids on October 30th. Instead of complaining about my long hair, throwing it in a messy bun or letting it look terrible day after day - I wear it in a braid, constantly. Thanks to Pinterest, I'm always finding new fun braids to try. Some work, some don't. But you can always rely on a good french braid.

3. Jewelry is my favorite accessory and I've always loved finding unique pieces - a hobby I'm loving this summer. I love finding vintage and antique jewelry because it is typically well crafted and unique. This weekend, I picked up a few new interesting necklaces at Morning Star Market. The best part - they were only $1 each. I'm especially loving the coo-coo clock with salmon beads, obscure but cute.

4. The summer heat always puts a damper on my appetite, but lately every meal has consisted of fresh organic vegetables and fruits. In addition to our own little garden (which is sprouting leaf lettuce much too quickly), we picked up baskets full of produce at market this week. I'm enjoying watermelon, cantaloupe, asparagus, snow peas, potatoes, green beans, broccoli, bing cherries, plums, blueberries and more this summer.

5. Pinterest is becoming my new summer obsession. For those of you who aren't familiar, Pinterest is like an online bulletin board. You can create different boards and then "pin" websites/photos/ideas from all over the internet to your boards of choice. Theres the option of following others boards, and browsing what pins are popular at the moment. It's a great source of inspiration for photography, fashion, interior design, wedding ideas and DIY projects. Every day I get one new project idea from this fabulous site - or more often, the fabulous iPhone app. Right now, Pinterest is by invitation only so if you'd like to try it out, leave a comment with your e-mail.

6. Tucked in between pins of dresses, shoes and interior design swatches - I've discovered my new favorite colors... Mustard Yellow & Turqouise Blue, together. I've always been a big fan of aqua and turqouise so that half of the combination comes as no surprise but lately, I've been drawn toward all things yellow. These colors can be paired with a slate gray for another dynamic. I can't wait to bring this combination into my photo packaging, fashion choices and more.

7. Nothing says summer like the smell of chlorine and sunscreen. I'm loving our season passes to the pool this summer. I've swam at boiling springs for, well, as long as I've lived in Wellsville but for the first time, we splurged on summer passes. I may be a little old for the public pool but with a six year old to entertain, it's great. Plus, he's learning to swim!

8. Speaking of the pool - I'm loving my newest swim suit from Target. It's a retro style bandeau top and bikini bottom. The design is simple and it's a single color - a shiny and deep slate blue. I've always dreamed of finding a bandeau swim suit that would work for me and finally, I have.

9. Target also blessed me with another summer favorite - a straw fedora. Even though this hate drives my boyfriend crazy, I wear it as often as possible. Somedays, I wear it better than others. In fact, the other day I looked like Jazon Mraz - and that is not a good thing. Later in the evening, I paired it with a vintage necklace, a cute dress and strappy sandals for a trip to the pool - much better.

10. And,  I am loving my job. Working at DAT has been an educational and fun experience. From processing photos to making phone calls, I've enjoyed every minute. While learning more about photography, I've also learned practical business knowledge and marketing skills. You can understand my excitement when I saw this yesterday:

For now, those are the things I'm loving for the summer! 
After tomorrow, I think "just installed central air" may top that whole list.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"I'm gonna tell Mom!"

Tuesday, I got to spend all day with some of my favorite kids - kids I hadn't seen since February. I keep telling myself that my priorities need aligned so that I can spend more time with friends, family & Ryan but.. like usual, I simply pile more things onto my plate instead.

Sometimes it's nice to stop for a day and..

Hike in the woods.
Listen to Taylor Swift.
Drive with the sunroof open.
Play basketball.
Eat Subway.
Give piggyback rides.
Gossip about boys.

and just relax.

If you can call hanging out with Maddie, Katie & Sydney relaxing, that is.
Maybe it's not relaxing but it's definitely good medicine for a schedule filled to the brim.

A terrible picture but Syd's face is priceless.


The rest of the week was a little busier, even though I didn't work at the studio this week. I've been busy working on my own photography work, moving my photography blog over to blogger, changing website colors and ordering custom printed packaging supplies - I'm pretty excited about the last part. Things are looking up with a wedding to shoot in September, and family portraits to do too. 

With less time spent at work this week, I've spent my week working on Kasey's Birthday celebration, tying up loose ends with old friends, formalizing a Light the Night team, and trying to organize my room/computer.

But, it's Friday. 
Friday means working three shifts in a row. Missing Relay for Life. Not attending Niki's bonfire. And this week, Father's Day.

Hopefully your day is a little more optimistic than mine - Happy Friday.