Virginia Mountain Adventures! [Planning & Video]

My husband, Tom, and I decided that the money we would be spending on our summer birthdays and anniversary gifts could be better used toward a vacation together. We brainstormed a few ideas – a beach resort in the Dominican Republic, or maybe a European-style stay in Montreal – but we ultimately settled on a mountainesque trip. Someplace where we would be surrounded by peace and tranquility, nature as far as the eye could see, yet within a 20-30 minute drive from civilization and fun activities.

While looking through Airbnb, Tom found some listings for treehouses. Some were actual houses built around or into trees, while others were simply houses built amongst trees. We decided on one that was the latter because of the location and price. The house we chose was located in Basye, Virginia, right near the border with West Virginia.

Going into the trip, we really didn’t have anything set on our agenda. We both wanted to catch up on some leisure reading, do some hiking, relax, enjoy nature and, ultimately, each other’s company. It’s really easy the get caught up in millions of other things in New York City – from the general, everyday hustle and bustle everywhere you turn, to the millions of stores and street fairs, to just sitting in your teeny weeny apartment, watching Netflix or getting lost in a black hole that is the internet. There’s always something to do, so it’s hard to shut your brain off or really sit down and read that book for fun or get a real touch of nature.

We knew there would be no internet, so right off the bat that took millions of options off our plate, in a good way. The place was also located in a mountain resort (it’s mainly a ski resort), so it was mainly going to be families on vacation or people that live there year-round. It seemed like our to-do list could stay as simple as we wanted, and I loved that.

Once we booked the treehouse, we decided it would be better (AKA cheaper and easier) to just rent a car in NY and drive down ourselves. Flying would take the same amount of time, what with getting to the airport 2 hours early, the flight, unboarding, and then renting a car to drive the hour from the airport to the resort, and would probably cost way more money. A train would be less stressful, but, again, we would have to rent a car to drive that hour to the resort again (the train station and airport are both in Charlottesville, VA).

I also liked the freedom that came with driving: go at our own pace, beautiful scenery, and singing out loud to good tunes. I love singing to music in the car because you can’t really do it in NY – people on the subway or on the street with think you’re a bit kooky and quite annoying.

So instead of going through every detail in writing, you can just watch the video I made of our first day! There will be 2 other videos after this one showing the other three-ish days (the fourth day was another travel day, so there wasn’t much footage). It’s pretty self-explanatory, so I hope you enjoy!

Creating a Smashbook (a scrapbook for wimps with commitment issues!)

August 16 marks my paper anniversary with Tom, so I thought what better way to celebrate than to create a scrapbook? I mean, that’s, like, ALL paper!

Unlike a traditional scrapbook, however, I want to make something a little less perfect. I have a fear of commitment when it comes to such artistic feats, so I tend to get discouraged in the planning process and never follow through. Or even start it…

Which is why I have not actually attached anything to our wedding scrapbook.

Oh, I figured out what I wanted on each page.

I even gathered special details like an extra save-the-date, invitation, a balloon from one of my bridal showers, etc.

And believe me, I got pictures developed.

But I got spooked because I didn’t have any other decorative scrapbook doodads and didn’t want to screw it up forever. Pinterest sets the bar way high.

I have a fear of commitment to attach things to paper, but I vowed my life to another human being. Go figure.

I also don’t want to spend a fortune on this. Scrapbooking gets freaking expensive with all the excess crap you buy into. You want the extra pizzazz of colored paper. And, oh, won’t that lace detailed paper make the pictures pop and give the page texture? And you just need those gold letters in every font. But you might as well buy the silver ones too because what if you get sick of gold? And all the stickers!!!!!

The memories are priceless but putting them in a book is nightmarishly pricey.

Anyways, my first inspiration for this came from (surprise, surprise) a YouTube video. A couple that I watch (Colleen Ballinger AKA Miranda Sings and Joshua Evans) recently got married and, throughout their honeymoon, worked on a scrapbook. So instead of waiting until after they came home, they brought the journal, pens/markers, and a polaroid camera to fill the scrapbook as they went.

Here’s a video about it, if you’re interested to see little bits of their scrapbook. I’ve set the video to start from where she’s talking about the scrapbook. You’re welcome.

Brilliant and adorable!!! Except, we’re almost a year out from our honeymoon and documenting it as we go is out of the question.

But why not start now, catch up to the present, and then we can document as we go through the rest of our marriage?! In a perfect world, I will stick to this and fill up multiple journals/scrapbooks. I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to just focus on getting this one started!

Okay, so I bought a journal from Walgreens for about $10; nothing super fancy, but I like the gold accent. Unlike a full-size scrapbook, this journal causes me less anxiety when I think about filling it and possibly messing up. Cool!

Smashbook

While doing research on how to go about starting something like this, I found some Pinterest pins about smashbooks. According to The Realistic Mama, a smashbook is “a delightfully simplified way to chronicle life’s special moments without the time commitment usually required by scrapbooking.” Here’s her step-by-step guide on creating a smashbook. She made a travel smashbook in the post and I like how she used maps for backgrounds!

Perfect! I don’t like all the pressure that comes with planning out, arranging, rearranging, and finally settling on what could potentially be a horrible looking scrapbook spread. I’ll do all that for this journal-thing, but the pages are smaller and I just feel like it’s less of a commitment. There’s that word again.

This book is going to chronicle Tom’s and my relationship, from when we first met until more recent events. I have been journaling since middle school, so luckily I had the last 3 journals I’ve filled to help me map out important dates and events. Facebook was super helpful in keeping track of certain events too, giving me ideas on what pictures I could use if I wanted to include a certain day. So I started the process of mapping out the chronology of the smashbook in my current journal.

list 2

Some events don’t have pictures attached to them (the day we first met, our first kiss, first official “I Love You”, etc), but those will just be written out with blurbs about how, when, and where it happened. I hope Tom will also take part in filling in blurbs. I know he’s self-conscious about his handwriting, but he is just a much a part of this relationship as I am. Although his memory quite frankly sucks, so I’m not so sure how that will work out.

First date

Once I mapped out the timeline portion, I then went to Social Print Studio (formerly Prinstagram) to order mini prints. I have a bunch of full-size photos of special events, but I don’t want to fill up every single page with only one photo each. So I ordered 48 squares by selecting straight from my Instagram feed. Not all 48 are going into this book; some are for friends or just to remember other moments in time. Then I uploaded 116 from my computer to order mini-prints; this doesn’t limit you to stick with a certain set of dimensions, so it just takes your picture and shrinks it. Nothing is cut off haphazardly. Sounds great!

As of right now, that’s where I’m at. I just ordered the prints today, so they probably won’t arrive until next week. I also want to pop into Michaels while I’m in Long Island this coming week to check out stickers and maybe some pretty paper to give the pages some extra oomph. I don’t plan on going all out and spending a ton of money – that’s half of what I wanted to avoid in pursuing this less-fancy option!

Okay, so that’s it! Let me know if you’re a scrap/smashbooker and if you have any tips! And fingers crossed I get this project off the ground before I get cold feet!

My tips for healthier hair!

Guys, I’m really excited about this post. I’ve had a long-standing love/hate relationship with my hair since I was really young, but I’ve come to understand my hair and have learned how to work with it over the years. I’ve had some really rough times [read: years] with the health and appearance of my hair BUT I’ve [finally!] come to realize WHY and HOW to fix those problems. Well, most of them anyways.

I’ve gotten more compliments about my hair in the past year than I have in my entire life. (Not counting my mom’s, of course…you’ll see what I mean in a bit.) I can personally see and feel the difference, my husband Tom has told me multiple times that my hair looks great (not that he didn’t before, but he can even tell that it’s gotten healthier), and friends, co-workers, and even students have been asking me about my hair. Woot!

For all you visual and auditory people, I made a video about all of this, so you can check it out!

If you’re more into reading, though, keep going!

Let’s start by (not so) briefly talking about my hair type.

I didn’t have enough hair to say so until I was about two years old [picture below shows me at the age of 2; I still enjoy donuts!]. Since then, I’ve always had fine hair and a lot of it. In case you weren’t aware, there is a difference between fine (diameter of strands of hair) and thin (amount of hairs). I don’t have thin hair, bald patches, or have to use those little clear, baby rubber bands for pony tails. I usually have to loop hair ties around my hair about 3 times (4 when they get stretched out).

Holliday 1991I also haven’t been able to get my hair super long since elementary school [picture below is from second grade]; like, it always seems like once my hair gets to a certain length, IT JUST STOPS. I understand that trimming is important to keep the ends healthy, but at that point when my hair stops, trimming it just makes it shorter, and it’s time for a trim when it reaches that gosh darn point again.

Holliday 1996

My hair has always been curly/wavy and, for a long time, I absolutely despised it. My mom always used to point out and coo over the baby-hair ringlets around my face when it was really hot and humid during the summer. And I hated it. Damn it, Mom. So when I was a teenager, I literally would try to plaster my hair to my head so that no hairs were sticking out like antennas, horns, or payas. I would use ALL the water and ALL the clips to tame my hair [picture below is my school picture from 7th grade – holy eyebrows, Batman!]. I still get some frizz when humidity is above 50% or I get sweaty, but it’s gotten a lot better.

Holliday 7th Grade

Finally, if you’ve read my blog before or are a real-life friend, then you know that I started going gray when I was 15 years old. It sucks, big time. Needless to say, I’ve been regularly coloring my hair since I was about 17 years old. Think of all the money I will have spent over my lifetime dyeing my hair…cue Debbie Downer music. I’m gonna say that if I didn’t dye my hair and was au natural, I’m probably 40% gray. At 25 years old. Vomit.

Debbie Downer face

Okay, moving on, I’ll begin with nutrition. In any post about how to get healthy hair/skin/nails/body, there should always be a focus on nutrition. To start off, I have Crohn’s and during my two flare-ups between 2010 and 2012, I was practically starving myself because I was in so much pain. Not only did I lose 10+ pounds (and literally lost my butt, which is most shocking), but I was also starving my body of essential nutrients. The quality of my hair and nails was awful – my nails had pock marks and ridges, and my hair was so blah.

Now that I’m 2+ years in remission without any flare-ups, I’ve obviously gained weight (which I’m always working to tone) but I’ve also gained healthier nails and hair. I also know that I was eating less than I should in the months leading up to my wedding – because wedding dress, duh – so I have since noticed that eating more than just yogurt and granola for practically every meal has positively affected my hair’s appearance and health. So make sure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet so you can work on improving your hair from the inside out!

Okay, so now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about the fact that I only wash my hair every 3 or 4 days. Back in college, I used to wash, blow dry, and heat style my hair every single morning. Since I’ve stopped that, I’ve realized just how damaging it was to my hair. Now, I still shower every single day, but on days that I don’t wash my hair, I clip it up and put on a really flattering shower cap. Cute!

I have also been showering at night instead of in the morning because this allows me to sleep in a bit, only worrying about styling my hair in the mornings versus washing, drying, and styling. This also spreads out the use of heat on my hair, allowing it to rest a bit between blow drying at night and heat styling in the mornings. More on that later…

Next, let’s talk about products I’ve been loving and how I use them.

  1. Tresemme Smooth and Silky shampoo and conditioner: This was in my Empties/Favorites post a couple months ago and I can’t stop raving about it. I shampoo like normal, lathering it up and letting it sit in my hair as I wash my body. Then, before conditioning, I squeeze out excess water from my hair. In my mind, I think that this allows the conditioner to really do its thing without getting washed away by the excess water…but that’s not scientifically proven.
  2. Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque: Once I put on a thin coat of my Tresemme conditioner, I also apply some of this on top of it, from the scalp to the ends (but really focusing it on the ends). I let this combo sit on my hair as I shave and wash my face.
  3. It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product: I’ve gone through like five bottles of this stuff (both original and the keratin one) and I love it. I spray this in my hair a few times after I let it towel dry for about 30 minutes.
  4. Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray: I use this right after the It’s a 10 and then brush the two through my hair with a wide-toothed comb.
  5. Batiste Hint of Color [Dark & Deep Brown] Dry Shampoo: I use this on days that I don’t wash my hair. I spray it on my roots, let it sit for a minute or so, rub my scalp/roots with my fingers, and then brush my hair through with a brush.

After washing my hair and spraying my It’s a 10 and Heat Tamer spray, I use a round brush and my Revlon hair dryer on warm heat to smooth out my bangs/fringe – otherwise, I get some weird kinks in the front of my hair. I then flip my head over and roughly dry the rest of my hair until it’s about 50% dry. I won’t lie, my hair is unruly looking and frizzy, but luckily it’s nighttime and I don’t see anyone other than Tom.

Mornings after washing my hair, I spritz some more Heat Tamer spray before curling my hair with my Ultra Chi Flat Iron (in Sapphire Chrome – I love it!). I have perfected this process, so it literally only takes me 10 minutes to curl my hair. It’s fantastic. On second and third day hair, I can usually get away with just using dry shampoo and brushing it through – my hair still has some wave to it from the day(s) before. [Side note: Tom says he prefers my hair on the second day, probably because it’s more of a relaxed wave versus a curl and the natural oils make it shiny.] If I’ve worked out or have sweated more than usual, I’ll usually wear my hair in a ponytail on the third and/or fourth day.

Now, let’s talk about the dyeing part. During my last couple years of high school and first year or so of college, I didn’t dye my hair really frequently. Whenever I found a gray hair, I would pull it out. I know, I know, the old saying of pulling one and growing three more…but I was so embarrassed and frustrated with the fact that I was a late-teen and already had grays.

I then began to dye my entire head with box dyes from drug stores every 6-8 weeks. I’ve had light brown, dark brown, blonde highlights, red highlights, and lots of colors in between. But all of that dyeing was killing my hair. I always had split ends, it was always dry and super prone to frizz, and it felt thin and looked unhealthy. I had a couple times where I cut my hair short because that was the only way to get rid of the split ends – they were that intense and high up in my hair.

Early last year, however, I decided to try going to a salon regularly instead of using a box dye. I’ve always heard that box dyes were so unhealthy for your hair because they were pre-measured and super intense so that they could work for anyone’s hair type. Plus, I wanted to stop coloring my entire head, so when I found a salon here in Brooklyn, I asked her to simply cover my roots. I noticed my hair started feeling healthier, and the scalp massage was always amazing. She gave me highlights a couple times too, giving my hair some dimension. But that gets pricey! Plus I would get a trim every couple visits, so with the trim and coloring, it was about $200 a pop.Hair coloring Clairol Professional Ion Brilliance

After about 8 months of visiting this salon every 7ish weeks, I decided to try my hand at getting a color and developer from Sally Beauty Supply. I paid less than $10 (about the price of a box dye) for the necessary materials (including color, developer, mixing bowl, and application brush), and I couldn’t be more happy. I have now dyed my roots twice using this method and I’m so happy I took the plunge and did this because, aside from not dyeing at all, it’s much better for my hair.

Whew, I know that was a lot of information, but I’m hoping it was helpful to someone out there in the vast universe. If you have tried any of these products, let me know how they worked for you! If you know any others that you like, leave it below to help the next person!

Taking Stock.

I got this idea from Hannah [The Art in Life] and thought it would be great to take inventory (or, as the title states, take stock) of my surroundings and life every once in awhile. Mostly because it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of work, the vast possibilities of the internet (I could watch YouTube and/or Netflix for hours), and the stresses of days past, present, and future.

So I decided to take this post for a spin. Some of the items are a little questionable and not very applicable to me…like, sewing and bookmarking…so I took those out.

Enjoying: Re-watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Andy Dwyer is amazing. As are Leslie, Ron Swanson, and everyone else. Except Jerry. He sucks.

Waiting: For Tom to wake up. He’s been on a really strange sleep/wake schedule, so I’m hoping he’s not out for half of the day.

Liking: The yoga channel I found on YouTube – I have now done 4 days of the 30 Day of Yoga series. I like doing it on days when I don’t workout at school with my co-worker. Adriene is calming but also quirky and makes yoga enjoyable, not boring or awkward.

Making: I’ll be making a couple lessons for Monday and Tuesday today.

Cooking: Well, I just had cinnamon raisin toast and two hard-boiled eggs with coffee for breakfast. Tom and I will be making a couple dishes for tomorrow’s Super Bowl party at our friends’ place.

Drinking: Lots of water – I’m trying soooo hard to drink the recommended amount for my weight everyday (8.5 glasses)

Reading: Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder From Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. I just started it this week and it’s so interesting already. I recently finished The White Queen by Philippa Gregory which was long but interesting.

Wanting: A FURRY CREATURE TO LOVE AND SNUGGLE WITH!!!!! And a house so we can have more than one furry creature. Preferably cats and dogs. No sloths because they’re just disgusting and ugly.

Looking: Always looking for inspiration and for ways to be healthier and happier.

Playing: Not at the moment, but I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on our PS4; I’m about 27% through the game.

Wishing: I wish I could pay off my student loans, like, yesterday. Such a big source of stress for the next 10 years…

Wondering: When we’ll start getting rid of some of these comic books taking up space in our apartment (and my mind).

Loving: YouTube and Netflix, as usual. Favorites on YouTube at the moment: Nikki Phillippi (health, lifestyle, and inspirational themes), Grace Helbig (just plain hilarious), Mamrie Hart (again, hilarious + alcoholic beverage recipes), and of course the Saccone-Jolys (Irish daily vloggers with 2 adorable kids).

Hoping: I’m hoping to be productive today. The past few weekends have proven super unproductive which isn’t always a bad thing, but I would love to change the course of how my weekends are spent.

Marveling: At where God has taken and brought me in life. High-school Holliday would never have believed where post-graduate school Holliday is right now.

Needing: Ugh, I need to do laundry and go grocery shopping and clean the apartment. What are weekends good for?

Smelling: My amazing candle warmer warming up an amazing scent I ordered from Etsy two years ago. It’s called Plumberry Spice. It’s amazing. I already said that, but seriously it is. I just went to find it so I could link the wax melts, but the shop no longer sells them – Nooooooo!!!!!

Wearing: Pajamas, of course. Again, it’s Saturday.

Following: My gut? I think? Oh, I’ve also been adding a bunch of blogs onto my Feedly. Any suggestions for your favorites?

Noticing: The tightness in my left shoulder every time I inhale. Need some yoga today. And a massage.

Knowing: I know so much about makeup from watching millions (okay, not millions, but at least hundreds) of beauty videos, and knowing I own a few good products, but never actually wearing a full face of makeup. I want to, but then I sometimes feel like it would be a waste of time. Tom doesn’t like lots of makeup either. Also, I don’t feel like risking a break-out and a bunch of clogged pores.

Thinking: About what the heck the next unit for my Integrated Algebra II class should be…suggestions?

Feeling: Tired. And bored. And sore and tight from working out/yoga-ing.

So there you go! Definitely give it a shot – it’s always good to get in touch with your emotions (sappy, yeah; necessary, of course). I’m sure if you did it once a week, you might start to become more positive and more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

No Filter Rambles

Oh. Em. Jee.

Do you spell it ‘gee’? I always see it spelled like that but then I think to myself, Wouldn’t that be said like ‘giggle’ only ‘geegle’ minus the gle? But then again I say GIF like JIF, so how reliable are my thought processes and decisions, really?

Anyways, back to what I’m omg-ing about.

I got to see the freaking No Filter Show last night in Brooklyn. For those of you (noobs slash people with lives that don’t revolve around watching strangers on YouTube) that don’t know what the No Filter Show is, it’s a comedy show starring the lovely and talented Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, and Hannah Hart (in no particular order of importance, preference, or alphabetization).

Ever since I started watching these three on the wonderful world of YT, I knew one thing: I wanted to be their friend. Sure, that sounds creepy, wanting to be friends with people I’ve never actually met in real-life and that have no idea of my actual existence. However, whatevs.

So when I saw that they would be coming to Brooklyn for their comedy show, I jumped all over that opportunity. My husband, Tom, agreed to go with me and he gave me the push I needed to get a VIP ticket instead of general (AKA: peasant) admission. The VIP ticket got me a signed poster of the three ladies as well as a signed copy of Grace’s new book Grace’s Guide: The art of pretending to be a grown-up.

Oh, and I’d get to meet the three of them after the show!!!!!1! Sign me up!

When we arrived at the venue, The Bell House, Tom and I had to stand in two different lines: VIP and peasant. There was limited seating so I was hoping to snag a seat and discretely save another for him. Luckily though, I began talking to a few of the girls around me. I forgot all about Tom and ended up hanging out with the girls all night, then hanging out with the Trifecta who decided that I was way cool and wanted me to go back to LA with them and make videos with them and be in shows and movies with them and we all grew old together.

Just kidding.

So Tom and I were in different lines, but luckily I began talking to a few of the girls around me in line. The girl in front of me told me she was with her dad who was also waiting in the general admission line. The plan: we would snag seats and sit with two chairs between us, ensuring that our accompanying male folk would have seats.

It worked beautifully. We got our posters and books, snagged four seats, and then I snagged a few drinks from the bar. I didn’t want to wait and then have to wait in a super long line. But then I remembered that the majority of the attendees were not even of legal age – I believe the average age was around 16, not counting the parents with their children – so I really didn’t have to worry about long bar lines.

Tom and I giving a throwback Grace face before the show!
Tom and I giving a throwback Grace face before the show!

The show started promptly at 6 and as soon as the girls came out on stage in their amazing money suits, it was unreal. I know when I watch them that they are indeed real human beings. But seeing them in real life brought all feelings out!

And they didn’t disappoint. The show was hilarious and lasted for almost an hour and a half. There were a few skits where all three of the girls were on stage and in between those each of them had their own skit. Grace’s mom also had a big part in between skits via video.
Opening song - Shake It Up

Everyone began to leave the venue, but us VIPers with our red wristbands were told to go to the other room where we would meet the Trifecta. I was nearly peeing my pants; you see, I’m pretty sure I have a tinier bladder than is normal and I also drank a beer, so I was in need of a bathroom, but the lines were long and I didn’t want to risk losing my awesome spot in line.

The ringleader of the venue told us all to have our cameras/phones ready because they had another event going on in a bit, so there was only time to take a few selfies per person.

After about 20 minutes, a bunch of people in the back of the line began making a ruckus – they were coming to meet us!

Trifecta enters

When my time came, I wanted to just put all our arms around each others’ shoulders and leave the hall and go walking down the streets of Brooklyn like a quadruple of awesome friends. Instead, I gave Mamrie a hug first, jumping out of my skin while N*Sync played in the background (this place had a good throwback playlist going). She asked what my name was and said she f-ing loved it.

Then I hugged Grace and gave her my phone because she was taking selfies all night. I hugged Hannah and then we took a couple selfies. My phone blows, and the front facing camera takes really crummy pictures. But Grace took about a million (okay, only 9) and you can tell it’s us, so whatever.Fangirl selfies

I told them my students were going to be so jealous and Hannah said, “You’re a teacher? God bless you!” We each hugged one more time before I left to go find Tom outside.

It was magical. And it went way too fast. And Tom had to tell me to slow down because I was practically skip-running down the street because adrenaline and happy and all the feels.

So now we’re best friends. And that’s all I have to say about that. Quadfecta 4 lyfe!

I tried juicing…and filmed it…

Tom and I got a juicer as a bridal shower gift (we’re getting married in 13 days!!) so I decided to finally open it up and give it a shot. I decided to go with the ‘ABC’ juice – apple, beet, and carrot. It seemed simple enough and I like all 3 ingredients.

I actually filmed my experience with juicing, and you can see it on YouTube! Watch all of my facial expressions.

I added 1 whole apple, 1 whole beet, and 2 whole carrots. At first taste, the juice was good and I was really excited to drink up! But after a few sips, it was clear that there was way too much beet for my taste. So while I would and probably will make this juice again, I will definitely try using only half of a beet next time.

The clean-up is very annoying – I think maybe if I had the luxury of a dishwasher, it wouldn’t be too bad. But scooping out all the remnants and scrubbing all the small crevices free from fruit and vegetable particles is such a pain in the ass. That is the only real downside I’ve found so far.

Do you have a go-to juice recipe or recipe website that you love? Share it in the comments below or on the video! I’ve made one other juice since this one (kale, apple, cucumber, and blueberries – I actually chugged this one and kind of felt sick for awhile afterwards) and want to keep trying new concoctions!

Looking for inspiration

You know how pregnant women say they have ‘pregnancy-brain’? Well, I honestly think that ‘bride-to-be-brain’ is also a real thing. And oh boy do I have it.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written an original blog post on here. I’ve written a few drafts of this post, but each time I’ve been unhappy with the outcome. They’re either too rambly or I just didn’t want to publish them. So let’s try again…

Lately, I’ve just been re-posting or linking our wedding website blog posts, because at the moment (and for the next 3 weeks) that is what my life consists of. Wedding stuff. Wedding planning. Thinking about the wedding. Talking about the wedding. Making wedding decorations. Talking to wedding vendors. Coordinating everything with the wedding party.

And then there’s the upstate reception the following weekend. So I guess, technically, my life is all wedding for the next 4 weeks.

Deep breath.

So that’s the major excuse for not writing anything new on here. I guess another excuse is that Tom and I got an apartment in Brooklyn (exciting!), but since he works during the day, I’ve been spending a lot of time unpacking, arranging, re-arranging, and cleaning (not as exciting!). A lot.

As a teacher, I have had the summer off, so needless to say I should be having the time of my life, right?

You’re probably thinking, “Well Holliday, aren’t you lucky that you have all this free time to move and unpack and plan a wedding?!”

But you have remember that humans enjoy interaction with other humans. And they like experiencing things with other humans, connecting emotionally by sharing new or familiar experiences.

So I’ve been going stir-crazy being stuck in our apartment by myself for hours on end. With the lack of close friends or family in the city, I’ve been getting pretty lonely. Friends who are closer obviously have day jobs, so they aren’t free until the evenings or weekends. It makes seeing friends that much more special, but those days or weeks in between seeing them are the worst. Ugh, adulthood.

So I guess what I’m getting at is my lack of original blog posts can be chalked up to a lack of inspiration. I mean, if you want to see a bunch of posts about how I’ve been planning my wedding, there are plenty of those. In terms of decorations or making other elements of the wedding, I want to wait until after the wedding to post anything so that it doesn’t spoil the excitement.

But sometimes, you just want to talk about anything but the wedding stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I am no less excited about getting married to my best friend and celebrating with friends and family. And I understand people like hearing updates and how things are going in the wedding area, but it seems that’s all I think or talk about anymore. And it gets tiring (and frustrating) after awhile. So I want to find an outlet so that I can focus on things other than the wedding.

Tom and I recently got two GoPros to record the wedding. We also talked about making YouTube channels and videos. I was all for it, excited to finally do something I’ve thought about and have wanted to do for years.

But what the hell am I going to make them about? Again, there’s a lack of inspiration. I’m just so consumed by the world of weddings, I can barely think of anything to write or talk about. Other than something wedding-related, obviously.

So if you have any suggestions on what you might be interested in seeing in a blog post (or video!) let me know! In the meantime, I’m going to go print out some escort cards.

My Secret (until now) Obsession

About three years ago, I stumbled upon the world of YouTube beauty videos. My first video, How To: Miley Cyrus Inspired Curls by a username juicystar07 (reminds me of AIM days…to which I admit, my first username was sweetcuddler88; don’t judge, I’m sure your’s wasn’t much better).

blair fowlerAnd this was only the beginning. From here, I looked through a bunch of Blair’s other videos. These videos included makeup tutorials, Outfit Of The Day videos (OOTD for seasoned veterans), and random talk-y videos. (Blair is juicystar’s actual name, although not her birth name; just one of the many things I’ve learned over the past 3 years. Creepy? Maybe. But she puts it out there for all to know, so there.)

Needless to say, I became obsessed. I started searching for certain makeup tutorial looks, began subscribing to other beauty gurus, and even used my roommate’s face to try and recreate the looks (Note: A huge thanks goes out to Becky: for enduring my cheap and sometimes painful non-makeup brushes, and later buying me actual ones for Christmas!). They show you step by step what products they use, how they are applied, and explain everything in between. There are super natural looks and crazy dramatic looks. Colorful or neutral. The list goes on and on. And not just makeup, but nail polish, clothing…EVERYTHING!

Since I began watching, my makeup collection has grown, as has my respect for these young women who use it on an every day basis. Even more respect for filming yourself doing it and having it come out looking amazing!  I contemplated starting my own channel to create such tutorials, but I realized I’m just not as obsessed with or dedicated to makeup, the latest trends, and fashion as some of these girls are. So I’ll leave it up to them.

Three years later, I am still subscribed to Blair. Although her videos feature less makeup tutorials (I mean, I guess there’s only so many color combinations AND the fact that there are hundreds of girls like her doing the same thing now) I’m still a fan. My subscription box has grown to other beauty gurus; here’s just a few of my favorites:

  • juicystar07 – Blair with her brown hair and brown eyes (twinsies!)
  • AllThatGlitters21 – Blair’s older sister, Elle, who has blonde hair and blue eyes
  • MissJenFABULOUS – she does amazing nail polish tutorials!missjenfabulous
  • shaaanxo – she’s from New Zealand, so her accent is great
  • kandeejohnson – she not only covers fashion and beauty, but she has a super sweet and loving heart as well
  • TheStyleDiet – she has an Irish/American accent that’s simply garjuss. Her older videos feature color combinations based on your skin/hair/eye color – it’s fabulous. And she now has an incredibly adorable 6 month old named Emilia, whom I watch on her and her husband’s daily vlogs (video blogs) on SacconeJolyTV

It’s crazy thinking that this started 3 years ago. Here I was, a junior in college, sitting in my dorm room, just wanting to be pretty and learn how to have hair like Miley (this was around the time when The Last Song was coming to theaters, so her long, luscious (albeit fake) locks were everywhere). And now I am a first semester grad student, sitting in my dorm room, wanting to be pretty, and writing about it. Well, I guess not all that much has changed.

Question: What is your secret (or not so secret) obsession?