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New In Beauty And Style Bits

Sunday, June 24, 2018
So, I've had a bit of a summer rejig as I always tend to do with the changing of the seasons. For me, summer is all about getting rid of as many layers as possible -- clothing as well as beauty layers. As I write this, we're looking at a high of 98 degrees with heat indexes well into the 100s so it's just too damn hot to be messing with anything more what's than absolutely necessary! Here's a peak at some of things I've picked up or restocked lately that help me strip back as much as humanely possible while not actually walking around half naked.

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Glossier Lash Slick
Let's be truthful. I only picked this up because I needed to restock my beloved Boy Brown and in order to hit the free shipping amount, I needed another purchase. I had seen the marketing campaign for this and I was already really intrigued, so it wasn't really a hard sell, but they can rest assured their Instagram posts and free shipping limits are doing very well for them. It's a super natural looking mascara, which is perfect for summer when you can't even bear to think of anything that could be remotely described as clumpy. It doesn't flake at all throughout the day, nor smudge or wear off. Even when I'm bad and forget to take off my makeup at night, it's still practically good as new the next morning! Bonus: Glossier is cruelty free, unlike my previous drugstore mascara favs. I'm officially a convert!

Glossier You Perfume (again)
I'm not even sure if this counts, because it's only a sample size (again), but it's just such a perfect summer (or really any time of the year) perfume. It's florally while still managing to be fresh. It's warm while not being too heavy. I just keep coming back to it! Seriously, I don't know how Glossier does it but I've loved every single product of theirs I've tried, especially when it comes to light and airy summer time looks (or smells).



topshop denim light wash skirt h&m red slides sandals everlane black crew t-shirt hands up

topshop denim light wash skirt h&m red slides sandals everlane black crew t-shirt

Topshop Denim Skirt
I still automatically think of the 90s when I see denim skirts, but I just don't care. Skirts and dresses in the summer are great because you don't have to fully encase yourself in a denim sweat lodge aka jeans, but I hadn't really found a skirt I liked. The ones I've had previously were all a little too formal for everyday, or a little too blah (I'm looking at you, cotton elastic banded a-line skirts that for some reason I always think will work). Finally, a more structured skirt that's still super chill! I love the light wash and the frayed hem. It's high waisted so you're still flattering the thinnest part of your body and it's not so short that you're worried about flashing everyone. I hope we all collectively stick with this denim skirt trend for a few years at least!

Topshop Linen Tank Top
Cream. Tortoiseshell buttons. Linen. It's like my spring style inspiration post went personal shopping for me and found the summer incarnation of itself. It's a super easy wear, it's a dreamy summer fabric and it's super on trend while still being the kind of thing I'd be happy to wear in seasons to come. I'm a huge fan.

Everlane Black T-shirt
Everlane t-shirts are my jam. I already own a white crew neck and a white v-neck from them, so naturally it's time to expand to black. Sure maybe a black crew neck t-shirt doesn't sound super cooling in the summer, but paired with my light wash denim skirt and my yellow sandals, it's a super easy to wear, casual smart outfit that you don't even have worry about sweat patches in! The dream!

black cat linen tank top green eyes black wall

Falling In Love With My City (Again)

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Every summer I fall head over heels in love. Just like any love, it waxes and wanes a bit throughout the year, but inevitably the summertime is always a passionate affair. This love isn't for any one person or even a single thing -- it's a love of my entire city.

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falling in love city local shop outdoor activity event tourism staycation walk path shadow bike path field

It starts around the beginning of May. Opening weekend of our two farmer's markets bring a little buzz to the crowds. Everybody breaks out summer wardrobes and ditch the gym in favor of playing outdoors under the sun. The days start getting longer, so even weekday evenings can be spent out on porches, sipping wine and eating delicious grilled food.

As May turns into June, more signs of summer start to creep in. Homegrown gardens start taking off. Local makers host festivals to showcase their products. Tuesdays are spent picnicking on the grounds of the university art museum, listening to Grammy-winning artists play at Jazz in June and Thursdays are reserved for a summer-long concert series at a local park. Suddenly there are options for free outdoor yoga classes at different public squares or parks practically every other day. The extensive bike paths are full of people exploring every different corner of the city, from downtown bike lanes to crushed gravel paths way out next to llama farms!

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falling in love city local shop outdoor activity event tourism staycation  ice cream cone picnic local vendor food sweet dessert dairy store lemon   falling in love city local shop outdoor activity event tourism staycation  ice cream cone picnic local vendor food sweet dessert zestos sprinkles

And sure, it sometimes gets almost unbearably hot here in July and August (and I guess May and June too...), but the heat isn't so bad when you're splashing around in one of the many neighborhood public pools, hitting up a local lake or hanging out at the zoo in the evening drinking local beers and watching penguins waddle around and swim at Brews at the Zoo. If you prefer, you can cool off with an iced coffee (or even another beer) at one of the four Mill coffee shop locations. Or maybe coffee isn't your thing? No worries -- Zesto's, the university Dairy Store, Ivanna Cone and C&L Dairy Sweets all have some fantastic local ice cream options that are perfect little destinations to head to on your bike.

The sheer number of outdoor events makes my heart burst with excitement every year. Rib fest (which is fun even if you're a vegetarian), food truck gatherings, a Nelly and Juvenile concert outdoors in the middle of downtown (!?), rain barrel and composting workshops, local food walking tours, bike rides that tour through local breweries and end up at Pioneer's park, next to the bison fields -- the list goes on and on. The only way you could be bored in Lincoln in the summer is if you're actively trying to be.

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falling in love city local shop outdoor activity event tourism staycation  concert music show

Lincoln is absolutely not the only city that's bursting at the seems with summer vibes. Surely your city is too! Facebook, Meetup, heck, even your local newspaper or bulletin boards in local shops will be chocked full of things to do so get out there and fall in love with everything there is to do and see during this awesome time of year!

Flirting With Veganism: Motivations and Resources

Sunday, June 10, 2018
In my May highlights post, I mentioned that I was learning more about veganism, but haven't yet made any full-time switch. There's too much to say about the topic to touch on in a quick highlights post, so I decided to dedicate a full post to the subject. Lucky you! If you're at all interested in veganism, even if you're not yet considering it for yourself, stick around for a chat about my motivations, what kinds of plant-based options and resources there are and how I'm making some simple swaps but avoiding any labels for now.

vegan vegetarian vegetable radish eating plant based healthy environmentally friendly eco sustainable

Before this year I had never considered a vegan lifestyle mainly because I always thought that the reason people went vegan was for animal welfare. Don't get me wrong -- I absolutely love animals, I just haven't been that bothered by the concept of eating them because that's a natural occurrence in the wild. Of course in the wild the animals have enjoyed a free life and haven't been kept cooped up in tiny, dirty cages without ever seeing the light of day -- obviously that fact that this is not the case in the meat industry truly sickens me. But the problem is the well-known and openly discussed instances of cruelty surrounding the meat industry have never prompted me to change, as heartless as that may be. I was raised on meat, I live in "the Beef State," and I genuinely like the taste of meat and dairy.

So what did it for me?

My inner hippie.

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Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
I'm not even sure now where I first started looking at the environmental impact of animal based products, but the reality caught me off-guard. I thought reducing or eliminating the packaging on the things I buy would be enough, but I suddenly realized that simply making those animal-based items was a problem itself, not just what kind of packaging it ends up in.

In hindsight it totally makes sense. Animals need room, even if you are cramming them into teeny, tiny spaces, and they need food, which takes room to grow. And of course farms are crammed, dirty places so you need pesticides and herbicides and ways to combat all that bacteria squishing around. Don't forget that the animals themselves are letting off substantial amounts of methane, which is more detrimental to the environment that carbon dioxide (86 times more detrimental to be exact), and when all is said and done and the animals are ready to die, there's all the emissions involved with transport and processing (51% of the world's emissions are from livestock and their byproducts). And that's not even touching on the fishing industry, which alone is responsible for 20% of the plastic in the ocean!

Once I started opening my eyes to the environmental effects my food choices caused, it was pretty much impossible not to do something about it. I started small, just learning about being vegan and what kinds of experiences different people had going vegan. Like I said in my May highlights post, YouTube was invaluable for this. There are several YouTubers that I listed so be sure to check those out here. At the same time, I started trying some vegan recipes. Minimalist Baker made it super simple to dip my toes into the vegan waters because their recipes are all really easy and really tasty. They've got a YouTube channel, blog and several cookbooks, both printed and ebooks -- I highly recommend them all!

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I've got quite a bit left on my vegan/plant-based eating game plan. Right now I'm just incidentally eating vegan meals, but going forward I want to make more of a structured plan. I might try eating at least 2 out 3 vegan meals each day, or eating vegan on the weekdays, etc. I know that having a goal will help me stay on track and make slow progress. Continuing to learn more about the effects of eating animal products is also important to me. As you know, I love to read so I'll be hitting up the library for some books. There are also several documentaries I'm interested in watching, even if I know they'll be hard for me to watch. Here's what I've got on my to read/watch/listen list currently:


I've got a long way to go, but I'm proud of the changes I've made so far. I am excited to continue down this path. If any of you are already vegan or vegetarian, or are considering making the change, please reach out because I'd love to hear about your experiences! And thanks for reading this behemoth post all the way through! Time to get started on one of those documentaries...

A Veggie Garden Guide

Sunday, June 3, 2018
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It's that time of year once again! From here until late summer you'll probably catch me with a sweet farmer's tan (what little tan I can manage to get) and dirt perpetually stuck under my nails. It's a little hard to maintain any semblance of grace when you've got your knees in the dirt a few nights a week, but it's totally worth it when you've got bunches of delicious veggies to munch on for free throughout the year! Curious about tilling your own little plot of land? I'll try to make all my farming ancestors proud here today and let you in on my best gardening knowledge, as well as my best sub-title alliterations.

garden gardening veggie fruit vegetable crop plant guide 101 how to square foot small space urban gardening farming box plantsPlanning

Deciding what you want to plant is the fun part! I recommend a quick trip to your local gardening shop just to take a peek at what kinds of seeds and plants they have in stock. Most times you won't find anything there that isn't well suited to your area so you won't be disappointed like if you found some cool plant online only to learn it dies instantly in your climate. Got a plant-obsessed friend? Time to call them up, buy them a coffee and head to the store. They'll certainly have some knowledge about what is easy to care for or what requires more work, so make sure to listen to their advice. Make your first trip a window-shopping only trip, and compile a list of everything you're interested in planting. And make sure you're picking things you actually want to eat! If you hate squash, maybe don't dedicate a whole corner of your garden to 6 different heirloom varieties - nobody likes dedicating their time and money to something that they won't even reap the rewards of.

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Once you've got your wish list of fruits, veggies and herbs, it's time to whip out your measuring stick. I'm a big fan of the square foot gardening method because it really lets you pack all kinds of things into a small space. Basically, you just measure out your space in 1x1 foot squares, and then figure out which plants to place in each square foot. There are tons of planning tools or simple charts to help you figure out how many plants of a specific type of crop you can get into one square foot. This is where I draw a fun little picture in my Bullet Journal and sketch out my garden layout. After I'm done I know exactly how much I'm going to plant and where they'll all end up. Time to go shopping!

My shopping list this year includes:
  • 1 Basil
  • 1 Pineapple sage
  • 1 Parsley
  • A few more strawberry plants to join my existing crop (3-4)
  • Tomatoes (4 roma, 4 jet star and one or two cherry or grape varieties)
  • 4 Eggplant
  • Bell peppers - 4 red, 4 yellow, 4 gree
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 6 Zucchini 
  • 4 Cucumbers
  • 1 Watermelon
  • Black bean seeds? 
  • Radish seeds

garden gardening veggie fruit vegetable crop plant guide 101 how to square foot small space urban gardening farming grid lines planning

garden gardening veggie fruit vegetable crop plant guide 101 how to square foot small space urban gardening farming planning


garden gardening veggie fruit vegetable crop plant guide 101 how to square foot small space urban gardening farming

Planting

When to start getting your hands dirty will depend on two things: where you live and what you're growing. Check out what zone you live in here and then you should pretty easily be able to find some planting calendars based off of your zone number. When in doubt, play it safe. Exact dates don't ever really seem to matter so long as they're after the last frost so don't worry too much about planting a little later than it recommends.

Once you're ready to plant, make sure you give your garden a good tilling first to loosen up the soil. Luckily for me I have access to a rototiller, but a hand tiller will do just fine and is much, much cheaper. I don't bother with any fertilizing, but I'm also really lucky to have pretty nice soil. I give my soil a little boost at the end of the growing season by throwing in some crushed egg shells, burying all my leaves in the garden and, hopefully by the end of this season I can also add some vermicompost. By the time spring rolls around I just need to mix it all up and it's ready to go!

If you're also using the square foot gardening method, I recommend drawing out your square foot lines with a hand trowel or stick. They don't have to be precise, or even very straight lines (as you can see by the pictures), but they really help when you're laying out your plants.

All that's left is digging some holes, loosening up each plant's root ball, plopping them in and packing them down. Try not to do this during the hottest part of the day so you don't stress your plant babies out too much, and don't forget to give your new garden a good soaking when everything is planted.

Finally, it's a good idea to set up any support structures now that your plants will need later, like tomato cages, trellises, stakes, etc. It's a lot easier to get a cage around a baby tomato than when it's 3 feet tall with branches spreading out everywhere! Bonus: all these structures help deter little creatures from coming and snacking on your plants. I even go a step further and supplement the structures with clear plastic forks near all the plants, stuck in handle-side first. It sounds really weird, but the prongs seem to scare the animals away! Alternatively you can use cat litter or hair (human or pet) spread around the garden to keep animals away. Once you've got everything in place you should be set!

garden gardening veggie fruit vegetable crop plant guide 101 how to square foot zucchini
Picking

(Okay, maybe this sub-title alliteration thing was a bit of a stretch.)

Now that you've got yourself a beautiful new garden, you just have to keep it alive. No big deal, right? Here are some tips for caring for your plants:
  1. Check on your plants daily and look at their leaves to tell if they need watering. Check during the morning or evening, not in the middle of the day when they might be a little droopy from heat. 
  2. Count to 10 when watering each plant. Not too much, not too little.
  3. If you're watering in the evening, avoid getting the leaves wet if possible to help prevent any molding.
  4. Keep up with your weeding so your plants don't have to compete for resources.
  5. Learn how to tell when your crops are ripe so you don't pick too early or miss their prime time.
  6. Use cattle panels for making trellises, or twine wrapped around stakes.
  7. Don't bother with fertilizers or pesticides unless you actually have a problem. Most of the time they're not worth it. Plus, if you skip them you can say you're a fancy organic farmer!
  8. You probably don't need to prune anything. Be lazy.
  9. If you have a problem with birds or other critters (or drunken strangers if your garden is in your front yard like mine...) you can cover your plants with netting so nothing can get it. Be sure not to leave holes or otherwise animals might get stuck!
  10. Learn a ton of recipes for using up your crop. There will be veggies everywhere. Pickles, cucumber salad, tomato sauce, pesto, salsa, stuffed peppers, eggplant parmesan, etc, etc, etc. And make friends with your neighbors because you will absolutely have more than you can eat!
In summary, plant, water, wait. Don't worry the small stuff, don't get sucked into buying a lot of gear and don't make it more work than it needs to be. A little dirt, sun, water and time is all your garden needs to give you a ton of fresh food throughout the summer! Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you grow!