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Jul 31, 2014

Beauty // Clarisonic Mia Review


as with my nike+ fuelband review, clarisonic has not asked me to review their product.  it's just a product that i love and i want to share why i love it with all of you!

my skin has always been acne-prone.  less so now that i'm in my twenties, but it's still pretty oily and it still likes to surprise me from time to time with a lovely blemish here and there.  i'm the kind of girl who loves the feeling of tingly, clean skin...you know, the kind that makes you go "ahhhh" because your skin can actually breathe?  yeah, there's nothing like it.

i'm also the kind of girl who is always down for trying new products, and was really intrigued by the clarisonic cleansing brush system for a while.  i did my research (and talked to a friend who owned a clarisonic), and finally decided to go with the clarisonic mia 1.  the mia 1 prices around $100-$120, which is a bit of an investment, but in my opinion, it was totally worth it.

the mia 1 has only one timed setting, which gives you a minute-long cleansing cycle for your face.  other models have two different speeds and settings, but honestly, only having one has never bothered me in the nearly two years that i've been using my mia.

the mia is made up of a handle and a removable brush head, and the brush head oscillates at a speed of 300 movements per second, which helps to open up your pores and cleanse deep-down.  according to clarisonic, using a mia will cleanse your skin 6x better than just using your hands.

i've been using my clarisonic for nearly two years now and i have definitely seen improvement in my skin.  my skin is softer, feels cleaner after washing, and while i do still have blemishes from time to time, they clear up so much faster.



here's a run down of what i love about the mia:
- you can use it daily
- you can use any cleanser you want with it
- safe to keep in the shower all the time
- a charge lasts upwards of 2 weeks
- the brush head pops off easily for cleaning and changing
- gives you a deeper clean than just using your hands

do you have a clarisonic?  love it?  hate it?  do you have something comparable that you love?

Jul 30, 2014

Blogging // Ten Go-To Blog Post Ideas



let's face it, bloggers...no matter how hard we try to make it look like our blogging lives are so well thought-out (you know, posts planned months ahead of time and perfect photos taken every day), there are always those days when the inspiration just doesn't strike.  here are some post ideas that will hopefully help you knock down that ugly wall called writer's block!

1.  make a list // every monday, i post a list of things i'm thankful for that day.  these posts are super quick and super easy to read (which makes readers happy!)  can't think of something you can list?  try making a list of what makes you happy, what sorts of things you like to do in a particular season (like a summer bucket list!), your favorite workout songs, tips for making a quick meal, great date ideas, etc.  the possibilities are endless!

2.  how to // what do you know how to do really well?  maybe you're an expert at yo-yoing (ok, or maybe you're not in middle school anymore...), or you just have some great recipes or diy ideas!.  there's something that you know how to do and you can share your expertise with your readers!  these posts can take a little time to put together, but they can be some of your best posts if they have great photos and instructions.

3.  instagram updates // these are quick, easy, and fun!  if you're on instagram, chances are your feed is a great representative of what you've been up to.  create a post of recent instagram photos and either let them stand alone, or embellish with short captions to explain to your readers what you were doing when you took the photo. (this is also a great time to tell your readers where to find and follow you on instagram!)

4.  review a product // you don't have to be asked by a company to review their product in order to share what you love about something!  i recently reviewed my nike fuelband and clarisonic cleansing brush just because they're products that i believe in and want my readers to know about!  is there something you use regularly that you think your readers would benefit from hearing your opinion on?  then share it!  (it's good practice to include a disclaimer saying that you weren't approached by the company to review the product)

5.  have coffee with your readers // you know that feeling of sitting down with an old friend and just spilling a list of random thoughts that you've been wanting to tell someone?  like how you don't really like butter pecan ice cream or how you bought yourself flowers the other day or how you really would like to try out a new foundation but don't know what to choose?  why not write a post like that?  pretend you're sitting down for coffee with your readers and tell them all of the stuff that's going through your head, and ask some questions!  you'll be amazed at what sorts of comments you'll get back, and maybe you'll even make some new friends!

6.  from the archives // maybe you've been blogging for a few years, and if that's the case, chances are you've written some pretty great posts early on in your blogging journey that your newer readers haven't seen.  friend, let me tell you a secret...it's ok to reuse!  pull out that post that you're super proud of but never got any attention, dust it off, update it if necessary and post it again!  there's no shame in that at all, and it's not cheating!

7.  behind the blog // similar to a "from the archives" post, but is more of a round-up of posts from your archives.  answer some questions like:  what post became unexpectedly popular?  what weird google search terms have led people to your blog?  what is your favorite type of post to write?  and link up some past blog posts as answers and examples for each question.  it will give your readers a look into your process and mindset when blogging, and also point them in the direction of some archived posts! (see this post on straight up z for more inspiration!)

8.  become a fashion or beauty blogger for a day // don't tell me you haven't ever put an outfit together that you're proud of, or have a beauty trick that you wouldn't mind sharing!  you don't have to be a fashion or beauty expert to share your style, and you don't need a professional photographer to take your photos!  grab a friend or family member and ask them to snap some photos in the backyard or download a self-timer app and take your own.  show off that great dress you thrifted or your five-minute face makeup routine.  stepping out of your element to take on a fashion or beauty post can be fun!

9.  get personal // ok, you don't have to share too much personal info on your blog, but your readers like to know that you're a real person!  get a little vulnerable once in a while; share something close to your heart; tell a story that will make your readers connect with you!  they can be funny or sentimental, or encouraging or just plain 'ol honest.  tell your readers how you met your boyfriend or spouse, the funny conversation you had with your grandma the other day, or about your most embarrassing moment.

10.  goals // some bloggers share goals on a weekly or monthly basis, some share their yearly goals at the beginning of each year. personally, i like thinking about goals on a seasonal basis, broken down into community, personal, and wellness categories.  whatever your goal-setting schedule, share some of your goals with your readers and maybe even check in later to tell them how you're doing!

what are some of your favorite go-to blog post ideas?  what do you do when you get writer's block?

Jul 29, 2014

Local Eats // Roburritos



i'm a sucker for a good burrito.  of course, i love chipotle and moe's, but i really, really love finding good local spots to eat, and in the realm of burritos, i'm not sure there's much that can top roburritos!

let me take a moment to own up to the fact that i'm using the term "local" fairly loosely in these posts.  my first "local eats" location, the fractured prune, has locations all over the country, and both the prune and roburritos are at least a 30 minute drive from home for me.  also, i fully intend to include some of my favorite boston spots in this series.  think of it this way....these places are local to someone....right?

anyway, back to roburritos.



roburritos has a few locations in lancaster and york, pa.  aj and i have only been to the one on prince street in downtown lancaster, and friends, i'm not kidding when i say we've driving forty-five minutes for this burrito.

it's a fun little spot...a little grungy, but with a lot of character.  i always feel a little too preppy when i walk through the door, but i'm sure i'm not the only one.  one of my favorite things about roburritos is that they've replace all of the brand-name soda labels on their soda machine with hand-drawn images that suggest the name of the soda.  for example, the one labeling fruit punch is an apple and a fist; ginger ale is a red-headed kid.  that's the type of character you'll find at roburritos.



rob's isn't the type of burrito place where you go down an assembly line and tell them what you want as you watch them put it together...there's a menu, you order from it.

we've never gotten anything but burritos because, frankly, they're just so darn good that i never even think about getting anything else.  i always make sure i get the side of chips and salsa, because they have the most wonderful chips (always consistently crunchy and salty, unlike those sorta rubbery ones you sometimes stumble upon at larger chains...anyone get what i'm saying?!), and their salsa is fresh and there's really no guessing what's in it...it's pretty straightforward.

aj likes that they have an option to make the burrito barbecue, so he always gets that.  by choosing that option, he forgoes their guacamole (which in my opinion, is a crime, but he doesn't like avocado, so it works for him).  rob's also has an entire line of their own barbecue sauces called Old Grumpy Marks...there's probably about ten different flavors in a range of spices, and we've tried a lot of them. they're all pretty yummy, and make for a fun twist on your burrito.



you have the option of chicken, steak, or potato in your burrito.  i've had the chicken (and aj always gets it), and it's good, but my favorite is the potato.  it's so yummy, and i don't know of another burrito place around us that offers potatoes as an option.  the chunks of potato are a little crispy and are filling!  my burrito had rice, black beans, potatoes, cheese, pico, guacamole, and sour cream.  so good.

the roburritos menu actually doesn't even tell you what's in the burrito...it just says "with everything; the way a burrito should be".  and you know when they say that, you should just trust.  because they know what they're doing.



my recommendation // the mini potato burrito with a side of chips and salsa and a drink

(linking up with the local adventurer link up on esther & jacob this week!)

Jul 28, 2014

Another Monday...



if you haven't linked up with emily at ember grey for her grateful heart mondays yet, then you're missing out!  let's be real...mondays can be rough.  i spend most of my mondays in meetings all day and after a while, my brain just hurts.

but starting the week off by being intentionally grateful is a practice that i love.

here's what i'm grateful for today:
working right near a grocery store with a kick butt salad bar (can you tell i'm eating lunch right now?)
new jeans
iced caramel macchiatos
exciting projects at work
mason jars
fun weekend adventures

as usual, i'm linking up with ember grey for grateful heart monday! emily runs the grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

and if i can ask, i have a prayer request for today!  you may or may not know that my dad is currently battling cancer...he has been on a new medicine since june and is getting scans today (and results tomorrow) to see if this drug is effective.  please pray that it is indeed working and that he experiences a total and miraculous healing!  thanks friends.

what are you grateful for today?

Jul 25, 2014

Managing Blog Sponsorships with Passionfruit



if you're a seasoned blogger who offers ad spaces on their blog, chances are you've either heard of, or are already using, passionfruit ads.  but if you're just dipping your toes into the waters of blog sponsorships, then passionfruit is about to become your best friend.

when i first started offering ad spaces on my blog, i just threw my email address out there and bloggers would email me, we'd send each other jpg buttons and a link, and i'd have a million little photo widgets on my sidebar.  there was no real method to the madness...every once in a while, i'd look around to see who still had my button up.  if someone didn't, then i probably took theirs off of my blog, because, well, we agreed to swap and they weren't holding up their end of the bargain anymore.

then, a blogger wrote a post about why she switched to passionfruit.  at first, i just thought "i don't have time to learn another blogging thing and this whole swapping thing isn't really a big deal to me anyway," so it took a while for me to check it out.  but once i did, i was totally sold.

passionfruit takes the work out of running sponsorships on your blog.

its as simple as setting up what size banner you want people to submit and then dropping some code into your advertising page and a different code where you want the banner to show up.  passionfruit automatically posts and takes down ads as they go live and expire; you can set it to rotate ads with each page reload; you can create free sponsorships or price them to whatever you want; and you can offer promo codes to your readers!

at one time, passionfruit took a fee for every ad you sold, but now you pay a monthly or yearly membership and the only fees you pay per ad are paypal's.

if you're thinking "i really don't want to pay to sell ads on my blog!" i get it.  once passionfruit went to a paid subscription last fall, i debated long and hard about whether to keep using their service.  (because i was using them before they went to a paid subscription, i was able to lock-into a rate of $50/year, but the monthly and yearly plans that are currently offered on their website start as low as $3/month!) finally, i decided to invest for a year and if it didn't pay itself off, then i'd find something else to use.
but friends, it's paid off.  it's paid off and then also allowed me to invest in advertising on blogs that are bigger than me, sponsor giveaways, and even take a few trips to visit that boy i love in boston.

passionfruit has made running ad spaces on my blog a total breeze and has allowed me to better focus on this space, rather than worrying about what ads i should have on my sidebar and for how long.

a few more things i love about passionfruit:
// it's not just for sidebar ads...you can sell guest posts, blog services, even memberships
// there's a marketplace that lists blogs that sell ads with passionfruit...great for discovering new blogs!
// the user interface is easy to navigate, and has a great look
// you can see stats on every ad, like views and clicks
// you get an email when someone purchases an ad and when an ad you've purchased is approved
// jason, the founder, works hard, responds quickly, and is always ready to help when you need him!

did you know?  if you're running a promo on ad spaces, you can tweet a link to your ad shop and the promo code at @passionfruitluv and they'll retweet it to you!  be sure to follow this account to get tips on who is having sales.

*if you're looking to advertise on heavens to betsy, book any ad by the end of july and get 50% off with the code "fiveyears"!

Jul 24, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

last week, my family went out for a night at the ballpark.  reading is home to the fightin' phils (formerly the reading phillies, which, in my opinion, is a much better name for them), and going out to games has been a tradition every summer since i can remember.  this was my first evening out this year, but hopefully it won't be my last.

each season, the park sells "cheaper by the dozen" tickets.  basically, you buy a book of twelve general admission tickets that you can use anytime during the season and they come out to like $4.50 each.  my dad was given two of these books, so we invited aj's aunt and uncle, debbie and todd along as well.

the reading phillies also have some live mascots that show up at each game...this is ruth and judy, the team's two ostriches.

the park is touted as america's classic ballpark...there's a main grandstand as well as seating that wraps almost all the way around the outfield, with the exception of center field.  on the right field line, there's even a special deck with a pool so you can watch the game and swim at the same time.  it's a fun little park, full of a lot of tradition and entertainment.  i actually worked at the phillies as a ticket taker for a few summers while i was in college!

mark's girlfriend wasn't able to join us, but it was fun getting to spend some time with him.

here's debbie & todd...they both also happen to work at our church.  todd is the children's pastor and debbie is the director of creative arts, so she is also my boss.  they're more like my aunt and uncle, though, and they're both on sabbatical all month, so it's been nice spending some time outside of the workplace with them!

and here's my boy...he's the cutest.

there's just something about it getting dark during a baseball game, you know?  i love this game...it's definitely my favorite sport!

and to end the game, the phils have fireworks every thursday, friday, and saturday night!  so it's always best to go on one of those evenings...their shows are really good, too, and since we didn't really get to see any fireworks for the fourth this year, it was fun to snuggle up with aj and watch them last week!

do you live near a ballpark?  what's your favorite sport to watch live?

Jul 23, 2014

Arroway Designs Giveaway!



it's been awhile since i featured an etsy shop on the blog, and so i'm particularly excited about this one!  i've been reading meg's blog for a few months now, and was so excited when she opened up her etsy shop!  megan is also a member of the peony project (yay for blogging community!) and so it makes me super happy to get to share her shop with you today!



megan's shop, arroway designs, is filled with watercolor and hand-lettering, which are without a doubt two of my favorite things.

from invitations to prints to branding, meg's got a talent for it all, and she seriously does it so well.  i want all of her prints to hang on my wall!



see what i mean?  so cute.

and what's even more fantastic is that meg's offering one lucky reader a free print from her shop!  i'm already jealous of you, whoever you are.  (and also, i can't wait to see what you choose!)

i've partnered with some awesome bloggers to bring you this exciting giveaway from arroway designs!  go check these ladies out!


one lucky winner will be able to choose a free print from megan's shop.  all entries will be verified, so play fair!  good luck!

Jul 22, 2014

Local Eats // The Fractured Prune

ok, so this isn't exactly "local" for me...the closest one is about 30 min away in lancaster, pa.  but (happy dance!) they do have locations in a number of places across the country, so maybe, if you're lucky, there's one "local" for you!

my dad first discovered the fractured prune while on vacation in ocean city, md.  there was a location just down the block from our condo, and he'd walk down and bring back fresh donuts for us in the morning.  as a little kid, i'll be honest...i wasn't doing cartwheels over this place.  these things weren't my usual chocolate-frosted treat from the grocery store, and i was a creature of habit.  as an adult, however, the tables have turned.

the fractured prune serves up hot, hand-dipped donuts to order.  (they also serve some pretty yummy bagel sandwiches as well!)  when i say "to order", i mean that they literally make the donut from scratch as you order.  so when it comes to you, its hot and a little crispy on the edges and friends, there's no better way to eat a donut.  trust me.

it's probably fair to say that everything on their "specialty donuts" menu is delicious, and you also always have the option of dreaming up your own creation as well!  you'll find everything from reese's peanut butter cup donuts to lemonade to salted caramel, and the list goes on!  aj and i love going and splitting a few donuts so that we get to try different flavors, however, we both definitely have our favorites!

my recommendation // the strawberry shortcake...a hot donut dipped in strawberry glaze, crushed graham crackers, and powdered sugar.  holy yum, batman.

Jul 21, 2014

Grateful Heart Monday is my Favorite...



and we're back to monday again.  is it just me, or are these weeks of summer just flying by?  sometimes i feel like time moves so slowly (like when aj is away at school in boston) and then other times, it seems to be here and gone before you know it!  i can't believe we're in the second half of july.  i feel like summer just started.  but at the same time, something about yesterday morning felt like september, and since i love fall with all my heart, that made me really happy.

anyway, time to get down to grateful heart monday.  for those of you who are new around here, i've gotten into the habit of listing a few things that i'm particularly grateful for each week.  it's a wonderful way to start the week and really helps to put things into perspective!

here's what i'm grateful for today:
catching up with a dear friend who was visiting home this week after moving to argentina
a new book...and finding the time and motivation to read it!
getting to go see the tonight show this thursday night (sooooo pumped.)
the new she reads truth app
the peony project (this has taken off and is flourishing and becoming even more than i could have hoped for!)
fresh-picked berries
ice cream cake (and ice cream in general)

speaking of ice cream, here's a funny little conversation that aj and i had yesterday:
aj:  i love you
betsy:  i love you too!
aj:  do you really?
betsy:  of course i do!  why would you ask that?
aj:  well because sometimes people say they love things but they don't really...like when someone says "i love ice cream", but they just like it
betsy:  well i really do love ice cream, so that's a terrible example.

my love for ice cream is dangerous to my waistline, friends.  and i don't even care.  (oh, and i really do love my boyfriend too, i wasn't just saying it.)

as usual, i'm linking up with ember grey for grateful heart monday! emily runs the grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

what are you grateful for today?

Jul 18, 2014

Become a Lifetime Member of the Influence Network!

if you haven't heard of the influence network before, then you're totally missing out.  the influence network is run by a group of fabulous women and is comprised of a network of bloggers and writers and creatives and just amazing women who are all intentional about making their online space mean something.

that concept alone has been so inspiring and meaningful to me.  i so want this blog to give life and not steal joy.  i've seen too many blogs and forums focused on negativity and tearing others down, and there's just too much of that already in the world.  so, check out the influence network, and enter below to win a lifetime membership!

i would not be able to bring this giveaway to you without the help of some amazing bloggers! these ladies all have made this possible so make sure to check them out and show them some love.

oh, and the lifetime membership includes the following: 
10 free classes to take anytime 
open forums
weekly free resources
discipleship groups
pursuit groups
one free monthly class
extra surprises!! 

so this is seriously the way to go, lifetime members receive their money's worth times 1,000 in my opinion! you get so much and the investment is well spent!

the giveaway will run for one week, and all entries will be verified so play fair! we will email the winner on how to receive your membership upon the closing of the giveaway! good luck!

Jul 17, 2014

Wellness Review // Nike+ FuelBand


let me start off by saying that this post is in no way sponsored by nike.  i'm sure they have no clue who i am and no one asked for my opinion, but i'm giving it anyway, so do with it what you will.

if you haven't noticed it by now, there's a huge market taking off for fitness bracelets.  fitbit, up, nike fuelband...these are just a few of the products dominating stores.  to be completely honest with you, i had little interest in purchasing one of these bracelets.  aj got an up bracelet last summer and while it was lacking in some areas, he did like the fact that it motivated and reminded him to move more throughout the day, and he did see a difference when he wore it.  unfortunately, he misplaced it in the move from boston to pa back in may, so he went on the research hunt for a replacement.

after reading a bunch of reviews and stumbling upon a pretty nice sale at dick's sporting goods, he settled on the nike+ fuel band se.  i'm not really the "he has it so i need it" type, but let's just say that he bought his on a saturday night and by tuesday i had my own.

the fuelband is an activity tracker that measures your movement and reports back with how many steps you've taken, how many calories you've burned, and how many fuel points that equates to.  nike has created their own system that takes data from your movement and converts it to a universal language of points.  think about it this way:  a person who is taller and larger than me will burn nearly twice as many calories as me doing the same walk.  with nike fuel points, weight isn't taken into account, so while that person may earn a few more points than i will because of the length of their stride, etc., the playing field will be fairly even. so we will both have to do a similar amount of work to achieve the same goal.

the band syncs to the nike+ website and the nike+ fuelband app, which allows you to set a daily goal, view and compete with friends, achieve trophies, and track your progress over time.  the bracelet syncs via bluetooth, so all you need to do is open the app within range of your band to see your progress for the day.
 
as you can see, the app has great graphics and a number of features that are both fun and informative. there are a ton of "trophies" for you to earn as you do things like exceed your goal by 150%, get moving for at least 5 minutes during 8 different hours in a day, and moving a lot during certain times of the day.

another thing i love about the fuelband is that it has a screen built right into it.  there are little led lights that shine right through the black rubberized surface of the band that can tell you how many points you have so far, how many calories you've burned, steps you've taken, etc.  it even tells you the time!  you can also stop and start "sessions" (like a walk or run) right from your band so you can track and compare workouts later through the app.  each hour, my band lights up and says "go betsy!" to remind me to get up and move.

my biggest concern with purchasing the fuelband, or any fitness bracelet, for that matter, was that i wouldn't wear it.  i was worried that it would stand out too much and that i wouldn't be able to wear it with my watch.  i've surprised myself by wearing every single day so far since i've had it...the pure competition and need to reach my goal is motivation enough, but beyond that, i've discovered that it doesn't look too bad stacked with a few other bracelets after all.  i even tried my hand at a "wrist collage" that included my nike fuelband, and i didn't mind the look of it at all!

i'm so happy with my nike+ fuelband purchase.  it's been a serious motivator for me to get moving, especially when i've been sitting at my desk all day!  i can't wait to see how it helps to connect and motivate aj and i when he's back in boston and we're long-distance again this fall...i feel like it will be a great tool to hold one another accountable and to encourage and celebrate one another's fitness accomplishments!

do you have a fitness bracelet?  which one do you have?  do you like it?

Jul 16, 2014

Vegan Peach Cobbler w/ Vanilla Nutmeg Ice Cream


after my dad was diagnosed with cancer last year, my parents adopted a vegan, plant-based diet.  as a family, we've become much more aware of what we put into our bodies, and my mom tries to buy organic and locally-sourced foods whenever she can.

while i can't say i've stuck to their diet (i'm not going to lie, i love a good burger from time to time!), i do try to be more aware of where my food comes from and i try to eat a mostly plant-based diet.  however, just because you go vegan (and sugar-free, i might add), doesn't mean you don't miss some things!

since summer is here and farm stands abound, our house has been filled with fresh produce from my parents' weekly jaunts up to lancaster county.  this past week, some of the first peaches of the season showed up, and my mom whipped up this vegan, sugar-free peach cobbler.  and boy, was it good.

so good, in fact, that i think i might let you in on her secret...because desserts like these (guilt-free and mouth-watering) are so much better when shared with friends.

so here's what you'll need:

for the cobbler:
a few peaches (we used about 8 to make 6 servings)
1/2c oats
2tbsp wheat flour
dash of cinnamon
dash of vanilla
1tsp agave
2tbsp vegan butter (we used melt - honey flavor for this recipe)

for the ice cream:
3-4 bananas, frozen
1/2c almond milk (we love silk's unsweetened vanilla)
nutmeg
pure vanilla extract

1.  preheat your oven to 350ºf and spray unlined muffin tins

2.  slice peaches into large, unlined muffin tins (ours easily fit an entire peach in each section) and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon

3.  in a bowl, combine oats, butter, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and agave and mix until crumbly...how much you need of each of these will depend on how much cobbler you're covering.  the measurements above are estimates...it's better to start off with small amounts and add more if you need more.

4.  top the peaches with crumb mixture and bake until peaches are soft and crumbs are lightly browned, about

5.  in a vitamix or high-speed blender, combine and blend 3-4 frozen bananas with a few splashes of almond milk (about 1/4-1/2 c; the more you make banana ice cream this way, the more you'll get a feel for the consistency you like).  add more/less milk until the mixture is a desired consistency

6.  add 1tsp vanilla and a dash of nutmeg to banana mixture and blend until smooth

7.  top warm peach cobbler with ice cream and enjoy!

i do apologize for not having exact measurements....this is kind of an "experiment to customize" recipe...you may need to play around with amounts until you get the consistencies that you want!

do you have any fun summer desserts that you like to make?

Jul 15, 2014

Beach or Bust


last week, aj and i spent a few days down in rehoboth, de with his family.  since we're just a couple of hours from the atlantic, my family has always spent a week at the beach in the summer.  but in recent years, those weeks of renting a condo and all going together have turned into little weekend trips or a few days here and there with just my brother, mom, and dad.

and now that mark & i are both in our twenties and in serious relationships, we've started to play the "vacationing with my significant other"game.  (this is really more of a perk and less of a game, i suppose.  either way, i'm not complaining.)

anyway, it was great to get away for a few days and to just unplug.  we went to the beach, took walks, did some shopping, and played board games and cards.  i think i opened my computer twice.  it was great.

my only regret, as seems to be a trend with me these days, is that i took few pictures and they were all with my phone.  ugh.  i'm really trying to set a goal for myself of taking more quality photos with my actual camera.  it really doesn't get enough use...poor thing sat in my bag all weekend.

after aj and i got down there on monday, we all headed out to the cultured pearl.  if you're ever in rehoboth and you like sushi, make a reservation and ask to sit outside.  their rooftop deck boasts a 15,000 gallon koi pond with these wooden gazebos built overtop of it where you sit to eat.  the food is delicious and the atmosphere is unbeatable!

we discovered a brand-new game of risk at the house we stayed at, and decided to learn.  we immediately became addicted, but if you've ever played risk, you know it can get ugly!  tensions ran high, but we did enjoy a few more games during the week.

my absolute favorite donut shop in the world began right down the road from rehoboth in ocean city, md.  lucky for us, there is now a location within walking distance of where we stayed in de!  the fractured prune serves up hot, hand-dipped donuts and its just so good that i think i'm going to have to do an entirely separate post about it sometime.

this was from our last day, before we hit the road to head home, after a one last walk on the beach.  i love vacationing with this guy.

and the final photo of the trip...this is my brother mark...you don't see a lot of him around here because he's heading into his senior year in college and he's always busy with music or videography stuff, but he's a pretty cool kid.  we spotted this chair on the side of the road in lancaster, pa, and i just pulled over and said "let's go!"  i think it was an attempt at being more adventurous....

have you been on vacation this summer?  what's your go-to vacay spot?

Jul 14, 2014

Starting this Week with a Grateful Heart...


i'm back to work today after almost a full week at the beach.  while i'm definitely a little bit sad about the fact that vacation is over, i'm also reveling in the glory that only a nice new tan can bring, and enjoying getting to be productive again!

so here's what i'm grateful for today:
some great blogging friends and communities
a few days spent on the sand, in the sun
a quiet office and workspace today
that my bangs are finally long enough to not constantly fall out of my top-knot (its the little things!)
sunday afternoon naps
a new sandwich shop to try out on lunch dates

as usual, i'm linking up with ember grey for grateful heart monday! emily runs the grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

i'm also linking up today with charlie jaymes and her it's the little things link-up!

what are you grateful for today?

Jul 10, 2014

Lately According to Instagram

here's what's been going on lately according to my instagram feed!


i took a long bike ride with my dad on father's day

we're cut from the same cloth

my view for most of that bike ride

a selfie for #fridayintroductions

my co-leader, jess, & i had a sleepover with our small group of 7th grade girls!

some of our small group on a sunday morning

my cousin, logan, graduated from high school this year!

it's been awesome to have aj home this summer

this boy :)

i've been spending a lot of time with my grandmother this summer...it's been great!

mini golf dates with my boy

my little succulent leaves are starting to root!

some calligraphy i did for a friend

we visited the wwii air show at the reading airport at the beginning of june

what have you been up to lately?
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