Matt surprised me with tickets to see Beatles LOVE in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day! I wasn’t expecting anything (we don’t usually get into that into holiday) so I was really excited. I had never been to Las Vegas before. It just never happened I guess, and I wasn’t that interested in it to be honest. I don’t enjoy gambling, and although I love to dance, clubs can be overwhelming. So Matt and I booked a hotel room at Treasure Island, and set out for a super short, laid-back trip to Vegas. We left last Friday morning and only stayed for one night.

When we arrived it immediately reminded me of Times Square in New York. Lots of big flashy signs vying for our attention. Lots and lots of tourists, and corporate insignias everywhere you look. Not really my thing. Not really what I go looking for in a place to vacation at all. And then we walked through some of the casinos… Ugh… I hate walking through casinos. Smokey, dirty, flashy, noisy, crowded… I get panicky and claustrophobic with those low ceilings, recycled air and no end in sight.

So we settled for some chain restaurant Mexican food for lunch, and then walked back to the hotel. I decided to take a nap and Matt went down to play Roulette. I probably would have lounged poolside, but the weather was a bit too chilly for that. By the time I woke up, the sun had set, and the lights on the strip from our 36th story VIP hotel room (they upgraded us for free!) was very impressive. It gave me a boost of energy as we got ready for our show.

A First Timer's Las Vegas Experience - Pure Spectacle & Amazement(my instragrams from top left: the Bellagio, the view of the strip from our hotel window, inspiring installation outside the LOVE show at the Mirage, amazing neon at the Flamingo)

We walked next door to The Mirage and grabbed a drink at a Beatles themed bar inside. And I don’t know what happened, but I started to “get it”. There’s something magical about Vegas at night. The lights, the sounds, the crowds… everything that was slightly irksome during the daylight, became absolutely wonderful at night. And then LOVE was amazing. Just amazing. I was actually emotional during a couple of the performances. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve grown up with The Beatles like I have, hearing their music played in a concert setting is really moving.

From there we changed into more comfortable clothes and walked the entire length of the strip. Seriously. Stopping for drinks and hot dogs along the way. Matt wanted to check out the Luxor, so why not!? If you’re not familiar with the Las Vegas Strip, Treasure Island and the Luxor are about 2 miles apart as the crow flies… but of course you can’t actually walk that straight down the street… So we ended up walking 10+ miles (according to my pedometer).

Here’s the other thing… the show started at 9:30pm and ended around 11:30. So at 11:30pm we decided to walk about 10 miles. But it felt like 8:00! I’ve never been in a place that literally never stops. We didn’t get back to our hotel until 2:30am and all we did was walk around!

I was completely amazed by the spectacle of the entire place. It’s so over the top. The design, the architecture, everything is big and bright and flashing. I ended up loving it for that fact alone and can’t wait to go back. Maybe during a warmer time of year so I can enjoy some of the famous pools.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Do you love it? Hate it? Was your experience anything like mine?

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One of my big goals this year is to focus on healthy. I love this word because it can be a positive influence on every part of life: healthy bank account, healthy body image, healthy relationships, healthy heart, etc. As we move into mid-February, I find my momentum fading around eating super healthy. I find it so helpful to turn my focus on my word: healthy.

A big part of this health kick is working out. I joined a gym in my neighborhood before my wedding last spring. I’ve been paying for it, so I wanted to make those dollars count, and have been going 5 days a week for about a month. I got into a pretty good rhythm and I thought I’d share it here with you.

My Workout Routine - Variety + Intensity + Consistency

 

(image via Fabletics and my GET FIT Pinboard)

This routine depends on my schedule for the week, but usually it looks something like this:

Day 1: 30 min Cardio + 30-40 min Floor machines focusing on Arms, Back and Chest and Abs

Day 2: 30 min Cardio + 30 min Floor machines focusing on Legs and Abs

Day 3: Group Fitness Class and/or Yoga

Day 4: 30 min Cardio + 30-40 min Floor machines focusing on Arms, Back and Chest and Abs

Day 5: 30 min Cardio + 30 min Floor machines focusing on Legs and Abs

Recover over the weekend, maybe take a yoga class, and then repeat on Monday.

This week I started out on Monday with an intense group fitness class, and today took it easier with just 30 minutes of cardio since I was feeling a bit stiff and sore. I think it’s definitely important to work your way up. But whatever you do, the most important thing is to get to the gym. Even if you can only do 15 minutes of cardio. It’s a mental thing. Taking a day off is probably ok, but taking more than 2, it is so hard to get back on track. Set your weekly goal—gym 3 days this week, for example—and then hit it as best you can.

Sometimes tracking progress can be difficult. We only see the number on the scale and can feel discouraged when it doesn’t move down. I fall into this trap too. When that happens I try to notice other little things while I workout. Like maybe I’m not quite as sore today than last time. Or those 2 miles I ran seemed easier today. Or maybe I was able to up my weight. Another thing I think I’m going to try—measuring my waist instead of only checking my weight.

How do you track your progress? Do you have any healthy workout tips? Need some encouragement?

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Feb 05, 2014

We’ll be celebrating our 6 month-aversary of being married, and our 5 years being together the same week as Valentine’s Day! Did I plan that right, or what?! There’s a lot to celebrate but we haven’t made any plans yet. I was browsing around Pinterest and found a few links that got me thinking about this upcoming Hallmark Holiday. Are you planning anything sweet or romantic this year?

My 5 Favorite Valentine Gift Ideas

1  //  I love love love these witty Downton Abbey Valentine Printables designed by yenniper. These would be perfect for quite a few of my family and friends. Download them at Cobalt & Dash.

2  //  I’ve always had a thing for anatomical hearts. You can buy a box of these cute cookies from Whipped Bakeshop  on Etsy.

3  //  Feel like making something sweet for your sweetheart? I love this clever (white chocolate) cheesecake from Cooking Classy. The heart design actually looks pretty simple to do!

4  //  There’s nothing like some pretty bold type to get you in the mood. Really pretty posters over at WordsDesignLove Etsy shop.

5  //  I heart my gold sequin heart clip from Ban.do. Lots of other cute girly hair accessories over there too.

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Well hello! Please forgive my month long sabbatical. This seems to happen to me every year. I have a hard time coming back to the blog after disconnecting for the Holidays. This time I just went with it and let myself have a break. Overall, I think this year is going to be a bit lighter on the posts, but hopefully a bit deeper in the content… Quality over quantity you might say.

Even though this blog has been quiet, life has been moving full speed ahead. I got introspective in January and read The Desire Map by Danielle Leporte. Holy wow. This book blew my mind. I took a couple weeks to really dive deep and set my goals for this year. It was an awesome journey, and I feel so refreshed and energized moving into February. This is where in the past, my goals for the year have gotten sabotaged, or I forgot, or I gave in. I’m still feeling that pull, but I’m way more on track this time.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Quick, watch this awesome video interview with Danielle Leporte. She breaks it down quite nicely.

So what else have I been doing this past month? Glad you asked. I lost 16 pounds. I started a UX design class, and I’m turning into a gym rat. Seriously. Work has been lacking, and I’m taking this slow start to the new year to focus on health. That’s one of my core desired feelings, and one of only 3 goals this year… to be healthy, fit, and free from addiction (sugar, carbs, caffeine). Addiction to the gym is OK. Quite an exciting January if you ask me!

That’s enough for now. I’ll keep coming back to fill you in just how I lost those 16 pounds, and my class, and my gym routine, and the other goals for the year. As always, thanks for reading, for following, for your support. Love you all. Happy February!

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Back by popular demand, here’s February’s free desktop calendar!

February Desktop Calendar // LoveCreative Blog

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I love Christmas music. I’ll listen to it way longer than I really should. But there’s so much nostalgia surrounding those songs. Over the years I’ve curated the Ultimate Christmas playlist in the past, but this year I’ve been listening to Spotify’s radio version of my playlist. It’s pretty great, and has exposed me to some real holiday gems. If you have Spotify, I recommend tuning to my playlist, and hitting the Start Radio button. Enjoy!

And these are some of my favorite holiday pins this year… because, why not?

No. 1   //   No. 2   //   No. 3   //   No. 4   //   No. 5   //   No. 6   //   No. 7

Sorry I don’t have great sources for some of these. Isn’t tumblr just so annoying?

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Dec 18, 2013

I’m not a lipstick girl. I’m not even a lip gloss girl. I’m a lip blam kind of girl, and I’m pretty obsessive about it. I always have to have a lip blam handy, and I’ve come to be pretty picky on my brands. But I’ve felt kind of left out of the lip color trends lately, and I decided to give a couple newer lip color products a try in order to find one that I could live with.

I wanted a berry shade, so I went to my local store and picked out 5 lipsticks that looked like the right color. But color is only part of the equation. My other requirements are: 1. soft and hydrated lips, 2. long lasting, 3. not shimmery or glittery, 4. not glossy or sticky. Here’s what I found.

(photo of the lovely Emma Watson in a bright berry lip)

1. Cover Girl Blast Flip Stick in color Whisper/Murmure – Rating: 1 out of 5

I thought this was a good option because I got 2 colors for one, and it was pretty cheap. Upon testing though, the darker color is shimmery! And the lighter color is more of a nude and not very berry like… The idea behind this product is to create an ombre effect, but I can’t say that it works very well. I will use the lighter color as a nude lipstick probably. The texture is quite hydrating and nice. Don’t think it lasts particularly long though.

2. Revlon Color Stay Overtime in color Unlimited Mulberry - Rating: 2 out of 5

I should have realized this was going to be a lipgloss before I even bought it. Half of it is solid color, the second half is clear gloss. You put on the color and wait until it dries, and then apply the gloss. It’s basically a lip stain, which is great because it’s long lasting (really long… like, maybe too long) but the weird part is that it gets super sticky when the gloss wears off. I found that quite annoying. Sometimes it’s nice to go for a glossy look, so I’ll be keeping it around. The color was really nice.

3. Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in color Berry Nude – Rating: 3 out of 5

This is more like a lip pencil than a lip crayon. I’ve liked the lip crayon’s I’ve purchased in the past because they’re more like tinted lip balm. This one is matte, so maybe that’s why it felt more dry. Overall, not a bad product, but not really what I was looking for. The color is nice and it stays on pretty well, except I was trying to put lip balm over it, and that would make the color come off. I probably won’t end up using this much.

4. Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Color in color Sheer Berry - Rating: 4 out of 5

This, out of the 5, is the most traditional lipstick I picked up, and for a lipstick, it’s great. It’s a bit like a tinted lip balm, so I loved that, but like a lip balm, it doesn’t last very long. The color is great because it’s still a bit sheer and you can just add a bit for a tint, or layer it on. Texture was a bit more sticky than a regular lip balm, but overall I’m liking it. I’ve been carrying it around in my purse all week.

5. Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm in color Mystical - Rating: 5 out of 5

This was my favorite, and oddly the last one I tried. It’s kind of weird, but it works great and the texture is exactly like a lip balm… because it is! It’s got 2 ends, one is literally a lip stain felt tip marker. The other is a plain old translucent lip balm. It was weird coloring in my lips, but it dried instantly and once I put on the lip balm, I was set to go all night! The stain was really long lasting, and I just applied my lip balm as I needed. I think this is a newer product, so I definitely recommend picking up one and trying it for yourself. I think I’ll go back to the store and get some for stocking stuffers!

This little experiment was really fun! I hope you found it helpful. Let me know if there are any other great lip products you use. Or if you have suggestions on what other beauty products I should test out next!

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Dec 17, 2013

I saw a big tinsel peace sign wreath in some obscure catalog background, and thought, OMG I can totally make that! I might be a designer, but I’m not always the best at making stuff with my hands. But this project is so easy, anyone can do it.

Here’s what you need for the Peace Wreath:

1 wire wreath frame (mine is 18 inches)

2 – 3 sets of 12 ft tinsel garland in any color

1 – 2 sets smaller 8 ft tinsel garland in matching color

Note: You could use 3 sets of the same tinsel, or 2 of the large, and 2 of the small. I did the later, but it would work either way.

Step 1: Wrap your long tinsel all the way around the wire wreath frame. 12 feet should get you half way around a 18in wreath frame. Fasten the ends, buy simply wrapping and twisting through the wire frame.

Step 2: Once your wreath is completely covered with tinsel, use your last piece, or 2 small pieces to wrap around the middle, and create the peace sign. I joined the tinsel in the middle by looping it through a couple times, and looping it around the sides of the wreath. It might take some adjusting to get it right. If you have left over tinsel, just snip it off and fasten by pulling through the wire frame.

Since I used 2 smaller pieces of a different silver tinsel, I wrapped one around the entire wreath first, and then used the second one to create the peace sign.

Voila! Done! And not only is this something you can create in 5 minutes, it won’t break the bank either. Tinsel is super cheap right now. At the Michael’s by my house, it was 70% off! In total, I spent $9.50.

Now if you used something more plain without the baubles and snowflakes, it could be a wreath for all year long, don’t you think? And imagine a super huge one! Or maybe you use traditional garlands to make a peace sign? So many fun possibilities…

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Tis the season for lots and lots of holiday parties. This weekend we had two back to back white elephant gift parties, and the weekend before that was tamale making and cookie exchanging. Throw in the obligatory ugly christmas sweater and it’s been quite a merry time. I love all the cooking and baking and rushing around though. It’s hectic, and we can’t always do everything, but it’s worth it to see old friends and eat tasty treats.

I’ve always been fascinated by Nelson Mandela and South Africa. Any book, or movie on the subject I’m instantly drawn too. That’s why a few years ago I picked up Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. It wasn’t until his passing that I finally got it off the shelf and started reading. It’s fascinating, and very long. I’m only half way though Book 1 (of 2) but I definitely recommend it to anyone else who’s interested in the history of South Africa and this amazing person.

Our wedding was featured on Green Wedding Shoes last week! It’s pretty cool since that was a blog I started following years and years ago… probably before I even met Matt. In the post there are some pieces I wrote about our design inspiration and some tips for other brides. And of course the brilliant photos by Jasmine of Let’s Frolic Together and the fun video by Stephanie Collins.

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Dec 13, 2013

Yep, another week has come and gone with nary a blog post from me… oh well. I’m determined to not feel guilty.

(taken by my parent’s lovely fire last weekend…)

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Here are some things I found and loved this week:

– Our wedding was featured on Green Wedding Shoes yesterday! Check it out!

– The most talented dog band sings for a cure.

– Need a laugh this Friday? Watch this. All your problems will melt away…

8 Things A Playwright Can Teach You About Freelancing.

– The next time a sexist makes a derogatory comment, remember these awesome comebacks.

– I LOVE this West Jet Christmas Miracle video. OMG.

– My friend Emilee has a 12 Days of Christmas Crafts series! It’s AMAZING!! Go check it out and get crafty this weekend!

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