Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Heidelberg Project - Detroit, MI

This week I had the amazing experience of visiting the Heidelburg Project in Detroit. I have been there before a handful of times, but never able to walk around and really look at all of the installations (which by the way, are ALWAYS changing!). My experiences there consist of driving down the road at 3am after being at the bar all night, getting creeped out by all of the baby heads and mannequins. You don't get to appreciate it in that light. If you have no clue what I am talking about, here is an excerpt from the website:

"The Heidelberg Project is art, energy, and community. It’s an open-air art environment in the heart of an urban community on Detroit’s East Side. Tyree Guyton, founder and artistic director, uses everyday, discarded objects to create a two block area full of color, symbolism, and intrigue. Now in its 25th year, the Heidelberg Project is recognized around the world as a demonstration of the power of creativity to transform lives.
The Heidelberg Project offers a forum for ideas, a seed of hope, and a bright vision for the future. It's about taking a stand to save forgotten neighborhoods. It's about helping people think outside the box and it's about offering solutions. It's about healing communities through art - and it's working!"

It's really an incredible place. The second graders that we took were just dazzled by the whole thing. They had been learning about it all year. I took some incredible pictures, which will be posted when I edit them over the weekend. For now, here are some beautiful pictures that our art teacher Tina took!

I took a lot of pictures of the houses and art - look for that later this weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good tunes

LOVE this song!! Do you like it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shout Out!

I've been feeling awfully lonely lately...maybe it's all the time by myself with the dog monsters...
Don't get me wrong, they are great dogs!! I love them to pieces. Just would like some human company. Which leads me to the reason for this post - you see, I thought NOBODY read my blog. I just thought I would blog anyway, in hopes of someone one day reading it. But lately I found out that my very best friends read it! And I didn't KNOW! So shout outs to Becca and Tabs, I love you guys! Thanks for reading my blog and making me feel loved, and being the greatest friends I could ever ask for.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Break

So I fully intended to finish my Favorites week posts, but fell short (yet again). This week is our Spring Break and I have a whole 10 days off! I planned to rid my room of half of my belongings, clean out my bathroom closet, draw and paint to my heart's desire, and spend lots of time writing blogs. But that plan got completely scratched when I got asked to dog-sit! So I am living about 15 minutes away from my house with 2 French Bulldogs for the week! It's been fun so far...but I have no internet! I found a wireless signal but it won't work even though you don't need a password to join it. I will be going home occasionally, so I plan to update then! I am sure I will have plenty of stories :)

Anyone else have any unexpected plans this week??

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Favorite Books

I’ll admit it… I love the Twilight series. You can’t really judge unless you have read all of the books, because I think that the books are a million times better than the movies. Not that I don’t enjoy me some Jasper Cullen in the movies, though! I have, however, read many other books as well. I tend to enjoy biographies and other books that tell true stories. I also like to read mysteries and sci-fi books. I’m all over the board when it comes to books. Here are some books that have stuck with me over the years.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
When I read this book, I could not put it down! I saw it many times in the past, but never thought I would enjoy it, even though it always came up as a recommendation for me on Amazon. It takes place in a future after the world has been attacked by an alien species (called “Buggers”) and is preparing for a third invasion. The children of Earth are picked and trained early to be soldiers in an army to fight off the third attack. Ender Wiggins turns out to be a special kid whose genius proves to be useful. He is the star at Battle School, and his skills earn him important missions. If you haven’t read Ender’s game, I suggest reading it! I am not really into sci-fi movies or anything, but this book is very well written and irresistible. I loved the character of Ender and his wisdom beyond his years.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
I guess I never knew how much I liked science fiction books until I compiled my list of favorites. Here is another book that I absolutely adored. This book was heartbreaking and empowering all at the same time. I found myself getting angry at the characters at times, and when a book can pull those emotions from you, you’ve got a great book. I liked the whole trilogy, but I think that the original book was my favorite. Every book was great, though. This book is about a post-apocalyptic world where a central government (called “The Capitol”) is ruling over all of the 12 other districts. Katniss Everdeen is a 16-year-old girl who lives in District 12, the poorest district. Every year, the Capitol picks two people from each district to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised “reality show” of sorts where the contestants fight until the death. At the end, there can only be one winner. If you haven’t read this trilogy – GO GET IT!

Tweak – Nic Sheff
I always think about this book from time to time because the ending is a bit unsettling. At the end of the book, Nic is doing well, but you don’t know how he is doing today. This book is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an autobiography written by Nic Sheff, who struggles with drug addiction. His story is unbelievable at times, but if you have known anyone who is a drug addict, you can easily imagine how things could get so bad. My best friend was a drug addict, and he had a lot of similarities to Nic. Luckily Nic was still alive at the end of his story – my best friend was not as lucky. I always wonder about Nic and how he is doing. He closed his blog a couple years ago, and I haven’t been able to find out much since then. This book is not for everyone, but I know that it really resonated with myself.

Jesus Land (A Memoir) - Julia Scheeres
This was a wonderfully written book about Julia's life - from a child in the Midwest through her teenage years. Julia has an adopted brother named David. It was interesting to me how differently the two kids were treated. Julia's mother is extremely religious and ends up sending David and Julia to a Christian boot camp in the Caribbean. She writes about her struggles throughout the years, and amazingly comes out of all of it sane. I bought this book on a whim in Toronto - it was on the sale rack for $4.99. It was well worth every penny spent and more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Favorite Beauty Products

My skin has always been more of a burden than a blessing. You name it, I probably struggle with it: oily skin, dry skin, acne, and sensitive skin…sometimes I even deal with them all on a daily basis. So you can imagine that I have tried dozens of beauty products over the years, and I have. Here are some of the things that I can’t seem to go a day without…

Up & Up Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (Target Brand)
I have tried soooo many face washes over the years, but recently I have discovered that using a disposable facial cloth keeps my skin breakout free.  Cleansers I’ve used in the past have left residue on my skin, and they also failed to take off all of my makeup. Cleansing cloths are so easy – you just clean your face, then toss them when you feel like it’s clean! I’ve never had better results with cleaning my face. They also help clear away dead skin cells. Oh yeah, did I mention that they are CHEAP?? I’m sure there are many different brands out there, but the Target brand seems to do the trick for me.

Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets
Let’s be honest – I have no idea how I got through the day without these before they were invented. I think I may have applied layers and layers of powder…but I know that I cannot go ANYWHERE without these. They are perfect for any time of day. Whenever you feel your face getting shiny or oily, just pull one out and blot. You will be disgusted by how much oil you see on the sheets, but it gets it off of your face! (Which I feel is a whole lot better than it being ON your face.) If you have any problems with oily skin whatsoever, I recommend you buy these. They make me feel a lot better about having to deal with my oily skin.

Bare Minerals – Warmth
Usually in the summer I like to use bare minerals because it feels lighter on my skin than liquid foundation feels. When I bought the starter kit last year, it came with an all-over color called “Warmth”. It’s like a bronzer, but has no shine to it. I love it because it looks very natural, and you can layer it to get the look you want. I have been using it ever since I discovered it. You can use it on your body or neck area to blend your make-up in if you need to. It’s a bit pricey, but a little bit goes a very long way.

Burts Bees Chapstick
 I am a big fan of chapstick, and I’ve literally tried every kind there is. I have a hard time finding anything better than Burt’s Bees for the same price. If you want to get fancy and buy something 3x’s the price, then you might find something better. But if you only want to shell out a couple bucks to make your lips feel good – invest in Burt’s! It has a wonderful cooling sensation when you put it on, and it stays on your lips for a very long time. Plus your tube will last you months – as long as you don’t lose it! 

Tune in tomorrow for some of my favorite books! YAY!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Favorites Week

In honor of all themed blogs out there, I have decided to dedicate a week to some of my favorite things! I know that is what my blog is about a lot of the time, but this week will be dedicated to some of my favorite stores, books, foods, beauty products, and more! Maybe you can share with me some of your favorites as well!

Today's topic is... Favorite Clothing Stores!

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I am an avid shopper. I love to look at stores and discover new trends. I also love the thrill of finding the best deals out there on things that I love! Check out some of my favorites below!

Forever 21
Ever since this store made its appearance in my area about ten or so years ago, I have loved it. They have some of the greatest prices on clothes. You definitely get a lot for your money there. The quality isn’t the best you can find, but the only place you will find a better deal is at a thrift store. I can usually go in with $100, and get 2-3 complete outfits with accessories. I feel that they have better products than other stores that compete in its price range. (Wet Seal, Charlotte, Russe, etc.)

Betsey Johnson
On the other end of the spectrum, I ADORE Betsey Johnson! Let’s be honest, I only own a few pieces of clothing from her, but I have many accessories! I do own a blue silk dress that I love, a couple t-shirts, purses, wallets, jewelry, socks, etc. I love her bright colors and edgy style. I’ve always said that if I were ever rich, I would wear Betsey dresses every day. Although that will always be a fantasy, at least I can own a little piece of her while I dream about it!

TJ Maxx
Although you can’t shop TJ online, you can visit any location nearby for different products you may be looking for. I spend a lot of time looking at purses in TJ Maxx. Sometimes you can find great deals on Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Betseyville, and other expensive brands at over 50% off. You can also find these brands in the jewelry department. I love to buy my workout clothes there – they sell Nike and Adidas at great prices. You can also find some great shoes! The best part about TJ Maxx is that they get new shipments of things in every single week, so their stock is constantly changing. You may find lots of great things one week, and none the next. Again, I love the thrill of not knowing what you are going to find!

Tomorrow I will be revealing some of my very favorite beauty products ☺

Friday, April 8, 2011

Extreme Couponing!!

 Did you see this show?? UNREAL!!! I really love to clip coupons, and believe me I get made fun of for it, but these people are NUTS!!! The little bit of crazy in my wishes that I could do this. I'd have to give up all my other hobbies! If I ever get into a situation where I have to reallllly watch what I spend, then I may consider this. I just don't get how or why you would want to have the stockpiles of stuff in your home?? When do you even use the 700 toothbrushes that you just bought?? On second thought, this looks like a lot of work!

This show got me thinking about my own little obsession. I'm not crazy like these people, but it can get intense sometimes!

Not many people know this about me, but I am OBSESSED with getting free samples of things. I am also obsessed with small versions of normal sized things. (like travel sized soaps, shampoos, ketchups, ANYTHING smalllll!) Lately I have been checking out various websites related to getting good deals and also getting FREE STUFF! Here are some websites that I have been frequenting lately!

I stumbled across this website recently, and let me tell you, I LOVE it. I have seen a few free sample websites, but I love how this one is a blog. It feels more user-friendly to me, and the owner Brandie always has the best links! I love that she puts up pictures of her free samples from the week. I am actually thinking about doing a post about my own ;). She has great information and if you are interested in getting free things, you should check it out!

I have been using this website for probably six months now. I like it because they send you an e-mail once a day with the day's latest freebies and coupons. I also like that when you click on the offer, it tells you what you have to do and if there are any additional qualifications. For example, it tells you when you have to "like" a page on facebook, which is good for me on the occasion that I check the website out on my lunch :). (No facebook allowed at work! BAD!) It also tells you if you need to click through multiple pages, or if you need to answer questions to qualify. Whoever takes care of this website - my hat goes off to you!

I got an invitation to join this online survey group. I decided to try it, even though I googled what people thought about it and not everyone had good things to say. I figured that I would just try it, I wasn't going to quit my day job in order to fill out surveys to try and make money. This website invites you to take surveys so you can earn e-Rewards bucks, which in turn you can spend for gift cards or magazine subscriptions. You don't always qualify to take every survey they offer you, but they let you know right away if you don't. So far I have spent very little time taking surveys but have accumulated almost enough money to get a Borders $15 credit on my Rewards card. For what it is, I feel like its worth it! I will let you know when I actually receive my rewards!

What websites interest you?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thoughts on recent purchases

Since shopping is my favorite past time, I have been doing a whole lot of it lately. Mainly because I keep running into all of these insane bargains that are too hard to pass up. Here are a few of my favorites...

 Betsey Johnson spring jacket
I had been looking high and low for a spring jacket for about a month. All I saw was the same style over and over know the trench coat in various colors with a belt. Everywhere. One day I looked at TJ Maxx and found a couple of cute Guess jackets, but they were a bit pricey. I told my mom that I would only pay that much for a Betsey Johnson coat. (Ok...I know $70 isn't THAT bad...but it's a JACKET!! I can't wear it for longer than a season!) Fast forward to the next weekend, at a different TJ Maxx, there it sat. A Betsey Johnson coat, in a small, for the same price as the Guess jacket! It was definitely fate. As much as I didn't want a black jacket, this one was so cute on, and I couldn't pass it up. IT WAS BETSEY! At originally $155, I was getting a great deal.

Michael Kors boots
I have to admit, this was an impulse buy. I didn't NEED new black boots, I just got a pair off of Piperlime about a month ago. BUT, I had seen these boots on a girl in the winter, and I LOVED them. I immediately found them at Macy's, the sad news was they were $200. I don't drop that kind of money on much of anything. A few months later, I spotted the boots on the sale rack at Macy's. Tried them on and what do you know, they had my size. The best part about the whole thing was that the boots only cost $39.90. Say whaaaaat?!?!? My own mother talked me into buying them; the woman who yells at me on a daily basis for having more shoes than Payless. I guess the saleswoman also played her part in the spending of my money. Turns out that I love the boots and can even wear them all day at work without my feet hurting (too bad). I say that because ALL of my work shoes make my feet hurt. Sadly without them, half of the 5th grade class is taller than me. I won't be having that happen any time soon if I can help it!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects
The librarian at my school (best person EVER!) had shown me these new nail things online one day. I was curious as to how they worked, because I HATE doing my nails. I can never paint them without smudges or some sort of mishap going on. Even when I get a manicure, it never lasts longer than a few days. The first pack I bought was the gold glitter ones. Those wouldn't stay on my nails (for some reason they were really thick and didn't stick well to some of my small curvy nails), but I wanted to try one more time before I gave up on them. I then bought the lacy looking ones, and had MUCH better results. They only took me about a half hour to put on, and they looked phenomenal. I wore them for about 6 days before I smashed my index finger into the concrete wall while sharpening pencils for first graders. After that I took them off. I will definitely be purchasing them again. I really want to try the leopard or zebra print ones. They are hard to find by my house though.

Have YOU bought anything fabulous lately???

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All the happenings...

Hello blog land!

Lots of happenings these days…been busy with work, applying to graduate schools, spending time with the boyfriend, and hanging out with the family! My new car and phone are working out well – no complaints yet.  I’ve been reading a lot and have also been thinking about doing some more art soon. I love art, it is just hard to feel inspired sometimes. I have very little down time and I take a LOT of time when I am drawing or painting, so I hope that this summer will bring me the time that I need to do it. Before then, I need some ideas and inspiration!

One new thing that has happened recently is that I’ve stopped drinking pop (or SODA to most of you!). I know this doesn’t sound very exciting, or even very hard, but for me it has been a challenge. I was drinking up to 2 cans of diet pop every day, and I just thought that I needed to give it a rest. All of those studies about artificial sweeteners may have also played a factor in my decision. Either way, it’s been a positive change! I drink up to three times as much water now. If I am really craving a pop, I let myself have a little, but that never happens very often! I was hoping it would help me drop a couple pounds, but so far it hasn’t.

I have recently made some really excellent purchases:

Stay tuned to find out more about these items!

<3 Lauren