Sunday, September 1, 2013

Moving on! Find me on my new blog!

 pretty vintage suitcases
 Hello all!
It has been some time since I have blogged here at Faith Love Strength.
I have decided to start an exciting new chapter in my life by packing things up here
and launching my new blog...
I invite you all to stop by my new blog, Paving the Rugged Path.
I have been working hard to learn more about graphic design on my own
in order to do all of the designing myself. 
Props to all the graphic designers out there!
(It's so much more difficult than I ever imagined!!)

With my new blog, you can find me:
Email: pavingtheruggedpath@gmailcom

Be sure to check out my first post 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baby, I'm Back

Yesterday, I was lounging on the couch in my hometown
and I flipped the channel to Food Network...naturally.
All we dietetics students seem to think about is food, after all.
Well, was I in for a treat.
The Pioneer Woman was on at that very moment.
I must admit, I had never actually seen her cooking show until then,
but every blogger and her dog has heard of the Pioneer Woman.
I sat there and watched for awhile.
Tres Leche Cake was on the menu for this episode.
While reminiscing about my own experience with scarfing down
half a cake a piece of the Hispanic delicacy while on my Mission
Trip in Tijuana, I couldn't help but recall how excited I was to blog about the experience.
Which got me thinking about blogging in general.
I have missed blogging.
There. I said it.
I have missed the refreshing perspective blogging gives me.
I have missed finding the extraordinary in the ordinary through writing blog posts.
I have missed having a special place where I can someday look back at all of my life experiences.
I have missed being a part of this community of strong, beautiful female bloggers.

I guess the solution is pretty simple:
Just blog, gosh darn it!
I've told myself the last month. "No one probably reads my blog anyway"
or "Why would anyone care about the life of a South Dakota girl?"
Then, after spending my day in front of a computer screen, 
the last place I want to end up is in front of a computer again at home.
However, blogging is my "me" time.
It is where I become inspired to create and share.
It's all of those things above and more. 

Cheers to being back in the blogosphere.
This time, I think I am here to stay!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dear Big Brother,

Dear Big Brother, Erik...
Or Ick Ick, as I often called you when we were little.
Not necessarily because I thought you were "icky,"
but rather because I couldn't say my r's at the time.
Though, it may have been a toss up between the two.
Boys have cooties (duh),
which, in turn, means ick.
I was a smart cookie.
Actually, as I recall, mom and dad gave you all of the smarty pants genes.
Anyone who was taught at a young age to say
"I'm gifted"
must have had some brains on him.
{Ahem, Aunt Rhonda!
I believe you taught him this phrase...}

Since you were blessed with one perfect sibling,
we have accumulated quite the memories over the years.
One time, I remember we were laying up in your loft.
I had chipped a piece of the ceiling off and it had fallen near your mouth.
You proceeded to tell me that the paint in our house was made of lead and 
that paint chip I had dropped near your mouth would cause you to have lead poisoning and die...
I believed that fib far longer than I probably should have...

Another memory that comes to mind is when we were playing archery one time.
You had the coolest Nerf Bow and Arrow.
Seriously. I hope we have that in storage somewhere.
Anyway, as I recall, you always got to be the hunter.
I, on the other hand, would prance around and pretend to be a helpless deer.
The next thing I knew, I was shot, and you drug your winnings {aka me}
around on a blanket to bring back to your "pickup."

I was certainly the victim, 99% of the time.
Just look at my sweet, angel face.

 Okay, maybe that is not the best example.
How about this one?
New subject?!?

On several occasions,
I have been told we look alike.
Once, I dressed up as you for Gender Bender day during Homecoming.
Obviously, we are not related.

 I think if people looked close enough,
they'd understand that you really resemble Maggie
more than me.
Pictures prove it.

 Alright, since it is your 25th birthday, 
I suppose I should maybe mention that
I have truly enjoyed being your sister the past 21 years of my life.
Well, I can't vouch for those first couple years of my life,
but I can imagine I liked you at the time.
You didn't drop me on my head, that I know of,
so I guess you took pretty good care of me.

Though I don't generally admit this,
you were always a good role model growing up.
Your success in golf, speech, and academics
helped me realize the importance of working hard to succeed.
Sure, much of this just came naturally for you,
but clearly you have had to put in a bit of an effort to graduate
with your Doctorate in Pharm. D.
Don't expect me to call you, 
Dr. Erik anytime soon, though.

Happy Birthday, brother!!
I shall come bearing gifts this weekend.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

From My Makeup Bag to Yours {Daily Makeup Routine}

My name is Amanda and
I have a slight makeup addiction.
{Readers respond with a "Hi Amanda."}

 Like most bloggers, 
I have a "thing" for makeup, beauty, and fashion.
With that being said, 
I am by no means a beauty expert.
In fact, if you could see me sitting here in
my sweaty workout gear from spin class,
you would be questioning my reasonings for writing a beauty post
in the first place.
However, since joining the blogging community, 
I have been sucked into experimenting with new products
and paying closer attention to how I present myself.
It's a positive change, really.
Last summer, I stumbled upon my favorite beauty vlogger,
Ingrid Nilsen, or her username MissGlamorazzi.
She is simply wonderful.
Ingrid is laid back and relatable, 
which is the last vibe I had expected a beauty guru to exude.
Not only does she have a fantastic personality,
but she also knows her products.
Now that I think about it,
I am 99% certain that a majority of the products that I use 
on a daily basis were purchased in the first place because
this adorable girl suggested them.

 Since becoming more interested in beauty products
and makeup-related blog posts,
I have contemplated writing a post on my own daily routine.
Finally, I decided today is the day.

After washing my face,
(I can write another post on my cleansing routine if there is interest)
I apply my Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation. 
 This is one of the many products I used after hearing 
about it from Ingrid. 
Then I conceal my under-eye circles and blemishes with my 
Cover Girl Fresh Complexion concealer.
I am cursed with very dark under-eye circles,
thanks to my mom's side of the family.
Concealer is a must!
Then I use my Mary Kay mineral powder foundation.
I have used this powder for years and I love it!
It lasts me several months and is worth every cent.
I usually wait until after I apply eye makeup to
tackle my cheeks.
(The cheeks on my face sicko!)
I use e.l.f. bronzer and blush.
If you know me well,
then you know that I am not one who likes
to splurge.
For $3, I don't have to feel guilty about purchasing either of these products.

Eyes are my favorite part of any makeup routine.
I love mixing colors from different palettes to 
create eyes that pop.
It makes me feel like an artist, in a sense.
I start off by applying the Mary Kay Cream Eye color all over my eye.
This creates a nice primer and base for my eyes with a little shimmer.
Then, I use my Maybelline Chai Latte quad.
I only use the top left color and apply it all over my lid and up to my brows,
where the Mary Kay was just applied.
Don't be alarmed about applying the color that high above the lid!!
This is a very subtle base.
You won't have 80's makeup, ladies.
Next, I use the Victoria's Secret Wet/Dry shadow only on my lid.
This is a very pigmented shadow, so you don't need a ton.
Then I used the bottom color of my Wet n' Wild palette. 
I blend with the Victoria's Secret color to create a natural,
but shimmery eye.
Next comes the eyeliner.
I use the Bonne Bell Eyeliners,
because they are cheap and have always delivered satisfactory results.
I line my top lid and a subtle line on my bottom lid and waterline.
Then, I curl my lashes.
I didn't include this in the picture, but I use a Revlon lash curler.
After, I apply my Maybelline Rocket Volum' mascara 
to both my top and bottom lashes.

Last, but certainly not least:
On a regular day at work or school,
I don't generally wear a lip color.
However, when I have a special occassion
or am going out, I like to jazz up my lips with these products.
First, I apply my Maybelline Baby Lips and follow-up with
some Nyx lip gloss.
I recently discovered Nyx lip products and have really been
enjoying this product in particular.
I may need to experiment with some of their other products in the future.

And that's a wrap!
I usually say that I am a fairly low maintenance girl,
but I don't think I realized how many products I actually
use on a daily basis.
The nice thing about all of the products I in my routine is that
they are all affordable.
If I could afford Mac and Chanel,
I still don't think I would purchase those items.
Really, who needs to spend that much on looking good?
The one item in my makeup bag that I forgot to mention is none other than:
You would be amazed how much a smile and strong posture
can make you both look and feel beautiful.

{Let me know in the comments if you would like me to write
more posts like this in the future!}

Monday, June 3, 2013

Through Rain or Shine

When I was growing up, 
I always sort of wished I had a sister. 
Sorry, Erik.
Brothers are great, but they serve very
little purpose in allowing me to borrow steal their clothes, etc.
Although, now that I think about it,
I'm fairly certain that I have still worn a hand-me-down a time or two over the years.
Regardless, there is a special bond between girls that no guy will ever be able to measure up to.
So if I can't have a sister, 
(unless you're counting my pup, Maggie--my dad calls her my sister occasionally), 
at least I can have some fantastic friends in my life.
 For as long as I can recall,
I've had a great appreciation for the special sisterhood females of all ages share.
Speaking the of sisterhood,
those Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books
were a must on my summer reading list.
Did it matter that I had already read them several times?
The magic of those girls' ability to stay connected though they were miles apart--encountering completely different situations--
was able to pull the strings of my heart every time.
I'm still deciding whether or not I should be embarrassed that I actually went to a thrift store once
and bought a pair of jeans that I thought would magically fit my best friend, Alyssa and me. 
Well it turns out that perhaps magical pants don't exist. 
But these magical bonds do exist.

A couple weeks ago, my roommates and I were
able to take time out of our summer work schedules to spend time together
to celebrate my longtime friend, Tasha's birthday.
In fact, Tasha and I were even debate partner's in high school.
I swear, we're not as nerdy as we sound.
Though pictures from our high school trips may prove otherwise.
Luckily, we've grown up over the years and went to our very first vineyard.
You never would have guessed a vineyard could exist in the tundra of South Dakota,
did you?
We sampled some of their original wines and even brought back a bottle to enjoy later.

 After, we ventured off to McCrory gardens for
a photo session.

Not even the rain could put a damper on our day.

 Lately, the roomies and I have been on a Sex and the City kick.
Though the language may be a rather crude and the subject matter a bit...
well, the name is pretty self explanatory...
I love how closely knit the group of women are with one another. 
They talk about anything and everything.
Seriously, nothing is off limits. 
It seems that every episode,
Carrie Bradshaw leaves us with some sort of quote.
I have to admit, I love her ability to relate just about anything to fashion.
Though a fictional character, she has a way with words,
especically rhetorical questions.
However, one of my favorite quotes from the leading lady is:
"Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates, 
and guys are just people to have fun with. "

Sure, it's nice to have a guy around.
However, it is comforting to know that your girls
have always got your back.


Friday, May 31, 2013

From the corner of a small town cafe...

Picture yourself in a small town.
For some of us, this may not be too far from our everyday reality.
For others, a small town may be around 300,000 people.
I certainly relate more to the former.
Living in South Dakota,
there's no escaping small towns and the quarks that come along with them.
I was thinking of the atmosphere of a small town
from the moment I set foot in a little cafe this morning,
where I met a professor to work on our research.
Picture the Bluebird Cafe in Mayberry on The Andy Griffth Show--
only smaller and without the charm of Barney Fife 
to keep things lively.
As I walked inside, the aroma of coffee filled the air
along with the chatter of elderly folks.
(I used to hate it when my mom would use the word "folks"
when I was growing up, but it seemed appropriate in this situation. 
So I don't have to feel like too much of a hypocrite.)
While Dr. Kemmer and I were visiting over our chicken noodle soup,
it was impossible for me not to notice how dated the place was.
As the waitress walked away from our table, 
I noticed the back of her shirt read "Serving you for over 35 years"
and from the looks of the place,
it hasn't been renovated or updated over the course of those 35 years.

Between the old fashioned malt machine and ancient cash register to
the casual gossip of the usual customers,
I couldn't help but soak up the feeling of being a part of this community.
Working on research, no matter the location,
my mind tends to wander after a certain point.

At one point a lady at the table next to us was talking about dancing.
Yes. I was eavesdropping.
That's how you fit-in in a small town, right?
She was telling the man and other woman in her company,
"There's only one man I like to dance with. That was my neighbor.
He was the best to waltz with."
 I could almost picture the woman in her younger years,
dancing beneath the dim lights of a county dance.
I don't have a stereotypical imagination at all, 
do I?
Overhearing these nostalgic conversations and talk of the weather and gas prices
reminded me of living simply.
I often get caught up in wanting the latest clothing and beauty items
and am always in a hurry to escape the midwest to bigger and better things.
However, maybe some of these people have it right.

Sure, there was the occasional grumbling old man,
complaining about "idiots" in society.
Sitting there, you could tell most of these people
weren't worried about appearances, deadlines or battling for the spotlight.
They were living in the moment,
soaking up the little things in life--
like a piece of pie with a cup of coffee.
(The future dietitian in me is wanting to preach about moderation here...)
Whenever my schedule seems to load up with projects and work tasks,
I love finding moments where I my perspective is opened up and I realize how much
more there is to life.

Appreciate the community you live in.
Find the good in your day.
And enjoy that second sliver of pie...
Yup. You heard it from me.
(Just don't make it an hourly occurrence or the ADA might ridicule me a bit!)
Because life is too short to breeze by these simple pleasures.
 Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"State-of-the-Art" String Art

It has been awhile since my last post, because:
a.) My laptop has been acting up again (I just got the little guy in February, mind you).
Therefore I had to take said computer into the Geek Squad to get it fixed.
Have you ever dealt with the Geek Squad at Best Buy before?
Perhaps this was just the particular people I was working with,
but it was like they didn't know how to interact without being extremely awkward and rude.
I guess social skills aren't taught within the confines of computer classes, huh?
b.) I have been working at the campus library on the computers for my internship,
and let me tell you, the last place I want to wind up after work is right back at the library to
work on my blog.
So that is that.
However, I was feeling a little deprived of the blogging world,
so I decided to take part in this week's "Saw it. Pinned It. Did it."
with this string art I made as a gift a couple of weeks ago.
I first came across this pin,
after asking my good friend, Angie for a gift idea for
her graduation. Since she will be moving away to Missouri,
she pointed out a State string art that she had recently pinned.
(shown below)

After looking into the steps further,
I decided that, with some help, I could tackle this project.
I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely no skills when it comes to
woodwork and anything involving tools of any kind.
Let's just say, I certainly wasn't racing into my woodshop class in 8th grade.
That is where a cute boy always comes in handy.
So a couple weekends ago, I recruited Brian to do all of the hard work involved with this project.
That's what boyfriends are for, right?!

We did some rummaging through his dad's shop and found this cupboard door
that seemed to be in good enough shape for this project.

Since it was far too large for the final product,
Brian cut it to a smaller size.
The original pin suggests a 12" by 12" board.
However, since South Dakota is a rectangular state,
we opted to go with a rectangle board instead.

He also tilted the blade to bevel the edges.
See why a boy was needed?
Can you imagine how this ended if I would have even tried cutting myself.
I would probably be typing with one less finger right now.

Next came the sanding.

To further smooth out the board,
he also applied a filler to the surfaces.
If you already have a smooth board,
this step is not necessary.

I realized after editing these photos that I never actually took a photo
of this poor boy's face.
It kind of reminded me of the neighbor, Wilson, from Home Improvements.
Do you remember that show?
It made me giggle, because it's kind of ironic since we're talking about handy work here.

A hanging wire was also fastened with two screws on the back.
The board was painted a neutral, taupe color.

You may be wondering how this is my Pinterest project?
 I did finally give Brian a break when it was time for the craftier portions of the project.

Using a printed copy of the state of South Dakota,
I lightly traced the outline with dots.
You can also tape the state in place using painter's tape if you don't want to mess with pencil marks.

Make an outline of a heart as well.

Nail all of your nails in place and begin
wrapping the crochet thread around the nails...
about 10 million times.

When you are satisfied,
tie off the string and stand back and admire your work.

This was a fun, inexpensive project
and I am glad I was able to give this to my friend, Angie.

For more crafty ideas,
check-out the SPD link-up
either here or here.