Mar 5, 2017

3 Places To Start Your Spring Cleaning

Happy March! With the new season upon us it's the perfect time to start some spring cleaning! It can feel daunting at first knowing you have so many areas you could go through so I've put together three places that will make a great start!

Starting your spring cleaning in your closet can seem really intimidating at first. But, if you break it down into sections it starts to be a lot easier to tackle. You have your clothing, your shoes, accessories, and outerwear that can all be sorted through separately. Each day you have time to work on your spring cleaning, just choose a category and get going! You'll see that once you start throwing away stuff in one category it makes it a lot easier to do it in another. This also gives you the opportunity to see what you want to be shopping for the next time you're out.

If you're anything like me you have a packed bookshelf with another stack building up on the floor next to it, a.k.a. an unnecessary amount of books. Take the time to go through them and keep the books you still need to read and for the finished books decided if it was good enough to keep in your collection or if it should be headed to Half Priced Books for some extra cash.

It's time to start getting rid of your old and expired make-up products! Go through your collection and get rid of things that are too old, like that mascara that's probably been with you for over a year, or things you just don't wear anymore. It will feel great to not have to dig through products that you know you haven't worn in ages when you're getting ready every day.

Where are the places you need to start your spring cleaning?

Feb 19, 2017

Highland Neighborhood

I've recently discovered the adorable Highland Neighborhood and it's now my favorite spot for a weekend brunch or a Friday lunch date with my best friend. If you're in the area here's where you should go!

Quixotic Coffee769 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
This coffee shop offers the most delicious cold brew coffee drinks I've ever tasted. They have one called DeNiro which is nitro cold brew, chocolate milk, almond simple syrup, shaken and stirred over ice. Their other one is White Lightening which is nitro cold brew, half & half, homemade vanilla simple syrup, served neat in a 13-oz tulip glass. If you ever stop in you have to try one out! 

The Highland Grill771 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
This restaurant is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! They have a wide variety of food on their menu and offer wine, beer, and hand crafted cocktails. The food is all made from scratch and uses local ingredients. On my last visit I had the carnitas sandwich which was packed with flavor!

Also, if you download the app Blue Plate, the company of their family restaurants, you can earn discounts whenever you visit! I earned $10 off my next purchase just by downloading the app!

Patina2057 Ford Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55116
This is one of my all time favorite stores! They have multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities so even if you're not by this one you should still find one close to you to visit. If you're ever in need of a gift for someone or some home decor this is the place to go. Their product is always changing with the seasons and you're guaranteed to find something you love.

There's also a half price books, starbucks, hair salons, frozen yogurt shop, and even more in this little area of the Highland Neighborhood. Make sure you check it out the next time your deciding where to go for brunch!

Have you ever been to this area of the Highland Neighborhood? What is one of your favorite local brunch spots?

Jan 21, 2017

10 Ways to Save for a Future Vacation

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If you're anything like me you've set a goal for this year to travel more! But the first step to making that happen is saving up the money to pay for your next vacation. It can seem daunting at first but if you make a few changes in your life you can easily save up money to put towards your vacation fund!

01) Go through your closet - This is a great way to declutter and earn some cash! Go through your clothes and if you find something you haven't worn for a few months then bring it to a store that buys and sells clothes! You'd be surprised how much money you can make on something you forgot you had!

02) Make dinner at home - This is one of the best money savers. Going out to eat can be really expensive especially if you add on the cost of drinks! Check out Pinterest to find a fun recipe to try out and test your skills in the kitchen.

03) Pack your own lunch - Another big saver! Remember that meal you just made for dinner? Pack up your leftovers for work or school the next day instead of spending $8 on a sandwich that isn't even that great. This is also a great way to eat healthier throughout the week!

04) Use cash and collect your change - This is one of my favorite ways to save money! First, only spending cash makes you more aware of how much money you have left to spend (as opposed to the blindness of swiping your debit or credit card). Second, any time you get change throw it into your vacation fund! I saved up $180 in one year with this method! It's such a small amount each day that you don't notice but it's very rewarding once you bring it to the bank to cash in! I now use this savings shadow box that can be customized to show off what you're saving for!

05) Write a list before shopping and stick to it! - This is something I need to do better myself. Try and avoid those pesky dollar sections at the Target entrance and question yourself every time you throw something in your cart that's not on your list. Do you really need it? Or is it a splurge that you'll forget about in a week?

06) Have movie night at home - I am a big believer in skipping the theater and watching a movie at home instead. RedBox movies are so cheap and you already have snacks at home! Plus, it's a lot better to be cozy on your couch with a fluffy blanket instead of a movie theater seat.

07) Go to the library - Books can be really expensive but you can skip that cost by checking our your local library! They're free, they have a wide selection of books, magazines, and movies, and as long as you don't go over your due date you won't have to pay any fees!

08) Forgo that monthly subscription box - There are so many subscription boxes out there these days that people are bound to be subscribed to one of them. If you are one of those people, try and skip a few months and put that money into your vacation savings!

09) Skip your Starbucks trip - Even this tip is hard for me to follow but you can save a lot of money by skipping your daily Starbucks trip! Now, whenever I fight the urge to go get a caramel latte I make sure to throw $5 into my vacation fund as a reward! But don't get me wrong, I do treat myself every once in awhile. 

10) Check out free events - Entertainment doesn't have to be expensive! Try to find fun and FREE events in your town to save some money on the weekends!

Dec 13, 2016

Gift Guide - The Kitchen Enthusiast

This gift guide is perfect for your friend who loves cooking, your mom who always makes the best food, or for the person who is always hosting parties! I hope you can use this gift guide to find them the perfect present! 

01. Everyone needs a cute serving tray for gatherings - $40
02. Any baker would love these copper measuring spoons - $20
03. The perfect recipe box for storing all of their favorite recipes - $35
04. This cheese board is perfect for a small party with friends - $58
05. A simple kitchen timer will prevent them from burning anything - $9
06. Let them whip up so tasty soups with this immersion blender - $32
07. How cute are these mason jar measuring cups? Perfect for the baker! - $13
08. Chrissy Teigen's cookbook is filled with delicious recipes anyone would love! - $30
09. Wood serving spoons are an essential in any kitchen - $12
10. This cocktail shaker is so gorgeous and would look great on a bar cart - $30

What do you plan on buying the kitchen enthusiast in your life? Happy Shopping!

Dec 6, 2016

Cranberry Moscow Mule

Today, I'm sharing a very festive and delicious beverage you can enjoy at all of your holiday parties! Not only does this drink look really pretty, it tastes amazing!

2 oz vodka
4 oz cranberry juice
6 oz ginger beer
juice from 1/4th of a lime
ice cubes

Mix all ingredients together in a copper mug. Add frozen cranberries and a lime wedge for garnish.

If you use this recipe I'd love to see! Use #exploringdesigner in any social media posts!
Happy Celebrating!

Nov 13, 2016

Loving Lately - November 2016

This month I have been letting myself splurge on products that bring me joy. After spending a lot of time visiting doctors, dealing with cancer treatments, and spending money on student loans and medical bills I felt like I deserved to treat myself! These are the new things I've recently purchased that I have been loving lately.

Essie Bahama Mama - buy it here
The perfect fall color! It's a gorgeous deep red with a hint of purple.

Tarte Young, Wild, & Free Amazonian Clay Palette
I was looking for a neutral eye shadow palette that was small enough to bring with when traveling and this one is perfect. It's a good mix of matte and shimmer colors and the size is perfect.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara
I recently bought this trio of Tarte mascaras and this one is definitely my favorite! It makes my lashes look so long and full and I love pairing it with the eye shadow palette.

52 Lists of Happiness Book - buy it here
If you're ever having a bad day or week and just need some time to reflect then this book is perfect. It puts life into perspective and makes you realize just how fortunate you are.

Cozy Socks
Now that it's getting chilly these are all I've been wearing! They're so thick, soft, and cozy that it's hard to take them off!

Sea Salt & Sage Candle - buy it here
This is my all time favorite candle scent. I don't even know how to describe it but it's perfect. You won't regret buying it.

What have you been loving lately? Do you like to splurge on little gifts for yourself when you've been having a hectic or stressful few weeks?