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31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

Holy Moly GEE!! I am beyond impressed with myself and everyone else who actively participated in Blogtober and published every day this month. I had my doubts some days and almost quit a few times, but here we are and we made it!

Helene in Between Blogtober

Happy Halloween to the rest of the world... I don't have a picture of me in my costume yet, but I figured I could at least show you my inspirations. I'm going for a Miss Hannigan/crazy lady next door look.

and to add to the celebration- check out the Q&A session I had with one of the fabulous ladies over on my sidebar!

If you could travel to any place in the world, right now, where would you go? 
 I would definitely go to Sweden. Or maybe Harry Potter World. Probably Sweden because I'm hoping if the opportunity to travel anywhere spur of the moment would mean it's free. And because we have relatives and friends living in Sweden we would love to visit. 

Which celebrity is your soul-mate?  
 I'd like to think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is my celebrity soul-mate. Idk, I've never been super into a celebrity once I outgrew the boy band phase as a preteen.  I did use to have a very unhealthy attraction to Zac Efron.  Like, I saw Charlie St. Cloud in theaters. I PAID to see that.  Then I saw he got a YOLO tattoo and any sort of attraction disappeared. I kid you not. I never knew physical attraction could die so quickly. 

If you had to pick a favorite book, what would it be?   
Harry Potter, all seven (that totally counts as one).

Super powers GO: Invisibility or flight?   
Totally invisibility.  Being able to fly would be terrifying.

"Throw kindness around like confetti" I mean, if there's anything the world needs, it's more kindness and confetti.

I second the confetti motion- and why yes of course the entire Harry Potter series counts as one book- I mean why wouldn't it? I hope you all stop by and say hello to Katie in one form or another. She is recently wed, has some great life advice and started an awesome Saturday link-up. Make sure to stop by and join in tomorrow!! 

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30 October 2014

Facts About Me!

We are so close to the end!! I seriously can't believe that I truly made through this challenge- I know I still have tomorrow but since that post is already half-written I will take this as a win. Anyways, there will be more celebrating tomorrow.

Today's prompt: Facts about ME! When I first started blogging I did a post with 25 facts about me. I'm not sure if I can whip about that many more but I will certainly give it my best shot...

  • I do know how to knit but have currently been working on the same few projects for several years... I will finish them one day!
I made one mitten in this pattern (blue and coral colors) and only the wrist of the second...

  •  My birthday is on the cusp of the astrological signs Leo and Virgo. I like to think that I am a little bit of both

  • I've listened to the new Taylor Swift albums at least 20 times already this week...

  •  I believe in ghosts and aliens

  • I didn't start drinking coffee until I moved to NYC

  • Winter is my favorite season- I'm so looking forward to snow!

  • My favorite superhero is Wolverine (especially when played by Hugh Jackman)

  • In 2010 I read over 200 books, I kept track in a word document. This included new and old stories- I would guess that I read about the same every year, give or take. (maybe this can be  new years resolution for 2015!)
And that's all I got for now. Come back tomorrow for the last day of blogtober and to find out my costume inspiration!!

Helene in Between Blogtober

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29 October 2014

My Most Embarrassing Moment

I know you are expecting something spectacular here- something you can laugh at for days, but in reality I don't have a "Most Embarrassing Moment". I mean I've definitely had moments that were embarrassing- but nothing that truly sticks out in my mind.

I lied- there is one moment of my life that was pretty embarrassing. When I was a junior in college I studied abroad in London. Towards the end of the semester we had a party for our group- it was rather small, I believe someone from our university may have been in town and the students and families we were living with were all invited to the soiree. As usual we were taking full advantage of the alcohol provided. The night winded down and some friends and I headed home towards the tube. Now, in London, unlike NYC, the underground closes at midnight. Sometimes the last train is even earlier. We made our way to Kings Cross (yes the harry potter one!!) and noticed a train was coming right that second, one of the last ones of the night- we ran as fast as we could to jump on and as I got onto the train I completely tripped, in my drinking state I had failed to actually life my legs to get into the train but just ran into the train- shins right into the siding, fall flat on my face. In that moment I laughed, but as soon as the doors closed I asked the friend with me if she wouldn't mind getting off at the next stop and waiting for the next train. We did, I laughed, had some bruises the next day and all was well.

In the scheme of things it wasn't a big deal, and I'm sure much worse has actually happened to me. On the whole though, nothing crazy or awful. I've never been stood up on a date, never tripped in front of a crush, no accidentally skirts tucked into underwear or toilet paper stuck to my foot. 

And there you have it- my most embarrassing moment (at this point in my life).

Helene in Between Blogtober

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28 October 2014

Things I am Superstitious About

I'm not naturally a superstitious person but there are some things I still do out of habit from childhood..

- kissing my hand then touching the ceiling of the car when driving through a red light. this is meant to stop the light from turning red while riding underneath the light

- holding my breath when driving/traveling past a graveyard/cemetery. I don't always do this but every once in a while I do it without even thinking about it. a second weird nature.

-twisting an apple stem to the alphabet, which whatever letter it comes out on is the first letter of your future husband/wife. Another one of those second nature things, I do it without consciously thinking about it.

and a few that you might not even realize you are doing, but that we all do, which technically are superstitions

-blowing out our birthday candles on the first try

-crossing our fingers for good luck

-wishing upon shooting stars

-knocking on wood to prevent something from happening

-saying g-d bless you to someone who sneezes.

The whole superstition world is kind of a funny thing, some just get ingrained in you from society and your family. Others people are truly afraid of what could happen, or adopt superstitions as they grow older.

Helene in Between Blogtober

What kinds of things are you superstitious about?
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27 October 2014

Apple Picking Adventure!

Hooray! I crossed another item off of my Fall bucket list- I'm way too impressed with myself and the progress I have made with this list this year. Woah.

I dragged a few friends out to Pennings Farm Orchard in Warwick, NY. It took about an hour + to drive there, a nice scenic route through the hills and mountains with lots of gorgeous fall leaves. We also listened to the new T-Swift album that a friend bootlegged. I give it absolute approval- T-Swift you've done it again!

The orchard was nice, they only had two varieties of apples left but we maneuvered our way through and found some delicious picks to snack on.

 After filling our bag of apples we went to the beer garden of the orchard that had some amazing house made hard apple cider, beer, and a bunch of other things. It had a great playground for kids, some chickens, goats and a sweet baby cow to pet and a great food area.

We ordered food, drinks, grabbed some sweets and goodies from the market area and then grabbed tasty doughnuts and fresh apple cider for the ride home.

Next year we now know to go earlier for a better apple variety but overall it was a lot of fun and I'm glad we made an adventure of it! 

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26 October 2014

who would play me in a movie?

well this post is a bit later than normal... sorry. this is mostly due to the fact that a) I finally went apple picking with my friends yesterday so was gone all day b)then my roommate had a halloween party that last until the wee hours of the night and c) because I literally just work up. eh- that's what sundays are for!  And now...

I'd like to thank the academy for having my life story made. I know, it's pretty intriguing. All those years spent nannying left me with some crazy stories about how people raise their children. I'd also like to thank you for considering all of these fantastic actresses for the role of moi.

Alison Brie

Kristen Bell

Cobie Smulders 

This is what my friends and I discussed on our drive to apple picking- we then proceeded to cast all of us in this untitled production. We even went as far as to think of a plot and villain. Yes, this is what we do in our driving times..

Helene in Between Blogtober

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25 October 2014

Blogging for Books: Bittersweet

A few weeks ago I posted about a new site I had joined called Blogging for Books, and reviewed the first novel I had received from them , The Martian. Blogging for Books is a fantastic site that allows bloggers to receive books for free (yes, for free) in exchange for honest reviews. The site even allows you to pick an e-book, paper or audio book. You can find my first review of The Martian here.

The second book I choose was Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittmore.

The story follows Mabel Dagmar, an ordinary girl who befriends her college roommate, Genevra (Ev) Winslow. Ev comes from a prestigious family, who has held reign over their sprawling Vermont estate for generations past. Mabel is invited to spend the summer with them in their quaint cottages, midnight skinny-dipping excursions, and days spent lakeside.

While she delightfully enjoys herself, learning to grow, befriend and succeed in the lifestyle, Mabel also learns of dark secrets- ones that could mean life or death.

I thought the book was excellent, intriguing and had great character development. Mabel is a relatable character, one with secrets herself. She dives deep into the Winslow clan, learning about them and their haunted past- which drives her to make a grave decision, become one them or expose them for what they truly are.

The book kept me on my toes and continuing to want more. And every time you thought you had figured out what was going on, another surprise was thrown your way.

 You will laugh, cry, cringe with fear.

I recommend this highly to anyone who loves a good thriller, mystery, or even just a coming-of-age story. The friendships, secrets and affairs of the heart are as familiar as your own and yet beyond anything else you can imagine.

*note- I received this e-book for free, in exchange for a review- all thoughts and opinions are of my own*

Helene in Between Blogtober

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24 October 2014

One Beauty Product I can't Live Without

For this I'm going to have to go with a good dry shampoo. My go to these days is Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk and it is seriously the most amazing product I've ever used. It's on the pricier side but worth every cent. A bottle runs about $19 (yikes! I know!) but a lot of Ricky's Stores, not sure if they are elsewhere, sell 2 for $29. I used to buy them on Birchbox (which is totally how I found out about this awesome stuff) but Ricky's is way way cheaper.

Klorane also makes a dry shampoo with nettle which is meant for even more oily hair, but I haven't tried it yet. Maybe I should though.. will keep you updated! 

I've tried many, many, many dry shampoos over the years. Some left weird a residue, some made my hair feel like butt. This one though, this one is a beautiful beautiful concoction of love. It makes me hair look clean (check- the whole point of a dry shampoo), it makes my hair manageable, it makes my hair feel soft, fresh and easy to run my fingers through.

Dry shampoo makes for an easier day in general, it cuts down on bathing time and then I don't feel weird if I decide to not wash my hair for a few days. I used to be a serious hair-washer, everyday if not twice. Now it's more of a 2-3/week. But it still looks and smells great because of this perfect product. don't ever leave me!

Helene in Between Blogtober

And now on to the good stuff in life- introducing you to one of the awesome peeps who hangs out on my sidebar!

 "Hey, I'm Rachael, the writer behind The Rachael Way!  I blog about living in China, my struggles as an expat, being a first year teacher, life in general and the tough stuff.  Really, nothing is off limits on my blog.  I hope you'll stop by and say hello!"

Seriously though, this gal is pretty awesome. First off she just moved to CHINA to teach for the year (read some of her FAQs here). I love reading her posts about translations and prices, her post about the Chinese Wal-Mart blew my mind. Rachael has some great tips about growing up and enjoying life in general, and who doesn't appreciate someone whose favorite gif is of Zooey Deschanel.  We are all weird in our own ways and we gotta embrace it! Go say hello to Rachael and see what else she has been up to! (plus she just got a bloggy makeover and it looks fantastic!)

Happy Friday!!

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annnnnddd because I want to shamelessly promote my new favorite jewelry line (Chloe & Isabel) make sure you ENTER the giveaway I've got going on right NOW! Only a few days left! You can check out my initial review and some of the goodies I got here.

23 October 2014

The Best Editing Apps I Use

I don't do as much editing as I should for this site but when I do decide to fix some pics there are a few apps and sites that are my go-tos.

first up- PicMonkey. This is by far the greatest tool I use, and if you don't have an account with them yet, then you need to go sign up, like right now. One, the site is free. You can pay a pretty reasonable fee ($33 for a year) to become a "Royal" member , which gives additional fonts, pictures yadayada-totally worth it. The site allows you to edit, create, touch-up and do just about whatever you want to your pictures. Lose a few pounds, add some pizazz, use it to make your pictures all the same size. PicMonkey = the best!

Besides picmonkey- I like to use...

ABM (A Beautiful Mess)- this one is great for making collages on your phone and adding some color, not much editing though

PicTapGo- this is one of the best for light editing, you can take a dark picture to a beautiful well lit photo with just a click

Repix- this is a new one for me, I haven't used it much but it's kind of a mixture between PicTapGo and Instagram.

and that's just about it...what types of apps do you like to use for editing?

Helene in Between Blogtober

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22 October 2014

My Pet Peeves

Ugh - aren't people the worst?! Just kidding, I love people. At least most of them. But sometimes people annoy me, and these are the top reasons how they do so...

- Making me repeat myself. This is probably my top pet peeve, I really really really don't like having to say the same thing twice, or three times or even four.

- Not refilling the Brita Filter in the fridge. Don't you want fresh, clean water for yourself?

 -Leaving an empty roll of toilet paper, or not restocking the stash near the toilet. The second one is even worst to me. I could punch you.

- Shuffling your feet when walking. I couldn't say what if it's the noise, or way they seem to almost trip with every step they take, but it drives me crazy.

- All these movie remakes. Footloose, unnecessary- basically this whole list. An abomination!

I'm sure I could find a few more things that really drive me wild, but most don't occur to me until that are actually happening- so for now we will leave it at this!

Helene in Between Blogtober
p.s can we just talk about how it's day 22 and I've totally been rockin' this challenge! I'm kind of impressed with myself..

And don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway I've got going on right now! Check out my original post/review HERE!

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21 October 2014

Writing Process Blogging Tour

I was recently nominated by a blogging friend of mine, Lindsay from Lindsay Living Vegan, to participate in the Writing Process Blogging Tour. Lindsay and I met through a new blogger google hangout with Erin from Living in Yellow and have been in touch since. She writes a fantastic blog about living a vegan lifestyle, providing healthy, easy and cost-efficient recipes.

This whole tour is a great way to learn about some of the secrets behind a blog- how we write, think of ideas and plan. Let's start!

What am I working on?
           Currently I'm working on blogging every day for the month of October. So far so good, and it has been pretty interesting. Thankfully I have some freaking amazing prompts courtesy of Helene and Tay. I'm also working on trying to get better picture skills, work with editing my photos and in general adding more pizazz to my posts. I've also been working on getting more books reviewed, trying new recipes to posts and knocking off things from my fall bucket list. And after learning some new craft skills from my sister's wedding I'm flirting with the idea of going bigger. Maybe starting an Etsy shop? Still working on that one but it may be future potential. 

How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?
            My work differs from other lifestyle bloggers because it's in my voice and not theirs. We are all different because we are all having different experiences. My review of a book might be completely opposite of someone else but it gives you the reader the opportunity to see a new perspective. I write how I talk,  I try my dang hardest to be honest and I enjoy coming here everyday, if I didn't I wouldn't come back. I'm here more for me than anyone else, and maybe that's what makes me different.

Why do I write what I do?
           I write what I do because I enjoy sharing. I want to be able to tell everyone about the great book I read, movie I saw, food I tasted. I came here and started this blog to get myself into the habit of updating people on my life for my future hike and what better way to do that then to write about my life. Tell you how my weekend was, if I went to an art-show or met a friend for a drink. I've toyed with the idea of reviewing things before in life, and this gave me an opportunity to actually do that. So here I am sharing and updating, because why not?

How does your writing process work?
         I don't have any specific writing process. Since I'm currently working on the Blogtober challenge and already have to prompts for the month it has made my writing a bit easier. I typically have 2-3 days of posts scheduled out from the prompts.  Really I just sit down and write, if it's a recipe I make sure it is one I've already tried and photographed. Almost every single post is written at least the day before. I try super hard to get them all out at the same time (morning) and it would be crazy to try and attempt actually writing them in the morning- posts wouldn't go live until at least 12, which is when they went out the first month or so of this experiment. When I write I try to write as if I'm writing an email to someone in my family, or a friend. How I would speak if I was on the other end of a chat or texting conversation. I write first, add pictures second, attempt to proofread (once or twice, which still doesn't always work!), add any additional links, maybe schedule a message or two on twitter to go along with and then hit publish. Easy, peasy. 

Now it is my turn to nominate 2 bloggers to participate!

First, I've nominated Kaelyn, from My Fair Daily. Kaelyn and I were paired up for the Big/Little Blogging series and I couldn't have asked for a better Little! We have already had a great time getting to know each other through email and google+ hangouts. She writes and vlogs about some great makeup and beauty products- plus a mix of life and favorite day to day things (like her favorite Halloween movies- Hocus Pocus is a must!)
The Grits Blog

Second, I've nominated Ash, from The Grits Blogs. I love Ashley's blog, and her entire creative process. She recently redid the whole design of Blue Giraffes and did a kicking job! Between her redesign for me and having sponsored her, the two of us created a unique bond over the Outlander show (which you should all totally watch!) She has some amazing tutorials, recipes (oreo cheesecake cookies-yes please!) and doesn't mind speaking from the heart. Check her out!
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And don't forget to enter the rocking giveaway I've got going on right now- who doesn't love new jewelry?! a Rafflecopter giveaway