Blogging Blues


I'm not sure if it's the holidays and finals or what but I haven't found a lot of creativity to blog this month.
The entire month of December.
Okay, maybe even this entire season.
I haven't found I want to blog.
It's become a chore to find things to post about.
To remember to take pictures when I'm out doing things.

Or maybe it's that I put too much pressure on myself.
Lately I've felt like what I have to write about isn't that interesting.
Serious writers block.
But then I read something ridiculously funny about the most simple event in the world.
And I know that's what makes a great writer.
Someone who can take something mundane and make it interesting.
I know when I want to, I can write posts like that too.
So maybe this is writers block?
Or maybe this is me losing interest in blogging?

Anyhow, I hope anyone reading this had a full and content holiday.
I'll be back after the New Year.
Hopefully with more to share and more direction with this blog.

Sandy Hook

There is no way I can come up with a normal blog post today. It just feels wrong. There is so much conversation to be had in our country concerning the shooting at Sandy Hook. There's been a hole in my heart this weekend. I know there's been a hole in all of our hearts. I hope that we can stand united, thoughtful, and intentional even as the days go by and last Friday seems to feel long ago.



+I'm so honored to be a citizen of this country where people like Robbie Parker exist.
+Read this article about Victor Cruz's tribute to a young victim and Giants fan, Jack Pinto.
+Consider this before you make assumptions about Nancy Lanza. This is a great start to a conversation that needs to be held about mental health.

Friday Favorites.


Sometimes it's as simple as adjusting your outlook. Really, it can be that simple to be a happier more cheerful person. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend and are finishing your holiday shopping! Here are some of my favorite posts of the week:

+An inspirational and real post with a fabulous quote.
+No bake oreo balls!! Yes, this recipe is for real!
+I've been here!! And I'm not a world traveller! Germany is stunning.
+This hilarious post about two hilarious bloggers I read daily.

What are some of your favorite blog posts this week?

Statement Earrings Giveaway!

Want to win a pair of these gorgeous earrings by Linkel Designs?
 
 
Yeah, I thought you did.
 
Enter away!
 
Good luck :)
 
The winner will be announced 12/21.
 
Linkel Designs is also offering Hello Indigo readers a 10% off discount code by entering the code INDIGO at checkout.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On my mind

Have you guys seen this new brush? It's mixed with microfiber bristles which supposedly dry your hair 30% faster. I'm intrigued. I'm slightly skeptical that it might make my hair have a ton of static. What do you think?

 
I have a jacket obsession right now. Most likely because it's not cold enough for me to wear a heavy duty jacket. But this one is adorable. If it goes on sale, I may be purchasing it.
 
Also, this pretty baby is on sale for $119.90. You're welcome.
 
I'm dying over this personalized stationary by my friend Anna. What a sweet gift idea!
 
 
 


Ikea Faves.


I am a HUGE fan of Ikea. There are some things I wouldn’t buy there (couches, mattresses, kitchen upgrades) but there are SO many things I will buy there! I even know three people who have purchased dinnerware there and rave about it. I like to update 2-3 times a year which can be expensive. That’s why Ikea is perfect. I love their duvet covers, especially. Here's what I'm swooning over right now.






 
Have you purchased couches from Ikea?

Follow Friday!

It's Follow Friday! It's time to link up and get your blog hop on. Aaaaand lucky for me (and you) both Tammy and Jessica are co-hosting with me today!

How to participate:

There are no minimum requirements to what you need to do to link up! However, I would appreciate it if you found atleast 3-5 new blogs you'd LIKE to follow and follow them via Google Friend Connect (GFC). Comment and let them know you found them thru Follow Friday! This way, the purpose of this project actually works!

Please spread the word through twitter/instagram/your blog...the more people that link up the more new blogs we have to follow! :)

Fashion/Beauty blogs:


Lifestyle Blogs: Leave me a comment saying you follow me with your blog link and I'll be sure to follow you back :)

True Life: I'm Dating an Apple Fanboy

Some of you know that I'm dating an apple fanboy/software engineer (he makes apps for the iPhone). Since I don't know many other people dating "computer nerds" (except Tammy!) I've decided to spread the word about how awesome they are. They're smart, on top of new technology trends, and have a really simple clothing style. You never have to worry about not having the latest clothing brand when gift giving occasions come up. I once proclaimed during the height of the Affliction phase I wanted to date a guy that wore plain color t-shirts and polos. My wish came true ;)

So, how do you know if you've got one on your hands?

Yes, he really is Face-timing HIMSELF.


+When you're live texted with every new product/feature at the Apple events

+When you hear "I will only support one software generation back" more than once. You had better update, girl!

+When you've seen multiple Steve Jobs documentaries

+When you watched a video game competitor documentary on Valentines Day. (Next year, we saw the Vow)

+When Steve Jobs responded to his email. (Only one word, but still awesome in my book)

+When you have to test new updates on apps for bugs

+When you visit the Apple store to check out new products

+When you suddenly start getting overly excited about new phones and new phone updates (HELLO PHOTO STREAM!!!!)

+When you start recognizing the CEOs of Yahoo, Apple, Google etc.

+When you never have to worry about finding somewhere to charge your phone

Trust me, they are keepers.

PS-
+There's a blog hop with NO REQUIREMENTS to link up happenin around these parts on Friday. And two fantastic blogs are co-hosting with me! Hope you'll join us :)

+Do you blog? One of my good friends is doing a research project at school for her communication class on bloggers. I'd LOVE it if you helped her (us) out and took five minutes to take BOTH of these surveys. Part One and Part Two

Kids and Christmas.

It's the giving season.
 
 
I've always loved kids. I was a big sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program in San Diego for a year. I would drive an hour away every Wednesday to hang out with my little sister for an hour. Okay, AND to beat kids in handball. Yes, they would line up to play me. Even the kids not in the program. And no, I didn't just let them win. I'm not that good of a person ;) My little sister came from a "disadvantaged" home. She was one of six kids, and her mom worked at Pizza Hut. I can't imagine trying to feed, clothe, and provide for six kids on that income.

My little sister inspired me to want to help more kids. Last year I participated in the Salvation Army/JcPenny Angel Tree program which allowed you to find an angel (kid or elderly person) who needed help with having a gift to open on Christmas. I was looking forward to doing it again this year. However, JcPenny is no longer hosting this program online. I mean, this must mean JcPenny hates children? Half kidding. I am pretty bummed there is no way to adopt an angel online though. They made it SO convienent and I feel like a lot of kids won't be adopted this year because people are busy! I will be marching my butt down to the Salvation Army this weekend and adopting an angel.

I had such a great experience last year. It was SO rewarding. After looking at the MANY kids in my zip code that needed a Christmas, I chose a five year old boy who was asking for a tent. Uh, what kid doesn't deserve a tent?! I was a tenter myself as a kid, so I picked him. I got him this sweet pimped out Disney Cars tent with a tunnel attached, some pj pants, and a fleece pullover for under $50. I was really passionate and excited about helping my little friend last year and somehow got EIGHT other kids adopted through friends and friends of friends. This may have been the greatest contribution I'd done last year.

This year, you can do this too. All you have to do is find some time to go to your local Salvation Army and pick an angel there. If you can't afford $50, that's okay. But if you can afford $25 or you're a thrifty shopper, imagine the smile you could put on a kid's face. Even something small could be something huge to someone else. A smile that might not have been there on Christmas morning if it wasn't for you. If you can't swing it this year, spreading the word could lead to more kids being "adopted" because of you. That's just as helpful!

Kids don't understand why Santa didn't come if they were good...and hell, Santa came for me even when I was bad.

Think about it. That's all I ask. And maybe tell someone.
 
Can't make it down to the Salvation Army?
Consider donating $5 to to make this lovely family.

How do you give back during the holiday season?
I know sometimes it's hard to find time to give back. I'm always looking for new ways to contribute.

Double Standards.

There are some double standards I like.

My boyfriend and I are a little bit old school (which I like).

If you're more modern and like to do everything yourself or defy social expectations, I think that is AWESOME.

I'm just sayin' being a woman has perks.



+Guys build ikea furniture. Or anything that comes with tools. (I know how to, just takes me longer and probably isn't as stable).
+Guys pay on the first date. Unless you asked him? It's usually a bad sign if the guy lets you pay the first time in my experience. (Not that he should pay every time!)
+Guys do the grilling. Am I alone with this one? The only thing I've ever grilled is a hot dog.
+Guys carrying luggage. My brothers don't even question me when I ask them to bring my luggage in.
+Holding the door open for you sometimes.
+Guys driving on important dates. I don't mind driving and sure don't expect guys to drive 24/7 because that's just annoying for anyone. But your birthday, anniversary, or valentines day? Heck yes, the guy should drive. It feels more "datey".

What double standards do you like?

I WON THE LOTTERY!!! (The ugly post with no pictures)

Okay. I didn't.

I've never been a play the lottery person.

Until about six months ago I was driving home from school (maybe I was REAL tired) and a thought crossed my mind--I'm going to win the lottery tonight. I felt like the thought was really powerful so I bought a ticket. I KNEW I was going to win. I was so happy all night long and the next day waiting for the numbers to be drawn.

And then it was time.

To my surprise, I didn't win.

The best part? I was COMPLETELY shocked.

In fact for the next few days I couldn't stop saying "I really thought I was going to win."

I was still really taken by that clear winning the lottery thought.

So I played every week for a few weeks (I'm down about $10-$15 at this point).

The last time I played I "let the numbers come to me" and picked my own. I tried that power of positive thinking + the secret bullcrap.  To really capitalize on this, I filled my online Nordstrom shopping account with everything I was going to buy. Which was actually harder than I thought.

You probably know where this is going but...I did not win.

I needed to delete my online shopping cart. It was SO shameful. Nordstrom has some crazy cookies going on because no matter how many times I clicked out of the window my shopping cart was STILL full! I couldn't find the remove all button (do they do this on purpose???) so I had to INDIVIDUALLY DELETE 33 (YES, THIRTY-THREE) ITEMS.

I was so ashamed.

That's when I realized I might have a problem.

It's been a few months since that last lottery ticket...until two nights ago.

Cross your fingers for me ;)

Facts.

Stole this idea from this gal. I'm sure she won't mind though because she's a Holliey.


FACT: The boyfriend and I decided to meet at IHOP before work for a breakfast date this morning. I woke up at 5:30 AM. Since my body likes to go to bed just after midnight and I got a text message from my friend who works the night shift at an emergency vet at 2:30 AM, I'm basically a walker right now.

FACT: I got these jeggings last weekend 40% off. So for $26. I'm IN LOVE. I also got a floral patterned jean pair...which MAY be going back to the store. We shall see. What kind of tops do you all wear with patterned jeans?

FACT: Is it me or are bloggers really organized for Christmas this year? I'm almost done with my shopping but still feel behind compared to what I see on instagram. Bloggers get it done!

FACT: Christmas music is annoying early in the morning and joyful in the afternoon.

FACT: Those of you with smart phones and fancy physical planners....are they worth the $50? I usually write my goals on the notes app and put lightning bolts next to the ones I finish.

FACT: I highly suggest you check out those who linked up on Katie's and Stephanie's blogs. I'm NOT a crafter but there are so many ideas on there that have given me the DIY itch.

FACT: Almost time to make goals for 2013! I'm really happy with the goals I've accomplished this year. The goals I didn't meet (and probably won't) were blog related and to be honest they're not that *important* in the scheme of things. My blog is a hobby that I love but it's not a top priority for me.

What are facts in your life this week?

The Tube

I don't know when it happened, but I've become addicted to the tube.

I love to lose brain cells and unwind in front of the television.

Not crap shows like Honeybooboo (never seen it by the way) but shows that keep me on my toes, pull at my heart strings, or are just plain dramatic. Currently I'm watching four shows.

My life isn't too dramatic (great thing!) so I get my drama by watching Nashville.
Source: tvguide.com via Sherry on Pinterest

First of all I love this woman. No, not you Hayden, sorry. I cried over Friday Night Lights and now I want to cry over Nashville. Such a fantastic show!

I've been procrastinating on my homework every night with Parenthood. I'm not sure what it is about this show but I watch it on Netflix and I watch at least 3 at a time.
Source: google.com via Megan on Pinterest

Jabar is the cutest little kid ever. Anyone else ever like in awe of child actors?? How do they have the patience to do this??

My favorite show right now is The Walking Dead. My boyfriend and I are obsessed. In fact on our last weekend vacation we made sure we were back at the hotel Sunday night to watch it. Not kidding.
Source: sharetv.org via Becky on Pinterest

The first season is also on Netflix. It's zombies, yes...but also SO SO good!!!

And finally Sons of Anarchy.
Source: sharetv.org via Andrea on Pinterest

This show has no boundaries. If any show will keep you on your toes it's this one.

What shows do you watch?

Christmas List

What a great feeling to not want very much for Christmas. I really struggled to come up with a list of things I'd actually use a lot. Here's my list:
 



this lovely necklace



 
 
Rollerball set
 

I'd love a southwest, sephora, nordstrom, starbucks, erin condren or ikea gift card too :)

What's on your list this year?


Brand New.

Yes, you're still on the right blog. :)

My blog name has changed, the blog design has changed, but the content should remain relatively the same. I've wanted to do a major blog change for some time now (cough six months) and it took me forever to actually get all the details ready. I've outgrown Hollie Takes Notes and wanted something that was fun and light hearted. So here we are with Hello Indigo. I'm obsessed with anything indigo and I'm sure that's not going away. Several of my advisors (close friends & boyfriend) weren't so sure about my name change or even the design but at the end of the day this is MY blog and I took it where I wanted. I'm VERY happy with it! I LOVE the design that Joelle did for me. She was amazing to work with and I totally recommend her for design services....plus, she looks pretty fancy at wedding design as well.



In celebration of Hello Indigo ALL  ad spaces are 50% off until Wednesday :) Use promo code CHEER at checkout!

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Confessions of a Blog Lurker

I'm a serious blog lurker.

As in I rarely leave comments anymore.

And there are plenty of blogs I read daily. Yes, daily.

Those blogs I feel really connected to and feel like I actually know them.

But they probably don't know me or think I fell off the face of the earth because I don't comment that much.

It's so mysterious being a lurker ;)

It takes zero effort. (Which isn't a good thing for bloggers for many reasons.)

I think most of the time it's because I read blogs mobily (not a word and I know it) and posting a comment from Safari on my iPhone is a pain in the arse. It's also a pain to comment from rss apps I use.

When I'm on a computer I can click and type a lot easier.

But computers are becoming more and more less of a part of my "free time" and tablets/cell phones are my preferred way to access information and keep up with my blogs.

Somebody make a rss feed app that makes commenting easier.

If that happens I promise to be more interactive.

Are you a lurker or a commenter?

Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Dip


Happy Monday! Devon is here today sharing a super easy, guaranteed hit, appetizer for your Thanksgiving festivities. It sounds amazing (anything with cream cheese does) and I am planning on making it Wednesday night after work! Devon has an amazing lifestyle blog called The Mermaid Chronicles that I know you'll love so make sure to stop by and say hi after reading this post :)


Hey guys. I'm Devon. I'm stopping by Hollie's lovely blog today to share one of my favorite Thanksgiving appetizers with you. My mom makes this recipe every year and now that I'm supposedly a big grown up and all, I make it too. But don't worry, this recipe isn't too grown up. It's got candy in it! Heath toffee to be exact. And it's kind of healthy because it has apples (right?). Anyways, it's always been a hit. Plus, it's super easy. I hope you enjoy it!


Ingredients 
2pkgs. cream cheese (softened)
2tsp. vanilla
2T. brown sugar
1 container of carmel apple dip (I used the Lighthouse brand)
1pkg. pecan bits (roast in oven for 300ยบ for 10-15 minutes)
1pkg. heath toffee bits
Apples (I used organic fuji apples)

Instructions
Let the cream cheese soften for 30 minutes. Mix the cream creese, vanilla, and brown sugar together in a large shallow serving dish until blended. Spread  cream cheese mixture into your serving dish. Pour one container of caramel dip over the cream cheese. Sprinkle generously with toffee bits and oven roasted pecan pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crunchy sliced apples.  Enjoy!



What's your favorite Thanksgiving appetizer?


Your Gift Guide for a "Regular Guy"

I just LOVE all of the holiday gift guides I’ve been seeing around the blogosphere. I’m stilling waiting for Mrs. AEN to do one herself as she has fantabulous taste. My Christmas want list is getting longer by the day. Eek!

However, I need to poke a little fun at the gift guides for men. 

What man gets his boxer briefs in a bundle over cuff links? designer button ups? An uber expensive shaving and cologne kit? Not any man I know. A part of me would love it if my guy went on and on about his fancy new man bag but a bigger part of me is glad he leaves the designer stuff to me.

I’m not the coolest girlfriend in the world. But if there’s one thing I’m confident about it is picking out a cool gift for my guy. I put a lot of thought into the gifts I give and I think I’ve been pretty successful. I’m not the girliest woman out there so that probably helps?

So here’s my take on a successful holiday gift guide for a regular guy:

For the gamer. (Yes, your man is probably part gamer).



For the sports fanatic.

            

Annoucements

1. I spent a long time last night writing a blog post about the Salvation Army & JCPenny Angel Tree partnership to discover this morning JCPenny is no longer participating. So now you can't find an angel online. Ugh. Fail. JCPenny hates children.

2. If twinkies really are gone forever I'm shutting down this blog.

Number 2 might be sarcasm.

Might be.

Happy Friday! Have a relaxing and productive weekend!

To the Little Things

It’s super easy to get carried away on all the novelty "necessities" we must have.

This year I’ve really made a cut (in some ways…not all ways…cough) to be smarter in how I spend my money. I haven’t saved as much as I’d like due to some unforeseen circumstances… but that’s what saving accounts are for!


Source: etsy.com via Sarah on Pinterest

I wanted to recognize all the little things I’m thankful for that have helped me direct my spending.

Five Things You Probably Don't Care About

1. This semester has proved to be one where I'm not getting A's. Anyone else struggle with fall semester? I'm not sure if it's because I took THREE summer school classes over the summer or the colder weather but I have a serious case of lack of motivation. Whoops.


How cute is this desk by the way??

2. I haven't dyed my hair since August 1st. Coming from a former bleach-aholic, this is BIG. My hair is SO natural now. Some days I look in the mirror and can't stand it and other days I'm like hey this isn't so bad. My natural hair color is pretty light so I guess I can get away with roots for longer. I've been slowly adding in more lowlights over the past year and a half and it's finally paying off. I'm still longing to get some more highlights but it probably won't happen until 2013. I'm also considering getting bangs a la Reese.

Stalk my vacation!

This weekend we stayed at the apple farm inn in San Luis Obispo for a little vacation. I had never been to California's central coast before and it definitely didn't disappoint. The acronym for the city (SLO) absolutely represents the way of life there (so refreshing!) Even though it's dominated by Cal Poly students, the pace of life is that of a small town. It was such a relaxing trip, we didn't stay out super late, woke up when we wanted and still did a ton of stuff like wine tasting in Paso Robles, visiting Firestone brewery, a hike up Bishops Peak, checked out gum alley, and ate a ton of delicious food. And the stunning coastlines didn't suck.

BLOG HOP!


This Follow Friday edition is extra special because Chelsea and Megan are co-hosting with me!
This means more blogs for you to discover and more followers for you!
Go say hi to them after you link up. I know you'll love their blogs. They're both such talented, raw, genuine writers. Swear.

How to participate:
There are no minimum requirements to what you need to do to link up! However, I would appreciate it if you found atleast 3-5 new blogs you'd LIKE to follow and follow them via Google Friend Connect (GFC). Comment and let them know you found them thru Follow Friday! This way, the purpose of this project actually works!

Bacon Apple Pie

























+Linking up with Katie and Stephanie for saw it. pinned it. did it.
+This recipe is taken and adapted from She Knows

You'll need:
+6 slices applewood-smoked bacon
+refrigerated pie crust...I got a premade one in the freezer aisle!
+5 small Granny Smith apples
+1/4 cup sugar
+1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
+3 tablespoons maple syrup
+1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Four Beauty Products For Fall

Anyone else have skin that goes crazy when the weather changes?

I basically become an alligator.

I'm loving these four products that help keep me feelin fresh...and human ;)

.one.

.two.