February 29, 2012

LOL: muppets google+ hangout

In case I haven't made it clear on this blog, I adore the Muppets. This new commercial for Google+ (featured during the 2012 Academy Awards) just puts me in a fantastic mood. Watch it and I dare you not to smile!

February 28, 2012

use it: nail polish

Though I'm not a huge beauty product person, my interest has increased over the past couple years and I'm always on the lookout for useful, bang-for-your-buck goods. I'm especially a sucker for nail polish. My favorite colors as of late are:

There's no need for any base or top coats, and it lasts without chipping for at least a week (maybe more if you are better at maintaining polish than I am!). I love the shade All Fired Up - it's the perfect, classic "Matchbook Mag" red.

Essie in Peach Daiqiuri + Essie Luxe Effects in As Gold As It Gets

I love Essie nail polish for its adorable bottles, cute names, and gorgeous shades. This fun pairing was just what I needed to brighten up the gray days of February in Cleveland. I fell in love with the Luxe Effects and want to collect all of them. Next time, though, I will use a clear top coat in addition to the top coating of Luxe Effects in order to make the job last longer.

Butter London in No More Waity, Katie

One of my best friends, Elizabeth, got me this polish for Christmas this past year. We are both big "royal watchers" and adore everything to do with the Middleton sisters and 2011's wedding of the year. I was excited to get this shade not only due to fact it was created in honor of the royal nuptials, but also because it is truly a beautiful shade. A glittery polish, I applied two-three coats until the shade appeared solid on my fingers and added a clear top coat. It holds up well for basic day-to-day functions, but not so much for tasks that require a great deal of handwork, like big cleaning projects or something of that nature.

In addition to wanting to try more of the Essie Luxe Effects line, I really want to try out Zoya nail polish, as I've heard a lot of good things about it in the blogging world the past few months. And of course, I've been wanting to try Deborah Lippmann polish for quite awhile now. Have you tried either line? What do you think? What are your favorite brands and shades?

February 27, 2012

oscars recap 2012

I love watching the Academy Awards. I seriously act like a kid on Christmas. Everything about the show interests me: fashion, montages, behind-the-scenes, host and presenter humor, touching speeches, etc. This year, in addition to avidly discussing the show as it happened with my family, I also shared my thoughts and followed others via Twitter. In fact, I created a collection of my favorite Oscar 2012 tweets that offer humorous commentary and brief recaps of stand-out moments. That collection does include any photos of the evening's fashion, however. For that, you can check out one of these three slideshows (1, 2, 3) or check out my personal top ten looks list below:

10. Miss Piggy in Zac Posen and Kermit the Frog in Brooks Brothers : )

9. Sandra Bullock in a gorgeous backless Marchesa gown

8. Cameron Diaz in Gucci

7. Penelope Cruz in Giorgio Armani

6. Milla Jovovich in Elie Saab

5. Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture

4. Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera

3. Kristen Wiig in J. Mendel

2. Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji

1. Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen

It was really hard to narrow down to a single "Best Dressed," but I fell in love Jessica Chastain's look. She just looked so regal and beautiful. I love the colors of the intricately detailed dress and how it complemented her skin tone and hair color. She looked like she was glowing! Octavia Spencer was definitely a close second for me. Her dress flattered her perfectly, in addition to being totally gorgeous. I adored Emma Stone, Tina Fey, and Kristen Wiig's looks as well. I felt like the gowns all fit their personalities (well, at least the view I have of their personalities) and took their natural beauty to the highest level. Milla Jovovich, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, and Sandra Bullock all looked outstanding. Their gowns are what I imagine when I think "Oscar dresses" and they all pulled them off flawlessly. Lastly, I had to include Miss Piggy and Kermit. I just can't deny the Muppets, especially in formal wear. I mean, really - who can resist this?

Source: thefw.com via Kelly on Pinterest

What were your favorite moments of the Oscars? Favorite red carpet looks? What wins were you happiest to see?

February 26, 2012

weekly gems

February 24, 2012

bookmark it: the everygirl

The Everygirl was created by Alaina Kaczmarski and Danielle Moss, two lovely ladies from Chicago who met through the blogging world, forged a friendship, and discovered they had common goals and ideas. Soon The Everygirl was born for "creative, career-driven" women. Its mission is simple and admirable: inject fresh perspective, never skimp on the details and advice, remain budget-friendly, and to "always remember what it was like when we were first starting out." More background information about The Everygirl's purpose can be found here, while more information about Alaina and Danielle can be found here.

Content - Main Components
The main components of The Everygirl are its features on career, fashion, finance, living, travel, and health. The Everygirl also has a blog, which is updated five days a week and contains posts on such categories as Blogwatch, giveaways, job postings, The Everygirl updates, and Use Fancy Words.

Content - Other Elements
One of the major aspects of The Everygirl that clearly and immediately sets it apart from similar sites is its Handbook concept. Basically, in addition to reading features as they appear on The Everygirl site, readers can also download, e-mail, save, and print features from the Handbook section of the site. There, each feature is compiled into a magazine-like format for readers to keep and use just like they would a print magazine. On a more minor note, the site also contains links to The Everygirl on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Tumblr, as well as a live Twitter feed and a Facebook "Like" box. Of course, The Everygirl also features contact information.

Styling and Ease of Use
The design of The Everygirl is all-around fantastic. Its logo, colors, and graphics are simple, bold, and beautiful. The home page is pleasing to the eye, and allows readers to begin browsing and using the site without any trouble. Visitors who would rather use the navigation bar to get to specific pages won't be disappointed, either. Each webpage is well-organized and aesthetically pleasing, as well. Often, the webpages are actually a grid of images of the content related to the topic of the webpage. Hovering over an image will cause an headline and excerpt/description to appear. The features grid can actually be sorted even further by clicking on a specific category in the features drop-down menu on the navigation bar. Once a reader has selected a feature, it can be enjoyed by scrolling through a large photography slideshow at the top of the page and reading the article below. Some articles are even interactive - if the article features products available for purchase online, readers can click on the image and be taken to the site that sells it.

Personal Thoughts
I know The Everygirl only launched this week, but I am already totally in love with it. I was looking forward the debut of another lifestyle-blog-esque site from bloggers I enjoy, and The Everygirl exceeded my expectations. I appreciate the overall purpose and goals of the site, adore the About and Co-Founders pages, love the overall design of the articles and the site itself, and greatly enjoy the content. I can't wait to visit regularly and gain plenty of ideas, inspiration, and guidance from such a pretty and upbeat resource.

**Information for this post gained from browsing the site and reviewing this blog post. All photos are screenshots of The Everygirl and not the author's original work.

February 23, 2012

watch it: big miracle

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Notable Cast Members:
John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Ahmaogak Sweeney, Ted Danson, Kristin Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, Rob Riggle, James LeGros

Overall Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (rating rationale)

Plot Summary: In 1988, Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) was on assignment in Barrow, Alaska as part of his "Adam Around Alaska" series for his Anchorage news station. Shortly before Adam was ready to depart, he and his young native Alaskan friend, Nathan, discovered three gray whales - a mom, dad, and baby - trapped in the ice. Adam's ex-girlfriend Rachel (Drew Barrymore), who also happens to be a major Greenpeace activist, immediately begins campaigning for serious rescue efforts. Her cause is helped when NBC picks up the story and airs it nationally. Suddenly, the country is experiencing whale fever. The U.S. government, major oil companies, Barrow locals, and reporters and volunteers from across the U.S. band together to rescue the whales. The movie is based on a true story.

Personal Thoughts: I loved this movie! To be fair, I had a feeling I would going into it as I (a) love John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristin Bell and Ted Danson, (b) the film takes place in Alaska, a major place on my "To Visit" list, (c) the movie is all about animals, and (d) the film is based on a true story and even features excellent Cold War tension and cheesiness. All that being said, the movie did not disappoint. John Krasinksi and Drew Barrymore had a wonderful chemistry and did excellently in roles that fit them well. Ted Danson was deliciously evil yet human as an oil baron, as was Kristin Bell as an aspiring journalist. All of the greater supporting roles, such as James LeGros and Rob Riggle as helpful inventors, were well-done and enjoyable. The story itself was compelling and poignant. A big softie, I didn't even wear masacra to the theater (despite the fact that I wanted to look cute since it was a date with Dan) because I knew I would cry at some point- which I of course did. The movie definitely ended on a positive note, though, along with some fun credits that included information about what happened to the main players in the rescue once it was completed. Overall, the movie was touching, funny, and interesting, and I highly recommend it.

February 22, 2012

design dreams: red, black, and turquoise

I saw these plates at Target a few weeks ago and thought, "How nice! Cute and affordable plates decked out in chevron!" Dan got me for our three year anniversary last week, and I realized the other reason I adore them: the colors. Ever since that realization, I can't stop thinking about using red, black, and turquoise together someday in my future apartment or home. I would love to use paint colors like these...

...to put my own style on rooms like these.

This room by Roberts Erickson Design is gorgeous! It's a bit more luxe than I can see actually being in my house, but boy does it provide some inspiration.

What would be more my style, and just as eye-pleasing, is the above bedroom makeover by Angry Julie Monday: bright, bold, and modern, yet also comfy and relaxing.

What do you think about this color combo? Which bedroom would you prefer to have?

February 15, 2012

watch it: red tails

A couple weekends ago Dan came up from Columbus to visit. We love history (we both earned degrees in social studies education), and thought the new movie Red Tails looked interesting, despite its possible cheesiness, so we went to the theaters to see it.

Notable Cast Members: Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds

Overall Rating: ☆ (rating rationale)

Plot Summary:
While the Tuskegee program in the military allowed African-Americans the opportunity to be trained as pilots and take part in the U.S.A.'s WWII efforts, it did not initially allow them to participate in missions that put them in direct action against the enemy. Red Tails tells the story of these talented men and how they fought both the Axis powers and segregation within the U.S. military while stationed in Europe.

Personal Thoughts below the movie poster & CONTAINS SPOILERS

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Personal Thoughts (WITH SPOILERS):
I went into the movie knowing there would be cheesy parts based on what I saw in its trailer. I did not mind most of the cheesy parts of the movie. In fact, what could have been the cheesiest parts of the movie were not cheesy at all because of the amazing acting ability of Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Terrence Howard (Gooding, Jr., plays Major Emanuelle Stance, who leads the Red Tails, and Howard plays his commanding officer, Colonel A.J. Bullard). The parts I had the major issues with were the very beginning and the very end of the movie. The beginning of the movie made me cringe. It was poorly done, feeling like an awkward simulation rather than the opening of a story. The ending was just plain terrible. As far as I know, while this movie is inspired by true events, it is not actually based on any real individuals (please correct me if I am wrong!). That being said, I do not understand why the writers of the movie chose to conclude the story the way they did. Killing off the pretty much the only likable character not played by Terrence Howard or Cuba Gooding, Jr., or at least the only other character they clearly wanted you to cheer for, and then abruptly ending the film was like someone unexpectedly splashed my face with cold water. I think I actually turned to Dan in the theater and said, "What the hell?!" I did not feel that was a unnecessary turn of events for the story or the way to let it end. It pretty much ruined the movie for me. All that being said, I would not recommend seeing this movie in theaters. I wouldn't pay for a rental to watch it again, either (although if I had never seen it and had only paid $2 at Redbox to see it I wouldn't have been mad). I might settle in to give it a second chance if I ever happen to come across it on TV.

February 13, 2012

my life: why i love coaching high school swimming

Cheering on my swimmers at a meet

The Career
  • Working with 9-12 students on a regular basis
  • Networking with administrators, coaches, and other school staff
  • Gaining another state of Ohio certification (coaching permit)
  • Improving organizational, communication, and managerial skills

The Sport
  • It's all about developing the skills.
  • And then developing the speed.
  • It doesn't matter if the team doesn't beat their competitors as long as they beat the clock (in other words, a focus developing pride through personal best times rather than winning or losing).
  • Makes students realize how much factors like diet, sleep, stress, and attitude can affect their success in swimming and other aspects of life.
  • Also makes students realize they have to give true effort for true results.

The Students
  • Hilarious
  • Hard-working
  • Eager
  • Caring
  • Respectful
  • Trustworthy
  • Fun
  • The best

Coaching high school swimming, at my old high school with a great athletic department staff and the greatest group of kids, was such an amazing, rewarding experience. I am sad the season is over, but so thankful I was able to be a part of it. I hope everything falls into place and I can do this for years to come! If you ever have the opportunity to coach, no matter the sport, please take it! You won't regret it.

February 12, 2012

weekly gems

February 8, 2012

LOL: favorite super bowl 2012 commercials

I really only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and the halftime show (and unless the Browns make it any time soon, those will probably remain my reasons!). As a animal lover, of course the commercials I liked best from this year's crop all involved dogs. Here there are - I guarantee they'll brighten your Wednesday!

*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear's Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

February 7, 2012

new year's all year 2012: january reflections and february goals

Hello, everyone! Has your February gotten off to a good start? So far, mine is going pretty well!

Last month I introduced the 2012 New Year's, All Year Challenge, in which I made broad "endpoints" goals for the year and explained that each month I will make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month's goals and efforts.

My January goals were as follows:
  • Health: track food daily; workout three times a week
  • Finances: save specific percentage of all paychecks
  • Relationships: e-mail out-of-town friends; prepare for Dan and I's three year anniversary
  • Wedding: research vendors in the two locations where Dan and I are interested in holding our wedding
  • Career: prepare for the end of swim season and substitute frequently
  • Self-enrichment: blog much more often

Reflections on January:
I feel as though I did pretty well with these goals! I have been using SparkPeople to track my food, although I have not been disciplined enough in tracking daily (probably only around 3-4 days a week). Tracking my food helped me realize my daily breakfast was too small, and increasing its size helped me stay full longer and eat healthier throughout the day. I did not workout as often as I liked due to my busy schedule with subbing and coaching, but I did get to Zumba classes more than I did in December and greatly enjoyed myself. My finances are doing decently, my relationships are healthy, I've been blogging more often than I had in past months, and I have been working hard at coaching and subbing. The most exciting achievement in January was wedding-related: Dan and I decided where we will be having our wedding! We were debating between Bowling Green (where we went to school and met) and Cleveland (my hometown). We will be getting married in Cleveland! : )

My goals for February are:
  • Health: track food daily; do yoga at least once a week
  • Finances: save specific percentage of each paycheck; open separate wedding fund account
  • Relationships: cook dinner for Grandma; plan presents and cards for birthdays in March
  • Wedding: set a date for engagement photos; research vendors
  • Career: sub 3-4 times a week; reflect on swim season and start prepping for swim team award night
  • Self-enrichment: Cook and bake more

Do you have any goals for 2012 or any for January? How are they going? What are your goals for February? It's not too late to become part of the challenge!! : ) Shoot me an email if you decide to join in.

*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear's Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

February 6, 2012

my life: recent happenings via instagram

First three photos: My friend Elizabeth's cute papillon puppy, Rosie (she's 2.5 pounds!); Madison in a basket of blankets; cuddling with my family's dog Sasha while watching Wheel of Fortune with my parents. Middle three photos: fantastic Melt Quesadilla appetizer Dan & I shared on our first trip to Melt Bar & Grilled; my delicious BBQ chicken grilled cheese from Melt; yummy cake from Resch's Bakery, courtesy of my future-in-laws, to celebrate Dan & I's engagement (and in our wedding colors!). Last three photos: Dan & I before his indoor soccer game; Dan knocking down an opponent player while playing; booty from my weekend trip to Target.

Sorry I've been a bit absent lately. (I also apologize if there are formatting issues while viewing this post - some browsers aren't displaying it correctly) The end of the swim season accompanied with subbing and traveling often has taken some toll on my spare time, which has been spent with family and friends with little leftover time for blogging. What have you all been up to lately?

*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear's Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!
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