{BirchBox} The Tig – June 2015

June 2015
“THE TIG: GUEST EDITOR BOX: Curated by actress Meghan Markle, founder of The Tig lifestyle blog, this box is brimming with A-list must-haves for all your summer escapades.”

I am loving Birchbox’s guest editor collaborations and sample choice. One can chose either a sample or the guest editor box. For the month of June I went with the guest editor box because, it includes a Davines product that I had never tried before. Meghan founder of The Tig lifestyle blog selected products that would be essential for a summer escape and I could not be happier with her selections.
June 15

Summer for me means playing in the sprinkler with my niece, farmers markets, and unexpected road trips. I am a weekend warrior who tries to squeeze a lifetime of memories into just two days. Whether its outings with Jay, drinks on the patio with friends, or collecting shells on the beach with Sophia, I let every drop of sweet summer soak in. My beauty routine usually falls to the back seat and sunscreen and a good BB cream are my trusty weapons. My hair its to frizzy to tame so a bun is my go to style along with a cute dress or skirt. This girl rarely does shorts and I am perfectly ok with that, just as long as my pasty legs see the sun.

“So what did you get in your June Birchbox!?”

The Tig

Davines SU Hair & Body Wash: This rich gel cleanses head to toe, hydrating skin and preventing sun damage to strands.
————————–> This, this right here is my new go to body wash. It literally smells like a bomb pop or like summer in a bottle. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and fresh. After the first use I instantly ordered the full-sized product from BirchBox.com, yes it is just that darn amazing!

Harvey Prince – Hello Body Cream: infused with summery citrus and floral notes, this hydrator leaves your skin feeling soft and lightly scented.
————————-> This is a good summer scent, it is very light and it has a hint of lemon.

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow: this multitasker, rich in antioxidants, covers imperfections, evens tone and calms skin.
———————> I am certain this must be a great product otherwise Meghan wouldn’t have picked it for her box. The shade I received is just to dark for my skin tone.

Oribe Cote d’Azur Eau de Parfum: reminiscent of the fragrant breezes of the French Riviera.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-minute peel: this acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly smoother, softer, and brighter skin.
————————> This was my sample choice product for May, so I now have two of these bad boys. I have seen it in previous sneak peeks and it left me intrigued and I knew that i needed it in my life. I have yet to try it thou, it is giving me the sad eyes from the bathroom sink. I keep telling it when I have time, its you and me peel, its you and me.

This was a great box and all of the products complimented each other. I loved that there was a good mix of skin care and body products. Everyone can use a travel size lotion and not to mention the Davines sample is like a giant not your normal BirchBox sized sample. I hope all of you loved your box as much as I loved mine.

Birch Box is a beauty and lifestyle subscription box program that costs $10.00 per month. For every dollar you spend in the shop you can earn 1 point. 100 points will get you a free birch box or $10 towards a purchase in the shop at birchbox.com. I know you’ve got friends so why not refer those friends to Birch box and earn a few points for doing so. If you would like to learn more and get a Birch Box of your very own go to http://www.birchbox.com for more information.

***I was not compensated for this post. Opinions are my own***

{Road Tripping} Chicago Illinois

When you own a Prius, it just screams “TAKE ME ON A ROAD TRIP WOMAN!!! I AM GREAT ON GAS!!” Well, one can’t argue with a Prius. So if you can’t beat em, ya mise well join em. Plus not to mention gas is pretty darn cheap right now, so we decided to hit the road. The boyfriend got one heck of a deal on a hotel room in Chicago and I found a bunch of Groupons that were to good to pass up.


Armed with many Groupons and our hotel reservation confirmation email, we dropped the muppet like dog off at Grandma’s and hit the open road. It is exactly six hours to Chicago from my parents house, we settled into the drive. Playing the “lets find religion on the radio game.” We found it eight times, well I found it eight times, as Jay slept for most of the way. He missed all of the really boring landscapes, billboards, and crazy I94 drivers. Don’t worry folks, he woke up just in time for the greatest time suck in the world aka Wisconsin Dells. More particularly Cracker Barrel, there darn shop gets me every time. Sell me an $8 breakfast and I will turn around and spend 50 bucks in your shop.

With food in our bellies and a new ceramic bird lamp in tow, we hit the open road. This time Jay was driving and I got to play co-pilot! Which is actually really strange for me because A. I never let anyone but my mama drive my Prius and that’s only if she asks nicely and B. I am always the one doing the driving. But alas I decided it was best to loosen my grip on the wheel and let Jay wear the pants. As you can tell I am alive, so yes he did a very good job driving the Prius.


I was super excited to be in Chicago with Jay, more so I was excited to show him my spots. Some of those spots are like a right of passage. Hello! Weber Grill Restaurant, Super Dawg Drive In, and Gino’s East. Not to mention I did drag Jay to the hood to buy Garrets popcorn. He was a good spot and served as my navigator. I locked the doors when our surroundings turned into sketchy territory.

Speaking of territory, we were looking forward to using the hotel hot tub. Well that was until we walked in only to find a very nice couple having sex in it. Yup, they were doing it in the hotel hot tub. I had to mention it in this post, because that image is forever burned in my pretty little head. You have a visual now and you are so welcome.


Welcome to the Chicago History Museum. I managed to snag a buy two for the price of one Groupon for the museum. The Chicago History Museum is self explanatory, its the history of Chicago. The museum is pretty fun, Jay and I had a riot in the kids discovery zone. I even became a Chicago dog, rode a very tall bike and jumped from spot to spot in a discovery game. The kids zone was losing its luster and my tummy was yelling “feed me deep dish pizza!” With that we said goodbye to the museum and headed out for deep dish.

Gino’s East is a Chicago institution and it never disappoints. Groupon once again proved to be my friend. Right now you can pay $16.00 for $30.00 worth of food at Gino’s. Folks, that is a $14 savings. We had no problem using our groupon and ordered the large meat deep dish. It was so good! Jay and I could barely eat two slices. Thank goodness for pizza boxes and hotel refrigerators, cause we had half a pizza to take home with us.


Gosh Darn Sunday came to soon, snow started to fall as we rolled out of Chicago. Home, was our destination and since we left early we had time to stop in The Dells. Its so weird being in The Dells during the winter, I am use to the summer buzz and thousands of people. Luckily a few of the stores on the strip were open and I was able to procured gummies and a toy for Sophia. I introduced Jay to Mac’s Memphis Mac and Cheese, we split the large. It was amazing as always.

When we got to Grandma’s house one very excited muppet like dog was extremely excited to see his mama. Muppet like dog hugs are the best little hugs and I was glad to see him too. Truth, I would totally do a million road trips with Jay, he wasn’t annoying, he was a good sport, and darn right fun to be around. I love that man and I am looking forward to what this life has to offer us.

{Road Tripping} Frank Lloyd Wright – Oak Park IL

“In 1893, Frank Lloyd Wright founded his architectural practice in Oak Park, a quiet, semi-rural village on the Western edges of Chicago. It was at his Oak Park Studio during the first decade of the twentieth century that Wright pioneered a bold new approach to domestic architecture, the Prairie style. Inspired by the broad, flat landscape of America’s Midwest, the Prairie style was the first uniquely American architectural style of what has been called “the American Century.”


Frank Lloyd Wright is the father of American architecture and was an innovator like no other. He dared to think beyond the mortar, tested the limits of design, and the wills of his clients. A masterful architectural designer, Wright developed a unique vocabulary of space, form, and pattern that represented a dramatic shift in design from the traditional houses of the day. Characterized by dramatic horizontal lines and masses, the Prairie buildings that emerged in the first decade of the twentieth century evoke the expansive Midwestern landscape.

Wright described his organic, unified interiors, declaring:
“They are all mere structural details in its character and completeness, heating apparatus, light fixtures, the very chairs, tables, cabinets and musical instruments, where practicable, are of the building itself. Nothing of appliances or fixtures is admitted purely as such where circumstances permit the full development of the building scheme. Floor coverings and hangings are a part of the house as the plaster on the walls or the tiles on the roof.”


One can tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park home and studio, all you need is $17.00 and 5 bucks if you want to buy a photo pass. This was actually my third time visiting the Oak Park home (well my first trip with the boyfriend!) and let me tell you I discover something new every time I visit. Wright’s designs never grow old, instead they inspire me. As in I want to build a tiny home utilizing Wright’s expansion and contract concept. Are you lost, well my friend then you need to head on over to Oak Park and the nice tour guides will explain expansion and contract to you. The volunteer guides are the best, they love Wright’s work just as much as I do. It is always fun chatting with them and learning which properties are their favorites. Everyone has a favorite Wright building, mine happens to be Unity Temple which is located just a few blocks away from his Oak Park home.


If I could invite anyone to dinner I would choose Mr. Wright, he was a conversationalist and loved to entertain. I feel that our conversation would flow like the floor plans of the homes he designed.

****I was not compensated for this post*****

{Hearts On 22} Scales Are For The Birds

I have never been one to follow the crowd or listen to critics. I rather stay in the woods and join the teddy bear picnic. Society tells me I am fat and that I should change. Change, means losing weight and striving to be there kind of beautiful.

There kind of beautiful is not my kind of beautiful. I’m not exactly fat, some call me fit. Others, well they just call me fluffy. Society wants me to be ashamed of my tits, my hips, my stomach, my ass, and my curves that go on for days. Once I was ashamed, I strived and I tried to be skinny. But, skinny wasn’t me, we didn’t work out and I put my size 14 jeans back on.

My size 14 ass has seen a lot of shit. When I look in the mirror I see curves with a dash of strength and a twist of determination. My body, she is powerful and she is amazing. She has never let me down. She beat the odds to walk another day. Scars are stories that left an imprint on your soul. My scars, shit I’ve got more than I can count. The newest one is a really cool neck scar and it is a reminder to always fight for answers.

Answers never come easy and sometimes you kind of wish you stayed in the woods. People stare at my scar, they look me up and down when they find out I had a stroke and lord they hit the floor when they find out I have a son in heaven. We are never told that sometime the fairytale sucks and that shit gets deep. Life isn’t fair and we are never prepared for the short deck. Yet we must always play the hand we are dealt and love the only body we will ever have.

My body is beautiful. Beautiful because it carries my surviving heart from place to place. I will never be a model, a hottie or hell even a heartthrob. I am simple and unexpected, and someone out there cannot get enough of my kind of beautiful.

Rock what the good lord gave you, put down that diet book, throw out your scale, and girl start loving yourself! Strength and determination are fucking sexy and they look good on YOU! Girl, you are not a bird, stop eating like one and enjoy food. As in really enjoy your life and have a little fun along the way. Kiss a stranger, dance in the rain, be daring, and never ever give up on your sweet self!

{PERSPECTIVE} 10 Years of Have Bear Will Travel

10 yearsTen years ago today I boarded a plane with 67 strangers bound for Glasgow Scotland. The only thing I knew was “I’m going to Scotland and will live in a palace.” Everything else was left up to fate. That trip lead me to start havebearwilltravel.com. It was my attempt to stay connected to friends and family back home. I wanted a place where I could share my adventures in real-time. Scotland was only the beginning, it was my starting point to an amazing adventure.

I got to travel Europe, attend the Edinburgh Tattoo, saw the Queen at the Highland games, and there is nothing like spotting a hairy coo in your front yard. I went looking for Nessie, but came up empty-handed, pub crawls, yea I’ve gotta few under my belt, art was a plenty, ghosts were all around, the underground can’t be beat, Rosslyn Chapel is way prettier in person, and if you listen you just might hear the footsteps of giants. I was an intern with the New Scottish Parliament, they thought it would be highly entertaining for me to give tours of the building to school children and tack stacks of papers.

Scotland truly was one hell of an adventure and I now have a place to call “Home” in the Midlothians. Once I returned home I continued to blog about my adventures and encouraged others to step out side of their comfort zones. Funny thing, little did I know that this blog would see me through thick and thin. It has been my outlet to the world, a place for me to gain perspective, encourage others, and a place for me to write my story.

Looking back I did a lot of incredibly amazing shit, so amazing that I have to stop and think “yea you actually did that!” Ten years ago I had no idea where life would take me or what the future would hold. I am a firm believer that everything should be left up to fate. Fate will never fail us and as long as we believe, she will come through. I’ve been married, became a step mom, had a pulmonary embolism and a stroke, became a mama, got a divorce, quit my job, found my voice, fell in love, said good-bye, and hello.

I am literally in awe of my life. I have walked the beaches of Sardinia, stood on Mount Tibidabo, sailed the canals of Venice, climbed the pyramids of Egypt, zip corded through the jungles of Belize, set sail on the high seas, collected sea shells in Mexico, panned for gold in Alaska, and shopped in Morocco. I have stood on three of the seven continents and hopefully will see the remaining four before I die. My soul needs to travel this world and as long as I am able I will always choose GO.

Go? Alfred who is now a very ratty teddy bear still goes wherever I go. He is after all the “bear” in Have Bear Will Travel. That ratty old teddy bear has seen me through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the down right hilarious moments of my life. We never grow up, we just tuck our teddy into our suit cases and no one is none the wiser. I will carry that ratty teddy bear with me until the day I die.

If I could go back 10 years I will tell my 21-year-old self to enjoy the journey and to live in the moment. Moments make us who we are, without them we are books with blank pages. I would tell her to hold on tight because you are going to have more potholes than smooth pavement. That life can be cruel and unfair. That she will endure heartache, turmoil, and fight for her life, only to say goodbye to a son who never walked the earth. Mostly I would tell her” “You are stronger than you could ever imagine and to not worry about law school, you will change the world without a law degree.”

{22 Places In 2014} Lake Superior Ice Caves

I first discovered the Lake Superior Ice Caves in College and have been returning every year the Park Service deems the lake safe enough for people. The caves are a short trip from the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus and there were always people headed to the caves. During the winter season, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers a popular attraction in the dazzling shoreline ice caves at Mawikwe Bay along the mainland. The winter adventure of seeing the beauty of the ice caves will take your breath away. Lakeshore cliffs along Lake Superior form crimson red borders to create an arctic landscape. Pillars of ice extend to the cliff tops where waterfalls have hardened in place. Frozen Lake Superior water encrusts the base of the cliffs.
Ice Cave 16

2014 is the first time the caves have been open in five years. The National Park Service credits social media for increasing the numbers of visitors to the caves. In on weekend close to 30,000 people made the 1.5 mile trek across frozen Lake Superior to view the spectacle of snow and ice. One must bundle up if they deem themselves brave, walking on the frozen lake is no easy task. I would recommend ski poles to help stabilize your steps and super warm boots to keep your feet happy.

Ice Cave 17
This year I made the trek with my Mama and Pete. We set out on a 5 hour drive to the frozen north shore, with each mile my anticipation grew and my excitement had become contagious. I was mainly building myself up for one of the coldest walks I’d ever take, -2 degrees is something to take seriously. This is skin freezing weather and well I want to keep all of my skin.

Ice Cave 4
The most common way to get to the Lake Superior ice caves is to hike out to them from Meyers Beach Road, which is well-marked on the Bayfield Peninsula’s Highway 13. Park your vehicle and hike approximately one mile east to the ice caves. This was the first year that I have ever seen a shuttle service to the caves. My parents and I parked in Cornocopia and took a bus to Meyers beach. From there we walked down the road, through the bustling parking lot, down the steps, and on to the frozen lake. I looked at my Dad and said “Hey Pete! Look I’m like Jesus, I’m walking on water!” My Dad cracked a smile and we set out towards the caves.

Ice Cave 10

Although each year hundreds of visitors trek out to experience the fantasy, hikers are warned that conditions can be dangerous and appropriate hiking boots are needed as the ice can be slippery and bumpy with snow cracks and ice and snow mounds. There have been years where people go out, only to never be seen again. Lake Superior keeps her dead and her power should never be underestimated or challenged.

Ice Cave 12

If you find yourself with wanderlust I highly recommend that you act on it and take a trip to the caves. Your face will freeze, you will be in awe, you will get tired, and curse a few times, yet you will not regret that you did.

{Charlie} A Half Empty Jar of Sea Glass

Charlie left behind a quarter filled jar of sea glass

Charlie left behind a quarter filled jar of sea glass

One night while strolling through one of our favorite boutique shops in Minneapolis, Charlie spotted a glass jar. I politely told him that the jar was meant for a candle and not sea glass. Charlie looked at me with his grin and said “AJ, it says beach on it, a jar that says beach on it, is meant to be filled with sea glass. Duh?” Ok I said and we walked up to the counter to purchase his crazy jar. That was in September of 2011, the jar sat on the island in the kitchen for months.

Upon his return from the beach Charlie religiously deposited a piece of new sea glass into his jar. He would tell me that dark blue was the hardest to find and the most common was clear or green. Charlie has been mesmerized by sea glass since he was a child, often filling multiple jars by summers end. His mother kept all of his jars, each piece represented the mystery of the ocean and his joy of searching the beach. Charlie loved the water and we often spent our weekends on the shores of Lake Superior. I can still picture him on his knees scouring the beach for tiny pieces of treasure. With each piece he found, he safely tucked the glass into his pocket and when his pockets were full, he often turned to me. I would hold his treasure tightly in my hand only to drop it into the jar his mother kept on the back porch.

Charlie would save a few pieces for the jar on the island and often filled it with pieces of glass he found on the beaches around Minneapolis. He bought the jar in September which limited his time to search. Winter came and his jar was only a quarter full, he’d say “I am going to fill our jar this summer.” Summer never came for Charlie, he left before the waves could even break free from the ice and his jar sat half empty waiting for his return. I packed his jar away, my heart was too broken to have the constant reminder sitting out in my home.

I have always loved the beach and would search the sandy grave for hidden treasures. As a child I would collect clam shells, sparkly rocks, and pieces of glass. My father’s pockets proved to be the safest spot for my treasures, he would empty my bounty when we reached the car. I stored my shells, rocks, and glass in a bucket. Over time it got lost, yet my desire to walk the shores remained.

Earlier this summer I decided to finish filling Charlie’s jar. When I visit my parents we go to the beach, my Dad helps me search the shores for Charlie’s treasure. Each time I place a handful of glass and shells into his beloved jar, a part of me heals. I am at a point in the process where I am ok with Charlie being gone and have become open to letting someone else in. As we walk the beach my Dad tells me “No one will ever replace Charlie or fill the void you have, but you have to move on. There is someone out there for you.” My Dad is right, I will never be able to replace Charlie, he will always be a part of who I am. Charlie taught me that its ok to let go and to live life outside of the lines.

Just like Charlie, the sea glass that captured his sense of wonder will always be apart of who I am. For I am just a girl who collects sea glass to fill the empty jar that the man she loved left behind. Filling the jar is my way of saying goodbye. With each piece added I am letting go of the past and healing my beautifully broken heart.

{Summer 2013} Reuse and Be Crafty

I drive a Prius, buy local, and try to eat as much organic food as possible, my goal is to leave a tiny carbon footprint when I leave this world. However when it comes to my apartment and the décor, I wasn’t being so green. If I got tired of something I bought new and gifted away the old or simply tossed it in the dumpster. Hey one woman’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Or so I thought. Now that I’ve got the work life balance thing down pat, I had time to get crafty. I decided to turn my cast offs into something that I would love again.

Its amazing what one can do with a $3 can of spray paint and 30 minutes of free time. When I first moved into my apartment I bought some silver plastic butterflies. I was still coming off a color drought aka the ex husband and thought they went perfectly with my light blue coffee tables. I love the butterflies and over time my love of the silver color dwindled. With a little help from my dad I picked out the perfect shade of berry. I used Rust-Oleum’s 2X cover Spray paint and they went from drab silver to a glorious pop of color.

After I painted the butterflies I was feeling pretty capable and thought what else can I paint? After some contemplation I grabbed a can of Rust-Oleum in apple green and set out to paint my lamp bases. One can pick up black lamp bases from IKEA for about $4 a piece and they were easy to paint. Again I loved the lamp shades I had, but was a little sour on the black base, it didn’t mesh with my theme. I smile when I walk into my bedroom and see my apple green lamps with light gray shades, how could you not smile at apple green.

Lamps and butterflies were something I could handle on my own. For my big projects I turned to my Dad. Over the spring I redid my living room. Long gone are the light colors that once filled my days. One light blue side table remained, I wanted to replace it, but I never found the table I wanted. So instead of tossing it my Dad told me we could paint it. I still had a full can of berry left and thought “this would be an awesome color for a table.” With a steady hand my Dad painted the table a beautiful hue of berry, it now matches my beloved butterflies. The table is now a cheery little hello hanging out in the corner with a bird-cage on top.

A couple of months ago HGTV magazine had an article about how you could turn an old coffee tale into a padded topped bench. Knowing full well that I still had two boring light blue side tables left, I thought “I could do that!” My Dad formulated a plan, provided the saw, and a lot of patience. I drove around and bought the supplies for said padded tops. My Dad painted the tables with Rust-Oleum’s 2x cover in lemon grass. I picked up fabric at IKEA, yes IKEA sells fabric by the yard and got a lesson in upholstery foam at Joann Fabrics. Our first upholstery job turned out pretty darn good. I absolutely love my new benches and now I have extra seating for when friends come over. Benches

It turns out that one woman’s trash is her treasure if she looks at it through a different light.

* I was not compensated by HGTV or Rust-Oleum, thoughts are my own*

{Summer 2013} The Color Run



The Color run is touted to be the “Happiest 5K On The Planet.” It been a while since I’ve attempted a 5K, because of my damaged lung I am no longer able to run. Lucky for me my sister can’t run, well she can run, its just she kicks herself in the ass when she run. (Its a pretty funny sight) My sister had an extra race packet sitting on her kitchen table, when I inquired about it she proceeded to talk me into doing said run with her.

What can I say I was tired and just fresh from reading Sophia her bedtime stories, so I said yes. I said yes to this crazy run that took place at the state fair grounds. Our start time was at 8:30 and I was told to be there by 7:30am. Turns out I am early where ever I go, so I had to wait for the slow people that took forever and a day to get to the fair grounds. (A little planning goes a long way folks) Plus if you are meeting me for the first time you should be early, otherwise I will think you are a poor planner for the rest of my life.

Headed to the finish line!

Headed to the finish line!

Anyways everyone finally arrived and we joined the starting line. My sisters friends took off running while we power walked our way into the crowd. It wasn’t long before we met our first dose of color, we held our breath and let our selves get sprayed with blue, followed by orange, yellow and lastly pink. With the finish line in sight we trudged on and as we crossed the line I ripped open my color packet and threw a bunch of pink in my sister’s face. It was glorious and for once in her life, she didn’t yell at me, success!


{Summer 2013} Northern Spark

Northern Spark 4Northern Spark is an interactive art festival that takes place during the hours of dusk until dawn. The theory is that you will take this journey and view your city in a whole new light. This years festival was focused around the recently restored Depot in downtown Saint Paul. (I know I had to leave my beloved Minneapolis for one night) From there it branched out into the city’s streets and parks. Each turn brought us something new and exciting. Buildings lit up in hues of purple, blending to blue and bursting into a rainbow. One man bands and music were abundant through out the night.

Northern Spark 1I was able to cross an item off of my bucket list by adding my own graffiti to the wall of an underpass. Overwhelmed by the scent of spray paint we journeyed on to he depot where we found a house made out of cardboard and other curious sights. We watched as actors shoveled dirt from one pile and unloaded it into another. Tired of the shoveling we moved inside where we came upon the printing press. Each of us had a custom sign made and spent the reset of the night trying not to damage said signs.

Northern Spark 3One might wonder “How is a cardboard house art?” Art is in the eye of the beholder and one never knows when something will be lost. The guide book said the house would be torched at 2AM, which meant we needed to caffeine ourselves up and wait. Soon the torching hour arrived and as we stood on the train platform the rain started to fall. Our patience would pay off as in the blink of the eye the house became a burning ball of glorious fire. Fire brings out the inner child and pyromaniac in all of us.

Northern Spark2The fire was starting to dwindle and with rain drops falling, I was ready to go home. I had spent another amazing night at Northern Spark and explored the city in a whole new light, dreaming of what Northern Spark 2014 would bring. I’ve got an entire year to wait, yet I know it will most likely top the previous years and I will be one happy girl exploring the city under the darkness of night.