reflections and resolutions |2017

Welcome to 2017! I hope your holiday season was full of joy, laughter, and love.Typically at the beginning of a new year, I reflect on accomplishments, challenges, personal growth, personal faults, and decide what I want to focus on in the future; this year I’ve decided to share that reflection on wisconsinwhimsy.

I spent an overwhelming amount of time feeling anxious, fixated on the future, and unfocused on the present in 2016. I experienced an immense amount of change. Still adjusting to my newfound post-college graduation freedom, I moved across the country and then across the world. I accepted a career position, realized it wasn’t for me, and moved into a writing position a few months later. I adopted a dog, spent a lot of time alone, and learned a little Japanese.

faults | I slept too little. I didn’t drink enough water. I didn’t take enough photos. I didn’t put enough effort into maintaining friendships. I spent too much time feeling insecure. I didn’t spend enough time in the moment. I didn’t say thank you enough.  I didn’t give enough of my time, money, and love. I spent too much time indoors.

blessings | I saw some of the most breathtaking sights in the mountains of Montana, the hills of Kentucky, the coast of North Carolina, the woods of Washington, and the beaches of Okinawa. I challenged myself to be more open-minded. I learned a lot about myself. I worked hard at my job. I met new people. I learned to drive on the wrong side of the road. I started paying off my student loans. I booked a plane ticket to Korea and a weekend stay in a hostel. I purged old clothing and belongings that I’d been holding on to for too long. I took the time to listen. I overcame physical and emotional pain.

My biggest reflection on 2016 is that I made it to 2017. There were times that I broke down, felt like I couldn’t overcome whatever obstacle was in my way, and wanted to give up. There were times that I felt like things couldn’t get worse and wouldn’t get better. Reflecting on those painful moments brings me peace. I overcame. I’m here. I’m alive. I stuck it out, I sucked it up, and I moved on. I’m humbled and grateful for the chaos I faced last year, because it taught me really important lessons about my own resilience and ability to rebirth.

I have three major aspirations for 2017:

  1. Get more sleep | I have struggled with insomnia for years. Midnight was early for me in high school, and by the time I got to college I’d sometimes lay awake until 6 a.m. I’ve become so immune to sleeplessness that sometimes I feed the problem. I’ll lay in bed scrolling through my phone, or I’ll put things off until bedtime because “I won’t be able to fall asleep anyway.”Sleep is the most restorative favor you can do for your body, your mind, and your sanity. I want to give myself the rest and health I deserve by making sleep a priority.
  2. Be kinder to others and to myself | There were moments throughout 2016 where I caught myself bringing someone else down (either out loud or in my head) because I was feeling jealous or insecure. I’m not proud of that. I’ve also noticed a decline in manners and general humanity in the people around me at church, work, and even at the grocery store. We are all so caught up in our own messes that we forget to consider the people around us whose messes might be even bigger than our own. I feel like my heart got a little hardened in 2016. I want to soften it and be a little nicer and more open this year.
  3. Be mindful and take care of my soul | I was pretty hard on myself this past year. Stress, anxiety, restless thoughts and a lack of sleep aren’t kind to the body. I had a bad relationship with food and only exercised because I felt pressured to lose weight to fit in. In turn I felt disgusted by my body and habits. I thought mean things about myself and fell victim to an unrealistic standard of beauty. I’ve noticed that people always set weight loss goals at the beginning of a new year, but I don’t want to get sucked into that vortex this time around. I’ve learned that (for me) fixating on weight or physical appearance only starves the soul and feeds the world. I want to love and honor myself holistically, and losing weight for the sake of “self-love” just won’t help me get there. I’ve been practicing yin yoga and plan to continue doing so; I meditate a few times a week but want to make it a daily habit.

My affirmations for 2017 are: “You are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment. The choices you’ve made have brought you to this moment for a reason. What needs to happen will happen, and what has happened has already passed. Be who you need to be in this moment. Allow yourself to experience the present without pain from the past or fear of the future.”

Wishing you a new year full of blessings! Share your resolutions and reflections with me in the comments below. Until next time,

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holiday favorites | 2016

A brief note | The last few months have been silent on wisconsinwhimsy, and I’d like to apologize and explain why. As many in the blogging community know, it can be overwhelming to constantly generate content, create/shoot/edit images, respond to comments, and keep up with the maintenance of a website. For those of us whose blogs are a passionate hobby rather than a source of income, finding the motivation to tackle all of the intricacies of blogging in addition to our jobs, families, and outside commitments can be incredibly challenging. The past few months have been stressful and at times unhappy for me mentally, but I am pleased to say that I have accepted a new job and am hopeful that this new endeavor will take a heavy burden off of my shoulders, allowing me to dedicate more time to blogging. Thank you for your patience and readership! I adore you!

The ChrismaHannuKwanzaaka season is my favorite time of year. I would keep a Christmas tree and decorations up year round if my husband would let me! There’s something about twinkling lights, rich jewel tones, chunky sweaters, warm food, cozy blankets, and the joyful spirit of friends and family that makes this season feel particularly special. Did I get carried away there?

Unfortunately we won’t get to experience the same kiss of winter air that we’re used to in Okinawa, but I can’t really complain about sunny and 75 in December, can I? This [comparatively] warm weather won’t stop me from rocking a wine-red lip, glittery lids, and a chunky knit sweater though! Here are my 10 picks for this holiday season:

1 | Coty Airspun Powder – Translucent Extra Coverage / $11, Amazon / I recently scooped this up and have been loving it. I have extremely oily skin and this keeps me matte for nearly my entire work day! I also have very textured skin and it somehow works voodoo magic and makes me look flawless. Great stuff. Fair warning, it smells very strongly of ‘old lady smell,’ so if you’re scent-sensitive, you might want to skip this one. Also: you can get it for cheaper if a Walmart is nearby!

2 | Colourpop Lippie Stix Matte in Ellarie / $5, Colourpop / My obsession with Colourpop is basically never-ending, I know, but stay with me: the Lippie Stix are the creamiest, dreamiest, pigmentiest (not a word, roll with it) lippies ever. And you need them. Especially this one – it’s a deep cranberry with a finish somewhere between satin and matte and perfect for embracing your inner sugar plum fairy.

3 | Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights / $6, Ulta / I’ve raved about this highlighter before on wisconsinwhimsy, and it’s still in my regular highlighter rotation. It’s not glittery at all and packs a buildable glow that’s perfect for icing out your extended family at holiday dinners.

4 | L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black / $10, Ulta / My go-to mascara. If you want long, dramatic lashes, this should be in your hand and on your face. It’s pretty cheap and I reach for it more than I do my high-end wands. Stay fierce, my friends.

5 | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown / $21, Sephora / Need your brow game on point this holiday season? Brow Wiz is your friend. I love the quick, precise application, and it’s easy to find your shade. This is my favorite ABH product!

6 | Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner / $22, Sephora / If this eyeliner can survive my wedding day tears, it can survive your inevitable forced-to-be-in-the-same-house-as-your-relatives holiday meltdown tears.

7 | elf Studio Blush in Berry Merry / $3, elf / I’ve repurchased this blush a handful of times now, and I love it for the holidays. It’s a deep berry with gold shimmer. The ideal blush to go with Ellarie!

8 | China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Ravishing, Dahling / $7.50, Ulta / If Kissin’ Kate Barlow were alive in 2016, this would be her new signature polish. It’s bold, daring, and bad ass, just like her.

9 | Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray / $18, Ulta / I’m going to be honest with y’all for a moment here. I can’t do hair. My hair styles could be considered worse than most Pinterest fails. That said, this hairspray is pretty fabulous and even helps disguise my dry shampoo’d, poorly curled locks as voluminous magazine hair.

10 | Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Body Wash in Christmas Cookie / $12 ON SALE, Ulta / I raved about this last Christmas, and maybe even the Christmas before that. It’s one of my favorite beauty products of the holiday season EVER, and that’s why I’ll forever include it on these lists. This scent is like bath crack. I want it as a body lotion, candle, and pillow spray. Because I’m that in love with it.

Have a merry Christmas, happy New Year, and festive insert-other-holiday-here!

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Fall Scentsy Haul

One of my strongest memory triggers is my sense of smell, and spicy, woodsy scents always bring back great memories of fall and its festivities. As you can imagine, one of my favorite ways to cozy up my home for fall is with candles and wax warmers! This was my very first time ordering anything from Scentsy, and I love what I bought! 

I picked out the following scents: Juniper Berry, Apple Butter Frosting, Cider Mill, Cedar Cider, and Cozy Fireside. The last three are everything I think of when I think of fall 🍂. Juniper Berry is a very mild Christmas-y scent, and Apple Butter Frosting smells delicious, but it’s a little too food-y smelling for me. Cedar Cider and Cider Mill are similar, but Cedar Cider has the added bonus of smelling like the inside of a cedar chest – which reminds me of my Grandma Joyce, who passed a cedar hope chest down to my mom. Cozy Fireside is warm, woodsy, and makes me feel a teensy bit better about not having a fireplace in this house.

All in all I think these were reasonably affordable ($6 a pop or 6 for $25) and smell really great. My only complaint so far is that the shipping is really expensive! Scentsy, why you gotta do us like that?! It was $10 just to ship these five bars. As much as I love the products, the added cost of shipping is definitely a deterrent for me. Have you ordered from Scentsy before? What are your favorite products? Let me know in the comments below! 


Xx Shelbie

DIY | Blender Bottle Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

If you’re like me and fall is your absolute favorite season, you’re probably itching for some cooler weather, cozy sweaters, and a warm latte right about now. (And mostly NFL season, am I right? Go Pack.) For some reason, by the middle of summer, I’m always impatient for fall. Actually, I would be thrilled if it were October all year round! I love a good pumpkin spice latte, but it can be hard to get that fix out of season. Never fear, friends, for I have created the absolute easiest way to DIY some homemade creamer! You only need a few ingredients, and it takes minutes to throw together.


Ingredients:

1 cup [8 oz] vanilla almond milk (sub soy or cashew to taste/dietary needs)

1 cup [8 oz] half + half

1-2 teaspoons light brown sugar

⅓ cup pumpkin puree

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (could sub with ¼ tsp cinnamon + ¼ tsp cloves, ginger, or nutmeg)


Dump all ingredients into a Blender Bottle and shake! This makes 16oz of creamer, and it should keep in your fridge for a week. It’s tasty, creamy, and the perfect amount of basic white girl.

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Daiso/Don Quijote Haul!

As if there weren’t already enough cute, fun things in Japan, there are these neat stores called Daiso, where everything (almost) is ‎¥‎100. AND most of the inventory is much more practical and better-made than some of the things I’ve seen at dollar stores back in the States! I was like a kid in a candy store walking through there, y’all. I went to the pink Daiso in Ginowan, and it was comparable to a Walmart in terms of selection and products, and I was able to score almost everything in this haul for $20! I also paid a visit to another store, Don Quijote (or Donki/Don Q) which is more of a discount store with lots of imports. I actually thought it was a little pricey! I still snagged some goodies, though 😉

Here’s a list of the things I bought at the Daiso:

  • frilly scrunchie (they’re making a comeback)
  • heart shaped earring backs
  • mini hair elastics
  • sock bun thingamajig
  • strawberry scented glitter nail polish remover
  • aloe vera facial cleanser
  • makeup brush/sponge cleanser
  • silicone vegetable scrubber (I bought it as a makeup brush scrubbie)
  • ceramic lotus soy sauce dish (repurposed as a ring dish)
  • heart-shaped sunnies
  • oven mitt
  • mason jar sippy
  • no-show socks
  • doggy poo bags + holder
  • not pictured: dog toy
  • 3 different plastic organizers
  • not pictured: pasta strainer
  • not pictured: burlap pouch decoration
  • not pictured: fake decorative herbs

What I picked up at Don Q:

  • 7-pack of LuLuLun brightening sheet masks
  • peel-off lip stain
  • Alice in Wonderland DVD (bonus: it plays in english and was only ‎¥‎148)

I’ve had the chance to test out some of the products I bought and I have to say, I am really impressed with the quality of the items I bought! I could probably spend hours in the store, wandering through the aisles and justifying purchasing things I don’t need. Have you ever been to a Daiso? What are your favorite dollar store finds? Let me know in the comments below!

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Outsiders in Okinawa | Sea Glass Beach

Hi everyone! I missed my Fri-Yay series last week so this is me playing catch up. Buuuut, since it’s not Friday, I can’t really call it a Fri-Yay blog. So, instead, it’s Outsiders in Okinawa for the day. Alex and I haven’t been able to do much exploring since we’ve been on this amazing island, but we did recently pay a visit to Sea Glass Beach. It was a little tricky get to, but it was so worth it!

The beach is north of Ginoza off of 329, so it’s easy to get to the surrounding area from pretty much anywhere on the island. You’ll have to take some dirt roads to actually find your way (PS – they are single lane, so watch for oncoming traffic!), but that’s the hardest part. We saw hundreds of adorable hermit crabs, plenty of sea glass, and some gorgeous panoramic views of the coast.


Sea Glass Beach is definitely worth a visit! The sand is a little rough (and hot!), so hubs and I kept our shoes on. The water also felt like hot bath water so neither of us swam, although the water was pretty clear at the time. We saw a fair amount of sea glass and coral, but I’ve heard the best pickings are after a typhoon. We haven’t had our first typhoon of the season yet, but once we do, believe me – I will be out there beachin’ it and collecting glass. Let me know if you have any craft ideas for sea glass in the comments!

PS- here’s the pin drop:

 Sea Glass Beach

Henoko, Nago, Okinawa Prefecture 905-2171

https://goo.gl/maps/xya7HKGY1YR2

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Fri-yay! Maybelline x Star Wars

Happy weekend everyone! This is a short entry, although I promise I’m sitting on about four blogs that I need to roll out. Alex and I visited the big new Aeon mall, and at his suggestion I picked something out from the cosmetics counter in the department store. If you read my last Fri-yay blog you know that the drugstore and high end cosmetics are all together in the Aeon department store, which is kind of cool.


My husband and I love Star Wars, and since I didn’t try any of the cool Covergirl x Star Wars beauty products back in the US, I thought it would be fun to try out one of the products here. My Stila Stay All Day liquid liner is on its very last threads of life, so this liquid liner caught my eye. Just look at the cute Stormtrooper! I wish I’d taken photos in the store because they also had a cute one with R2D2 and C3PO. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what shade they were, even with the assistance of Google Translate. I did a lot of Google-ing and figured out that the Stormtrooper one was “soft black.” I don’t know what I was expecting out of soft black – maybe still black but not like…black hole black? I’m not sure. I will say that I was super disappointed!


^That’s with multiple swipes back and forth. It is barely pigmented! The tip is very precise and similar to the Stila, which I like. However, this barely shows up over my eyeshadow, so it’s almost not worth it. It does add a teensy bit of definition though, so I’ll still use it on occasion. It was ¥1200, so roughly $11.

Although this was fun to try, it’s definitely not something I’ll repurchase. If you have any recommendations of products to try or things you’d like to see reviewed, let me know! I’m waiting on an order from Colourpop and I’ve been testing some drugstore brow products, so look out for those in the coming weeks!

Xo Shelbie