Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year, New Intentions


It's that time of the year when people look to the future and make promises to themselves to "do better", in the form of New Year's Resolutions.  I am constantly attempting to live more by design and by intention rather than living by the seat of my pants.  Today I read something that I am going to incorporate into my life and thought I'd share it.

:::::


1. Make your bed.

The book The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.”

I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home.

One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal.

Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it.

This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day.

In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!).

(That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day.

You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home.

Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself.

Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

Source: Headed Somewhere Blog


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Been a little busy...Making a Baby!


Introducing: 
Zahir Asher Williams
21 December 2012
7lbs 1oz

Talk to you soon after we adjust to our newest addition!




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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kid's Lunch Menu FREE PRINTABLES

Hello friends,

I've been a bit incommunicado lately because of my new business and I'm writing a book, plus I'm 8 mths pregnant and have two kids under 6 in my home, so I say all that to say...

I've missed you and I'm sorry I've been gone.  But don't despair, I come back bearing gifts!  Here is a FREE Printable I've developed to help my Kindergartener choose what I should pack for lunch for him.  I recommend printing this off and laminating it, so you can use a washable marker on it instead of printing off multiple copies.  I have a "BOY" themed one and a "GIRL" themed one for you to download!  I have it available in PDF if you'd like to use as is and in a WORD doc if you'd like to change some of the items based on your child's tastes. 

*Please do not use for commercial use!








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Friday, September 28, 2012

New Endeavors!

Sorry, I've been incommunicado, but I've been crazy busyworking on my newest endeavor!


Come and visit me here and see what's the hype about Shades of Grey (the SFW kind)!


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Confessions: 21 Sept 2012



* I'm really excited about my new endeavor and where it's going! 


* I can't wait to eat about a dozen apple cider doughnuts at the orchard this weekend, along w/ an apple cider slushee!

* When I walk downtown I just imagine being able to spend my day there with no office to go to.

* I cannot wait for fall, just so I can wear cute boots!
* I've been to Panera almost everyday this week...


- linking up with Casa Di Moo for Friday Confessions

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Planner vs Pantster: A Quiz

Are you a planner or a pantster? 


If you don't know the answer to that question, here's a short quiz to help you decide:

1.  Tomorrow your son has gym at school, do you:
  1. Pack his gym uniform in his bag at night
  2. Pack his gym uniform in his bag in the morning
  3. Wonder where his gym uniform is & remember it's in the dirty clothes
2.  It's Saturday, your plans are to:
  1. Take your son to practice & then go apple picking
  2. Go apple picking
  3. Plan to go apple picking, but arrive when the orchard closes
3.  It's Wednesday and you have a busy day of meetings, do you
  1. Pack a lunch at night
  2. Pick up something in the morning to bring for lunch
  3. Hear your stomach rumble at 11:45 and rush out to grab something before your noon meeting

If you picked mostly As, you're a planner.  Your house is probably organized, you always know where your socks are, and you never run out of your children's favorite snacks.

If you picked mostly Bs, you're on the ball most of the time.  Your children go to practice on time and with their uniforms, PB&J is always at the ready, and you usually know what you're having for dinner more than an hour before dinner starts.

If you picked mostly Cs, you're a panster.  Your morning consist of running around the house searching for things, you barely make your own lunch, and at 6:30 you still don't know what you & your family are having for dinner!

Also, if you picked mostly Cs, WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

Now, I know life would be easier, simpler, and less frantic if I was more of a planner.  If I wrote lists and stuck to them, HELL IF I COULD FIND THE LIST!  If I picked out clothes and packed lunches at night before I went to bed. And if I just didn't live by the seat of my pants on most days. Yet, something always stops me from succeeding as a planner.  Most of the time I blame it on fatigue; at the end of the day I'm just too dag on tired to do anything other than sink my butt on the couch and watch one of the many Judge Mathis' I tape everyday.  I just want to curl up next to my husband and not DO anything until it's time to go to bed. 

I know, I know, you planners are arguing that if I was a better planner I might feel less fatigued in the evening and I'd certainly be less rushed in the mornings.  And I know you guys are right, but I just can't get up the gumption to do it.  Once upon a time, I started doing meal planning where I planned out our dinners for an entire week at a time.  I always knew what we were having, there were no rushed after work with the kids grocery shopping, and I'm sure I saved money by ordering out less.  So, what happened, why'd I fall off the wagon? 

I just don't know, but today I vow to all of you to try and be more of a planner, if just for the sheer reason that I am increasing this family by one more person and I'm going to need to have more of my ducks in a row dealing with a baby and my eldest and my husband!

Hi, my name is K. Nicole and I am a pantster, it's been 1 day since I knew what I was having for dinner more than 4 hours out...

Friday, September 7, 2012

KINDERGARTEN

This happened while I was away from the blog:


And then it was the Big Boy's 1st Time riding one of these:



I'll be back next week, with more.  Getting used to our new schedules.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Love is a Blessing

Source: Luxe Finds


Often at the end of the night, when the boys are in bed, the dishes are put away, and it's just me & the hubs, I say to him, "we are blessed". And we are. It is a wonderful feeling to have your main priority as your family. Everything we do, we do for each other, and our children.  And in doing so we are able to weed out the things that we could be doing for recognition, greed, or otherwise vainglorious reasons. Our goals are to raise our children to be loved, happy, intelligent, citizens of this world and our goals for each other are to make each other happy the best way we know how.  We may not always get it exactly right, but we’re always attempting to hit the mark. I love my family and I am happy to have their love in return.   

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Three's a Charm: It's a Boy!



Sorry it's been a good two weeks since I've updated, but the life of a pregnant working mom is busy to say the least.  Last week we went for an ultrasound and found out that we are adding another boy to the ranks.  Yes, more testosterone in the Williams Household.  Although, we'd both been hoping for a girl this time around we are still ecstatic and can't wait to see how they all interact with one another.  I've joked that we don't have to buy new toys because we have a plethora of boy toys already.  However, we did donate most of our baby boy clothes, so we will have the pleasure of buying those.  In fact, I already bought his "Coming Home Outfit".  Here's a preview, they say the shoes make the man and if so, my little man is the next Ozwald Boateng!


Bespoke Baby Booties!
See you guys Soon!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I've Got a Baby in My Tummy

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers


You do not know how hard it was to not add, "so yummy, so yummy" after that title.  Parents of littles who watch Yo Gabba, Gabba will know what I mean.  Yes, yes, I am with child and I'm just as happy a lark (how happy are they exactly and what makes them happier than other birds?)  I'm not the only happy one around this place, the hubs and the boys are thrilled as well.  We're 3 to 1 on what we want the gender to be, with 3 for a girl (me, hubs, N) and 1 for a boy (big boy H).  Of course either way, we just want a healthy baby boy.  My proposed due date is December 28th...bites nails, that's such a tricky time between Christmas and New Year's, I'm afraid I won't be able to travel. 

All in all, we're really excited, but I was very sick my first trimester I was vomiting about 6-8 times a day, it's called Hyperemesis gravidarum  and I lost a lot of weight, in fact right now I weigh less than before I conceived.  I also suffered a minor tear on my placenta and was placed on rest for two weeks, luckily I was able to work from home during that time.  Thankfully, I'm feeling better now and can't wait to start nesting and buying baby things once again!  So, that's what's been going on in my world and I promise not to dissapear like that again!



Yo Gabba, Gabba "Party in my Tummy" for your viewing pleasure! Pin It

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One Bite at a Time: Menu Planning

So, I've been a little lax on my weekly bites from One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh Oxenreider. I attempted to establish a morningroutine and I will say that my new morning routine is going much smoother than my other "non-routine".

My next bite is going to be to Start Menu Planning.  If you read my post on Friday I talked about Intentional Eating, and I know that menu planning is an integral part of Intentional Eating.  Menu planning can also help keep you on budget by not spending money on take-out.  It also keeps you mindful of what's going in your body.  Another great thing about menu planning is being able to incorporate my children in food preparation. 

Here is a great resource for Menu Planning - Simple Mom: A Basic Guide to Menu Planning


Do you Menu Plan?   



One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler
Broken down into manageable chunks, One Bite at a Time provides you with steps, tips, links, and motivation to slow down and simplify. Here’s the thing: I bet most of you know what to do to simplify. You’ve heard most of the little tips and tricks to slow down life and make tasks less frustrating. It’s just overwhelming to know how to start. With this book, I’m giving you permission to focus on just one thing at a time, until you’ve got that task down—and then you can move on to the next one. 52 tasks. Practical. Do-able. Given to you in a one-at-a-time, take-a-breath format, for you to tackle at your own comfortable pace. You know what you should do, you just need a handbook.

WANT TO BUY THE BOOK?



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Friday, April 27, 2012

Intentional Eating

I am in my early 30s and though I've never had a weight problem, I am finding that now I am gaining weight in areas I don't like (tummy).  I think other than age the reason for it, is that I've been eating without intention.  What's eating without intention, you ask? 

Well, I stopped meal planning, which helped me to eat at home and more "real" (less processed) foods and I started eating out more and more.  I am now trying to turn the tide not only on my weight gain, but also on the new "addiction" my children have to processed foods. Because I "don't have time" my children have been eating mass produced muffins and fast food breakfasts for most of this year.  Not a good habit to get them started on, at all.  I know there will be resistance to the new way I am trying to have us all eat, but it's worth it for all of our health.

A friend of mine introduced me to this site called Skinny Taste that has recipes for awesome food, using real foods and lots of veggies.  It's just what I needed to help me with my new intentional eating plan.  Last night I made three of her recipes and they were wonderful.  I made Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad, Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos, & Fiesta Lime Rice.  And the day before that I made an awesome fruit & veggie salad for lunch.

K.Nicole's Berry Tasty Salad

Ingredients:
  • Spring salad mix 2c
  • Baby spinach 1c
  • Baby carrots 1/2c
  • Blueberries 1/2 c
  • Rasberries 1/2 c
  • Blackberries 1/2 c
  • Roasted Chicken 3oz. (palmful = 3oz.; I used a pre-prepared Rotisserie Chicken)
 Instructions:

Lay down your salad mix and spinach, snap your baby carrots in two to make them easier to spear w/ your fork, add to the salad.  Throw in a handful of each type of berry.  Shred your chicken  and place on top. Top w/ your favorite vinaigrette dressing (don't forget to add those calories).

Calories:
  • 120 Chicken
  • 40 Blueberries
  • 35 Blackberries
  • 37 Rasberries
  • 17.5 Baby Carrots
  • 15 Spring Salad mix
  • 12 Baby Spinach
TOTAL = 276.5 Calories


* Calorie Counts from Live Strong

Have you been eating with intention lately or eating on the fly?  Share your favorite recipe!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Motherhood Monday: Kids & Money



This is right on the money, although it's almost the end of April. Just this morning I told my five year old that I was going to start giving him an allowance of a dollar a week.

Here are his chores:
  1. Making His Bed
  2. Picking Up His Toys
  3. Cleaning off the Table (both the plates and he'll wipe the table off).
  4. Being a better listener.
I'll also be buying him this Piggybank so that he uses his allowance responsibly.


SOURCE: Money Savvy Generation

Do(es) Your Child(ren) Get an Allowance?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How I DIY'd a Maxi Dress in a Morning!

Thanks to Mimi G and Pinterest I've been working myself up to believing that I could make a wearable piece of clothing. 

Mimi G is a wonderful blogger who is an excellent seamstress and makes tons of her own gorgeous clothing.  She has also started posting tutorials on how to make simple pieces for the novice sewer.  Through reading her blog, seeing her wonderful wardrobe, and watching her informative videos I started to feel empowered about creating my own pieces.  One of my favorite pieces of hers was this Maxi Dress and I thought hey, I can make that.  Being cheap, ahem frugal I decided to forgo the pattern and use an item of clothing I already owned as the foundation for creating this dress.  Well that was a bust because I cut the skirt portion to slim, I knew it without even sewing it, so instead I decided to just use the upper portion and make myself a tank top.  (SEE BELOW)




However, I knew I wanted to make maxi dress so I used a t-shirt that fit me well (The Target Mossimo one I posted about before) as my template and made sure to flare the skirt portion appropriately.  Sorry I don't have any pics of the process, but I was so focused on making it before it was time for breakfast.  So, I ended up creating a maxi dress on Saturday morning before breakfast while my husband cooked! TA DA!
 

To say that I was extremely proud is an understatement, but my pride blosomed even more when I went out and got TONS of compliments and inquiries about my dress.  I was so proud to tell those that asked about it, "I MADE IT!"  And you can, too! 

Here are my sewing resources for the novice sewer:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Toddler Tuesdays, Making Up for Missing Motherhood Mondays

The "Big Boy" & The "Baby"
This past weekend was "The Hubs" Birthday Weekend (35!) so we took Friday off to spend it together and then on Saturday my In-Laws took the boys and the spent the night!

We had a great time, just the two of us together, but as usual I started to miss my little muffins.  Sunday we picked them up and then proceeded to the neighborhood park and then went to the Custard Stand for custard!  All in all it was a great weekend!


Daddy & The "Big Boy"



This morning was also great because "the baby" slept in his own bed all night!  Usually around 2'ish he screams for one of us to come and get him, but last night he was champ.  When he sleeps in his own bed he gets DOUBLE HIGH-FIVES!  My eldest gave him a double high-five and so did I & we told him daddy would when he got home.  Which led to another awesome moment, the "big boy", says, "Mom, that will be 6 high-fives because 2 + 2 = 4 and 4 + 2 = 6!  This then led to me showing him how he could do that problem using multiplication and showing him how multiplying was just a short cut for adding a lot of things!





AWESOME TUESDAY MORNING IF YOU ASK ME!



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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Naturalista Fashionistas

I follow a lot of fashion/style blogs, but today I wanted to shout out the fashionistas who sport natural (non-chemically straightened) hair!




 




Blank White Frames

 



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Bite at a Time: Establishing a Morning Routine/Nighttime Routine Recap



So it's been two and a half weeks since I did my first "bite" from One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh Oxenreider. I attempted to establish a nighttime routine and let me say that it was not a complete success nor a complete failure.  The biggest foil to my nighttime routine was actually my children, little bundles of joy that they are, their nighttime routine is the one I should have (re)established before I tried to re-establish my own. 

The positives were that during this time of a revamped routine I did get more me time, which is great!  This is thanks mainly to my husband who has taken over the baby call duty, so after they're in bed and the baby invaribly calls for one of us, he has been the one going to stay up with him.  This has left me with time to read, watch some tv, or surf the net!

Well, now I'm ready to start another bite (I know at this rate I won't be done in a year!) and it is to establish a morning routine.  Here is my current routine:

  • 5:30 am - Alarm Goes Off; I hit Snooze
  • Continuosly hit snooze until 6:00 am!
  • 6:10 am - Get out of bed/Bathroom
  • 6:20 am - Wake up my eldest/Help him get ready
  • 6:30 am - Get dressed
  • 6:40 am - Wake up the baby/Get him ready
  • 7:00 am - Try and leave the house
  • 7:05 am - Forget to do something/do it
  • 7:15 am - Leave the house
  • 7:25 am - Arrive at Pre-School
  • 7:30 am - Leave Pre-School
  • 7:40 am - Arrive at work

I know, I know, it's a mess.  Here are my objectives for the new morning routine; leave the house at 7 am, eat some breakfast or pick up some before work.  Simple, easy (seemingly) objectives!  I'll let you know how it goes next week!


What's Your Current Morning Routine?


One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler
Broken down into manageable chunks, One Bite at a Time provides you with steps, tips, links, and motivation to slow down and simplify. Here’s the thing: I bet most of you know what to do to simplify. You’ve heard most of the little tips and tricks to slow down life and make tasks less frustrating. It’s just overwhelming to know how to start. With this book, I’m giving you permission to focus on just one thing at a time, until you’ve got that task down—and then you can move on to the next one. 52 tasks. Practical. Do-able. Given to you in a one-at-a-time, take-a-breath format, for you to tackle at your own comfortable pace. You know what you should do, you just need a handbook.

WANT TO BUY THE BOOK?



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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Style: Funked Up Classic

When it comes to my personal style I am a "Funked Up Classics" type of girl.  I like things that are classic, but with an edge to them or a sense of individuality so that you can't just go into a store and see a mannequin wearing what I'm wearing.  Here are some "Funked Up Classic" looks I love!



This is a great way to wear a traditional button down shirt, mixing in an African Wax Print skirt.



The belt & the slit in this skirt elevate this from an ordinary blouse & skirt combo.



This is a white t-shirt at it's flirtiest, a flouncy mini, long blazer, and statement bag raise the bar on a "plain white t".



Cardi, blouse, skirt, and pearls...sounds run of the mill, but not when you add ruffles and you choose faceted beads for your pearls!



Jeans & a T-shirt go to another level when you add dalmation spotted stilleto boots!  The black aviators and the weekend bag also add oomph to the casual ensemble.

What's Your Personal Style?

 
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: Can Pinterest Make You A Better Mom?

I've spoken about "unplugging" because I spend A LOT of time on the internet, but the internet is not all bad.  I follow a Pinterest Board, called The Parent Water Cooler that has LOADS of ideas for parents and children.  With Easter coming up (how'd that happen so fast!) I'll definitely be using Pinterest to find some frun Easter Activities for the boys. 

Here's An Awesome Activity for Telling the Resurrection Story to Children:





Also check out 100+ Pinterest Friendly Family Blogs

Friday, March 30, 2012

Let It Be So

Source: Designers Food

The other day while we were doing our prayer my son asked me why do we say Amen after we pray.  Do you know I didn't know!  But thanks to the magic of Google I found out that it's Hebrew for "let it be so". 

I LOVE THAT!


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In Pursuit of Girliness: Manis and Mavenhood!

My Nails w/ Julep's Meryl
One night I asked my husband if he thought I was "girly".  He says, "yeah, you're girly."  I told him I didn't feel like it and he asked me why not.  At first I couldn't figure it out and then I said, my nails... I feel like if my nails aren't "done" I'm not as girly as I could be.  After that conversation I made a vow to myself to keep my nails painted and to try out some new nail art.  I started a Pinterest board specifically for Beauty and have posted a lot of cool nail art on there I want to try.

Since then I've been getting a bi-weekly mani and pedi at my local nail salon.  So, when I heard about the Julep Maven program my heart skipped a beat!  For just $19.99/mth I could have a box of non-toxic nail polish and mani/pedi treats!  This could both help my budget and my pursuit of girliness! 

What is a Julep Maven?
The Julep Maven program to gives you access to the beauty editor Sneak Peek Box Julep creates every month.  As a Julep Maven, you will have access to the hottest trends in nail color and the latest Mani Care and Pedi Care products - delivered right to your doorstep, just like the beauty editors do.  And you'll have access to these trends and products before anyone else.

In order to tailor and customize your box each month you take a fun and easy Julep Maven Style Quiz to help Julep understand your style profile. I was pronounced, BOHO GLAMThen each month, Julep sends you an email to let you know what they've curated for you in your customized beauty editor Sneak Peek Box.  If you don't like what you see, you can try a new style or choose to send your Sneak Peek Box to a girlfriend as a gift - every month's set comes beautifully packaged and ready to gift.




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