Once again Greg and I were lucky enough to make the trek out to Idaho with On River Time (the nonprofit Greg works for). This was our third year together (Greg went one year by himself). Yet again, we parlayed it into a mini/cheap vacation. Check out last year’s post here and 2015 here.

We had a great time with the kids. I even got to go out and fish this year. I was not excited about it at first because tbh I knew I was going to have to wear a hat but then I caught one! And then I caught more! Despite the hat, I had fun fishing. Oh and in that first picture I didn’t know how to hold a fish for the camera… no one told me! All fingers with a little bit of fish *eye roll*.

Usually the kids get to visit Yellowstone but this year we switched it up and went to the Grand Tetons. We had an awesome guide named Sarah who picked up a lot of random animal poop all in the name of nature and learning. She took us on a hike and to see a beaver dam. She was awesome. She was totally nerding out on nature and that’s exactly the type of guide you want.

After our Idaho adventure we hopped on a plane to San Jose where we spent a few days with Greg’s college buddy, Jack. He and his girlfriend, Char were our gracious hosts. Really, they were great and it’s awesome to have friends in appealing locales (anyone live in Hawaii? Costa Rica? France?).

Our first day in California we drove down to Big Sur. They had a massive landslide earlier this year so a portion of it was closed. I was kind of bummed but we still managed some incredible views.

There aren’t words to accurately describe this place but it gave me some feelings. We stopped at a beachy area where we climbed the rocks and watched the waves.

As we were leaving a couple came to take their wedding pictures and I cannot think of a better place. There are so many colors in cliffs and then the water and then the beach, oh my. I would love to see their photos.

On our way back to San Jose, we stopped in Monterey (Big Little Lies!) for lunch and picked up local sea bass to cook for dinner. It was pretty much the idyllic day with perfect weather and good company.

The next day we went on a five mile hike in the San Jose valley. As we were hiking the view continually changed. The terrain is just so different than Alabama. It felt other worldly at times. And at times it felt like we were in Italy. Everything is golden and green and so much texture.

When we got back from our hike we had the ultimate Silicon Valley experience… we went to LinkedIn. Jack has been working there for the past year as a coder (whatever that means, idk). He gave us a little tour around the building he works in (because LinkedIn has multiple buildings). Everything was Marvel themed. They have espresso machines, sparkling juice machines, snacks, and fridges packed on every level. Like, no wonder everyone wants to work in tech. It was really neat to see and despite what you might think they don’t have cubicles per se and there is a lot of natural light.

We went to a near by town where popped into a local bookstore and then to a beer garden. We had a low key dinner back in San Jose. The next morning we left for San Francisco!… Stay tuned for that post.


Trend: Minimal Manicures

I’ve said it before but I’m kind of a freak about having my nails painted. I don’t get “professional” manicures but I give myself one every Sunday night. Lately, I’ve been wanting to add a little **pizazz** to my basic polish job but nothing too crazy. Enter…. minimal manicures aka laziest nail art ever. These are classic, simple designs that are a little more fun but not garish. They are simple enough to do at home or have done at any nail salon. So, dig your boring nails into this…

Dot, dot, not a lot. When I taught elementary art that’s what I would tell my students about using glue. I think it applies here too. Dots are easy and versatile. You definitely don’t need any nail tools. A q-tip, bobby pin, or toothpick will do the job.


Stripes are always classic. You can play with varying widths and numbers of stripes for different effects. Again, no fancy tools necessary. I usually just use the polish brush but if you want more control or thinner stripes you can get a cheap paint brush from any craft store or tape.


Triangles are stripes’s first cousin. Wether acute or obtuse, you can get a range of looks with them. Use a little bit of tape for perfect points and you’ll be envied by all zebras and tigers in the zoo.


Embrace a natural part of your nails and enhance those God given lunulae (the actual name of the white part of your nail, latin for little moon) with glitter, solid color, or no polish at all. Remember those hole reinforcers? Yeah, they can be used for this look.


The traditional French tip manicure is passé in my humble opinion. But, YOU DO YOU. If you’re looking for an update though… try unexpected colors, a different shape, or an ombre. See? We all win. Yay, us!


There is no skill required for ombre nails. All you need are at least three polishes in the same hue or tone and you’re good to go. Only bonus points if you’re a polish hoarder like me and five of the same. If you’re feeling extra bold try this fancier gradient. Or, just paint each nail a random color. That works too!


Nailed it.

I am Statement Earrings, Ear me Roar!

Let’s talk about the things that dangle from your lobes… haha that sounded gross.

Earrings! Let me talk to/at you about earrings!

Since the fall I have seen statement earrings popping up on the ol’ fashion blogs and on the instagrams. I’m one to move cautiously if at all towards trends so I’ve been hanging back. I also have sensitive ears. BUT, I’ve had visions of statement earrings dancing through my head.

You may be thinking, “Great! I still have ALLLLLL of my chandelier earrings and hoops from college!” Well, I don’t want to burst your bubble because if you still like them, wear them… but this time around think bigger, quirkier, geometric, tassels, and pompoms. Think of them as little works of art.

So, I think I’m going to have to break out the neosporin and give the statement earring the college try. Here are a few I’m picturing to wear with a t-shirt, high waist jeans with a raw hem, and some clogs (click images to shop):

Three Great Podcast Episodes

It’s no secret I love podcasts and try to push them on everyone I know… Well, today is no different. If you haven’t dipped your ears into the pool of podcasts then consider this your doggy paddle lesson. Here are three podcast episodes I’ve listened to recently and thought were exceptionally good:

1 :: No Coincidence, No Story! by This American Life

Why I Like It :: I love a good coincidence story. It has suspense and intrigue. I feel like there should be a Finnish word to describe the feeling you get when you’re part of one. If anything, this podcast will make you want to pay attention to your surroundings and the minutia of your daily life. You never know what will pop back up days or years later. That’s part of the fun of being alive. (Please tell me a coincidence story if you have one!)


2 :: The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes by Invisibilia 

Why I Like It :: This one surprised me. It is not at all what you think it might be about. Within this podcast there are a diverse range of stories and angles on the topic including one with a holocaust survivor (my favorite part). I was thinking it was going to be more about fashion but it ended up being more about psychology (and the interesting people in the episode). Human interest and psychology are the perfect combo.


3 :: Tim Gunn on How to be Amazing with Michael Ian Black

Why I Like It :: First, I love Tim Gunn and I love Michael Ian Black. Second, Michael Ian Black is extremely good at interviewing. I am really impressed. Tim Gunn is very relatable, open, and smart in this interview. I’ve listened to a few interviews with Tim Gunn and this one is my favorite. Michael Ian Black asks the best questions and all the questions you would want asked. I would recommend this podcast as a whole. I’ve enjoyed all of them that I’ve listened to.


If you’re wondering when to listen… I listen to podcasts on my commute, while cleaning my house, getting ready in the morning, prepping dinner, and walking the dogs. Basically anytime you have a mundane task is a good time to listen.


If you listen to podcasts, let me know what you’re listening to! I love to try new ones.

NYC in 2 Seasons Part 1

I’ve officially visited NYC in all four seasons. I know, where’s my badge?! In 2016 I experienced The City in both it’s glorious extremes: July and December.

In July, Greg and I decided we hadn’t traveled enough this summer (ha!) so we loaded up the car and drove 14 hours north to Brooklyn. Luckily, we always have a place to stay with his brother and sister-in-law – thanks Scott and Meredith!

The first two days we were there it was PERFECT weather. I wore jeans and a tank top and never sweated. Things then took a dramatic turn to HEAT and HUMIDITY.

Despite the weather conspiring against us we go out there and suffered I mean… had fun.

Sites: 9/11 Memorial, Washington Square Park, The Whitney, The Met, Chelsea Market, random art galleries, Prospect Park, Strand Bookstore, DUMBO, Transit Museum, Oculus, random pent house open house (G’s SIL had artwork in it)

Places: Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Manhattan, Bed-Stuy, Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Chinatown

Food: Katz’s Deli, Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain, The Meatball Shop, Dough Donuts, Morgenstern’s Ice Cream, El Rey, Grumpy’s, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Those are the exact places I could remember the names. We ate a super authentic ramen place in Chinatown that was a real experience. We went to a whiskey tasting and a chocolate tasting in Red Hook. And in between everything we had a lot of coffee, pizza, and bagels.

Now the pictures:

And if you made it all the way to here, bless you! You get a badge too! Stay tuned for part 2…

#mollidays2016 Days 9-12


Ho Ho HO! We are less than a week away from THE BIG DAY. Every year I can’t believe it and I’m not ready! We’re just that much closer to it being over and that makes me sad. Speaking of over… here are the last days of #Mollidays2016. If you missed it, here are days 1-4 and 5-8.

Mollidays2016 Wine LabelsDay Nine :: The easiest and best gift there is, is wine. And if you’re taking my advice, here are some wine gift tags.

Mollidays2016 Christmas Photos ChecklistDay Ten :: Be sure to document the season… I made this handy photo checklist. Get your family involved and you’ll always remember Christmas 2016… even if you don’t want to.

Mollidays2016 Art PrintDay Eleven :: Need some more Christmas decorations? How about this print of hand drawn snowflakes?

Mollidays2016 Coloring SheetDay Twelve :: For the final day, I made a coloring sheet from all of this year’s illustrations. Enjoy!

#mollidays2016 days 5-8


Here’s what you’ve missed in the #Mollidays2016… Days 1-4 here.

Now check out days 5 to 8…

mollidays2016 cookie recipeDay Five :: Need some baking ideas for the holidays.. check out these cookies and printable recipe.

Mollidays2016 Nice List PrintableDay Six :: Be like Santa and make a list and check it twice.

Mollidays2016 - PostcardDay Seven :: Forgot to buy Christmas cards? I got you covered.

Mollidays2016 - Christmas CheerDay Eight :: Many time people act like scrooges this time of year… leave them a note to lift their spirits.

This is the last week of my daily emails… sign up in the side bar! I’ll send you other fun stuff throughout the year too 🙂

#mollidays2016 days 1-4


If you’ve been putting off signing up for #Mollidays2016 like you’ve been putting off Christmas shopping… Christmas is still coming! What are you waiting for? Here’s what you’ve missed:

#mollidays2016 christmas bingoDay One :: Last year I kicked off #Mollidays2015 with a Christmas To-Do List and this year I wanted to do something similar but more interactive… ta-dah….. Christmas Bingo!

#mollidays2016 wallpapersDay Two :: I love making wallpapers (for your phones) so I made two again this year!

#mollidays2016 gift tagsDay Three :: No present is complete without a receipt recipient… Gift Tags!

#molildays2016 gifDay Four :: I had an idea and I went with it… a textable gif(t)! Santa is really popular this year.

Sign up in the sidebar so you don’t have to wait for the next 8 days of FREE downloads made by me!



Mollie Joy Fall Beauty FavoritesI’m a self proclaimed “fall enthusiast” and lover of make up and skincare so there’s that. I think that qualifies me enough to write this blog post, right?

Ok, so here’s the deal. I love the “look” of fall. I love the light, the color of leaves, pumpkins on my door step. I also love the “lewk” of fall. In honor of my favorite season, I want to share some of my favorite fall related beauty things you might already have at home (and have forgotten about) or might want to try out because I say they’re awesome. Here goes…

Mollie Joy Fall Skincare:: SKINCARE :: I typically have normal to dry skin but when the seasons change I start leaning more to the dry side. Y’all know I’m all about taking care of my skin and that includes a thorough night time routine. To keep my epidermis looking it’s best in the new cooler season I exfoliate and moisturize with fancier masks than I use in warmer months. One has pumpkin in it for all you fanatics!

Exfoliating : Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask <<< Don’t be scared off by the price tag. This mask will last you over a year at least since you should only use it once or twice a week. It’s not too gentle, it’s not too harsh, it’s just right. And it smells like pumpkin!

Moisturizer : First Aid Beauty’s Facial Radiance Overnight Mask <<< I’ve sung the praises of this mask before and I’ll sing them again and again. No other product visibly makes my skin look better in one use than this does… Radiance for real!

fall-nailsartboard-1:: NAILS :: One of the first things that signifies “fall” to me is when I stop wearing my happy blue polish and switch to my muted and deep polishes. I always look forward to the fall nail polish launches. Something about those colors feel sophisticated and chic. This year I’m planning on experimenting with OPI’s matte top coat with a few nude/neutral tones. I feel like it will be awesome. I’ll keep you updated on that but these are my fail safe go-to’s:

Top pick : Essie’s For the Twill of it <<< I can’t recall a polish I’ve been more excited about buying than this one when it launched. This is probably one of my most worn polishes. It’s beautiful and different.

Runner up : OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark <<< This is a throw back but it’s sooo classic and flattering on all skin tones (and it’s on sale!). When in doubt, go dark.

Mollie Joy Fall Eyeshadow:: EYES :: The past couple of years I’ve really honed my skills in the eyeshadow department (thanks youtube!). I tend to go with a similar look on a daily basis (neutral, duh). When fall hits, I like to pile it on a little bit more. I like to think it feels cozy? This season is going to be all about the red eyeshadow. If you’re not ready for the possibly disastrous pigment I have two solid picks in the neutral but awesome category:

Top pick : Burberry’s Pale Barley <<< If you’re up to spending $30 on a single eye shadow I can’t recommend this one enough! It builds beautifully and is a one shadow wonder. It looks nice with a matte brown in the crease and some brown liner.

Runner up : Maybelline’s Bad To The Bronze <<<  No primer needed for this one. It’s a perfect silky bronze and for $5 why not?! I like to pair this one with dusty pink in the crease.

fall-lipsartboard-1:: LIPS :: I wait all spring and summer to break out my dark lipsticks. I don’t go super dark but if it has “plum” in the name, here’s my debit card. This year I’m thinking it’s going to be all about the liquid matte lipsticks but I’m here to tell you there ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of sheen. (DON’T BE FOOLED, I LOVE MATTE LIPS!) Here are my most worn fall shades:

Top pick : MAC’s Plumful <<< If there is a more perfect shade, PROVE IT. Pair this with a berry lipliner and you’re in business. I get the most compliments on this shade. It’s a creamy formula so it’s not drying at all and easy to apply.

Runner up : Maybelline’s Touch of Spice <<< Inexpensive and practically perfect. This color looks perfect with muted pink anything. It’s a matte lipstick but it’s easy and comfortable to wear. No liner needed.

Mollie Joy Fall Perfume:: PERFUME :: The idea of multiple and seasonal perfumes is a new concept to me. I always got a nice bottle for Christmas and used it all year until I ran out and got a new one the following Christmas. Recently I’ve been wanting to try different perfumes.  If you’ve never noticed, perfume is expensive! So, I was doing a little research and found the company Scentbird. I think what they are doing is so genius! It’s a subscription based service that will send you a month’s supply of designer perfume that YOU PICK! That way you can easily change for the season and try out different scents before you commit to a larger bottle. You don’t get a rollerball, you actually get a reusable sprayer. They are not paying me to say any of this. I really think it’s a great idea and especially for only $15 a month. Here are my fall picks:

Top pick : Tom Ford’s Black Orchid <<< This scent has developed somewhat of a cult following and it’s on the higher end of the price scale. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time and hello, along came Scentbird and it’s miiinnnneeee. This scent is woodsy, warm, luxurious and perfect for fall.

Runner up : Elizabeth and James’ Nirvana Black <<< I’m a sucker for anything and all things Olsen twins (and Elizabeth!). This is a strong scent so a little dab will do ya. But the vanilla with the sandalwood… heaven in my nose.

*** Because Scentbird is awesome they are offering you guys (my friends!) 15% off your first month with the code MJOY15 !!! ***

5 Travel Tips You Haven’t Read Before & My Trip Formula

Mollie Joy Design :: Travel TipsThere are a ton of posts out there on travel tips and I’ve read a lot of them. This summer I did quite a bit of traveling and I thought of things that I haven’t read before but I think are useful and worth sharing.

1 :: Have a Goal ::
This is something I tried for the first time when we went to NYC this summer. I’ve been to New York a handful of times so I’ve done all the touristy things and this time I made it my goal to try a different ice cream shop every day. I love ice cream, I love trying something new, and I love ice cream. The beauty in the goal is that it can be anything and it’s just for F-U-N. Here are some ideas: See some art every day, Try something new every day, See how many dogs you can pet, Visit a different park every day, See how many strangers will talk to you, etc… I’m full of ideas if you need more.

2 :: Plan for Good Food ::
I’ve been on too many trips where we ate bad food. Food is life y’all. If you’re not eating good food, you’re not enjoying life! Plan out a few places in advance that either have been recommended to you or you would like to try and work them into your trip. The most miserable thing to me is being hangry, not knowing where to eat, and stumbling into the closest Cafe d’Disappointment. A bad meal can really put a damper on the day. If you’re feeling extra confident, make reservations. Eating is an activity.

3 :: Be an Ask-hole ::
Ok, not really but kind of. Wherever you are ask whoever is around… Where can I get the best bagel in town? Where can I hear live music? If I only have an hour what should I see at the Met? How do I ride the trolley? What’s the best flavor? You get the picture. Whenever I go somewhere new I always like to be in on what the locals know. I usually find places I wouldn’t have found otherwise and a lot of times it leads to other fun conversations and tips. People like to feel valued in their opinions. Why do you think I write this blog?

4 :: Bring a REAL Camera ::
I know iPhone’s camera keeps getting better and snapchat and all but I’ve never once regretted bringing my nice digital camera with me. Face it, phones can’t compete with the quality a real camera provides. I have a large framed photograph in my living room that I took of the Eiffel Tower with my camera. My iPhone could not have taken the same picture and be printed at the same size and kept it’s quality. It’s photography math you guys. Unfortunately I don’t have a tip for remembering to actually take pictures with the camera but I’m sure you’ll work it out.

5 :: Take the Free Version ::
This tip comes courtesy of Greg Robinson. We’ve traveled a lot together over the years and have somehow managed not to spend a lot of money. The one thing we do is take the free version or less expensive version of excursions. For example, the first time we went to NYC we decided to take the Staten Island Ferry that goes right past the Statue of Liberty for free instead of paying for a tour and spending hours to get a little closer view. That way you get a taste and don’t spend all day and your money on a negligible difference of experience. Spend more time in the rest of the museum instead of automatically paying for the paid exhibit, opt out of the brewery tour and just do a tasting instead, or just sneak past the ticket checkers.

!*!* BONUS *!*!

:: You Only Need Two Pairs of Shoes, Bandaids, & Advil ::
Ok, so you may have heard these before but they are worth repeating and all related. Unless you are going to a formal event, you really only need two pairs of shoes. Believe me. I am used to be a habitual over-packer. This also applies to all my minimalists out there that think they only need one pair. YOU NEED TWO. This is where bandaids come in. Even shoes you’ve worn all day at work before can and will give you a blister. Thus you need to wear a different pair of shoes the next day AND bandaids. Keep those suckers in your purse, pocket, or wallet. Because you’ve been walking all day and over indulging in the adult bevs you or someone in your party will need Advil. Take it. Don’t try to be a hero and tough it out.

Mollie Joy Design :: Travel Formula


:: Trip Formula ::
This is great for short or long trips or even stay-cations. I’ve tested this formula out for many years now and I really think it’s a great starting off point for longer trips and perfect for day trips. If you have time and you’re being a travel ask-hole, you’ll find other things to do through the day. If you know you only have 4 hours in a place, you’ll feel like you’ve actually visited. The best part is you can make the formula fit your interests. My “somewhere to drink” is usually a local coffee shop but maybe yours is a brewery or an old timey soda fountain. I like to visit art museums but maybe you like historic landmarks. Your something to eat could range from dinner to the best doughnut in town. Try it!


Alright, do you have any secret travel tips? I’m always looking to make traveling less stressful and more fun.

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