Travel: Ledges State Park, Iowa

I was in the mood to do some hiking last week while I was in Iowa and one of my friends suggested we take a trip to Ledges State Park. I grew up close to Ledges, and even went to girl scout camp about a minute away, but had never been to the park before. I didn’t know what to expect but we had a great experience.

The first thing we saw was a swampy area.

Ledges State Park Swamp

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I personally love areas like this, as long as they don’t smell. Fortunately, this one was all good. AND there was a lovely surprise! If you look closely at the picture, you can see dozens of tiny cricket frogs sticking out of the algae.

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The following is another section of the same pond. If you look to the left of the big branch, you can see little froggie heads sticking up.

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Next we walked to the “secret lake” – not really sure how a giant green swamp is a secret, but it was lovely. Here is a pic of my friend Mikey, the wonderful guy who took me to Ledges.

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Now, the secret lake ended up being one of the best experiences of my entire life. The entire shore was covered in bull frogs and cricket frogs, so every time we moved a dozen would hop into the water.

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You can see some of the frogs in the photo above if you look closely. There aren’t as many close to the camera, but if you look further out you can see just how many were on the shore.

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This next one really worried me. Wasn’t sure if it was a monstrosity or a normal development. Apparently it’s a polliwog. I thought that was a Pokemon, but my friend explained that she is actually a scientist and its a mix between tadpole and frog.

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I never wanted to leave that area, but apparently since we were at Ledges State Park we were required to see the actual ledges.

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Here is Mike being an ~expert~ hiker. He even has a backpack with a water pouch!

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Here is me. I’m a normal hiker. I put lipstick on before hitting the trails.

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The view of the Des Moines river was quite lovely.

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This next ledge was a little terrifying. Normally I would have been a daredevil and tried to hop onto it, but apparently some guy died doing that this summer and I wasn’t super interested in following in his footsteps.

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I loved the park and had a great experience, especially the jumping frogs. What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen at a state park?

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Review: Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Shiny Foot

One of my favorite Asian beauty products is the Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Shiny Foot. This product helps remove all of the dead skin from your feet and is absolutely disgusting but also complete magic. I have done a foot peel twice and have been very happy with the results both times. If you’re someone who has stubborn dead skin during the winter, I highly recommend trying this product out.

Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid

The product comes packed neatly in a nice square box, about the size of a DVD case.

Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Contents

Inside you’ll find two packets of “super peeling liquid,” a sample-sized packet of the Tony Moly Shiny Foot foot cream, and two plastic booties.

Tony Moly Foot Peel Process

In order to use the product, you slip the booties on your feet and then pour in the peeling liquid. After you pour it in, you can tie the booties tight around your ankles to prevent any of the product from leaking.

Tony Moly Foot Peel Wraps

The liquid feels very cold when you pour it over your feet. Though it’s cold, the liquid does not hurt or tingle. It’s important that you keep the booties on for at least 30 minutes so that the liquid can soak into your skin. The booties fit my feet perfectly, and I am a US size 9. Because they have ties, the booties will be able to adjust to fit different sized feet.

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Here is a picture of my heel before using the product.

Tony Moly Foot Peel

Here is a picture of my heel after my skin started peeling. This process does not hurt – though it does hurt if you pick/peel any skin that is not ready to come off. The areas that are white tend to be ready to go and the areas that are more skin colored are not quite ready to be removed. It’s always a fun surprise when you look down and suddenly big chunks of your skin are falling off.

It takes about a week for the skin to start peeling, and the length of time that it peels is unique to each person. If you have an event or know that you will be showing off your feet, I would give yourself at least two weeks from start to finish so that you do not terrify anyone.

All-in-all, I really enjoy this Tony Moly product. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to try out a foot peel or a unique product. I am keeping a couple of them on hand so that I can take care of my feet whenever a disaster strikes. Since I can’t keep my feet smooth on my own, it’s nice to know that at least there is a product out there that will turn the situation around.

Review: Mediheal AirGuard Foilab Sheet Mask

I was very excited to try out this sheet mask – not only is it super cool and unique, but it is the first asian beauty item that I have received for free in order to try out and review on my blog. I entered a contest on Mishe Beauty to try out several different products and was really excited when the company emailed to let me know that I had been selected to try out the Mediheal AirGuard Foilab Sheet Mask.

The product arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I was very under the weather so I wasn’t able to review it right away, and I finally got the chance to do so today.

Mediheal Airguard Foilab Mask Silver Waterful

Right away I was really excited because I have never tried a foil mask before. I have seen a few pictures of them on the internet and had my fingers crossed that I would be able to try this one out. I was excited to see that it was “waterful” which means hydrating, because it is the middle of summer and I have been spending a lot of time in the sun. My skin needs all the hydrating it can  get.

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When I took the mask out of the packet I was surprised to see that it was in two pieces. I have been wanting to try a split mask for a while, but thought that I would need to cut one of my own in order to do so. Masks tend to fit my face pretty well so I haven’t needed to do it, but they never fit my boyfriend or my friends.

I was also very confused about how to put it on my face. I wasn’t sure if I needed to peel anything off, so I fumbled around with it for a while before I finally realized what to do.

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I had a lot of fun putting this on. I was not able to get off the couch so I did it blind and adjusted using my phone. I did think it was a bit of a strange fit and had a hard time straightening it out to try to make it look nice.

Sheet Mask Cute Girls

I enjoyed the fact that even looking super goofy I looked adorable.

silver sheet mask

I had a hard time looking cute in this mask, maybe because my hair was wet, but I did have a lot of fun trying it on and taking pictures. It’s very fancy and cute! I texted my boyfriend and he called me a beautiful robot.

I didn’t care much for the serum. It had the standard chemically smell that a lot of masks have and it started to sting my face after a few minutes. I was worried that I might have an allergic reaction, so I probably need to check out the ingredient list and see if there is anything in it that might have caused that reaction. My skin was fine when I took the mask off, but it was not the most enjoyable sheet mask experience I have had.

The mask does contain “70% Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate.” I hadn’t heard of this before but a quick google suggests that it is a fermented fungus and is very common in asian skincare products. Apparently it is very good at moisturizing and locking that moisture in.

One of the coolest things about it is that the silver side felt dry, but when I took it off my skin was very moist from the serum. The material kept the moisture in so that it would absorb rather than evaporate.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed trying out this mask. The main draw is how cute and unique it is, but the mask itself was pretty nice. If you’d like to try it out feel free to check out the Mishe Beauty website. You can also apply for any of their ongoing campaigns and maybe receive a product to try yourself.

Do you think you’ll try one of these masks out? Do you have any other questions? I still want to try the gold version, it’s so beautiful!

My Favorite Blogs

Before I started blogging I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the blogging community. I had a photoblog back in the 2000s where I posted dozens of pictures of what I was doing every day, and I’ve started various small blogs for specific purposes, but nothing all-encompassing or long lasting. I also have not spent a lot of time visiting websites on the internet outside of social media / reddit / personal finances the last couple of years.

Now that I have this blog and can appreciate the amount of dedication it takes to have a blog and post in it regularly, I’ve been making sure to peruse my friends blogs on a regular basis. Here are a few that I visit + some comments on what I like about them.

#1 SkinnedCartree – My friend Corinne runs a UK Lifestyle blog. She makes a TON of money blogging and does such a great job with social media engagement. She is truly an inspiration. I love her blog because she combines practical information with product reviews and other goodies. She posts daily and I always love stopping by to see what she’s been up to.

Favorite Post: Postcode Pride – Corinne recently posted about the absolutely beautiful city of Bath in the UK. I recently visited in April and was just in love. It should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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Corinne and I loving each other at the Louvre in 2008

#2 Champagne Taste – Sarah recently started a fashion/lifestyle blog and I am so excited about it. I know nothing about fashion other than the fact that I really love everything Khloe Kardashian wears and I can’t afford any of it. Life is really hard. Sarah’s blog is full of tips on how to find quality items at decent prices. I’m looking forward to utilizing these tips when I have an income again after grad school!

Favorite Post: Why You Need It: the Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag – I actually really need this bag now. Thanks a lot, Sarah! This was one of her first posts and it was very persuasive, she’s definitely going to do great things with her blog.

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This is the only picture of me and Sarah that isn’t terribly embarrassing.

#3 Inspo & Co – I have never really talked to Katrina about her blog so she might be surprised by this mention, but I absolutely love it. Everything that Katrina does is so beautiful and I find her work very inspiring. From body positivity to vibrant and colorful photos, her blog is a visual treat. Side note, Katrina used to pick up books from the library I worked at and I’ve always thought we should be better friends because everything she checked out was something I loved.

Favorite Post: L. Feminine Hygiene Products are the Bomb – I like this post because we need more real talk about tampons. I’m currently using Lola but it’s a bit of a pricey service, so I’m definitely looking forward to checking this product out. I had no idea there was something so neat and affordable at Target. This is why we need bloggers!

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Katrina and I don’t have a lot of pics together.. But we’re both in this one!

If you have a blog that you want me to check out, let me know! I’d love to learn more about your interests!

Read Your Face Off Feature

A few weeks ago I joined a summer reading group called “Read Your Face Off.” It’s a really cool group organized by a woman here in Madison and a lot of my politically active friends are members. I was inspired to join because I’ve had trouble finishing books this year and joining has now helped me finish two.

I emailed the creator of the group last week to ask a question and she asked me if I wanted to be the featured reader. I typed up answers to a few questions and thought they would be fun to share here, too.

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What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What are your reading goals for summer? Have you read any good books lately? Tell me all your thoughts 🙂

My Favorite Podcasts: Summer 2017

One of the first posts I made when I started my blog last year was My Favorite Podcasts: Summer 2016. At the time I had been listening to podcasts for just a few months and found them really helpful when trying to complete mountains of data entry at work. I’ve now been listening to podcasts for over a year and they help me get through a lot more than data entry; I listen to podcasts during long car rides, while mowing the lawn, sorting laundry, and anything else mundane that allows my brain to be mostly somewhere else.

I am not including the podcasts that were listed on my previous post because my opinion of them is still the same, they are amazing.

3. Modern Love: I really like this podcast because it explores unconventional relationships. Each episode features a celebrity guest reading a story that was written for the Modern Love column in the New York Times. One of the reasons that I like this podcast is that I never know what to expect, the stories reflect our relationships in that they are all varied and intricate. I’m rarely bored when I listen to this podcast and I especially like when they contact the author for follow-up.

Favorite Episode: A Child of Two Worlds. In this story, a mom had to make a tough choice about giving birth. The mother had to decide whether or not to give birth in a third world country without a lot of pre-natal resources or any options for emergency assistance should anything go wrong. It was neat to hear about the care offered to the expecting mom and made me wonder what I would do in a similar situation.

2. Radiolab Presents: More Perfect:  This would be my all time favorite podcast if there were more episodes. I absolutely loved listening to this. The podcast takes prominent Supreme Court cases and explains how they have impacted our judicial system and every day lives. While it sounds nerdy and probably is a little bit, it’s fascinating to hear the intricacies behind cases that have affected our lives in ways we don’t even realize.

Favorite Episode: Object Anyway. This episode bummed me out. It discusses Batson v. Kentucky, the case that led to the creation of the Batson Rule. The Batson Rule is a court rule that doesn’t allow attorneys to remove jurors based on race. This sounds wonderful but they explain in the podcast that all the attorneys have to do is give another excuse as to why they don’t want that person to be on the panel. The world is frustrating.

1. Criminal: I started listening to this podcast last month and have made it through 40 episodes. This podcast is actually perfection. There has only been one episode that I have found boring and every other episode has been engaging. It’s another podcast where I never know what to expect and find myself super interested in something I never knew was a thing. I have to admit – I thought the first episode was boring and it stopped me from listening to more right away. If you don’t like it, skip it and keep going. It’s worth it!

Favorite Episode: No Place Like Home. This episode talks about a man who went to prison and found out that the prison was also home to the last remaining leper colony in the US. Many of the people who lived there were dropped off as children and left there for years and years. It’s really sad to think about how we have treated anyone who is at all “different” in the US and was a very eye opening episode.

There you go! My top three podcasts right now.

What are you listening to? I’m always looking for new suggestions.

June Instagram Memories

June was a wonderful month for me. I tried to keep myself busy by doing the things that make me happy and did a fairly good job of it.

Early in the month I took a trip to Devil’s Lake for hiking, which crossed an item off of my summer 2017 bucket list. We had an amazing time and really enjoyed the views and exercise. I highly recommend an evening hike at Devil’s Lake if you have the opportunity!

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Click on the picture if you’d like to see more pictures from the trip

I also developed my new found interest in ice cream with not one but TWO trips to the ice cream shop with my little brother. Summer time brother time is my favorite. I love that he doesn’t have school and I can take him wherever I want whenever.

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Toward the end of the month I saw one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. I came out of the gas station to see a double rainbow forming. Instead of continuing on, I decided to sit in the parking lot and watch it. It kept getting brighter and stronger and ended up being so incredibly beautiful that I was nearly in tears.

It was so cool seeing all of the people come out of the stores to look at the rainbow and my mom drove over to where I was to look at it with me. It was amazing. We need more beautiful rainbows in America.

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I posted on Instagram 18 times. I feel like I don’t post on there very often so I am trying to make more of an effort. Personally I hate the new algorithm that shows you the top posts instead of every post.. It’s super annoying and makes it much less fun to use. Whatever. Here are my June memories.

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Feel free to follow me on instagram @jenrazzle if you would like to see my posts on a regular basis 🙂

Top 5 things I want to do for myself this summer

I recently posted a list of the top five things I want to do this summer, but while I was putting it together I kept thinking of things I wanted to do for myself. I do a fairly good job of taking care of myself and my goals, but it never hurts to outline them and put some extra work into holding myself accountable.

1. Break even on my net worth: Between my student loans, car loan, travel habits, and regular monthly bills, I have not been able to break even on my net worth for years. I am currently sitting at a net worth around -$4,000, which is a big improvement over this time last year (-$12,000). While I’m proud of the work that I’ve put in to lowering my debt and saving for the future, I want to start grad school on a positive note financially. You know, before plunging tens of thousands of dollars into debt again.

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2. Lose 15 pounds: When will it not be a goal to lose 15 pounds? This goal is important to me because I love being active and fit and want to continue on a positive path toward good health.

3. Spend more time with friends: I am very lucky to have so many wonderful friends, both near and far. Unfortunately, I rarely spend time with them. It is way too easy to hang out with the people I see on a daily basis and not put any effort in to spending time with the majority of the people I care about. I would like to spend time with at least one friend each week who is not a part of my normal day-to-day routine.

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Recent extremely enjoyable friend time.

4. Read a book: I am the absolute worst. I love reading, I request dozens of books from the library, and I have only finished a few so far this year. It’s unacceptable. I need to pick up a book and read it from start to finish.

5. Prepare for doing well in school: I want to be successful in grad school, so I need to do everything I can this summer to start off on a good foot. I would like to attend all of the grad school events that are scheduled this summer, buy some super adorable school supplies, figure out bus routes and class locations, and make sure that I do suuuppperrr well in my summer stats class.

What are some of the things that you would like to do this summer? How possible do you think they are, and what do you need to get you there?

OH I almost forgot – I have a goal of taking my dogs on a walk/to the dog park once a week. I don’t currently live with them but they are so happy when we go out together. I need to make sure this is a thing all summer long.

Travel: Top 5 things I want to do this summer

I am a big fan of getting away as much as possible and I’ve gone on more than my fair share of weekend trips over the last few years. Unfortunately for me (but fortunate for my wallet) I have taken on a weekend babysitting job that lasts from 6am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays for almost all weekends of the summer. My grandpa is also in hospice in Iowa and I would like to spend as much time with him as possible. This means that my weekend trips will be few and far between this summer. Knowing that, there are still a BUNCH of things that I want to do this year. These are my top 5.

1. Hiking at Devil’s Lake: I went to Devil’s Lake often as a teenager and I have never had a bad experience. However, as a kid we went for the beach and swimming, and now I would like to go for hiking purposes. I can’t wait to get up on the rocky cliffs and look out at the beautiful water.

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Just beautiful.

2. Get drunk in a cabin with my closest friends: Listen, I’m an adult, and if I want to safely get drunk in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with my favorite people, that’s allowed. I’m the one who has to suffer the consequences of the now unavoidable multi-day hangovers.

3. Visit Door County: A few years ago I went to Sturgeon Bay for an event and really fell in love. The city was beautiful, the shops were adorable, and I absolutely want to go back. I haven’t been further up the peninsula, so this is the number one weekend trip that I want to make happen.

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I now have a mission to find this building, hiding somewhere in Door County.

4. Explore a new cave: I absolutely love caves. I don’t think anything in America will compare to the absolutely incredible experience that I had in Belize (there were SKELETONS) but I am hoping there is some sort of beautiful cave within driving distance.

5. Visit Canada: Considering that I only live six hours from Canada, I have not been there enough. My passport only has another six months on it so I would love to head up to Canada for a long weekend. I went with my family years ago and found this beautiful place called Harmony Beach – I would love to go and spend a day or two there.

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He kept trying to splash me, so I picked him up and nearly dropped him. Love my little brother!

There you have it! The top five things that I want to do this summer. What do you have in mind?