Posts by Allison

Giving up on Sugar and Grains


For the past four weeks, I’ve been giving up on sugar and grains from my diet and since I share most things here on this blog…I figured I should share this!  I say “giving up on” because I want to give up on being dependent on certain foods (physically and psychologically). Before I get into details, you must know a few things:

  • I am not following the Paleo diet
  • I’m not doing this to lose weight (although I have experienced weight loss)
  • Since Adam is following the 4 Hour Body diet, I tend to eat a lot of the same things he does to make it easier
  • On the weekends, I tend to loosen up a bit on what I eat because – in my opinion – socializing and relationships are just as important

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Blog Re-Design Giveaway Winner


…Hermani A! Congrats to Hermani from Pretty Please Us! I’ll be in touch with you via email to get your new blog re-design started! Thank you to ALL who entered. If you’re ever interested in a blog re-design, feel free to contact me directly to discuss a collaboration!


What’s In My Makeup Bag


I recently bought this sparkly Nine West makeup bag ($10 at Marshall’s!) after selling a lot of my clothes at Plato’s Closet so I thought it would be fun to share exactly what I keep inside! I keep my makeup pretty simple. It’s never drastic and I like to stick with neutrals. I’m not exactly brand loyal but I do try to buy what’s best and works for me.

  1. Mascara: I use two brands. Clinique Lash Power Mascara as a base (and it only comes off with warm water) and then I top it off with Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara to make my lashes longer.
  2. Concealer: I use Natural Cream Mineralogie for under my eyes. Now that summer is over, I’ll probably start mixing it with something lighter.
  3. Foundation: I absolutely love Bare Escentuals and have been using their Original SPF 15 Foundation for years. It’s a loose power and the coverage is great (not too heavy and not too light).
  4. Eyeshadows: For any eye color, I use Bobbi Brown. The two shades I use are Rose Gold and Bone. Her shadows are affordable and I’d rather experiment with shades regularly.
  5. Blush: Again, I use Bare Escentuals for my blush! I wear The Aphrodisiac and like that it’s compact vs loose powder.
  6. Brow Pencil: I went to Nordstrom one night and asked what brow pencil they recommended the most. $35 dollars later, I walked out with Smashbox’s Brow Tech To Go. AMAZING. Would totally recommend it. I love that it’s angled, I don’t have to sharpen anything, and it comes with a gel brush.
  7. Eyeliner: Since I use Clinique’s mascara and use their face wash/lotion, it was only a matter of time before they got me hooked on something else. The Cream Shaper for Eyes is creamy/soft but doesn’t smudge or come off with water.
  8. Tweezers: Nothing special and I have no idea what brand. They just work really well!
  9. Lash Curler: Also some generic brand. Any suggestions on one worth purchasing?
  10. Shadow Primer: Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance in Candlelight is a great primer to use before applying your eyeshadow. I think the shade has been too light for summer but I might as well stick it out since autumn is near!
  11. Brushes: I only use three brushes and they’re all from Bare Escentuals. Speaking of…I need to clean my brushes. I’m embarrassed to admit but I’ve never done that before. Any tips?

So that’s what I wear everyday! As I list it all out, it seems like a lot but I swear it only takes me 5 minutes to apply everything. I don’t keep any lip stains, glosses or chapstick in my makeup bag (they’re usually all in my purse) but I am on the hunt for a few new products:

  • A really good lip exfoliant. I think I’m going to buy one of Lush’s lip scrubs next month.
  • A lighter concealer for fall/winter.
  • A lip stain that actually stays!

What’s in YOUR makeup bag? Feel free to copy the post and link below! Any products that have your loyalty? Recommendations? 

*All photos taken on my Canon T2i

Good Goods


Another round of Good Goods! This month’s round up is a compilation of things currently on my wishlist so I can’t necessarily attest to whether they’re actually good. Feel free to check out my other Good Goods boards here. I try to limit my “materialistic” posts here on my blog and really try to share only the things that really catch my eye. Enjoy!

  1. Korres Pomegranate Cleansing Wipes: Sometimes when I’m laying in bed (and have no energy to wash my face), I wish that I had these to feed my laziness.
  2. Kate Spade’s Gold Coast Janine (for my MacBook Pro): I’m currently using a bag that’s a lot more casual/practical but this one is gorgeous (and pricey).
  3. EatSmart Precision Pro kitchen scale: A lot of the gluten-free/grain-free recipes that I use measure weight vs amount. They utilize ratios too.
  4. Moroccan Oil hairspray: I’ve heard nothing but good things about this stuff. I just ran out of hairspray so I feel like I should be able to pick up a bottle (right?).
  5. World Cuisine Vegetable Slicer: Think of how many zucchini noodles I could make!
  6. Pencil Satchel: Um, amazing.

Has anything caught your eye lately? This last month of my spending freeze is going to be tough. When the weather starts changing, I get an itch to update my wardrobe for the season. I’m going to use this month to carefully craft a list of things I really NEED for autumn and actually invest in quality pieces when October 1st rolls around.

CITY GUIDE: Pittsburgh


Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Blake Matthews of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Pittsburgh has come a long way from the days of smog and steel mills.  Today, the city reigns as a cultural and culinary mecca.  With many distinctive neighborhoods each boasting their own attractions and charm, Pittsburgh has quickly made a name for itself as one of America’s top travel and living destinations.

Smack-dab in the middle of the diverse region, downtown is a great place to start your journey. Chocked-full of comfortably luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants and acclaimed theaters, it’s any travelers dream.  The newly constructed Fairmont Hotel not only features outstanding views of the city and rivers, it’s also home to one of the area’s hottest restaurants, Habitat, where Executive Chef Andrew Morrison cooks up uniquely creative dishes with an international twist and local ingredients.

Just a few feet away lay Pittsburgh’s urban oasis, Market Square. Popular restaurants like NOLA, Diamond Market, Original Oyster House and Bluebird Kitchen surround the square and the sound of live music often fills the air. Up for a drink and a show? Stop by Seviche or Meat & Potatoes for creative cocktails and apps, then make your way to Pittsburgh Public or one of the Cultural Trust theaters and prepare to be entertained.

Hop on the trolley and head across (well, under) the river for another historic stop. Home to Heinz Field and PNC Park, the North Shore is a great place for any sports fan. Locals gather for drinks at Mullen’s or Finnegan’s Wake before heading into a Pirate game. Steeler fans head to Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 for a modern twist on bar fare before hitting the stadium. Stage AE is the newest addition to the shore, putting on indoor and outdoor concerts year round. The nearby Children’s Museum and Carnegie Science Center are less than apart and are must-sees for any young family. Art lovers can’t miss the Andy Warhol Museum, which pays homage to the Pittsburgh native and his eccentric point of view on life and art. The water steps on the North Shore Riverwalk are a great place to cool off with your kids and pets in the summertime.

Station Square is a short drive (or boat ride) away on the shores of the Monongahela River. The repurposed train station offers up familiar favorites like Hard Rock Café, Joe’s Crab Shack, Bar Louie and The Melting Pot. It’s a great spot to grab dinner and drinks or simply take in the city. Hop on the Gateway Clipper or take a Just Ducky Tour to see what the river has to offer. Next, channel your inner coal-miner and ride the iconic Monongahela Incline up to Mt. Washington.  At the top, incline riders are greeted with a breathtaking, bird’s eye view just inches away from yet another local hotspot. Shiloh Street is only a few short blocks away from the expensive, formal restaurants of Grandview Avenue, but has more of a fun, local flare. Redbeards and Shiloh Grill both offer outdoor seating and occasional live music.

Back down the incline and up Carson Street, you’ll find a collection unique eclectic shops and restaurants, peppered between bars and nightclubs. Students swarm here in droves at night and tend to pack the watering holes, but during the day there’s a lot to be said for its charm. The Milkshake Factory sells amazingly unique cool and chocolatey treats in a beautiful, vintage-chic shop. Café du Jour is one of South Side’s best-kept secrets, serving up delicious French cuisine in an intimate setting. Not far down the road is the new South Side Works – a great place to shop, relax, or rent a bike and see the city from a whole new angle.

On the other side of the city lies Pittsburgh’s famous Strip District. Every Saturday morning, the Strip is bustling with people shopping for local produce and handmade crafts at shops and stands in and around the Public Market. If you’re around in time for breakfast, DeLuca’s is the place to be. Don’t mind the lines, they’re well worth the wait. Give the seafood crepe a try if you dare. The Heinz History Center sits just between the Strip and downtown. Even locals flock here every season as the exhibits change to continue to appreciate their great city.

A stone’s throw away is the campus region of Oakland. Home to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Carlow University, it’s more than just a college town. The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History  flank the green space of Schenley Park. Here, Phipps Conservatory acts as a centerpiece of Oakland and is a favorite date and family destination.  Hungry yet? Check out the brand-new Porch at Schenley for locally sourced gourmet dining. Their Bianca pizza is a deliciously unique dish that’s perfect for sharing.

If you’re looking for a break from touring the town, head to Kennywood or Sandcastle to feel like a kid again.

The recent title of America’s Most Livable City is certainly well earned, but Pittsburgh can’t be overlooked as one of the hottest cities to visit, either. Crammed with culture and oozing with activity, this former City of Steel has something to offer for every walk of life. From young couples to growing families, sports fans to foodies, historians to art buffs, Pittsburgh is in a position to impress. A weekend here will turn skeptics to believers. A week will make it tough for visitors to keep from contemplating permanent residency.  If you’re thinking about paying us a visit, we’d love to have you. Bring your walking shoes, your cameras and your appetites. We’ll save you a seat.


3 New Things: September Edition

Three New Things September

Every month, I attempt to try 3 new things. I’m happy to say that I succeeded last month and managed to send letters to friends/family, I went skinny dipping, AND finally got a grasp on video and editing. It was a good month and now I’m really excited for autumn and cooler weather.

Since I’m still on my spending freeze, I’ve stuck with doing things that won’t interfere with that:

  1. Create and post a video shot with my DSLR: I upgraded to a Canon T2i and am excited to shoot video with my new tripod!
  2. Host a swap party: Best way to get through the last month of my spending freeze? Get “new-to-me” stuff!
  3. Only buy produce from local farmer’s markets: I bought all of our week’s produce at the Grandview Farmer’s Market and plan to visit other local markets throughout the month!

Oh and if you haven’t noticed yet…my blog has a completely new look + name! If you’re curious as to why I chose to re-name it, check out my explanation here. I was never really attached to the name Show + Tell (I picked it impulsively when I switched to and I’ve noticed a lot of other people using the phrase “show and tell”  lately. I want to continually grow this space and it was time to pick something more meaningful. Let me know if you see any broken links/bugs/errors while clicking around!

In honor of this new look and start, I’m giving away a free blog re-design package (in WordPress) to one of my lovely readers! The package will include:

  1. Blog header design
  2. Social media/connect icons
  3. Customization of the Standard 2-column theme, horizontal navigation bar
  4. Web font + color customization
  5. Background
  6. Two rounds of revisions
You can enter multiple times below and I’ll choose a random winner on Friday morning + announce in the afternoon! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: If you’re currently on Blogger, I can transfer your content to WordPress but cannot guarantee that your photos will maintain the correct width. Also, in order to maintain a blog, you must own a domain name + purchase a hosting package. I can help you do this but you will be required to pay for this.




Loving: The opportunities that I’ve had after making the jump into self-employment. I’m learning about video, animation, email marketing, designing infographics and working with really amazing clients. This Monday is my 1-month mark! Maybe a celebration is in order.

Reading: Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro. I’m about halfway through and it really has be thinking about designing to solve problems vs designing for production services. I do believe that there can be a balance (especially when you’re earning your income) but I definitely am thinking. More on that later…

Watching: The Big Bang Theory (always).

Thinking about: I’m about to make some big changes to Show + Tell this weekend. So big that…it might not be called Show + Tell once Tuesday rolls around! I’ve never loved the name and it’s not really tied to my blog URL. Why not? I can do whatever I want! Plus, I want a responsive site. I read a lot of blogs on my iPhone and it’s so annoying when sites aren’t responsive.

Surprised by: Where did the summer go? But, really, I’m giddy for fall.

Making me sad: All the shootings. People need to stop killing each other. For real.

Making me happy: Cuddles with Desh, great conversations with Adam, working in a great studio, seeing my brother today, and dry roasted peanuts.

What are you up to? Feel free to copy this post and share or reply in the comment section! Thanks, Liz, for the inspiration! I’ll be back Tuesday with my 3 New Things for September!

*Photo of my taken by my friend Kevin on my Canon A-1. Excuse the greasy hair :)

August’s New Thing #1: Letter Writing


At the beginning of July, I set forth to accomplish 3 new things and the first thing was to send more letters to friends and family! Well, I only sent out three (during the first three days of freelancing full-time) and then it all went downhill from there. It was a combination of being really busy and also being bored with my stationery. I had intended on designing my own postcards (which I still want to do) but all I had was old stationery that I’ve accumulated over the years. The best part was probably addressing the envelopes and practicing different styles of handwriting!

Last week I connected with Tiny Prints and they offered to send me some of their custom stationery + return address labels and it couldn’t have been better timing! I ordered these cute thank you notes and these fun address labels from Tiny Print‘s site on a Friday (late afternoon) and they were on my doorstep (even after customizing!) the following Wednesday. With this new stationery, I’m a little more excited to start adding to my collection.

I absolutely love the bright colors and even felt like the address labels matched! I can’t wait to thank some people via snail mail now! I’ll be doing another collaboration post with Tiny Prints sometime soon to help introduce some of their holiday cards (and I’m a SUCKER for the holidays so be prepared for excitement).

Oh also, I had to include this picture of Desh. He was sitting on the top of our couch staring at me while I was shooting these pictures. Grumpy much, Desh? Cracks me up. When his hair grows out over his eyes, he looks like he’s frowning. Time to schedule a grooming appointment!

Oh and for those of you who might ask, my nail polish color is RGB’s Punch! Top three photos taken on my iPhone. The rest were taken on my (new) Canon T2i!

Here We Go: Blog Sponsors


I’ve been asked numerous times to blog about sponsorships but I’ve always avoided it. Earlier this year, I started accepting ads and sponsorships but after only three months…I said NO MORE! I think I’ve avoided this post because I feel like I am a bit biased but I’d love to share everything that I can!  A lot of my tips will come from my experiences (and the things that I forgot to do before making the jump!) This will be short and concise so I hope you all add your own suggestions and experiences in the comment section!

What to do before you start accepting sponsors:

Before you do anything, you need to evaluate your goals and where you stand on certain issues. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Assess your readership, engagement, and stats. Will your sponsor spots benefit potential sponsors?
  • Based on your readership, how much will you charge for your sponsor spots?
  • How will your sponsors purchase a spot? Will you coordinate it manually? Will you use a service like Passionfruit Ads?
  • How will you handle controversial inquires or assess potential sponsors? Where will you “draw the line?”
  • Will you offer multiple sizes or packages? Perhaps larger spots that also come with a sponsored post?
  • How will you introduce your sponsors every month?
  • Will you offer swaps? If so, you should have a blog graphic/badge designed.

How to find sponsors:

Now that you’ve looked closely at some of the details…you need those spots filled! I found that posting about it within a blog post, tweeting, and posting the announcement on Facebook worked well! I also reached out to past clients and let them know that they could purchase a discounted spot because of their longtime support. Placing a page or a link on your blog (to stay consistently) might also work well for you.

Creating your media kit:

When I accepted sponsors, my media kit was really simple. Months later, I’ve realized some other key components that I had forgotten. It’s essentially a file (PDF probably works best) that you sent to interested bloggers or organizations with information about you and your blog! You can either have it as a download on your blog or send it to them after you’ve received an inquiry. I would include:

  • Information about yourself
  • Contact information
  • Blog statistics (monthly unique views, pageviews, pageviews per visit)
  • Social media stats
  • Rates & sizes
  • Brands you’ve worked with

I’ve created a standard template for you to download! It’s an Adobe Illustrator file so feel free to tweak, insert photos, alter colors, or change fonts!

Maintaining a sponsored blog:

Congrats! Now your blog is sponsored! After about three months…this part was the least enjoyable. I was dealing with ads (this could have been fixed by using services like Passionfruit), following up with payments, scheduling sponsored posts, and making sure that I posted consistently/daily. To me, the pressures of blogging daily and maintaining a positive attitude wasn’t worth it. I wouldn’t say that I complain on my blog but I felt bad posting something that one of my sponsors might not agree with/appreciate. I also was approached by a few companies that I didn’t support and wasn’t sure how to handle the rejection part.

Obviously, many bloggers make this work and really love it! I would encourage everyone to give it a try. It’s amazing that so many bloggers can make an income from what they love to do! Thankfully, I make my income from designing and so I love using this blog as a place to just show and tell (hence, the name). I also know the value of blogging when it comes to my business. It keeps me in peoples’ network, minds and many clients end up hearing my own, personal voice because of it! So while I don’t make money directly from this blog, I do reap the benefits constantly.

What has your experience been with blog sponsors/ads? Do you currently do this? How has it been? If not, what is stopping you? 

From Up Above


I thought I’d share a few shots from our quick stay in downtown Chicago earlier this month. It was such a calm visit. The temperatures were a lot cooler (so cool, in fact, that I ran into a store and bought a sweater!) and I spent so much time just staring outside our hotel room window looking at all the people walking by. From far away, they all seemed so pleasant. When you’re up above and enjoying the view…you forget about all the cynicism and disrespect. I felt really peaceful with a barrier.

Is that weird?