Wednesday, December 29, 2010

that time my car got totaled by a snow plow

back in 2006 I was on the hunt for a new car. My little blue Saturn was falling apart one expensive piece at a time, and God knows I couldn't keep up with the never-ending repairs. So while I was home in Illinois from college (for a funeral, no less) I literally drove to a dealership, test drove a 2003 Grand Am, and bought it. And no joke, one week later I hated it. But I had a loan in my name for the first time and there was no way I could get out of it. So I drove it.

Until Monday, that is! I had pulled out of my driveway behind a gigantic snow plow (those huge industrial ones) and the snow plow slowed down. Thinking they were pulling over or slowing down to let me go past them, I watched - in shock - as the snow plow quickly (who knew those things could move quickly?? but I swear this one did) reversed its big 'ol self right into me, taking out the whole right front of my car.

Looong story short, I've had to deal with small town politics trying to get this all taken care of, and it's been more than frustrating. The police officer on the accident left for a week-long vacation without finishing the police report, and the insurance company depends on that to process a claim. And then, the town hall is only open two and a half days a week, which they failed to tell me after they instructed me to get my estimate today (which ended up being $4500 in damages). So, no police report this week and no dealing with the town's insurance company until next Monday. Awesome.

Depending on the outcome we're now trying to figure out if we should get a new car or just do repairs. A lot depends on how much we'll get from the insurance company. God knows I'll take a new one!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chevron & Trellis



ps - please ignore the ridiculousness of the underline & poor layout of this post. BLOGGER SUCKS SOMETIMES.

One of my favorite blogs, According to Nina, did a post about Chevron patterns this week, so I'm piggybacking off of hers and agreeing with her sentiments! I'm a huge fan of all things chevron & trellis...what a fun way to dress up a room!

Chevron (in my opinion) is best when it's a bold contrast to a room, such as the black & white rug in this photo. Perfection when paired with the turquoise curtains and yellow-y chartreuse Chippendale chairs! (this is the cover photo of a Jonathan Adler book - loooove, love, love him)
Now...this is a living room, which I do love the soft yellow & white chevron pattern for the curtains. However, wouldn't those curtains be gorgeous in a baby nursery?
Just a side note, I have always wanted to decorate a room in navy & orange. I love classic navy paired with a fun, bright color. I love it here with the crisp white chair.



Next pattern - Trellis! This pattern, while I think has been around a while, has been taking the decorating world by storm the last couple years. Open a House Beautiful or an Elle Decor and you're guaranteed to see a trellis print somewhere in its pages!

I love the bold lines of it - again, best as an accent piece (in my opinion)

...unless you have a fabulous sense of style and can pull of a room like this one! I am crazy over that black & white trellis wallpaper! Looks great as an accent wall...

Or if you're really brave you can do a whole room in it! With clean white trim in a small room - a bathroom or foyer - using a traditional color like this kelly green, it's definitely do-able.

Lastly, I'm a huge fan of Chippendale chairs! Most people are familiar with Jonathan Adler's Chippendale chairs, however...a set of four would cost more than I make in a month, I think! They have such a classic look and yet can really be an eye-catcher with fun seat cushions and a pop of color on the chair backs & legs!

Not such a fan of the blue ikat pattern, but I do love those chairs...

what girl doesn't love pink & animal print? (okay...typically, me! but I do like it on these chairs. does anyone else feel like that rug totally does NOT go with the look of the room??)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

workin' it out


I bought this Pilates DVD after reading EXTENSIVE reviews on Amazon (I am a crazy reviewer...takes me an eternity to buy something cause I have to read everything there is about it first!) - the video came with super high reviews, which sold me. I've been trying to get back to the gym after work a couple nights a week, but on the nights I don't go I do this DVD right after work and I love it. It's set up so that you can pick from five 10-minute Pilates sessions that each focus on a different area: lower body, upper body, total body, abs, and flexibility.

I can't say I've seen results yet, but I do know that I get done and feel good about my workout, yet I'm not exhausted from it. And the following day I'm usually a little sore so I know it's working!

I would definitely recommend this video if you're looking for an easy, low key workout video. Just be patient with that stupid purple band it comes with! I've lost my grip and snapped it out of my hands on more than one occasion...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

give me a one-way ticket...


and get me out of the North Pole!

This is on my way to work. Pretty, no? Well. That ground is a sheet of ice when you figure that it's been freezing itself over all night long with temperatures in the negative TWENTIES. Yep, on my way to work this morning it was -20. [and yes, I was taking a picture of the road and praying to the good Lord that I wouldn't slide right off the road into the ditch. Which would be REALLY very bad cause I have no cell phone reception out there.]

After I got off work I was feeling super good about going straight to the gym - for the last month I've been working up the motivation to go right when I'm off. And it's happened a total of two times, including today. Yeah, I'm lazy. So anyway, I had a HORRIBLE workout. I only ran for 20 minutes and no kidding, I knew the woman next to me was a Physician's Assistant (I live in a small town, I knew half the people there), and I literally THANKED GOD cause I thought when I was done, "I just might die right now." I finally felt better about 20 minutes later, but holy cow! Wonder why that happens sometimes.

Alright, getting ready for bed...these super low morning temps require you to be ready about 15 minutes earlier. Pain in the butt!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Monday

I have a confession....

I used to go to the grocery store with no plan and just buy groceries. And I would always spend tons of money and inevitably, later in the week would have an idea for dinner and realize I had nothing to make that dinner with. So, I finally came round to the idea of menu planning! [it has been an epiphany for me] Still spend a fair amount on food, but a LOT less time wandering the aisles at the grocery store. I even break my list down into store categories so I'm not backtracking a hundred times. There were times that I felt like I just was doing circles at WalMart...

Anyway, here it is! Maybe can give someone else ideas?

Monday - Beef Stroganoff (using baby bellas & sirloin that was on sale!) From a Betty Crocker slow cooker cookbook

Tuesday - White Chicken Chili, recipe courtesy of my BFF. Loads of white beans, chicken broth, sour cream AND cheese. Dangerous!

Wednesday - Honey Mustard Chicken with Potato Wedges, found in a Rachael Ray mag, link to recipe is here

Thursday - Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, found at All Recipes here

Friday - I don't cook on Friday nights! Usually do pizza, or leftovers.

What's everyone else cooking??

Sunday, December 12, 2010

a few of my favorite things

I've always been a big "product" girl - I've got cabinets stocked FULL of hair products, lotions, bath soaps, makeup, etc...however, I've got a few tried-and-true products that I use religiously and swear by, and a few new products that have worked their way in that I'm loving!

The Go-To's:




I've been using Cetaphil's facial cleanser and moisturizer for the past couple years, and it has never done me wrong. It's the gentlest face wash you'll find - in fact, they make a creamy version that is so gentle and non-irritating that you can just wipe it off, you don't even need water! But the kind that I use is pictured above, it's their basic cleanser. My typical routine is to wash at night with the cleanser and follow up with the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, which I believe EVERY woman should have on hand. It's so thick and feels great when you put it on, and I even use it in the summer. I never feel like my skin gets dried out, and I rarely have breakouts. I got a facial a month ago and the facialist told me I had great skin (which I don't, but it's nice to hear someone say it, ha!) and asked what I used. I told her only Cetaphil, and she said that was best facial product on the market. And you can buy it at the drugstore!
Oh - and in the mornings, I only use a squirt of Witch Hazel on a cotton ball to clear up any "night oil".


I know the new "it" product (at least in my town) is BareEscentuals, but I've never used it and really, don't plan on it. I've been using Neutrogena's Glow Sheers tinted moisturizer for a couple years now and again, I swear by it. It's heavy enough to provide a good coverage, and it also has the slightest bit of sheen to it. I find that it gives me a good amount of glow, and once I've applied it over my whole face I top my T-Zone with a little bit of Clinique's Pore Perfector, just so that I don't have a "grease face" look going on. I use the Light tint in the winter and the Medium tint in the summer.


My hair routine is pretty minimal, especially now that I have a different job where I don't have to get "gussied up" every day. I'll usually shampoo/condition at night, sleep on it, and then curl it or braid it in the morning. However - when I decide to "blow it out" (shower, then style it) I always use Aveda's Volumizing Tonic. I squirt it in before blow-drying it, and while it definitely provides volume right away, I've noticed that your hair feels thicker throughout the day. It's made for girls like me that have fine hair that want to "pump it up" a little.


New Faves...





The top nail polish, by Hard Candy, is Mr.Wrong, and the bottom one is Mushroom. See, I've been reading on all my favorite blogs about Essie's fabulous fall line of rich, natural colors. Well, since I live literally in the middle of nowhere, buying Essie unfortunately isn't an option. Enter America's beloved store, WalMart (haha...HATE WalMart but no other options up here!) They've recently started selling Hard Candy, and I'm impressed with their stuff! It's pretty much MAC on a budget. Anyway, I found these two colors one day and had the idea to do two coats of the Mushroom and over that, a coat of Mr. Wrong. L-O-V-E-D it! It's festive with the sparkles and still a deep, pretty purple-y gray tone.



And again, Hard Candy Hide & Glow Cheek. It's "cheek tint," which I'm a BIG fan of - I was using Nar's Orgasm, which is God's gift to powder blush, and while I love it, I'm just more into that glow-y, natural look. These are cheap and they come with two colors. I purchased "Hot Date" (on the far right in the picture) and I can't say enough good things about it! It totally gives you that just-came-in-from-the-cold rosy cheeks. Also found at WalMart, thank the Lord for us small town girls :)


Saturday, December 11, 2010

favorite room + favorite dog

I'm terrible with posting pictures so I thought I'd show you a shot of my favorite room in our house, our little office. It's been a slow work in progress. Some points about the room:

the desk - my MIL had the desk at one time and decided she was going to get rid of it. When she owned it, the desk was an ugly brown wood and had gross knobs. I convinced Brad to haul it home for me and after spending a few hours spray painting it white and adding new hardware, it looked like a brand new desk! I love it.
the white end table/cabinet - that was a thrift store find. Again, ugly brown piece of furniture that I spray painted white and it's a great printer table for us now. However, it badly needs another coat of spray paint. I'm actually considering doing it black or possible a bright color?
the bulletin boards - those are my favorite, I've collected pictures and printed different things that are meaningful to me. On the right bulletin board I've got a picture of a couple kissing that I bought off the street in Paris, and a picture of the Eiffel Tower that I took. There's also an '8' - we got married on the 8th day of August - and a 'B' that I liked the design of.



I also have to post a picture of our Lab, Bo. He's 2 years old now, but this was him when he was a little pup:

He was our sweet, blue eyed puppy then! This was him today, a year and a half later...


Not so blue-eyed anymore, he's affectionately called "'Ol Yellow Eyes" by Brad's brother. We sure do love this dog, if you ever get any kind of big dog, get a Lab! They're the best dogs out there [apart from the RI-diculous shedding...]

Last thing - I figured out this weekend how to make my favorite Starbucks drink, their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. If you haven't had it, run STRAIGHT to your nearest Starbucks and try it, cause I guarantee it will be life-changing. [okay, maybe just DAY-changing...]

Seanna's Salted Caramel Hot Choc

1 packet of quality hot cocoa mix (I used a dark choc mix)
Caramel
Sea Salt
Whipped Cream

Prepare your hot chocolate using milk or water - I used milk for a richer taste, and [obviously], that's what they use at Starbucks. After you've microwaved milk/water and stirred your mix in, squirt in a little bit of caramel and sprinkle a little bit (LITTLE) of sea salt into it, nuke again for 30 seconds. Top with whipped cream and drizzle caramel over top, and sprinkle a LITTLE bit of sea salt over that.

PROMISE it's amazing...and now you have a cozy Christmas drink!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cold Mountain

It's a lazy Saturday morning - Brad's out hunting - and I'm camped out on the couch watching Cold Mountain, definitely one of my favorite movies. It's funny, I tried to watch it a few years ago and couldn't get into it, to save my life. But when I was living in Europe I read the novel "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier, and knew I had to see the movie cause it was so incredibly good.

Typically the book is way better than the movie, but in this case, the movie is phenomenal. It's right up my alley: a beautifully haunting love story that combines the charm of the South, war stories, and incredible acting. Nicole Kidman and Jude Law are so convincing in their love for each other - hers, waiting for him to return to her, and his, trying to find his way back to her.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie...Inman (Jude Law) is telling a mountain woman about his journey back to Ada (Nicole Kidman):


Some shots from the movie -







One of the best things about the movie is the soundtrack - the country girl in me could listen to bluegrass all day long, and this movie does not disappoint with their song selections and haunting instrumentals. This is my favorite song from the movie by Alison Krauss:


TIME magazine said of the movie, and it describes it well: "A grand and poignant movie epic about what is lost in war and what's worth saving in life. It is also a rare blend of purity and maturity -- the year's most rapturous love story."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I was born off an old dirt road...

Okay, so I wasn't.
However - I've got this song on repeat to the point that Brad's singing the words to our dog and while he's in the shower. At this moment. Yes, I've been listening to it a lot.

But it's a feel good song, and at the end of the day I need a pick-me-up!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nashville!

I always tell Brad that if we suddenly decide to up and leave our small town that I want to move South, and I want to move to Nashville. I think it's the perfect mix of country and city, with all the country music and Southern charm, and yet still has the big city feel to it.

Anyway, we're spending a few days after Thanksgiving with my family in eastern Tennessee, in the mountains, but Brad and I are taking a mini-mini vacation to Nashville beforehand. I've got my planning hat on!

First thing - whenever I travel, doesn't matter where I'm going, I always check Trip Advisor. Pretty much any town in America is going to some kind of reviews, broken down by hotels, restaurants, and things to do. I always check to see what the Top 10 is for whatever destination I'm going to in each category. When I pulled up Nashville, the number 1 rated hotel is the Hermitage. Beautiful, amazing, historic hotel right in downtown Nashville, but also almost $200 to stay there for one night. In this instance, the hotel I ended up booking for us was a little lower (not rated as high), but I've stayed there before and loved it then. The hotel I booked was the Gaylord Opryland hotel, which is a massive hotel in Nashville - two main reasons I booked it:
- It will be decorated to the HILT for Christmas and we'll be there the day after. Talk about getting in the spirit!
- There's a million things to do inside the hotel



The other thing I want to do when I'm there is visit Belle Mead Plantation. Again, it will be decorated for Christmas and I think the tour discusses the family's Christmas traditions? fyi, I LOVE touring old homes. Here's a picture of the plantation:


Another thing Brad and I will want to do is visit downtown Nashville, especially at night to experience the "honkytonk" bars and live music. We've always talked about how fun it would be to go to Nashville with all our friends...maybe someday?? Anyway, I want to visit this bar, called Layla's Bluegrass Inn. Doesn't it look so fun??


And finally, just spend some time wandering the streets of the city. We're only going to be there for a day and a half so we won't have much time...but I'm planning on making the most of it!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Randoms

1.) I've decided that work has finally worn me out. No, really. Up until this week I have never really been tired at the end of a work day. That is sad, I know...but it's thrilling and scary at the same time! Cause it's only the 3rd day, you know? My boss actually said to me yesterday, "If you have this much work only 2 days in, who knows what 60 days will be like?" Yes, who knows....but I like it for now and that's what matters.

2.) I came to the conclusion tonight when I was standing in line at Wal-Mart - with only 2 open lanes and the girl working my line was soooooooooooooo slooooooooow it was downright freaking ridiculous - that sometimes I think God must be sparing us from a car accident or something terrible when we have to wait for incredibly un-necessarily long amounts of time. Know what I mean? I waited in line so dang long tonight that I almost just left the store. The only way I can control my temper is to literally thank the Lord for slowing me down for whatever reason He might have.

3.) I did my first spinning class tonight at my gym. It will also be my last. Note to instructor: when you play slow, orchestral music during an "uphill climb," nobody is motivated. In fact, it put me in a bad mood. Maybe that's why I was freaking out at Wal Mart. [Just a note, I've been waiting for these spin classes for 2 years! I'm sadly very disappointed...]

4.) My husband actually said to me tonight, "I can tell you don't talk a lot at work cause you sure are talking a lot tonight." He was laughing while he said it, and I kid you not, only your husband can say something like that to you and simultaneously make you love the fact that he can speak so honestly to you, and yet tick you off for BEING so honest. We laughed, it was funny....and then all night I kept wondering, "Am I talking too much??"

5.) Veteran's Day! Sadly this day is not honored the way it should be - we should have this day off just like July 4th, IMO - but even while I'm working tomorrow I will be sure to be thinking of all the brave men and women who serve the best country in the whole world.

6.) CAN I GET AN EYEBROW WAX, PUH-LEASE? And a manicure. And a pedicure.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday

Gotta say...for a Monday today was pretty great! I started my new job today and I'm definitely excited for it, if not somewhat overwhelmed at all I will be doing (keeping in mind my training is from the company owner, and they always think on big picture, big idea terms, rather than in the small details a woman might), but I'm super looking forward to it. And, the best part? I'm looking forward to work tomorrow! I honestly do not know the last time I said that.

I followed Freckled Citezen's blog post about mushrooms and made my own tonight for dinner and they were AH-MAZ-ING. So good. I bought baby bellas and seared them until I thought the house was going to burn down. The result was tender, meaty mushrooms that had just the right amount of crisp on the outside. Went perfect with a glass of Cabernet.

I'm on the lookout for a big wall calendar that I can take to work, but all the ones at WalMart are so tacky. I've perused the Target website and they have nothing, as well as Office Depot. This is where my (slight) anal-retentive-ness comes in - I can't buy something online, I have to see it!

On a final note, I have a Motorola Droid and while I'm sure it's no iPhone4, I actually really love the phone. I found an app called "Jorte" - weird name, I know - but it is the BEST calendar and totally looks like something you'd find under Real Simple or Martha Stewart. Clean layout, typewriter font & fun colors. This is just the "week" view - I prefer the monthly view - but gives you an idea of it.



I'm for bed...it's only 9:20 and with DST it feels so much later!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back in business

I really have no excuses about not blogging now, because I'm the proud new owner of a MacBook! We've been without a computer for the last year or so and were able to skate by using borrowed laptops, but this weekend we decided to bite the bullet and buy one. And I am SO HAPPY we did...I think telling Brad that me not having a computer would be like him not having a TV, really hit home with him :)

Anyway! So I have lots to talk about now...first thing? I got a new job! This is the biggest blessing from the Lord. I was pretty unhappy at my old job, which is a shame because it was a fantastic company with great benefits but some of the people I had to work closely with made it unbearable. But, my new job? Working in the "car racing" industry for a what I THINK - still getting to know him, but his wife took our wedding photos and she's amazing - will be a fantastic boss in a beautiful home office (no joke at all, looks like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog, in fact I think all the furniture is) where I won't have to clock in/out, or tell someone I'm going to the bathroom or feel bad cause I took an extra five minutes for lunch....basically it will be me and him all day, and I am very much looking forward to that! (uh, in a professional way, not any other way. Just sayin') Also? Better pay AND better benefits. It was a blessing at just the right time.

So. Next thing? I ordered this planner from MomAgenda and thankfully they have MyAgenda for us non-Moms cause I had to have one. The color I ordered was Mochachino, and I think it's a little shimmery? Not too sure, but I love the inside of it! It has week and month views, and I love the journal/book style of it. Plus they're on sale right now, so I couldn't pass it up.

I've also been working a lot on my dining room. Back when I moved into this little white house two years ago I painted the dining room a bright, gaudy orange. Not sure what on earth was going through my mind. But this fall I repainted (and painted and painted...) the room an off-white and the ceiling a pretty olive green. I bought some gorgeous olive-and-cream striped fabric and made curtains, and recently whitewashed a little table that Brad made me and set it up in there. Here's the finished product (minus the wall hangings...putting shelves up soon! oh, and excuse the mess on the table)


I'm a huge fan. It's so much lighter and more "open" feeling. The orange room was way too much!

Seeing as how it's Sunday and church starts in an hour I should get ready - we're terrible with being late and every week I have a new resolve to be on time! So, here we go :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

today

1.) Made red velvet cupcakes, thank you Betty Crocker

2.) Made some rockin' buttercream frosting using
this recipe...super easy and SO fluffy and creamy and all the things you love about buttercream [however - I took recommendations and used half butter/half shortening and only 3C of confectioners sugar]

3.) Had my handyman hang up my curtain rods so I could FINALLY hang my curtains up! Picture coming soon

4.) Made a crock pot full of bacon-wrapped smokies, or "hokies", as Brad calls them. No idea where he got that. These things are downright sinful but oh.my.heavens, soooo good.

Okay, so that's it, so far. I still need to fold laundry and vacuum before we head over to the in-laws to watch the Packers v. Vikings game. It's big deal around these parts, folks!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

checking in!

Hopefully this font will be easier to see? LOVE my design but am always wishing the font was darker.

SO - my no breads/pasta/rice diet is going fabulously!! In all honesty, once you cut back on those things you realize just how much your diet is made up of them, and I really don't even miss them that much. I'm eating more salads and vegetables, probably the same amount of meats and cheeses, but no kidding - I feel SO much better. I've lost that uncomfortable stomach bloat and just feel a little lighter and thinner. Haven't weighed myself, but I'm really not so concerned about my weight, more about how I feel.

Probably also helps that I'm going to a kickboxing class twice a week and running on the other days. OH - and drinking 34oz of water a day. Still not my required amount, but if you knew me, you would know this is a small miracle.

Just enjoying the day today - going for a run soon here, then coming home to clean and do laundry, then watch Mad Men tonight! Season finale tonight, and I'm so excited to see what's going to happen to SCDP! Not to mention Don Draper's love triangles...

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cuttin' back

If there is any food I would choose to eat on any given day, at any given time, it would be pasta [preferably mac&cheese].

If I were on my death bed, I would choose to eat a ginormous bowl of pasta. Again...mac&cheese.

If I'm ever needing comfort food or my husband's out for the night hunting/fishing/camping, I buy a big 'ol box of Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese.

Do you see where this going?

I loooove me some carbs! Funny thing is that for the past 6 months I have had this super heavy feeling that, no matter what I did, what I ate, how much I exercised, I just couldn't shake. It was starting to get downright ridiculous. And the straw that broke the camel's back - I know I will have lots of company with this one - is my shopping trip this past weekend.

Monday night I got to thinking about the kinds of foods I eat, or make for Brad that I usually end up eating cause it's easier. They consist of:

Spaghetti
Lasagna
Meat & Potatoes (mashed, grilled, you name it we eat 'em)
Stuffed shells
LOTS of hamburgers/cheeseburgers/hot dogs this summer (uh, with potatoes. yep)

Here's what I eat when I've been trying to eat healthy:

Whole wheat penne
Whole grain rice
Cous cous
Wraps

Um....is anybody else wondering where my protein is??!? For heaven's sakes.

So, the conclusion I've come to is that:

A) I LOVE CARBS
B0 ALL I EAT ARE CARBS

Well, duh, no wonder I feel like I'm an extra million pounds and can't get rid of it! With that being said, I decided that I wasn't going to eliminate carbs, but to cut back on them for a while. And you know what? It's only been two days, and I already feel much better than I did all summer!

Here's what I've been eating:

Vegetable soup (lentils, cabbage, squash, carrots, cauliflower)
Tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad
Spaghetti squash with italian sausage/pasta sauce
deli meat/cheese wraps (these are for snacks)
yogurt and fruit for breakfast
LOTS of vegetables

My goal isn't to cut carbs out completely, and I know some people have a really negative perception of carb cutting (Atkins diet, hello), but for me, I think the amount of carbs I was eating was getting a bit much. They became an easy fix for dinners cause I didn't have to think about anything, I could just throw something together. Now I actually have to put my brain to work!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

lately


Saturday morning photos! I'm trying out Picasa's photo collage feature, and it's actually pretty cool...pictures aren't exactly arranged how I would have them, but oh well :)
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

two things

cause it's just after 7am and my brain can't handle much more right now...

1.) minted -- oh my heavens....this website is my new obsession. I could (and have) spent hours looking through the "Design Challenge" section. If I had any clue how to create something so beautiful as some of those cards, I would be downloading Photoshop & Illustrator right.now.

2.) I found out last night that my little, itty bitty small town gym just bought spinning bikes and is starting spin classes in October! my class instructor was SO excited to tell me cause I've been bugging her about it for over a year now. I'm considering it an early birthday present :)

okay....7:15 and I've got 45 min to get out of my robe, do my hair/makeup and get dressed. better get moving!

Monday, September 20, 2010

proof


my $6 shirt! ignore the wrinkled-ness and the funny bunching around the top, I was running out the door to go to work. oh, and the 'closet' on our footboard. it's a terrible weakness for both me and my husband.
best part about it? I can wear it to work. hallelujah.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

what is happening??

at one time in my life, I enjoyed buying nice clothes. In fact, there was a year or so when I was making great money working in a big city, and bought lots of nice clothes, pretty frequently.

when I moved to Small Town America, I knew I would struggle with the lack of malls. shoot, the lack of stores. but I was confident that I would make lots of trips back to Minneapolis [my shopping Mecca], and of course I would just buy online!

here's what I didn't take into account with that great plan:

1.) Minneapolis is over two hours away. It's not a drive we do in a day.

2.) Because we don't do that drive in a day, we usually get a hotel room, eat out w/ friends we haven't seen, etc, etc. That means that leaves me with $ to buy clothes instead of $$$.

3.) I hate shopping online. It's the most un-fun thing in the whole world.

Leaves me in a tough place, right? So I make do with buying a few things here and there when we go to another town about an hour from here that has a mall. Or I might buy something at Maurices, which is not my favorite but will do [we just got one this summer! HUGE deal for our little town]. Add to all of this that I'm currently going through RI-DIC-U-LOUS clothing withdrawal, and, well.....I did something crazy.

I bought a shirt at Family Dollar.

Yes, really.*

If you had told me two or three years ago that I would walk out of a Family Dollar being absolutely STOKED about my new shirt, I would've laughed in your face. Not cause I'm all hoity-toity, brand-names-only, but just cause it's Family Dollar.

Guess that makes me a really great match for my husband, huh?

*note - the shirt is very cute! soft cotton (surprisingly), gray, longer torso, and has three quarter sleeves that button on the sides.

Friday, September 17, 2010

leann


Say what you will about her personal life, but girl looks good. I'm jealous.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday randoms

Because I haven't blogged for a week cause my internet has been down for FIVE days [I almost died], I have lots of little things to talk about! Get excited.

1.) Junk Bonanza I am DEVASTATED I am missing this! I haven't been before and only heard about it the other day when I was reading The Lettered Cottage, but I'm assuming it's a "junker's" dream. Basically - old stuff/antiques that have either already been beautiful re-purposed or old stuff that's waiting for someone's re-purposing touch. I would absolutely love, love, love to go to this.

2.) I am loving this blog, Pink Sass. She wears the cutest clothes, has the cutest blog, and has totally got in me re-motivated to get my butt to the gym this fall! And she got me hooked on Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal, which is currently the very best part of my day.

3.) I've been listening to Rhapsody lately like crazy. They have a free 14 day trial, but I'll probably pay the $9.99/month for the membership fee. I love Pandora, but I'm a total control freak when it comes to listening to music when I'm working out, or sitting at my computer. I rarely appreciate the randomness of songs that you get. The benefit of Rhapsody? I can pick any song in the entire world (seriously, their collection is amazing) to listen to. I love it!

4.) I started my workout classes this week - I'm doing Cardio Kickboxing and another Cardio class. We had the first one last night, and after all the "roundhouse" kicks my butt is SORE. And that was after the instructor informed us last night was the Beginners Basic class. Nice.


Okay, that's all I got. Happy Friday!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

on the phone...

Just checking if phone blogging really works! guess we'll see...
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

do you have to post more than 1x/month to qualify?


I got this award today from Annie at Little Running Feet! Quite a little honor and I'm definitely appreciative, even though I'm probably not that versatile in all actuality. Cause posting on your blog would be the first step to being versatile, right?

So! Here's the question:

If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

Tough question, but my answer is no, I wouldn't change anything in my life. The only thing I would do is have really appreciated where I was and where God had me at certain times in my life! When I was single, I wanted to be married. When I was overseas living THE life, I wanted to be with B. Now that I'm married, I want babies...see this cycle? I'm working on being content with where I am RIGHT NOW.

Pick 4 people and give the award to them.

Okay...I have a problem. See, the computer I used to store all my favorite blogs on is en route to Illinois! I'm shipping it back home to my family who was gracious enough to us use it [B's beautiful Mac got stolen out of a house last year. it was terrible.] I shipped it back yesterday without realizing it and now I don't have ANY of my daily reads stored! It's like....losing the last pages of a book you've been hooked on forever!

Thank the lovely individual that gave you the award.

but of course! Thanks, Annie! I owe you Chipotle/Starbucks PSL/Tiger Sushi and a 1 year subscription to Country Weekly!

You need to share 7 things about yourself.

1 - as interested as I am in the bloggers I read, I usually don't read these things. unless they're really interesting. I LOVE the blogs I read, but I'm terrible about reading the surveys/100 Things About Me. that being said, you're free to stop reading now, haha!

2- I'm anal about grammar. A few things: "Anyways" is not a word. It's "Anyway." No 'S'. Any numbers that are from 0-9 are supposed to be written out rather than typed numerically [Two, not 2]. But on the other hand, I'm awful with knowing where to put the apostrophe with certain words that end in 'S'.

3 - I drive a Pontiac Grand Am that will be all paid off here in a few months, and I HATE the car. I hate it a little less than I did a couple years ago, but no lie: I've hated since a couple days after I drove it off the lot. It was a good example of not making a decision on a whim.

4 - I used to win lots of contests. Some of the stuff I've won is a new computer and concert tickets, but my BEST ever was winning a trip to Nashville on CMT.com in 2005! It was amazing.

5 - My hair is currently down to the middle of my back. It's looong. In 2003 I got it all cut off - think Mandy Moore with her short, cute haircut - and no lie, I've been growing it back ever since. I've toyed with the idea of cutting it but my husband would literally fall over and die if I did that. He has an attachment to it.

6 - From May of 2007 til July of 2008, I traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sweden, France, Thailand, Sicily, Denmark, Spain, and Bali. I traveled to France three times, and flew Business class for two of those flights [not on my dollar!]

7 - I love nothing more than taking baths. I get a book and a glass of wine, and you may not see me for an hour or so!



fall clothes & where have I been?!?

holy smokes. It's been so long! still no new computer or camera. but....we're working on it?


ANYWAY.


so, um...I don't even remember the last thing I wrote about. But, it's been busy up in the north 40 here! we had a fantastic end-of-summer. Lots of boating & barbecues, hanging out, going out to our favorite little lodge bar and listening to live music (country! LOVE that). But unfortunately as soon as September 1st hit Summertime took her tank tops and flip flops and hit the road. It's been COLD up here!


So - with that being said, here's a few things I have my eyes on for the fall:


btw - Over the Knee boots. Pretty in Pink Megan did a blog post about them today with some very good points about how to & and how to NOT wear them. My jury is still out on them, but I really like this pair from Ann Taylor LOFT.





SKINNIES! SKINNY'S? Every girl needs a good pair of black ones. I learned that in Europe. My pair that I currently own is....wow. In bad, faded shape.



Adorable. It looks like, perhaps on a normal torso-ed girl and not a 6 foot tall one, this sweater could be a little longer? And could maybe be worn with above skinnies [skinny's?] OH - and the boots! Or would that be too much?



I like the bow on the sweater. I'm totally into frills/ruffles/flowers. Even though I only own like, one shirt that has flowers on it. And I never wear it cause it's black and the flowers are black but they look navy. Ew.




Alright. I'm off to take a bath...my husband is in football-comatose [1st game of the season! Vikings v. Saints]. Tomorrow's Friday and one of my favorite days - Casual Day at work! Mornings suddenly become much more enjoyable, no?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Learning by example

When I first started blogging a couple years back, it was so that I could have a way of communicating my life and experiences of being a nanny in Stockholm. I had a good number of readers, mostly friends but some family. It was great, and I typically had lots of feedback/comments from people that read my blog.

Once I moved back to the US I started another blog as sort of, "My Life Post Stockholm", and while it was fun, and I had a few readers, one of my biggest hang ups is that I had family and close friends reading it. I'll be honest - there were times that I wanted to post about how someone drove me CRAZY, or my job was really annoying, or how this or that got on my nerves. So, I quit blogging.

I was [and am] a faithful reader of Blue-Eyed Bride. Erin - the blogger - simply posts about her daily life with her little family. When I started tossing around the idea of starting another blog, my hesitation came from simply not wanting to share it with everyone because, what if I want to say something ugly about a co-worker? Or what if I want to complain about things? However, I was struck by Erin, who has a huge following, and she really never has anything ugly to say. She's a positive, upbeat kind of girl [at least, she is on her blog], and I admire that!

I don't think complaining at times is wrong [and I'll be the first to admit that I can be a complainer], but I think your blog is your expression of your life, and if you always have rants or complaints coming out of it, what does that say about you?

So here's to girls like Erin, and Nina, and Lauren, who have awesome blogs that make me want to be a little more like them!

Technical difficulties & crying in the mall

So, it's a really long story that I started to type out but then I realized, "Who would want to read all that?" So to make a long story short, I cried in the mall this weekend. Just flat-out started crying. And the sad part of the story is that it was because I couldn't find anything to buy.

I've discovered that's what happens when you're a girl that loves to shop and then moves to small town that's hours away from the nearest mall. You go shopping less and less, and eventually when you do go shopping, you have no clue what to buy cause everything looks pretty and new. Being that I get overwhelmed - no joke - when picking out a drink at the gas station, I get extremely overwhelmed when I'm at a mall surrounded by beautiful things. I want it all...and can only afford one or two things. And that makes me mad, and then I start getting depressed, and suddenly I'm standing in the middle of the mall crying.

Ridiculous. Not to mention embarrassing.

At any rate, I recovered, thanks to a very patient and sweet husband, and ended up getting a few things at NY & Co (they have great sales, good 'ol BOGO) and Target. My favorite purchase?

They're navy & white striped! If you know me, you know that's my thing. Or, as my MIL calls it, my signature. I love stripes to begin with, but navy and white are my favorite.

As a side note, if you notice I'm not posting much on my brand new blog, it's cause the computer I'm using is from 2001 and I literally walk out of the room while it's loading pages. It's SLOW. It's tough to blog with an old, dying computer. We've got a new one in the works here, so stick with me!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday morning

I love Saturday mornings! I look forward all week long to having a good Friday night, then sleeping in on Saturday til 9 or 10, and waking myself up with a good cup of coffee. And that's exactly what I did this morning. We had B's family and our friends over last night for a cookout and campfire to celebrate his and his sister's birthdays (they're 2 days apart). It was a ton of fun, and crazy to witness 18 people milling around our little house and yard!

Today B and I are driving down to Minneapolis to celebrate our 1 YEAR anniversary that's tomorrow! It's neat to look back on our first year of marriage, especially at just how good it's been. Not to say that there haven't been rough times, but I'd say we're extremely happy with where we are in our lives and with each other. That's a good feeling.

And I'll be honest say I'm really excited about getting back to my favorite city! The Mall of America is calling my name...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

a really bad way to say 'happy birthday'

Here's a tip: never tell someone their birthday gift on the morning of their birthday while they're still in bed.

I'm sure you're thinking, "Really? Who does that?" Well, my friends....I do. I did that yesterday to B on the morning of his 28th birthday.

I'll be honest, the night before had been a little rough "relationally" [I hate to say we were fighting cause it sounds so dramatic and we really love each other! But we were. We all do, right?] and it was completely selfish of me, but I woke up the next morning in a really terrible mood. I let B sleep until right before I went to work, and then I woke him up to let him know A) he needed to put the dishes in the dishwasher away and fold the laundry, B) Happy Birthday and C) that I looked for him a hunting coat, couldn't find one, so he had a gift card in the living room with a card.

I am mortified I acted like that, just so you know.

I got to work and immediately felt like the biggest jerk in the world, so I called him and apologized. Profusely. Then I drove back home [from work] and hugged and hugged him and said I was terribly sorry for how I acted.

The rest of the day went much better. We had a great dinner on the patio of our favorite restaurant with some friends. We came home and B fell asleep on the couch while I took a Skinny Cow in the bath with me. It was a good ending to a day that didn't seem so promising at first.

And all I have to say now is, I'm never going to hear the end of how I woke up him the morning of his 28th birthday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The first day

How many times can you re-write an introduction to a little corner of your life? I'm here to tell you, plenty of times. It's tough to figure out how to begin a blog that you've been dreaming of for the last few weeks!

So, for that reason, we'll make this simple. I'm your average girl that grew up amidst cornfields, but never was too far from a shopping mall, numerous stores of all types, neighborhoods, etc. I made the move at age 19 to a big Midwestern city and I flourished! I loved living within close driving distance of four or five malls, huge plazas, outlet malls, restaurants galore, and skyscrapers. Then...I met the Man.

I'll call him "B". B hung the moon, the stars, the sun, and all the pictures on my walls and built me things, loved to ride motorcycles, go fishing, hunting, sit around campfires at night. He stole my heart.

Unfortunately, my heart was in one place and his was in another [ladies, does that sound familiar?] I decided after one year of dating that I needed to get out of town. So I moved to a large European city and au-paired for a year.

Worked like a charm, cause B realized he couldn't live without me. He came across the Pond to tell me he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. And with 8 months, I had uprooted my city lifestyle of shopping, traveling, coffee dates and fine dining to go live in the Smallest Town on Earth.

[Okay, not really. But it IS small.]

We were married with a year of moving here, and at first, I was so charmed by small town life. Only two grocery stores? Only one place to buy clothes? Only 5000 people? No problem!

That attitude lasted about six months, and here I am. I love, love this town - I truly do - but I very often freak out because I am sick of going to Wal-Mart. I would give my left arm for a Target! It's hard living with so few [or none at all] big city amenities. Sometimes I want Starbucks. Or Chipotle. Or sushi. Or Nordstrom.

But when I start thinking about how much I miss those places that are near to my heart, I think about B, who is a country man through-and-through, and how much I love that. I think of our little white house with the blue shutters and red geraniums on the front porch, and the American flag that proudly blows in the wind. I think of our beautiful sunsets, hay bales in the fall, bass and trout fishing in the summers, and how sometimes it's really nice to drive one minute - literally - to pick up milk and sugar.

And then I realize, I love my life.