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!