Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekend Update 01-28-12

So this weekend was mostly focused around Showers for my good friend and bride-to-be, "H"

Since Valentine's is fast approaching, the shower was focused around all think pink, red and hearts!
Dollar Tree, you are my friend for all the deco. It would have been great if I could have gone all-out and handmade or ordered lots of great things from Etsy and inspired by Pinterest, but I just did not have the time or funds.

The bride was pleased and that's what matters. We had lots of yummy food, including fondue! And in the spirit of making it a quintessential Southern affair- I had pasta salad and cucumber sandwiches. The latter was really quite popular with the guests. The bride's sister/MOH was also a great help and brought some amazing hot spinach and artichoke dip. I'm thankful she has kids and therefore had an easel, so I did not have to buy a big pad of paper for Bridal Pictionary :)

yummy fondue

a little bit closer now. strawberries, apples and coconut marshmallows

a wonderful friend of the bride made the cake

and another good friend made the punch

i may have gone a little pink crazy

everyone gathered round for games

it took a round or two, but they caught on

reading sweet cards

I did still go yard-saleing this weekend. I found a few cute things, including 2 dress shirts for John, a purse for me and 2 nice shades of OPI nail lacquer for $1!
I have to say, I'm 2 days into the OPI and it does seem to wear better than others. Only some minor chips and the infamous thin white line across the tip of the nail where it has worn off.

For those of you who've showed concern- my friend "S" is doing much better. She and her husband are strong people. I think they are cautiously looking forward to the next child the Lord will bless them with. I hope it will be soon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why are people so rude?

So I've been thinking for awhile about posting some thoughts and pondering arising from real life scenarios.
Today I'm covering- people not keeping their word. Specifically, the RSVP.

Does this card mean nothing?

Another wonderful insightful blog I follow did a great post on Millennium Manners. I gobble her posts up each Monday. I don't agree with it all, but do agree quite a bit.

Anyway, in her post she shares two stories, one about a child's birthday party where almost half the guest list just didn't show and the hosts had rented out an aquarium and had catered food and another where the author's table at a wedding was only half full because of no-shows.

If you've ever planned a wedding or any big party, you know that each person who comes is likely costing you a pretty penny and you've done lots of things- food, favors, name cards, seating arrangements, entertainment etc. just for them. And it's such an insult to have your planning spat upon.

Sure, there are valid reasons you may have to skip an engagement you committed to. But IMO, they are very few. Because when you say you are going to come, it's a matter of being a person of your word to actually be there. You family is sick, you got in a car wreck, ran out of gas, got called in to work, learned of a very important event for immediate family etc. Those are valid.

But too often the reason is:" It's no longer convenient for me to make time for your event, I decided it does not sound enjoyable, I found something better to do, or I just don't 'feel' like coming." So sad and so rude.

I've often been known to give a "maybe" when I truly don't know if I want to do something. It's much less hurtful to the hosts if you give this answer then saying you plan on it and then not coming. In fact, a lot of people know a "maybe" often means a "not likely" but is the kinder way to say it.

I think in the areas of weddings, showers and birthday parties people are much too quick to think it won't matter if they come. But it does. Accommodations have been made. The honored guest has been looking forward to your attendance. If a large number of people confirmed then the host expects a large number of guests. And these particular times in our lives are a good indicator of how big our support system really is. It's sad to learn that people you thought were friends are really just acquaintances. That you aren't important enough to them for them to take 3 hours out of their schedule to celebrate with you.

I recently had this experience on a much higher level when coordinating a party. Someone who had committed to helping provide food for the party did not follow through and did not call to inform me of the change. In fact, when they were contacted 15 minutes into the start of the party they did not answer their phone. Thirty minutes into the party they answered to let me know that they were still cooking!  A half hour later I was informed (an hour into the event) that they were not going to be able to come, but could drop off the food if needed. An hour into a two hour event! We were all more than satiated at this point. The worst part of all was that it hurt the honored guest. Especially when no reason was given besides "Something came up". For shame!

So I encourage you next time to receive an invitation to reply with veracity. Better to contact the host and tell them you can come even though you replied you couldn't than to bail on a commitment to come. Then your host will be pleasantly surprised rather than frustratingly disappointed. And for PETE's SAKE- turn the thing in! If it's an SASE, you have NO excuse! Pick one or the other, but don't just leave the host wondering and wasting 45 cents!

It's also a good time to put the shoe on the other foot and think about if you would like that person to attend your wedding/shower/party or if in fact they have done so in the past for you.

It's a matter of your word.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I would ask that you all say a little prayer

For some friends of ours, who've had their photos and initials on my blog before.

They were so excited to found out their were having their first baby, only to find out today that there was no heartbeat.
It has been a hard 2 weeks for them. "S" had her first appointment very early, around 4-5 weeks, and when she went back for her first appointment where they were supposed to hear the heartbeat, they were told there was a problem. The heart was only beating intermittently and the rate was much too slow. They told her they did not expect the baby to survive. Her body was not giving up the baby though and we all said many prayers and held out hope.
A week later the ultrasound revealed that there were no changes, including no growth.
Today, they were told that there was no longer any heartbeat at all.

"S" will be taking medications to compel her body to expel the "missed" or "silent" miscarriage. This refers to when the baby is not living but the body has not yet expelled it.

With her permission I'm asking all of you to say a prayer. That pain would pass quickly and there would be no permanent physical effects from this.

I know another blog I read experienced this same thing, only she chose to wait for her body to expel the pregnancy naturally, and it took six weeks for that to happen. "S" just does not think she can endure that waiting right now. I don't blame her. I just wish things were different for her.

Doing a little research, I learned that one in five detected pregnancies ends this way. And the risk of first trimester miscarriage is very high. But "S" and her hubby were just not prepared for this. They had no family history of miscarriage and I don't think ever imagined this would happen.

So pray that they would be able to walk through this hand in hand with Jesus.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Update 01-21-12

This weekend was filled with lots of couch potato time. We got a few Redbox free rental codes, so we ended up watching...

Dolphin Tale- very heartwarming and yes, I cried. I like inspirational movies that just leave you feeling better about life. It also reminded me that at one point in life, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist and work with dolphins too. After this movie I still think it would have been a fun and rewarding job.

Courageous- I cannot say how much I loved this movie! I just cried and cried. Over and over. So heart-wrenching. The only problem I think is- I may have a really high expectation for fathers and husbands now. The way these men are portrayed in the movie sets the bar very high. I don't necessarily think wishing all men were like this is a problem, I just think it would be a problem if I became contemptuous towards them when they're not. I do think society as a whole would greatly benefit from watching the movie and taking the principle to heart and hands (aka action).

Abduction- I'm so glad to have our Clearplay so we can filter movies we otherwise would not view. This action flick was pretty decent. It kind of follows the predictable plot line a lot of action/CIA/spy movies have. But it does have a lot of action and the actors were pretty decent, so we enjoyed it.

Other than that my only notable accomplishments for the weekend were cooking and exercising. We had some really tasty roast beef sandwiches on Saturday night thanks to Skinnytaste
It's amazing how much flavor a small amount of cheese can add when it's a very strong cheese. Never once have I bought a wedge of "high end" cheese until this week. I do have to admit the store was out of Parmesan wedges so I got Asiago.

Saturday I did something I've not done in a long time- I went to the gym, on a Saturday! And I did two classes in a row. First was yoga, only it was beginner yoga. It was pretty lame. That's why it sealed the deal that I would stay for a second class. I can see that the yoga would be good for introduction- as per the instructor, "so people aren't scared of it." I guess the thought of doing yoga intimidates some. Anyway, the instructor was pretty crazy. She talked a LOT (something I'm not used to in yoga) and she made a lot of corny jokes and analogies. She did have nice peaceful music. I'm just to yoga being more peaceful and subdued, and a bit more challenging. I doubt I burned 50 calories in her class.
So I stayed for "Extreme Swiss Ball", which is a moderate intensity toning class. It incorporates the use of the yoga (Swiss) ball into each exercise. I really appreciate the support of it during push-ups and ab work, both things that can put and undue amount of stress on the body. Of course it does make the work a little less challenging, but on the other hand you don't feel like you're going to die!

And now, I'm laying here on the couch on a typical Sunday afternoon. John is watching football, and I'm blogging.

I did also finish some crafts this week- and so I added photos to m craft post, found here. Check it out!

Oh, I did give in and join Pinterest this week. I said I wasn't going to, but I was hitting a wall trying to find party game ideas for a shower I'm hosting next week. I've already created 3 boards. But I'm not following anyone yet!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Product Review- Covergirl Outlast Lip Color

So I realized I've tried something else new lately that I could share.

I bought it with my own money and am reviewing it of my own free will :)

Recently I ran out of my favorite tinted lip gloss. It was Mary Kay and I got it new, at a yard sale, for a dollar! But no way I was going to pay regular Mary Kay prices to replace it. Not that I don't love Mary Kay, I do. But just cannot afford it. Or rather have a bazillion other things I need/want to put my money towards than expensive makeup.

Anyway, I'd been thinking of trying the "long wearing" stuff so that I could keep color on my lips all the time. I tend to eat or lick my color away. Commercials for Covergirl Outlast were the ones I was most familiar with, so I tried that.

I also have a friend getting married in March and I'm doing her makeup, and I thought it might be a good choice for the big day. (Note to self- should have done that for my own wedding!). What better way to see if it works than try it myself?

So I purchased a nice rosy but not too loud shade.

In the instructions it tells you to apply it but not to blot or rub your lips together. However, I did not like how opaque and bold the color was doing it this way. I finally figured out- you can put a small amount and rub it around for a more natural look. It just does not last quite as long.

It also comes with its own lip balm. Know why? It's really dry and makes your lips feel dry. That part, I don't like so much.

Overall, I would say it's a good choice if you do want something long lasting. It will not last ALL say though. About 6-8 hours max. Especially if you eat, drink and lick your lips like I do.
And be prepared to keep the gloss nearby to quench those dry lips.

Also, buy a much lighter shade than you normally wear, as it goes on pretty thick. Especially if you are used to colored gloss.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend Update- 01-14-12

Hi guys-
I had a great weekend! But I have 0 to show for it! Because I did not take a single photo!

I drove about 3 hours away to visit my long-time friend and former bridesmaid- "E". And her hubby. But we basically had a girls weekend with lots of talking and catching up.

I got to meet several of their friends the first night- when they all came over for homemade pizza. They were so tasty- the chicken alfredo was my favorite- and I ate about 4 pieces over the weekend!

We also visited the gym at my Alma Mater- FSU. We took a step aerobics class with a tiny nutrition major thing smiling blonde Nazi, Kayla. It's been about 2+ years since I've done step and it was quite a challenge. Thankfully I did not pass out and embarrass myself in front of the 20 year olds :) Today my calves are finally pretty much back to normal.

We also enjoyed some great "light" meals- thank to my friend and skinnytaste.com. I'm making SantaFe chicken this week I liked it so much.

I was also able to finally replace my poor worn-out and threadbare FSU Nursing t-shirt. Thank you FSU Bookstore. I don't like the colors and style as much as my 4-yr old original, but it will certainly do.

Today we mostly did errands- both away and at home. We rode bikes- which is way harder for me than it likely should be.

And as we speak mini-meatloafs are in the oven!

Happy Monday!
Before Baking

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What I crafted over Christmas

So I know I mentioned in November/December that I did some crafting.
I did not want to post about it until now because some of them were Christmas presents.

Anyway, the inspiration for this came when my friend (who's also a bride to be) and I were at an arts fair of sorts, and a young woman was there selling hand-crafted accessories, mostly hair things, pins and clutches. They were really pretty and really expensive (for a hair accessory anyway). However, we both agreed it would be a great thing for us to wear as bridesmaids.

At first I thought we could just buy them cheaper, on eBay or something. Then I realized that they could not be too difficult to make. A quick internet search and I found these to be the top three results:


And off I set to make some fabric rosettes. I've actually only used the method in the first link, as it looked the easiest. But I've made several hair pieces and put them on bobby pins, clips and headbands. And I've turned 3 or so into lapel pins.

It's really easy, and cute. You should try it! If you've got any scrap fabric laying around, it's good to experiment. I found thin slippery fabric don't work well, unless you add another fabric to bulk it up.

You can get headbands at Dollar Tree 3/$1. And the pin backs and metal "barrette" clips I got in the craft section at WalMart, 25/$2. Since you only need a very small amount of fabric it's inexpensive to buy. Te remnants bin is a good place to look. A friend suggested even cutting up old clothes. T-shirt material does work well because it doesn't fray easy. Makes for a more clean rosette. But fraying can also make it look "shabby chic".

If you try it, let me know!

3 each for 4 bridesmaids.

Some I made for myself

A headband

While going through my headbands- I realized my collection may be a bit excessive

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Product Review- Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips

Hi guys-

I've been wanting to blog, but this has been a busy week. Shoving my "busy" thoughts aside to jot this down real quick on my lunch break.

This review is just my own thoughts, no endorsements.

I got Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips for Christmas. I'd been wanting to try them but too cheap to fork over $8.50. I could almost get a manicure for that!
But, the allure was the cool patterns and that they could last "up to 10 days".
You see, I have a big problem with nail polish. Inevitably I chip or in some way mar my polish. Usually within 48 hours. Sometimes within a few hours. I've tried lots of top coats to remedy this. No real winners.

So, I decided to try these just before New Year's. I have to say, they were more complicated to apply than just good 'ole polish. But since it was my first time I cut them some slack.

The positives are: You can get cool patterns that are impossible with a manicure. They stay nice and shiny. They given an even coverage look (no shade variations nail to nail). There's no risk or ruining your surroundings with polish. When they do chip it's a little harder to tell because of the pattern (if you choose a patterned one).

The negatives are: They are pretty expensive compared to polish. It's a pain peeling the strips off and lining them up just so to your nail. They still chip after a few days and there's no "re-touching" them like polish. They seem to catch and snag easily. Like if you run your fingers through your hair a hair can get "under" the edge of the strip and snag. The tips can be a little rough at first and snag.

So IMHO- I think they are nice for special occasions where you want a certain pattern or look. But as an "All the time" thing to keep up your nails- too expensive and does not wear any longer than polish.

But the second set I tried, hounds tooth, was perfect for this night:

And then I could wear them for the rest of the week, since we won! :)
I put them on Sunday afternoon and took them off this morning after they chipped yesterday, beyond what I consider acceptable. In fact notice in the picture above the top right of my pointer finger had already chipped by Monday night. I repaired it with white polish and a black marker.

So all in all, fun but not worth the cost for the most part.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Update 01-07-12

Hi ho all!

I don't really have pictures of this weekend. But it marked the end of the holidays officially. I took down our tree. Sad to see it go, but man was it dry and prickly. Not the most fun to handle.
And of course that officially meant it was time to pack and organize all the deco and haul it back into the attic. Not fun.
And because I'm impatient and we don't own a ladder, I found an alternative way to get the lights off the roof. The clips we used to attach them just slide right off. So I grabbed one end of the line and started pulling. It actually worked quite well, and no people or lights were harmed.

Satuday I did score a really good deal. One lady was getting rid of a lot of her Christmas deco. My only objective for after-Christmas shopping was accomplished after all. All the stores were sold out of discount lights before we arrived. But this lady had 3 large tubs of lights- even wrapped onto cord keepers, which I got for $11. We now have like literally 20 strings of white lights on green wire. And like 10 strings of white on white icicles. And they all work!

So by the time I got it all organized, wrapped, labeled and separated (our stuff and mom's stuff separated), there were 9 tubs of Christmas. Wow. And four artificial trees (different sizes), and a lighted snowman. And 2 wreaths. And a lot of gift-wrap supplies. Whew. Thankfully I had John to hand it all up to me then I'd scurry into the attic to put it away. I was sweating though.

Saturday night we had friends over for dinner. Another set of preggo friends :) It was nice because I had not seen the momma to be since their announcement. And it was nice because John handled dinner since I was organizing and then needed a shower ASAP :)

Sunday I completed operation Christmas take-down. Along with operation laundry and operation clean kitchen. Lol.
Sunday night after church we stayed for our "Fitness Group" that our Pastor started. Month one mandates are going well so far. Making healthier choices feels good. We're not allowed to weight until Feb 1 so I won't know results until then. But the focus of the group is health, not weight loss. That's just a benefit (hopefully).

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is this what Kate Gosselin feels like?

So I got the bright idea to try taking 4 dogs to the groomer, alone.

I was under directive to make sure all their nails were trimmed and filed, so as not to ruin clothes and flesh.
Usually we just trim them at home, but that does still leave the edges pretty sharp for awhile. We've tried the PediPaws and it causes such horrific behavior it's just not worth it.

I knew it was going to be an event as soon as I hooked all 4 canines to their leashes before leaving the house. There was a lot of pulling and tangling of leads.

Once I finally got to Petsmart, George, the dachshund who thinks he's a pit bull, immediately started barking like a rabid animal at every customer who passed by. And heaven forbid they saw another dog in the store. It's a good thing their collars fit tight enough to keep them from slipping out.

Well by the time I'd reached the back of the store where the grooming department is, I had already drawn a crowd. Three employees came to check on me, since my brood was making such a ruckus that I'm sure they thought a fight was going on.

I could see that there was another dog in the grooming area checkout with it's owner, and not wanting to try and control four dogs contained in a 4ft by 8ft area with another dog, I decided to wait outside the door until they were done. I struck up conversation with a mother and daughter waiting for their dog who was already being groomed. It helped me feel less awkward about the other shoppers nearby who were secretly watching the scene unfold. The conversation on my end went something like this: "These aren't all mine. NO! I would never have 4 dogs by choice. STOP IT! I should have never come here by myself, I'm crazy. QUIT BARKING!"

Then the nice store manager came to my rescue. He was extremely friendly and helpful. He did not act like anything was a problem. Instead he petted all the dogs and then offered to take them off my hands one at a time to go into the grooming area. Thankfully about 5 groomers were on staff that day and they each took a dog to quickly tame their Raptor-claws. This part went pretty smoothly with only a couple freak-outs on the dog's part.

Unfortunately since 3 of the 4 dogs had never been there before the checkout took longer than the service. Inputting rabies certificates, names, addresses and such. I was hoping to go to the register (at the very front of the store) and pay before they were done so I did not have to drag them through that. Well, that did not happen. In fact, I ended up waiting in the grooming area holding four dogs while trying to get my invoice, while they were intermittently barking and twisting their leads into something that resembled Medusa's hair. In fact at one point a lady opened the door to bring in her dog, and she was actually going to walk in, with my pack there barking like they were set to kill. Thankfully, the groomer asked her to please wait outside a few minutes.

So everything got straightened out and I headed to the front, 4 dogs in tow. Everyone in the store knew all my movements with my 4 personal alarms going off. I even braved it to stop on one aisle and pickup a bag of rawhides (for the sake of my sanity on the ride home). Even waiting in line at the cashier went fairly smoothly. They got petting and love from several other customers. They couldn't go far because by this time they'd tangled their leads into only having a few inches of slack each.

And after a treat for each of them from the cashier, I made it out the door. Sanity half-intact. I wish I had photos of it to show you. Or maybe an incriminating video. But of course, I had no extra hands. I did, however, take a picture of their leashes after the outing.

The ride home was thankfully fairly quiet. Everyone's jaws were busy working a rawhide.

And as I write this I realize George has chewed a hole in the electric blanket and severed the internal wires. Great. Lucky for him it was off. Unlucky for us it was off. It's a good thing he's cute and is now laying on me looking up with those pitiful eyes and saying "What Aunt Momma? I love you."


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why I avoid the mall

Because I spend money there! Now mind you, still only on deals, but more than I would have spent at WalMart or yard sales. Lol.
I am glad I purchased my coat though.
You see, I ran in to use some long-lost gift cards I'd reclaimed not too long ago. The store they are for was having a big sale. So after "free" shopping there, I noticed that between me and the exit stood Old Navy. Old Navy, faithful Old Navy. The same store I've shopped at since my mid-teens. I remember when it opened. Decent clothes at decent prices (on sale). With an "up to 75% off" sign in their window. And very un-crowded.

So I said "What the heck?! I don't even remember the last time I actually came in the mall" and popped in.

In the second section I found her. A double-breasted wool coat. In a fabulous color I've dubbed "Poppy". And the little sign that made up her head said "60% off". "What's the harm in looking?" I thought. She was the only one left. She was my size. Into my arms she came.
I was a little unsure of her at first. She was so bold. Would she be too loud?

After a brief scan of the rest of the store, and snagging a pair of flats, off to the dressing room I went.

I just slipped her on right there, in front of the mirror. Her structure complimented mine well. And then we fell in love. And I decided to give up some "discretionary" funds for her. When I took her and her love child (beaded flats) to the register, I only had to pay $45 for both (coat was 35-ish). And then our bond was sealed.

I can't wait for it to get cold again.

The grey in the center is actually strings and strings of silver beads

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I almost went ghetto in the ghetto store

Funny thing happened to me last Friday night-

I stopped into Dollar Tree to pickup a few things. There's actually some stuff there that makes it worth going in; like cheap paper plates, cups and the really cute headband I got.

Anyway, they had a few large signs on their windows that said "Christmas 50% off". I doubted they would have anything left, but decided to look. Over against a wall on the bottom shelf were some pre-decorated gift boxes, packaged in red cardboard displays. At 50 cents each I figured "why not?" and picked three up. I chose a red, green and gold.

With all my items in hand I went to the cashier. She rang the boxes up last and I noticed that they rang up at regular price. I asked "Isn't the Christmas stuff half off?" She was very polite and called for the manager. The manager said "Oh, those aren't Christmas. We sell those year round. All the Christmas stuff is gone."

For proof that clearly she was wrong, I present a photo of one of the boxes:

That's right, this shiny red box with a green glitter lid is NOT for Christmas. This is in fact a color scheme that people choose for their gift concealment all year long. Yeah, right.

I was quite bewildered at her statement. But I said "Well then I don't want them then. Because those are clearly Christmas boxes." Then the manager told the cashier that since she would have to void more than 2 items she would have to re-ring the entire transaction. As I noticed a long line of people behind me giving angry stares of impatience (especially the man right behind me with only one item) and since as usual only one register was open even though there were 2 other employees in the store, I told her to just void two of them then and I would take one at regular price in order not to hold up the line. So now I'm the owner of the shiny all-season gift box above.

I still snicker a little thinking about it. I was self-controlled enough not to say "If there's no Christmas items left than maybe you need to take your sign down." Or "Are you blind?" And nice enough not to make them re-do the whole transaction. And nice enough not to question why when I buy 10 of the same item they can't just scan one and enter a quantity of 10 rather than scanning each one.

So next time you see a shiny red box with a green glitter lid- I want you to think "This would make a great container for my Mother's Day gift." :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Weekend Update 12-31-11

So this weekend was all about the New Year, and getting ready for it.

We cleaned the house and rearranged the living room into a configuration better suited for the Kinect.

Then about 11 of our friends came over Saturday night and we had a Mexican-themed potluck to ring in the new year. We had a great time making fools of ourselves with Dance Central. I was surprised and thankful so many people tried it.

We also played a couple group games for the non-dancers- Catch Phrase and Taboo.

I don't think I would have been able to stay awake had I not been moving. I started yawning like crazy around 8:30. For shame.

I hope you all had a great weekend too!

hubby and wife gettin' down
this game brought a LOT of fun!

Some ppl just can't make it to midnight (poor thing was up at 4am for work)

Right before the clock struck 12. Happy New Year!