An A for Effort

About a month ago, I made a list of the things I like and made a promise to myself that I would make an effort to do more of these things. A promise to do more things that make me happy. A promise to spend less time worrying about the things that stress me out.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been making some progress here, for sure. It’s partially due to the fact that this is a slow time for me at work. It’s also partially due to the fact that when I still have work to do at the end of my day (as in the time that I’m technically scheduled to leave work), I’m letting myself actually leave work rather than staying until 7pm or later. The work will be there tomorrow, whether I want it to be or not. For the past few weeks, I’ve allowed myself one loooooong day at work, and then I’ve made a huge effort to get the heck out of there at a reasonable time the rest of the days.

This means I’ve been spending more time with my guys. And I love my guys so this is a major win.
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Two weeks ago we spent a sunny Sunday afternoon on my parents patio. We spent some quality time with just the two of them, but were also visited by neighbors and friends. Their patio is the neighborhood hangout in the summer so last weekend gave us hope that, after the longest winter ever, summer will truly be here some day.
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I’ve been baking.

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Quite a bit, actually.

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I’ve been reading! I finally finished “Gone Girl” (what a TERRIBLE ending!!!) and downloaded “Wild” right away but haven’t really gotten into it yet. Any other suggestions for me?
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I’ve been cooking! More time at home means more time to cook at home. Last Sunday we cooked out on the grill and it was faaaabulous!
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I’ve been adding some springy touches to my wardrobe. Okay, really only a springy green purse but I’m thinking of hitting up an outlet mall tomorrow to add to the collection.
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Let’s see how I’ve done with my list, shall we?

I like spending time with family and friends- CHECK!
I like baking- CHECK!
I like watching TV- CHECK! I finished Season 1 & 2 of Scandal in like a week.
I like musicals- no musicals since my last post, but we’ll say shopping counts as a musical so…CHECK!
I like cooking- CHECK!
I like sleeping- CHECK! Still going to bed at a decent hour, though I’ll admit that sometimes I wake up stressing out about something I may have forgotten to do at work.
I like reading- CHECK!
I also like blogging- well, as of right now…CHECK! I thought I’d get back into more of a regular routine but I’ve just been enjoying doing mindless activity so much that I haven’t taken the time to formulate an actual post.

I’d be lying if I said it’s been all sunshine and rainbows around here. I most definitely had one of those days at work yesterday. Tears and all. But I’m working on it. I really am. And just writing this post makes me feel a little bit better about everything. So thanks for listening. :)

When the Cat’s Away

I can’t speak for the rest of the mice, but this mouse right here? She drinks wine and watches endless hours of Scandal when her cat is away.

J spent the weekend at his dad’s cabin, tucked away in the middle of nowhere with limited to no cell phone reception. He does this trip twice a year, and in years past, I’ve definitely taken the opportunity to hang out with my girls while he was away, but this time I opted to simply get comfortable on the couch with a bottle glass of wine in my hand, computer on my lap, Olivia Pope on my tv, and furchild by my side. It was glorious.

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When I woke up Saturday morning, thankful that I hadn’t been robbed or murdered (why wouldn’t I assume this would happen when staying home alone?!), I made myself coffee, and did some baking. I then watched President Fitzgerald Grant III awake from his coma and subsequently watched another 7 or so episodes of the second most addicting show on television. Breaking Bad is, ironically, the number one most addictive television show, FYI.

Of course I couldn’t be lucky enough to have the entire weekend off, so work was inevitable Saturday night but it was an easy peasy night and by the time I rolled out of my ginormous, luxurious bed (seriously, it feels so huge when it’s just Fielder and I snuggled in it) this morning, my hubby had returned from his boy’s weekend.

One brief moment of disappointment that my single lady weekend was over was quickly overshadowed by how much I missed him.

This mouse really loves her cat.

The Things I Like

Since returning from vacation I’ve really been trying to keep my stress level in check so as to avoid another little meltdown like the one I had before I left. Oh, I didn’t mention that? Yeah, it happened.

A part of maintaining this stress-free attitude is leaving work at work; not checking work email from home, not bringing projects home with me, not even talking about work when I get home.

Another part of it is getting back to doing things I like. What are those things, you ask? To be honest, I had to think about it myself. Luckily the past two weeks of post-vacation reality have presented multiple opportunities to do things I like so I didn’t have to think too long. Of course opportunities to do things I like present themselves all the time, but what I’m really working on here is my willingness to say yes.

My goal is to say more yes to life, and less yes to working all the time. And come to think of it, a part of my inspiration is likely from Amber. #SayYesProject

So let’s quit talking about work and get back to the things I like.

I like spending time with family and friends. Last Friday when I really wanted to come home from work and lie on the couch, we instead went to dinner with friends. This week when my mom mentioned that she was doing hair for a musical and rehearsals were sounding great, I opted to drive home to see said musical, which also resulted in spending time with mom, dad, dogbrother, and friends.

I like baking. Today, I made some St. Patrick’s Day brownies. I basically used Ali’s recipe, but added some mint and chocolate chips to the batter, as well as some melted mint chips on top.
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I like watching TV. Scandal is my newest obsession. Oh, and a Wahlburgers marathon definitely happened today.

I like musicals. As previously mentioned, I went to my high school alma mater’s performance of “Bye Bye Birdie” on Thursday night. The icing on the cake was catching up with my dance teacher, whose basement dance studio contains some of my best memories from 13 years of lessons. She’s 84, still teaching, and somehow still looks exactly the same as she did when I started tap lessons at the ripe old age of 5.
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I like cooking. Today I also made Irish beef stew that Fielder felt I should share.
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I like sleeping. And less-stress sleep is way better than more-stress sleep.

I like reading. I made it about half way through Gone Girl while on vacation. And since we’ve been home, I finished up a DIY (<<<something I also like to do!) lamp upcycle so I could trade my usual Facebook-and-Instagram-on-my-phone-while-in-bed-time with reading-in-bed time.
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And hey, guess what? I also like blogging, as evidenced by two posts in one weekend. See you soon!

Darker and Brighter, Heavier and Lighter

Last week I returned from a ten day trip to two gloriously sunny destinations. The first part of our trip was to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where I watched my oldest, best friend tie the knot on a gorgeous white sandy beach. After four days in the land of no worries, mon, we hopped on a plane and jetted to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for our annual trip of rest and relaxation.

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The weeks, even months, leading up to this vacation had me all sorts of stressed out about work. Stressed out like I’ve never quite been before.

Work stress paired with the terrible, horrible, never ending winter we’re having means vacation could not have come at a better time. I shed a few tears when leaving Fielder behind with Justin’s brother, but other than that, you could say that I was positively beaming the moment our plane left the ground.

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We spent ten days eating, drinking, celebrating, relaxing. We spent ten days not working. We spent ten days not having a care in the world. We spent ten days pretending that drinking fruity alcoholic beverages on the beach was real life.

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Those ten days were absolutely fantastic, and as a result… my skin is darker, my attitude is brighter. My body is certainly heavier, and my hair a little lighter. And all of that feels pretty darn great.

Note: I started writing this post the day after we got back from vacation. I took some time to read while on vacation, and reading inspired me to write. I had visions of a minimal words, multiple pictures post that would sum up the beauty of the culture/food/weather we experienced while away. The next day, I found out that my SD card had somehow become corrupt (?!) and I have zero photos* of my vacation. No photos of my friend’s son playing the steel drums after his mom’s wedding. No photos of my family all dressed up and on the beach (Christmas card material, really). No photos of my favorite places/meals in Mexico. Nothing. And while I’m grateful to have even gone on this trip, and grateful for all of the wonderful/hilarious/embarrassing memories we created, not having photos to re-live those memories truly makes my heart a little heavy.
*The photos you see here were stolen from my momma.

Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo

I’ve always envied those girls who talk about not washing their hair for days. I know dirty hair seems like a strange thing to envy, but when you have forty-five thousand pounds of hair (my mom’s estimation for the amount of hair on my head), skipping a day or two of washing sounds like pure heaven.

When I was a tween, my dermatologist told me I could be rich if I found a way to bottle the oil from my skin and sell it. Yeah. That much oil. That said, skipping a day of washing was always out. of. the question. Let me clarify, it’s not so much the actual washing forty-five thousand pounds of hair that’s annoying, it’s all of the time it takes to dry and style forty-five thousand pounds of hair that I hate.

A couple years ago my schedule was such that I worked until 2am or later, then had to be in class at 8am. And when faced with washing/blowing dry/styling hair or sleeping for an extra 20-30 minutes in that little window of sleep opportunity? Well, it’s obvious that sleeping wins. So I took to my bottle of baby powder and sprinkled a bit on my roots and rubbed it into the hair near my temples (always the greasiest area for me) and went on with my day. It felt great at first, but by the end of the day I was always super embarrassed about my greasy looking hair. Of course nobody even noticed that my hair looked different than normal, and perhaps it didn’t, but I felt like it was greasy looking and once you get that into your head, it’s just impossible to get out.

If Megan Fox can’t pull off the greaser look, can’t nobody pull off the greaser look.
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So I turned to my salon-owning, professional product-toting mother and she handed me a little bottle of powdery dry shampoo. I wasn’t a fan. It was actually making my hair feel dirtier. Like, gritty and grimy. Turns out, this product was more for the peeps that wanted to retain a specific ‘do, rather than those like me who really just wanted to sleep in every once in a while. So it was back to the baby powder whenever I felt the need to sleep in, and I was always a little self-conscious every time I used it.

My Violet VoxBox arrived, courtesy of Influenster, some time in November. Or maybe December? I honestly have no idea when it arrived. I was so busy with work/holidays/life that I opened it, took out the one item I couldn’t wait to try out, and then the box sat on the counter for like, ummm, a couple of months maybe?? But all the while, I had been using that one, awesome item.

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Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. And it’s true, it was not my mother’s dry shampoo. But it was, and still is, awesome nonetheless. You could say that my discovery of this product is when I figured out what all of you already knew. The key to dry shampoo is spray dry shampoo. This stuff is amazing. If it weren’t for sweaty workouts, I’d probably forego every day hair washing altogether. But now I plan out my wash days (seriously) ahead of time, and on the no-wash days, I get to sleep for at least an extra 30 minutes. At least.

I cannot say enough great things about this product. It smells great. It doesn’t feel heavy or grimy on my head. A little bit goes a long way. It lasts all day. The best part? I didn’t pay for it. (Thanks Influenster!) But I totally would pay for it, and intend to do so when my bottle runs out. Which is saying a lot because I haven’t ever paid for a single hair product in my whole entire 29 + 1 years of life. (Thanks Mom!)

Of course I did eventually get to the other products in my VoxBox too. Here’s a quick rundown:
Sally Hansen Triple Shine in Blowing Bubbles
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Seems like a pretty good polish, but it is so totally not my color that I couldn’t bear to swipe it on all of my nails. I did polish one thumb though and it dried quickly and shiny, just like advertised.

SOYJOY in Dark Chocolate Cherry
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Gosh you guys I just can’t even sugar coat it, this bar was horrid. So horrid, in fact, that I took one bite and threw it in the garbage. I’m not one to waste food, but I just couldn’t even take one more bite. Not to mention it was about half the size of the wrapper. Lame.

Montagne Jeunesse Dead Sea Mud Spa
This was okay. It smelled great. Felt pretty good. But was awkwardly shaped and sized, making it slightly uncomfortable to wear.

Goody Athletique Reversible Quick Dry Head Band
Decent headband for keeping your hair off of your face, but not a great headband for keeping hair out of your face while working out.

Below you will see the awkwardness of myself and the clay spa mask, as well as the headband in all of it’s “yeah I’ll stay put until you move around even the slightest bit” glory.
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Apparently other Influensters received a Goody Quikstyle Paddle Brush. Sadly, I did not.

The moral of this incredibly long story is this; if you’re in the market for a dry shampoo that actually works, run to your nearest *insert wherever you buy this sort of thing here* and get yourself a bottle of Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo!

Honestly though, where do I buy this sort of thing? I’m really not joking when I say I’ve never purchased a hair product. I’m also not joking when I say that my mom is probably cringing at the thought of me using a product not sold in a professional salon. It’ll be okay mom, really.

What about you? Do you wash your hair every day? Are you lucky enough to go even more than a day or two without washing? I have a couple of friends who I was shocked to find out only wash once a week. Once a week! And to think that I never noticed their unclean hair… Perhaps I was just distracted by their bagless under eyes from all of the sleep they must be getting.

falling into a routine

We’ve been pretty boring around here lately. Now that the holiday-related chaos has subsided, we’re adapting to a much slower-paced routine and I’m totally digging it.

Work is finally becoming a little more calm as we enter a somewhat slow season for the industry. This means I’m usually home before 6pm. Okay, at least I’m usually on my way home at 6pm and that means the hubby and I actually get to work out together a few days a week. As it turns out, we’re pretty great at motivating one another. He’s doing a P90X/Insanity Hybrid program and since I hate P90X but love Shaun T., I work out with him on the Insanity days and do my own thing on the P90X days. “My own thing” generally consists of Shred It With Weights or some random workout I find online. I started watching Toned Up so I’ve been into Karena & Katrina’s workouts lately too.

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Except there’s no way I look that ^^ cute when I’m lying on the floor in pain, mid-Pure Cardio. I’ve nicknamed it Pure Hell.

We’ve pretty significantly cleaned up our eats, and I think J is finally even understanding the difference between eating “lite” and eating clean. Our grocery shopping trip this week yielded only three microwaveable soups, zero chips, and zero frozen meals. Tons of fresh produce and lean proteins were purchased, and not even per my suggestion. I do have to veer him away from certain things, but for the most part, he’s really catching on. I’d say we’re about 70/30 with the healthy/not-so-healthy eating, allowing ourselves a few cheat meals a week, usually on Sundays.

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All this to say, I haven’t been blogging much because quite frankly, I don’t have much to blog about. My days have been pretty spectacularly simple. Wake up, snuggle with Fielder, shower/get ready for work, work, workout, eat dinner, computer/TV time, bed. I’m not one bit ashamed to admit that we’ve been in bed before 10pm almost every night this week.

I’m sure life will be crazy hectic again in no time, but for now I’m soaking up all of this simplicity and enjoying our routine, as boring as it may be.

Enjoy your weekend!

It Was a Good Year

It was, wasn’t it? The last month of 2013 (and first week or so of 2014) was pretty crazy. Good crazy, but so busy I haven’t even had a moment to sit and think about blogging.

So what have I been up to since my last post?

I’ve been bridal showering.
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Bachelorette partying.

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x 2.
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Winery touring.
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Brewery touring.
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Bridesmaiding.
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Birthday partying.
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Holiday partying.
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Oh, and somewhere in there was Christmas.

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And New Year’s Eve. And a whole lot of work. So. Many. Holiday Parties. But so many holiday parties means money in my pocket so it was worth all the extra hours I put in. Kind of. ;)

2013 was full of so many great moments and I love looking back through all of them, many of which are documented here on the blog. I’m looking forward to 2014 being a little more laid-back. No real resolutions in this house, just lots of hope for a great year to come. I wish you all the same!