Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 in one word

I've seen other people select a word for the year and it never really made sense to me why you would want to do this. I've never been big on resolutions either, by May I've forgotten what I said to begin with. For some reason, this year is different. I feel like a lot is going on in my life and I keep coming back to to a few basic things. I could use some balance in my life, but do I really want to spend an entire year focusing on "balance"? What about "family"? I mean that's a good word, I love my family and want to spend time with my family. But it still isn't what I need in my life.

The past few weeks my friend has been out of work a lot and attending some doctor's appointments. I assumed it was for her back and didn't get around to asking her what was up. She finally came to me and told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Early last year my step mom was also diagnosed with breast cancer and made a full recovery thanks to early detection. (My friend will be ok too, she caught it really early) My step dad died of cancer, same with my Grandma. I feel like it grabs hold of everyone you know, no matter what their circumstances are.

It just made me think ... you've got to live the life you've been given. You only get one life. You only get this one chance to live your best life possible.


That was it, my word for 2014.
I'm going to live my life. I'm going to focus on whatever I need to each month and continue to live my life in the best way I possibly can. Whether that means finding a new job (which I desperately want to do) or spending more time with my family. I'm going to live in the moment and take chances that I may not have otherwise taken.

I only get one chance, so this year I'm going to live.

Linking up for Funday Monday

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My year in books

I set a goal this year to read more books, in fact I set a goal on Goodreads to read 30 books this year. As you might remember I hit my goal by early August and decided to up my goal to 45 books and what do you know? I hit that goal before the end of October! I didn't go back and reset my goal but I did continue to read to see how many books I might end up reading. Well, I think it's safe to say that I won't be finishing any more books this year so my final total for the year is 64 books! That's more than twice my original goal for the year. The means I've read 19,856 pages. Well actually more than that because three books I read, I decided to read them all over again because I was rushed to get through them the first time and really wanted to look back on some things. Of course I read some winners and some losers, but not too many losers ... here they are ... all 64 of them!

Here are my favorites from the year:

And on a more personal, real life level I enjoyed Born to Run and The Total Money Makeover

And here are the ones I wish I would've left on the shelf:

  • Girls in White Dresses
  • The Matchmaker Meets Her Match
  • My Fair Lazy
  • Friends Like Us

Overall, I read a lot of Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell this year. I stuck to mostly chick lit with a few curve balls thrown in. I'm not sure what next year will bring. Maybe more books on bettering myself? My to-read list stands at 35, but I'm always looking for new books to add to the list. Leave me a comment with any suggestions for 2014. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hair Envy

I don't do much with my hair. It's either up or down. Sometimes I go wild and crazy and put it half up. It won't curl, it's stick straight and it's fine. Very fine. So my options are very limited as to what I can do with it. Hair is one of those great debates with women. Nobody likes theirs, they want their friends hair or a celebrity's hair. If you have curly, you want straight. If you have straight, you want curly. 
Here's what I did the last time I got my hair done. The "new do" on the right had zero volume and the side part wouldn't stay so I ended up with a lopsided hair cut because it wanted to part down the middle.
I never had a problem with my hair being stick straight until I realized it wouldn't do anything else beside be stick straight. I don't have the option to curl mine, it just won't stay. Ok let me be honest, it will stay for about 20 minutes and then it's flat as can be. I can't do the fun "scrunchy" look when my hair is wet and apply some moose and expect it to stay. I can't do the "beach hair" because I would just look like there was an oil slick on top of my head. So yes I'm complaining about my hair. And I'm sure some of you reading this are thinking "I'd kill for straight hair" but think ... right now you have options. My only option is straight hair that sticks to my face. Look through my 30x30 pictures to see how lifeless my hair really is. It's tragic.

I finally broke down and scheduled a hair appointment for Friday. I need something new to happen on top of my head. I already know I'm going for some highlights because sadly damaging my hair with color is the only way to get some volume out of it. But the cut ... uh ... well I'm just not sure. I have great ideas for what I want my hair to be but I can't make any of them work because of it's flatness. Oh I can't do bangs, I just can't. Here's what my hair aspires to be ...
Fun hair with some volume but not much maintenance {pin}
Ability to style without everything falling flat {pin}
How about a sock bun and head wrap, heck I'd even just take one! {pin}
Big romantic curls for a dressed up look {pin}

So help a flat haired girl out. What do I do with this mess of mine? Friday morning is rapidly approaching and I need some ideas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lately I've been

I'm doing well with my workouts and eating healthy snacks. I seriously can't eat enough Cuties. And I made the BEST protein smoothie this week. Strawberry Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie -- oh yum! It actually made the grueling Plyometrics workout worth it.
The weather outside has turned frightful. Yes -1 ... that's not even a real temperature to me. Make it stop!
I treated myself to a Skinny Peppermint Mocha this week, only 100 calories for a tall. It was snowing, I was cold and I deserved it.
This shirt is the best. I looked long and hard for these for the whole family and I'm so happy that I'm finally a proud owner of one! Now to finish up my Christmas shopping this weekend, visit Santa, check out Christmas lights and stay next to the fire. I'm really looking forward to this weekend!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Deck the halls (& yourself!)

Decorate for Christmas

1. Creating ornaments with the kids -- this year we are making all our own decorations for the tree.
2. Pretty lights on the trees and the houses around the neighborhoods -- we love driving around looking at Christmas lights
3. Attempting to take family photos to spread the holiday cheer that hopefully don't turn awkward -- please note that's not my actual family :)
4. Don't forget to decorate yourself with awesome Christmas shirts -- I got mine here and absolutely LOVE it!

Maybe my kids have turned me into a Christmas softy but for some reason this year I'm liking Christmas more than years before. Maybe it's the way their faces light up when they talk about Santa or the way they squeal with excitement when we look at Christmas lights. Whatever it is I have softened to the idea of Christmas. So this year I will proudly wear my filthy animal t-shirt and sing Christmas songs with my kids. Christmas is beginning to mean a bit more to me thanks to those little girls.

*Linking up with Let it Be Beautiful

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Excuses don't burn calories

Believe it or not this has been happening the last two days at my house. P90X has entered our home and I'm making it my mission to make sure it stays. Will it stay for 90 days? I'm not sure but getting into better shape is absolutely happening. I've gone on "get fit" binges before and I've always been disappointed with the results. So this time I'm setting smaller goals that don't have to do with the scale (even though pounds off the scale would be really nice!). Here they are for all the world to see:

  • Increase flexibility -- I want to be able to touch my toes either standing or sitting or both
  • Cut back on sugar -- I have a major sweet tooth, I need to learn how to curb this. I'm not going crazy and cutting out all sugar 
  • Control my portions -- I had gotten really good at this and have since fallen off the wagon, it's time to hop back on. I don't need to eat the entire plate of nachos (even if I think I want to)
  • Drink more water -- enough said. Get the water in the body, all day, every day.

Today I'm feeling sore. I'm just glad it's not sorry. Any tips or motivation for me to stick to my goals? I really want this to work this time. I'm all in.

Monday, December 2, 2013

30x30: Days 25-30

I made it to the end! Now I owe an explanation on one day, and trust me you'll forgive me for not taking a photo because you will be too busy laughing at why there is no photo. So without further ado ... the remaining photos!

Day 25: White tank top, black cardigan, floral scarf and beige trousers
Day 26: Now let me explain. I wore my grey & pink striped shirt with grey scarf to work. After my meeting which was right before lunchtime I walk into the bathroom to find a large wet spot on my shirt that looks like I might have been lactating for the last 3 hours. And let's just put out there that I'm definitely not! Come to find out my "Very Sexy" bra from Victoria's Secret has a gel/oil filled 'push up' section and it burst in the middle of my meeting. So I was covered in this oily slime from my exploded bra. Embarrassed doesn't even begin to cover my feelings. So there you go ... no photo for today but hopefully you have a smile on your face now :)
Day 27: Red striped shirt with dark wash bootcut jeans
Day 28: Heart sweater and light wash skinny jeans
Day 29: Grey t-shirt with cargo pants
Day 30: Teal 1/4 sleeve shirt with floral scarf and light wash skinny jeans

And here it is all together. 30 days with 30 pieces (minus 2 days because well you can read about those above and here).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Today I am

Yep I'm going to do like everyone in Blogland and post what I'm thankful for, I decided to go a bit nontraditional for this list.

1. Let's get it out of the way to not ruin the rest of the list, I'm thankful for my family, house and health.
2. Dark chocolate. I seriously could not live without you.
3. Puppies. I mean all puppies are cute and cuddly and they have puppy breath
4. Summer -- it's my favorite time of year. I love being outside and I might just be counting down the days until Winter is over with. Ok I am counting down.
5. Reality TV drama. I don't want drama in my own life but watching an hour of any Bravo show will give you your fill without all the repercussions.
6. White wine. It makes me happy when skies are grey.
7. Scandal on ABC on Thursday nights. I don't know how I lived before this show, mind blowing goodness every week.
8. Diamonds. They are a girls best friend, can't argue with that.
9. Blogs. They keep me entertained at work.
10. For those people who celebrate Thanksgiving before they bust out the Christmas decor. I just can't handle all the jolliness so early on. #sorry #notreally

What are you thankful for this year? You should be thankful for this awesome giveaway that me and the rest of the 30x30 girls are doing. I hope you win! Oh and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30x30: Days 19-24 + $50 GIVEAWAY!

Heads up this post is long but sooo worth it! The 30x30 challenge is almost done. This has been rough, I desperately miss some of the other tops in my wardrobe. I only own a handful of pants so I'm not missing out there aside from maybe some yoga pants that I'd like to spend a day in :) Let's get right into my photos because there is an awesome giveaway happening! You won't want to miss out. But first the outfits ...

Day 19: Grey t-shirt with my plum bootcut pants (I was working from home otherwise I would've been a little more dressy for a Tuesday)
Day 20: Purple empire top with white tank and mustard skinny jeans
Day 21: Black & white 3/4 sleeve shirt with grey tweed-like pants and yellow infinity scarf
Day 22: Grey tank layered under a green cardi and dark bootcut jeans
Day 23: Navy top, grey cardigan and mustard skinny jeans
Day 24: Grey & white striped shirt with plum bootcut pants

My own personal challenge was styling my mustard skinny jeans. I've had them for a year and don't feel like I have anything to wear with them. So this week I kicked it up a notch and wore them two different ways along with the look for day 15. So 3 outfits isn't bad. Maybe I can even squeeze in one more before the month is done.

Check out the giveaway and see how the rest of the ladies are doing!

fall30x30giveawaycollage Dreaming about Someday / justjacq / It’s My Life / you, me & capri / Raising the Rogers / Olive the Things / Fox Tales and Ponytails / Shop School Sleep / Curly Crafty Mom / One Blessed Jess a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30x30: Days 13-18

This month is flying by. As I've been busy with cleaning out our rental (side note: some people are just disgusting) I've been doing my best to keep up with the Fall 30x30 Challenge. 
Are you playing along or just following each week? It's been fun! So let's get right into the outfits.

Day 13: Heart sweater and beige trousers for work
Day 14: Grey and white striped shirt with grey sweater cardigan and grey trousers (I was feeling all the grey shades today)
Day 15: Brown tunic and mustard skinnies
Day 16: Red striped shirt and cargo pants
Day 17: Teal 1/4 sleeve top with dark bootcut jeans
Day 18: Pink & grey striped shirt, grey scarf and light wash skinny jeans

I love how comfy my day 15 outfit is and I found a new way to tie my scarf on day 18. Overall it was a good week. We are into the second half now so things are starting to get interesting because I'm running out of my "typical" outfits and really need to start mixing things up. 

Revisit my 30 picks
Revisit Days 1-6
Revisit Days 7-12

Be sure to check out the other ladies that are participating this month. They are rockin' it!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

30x30: Days 7-12

Welcome to week 2 of the 30x30 challenge! This week was good, although I'm worried about running out of good combinations. Let's get right into the outfits

Day 7: Teal 1/4 sleeve shirt with grey work pants
Day 8: Plaid long sleeve top, grey tank and light wash skinny jeans 
Day 9: I didn't spent much time in this outfit but I still wore it so it counts! Grey t-shirt, green cardigan and dark bootcut jeans
Day 10: Pink & grey striped shirt with green cargo pants (promise I'm not pregnant but oof that shirt isn't doing my midsection any justice)
Day 11: Purple empire shirt with white tank top, grey tweed-like pants and floral scarf
Day 12: Navy top and plum pants (ok I sort of cheated, the navy top has to have a cami underneath so I added a beige one)

I've never worn a scarf with my day 11 outfit before and I quite like it together. I'm excited for the other outfits I have planned like remixing my mustard skinnies. Be sure to check out what the other ladies are coming up with!

Revisit Days 1-6
Revisit my 30 picks

Friday, November 8, 2013

30x30: Days 1-6

Wow! I made it through my first week of the 30x30 challenge. Are you playing along? You really should. Let's get down to business ... the outfits. I'm not a style blogger. Fashion isn't a high priority in my life even though I love it ... I just don't always love it on me. So here is my really awesome cell phone picture collage all photo credit goes to my 6 year old. By day 4 she was saying "I really have to take your picture again?" ... yes my dear you do and we are only 4 days in so suck it up we have til the end of the month to go.

Day 1: Black and white 3/4 sleeve shirt with dark bootcut jeans
Day 2: White tank, grey striped shirt, cargo pants and floral scarf
Day 3: Umm oops. We went hiking all day. I didn't want to ruin my good clothes by hiking so I cheated and wore absolutely nothing from my 30 picks. I'll consider this my 3 cheats, I wore tattered jeans, crappy t-shirt and Colts hoodie and let's be honest we don't need a photo of that :)
Day 4: Red striped shirt, grey tweed-like pants
Day 5: Grey tank, black cardigan, grey trousers and yellow infinity scarf
Day 6: Brown tunic top and plum pants

I'm feeling good about the challenge so far. My day 6 outift is actually something I've never worn together before so I'm already making some new wardrobe choices. I am however realizing how terrible my hair is. I could use a new do. 

Be sure to check out the other ladies who are participating this month, they had some amazing picks last week so I'm excited to see how everything is coming together!

Friday, November 1, 2013

30x30 Fall Challenge

Instead of setting goals for the month of November I've decided to participate in a challenge I've followed for quite awhile. The 30x30 Challenge!

Here's the deal, you pick 30 items and remix them every day for 30 days. As I've mentioned before we are hitting the budget hard so this is the perfect challenge for me. No buying anything new, just using what I have in as many ways possible. Since I've never done this before I'm just picking 30 items from tops and bottoms. Shoes and other accessories like jewelry don't count in my 30 items. Here are my 30 pieces, ok well 27 pieces. Since I've never done this before I could only come up with 27 that I knew I would wear so I'm leaving 3 open as a "just in case".
1 - yellow infinity scarf \\ 2 - floral scarf \\ 3 - grey scarf
4 - light skinny jeans \\ 5 - dark bootcut jeans \\ 6 - mustard skinnies \\
7 - cargo pants \\ 8 - grey trousers\\ 9 - grey tweed-like trousers
10 - pink & grey long sleeve shirt \\ 11 - white tank top \\ 12 - beige work pants \\
14 - plum bootcut pants
14 - teal 1/4 sleeve top \\ 15 - purple empire shirt \\ 16 - brown tunic sweater top
17 - heart sweater \\ 18 - red striped long sleeves \\ 19 - grey cardigan/sweater
20 - black with 3/4 sleeves & white tank \\  21 - green cardigan \\ 22 - grey t-shirt \\
23 - dark grey tank top
24 - navy top \\ 25 - black cardigan \\ 26 - grey & white stripes \\ 27 - plaid button down
So what do you think? Will you join us? I can't wait to see what all the other ladies have lined up for this month!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Results: October goals

  1. Be active
  2. Stick to a budget
  3. Put myself out there
Just three goals this month which I think was more manageable than September goals. I feel good about this month. 

Being active as a family has gone very well. We went fishing and hiking one Sunday, went bike riding one Saturday afternoon and overall just tried to spend more time outdoors to enjoy the weather while it lasts. We even rode our bikes to my packet pick-up for my race and I rode my bike to and from the race later that day. Plus all that walking for some Halloween candy totally counts :)
My last race of the year
Oh the budget! I've been listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts on iHeartRadio for the entire month and learning a lot from reading his book Total Money Makeover. It's a good thing that this was a goal for the month because we had to evict our tenants at the beginning of the month and we are in for a bunch of rental house repairs next month once they are gone. That means we also have to make two mortgage payments out of our own funds for the month of November which won't be any fun in the money department. Budgeting has become extra strict this month because of all these unexpected expenses. No more going out to eat during the week for lunch (I only use to go once a week but I've cut that out). No more chai lattes from Starbucks to keep me awake a couple times a month at work. No extra spending aside from what we absolutely need. Any time the hubby says something from a restaurant sounds good to eat, I come up with an alternative to eat at home. The kids are having a hard time getting used to the spending restrictions but I know we'll all come through alive. 
We played BINGO at school one night as our cheap entertainment. Total spent = $6!
Budgeting is hard, but putting myself out there was even tougher for me. I desperately want a new job and I look daily at the job postings and apply for anything that sounds remotely interesting to me. I finally scored an interview for a position that I applied for. Turns out I was qualified for two positions they had open in their marketing department so I felt better about my chances. The interview went well and I got asked back for a second interview before even leaving the first one. Unfortunately, I've heard some not great things about the people who work there which is making me very nervous about the position. It's a software company so it is very male dominate and my new boss actually worked for my current company before I started and I've heard stories about his behavior. I could probably deal with the male dominate environment but I'm not sure I can deal with a douchey boss. I haven't scheduled the second interview yet so I'm continuing to look.

Come back tomorrow and see what I have planned for November. It's getting crazy around here!

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'll take the cash

With the holidays approaching I thought others might enjoy knowing about this site. Let's start off with, I was not paid to say any of this, I found the site all on my own and used it and this is my experience with it. ... take your unwanted gift cards from $20-$5,000 and get paid cash for them! Or you can get back even more by getting an Amazon credit. 

I received a $25 gift card for the Olive Garden last Christmas. We don't eat at the Olive Garden, and it is on the opposite side of town from us so it's been sitting in our drawer. I went to their site and within minutes had sold my $25 gift card for $20 cash! (I could've taken $21 Amazon credit but I like cash!) You can also buy gift cards from them at a discount as well, some up to 10% off the card value. I had to pay for the stamp to send in my gift card but I think it was worth it. They sent me an email when my check was on the way so all I had to do was wait for Mr. Postman. Now what to do with my $20?

Friday, October 25, 2013

I did it again!

Remember when I hit my reading goal for the year so I decided to up to 45 books for the year? Well holy moly I did it (I even threw in an extra because I didn't realize it)! And it's not even November! Here's what I've read this year ...

Favorites: Fifty Shades series, Born to Run, Body Movers series, anything from Gillian Flynn

Worth skipping: Girls in White Dresses, My Fair Lazy (Jen has so many better books), Friends Like Us

What's next: Finishing out the Pretty Little Liars series, I like that it is an easy read but still can hold your interest. And then I'll move on to Sylvia Day's Crossfire series. I'm seeing a bit of a series trend here :) Oh I also can't wait to read book #7 from Stephanie Bond's Body Movers series. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Four Favorites: Halloween edition

Four Favorites: Halloween edition

Carving pumpkins //  Dressing up 
Candy // Cute snacks for kids

What are your favorite things about Halloween?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall in love

The leaves are changing and fall has arrived. I'm sad to see summer go but it did make my run Sunday afternoon a little more enjoyable without being so hot. 
We picked out our pumpkins this weekend and the girls can't wait to carve them. The decorations are also up in the house so bring on Halloween!
Fall wouldn't be complete without my Starbucks chai latte. Keep those nasty PSLs away from me, I'm a chai girl through and through.