Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sue Belle Blog Design Giveaway Winner

Sorry this is so late ladies - but I've spent the entire day helping one of my besties move into her new place.  Whew...I'm pooped!

Unfortunately, I can't get any photos to upload right now - but Random Number Generator says that entry #4 is the winner of a new blog design......which means that.....

Danielle at The Best Things In Life is the winner!  Danielle - please send me your email information and I will get you in touch with Brittney at Sue Belle Blog Designs.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  And remember, even if you didn't win, Brittney is offering $5 off any package now through August 6th.  Just mention that you saw the discount on my blog.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

National Cheesecake Day!!


In honor of National Cheesecake Day the Cheesecake Factory is offering     half off any slice of cheesecake ALL DAY TODAY!

Remember my post last Friday about the importance of spending time with girlfriends?  I'm meeting one of my besties tonight for some half off cheesecake and girl gab.  Once again - I'm pretending the calories don't count since I will be gaining great health incentives from spending some much needed time with one of my lovely ladies.

Now for the difficult choice...key lime pie cheesecake or dulce de leche? 

Here's hoping you have a Cheesecake Factory near you so you can celebrate National Cheesecake Day! 

Happy Friday!

PS - Last day to enter my Sue Bell Blog Design Giveaway for a free blog makeover.  Winner will be announced tomorrow!

AND....Sydney over at Navigating Through The Quarterlife With A Smile & Open Arms is hosting a giveaway for a $50 Cheesecake Factory Gift Card - check it out!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I CANNOT Believe I Let That Happen!

I want to start this post by saying, yes, I am incredibly ashamed of my actions this morning. I truly cannot believe that I allowed this to happen – but it caught me completely by surprise and I was obviously unprepared. What you are about to read will prove that I am the worst pet owner *ever* and the most inconsiderate runner *ever*. But in the spirit of transparency and “real life” blogging….I’m going to tell you anyway. This may be a little long – but I promise it’s totally worth taking the time to read. Please forgive me, but this is what happened…..

I have decided to run another half marathon in November. As a result, Dixie (my female boxer) and I have been going on morning runs for the past three weeks. I do hate getting out of bed each morning, but once my shoes are laced up and Dixie’s leash is attached, we hit the road hard and both love it. There is something incredibly peaceful and energizing about an early morning run with such a pretty pooch.


This morning I decided to spice things up and we ventured into a new neighborhood. The Oaks is an incredibly hilly neighborhood and I thought it might be good training to do some hill work. About half way into our run Dixie started acting funny. She kept trying to veer off the sidewalk and into the grass of homeowners’ front yards. A quick jerk and her chain and a sharp, “Heel Dixie” and she snapped to attention and came back to the sidewalk. But still…it was annoying.

Thinking that perhaps she had to tinkle I led her an undeveloped lot paused my Nike+ to allow her a moment to relieve herself. She sniffed around for a few minutes and laid down. Realizing that she was just being a brat and probably didn’t like the extra work the hills required, I jerked her up and we resumed our run.

But still, she kept swerving into the front yard every time we passed a house.

*This is where I need to explain something. Dixie never poops on a run. *EVER* I let her outside while I put on my running gear each morning so she has plenty of time to take care of her business before we ever leave the house. She’s all business when we are running. As a result, I don’t carry plastic bags with me in the morning. We usually run 3-4 miles and she never poops. So why would I carry any unnecessary extras??

Okay, so back to the story.

After dragging our butts up an unusually steep hill, we picked up our pace for the down hill. I was nearly sprinting and it felt amazing. Amazing that is, until Dixie came to a complete stop and almost jerked my shoulder out of socket. Mad as hell Only slightly annoyed, I turned around to see what the hold up was. My jaw dropped when I realized Dixie was POOPING on the SIDEWALK!

That’s right. In front of God and every homeowner in The Oaks – she laid the biggest poop bomb I have ever seen on the sidewalk. Not just the sidewalk – but the sidewalk area right.in.front.of someone’s driveway. So more than likely, they drove through the poo on their way to work this morning.

Immediately I jerked her leash and tried my hardest to drag her to the grass. I figured it was better that she poop on someone’s front yard than on their sidewalk. Unfortunately, this didn’t help at all. Instead Dixie continued to poop as I drug her and left a trail of poo leading from the large mound on the sidewalk all the way to the grass.

So not only does that homeowner have a huge pile of poo right in their driveway, they also have a nice little path leading to their grass.

And what did I do? I did what any respectable American citizen would do. I walked to their front door, rang the doorbell and asked if I could borrow a baggie so I could clean up the mess my dog had made.

NOT!!!!

Once I was sure Dixie was finished with her movement, I jerked her leash and we got outta dodge before anyone could see us! Despite the hills, I have never run so quickly in my life. My Nike+ indicated that I was running a little less than a 9 minute mile – for comparison I usually run a little over a 10 minute mile. We were MOVING! I did not want to get caught being that person who lets their dog crap on the sidewalk. Plus – I don’t live in The Oaks so I won’t have to hear the neighbors complain about it so I figured it was best to just run.

In my defense, it wasn't until a mile later when we breathlessly arrived at my front door that I realized I could have knocked on the front door and asked for a bag to clean up the mess. In the heat of the moment, my fight or flight instincts took over and I chose flight.

Obviously, I’m not proud of what I did. I really hope they didn’t drive through the poo and smear it into the concrete. I also keep sending up prayers that they don’t have small children that find the poo before the parents.

Either way – lesson learned, I need to carry a plastic bag with me every time I take Dixie for a run. Because apparently she is not the perfect little lady that I thought she was. If she’s gotta go – she’s gonna go: concrete or grass makes no difference to her. And I’m honestly not too sure how many quick getaways I have left in me.

Oye….

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I GOT MY BLING BACK!


Yay!!!!!  After *five* long days without my ring, we were reunited yesterday!  I feel like a proper, married woman again.  All my pretty prongs are fixed and in place.  Amen - it would be TRAGIC if my diamond fell out!

Needless to say, I'm all smiles today!

PS - please excuse the poor quality of my cell phone picture.  It doesn't do the ring justice, but I wanted to share that it's finally back in its rightful place!  :)

And don't forget to enter my Sue Bell Blog Design Giveaway for a chance at a free blog makeover!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oil Cleansing Method - Review

Many of my readers have sent emails or left comments regarding the Oil Cleansing Method that I mentioned in last week’s post I’m Going Granola. I thought it might be a good idea to do a little review of the OCM now that I have used this method for a week.


So let me start from the beginning:
As I said, I learned of the OCM method from Same Sweet Girl and you can read her updates regarding the method here, here and here. I have always struggled with bad skin: acne, uneven skin tone, dry spots, black heads. Before trying the OCM, I used Aczone & Differin gel every single day for six months and my skin still wasn’t completely clear. While the acne medications helped control my breakouts, they made my skin very sensitive. And when I did breakout, it was *painful*.

If you decide that you would like to try the OCM, first you need to determine which oils you will use. The basic oil is castor oil – it acts as the cleansing agent in your mixture. Then you will need to choose an oil such as grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, extra virgin olive oil or jojoba oil. These oils act as a carrier and dilute the potency of the castor oil. Next choose your essential oils. I would suggest starting with two essential oils in your mixture. I chose lavender and lemongrass. Lavender seems to be a miracle essential oil and is great for everything – acne, dry skin, infections, itching, wrinkles, scars, etc. Lemongrass can be used as a skin toner and helps black heads and large pores.

Once I determined which oils I wanted in my mixture, I ordered online from VitaCost as it seemed to be the least expensive method. Including tax and shipping, I spent $28 and everything. My oils arrived within two days. (Based on the amount of oil needed in the solution, I would estimate these oils will last me about 6 months.)



I used the following amount of each oil in my mixture:
4 ½ ounces grape seed oil
1 ½ ounces castor oil
20 drops lavender
15 drop lemongrass

Sunday – Saturday evening I cleansed my face with the mixture above. It’s very simple. Wash your hands well. Pour a quarter size amount of the mixture into the palm of your hand. Apply the oil to your face and massage the skin in slow circular motions for 5-7 minutes.

I wore full makeup every day and I believe the oil cleansing method acts as a better makeup remover than my standard cleanser. It even removed all eye makeup including mascara and eye liner. (I cleaned the area around my eyes last so that I did not smudge eye makeup all over the rest of my face.)

After about 5-7 minutes of cleansing my face in small, circular motions I rinsed with hot water. I splashed my face about three times to remove as much oil as possible. I gently rubbed a wash cloth over my face to remove excess oil. I repeated these steps twice. After the third time rubbing my face with a warm wash cloth, I was satisfied that all oil had been removed. I then splashed my face with cold water to seal my pores and patted dry.

Like I said, I did the method above every evening Sunday – Saturday. Each morning I would wash my face with my regular gentle cleanser. That was it. No moisturizer, no acne creams, no toner, no nothing. I dabbed a little eye cream around my eyes each morning and night – but other than that, nothing extra.

Now for the results:
I’m in love! Seriously. My skin has never felt so clean. After only a week I can already see a visibly more even skin tone. I can see white gunk being removed from my pores while I cleanse. Each night, I notice white heads and black heads being drawn to the surface of my skin. It’s amazing – I can actually see it working.

My skin is not completely clear yet. To be honest, I have actually had one or two large pimples since starting the OCM that were not originally there. I believe this is what some call “purging” – the OCM is causing all the toxins in my skin to be drawn to the surface and as a result, I am experiencing some breakouts.

The thing I enjoy most about the OCM is that it prepares me for a restful night’s sleep. Something about massaging my face with essential oils for 5-7 minutes and rinsing with warm water tends to calm me. Doing this before bed each night almost mentally prepares me for rest. I feel utterly refreshed. My skin looks refreshed. Even better – I’m not applying harsh, paraben filled chemicals to my face every morning and night anymore.

I fully intend to continue using the OCM as my primary means of skin care. I will keep you updated on occasion with my progress and let you know if I decide to try any different essential oils. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email. I really think the OCM is a great choice for anyone who is frustrated with their currently skin care regimen or looking for a more all natural means of cleansing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one} I have had to temper my obsession with McDonald's mocha frappes.  A little research revealed that a medium mocha frappe contains 500 Calories. Considering that I suck one of those things down in about five minutes and could easily drink three or four a week - I had to make a change.  So McDonald's fruit smoothies are a new favorite - at half the calories it's a splurge I can live with!

{two} For those of you who were wondering, Steven *did* take out the whip cream on Friday.  (Although I think he may have done it out of spite after reading Wednesday's post - either way - it was done!)  :)

{three} I have a new toy - and I'm in love.  At the suggestion of Chloe I purchased the Nike + iPod Sports Kit to help track my distance, speed and time during my morning runs and I am thoroughly impressed.  It is the best $30 I have spent in a long time!  It's a great motivation to be able to track your progress during your runs and know whether or not you are hitting your goals. 

{four} I just feel good these days.  I'm at peace.  I wish I could say that I've found some miracle method to handling stress or that I'm just so great at managing difficult circumstances - but that would be untrue.  I know it's just that God has granted me a peace over the past few weeks that I haven't felt in a very long time. It's so amazing to sleep easy at night....

{five} I forgot my cell phone at home today.  Grr...I feel completely lost without it!  Seriously considering driving home on my lunch break to pick it up. 

{six} It's been a week since I began the Oil Cleansing Method and I am impressed.  I think I may adopt this as my every day method of cleansing.  Check back tomorrow for a full review if you would like to know more.

{seven} I am married to an incredible man.  I'm so in love with him.  Truly - there is no one who makes me feel more happy than Steven.  We just laugh, and play and cut up together.  Every day is a gift when I'm with him.  Married life is GOOD.  :)

{eight} I've teamed up with Brittney at Sue Bell Blog Designs to host a giveaway for a free blog makeover.  Check it out here and be sure to enter!

{nine} I noticed that one of the prongs on my wedding ring had broken last Thursday.  Almost had a small panic attack - what if my diamond had fallen out?  I took it to the jewelers and it is being fixed.  But I have been walking around with no ring on my finger since Thursday - and I kind of feel like a tramp.  At least I have a glaring tan line on my ring finger as a symbol of my commitment.  So ready to get my ring back!

{ten} HAVE A BLESSED AND PRODUCTIVE WEEK!!!!  Happy Miscellany Monday!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sue Bell Blog Designs Makeover Giveaway

Praying blessings for you on this glorious Sunday!





I'm so excited to announce that I have teamed up with Brittney over at Going Places to offer a blog makeover to one of my readers.  Check out Brittney's designer site Sue Bell Blog Designs.  Her packages are incredibly affordable and she has hundreds of kits, fonts and themes to choose from.

Brittney is offering a free Baby Bell package to one of my readers which includes:
-Custom header with up to two images
-2 or 3 column format
-Coordinating sidebar for main/sidebar area
-Text color matching
-Sidebar title headers (up to 5)
-Custom signature
-Kit fees included

For any of your ladies who are looking to add a little spice to your blog - this is the perfect opportunity.  There are multiple ways that you can enter:
1) Be or become a follower of my blog
2) Be or become a follower of Brittney's personal blog - Going Places
3) Be or become a follower of Brittney's design site - Sue Bell Blog Design
4) Tell your friends - post this giveaway on your blog.
5) Visit Sue Bell Blog Design and let me know your favorite kit or font that you would like in your blog design should you win.

Please leave each entry as a seperate comment so I can be sure to give you full credit!  Entries will be accepted through midnight Friday, July 30th and the winner will be annouced Saturday July 31st!

I hope you enjoy your last day of the weekend!  Good luck!  :)

**Also - to any of you who would like to order directly from Brittney, she is offering $5 off any design packet now through August 6th.  Just mention that you saw this promotion my blog. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thank God For Girlfriends!


I have had many “best friends” over the course of my life. But as a grow older, I have begun to reevaluate certain relationships. I have learned to focus my energy on maintaining a few very close friendships rather than be an “okay friend” to many people. As a result, I have developed female friendships over the past four years that enrich my life on a daily basis.

In times of turmoil or stress, I call on my closest friends and gain strength from their words of wisdom. Coffee with one of my best friends is the best cure when I’m in a slump. When Midol can't temper my PMS - a good laugh with a girlfriend does just the trick! In general – I thrive off female companionship. I’ve always wondered if this was considered normal – I mean, I am married to a wonderful man and have an incredibly healthy, happy marriage. Why then, do I feel this strong need for “girl time” on a regular basis?


I received an email last week that has finally put my mind at ease. (I acknowledge this could be a complete spam email and have zero merit – but I’m accepting it as truth, because well, it sounds good to me! And no – I generally do not accept any random email as truth, but I’m making an exception!)Read below for an excerpt:
I had just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture wason the mind-body-spirit connection—the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.
Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality "girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?---rarely (and certainly there are always exceptions). Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.


Finally! Someone who gets it. All those hours spent gabbing with Khristi on the phone aren’t simply recreational – they are precious moments that are lengthening my life span. Those calories that I consume during coffee breaks with Erin are no longer a concern because that chit chat actually increases my metabolism and brain function! (Okay – now that might be a stretch – but I’m running with it!)

So for those of you out there who make time for your girlfriends on a regular basis – good for you. Keep it up! Be sure to thank your friends for the many ways that they add value to your life. Make sure you seek ways to increase the quality of their life as well. Apparently there really is something to be said for “girl power” – and we all should make the most of the amazing blessing God gives in our female friends.



PS – I mentioned this email to my husband.. “Honey – you may not realize this, but marrying me is the best thing you could have ever done for your health. It’s been scientifically proven (okay – that might have been a stretch) that men who are married live longer than men who are single. You’re welcome!” In true Steven fashion he responded, “Of course married men live longer than single men. We do it out of spite!” Bazinga! Love you too honey!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Joys Of Living With A Man

One of my favorite things about summertime is the endless supply of fresh fruit (I'm *not* so crazy about how expensive it can be to buy fruit - but I do enjoy eating it!)

Monday evening hubby and I found ourselves standing over the sink in the kitchen literally inhaling strawberries.  We just stood there - eating one after another - oh.so.yummy.  About midway through the carton I remembered that we had some cool whip in the fridge.  I mean - what's better than super juicy strawberries covered in whip cream??

So I smiled at Steven and said, "You're gonna love me!" as I pulled the whip cream out of the fridge and covered his strawberry.  I thought the whip cream tasted a little strange, but figured it was just because it was "lite" - it wasn't funny enough to stop me from eating it!

Last night Steven said to me, "Don't eat anymore of that whip cream.  I thought it tasted funny - and I check the expiration date - it expired in March!"  Well that explains it....I thought.  Then a more troubling thought began to resonate - Why would I eat the expired whip cream?  Surely he threw the four month old whip cream into the trash can.  How would I be able to eat it if he threw it away?

So I asked what I thought for sure would be a dumb question, "You did throw the old whip cream away, right?"  His blank stare said it all.  "Why didn't you throw it away?  Do you plan on using it for something??"  Obviously annoyed by my condescending tone (whoops!) Steven replied, "No I don't plan on using it - I just didn't want the trash can to smell if I threw it out."

Realizing I was being kind of snotty over something stupid, but not quite willing to give up, I responded, "Okay - good point - but why didn't you throw it in the trash can outside the house?"  To which he claimed, "I am going to throw it out Friday morning when we have trash pick up."  All I could do was nod my head in silent amusement.

So for now - I have a canister of four month old whip cream in my fridge.  I could have thrown it outside last night - but I'm leaving it on principle.  We shall see if dear old hubby remembers to take it out with the trash tomorrow morning.

Oh the joys of living with a man.  But hey - at least he did warn me not to eat it anymore.  Guess I gotta give him some credit - right?  Even if I don't fully get his logic.

I guess I should accept some responsibility for allowing the whip cream to sit in my fridge for the past four months.  I swear I clean out my fridge often - I just must have missed this one!  Whoops again!  :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm Going Granola - The Dangers of Cosmetics!

Apparently I have been living in the dark ages. Seriously. It’s as if I have been walking around completely unaware (blissfully unaware, I might add) to the dangers of the cosmetic industry. I’ve mentioned my addiction to all-things-cosmetic before, yes? Makeup – love it. Hair products – love 'em. Skin care products – love 'em. Honestly – I am Sephora’s dream consumer.

So imagine my surprise when my cosmetic dependent world came tumbling down last week.

Same Sweet Girl posted a rather informative post regarding the benefits of the Oil Cleansing Method last week. (Click here and here for her posts regarding oil cleansing.) I was intrigued to say the least. After a few emails back and forth with SSG, I decided it was time to call in the expert – my BFF, Khristi.

Khristi spent years working in a health food store and as a result knows everything about everything related to health foods and health products. She is constantly telling me why I should eat this and not that (for example – did you know there is much controversy over the healthiness of peanuts? Oh yes – consider walnuts or almonds instead!)

So I emailed her the information that SSG provided me and waited for her response. According to Khristi, this was a good idea. Such a good idea in fact, that we both ordered our essential oils that day. I utilized this site to determine which essential oils were best for my skin and chose Castor Oil (main cleanser), Grapeseed Oil (carrier to dilute the potency of Castor Oil), Lavender Oil (great for everything!) and Lemongrass Oil (acne, large pores, blackheads.)



I opted to purchase my oils from VitaCost because it was the most cost effective method I could find. I spent $28 – with taxes and shipping! SSG unfortunately spent closer to $50 at her local health food store. (My oils arrived within two days – totally worth the wait if you ask me.)

While chatting with Khristi that night about how excited I was to try the oil cleansing method she dropped a bomb on me. “Oh yeah! I mean this is a completely all natural form of skin care! Completely paraben free and surprisingly inexpensive considering how long these oils will last!”

I’m sorry paraben free?? Unfortunately, I asked Khristi to explain the importance of paraben free skin care and basically this is the long and short of it:

Parabens are a preservative (chemical) found is almost every skin care product known to man. There is convincing research that parabens cause your body to produce artificial estrogen which can lead to cancer. That’s right – *cancer*. (I know – everything causes cancer these days – but really…I did the research – it’s pretty convincing!) I think this article gives a pretty fair assessment of the research/dangers of parabens.

That night I spent half an hour reading the ingredients on the cosmetics in my bathroom – and everything has parabens! Shampoo/conditioner/hair spray/mousse/eye cream/acne medications/EVERYTHING! The only item that was paraben free was my Neutrogena Daily Foaming Face Wash. That was it!

So now I’m on a quest to formulate a paraben free cosmetic cabinet. Obviously my oil cleanser is a great start (I will update you on how much I *love it* later!) Khristi suggests Estee Lauder’s Daywear Plus as a paraben free moisturizer. My cosmetologist-in-training sister discovered that Joico products are paraben free (and also environmentally conscious). Now I just need to find a paraben free body lotion!

Unfortunately, going granola is not proving to be cheap. That Daywear Plus is $40! And Joico products aren’t inexpensive either. But I guess sometimes you just have to pay the price to rest easy at night. Like the article above said – when there is a potential for harm, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Does anyone have any suggestions for paraben free products? Any other healthy living tips??

I was not paid by any company/website to suggest the products listed above.  These are just helpful suggestions regarding facts I have learned over the past week that I want to share with my readers!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kirkland's Giveaway Winner

Thank-you to everyone who entered the Kirkland's Giveaway.  I'm please to annouce that Brittney at Going Places is the winner of the super cute shower caddy. 




Congratulations Brittney!  Thanks again to everyone who played along!  :)

Upcoming CSN Review

Remember not too long ago when I hosted a CSN Store Giveway and introduced you to the many options CSN offers for lights and other great merchandise?  Well now it's my turn to do a product review. 

I seriously considered getting hubby the University of Alabama lamp that I showed your earlier:

That got me thinking about the upcoming college football season and the numerous football parties that will be hosted at my house.  I realize I need more serving dishes and baking dishes to accompany all my husband's hungry friends!  (Plus - honestly, I love any excuse to buy bakeware - I'm addicted!)

So I'm on a quest to find a product or two that will make my Game Day entertaining a little easier and festive.  Expect to see some Crimson Tide inspired serving ware coming your way in my upcoming review!!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Thanks for stopping by to read my completely random musings this Monday!

{One} What a great weekend!  Got a little tan at the lake and spent some time with great friends whom I hadn't seen in a very long time!  The wedding reception turned out to be a blast - even hubby was dancing and enjoying himself.  Agh...just good times!

{Two} Lately I have had the desire to pack up and just move somewhere.  Somewhere completely random that I've never even been before - like Seattle, Denver or somewhere in California.  I don't want to visit - I want to *move* my entire life - like tomorrow.  Umm yeah...did I mention I'm a complete control freak, don't really like change too much and love all things Southern?  Why in the world do I have this burning desire for a new adventure??? 

{Three}  In addition to wanting to completely uproot my life - I've been thinking a lot about my profession.  I truly enjoy being an accountant.  (Yes, some people actually like to crunch numbers all day!) But I wonder if I'm missing some greater calling for my life.  I mean - I spend 40+ hours a week doing work that doesn't really make a difference.  It keeps my company running - but I'm certainly not impacting lives or doing anything for the greater good.  Christ calls me to have a servant's heart - but who am I serving?

{Four}  I've had this unsettling feeling that I will have difficulty becoming pregnant lately.  It is a reality, isn't it?  I have read about so many women who have tried and tried but are unable to have children.  I have friends who are struggling with this issue right now.  I'm not even trying to have a kid yet - and I'm already worried that I won't be able to!  So it kind of makes me want to just start trying now anyway - so if there are problems we have more time to address them.  But then again, I don't think we're exactly ready just yet - and what happens if we miraculously get preggo on the first try?  Oye....oye...oye.... 

{Five}  Can anyone say "Quarter Life Crisis"?!?!?!  I'm pretty sure I'm there (please refer to items two, three and four!)  Needless to say I spend a great deal of time in prayer these days.  Praying for peace, for understanding and contentment.  I'm slowly learning that my future, my blessings, my trials and stresses are not mine to worry about.  I need to rest easy in His love and rely on Him for strength and comfort when life feels overwhelming or uncertain.  It's a lesson I struggle with everyday.

{Six}  Despite items two, three, four & five - LIFE IS GOOD!  Seriously, I am *so* blessed!  Wonderful, adoring, hardworking, talented husband?  Check!  Beautiful home to call my own?  Check!  Family to love and support me?  Check!  The most loving, adorable puppies in the world?  Check!  Undeserved, grace-given salvation?  Check!  Life is good!

{Seven} Today is the last day to enter my Kirkland's Giveway - winner will be announced tomorrow!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Heart Fridays - Hello Mr. Weekend!


Why yes I do heart Fridays -
because they signal the beginning of the weekend!



This week has been crazy long and super busy -
so I'm especially happy it's Friday!



Can I hear a double Hip Hip Hooray for Friday?



This weekend is jam packed - once again.  But I'm not complaining!  :)



We're headed to the lake tonight to meet some friends and will spend the entire day tomorrow playing in the sun.  We have to leave around five to make it to a wedding party tomorrow night in Charlotte. And our Sunday is slammed with church activities - craziness, no?!?! 
I did have to cancel at blogger meet-up with Same Sweet Girl tomorrow morning - for which I'm very sad! 
 It just couldn't make it all fit!



Hope you have a great weekend as well!  See you Monday!!!

Don't forget to enter my Kirkland's Giveaway.  Ends Monday night!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Need Some Beef In My Life

I've been cleaning up my diet the past few months.  Slowly but surely, my eating habits (well - let's say 85% of the time) are coming in line with what is considered "healthy".  But let's face it - eating healthy isn't exactly an easy thing to do.  You have to plan for it.  You have to change the way you grocery shop and change the staple snacks and dinners you prepare in your home.  It's a lot of change.

We've been eating a lot of chicken - I mean a lot.  Probably three or four meals a week are prepared with some sort of chicken.  And any recipe that calls for ground beef gets substituted with ground turkey.  Basically - I've been avoiding red meat.

This morning I threw three frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot and poured two cans of 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup and one can of cheddar cheese soup over top.  (Let it cook on low all day and pour over brown rice - YUMMY!!) 

Earlier this afternoon, I informed hubby that we would be having chicken and rice for dinner to which he replied, "Really?  I mean - I love it, it's good. But I need some beef in my life!"

Umm....yeah....about that.  We don't have an ounce of beef anywhere in our fridge or freezer at the moment.  I guess I'm going to have to break down and buy some good steaks for dinner Sunday evening.  Hubby is the *master* griller.  I swear his steaks are better than any steakhouse I've ever eaten at.  So I will have to make an effort to plan for a few lean beef meals over the next few weeks.

Everything in moderation right?  After all, the man needs some beef in his life!

PS - Don't forget to enter my Kirkland's Giveaway!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Sleeping With A Pro Wrestler

Now before any of you go off and judge me based upon the title of this post - please let me explain...

I was so exhausted that I went to bed immediately after watching Deadliest Catch and After the Catch last night.  (Both were super sad - BTW.)  Usually it takes me a good twenty to thirty minutes to fall asleep - but not last night.  I was so tired that I drifted into an incredibly deep sleep almost immediately.

So you can imagine my surprise when midsleep I felt myself being hoisted out of the bed.  One second I am sound asleep, the next I feel my entire upper body being raised from my pillow.  Startled, I opened my eyes to find my husband's arms wrapped around my shoulders and waist.  What the...okay maybe he wants a little late night....

That thought was quickly interrupted when hubby slammed me back down onto the bed.  He then leaned over me and whispered into my ear, "That's right - I told you I would be king!"  WHAT THE?!?!?

"Steven" I questioned, "what are you doing!?!"  "Racing and wrestling", he replied.  Realizing that sleeping in the bed next to a man who was obviously acting out some dream about racing and wrestling might become rather dangerous, I decided it was best to wake him up.

I gave him a quick shake and his eyes opened with a look of confusion and concern.  "Did I wake you", he asked.  "Umm..yeah - you kind of body slammed me tough guy."  "Oh - sorry, I was having some crazy dreams."  To which the only response I could think of was, "You don't say?!?!"

A quick glance at the clock confirmed it was 4:00 am - so I rolled over and willed myself back to sleep.  Thankfully hubby's motor skills and strength were significantly diluted in his unconscious state - otherwise that body slam might have done some real damage!

I really shouldn't complain.  I'm the worst person to sleep with in the world - I snore, steal the covers and have a major tendency to drool (yes - I just admitted that.)  So I guess I can put up with hubby's late night role playing every once in a while - maybe next time he'll be a fireman or Edward Cullen.  :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kirkland's Caddy Giveaway

Good morning beautiful bloggers! I have a special treat for you today. Kirkland's has contacted me regarding a giveaway they would like to host for one of their new products: an ultra trendy shower caddy.


It wasn't that long ago that I was in college - and let me tell you, shower caddy's just were not that cute.  I received my shower caddy last night and was surprised at how versatile this product is.  The various compartments of different sizes and shapes make it possible to use this caddy for just about anything: arts and crafts, lunch box, hair and makeup supplies, etc.  I will be using this as a beach/pool bag.  I *hate* it when my gross suntan lotion and suntan oil get all over my books, iPod and snacks.  This little beauty will save me a lot of grief because everything has its own compartment! (Did I mention that I love the pink and black?)



Here's how you can win:
(Please post all entries seperately so I can make sure to give you credit for each)

1. Must be a follower of my blog.  Leave a comment stating that you are a follower.
2. Share this giveaway on your site - either via post or in your sidebar.
3. Visit http://www.kirklands.com/ and and share one item you would like to add to your home decor collection.

Also - if you see something you like at http://www.kirklands.com/ be sure to sign up for their emails.  They send free coupons and notify you of upcoming sales!  And if you're in the middle of a design project or looking for inspiration for you home, visit http://www.mykirklands.com/ - this is a user friendly design site with tips from designers and pictures from real homes across the country.

Good luck!  The giveaway will close Monday, July 19th at midnight and will be announced Tuesday, July 20th!

**Please visit Official Giveaway Rules for all rules and regulations in reference to this giveaway.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one}  I had an amazing weekend.  We were finally in town - after four weekends straight of being on the road.  It was *glorious*.  I had forgotten what it was like to sleep in (or at least sleep past 9am that is) and lay around with hubby on a Sunday afternoon.

{two}  In addition to quality time this weekend - I finally did a great deal of cleaning around my house.  Although, somehow I feel as though my house is even less clean than it was before.  Have you ever had those days where you bounce from room to room cleaning one area or another - but somehow never get an entire room in the house clean?  I have a clean microwave (but unclean oven), clean bathroom sinks and toilets (but unclean showers), clean mirros & glass throughout the house (but undusted furniture), clean laundry room (but unclean clothes) - I mean really - WHAT WAS I DOING!?!? 

{three} Apparently I have a coffee addiction, in particular an iced coffee addiction.  General Foods International Cappuccino Coolers are my new favorite!  Just add ice and a little milk and you can have an iced coffee at home in less than a minute.  So easy and by far the least expensive, super yummy iced coffee I have found!

{four}  My little brother turned seven yesterday.  Oh wow - where have the years gone?  He was such a cute kid - HERE for super cute photos.

{five}  I am so ready for football season.  I don't want to wish my summer away too quickly - but I am SO ready for college football to start again.  ROLL TIDE!

{six} I'm starting to rethink this wanting a baby thing.  It comes and goes.  But I wonder if I'm ever going to feel completely ready.  I mean - that's a lot of responsibility - financially and otherwise.  I just don't know if I'm ever going to feel like it's "the right time".

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Master Bedroom Makeover - Wishful Thinking

Truth be told - I'm not a very decorative, trendy, Martha Stewart type girl.  I always have a difficult time mixing and matching pieces to create a completed room.  Couple my decorating anxiety with the fact that fashionable home decor can be incredibly expensive and I tend to shy from decorating projects.

But lately....I've been wanting to revamp my master bedroom.  I have heard people mention that you can find great deals online, especially at sites such as Overstock.  So I decided to do a little surfing and see just what I could come up with on an Amber-friendly budget. 

My search for the perfect comforter set lead me to Bedding & Bath where I fell in love with this beauty.  I love red in the bedroom - romantic, inviting, strong.  All the emotions that I want to feel in my master bedroom.

The hardwood floors throughout our home make area rugs a necessity.  I think this would compliment my new comforter set quite nicely - accent the brown and soften the deep red.

I do not like large, overcrowded furniture in my bedroom.  As a result, I look for bedroom furniture that provides sufficient storage without taking up unnecessary space.  For example an armoire with multiple compartments or nightstands that double as storage are perfect in my book.  I would love to add these pieces to my room.



  We currently have one nightstand in our master and it resides on my side of the bed.  Steven complains weekly that he wants his own nightstand with his own table lamp.  So a new set of table lamps to complete the makeover is a must.  Perhaps something like these would do quite nicely...


The perfect thing is that everything I picked out would match perfectly with my current bed, dresser, curtains & artwork.  I could have a complete makeover for for under $1,000.  In comparrison to prices I've seen at Pottery Barn, Pier 1 and Crate and Barrel that's a steal. 

A girl can dream right....  :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sick of Insurance Companies

I'm a little more than frustrated with insurance companies these days.  Why is that rates are constantly going up? 

My company is in the process of renewing our health insurance benefits and it appears as though our rates are going to increase roughly 11% - 11%!  Nothing major happened to cause this change.  Chalk it up to general inflation???? I think not.  But I need health insurance coverage - so what can I really do about it other than accept the increased premiums? 

Remember when this happened?  Well Steven and I received our insurance renewal policy from State Farm last week and my insurance premium has increased $800 for the year.  No - you didn't read that incorrectly - $800!  Mind you, I have had a perfect driving record for the past seven years - no accidents, speeding tickets or traffic violations of any kind.  The first incident against my record in seven years and WHAM! It doesn't matter that the insurance company has been taking my money for the past seven  years and not spent a dime - oh no....I am now considered an at risk driver and therefore must pay dearly!

I'm beyond annoyed with this one.  Again - in order to drive I must have automobile insurance so what can I really do?  I will be shopping around for new car insurance.  I'm sure my insurance will be expensive with our companies as well - but maybe, just maybe I can save a couple hundred bucks. 

Has anyone recently changed insurance companies?  Any suggestions for companies that tend to have good rates?  I'm in need of help here!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bursary of Bliss

Kristen over at Windy Poplars posed a very good question during last week's edition of her Kindred Spirit Party. She discussed the importance of identifying people, places and activities that bring you joy and enrich your life. It is important to identify your Bursary of Bliss and include such items in your life on a regular basis in order to feel fulfilled and content. She got me thinking - what does my Bursary of Bliss consist of? What makes me smile, makes me happy, causes my soul to feel at peace even when things are stressful? Surprisingly, I was able to think of many things that make me a happier me.....
~ A good run with Dixie. I enjoy the easy rhythm between the two of us. I love how she prances at my side and how content she is while we are running together.
~ Reading late night with hubby. It’s peaceful to lay in bed side-by-side while silently reading. It’s a great way to end a long day and relax before bed.

~ Sunday afternoon naps with hubby and my puppies. I’m not sure how, but somehow the four of us manage to fit onto our couch and crash for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon. It’s generally the best sleep of my entire week.

~ Coffee with a girlfriend.

~ Sunday night Life Group. This is one of my favorite times during my week – digging deeper into God’s word and searching for His will in my life. It’s a time of fellowship and rejuvenation for my soul.

~ The beach – I don’t care what I’m doing. Any activity on the beach is rejuvenating – Vitamin D is like a happy pill for me!

~ Blaring the radio and singing at the top of my lungs during a road trip. PURE THERAPY!

~ Date night at the movies.

~ Spending time with my family. It’s good to feel like you belong – and the place that I feel most secure is with my family.

~ BLOGGING!!
The list could go on and on. When I think about it – I have been given so many blessings. God has enriched my life with people and activities that bring me so much joy and happiness. If I’m honest, most days I focus on the trials and stresses that cause me pain. Instead, I should focus on how great my life is and be thankful for each day. I think I’m going to take Dixie for a run tonight after work – focus my thoughts on being content and grateful. That would be a nice change of pace for me!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{One}  After seven long months on base in Great Lakes, my brother was granted leave this weekend and came home to SC.  I spent the entire weekend with my family (minus hubby who was in MS visiting his family.)  It was AMAZING!  Sometimes it's nice to feel like a kid again in your parents' house with no responsibilities or worries. 

{Two}  Having a sister who is in cosmetology school rocks!  I got a cut, highlight and pedicure for free this weekend!  Not to mention the deeply discounted hair products!  (Umm...for those of you who buy from your stylist, salon or places like Ulta - you are paying DOUBLE if not TRIPLE the wholesale cost!)

{Three} Speaking of discounted hair products, Crickette suggested I try Nioxin vitamins to help my hair grow longer and thicker.  Apparently they are a miracle vitamin for your hair and skin.  I also picked up some B12 yesterday.  Now if I could just start taking my fish oil regularly again I might have a healthy supplement regimine in place.

{Four} McDonald's Mocha Frappes are to-die-for!  Seriously!  They are better than Starbuck's frapachinnos (sp?) and are half the price!  These things are going to get me in trouble!

{Five}  I watched "Remember Me" last night - so sad.  I wonder if that's why I'm in a funk this morning - seriously - so sad!

{Six} My boss allowed me to take Friday as my July 4th holiday so I could spend more time with my family while Paxston was in town - so I'm at the office today - which totally stinks.  BONUS - the air conditioning in our building has been turned off since the building is observing July 4th today.  Great - this is going to be a super long day!



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