Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Things I'm Loving About Spring

Today I'm linking up with Neely @ A Complete Waste of Make-up and Amber @ Brunch with Amber for the Favorite Things About Spring link-up!

Spring has always been one of my favorite seasons, because that's when we emerge from winter with a fresh perspective and see nature bloom around us.  There are so many fabulous things to celebrate about spring, so here are a few of my faves...

Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks--YUM!
(picture from variousandsundryreviews.blogspot.com)

Michigan State Spartans Basketball, complete with The Man, Tom Izzo and his pal Sparty
(picture from LSJ.com)
Sandal Season with my J. Crew Flip Flops
(picture from J. Crew.com)

Abita Strawberry Harvest Beer

Cadbury Eggs


Pedicures with my favorite OPI nail polish, especially Bogota Blackberry

I'm so glad spring has sprung!  What do you love about spring?

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Lovely Weekend

I had such an great weekend.  So great, in fact, that I mourned the fact that it came to an end.  Here's the recap of my weekend...
  • On Friday, I stayed home an nursed the tail end of a nasty virus that took the wind out of my sails last week.  I really needed to finish recuperating so I could have a nice weekend, and I was so glad I did.  I was incredibly sad, though, that I missed the Tampa blogger girls' meet-up at Becca's house, but I saw their pictures and they clearly had a great time.
  • On Saturday, I was feeling 100% better, like my old self again, so I went to see my girlfriend Stephenie and her new baby William.  He was such a doll! 

  • On Saturday afternoon, hubby and I made a trip to Lowe's and said "Bye-bye coat closet, hello pantry!"  Our new pantry rocks my socks off.
  • On Saturday night, we went to Mellow Mushroom for dinner, but we were unable to find anyplace to park (that parking lot is totally redunkulous), so we went across the street to Outback.  We actually ended up having a great time, just the two of us.
  • Hubs and I decided we wanted cheap ice cream, so we stopped over to McDonald's to pick up two low-fat vanilla ice cream cones.  It's brilliant use of $2.  While we were there, we saw a crazy sight--two rogue, unicycling teenagers.  WTF.  Kids today are so weird.  We even caught one in action...

  • On Sunday, we went to Lakeland and met my family for the Detroit Tigers vs. Philadelphia Phillies spring training baseball game.  It was such a gorgeous day, and I didn't get sunburned! (It's always a red-letter day when I am outdoors for hours on end and don't get charred.  A special thanks is given to my Neutrogena sunscreen for working overtime.)

  • After we left the game and said goodbye to my family, we did some shopping and headed home.  We had a relaxing afternoon, and tried a new restaurant, PDQ in South Tampa, for dinner.  It ate some delicious chicken tenders and had far too much fun playing with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.
We had such an awesome weekend that I didn't want it to end.  The good news:  We're on to a new week, full of possibilities, laughter and good times.  I learned today that this is Clinique bonus week at Macy's so I'll be stopping by to check out the goods some night soon.  Happy Monday!

Our Li'l DIY Project

The hubs and I have been talking a lot lately about our longer term plans in our home.  We'd like to stay here for another 2-3 years, having one child here before moving to a larger home for baby #2.  Our current home, a small 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo, is sufficient for just us, but will be really tight with a baby.  We think we can handle living in tight quarters for awhile though, while we save up for the house we really want.

One of the things we had to figure out was how we were going to create more room in the kitchen.  Our kitchen is very small and we don't have a ton of cabinet space.  Hubs suddenly had the great idea of converting the closet next to our kitchen into a pantry.  I can't believe I never thought of that!  (He claims that he posed this option to me awhile ago, but I said no.  I have absolutely no recollection of this.  I think he's making it up.)  This particular closet had always been used as a coat closet, which isn't the most worthwhile use of space considering that we only wear coats for a few weeks a year.  We live in Florida, after all.  A pantry would give us real, usable space that will make having an extra person here a distinct possibility.

We started with me removing everything from the closet, then thoroughly cleaning the walls and floor.  The dust bunnies I found in the back were HUGE.  Yuck.  After I cleaned it, we removed the closet rod.

We then installed an adjustable shelving system with basic wire shelves.  It was important for us to be able to change the spacing between the shelves as our needs evolve.  We're practical like that.  Or non-committal.  How about both.

My man with the tools of the trade: a drill and a beer. 

The finished closet.  Everything's sturdy, level and clean.  Yay!

I topped this off with an epic trip to Sam's Club to stock this bad boy up.  A full, organized pantry is a beautiful thing!  Never mind the top shelf, which is still a work in progress.

Having a pantry is a small thing to some people, but it means a lot to us and the longer-term potential of our home.  I'm so glad we could make a simple improvement that will help us so much.  It also makes me glad to have a husband who's good with power tools! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's Okay

I can't believe it's Thursday already!  Where has this week gone?  I'm actually going to do something that I've been meaning to do for the past few weeks... link up with Amber @ Brunch With Amber and Neely @ A Complete Waste of Makeup for It's Okay Thursday!

It's Okay...

To have loved Painting with a Twist even though I have the painting skills of a 6 year old

To indulge in ice cream every night because I'm feeling under the weather (and knowing full well that they two have nothing to do with each other)

To wear shoes that kill my feet in the good name of fashion

To be sad that my Spartans lost, but be even sadder that it threw my bracket to hell

To own more candles than pots and pans (I think I'm stockpiling for the apocolypse)

To find that my happiest moments with my husband are the ones where we're acting the weirdest

To be a little sad at the thought that Smash might get cancelled

To be craving a cupcake in the worst way right now

To love my spoiled rotten Schnauzer even when she whines up a storm

To miss my twin sister even though I just saw her last weekend

To have ponytail holders stashed in every crevice of your car, purse, laptop bag...

To keep a fully loaded Starbucks gift card on me all times

To develop a long and lasting relationship with my navy blue cardigan sweater

To eagerly await our 1st Anniversary cruise in June

To be stoked that I got my tickets to this summer's Dave Matthews Band shows

To be geeked that tomorrow is FRIDAY!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My oh my, it's the March Birchbox!

For Christmas this past year, my amazing twin sister and her hubby got me a 6 month subscription to Birchbox as one of my gifts.  I loved the idea, but I had no idea just how much I'd look forward to getting these little boxes of joy.  It's seriously a highlight of my month!  Ya'll know how much I love samples anyway.

I've loved my past Birchboxes, so I hoped and prayed my next one would be a tremendous success like the others.  As soon as I got the email saying that my Birchbox had shipped, I stalked my mailbox for several days, like a madwoman.  I probably had a crazed look in my eyes as I purposefully trotted down to my mailbox each day, hoping to see the package in my mail cubbie.  I got home late from work the other night, and I saw my Birchbox sitting on the kitchen counter.  Oh happy day, it arrived!

Here are the goods...
The description card.  This is awesome because it explains some of the weird-o things that they put in these boxes.

 Clockwise, from L to R:
Ahava Essential Daily Moisturizer
Kusmi Detox Tea
Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Instant Volumizing Shampoo
Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Instant Volumizing Conditioner
Talika Lipocils Expert
Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens

The good news is that this box has some great above-average sized samples.  The shampoo and conditioner will be great for a weekend getaway, so I'll probably save those for my next short trip.  The Boscia blotting papers work great if you have oily or combination skin, like moi.  I tried them in my past life as a beauty sales associate (though I preferred the rose scented version) and always recommended them to customers.  I'm always game for trying a new moisturizer like the Ahava since I've really enjoyed other Ahava products I've tried (like their foot cream). 

I'm not really keen on the Detox Tea because I'm not much of a hot tea drinker.  Gimme iced tea any day of the week, unsweetened please.  I'll be giving these teabags to my better half, who happens to love hot tea. 

The weird-o product of the month are the Talika Lipocils.  I had to read the description to figure out what this was.  Apparently this is an over-the-counter product that you apply to your eye lashes to help them grow thicker and longer.  There's just one problem though...

This is what the applicator is supposed to look like.  It's a normal mascara brush with a foam tip at the end to apply the formula to the base of your lashes.  Looks pretty cool, right?

Well this is what the applicator really looks like...
No mascara brush.  It's really just a lip gloss applicator.  I'm not exactly sure how I'm supposed to apply this product to my lashes without the mascara brush, or at least without getting the serum all over my eyes.  Hmm... Maybe I'm just not thinking creatively enough.  Let me know if you have any ideas!

All in all, it's not a BAD Birchbox, but definitely not the most exciting.  I see that some other bloggers were getting Essie nail polish in their boxes.  You know who's jealous??  THIS GIRL!!!  I loved my grayish purple nail polish from a couple of months ago, so I would love some fresh new colors for spring.  I'll just pout a little to myself, then I'll get over it and be happy with what I got. :)

Do you guys subscribe to Birchbox?  If so, what did you get in your boxes?


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Personality Dichotomy

Sometimes, people tell you something about yourself that really makes you take a step back and think hard about who you are and what vibe you emanate to others.  One of those moments occurred last week, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

Last week, someone I work with confessed to me that she was really upset that I didn't talk to her more and make more of an effort to be friends with her.  This person wants me to plop down in the chair in her office and just gab with her for awhile, and wants me to allow her to help me more.  I was shocked because I always thought this woman hated my guts.  Like, seriously couldn't stand me.  I guess I was wrong.

This person also implied that I'm an introvert and don't talk enough to the people outside of my immediate work group.  Whaaaa?  Me, an introvert?  It's funny how people can perceive your personality.  While I'll never be a huge, over-the-top personality, I wouldn't classify myself as an introvert at all!  I draw my energy from spending time with others, and being alone with my own thoughts was never my cup of tea.  I LOVE being around other people, chatting and working in teams.  Public speaking?  Meh, not so much.  But hangin' with friends, both old and new, makes me a happy girl.

All of this has really made me think about who I am as a person, and consider what side of myself I'm presenting to the people in my life.  I'll admit that I am not always the same Kari at work as I am outside of work.  Most of  my coworkers have seen little glimmers of me, but they haven't gotten the whole package.  My former boss and immediate coworkers know the real me, but everyone else gets my game face--quiet, agreeable, calm-cool-collected Kari.  They see me as someone who never loses her cool, who has always got it together.  How wrong they are!  Apparently I've been really successful in keeping my lively, silly, and emotional sides to myself.  I do NOT see myself as someone who has it all together... nuh-uh.

Part of me just doesn't trust my coworkers enough to be my full-strength self all the time, since showing them my true self makes me feel somewhat vulnerable.  If someone's going to dislike me, I'd rather it be for my faux personality than my real personality.  It's a preemptive defense mechanism, if you will.  I've been keeping up appearances for 6 years now... 6 years!  That's a long time to project a persona that isn't truly "you".

I always wonder what would happen if I acted like the real Kari in front of those people.  When I've given people some of it here and there, they act shocked.  Like, they cannot believe what just came out of my mouth.  The truth of the matter is that I get emotional.  I get VERY excited and I talk WAY too much/too fast/too loud.  I have opinions, and they may not always go along with what everyone else is saying.  I've censored myself, to some degree, to not cause any dischord or rifts at a job that means SO much to me.  And you know what?  I realized that I've probably done myself a disservice.  After all, how can you live an authentic life when you're not giving people all of yourself? 

My goal is to trust people a little more, and give people the real Kari.  They may never see me at my most boistrous or goofy, but I will start letting them see the passionate, humorous parts of me that are usually the most entertaining.  And I'll put myself out there with my co-workers in a way that allows me to become closer to them.  I have to start somewhere, so here goes nothing! 

Onward and upward!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh, What a Wonderful Weekend!

Once in awhile, a weekend comes along that soothes you and makes you feel like all is right in the world... and I just had one! 

I might have mentioned before that I really miss my twin sister, who lives all the way in O-Town and doesn't get to Tampa much. She and her hubby, D-Rail, came to visit this weekend and we had some much-needed family time.  They were really only here for about a day and a half, but it was enough to recharge my twin-battery.

Here are a few highlights:
  • Kelly and Darrell came over on Friday night, and we met up with Tracy to go to Rick's On The River for some cocktails.  We had some yummy, unhealthy-to-the-max grub and listened to a nostalgia-inducing cover band, all while watching a very entertaining gentleman cut the rug with some old-dude dance moves.  I can't believe I'd never been there before!  Never mind the fact that you have to go through the projects to get there... that place was a lot of fun!  I wish Pete could have joined us--that would have made the night even better.  (I would have had pictures to share but I left my camera at home.)
  • On Saturday, we made an early morning stop at Bath and Body Works to take advantage of some awesome sales.  I got hand soap, shower gel, candles, hand santizer... yup, I totally cleaned up!  I also had a slew of coupons (as per usual), which helped make it all even more affordable.  I really didn't need the candles, but they were such a good deal that I couldn't put them down.  Woo-hoo!
  • We stopped by Hula Bay for lunch to enjoy the beautiful day and dine on the water.  My mahi sandwich was the bombdotcom!
  • Kelly and I did a little shopping while Pete was at work and D-Rail took a nap.  We hit up DSW, Westshore Mall... and what's a girl's outing without a trip to Total Wine & More?  We even found my favorite spring seasonal beer, Abita Strawberry Harvest!
  • Kelly, D-Rail and I went to The Green Iguana Westshore (aka "The Green") to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, then Pete joined us after he got off work.  The Green had great green beer specials, so we were totally in the spirit.  We didn't bother with silly green beads or hats or boas or whatever else we've done in years' past.  We were just glad to be together!

  • We had dinner at Datz, and they had green mashed potatoes in honor of St. Pat's.  They were seriously Girl Scout green! (The pic below is a little dark because of the mood lighting, but you can see how bright those potatoes were!)
  • On Sunday, we hit up First Watch for brunch, then we said goodbye to the fam and their cute pup, Charlie.  We miss them already!
  • In basketball, my Michigan State Spartans beat St. Louis, making it into the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament!  I proudly sported my Spartans gear, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next game on Thursday night.
I hope you all had great St. Patrick's Day weekends!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3.14 Blog Swap - The Big Reveal!

I always see the girls behind my favorite blogs participating in awesome blog swaps, and I'm so jealous seeing the great stuff they receive!  I never took the plunge into participating myself, until now!  I joined into my first swap, the 3.14 Swap, hosted by Jen, Krystal and Erin.

The swap consists of sending your partner...

3 Paper items (Stationery, cards, anything made of paper)
1 Accessory (Hair clips, jewelry, etc.)
4 Pastel items (Any thing you can imagine that's pastel colored)

I am so excited about the swap, and I got a great partner, Jess from the Pretty Physicist.  She sent me some outstanding goodies, and I've been anxious to share my loot with you!

My Paper Items:  Notecards, Journal, and Flower Notepad
My Accessory:  A totally adorable Floral Wristlet
My Pastels:  Sparkly Nail Polish, Cosmetic Bag, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, Bunny Notepad

I absolutely love everything!  In fact, I'm eating a Peanut Butter Egg right now. :)  The wristlet is going to be broken out this weekend when I go out with the girls, and I know they're all going to ask where I got it.  I'm also enamored with sparkly nail polishes lately, so this one will be the perfect addition to my spring lineup.

Thanks SO much to Jess for the wonderful spring things.  It's been great getting to know her blog (which is so smartly written, I must say!) through this swap, so check it out!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Revisited

Hey girlies!  I hope you all had a terrific weekend.  Mine was busy-busy, but it was all good stuff.  No complaints here.  Here's a little recap of the fun...

On Saturday, I visited the Strawberry Festival in Plant City with my girls Tracy and Katherine and we had a blast!  It was a little slice of redneck heaven, and the people-watching was priceless, as per usual.  Since strawberries are my all-time favorite food, I was quite a happy camper.  We ate corndogs with Arnold Palmers, and of course huge strawberry shortcakes.  Yum!  Here are a few pictures from our day...

The main strawberry shortcake stand is run by a local Catholic church, who requires as "donation" in exchange for the goods.  It's delicious, so it's worth it.

This is the trough shortcake buffet.  That big white thing in the middle?  That's a huge vat of Cool Whip.  Yup.  I almost died when I saw that.

I was sweating my bum off (can you believe it's this hot in March?), but I was delighted to get my treat.  I didn't go easy on the Cool Whip, did I?

On our way out of the Strawberry Festival, we stopped and bought flats of strawberries.  I was able to get a full 8-lb flat for just $5!  I have absolutely no need for 8 lbs. of strawberries, being that there are only two of us in this little family, but I decided to clean all of them, then freeze 4 lbs. that I can later use to make a batch of strawberry preserves.

So pretty.  They just remind me of spring, and that makes me smile.

After going to the Strawberry Festival, I cleaned up again and went to Katherine's going away party at Brio at International Plaza.  Tracy and I got there a little early, so we popped into The Pub for a quick drink.
This, my friends, is my favorite pub drink, a Snakebite.  It's half Harp, half cider, and it rocks my world.  It sounds weird but it's ahhhmazing!

Brio was delish, so I'll totally be going back with Pete.  Afterward, Tracy and I left and stopped by Yogurtology to pick up some cupcake batter low-fat fro yo.  I really don't go there often enough, but I'm sure I'll be going there more as the temps increase.

On Sunday, Pete and I went to Bright House Field in Clearwater to see the Phillies play the Tigers in a spring training baseball game.  It was so much fun!  I can't believe I've never been to a game there.  Here are a few pictures from the game...

See the person lounging in the lawn chair out front?  That's the Hooters Ball Girl.  She was really exterting herself.  I didn't see her budge the entire game, but she had a pretty sweet view so I can't blame her.

Here's the scoreboard.  The Tigers logo is the exciting part of the picture. 

Here we are, basking in the sun.  I was in the process of burning to a crisp when this was taken.  My little arms are lobster red today!

On Sunday night, we went to dinner at Rouen Thai with our dear friends Jess and Steve to celebrate Steve's birthday.  It was awesome to see them again, but hopefully we will be able to see them again soon.  Our dogs need a play date.

So it was a lovely weekend, full of fun events and great friends.  I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pourin' One Out For My Homie

I've heard the expression that the more things change, the more things stay the same.  Change is inevitable, but it's a constant--nothing stays the same forever, and the world, and life, are constantly evolving. 

Two things happened to me at my job this week that illustrated this point. 

FIRST:  I was told via email on Tuesday morning that I was being given more work to do, as if I wasn't already busy or stressed enough.  I was told that I needed to take over HR support of a certain huge department from a co-worker of mine, which I'd be doing in addition to my already full plate of responsibilities.  It was a total pile-on, but my boss knew that I'd never say no.  I'm a sucker team player like that.  The bad part about it:  no raise, no promotion.  Just more work.  {sigh}  I've learned over the years that resistance is futile, so I accepted the addition to my workload with a smile.  I can't help but feel a little ticked though.  Being ultra-reliable doesn't always pay off.

SECOND:  My boss was let go this morning.  It wasn't a surprise, but the shock still ran deep and I wasn't prepared for it to happen so soon.  Some people can't stand their boss, so this would be welcome news to them.  I,  on the other hand, had a stellar relationship with my boss and he was a huge supporter of mine.  He taught me SO much and I feel like I owe him big time.  I'm totally gonna pour one out for my homie tonight, in the form of me pouring delicious beers down my throat.  Just for you, Steve, just for you.  It's really the end of an era for me.  I'm sad that things have to change, but I'm hopeful about the future.  I have a new boss, but the work remains the same, so maybe it won't be so bad.

I'm going to give myself the weekend to sulk, then it's onward and upward.  I just keep reminding myself, there's no crying in baseball.  It will be okay, and I'll embrace the changes and challenges ahead.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pinterest & Copyright Laws: Discuss

"Hello, my name is Kari, and I am a Pinterest addict." 

(image from Pinterest.com)

I don't often mention it to people, but I'm totally in love with Pinterest!  At times, it's bordered on unhealthy, but I try to keep my obsession in check.  It's just a website, afterall.  When I need something to pass my time, particularly when I'm in a doctor's office waiting room or sitting impatiently between periods at a hockey game, pinning is my favorite pasttime.  I also pin at home, during my lunch hour at work, and while my husband and his buddies watch wrestling.  This activity has escalated since I discovered the iPhone app so I can literally pin from anywhere.  I've been using Pinterest for about 6 or 7 months, and I was the first of my friends to discover this glorious site.  I'm happy to report that I've made them all believers! 

I get some great home decorating ideas from there, as well as fun recipes, pictures of cute baby animals (my kryptonite) and craft how-to's.  I have pinned things from my favorite blogs and repin things my friends have found that I know I can't live without.  I've tried a couple of recipes that turned out to be duds, but so many others have been resounding winners.  It's been a fun resource and a great way to share ideas and favorite websites.

Yesterday, my husband sent me a link to this article from Business Insider.com that really opened my eyes to the risks associated with using Pinterest.  I'll give you the Reader's Digest version of it:  Essentially, you, the pinner, could be held liable for pinning/"sharing" copyrighted images on your Pinterest boards.  A photographer (or whoever owns an image), could sue you for copyright infringement, and you as the pinner would be forced to pay their legal costs, attorney's fees, etc. on top of damages for using an image that belongs to someone else.  Holy crap.  This could add up to a lot of money when you consider how many pins the average user someone like me has on their pin boards.

The article likens Pinterest to Napster, saying that the site facilitates the sharing of property that doesn't belong to us.  The difference I see between Napster and Pinterest is that with Napster, the user had to upload music from CDs, which then were offered to others who took the property without paying for it.  On Pinterest, the images are already shared on the internet, but users can link the images to a common site that essentially shares links to other websites.  The image sells the site.  Granted, the pinner isn't paying the owner for their use of the picture in creating the link, but the picture is already out there, shared with the world.

The thing about Pinterest that's also different is that most blogs and websites LOVE for their images to be shared because it generates interest in their sites.  It generates traffic, which can increase followers, subscribers and customers.  Pinterest also encourages website owners to put compelling photos on their sites, which can help increase pins, which in turn drives even more traffic.  I don't know that a lot of people really want Pinterest shut down because of the good it can create.

What do you think about this?  Do you think the risks of pinning outweigh the benefits?  Do you think there's any real risk at all?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Unfun But Necessary

Sometimes in life, there are things you have to do that are not fun in any way, shape or form, but you have to do them out of necessity.  It could be doing something as simple as having to put new tires on your car or doing your taxes, but sometimes it's getting a medical test done.  No one likes getting their blood drawn or having their annual well-woman exam, but these things can be real indicators of something being wrong with us.  They suck, but they're important.

I'm about being real on this blog, because even a beautiful life has some bumps in the road.  So, I'll tell you about one of my unfun necessities.  Once every five years I need to have a colonoscopy done.  Most people look horrified when it's brought up, but I'm not afraid to talk about it.  People don't talk about these tests because they think they're gross and only old people get them done.  That's just not so.  Yeah, I admit that they're kinda gross, but it's a procedure that saves lives. 

I feel like I owe my life to getting this procedure done.  I was having some issues when I was 22, so I went to see a specialist.  Since my grandmother died of colon cancer, my specialist had me get a colonoscopy just to be on the safe side.  They were confident that they wouldn't find much since I was only 22, and colon issues are more prevalent in the Over 40 set.  Well, they found a pre-cancerous polyp, and the doctor said that if it hadn't been discovered, I probably would have had full-on colon cancer by the time I was 30.  Yikes.  Talk about an intensely scary, sobering conversation.

My point is this: you have to listen to your body.  It tells you when something isn't right, and you should get it checked out.  Even if it's unpleasant or gross.  It could be something, or it could be nothing.  Just get checked out.  I thanked my lucky stars that I listened to what my body was telling me and saw a specialist about it.

On Monday, I got my colonoscopy, and I'm thrilled that it came back clean--no polyps, no issues.  Getting the procedure done was NOT a fun experience.  In fact, it was worse than my previous two in terms of discomfort and overall embarrassment level.  I'm so glad that I have a husband who can laugh with me about it!  Afterward, I just vegged out on the couch for most of the day because the anesthesia made me feel like a zombie.  But it was over, and I don't have to go back for another 5 years.

Do you have any unfun necessities?  Do you ever put off the inevitable because it's just so unpleasant?  Hopefully I'm not alone here. :)

Sunday Funday

I was remiss in posting about one highlight of my weekend.  On Sunday, I went to brunch with the Tampa Bay blogger girls, and it was so much fun!  I just love getting to know everyone and meet new people.  Here's a picture of us after our delicious meal at Grillsmith.

Our hostess wasn't much of a photographer but all of our faces are in the frame, so that's a plus!  I look forward to seeing the girls at the next blogger event.

On a side note, this was my only meal on Sunday, so I made sure it was a good one.  I spent the rest of the day prepping for a medical procedure I had scheduled for the next day, so that meant no food.  Booooo.

I'll see everyone again on the 23rd!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Super Saturday & Painting Perfection

Hola Chicquitas!  Saturday is definitely my favorite day of the week.  They're always awesome, so it's no wonder that I dream of this day all week long! 

I started my day by sleeping in, and Bella, bless her little puppy soul, slept in with me!  When I woke up, she was content to give me kisses and snuggle for an extra half hour.  When we finally got out of bed around 11 am (I know, I know, I slept my whole morning away), I was able to get ready before taking Bella on her morning (er, noontime) walk.

I decided that I needed lunch and I wanted to do a little shopping, so I headed out and stopped at McDonalds to claim one of my free meals.  Back story:  I almost never eat fast food, but I had purchased some Living Social vouchers for Big Macs and french fries, which Pete and I decided to use one night on our way to a Lightning game a month or two ago.  While we were there, the supervisor was rude to both me and her employee, and I noticed mold growing on the drink machine.   I didn't raise a stink in the store, but I stewed over it all night.  I never do this, but I decided to lodge a complaint with McDonald's corporate because they needed to know when customers have these types of experiences.  At first, all I got was a form-letter email, which I mentioned in their follow-up customer service survey.  After that, I had multiple managers call me, and they sent me 6 coupons for free meals.  They also had us come in for two more free meals, aside from those coupons.  We've eaten more McDonald's in the past month than I had in the previous 6!  Since I love coupons and am always budget conscious, I am bound and determined to use these things in the upcoming months.  I feel like I'm ripping McDonald's off, but I guess that's how they treat people who cause a fuss.  No complaints here!

After having my delicious, unhealthy, artery-clogging lunch, I stopped by Nordstrom Rack where I came up totally empty-handed.  Booo!  I normally find such great stuff there.  Actually, I did see some watches and sunglasses that I liked, but absolutely did not need.  I knew my hubby would be less than pleased if I dropped cash on unnecessary things, so I left quietly and with a frown on my face.  I also stopped at Marshall's but it was disasterously picked over.  Another disappointment.  Today was not my day for shopping!

When I got back home, Pete and I decided to crack open a new beer discovery that Pete made last night at Total Wine:

Shipyard Applehead!  Knowing that I crave the Shipyard Pumpkinhead beer (fall seasonal) with a firey desire unlike any other, Pete saw the breweries spring seasonal and brought it home for us.  I didn't even know they made a spring seasonal!  Typically apple flavored beers are ciders, but this was definitely a beer, and it was yummy.  I has more of a sour apple flavor than I expected, but I'm kind of digging it!

This evening, I got some much needed girl time when I want out with everyone to celebrate Julie's birthday!  We started out by going to our fave sushi joint, Yoko's in South Tampa.
 Here we are, chatting for so long that we forget that we're on a schedule and begrudgingly place our order...
L to R:  Tracy, Moi, Mary Hall and the birthday girl, Julie

When I ordered, I got two rolls...

Hello, Hawaiian Roll!  Hello, Bucs Roll!  It's so nice to see you both tonight!

And this is what I did to those rolls...
All. By. Myself. 
"I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"  ~ Homer Simpson

After dinner, we went to a new painting studio in South Tampa called Painting with a Twist.  We took the Sunflowers painting class, and it was a blast!  First of all, it was pretty hard for amatuer artists like us.  It was VERY hard for me because I don't have a steady hand.  I'm not shaky like tweaker, but it was still a struggle.  Me trying to paint straight lines with a paint brush is almost a joke, but luckily my painting wasn't being graded.  I channeled my inner Bob Ross and thought about painting happy trees (in this case, flowers), and the calming thoughts chilled me out.  Here was what our finished product, painted by our instructor Erin, was going to look like:

Here was my background after it was completed:

I thought I did a pretty good job of blending the colors and making sure the whole canvas was covered in paint.  Wow, I can't believe I felt so accomplished by simply covering the canvas with paint!  I guess that tells you something about my artistic prowess.

Here's my finished painting, which I'm pretty proud of! 

 I mean, it's a step above a 9 year old's school art project, but I did it by myself (no stencils or copying) and you can actually tell what it's supposed to be! YAY!

Here we are as a group of very proud painters:

Talk about fun!  I just love trying new things, and I'm sure we'll be going back for another class in the future.

I hope you all had wonderful Saturdays too!  Did you do anything fun?

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

La Bella Vita

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