Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Social - Childhood

Hiya girlies!  This is a glorious Sunday on the eve of October, and I have big plans for the upcoming month.  Today, however, is all about fun, so I'm linking up for the Sunday Social!

This Weeks Questions:

1. What do you miss most about being a kid?  Not having to work!!!  Seriously, I didn't realize how good I had it back then.  My biggest problems were which day to invite Carin over to play or whether I wanted Nutty Bars or Swiss Cake Rolls as my weekly lunch treat.  Sheesh.  Now I have to deal with big girl problems, like when to invite Tracy out for dinner or whether to have low fat Yogurtology fro yo or full fat Pumpkin Pie ice cream for dessert.  Oh wait... so similar.  Well let's not forget about my other big girl problems balancing my budget, managing a responsible job and keeping Hubs happy.  When I remember by 10 year old self complaining about being a kid and wanting to be a grown up, I want to slap the Bonne Bell Lip Smacker off her mouth.

2. Did you have a nickname growing up? My sister called me Sister Bear (after the Berenstain Bears books) and my dad called me Kare Bear. My friend Amanda called me Gal Smiley, after the Sesame Street game show host character, Guy Smiley.  She called me that because I talked, laughed and smiled all of the time, and I loved to tell a good story.  And guess what?!  I still do!  I have worked hard over the years to control my chatterbox ways.

3. What was your favorite thing to do at recess?  Swings, four square, basketball, tetherball and jump rope.  I was awesome at four square and tetherball, and not too bad at jump rope.  Just don't ask me to do that double-dutch stuff!

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?  I wanted to be a doctor until I was about 12, then changed my focus to teaching.  As I got closer to the end of high school I gave all of that up and decided to go to school to be an archaeologist.  I work in Human Resources now, so you can see how well that worked out!

5. What was your favorite toy? My favorite toys were my Pogo Ball (remember those??) and my Cabbage Patch Kids.  I also had a shit-ton of Barbies and Barbie stuff (cars, houses, hot dog stands, etc.).  Looking back, the amount of toys I had was ridiculous, and it's no wonder my parents bagged some of them up every year and gave them away to charity.

6. What is the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?  My parents always tease me about a phrase I used when I was about 6 or 7.  Whenever my parents told me they didn't like something I did or wnated me to do something different, I'd shout "I don't give a care!"  I have no idea where I got that, but my parents still laugh about it and tease me for it.

Didn't you just love being a kid?!  I would love to travel back in time to relish those moments of irresponsibility and fun.  I'd appreciate it so much more now!  I hope y'all have an awesome Sunday!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Best Cosmetics Shopping Trip

I stopped by my company's employee store today, and I was floored at some of the great merch they had in stock.  I ended up getting some great deals today, and I knew I had to share them with you!  It was mostly cosmetics, but I threw in a home fragrance item for good measure.

Let's go clockwise from the top left.

On the top left, I got a Lancome Deluxe Brush Set & Makeup Case for $17.  This retails for $59 at Saks, so I saved $42!!  This set includes Foundation Brush #2, Powder Brush, Mini Precision Cheek Brush, Dual Ended Brush #18, and Blending Shadow Brush #17.  I plan to throw out some of my old, under-performing brushes because these are so much better!  The brushes are soft and the handles are comfortable in my hand.

On the top right in the plaid box is a JB Winter Spice reed diffuser and candle set.  This smells so great and Christmasy!  It will also make a good hostess gift for a holiday party if I choose to give it away.  I paid $8.50 but it retailed at my company for $35.  That's a savings of $26.50!

In the gold box below the reed diffuser set is the Red Carpet set of Deborah Lippmann nail polishes.  The set includes 5 full-size polishes in Believe (gold beige metallic), Just Walk Away Renee (berry black cherry), No More Drama (sultry golden caramel), Sarah Smile (the city's sexiest pink) and Whatever Lola Wants (sparkling lilac/lavender). 

It's a gorgeous set and I can't wait for my next pedi to break out Believe.  I feel a little sparkle coming on!  This set retails for $59.50, but I paid just $13.  I can't believe I just saved $46.50!

The yellow, red and pink box at the bottom is the "I'm Glam Therefore I Am" kit from Benefit.  It is such a wonderful little travel set!  The set includes the following:  Girl Meets Pearl liquid pearl for face, Glamming face powder with brush, Life on the A List lip gloss, A Little Bad Gal Lash mascara, and an eye shadow palette with Pink Fancy, Icy Lilac, Posh Amethyst and Precious Pewter shades. 

I paid $8.55, and this set retails on for $36.  I saved $27.45. 

Finally, I scored a 3-pack of Stila Sorbet Lip Glazes in Angel Food, Honeysuckle and Cotton Candy for $6.90.  These retail for $22 each at, but they're on sale for $10 each on right now.  Since they typically retail for $22, I saved $59.10 on three!  That was my best deal of the day!!

In total, I paid $53.95 for $255.50 worth of products.  I'm super proud of myself, girls!  I haven't made this good of a haul at the employee store in several years.

Change is as Certain as Death and Taxes

Do you ever feel like sometimes life puts you through the wringer, only for you to emerge victorious in the end?  Perhaps this is where my life is right now, going through the wringer, but I know I will end up in a good place.

Over the past week, things have gotten hard.  I've been incredibly stressed, I haven't eating well (and hence not losing any weight), yesterday I broke out in an anxiety-induced rash (which has not gone away) and today someone side-swiped my car in the parking lot at work.  Sweet mother of pearl, when will the madness end?  It looks certain things in my life may be changing in the near future.  I can't really say what because I have no idea who is reading my blog right now, but I will say that it's nothing to do with my marriage or family.  Those are rock solid, thank the heavens!

I absolutely hate when bloggers speak in vagueries and code, but here I am doing it myself!  I don't mean to be a hypocrite, but sometimes life circumstances require a little... discretion.  I will be able to share more soon, I promise! 

I just think about life handing me lemons and me making lemon drop martinis.  Things always work out the way they're supposed to, right?  People always say that the only things you can count on in life are death and taxes.  Well that's not entirely true.  Change is another absolute that you can never escape.  I've been fortunate enough to live a relatively stress-free life over the past few years, so I figured change would be coming eventually.

Despite a few challenges as of late, a few things have been going well for me:
  • I have discovered how much support I have in my life and it's made me feel so very loved. 
  • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream is back at Publix, so I've rediscovered one of my favorite fall treats.
  • I totally cleaned up at my company's employee store today.  I scored some tremendous deals and it felt like sweet success.  I'll write a separate post for that because I know you'll want to see what I got!
  • I had glorious shopping trip with my mom on Sunday and found some fab new clothes. 
  • My husband has given me amazing back massages this week.  He's really outdone himself!
  • I hung out my good friend Stephenie again and we had so much fun that neither of us wanted to go home.  We visited two malls and had a long dinner at PF Changs, which is a great time in my book!  She also dispensed some thoughtful advice to me when I really needed it, and isn't that what good friends are for?  I love that girl!
  • I found pink suede ballet flats on clearance for $20, and they don't give me blisters.  FINALLY, a cute pair of shoes that doesn't kill my feet!
Even though I feel like certain things in my life are headed to crazy town, I know good things are on the horizon for me and I'm not going to let things outside of my control bring me down.  Girl's gotta stay strong and think positive, so I will.  That's how I'll stay sane amidst the craziness.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Social Time

Hap, hap, happppy Sunday!  I'm linking up for the Sunday Social!

This week's questions...

1.  What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid?  Skydiving and taking a higher level professional certification exam (SPHR).  The test is awfully expensive if you're not positive that you'll pass, so I've been happy with my PHR.

2.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  AH, my least favorite job interview question!  In 5 years, I hope to be working in a higher level HR job, have 2 kids and own a new house.  I also see myself getting more involved in the Junior Woman's Club and doing more charity work in my community.

3.  What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?  The Oktoberfest pub crawl, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday and maaaybe a trip to Philly.

4.  What are your hopes for your blog?  I hope to develop some regular posts and add more about my life:  what I love, what I struggle with, what's working well, and what my dreams are.  I know that I have the opportunities to pour more of myself into my blog, and I hope to do that over the next few months.

5.  Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?  Actually, no, I often think about moving back up north.  I know, I know, leave Florida for the cold, white north??  Yeah, the snow part would suck, but I have been thinking about moving closer to either Hubs or I's families.  We'd either be targeting the Philadelphia or Detroit areas.  I would REALLY miss Florida, though, since living here has been such an amazing experience.  I would miss being close to the water, seeing palm trees and eating grouper and cuban sandwiches.

6. What is your morning routine?

7:00 - Wake up, shower, dry hair
7:30 - Get dressed
7:45 - Pack my lunch, take the dog on a walk, feed the dog, turn up the thermostat
8:00 - Leave for work
8:30 - Arrive at work

I don't regularly make my bed or put on make-up before I leave for work.  I also forget my coffee 50% of the time.  My mother would be horrified!!

Hope you have a terrific Sunday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Ok

It's been ages since I wrote an It's Ok post, or linked up in general... far too long!!  To be honest, I've missed it, but life has just taken me away from some of my routine as of late.  My goal is to get back into my blogging rhythm!  Part of that is doing some fun link-ups in the upcoming weeks, posting some of my favorite new recipes and finally add some of the posts I've been writing on my iPhone over the past two weeks.  YAY for goals!

It's Ok...
To keep a monster to-do list
To love my cheapo Aussie 3 Minute Miracle deep conditioner
To be passionate about college football
To have so much jewelry that I need to upgrade to a bigger jewelry armoire
To be in disbelief that my adorable puppy is about to turn 12
To have been into pumpkin before it became so stinking popular
To look away when scary movie trailers are shown on TV -- apparently I'm a big baby!
To feel deflated when my BFF has to get off the phone
To die laughing when Hubs said that he "used to be into The Bizkit" (as in Limp Bizkit) back in the day... ah, the good ol' days of rap-rock
To gag at the thought of fried pickles
To melt when I see this:
To want a Gucci handbag instead of new tires for my car

To be a little scared at the thought of motherhood (and no, I'm not preggers yet!)
To be annoyed when I can't read people
To feel a Sephora shopping spree coming on!
To be worried about trying yoga (it is possible to be terrible at it??)
To love seeing the Backstreet Boys in Old Navy commercials
To dream about buying our next house, but dread the house-hunting process
To feel like I'm one bad hair day away from a good cry
To love making new friends
For the best part of my day to be seeing my husband after work
To clean my house frantically because my parents are coming to visit this weekend

What's ok with you this week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Birchbox Is Here!

Okay, so y'all know that I love posting about  my Birchboxes on here, and after getting a pretty great box last month, I was anxious to see what September's box would hold.  Well, it arrived yesterday, and eh, it's alright.  First I'll show you what I got, then I'll tell you what I think...

L to R:
Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
Color Club Nail Polish in Tweet Me (Lime Green)
Kate Spade Twirl Perfume
Jouer Matte Moisture Tint
La Fresh Eco-Beauty Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover Towelette
Mighty Tea Leaf in Green Tea Tropical, Chamomile Citrus and Vanilla Bean
I'm kind of on the fence with this box.  I love the Kate Spade Twirl perfume (I own the full size and travel size already) and the nail polish remover towelette will come in handy, but I really hate the lime green nail polish.  Well, that's not fair.  I like the idea of lime green nail polish, but I absolutely cannot wear it at work.  It  While my company claims to be progressive, funky nail polish is highly frowned upon.  Booooo.  I've so badly wanted to wear cute, brightly colored polish (like Essie's Turquoise and Caicos) on my toes, even, but then I'd be forced to wear ballet flats to work everyday.  Not only is that HARD to do in these warm Florida months, but half the fun is getting to show off the cute colored polish!
The Vasanti product is interesting... it's a cleanser/exfoliator, but with a name like "Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator", I expected it to be some kind of a serum or treatment product.  Even though the name is kind of convoluted, it works as a light exfoliator used a few times a week.  I don't know if I loved it enough to pry me away from my current exfoliator, but maybe a couple more uses will convince me.
The Jouer Matte Moisture Tint is pretty nice.  It smooths over my skin nicely and the color blends well, but it really doesn't look any different on than the previous Jouer product I got in a Birchbox, the Luminizing Moisture Tint.  I literally put a little of the Matte on my right cheek and the Luminizing on my left cheek to compare--no difference!  In general, I'm a fan of tinted moisturizers, BB creams and the like, but I'm kind of non-committal about them.  I have them, but they don't get used regularly.  Maybe I just haven't found one that knocks my socks off.
Finally, we get around to the Mighty Tea Leaf teas.  I'm not much of a hot tea drinker, but Hubs likes it so I'm giving them to him.  My Birchbox included three tea bags in different flavors, and all sound pretty tasty.  I'll let Hubs have them, but I'll be stealing a sip or two!
I saw a listing of all of the possible Birchboxes here.  I got Birchbox #4.  Some of the boxes had Twistbands in them, which I would have appreciated, but alas, no Twistband for me.  Overall this isn't the best box that I've gotten, but it's not as bad as some.
If you get a Birchbox, what did you think of this month's box?? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kissing The Weekend Goodbye

So Monday has rolled around once again, and I've said hello to a brand new week.  This week should be a little less stressful than previous weeks, where I was crazy busy and barely had a chance to think, let alone clean my house, do my laundry or spend quality time with my hubby.  YAY for brand new weeks!

This weekend turned out to be a pretty fun one, if I do say so myself.  I started out the weekend by sleeping in, then going out to do some solo shopping.  I always used to shop with my twin sis or friends, but in the past year or so, I've gotten used to shopping on my own and I love it!  I feel like I get so much accomplished when I'm not worried about someone else or what terrible buying decisions they're about to make.  The one thing I don't really care to shop for on my own:  shoes.  I have no idea why, but I like a second opinion on my footwear choices.

So on this little shopping trip, I made a good sized home fragrance haul at the Bath and Body Works sale (of course I can't resist the fall scents!), and managed to pick up some work clothes for a steal.  I also went bridal shower gift shopping at Macy's, and I got an amazing deal on a set of Mikasa wine glasses for my friend Angela.  The shopping gods were shining down on me this weekend!! 

I then came home and cleaned the kitchen like a Super Wife, and when Hubs got home from his shift at the radio station, we took off again.  This time we went out to Wings Gone Wild to watch the Michigan State vs. Notre Dame football game with the MSU Alumni Club.

Two super-happy Spartan fans

I absolutely love watching games with my fellow Spartans!!  They're such an enthusiastic group, with all ages represented.  The game didn't really go as planned and MSU suffered a big loss, but it was great to watch the game with such awesome fans.  I did find it funny, however, that the club president JUST figured out that I had gotten married, and finally decided to congratulate me.  Better late than never!!

After our sad loss, Hubs and I ran out to get some ice cream, and we saw the car below...

The picture is small, but the sign hanging off the bumper reads "Caution: Low Clearance" and the sticker on the back window reads "Powered by eBay".  Um, what???  Hubs and I have no idea what these are supposed to reference, but let me know if you get it!!

On Sunday, I had an whirlwind of a day!  Honestly, it was far busier than I prefer a Sunday to be.  I love lazy Sundays.  Remember that great SNL clip with Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg, talking about getting Magnola Bakery cupcakes and watching the Chronicles of Narnia?  Man, I loved that.

ANYWAY, I met my sister for lunch in Brandon, and she brought me a bag of goodies from Trader Joe's!  Just to give you some background, my city doesn't have a Trader Joe's, but one just opened about an hour south of here.  My sister made a pit stop there on her way home from a conference, and she brought me some of my favorite Trader Joe's foods:  trail mix, mini peanut butter cups, truffle brownie mix and my new fave, cookie butter!

If you haven't tried cookie butter yet, YOU MUST!!  It's incredible.  It's the texture of peanut butter, but flavored like Biscoff or ginger snap cookies.  Something like that.  I like it on graham crackers or apple slices.  Or just stick your spoon or finger in it and go to town. 

After seeing my BFF, I drove ALLLLL the way to Clearwater (which is about an hour away) for a Mad Men-themed bridal shower, which was so very cute!  And it was a surprise for the bride, which made it even better.  I then drove home, picked up Hubs, and we drove ALLLLL the way up to New Tampa to meet our friends for dinner.  We hit up a great German biergarten, Mr. Dunderbak's, for some delish brews and nom-nom-inspiring food.  Dunders is a great place for the craft beer enthusiast, and we were able to grab some great seasonals that we haven't been able to find anywhere else. 

My friend Jessie and I... I have missed her so much!

Oh, what a weekend!  I'm tired from going strong all weekend, but it was all such good fun that it was worth it.  I was able to put a big bow on this weekend and look forward to a positive week.  And tonight?  Well, I basically took tonight off, watching The Voice and Revolution with Hubs and Bella by my side. 

I hope you all had a terrific weekend and Monday!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Closing Out This Week

Happy Saturday, friends!! 

It felt so good to close out this particular week and move into the weekend for some R&R.  I finished up a big project at work this week, and spent two days with my coworkers who were visiting from my company's California and Tennessee facilities.  We went out to dinner at Bahama Breeze as a team on Monday night, where I ate far too much delicious food and had a strong margarita.  Let me tell you, it was much needed and so yummy!  My coworkers left on Tuesday, but before they left, we had a few moments to talk in private and they let me know how much I was valued by them and others in my department.  I almost started crying because things have been hard at work lately, and they both got big, enveloping Kari hugs for their kindness.  I'm a hugger, so that's how I display gratitude!  I have trouble playing "the game" needed to be highly successful in political corporate environment, but knowing that I still have an impact makes me feel so much better.  It feels incredible to hear positive words from my peers because they are the ones who really know what's going on. 

On Thursday night, Hubs and I got free tickets from the radio station for the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheater.  YES, that IS the worst name for a concert venue EVER!!  We just call it The Gary.  Shinedown was the headliner, with Godsmack, Staind and Adelita's Way as the support acts.  Hubs' radio station plays all of these bands, so even though they're not really my every-day car-jamming music, I do occasionally listen to and like these bands' music.  Actually, I had already seen these bands in previous concerts I've attended, but it was a free night of entertainment, so we said "what the hell!" and took advantage of the freebies.  Plus, the people watching at these hard rock shows is always AMAZING.  Seriously, it's a lot of bad tattoos and scantily clad people who should NOT be scantily clad.  It's comedy gold.  I'd have taken pictures of some of these people if I wasn't afraid that they'd catch me taking these pictures and kick my ass.

First of all, we had to park at least a mile away.  I take a lot of LONG walks, so I know what a  mile feels like, and that was a mile-long walk from the car to the venue.  Yuck.  We got to the venue during Staind's set because we had to work all day and we missed all of the side stage and early support acts.  We even missed Fozzy, which is the hard rock/heavy metal band fronted by WWE's Chris Jericho, which I would have been somewhat interested in seeing.  I don't really know Fozzy's music, but Hubs tells me that the orginal name of the band was Fozzy Osbourne (great, since they were a hard rock/heavy metal cover band), and I'd be interested in seeing if this wrestler guy has any real musical talent.  Anywho, we caught a few of the most popular Staind songs toward the end of their set, and the saw all of Godsmack and finally a fully-plugged-in set from Shinedown.  Everyone put on great shows, even though Godsmack's set was identical to last year when we saw them at the Mayhem Festival.

We ended up getting out of there around 10 pm, which is an early night for a typical concert, because Papa Roach had to drop from the bill.  Apparently the lead singer has a nodule or something on his vocal chord and couldn't sing past the first week of the tour.  We were SO relieved to get home early, though, because we're not kids anymore and we like to sleep before going back to work the next day. 

On Friday night, Hubs and I enjoyed a great night in, and I made a really amazing dinner.  I made pork and beef meatloaf with garlic red skin mashed potatoes and sweet peas, and served it with some pumpkin craft beer.  Mmmm, reminds me of my mom's Sunday dinners when I was growing up!

Holy Moly, that's a huge pile of potatoes!
We decided to have dinner on the couch last night rather than a proper meal at the dinner table, and it was really nice.  We won't do this after we have kids, but it's great for now!  The towels under our plates are to protect the leather couches from our warm plates, which is probably unnecessary but it makes us feel better about eating on the arm of the couch!

This morning, I slept in until my personal alarm clock (aka Bella) woke me up for her breakfast and morning walk.  I went to the mall and found a few good deals on work clothes, bought a bridal shower gift for one of my friends, then went to Bath and Body Works for their home fragrance sale.  I scored some candles, Wallflowers and even talked the manager into giving me two of the free candle deals!  I'm planning to give one to my sister when I see her tomorrow, so I told Hubs to relax (he sees more candles and flips out).   I came home and cleaned the kitchen, then hit Target before coming home to hang out with Hubs. 

Tonight, we're going to Wings Gone Wild to watch the Michigan State v. Notre Dame football game with the Tampa Bay Spartans Alumni Club, so there will be a lot of cheering, chanting and singing of the fight song.  Go Spartans!!!

Hope you all are having a fah-bulous Saturday!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Hairstyle!

Hey girlies!  Just stopping by tonight before I hit the hay to show off my new haircut. 

It's shorter!  It's sassy! It's perky!  What's best is that Hubs LOVES it, and keeps telling me how cute I look.  That makes my heart go pitter-patter!!  I love that he still makes me feel that way.  My female coworkers all complimented my new hair, but they also thought I had dyed it.  I haven't dyed my hair in years, but I'm glad the color looks fresh and my hair is shiny!

Getting my hair cut after work last night was the perfect way to end a long and stressful day.  There's something about someone playing with my hair that soothes me and sends chills down my spine.  I also have a great hair stylist, Rebeca, who I've been seeing since 2005 when I went to her for blowouts before two job interviews for my current company.  She gave me the best blowouts of my life, and I've been going to her ever since.  The only fault she had was the time she tried to convince me to let her cut bangs into my hair.  No ma'am.  I look like I'm 12 years old with bangs, which is not a good look for a professional who tries to be taken seriously.  I forgave her for her misstep, and she's given me many great hair styles over the years.  Now she's trying to convince me to take up running for exercise, which has nothing to do with my hair, but I appreciate her encouragement.  I'm just not sold on it since I have zero stamina.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of my hair with a fresh outlook.  I hope you've all had a Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9-11

If you were an adult in 2001, you probably remember where you were when you heard the news about airplanes being piloted into the Twin Towers.  It was an incredibly horrifying event that shocked so many of us. 

Like you, I remember where I was at the time.  I'm about to really date myself here, but I was 22 years old at the time, and had just started working for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company a few months before, immediately after graduating from college.  The company moved me to Sarasota, Florida to open a brand new hotel there, and on September 11th, 2001, we were holding a job fair at a big civic arena in town.  I was working at the front desk, greeting prospective job candidates with a big Ritz-y smile.  I took a break mid-morning, and that's when I heard the news that an airplane struck the first building.  Whoa.

We were all standing around in shock, unsure of how to proceed.  We continued with the job fair, but EVERYONE I greeted that day asked me if I had heard the news.  They were just as stunned as I was, and some were in tears.  I have no idea why they decided to come to a job fair when they were in such a distressed state, but I guess they really needed a job that badly.  That day, we heard from people who had family in NYC, and they didn't know if their loved ones were okay.  My heart was aching for them, just imagining how awful it would be to not know how your sister or kids were getting by in the mass hysteria.  I didn't know anyone in NYC at the time, but it still affected me.

After the events of 9-11, people were terrified to fly on airplanes, so the tourism industry took a nosedive.  No one was going to hotels, and hotels were in dire straits financially, especially in NYC.  I needed an HR job in 2002, so I took a position at a NYC hotel.  I wasn't afraid of air travel or living in the NYC area, though I had every reason to be.  That's a fearless 23 year old for ya.  Living there and seeing Ground Zero numerous times was a truly sobering experience.  There was a Century 21 store right near Ground Zero, so I started to associate buying my Kate Spade bags with seeing that big empty hole in the ground.  I've since moved away from that association, but it lingered for awhile.

Whereever you were on 9-11-2001, I'm glad you were safe and out of harm's way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Life Lately ~ Part 2

Last week, after all of our busy-ness and time off, we got back to business and had a 2 day workweek.  This didn't suck at all, as I suspected it might.  It was actually pretty enjoyable knowing that the weekend was coming up again so quickly!

On Thursday, I met up with the girls from the Tampa Junior Woman's Club for a happy hour at Kona Grill.  I almost didn't make it into the happy hour because the weather turned on us and it began to monsoon--driving rain coming down sideways, trees blowing over and a white-out due to excessive rain.  I decided to wait it out in my car, and eventually the rain lightened up enough for me to run in.  I'm so glad that I did, too, because they had amazing happy hour drink specials, cheap sushi and HUGE flatbreads.  I opted not to eat because I wanted to go home and cook my husband a proper dinner, and the girls decided to start referring to me as a Stepford Wife.  Riiiight.  If only I had the Barbie doll looks to go along with the title!

On Saturday morning, I met up with the Juniors again to do the charity walk/run for Operation Homefront at Ball Park.  Operation Homefront is a great charity that assists our soldiers with personal needs and expenses.  Living in a big military town, this charity means so much to everyone and it's a very worthy cause.  It was only a 2 mile walk, but the beating, hot sun and redonkulous humidity made me sweat like I had just run a 10k!  I even used my free t-shirt to dab the sweat off my forehead while I guzzled a bottle of water and downed a Blue Bell Strawberry Fruit Bar after the walk.  I went home after that and took the best shower of my entire life... seriously, it was a big ol' slice o' heaven!  I may have been in there for 25 minutes.

After Hubs got home from playing DJ at the radio station, we went out to our favorite dive sports bar to watch college football.  Can I just say that I'm beyond freaking excited that it's football season again???  I am, I am!!  What would make it better would be cooler weather, but beggers can't be choosers.  I'll just pine away for sweatshirt weather while watching my Spartans kick ass on the gridiron.

On Saturday night, Hubs and I went to my awesome friend Kennie's birthday party.  I met this guy while we were both sales associates at Bath and Body Works, like 7 years ago, and we were instant friends.  He calls me Miss Moss (because apparently he loves The Matrix and thinks Carrie Ann Moss is a badass) and Twin Whore (which Hubs hates), and I find his silliness to be endearing.

You're my boy, blue!
I got Kennie a bottle of Three Olives Loopy vodka for his birthday because it looked like something he would enjoy.  It turns out that this is his new favorite liquor, so I chose well!  I really know this kid!  Loopy is Fruit Loops flavored vodka, and we tried a drink and a shot using it at the party.  WOW, were they delicious and dangerous!  You can't really taste the alcohol, it just tastes like the cereal.  Yum!  My favorite was Loopy, milk and grenadine, which tasted just like the milk leftover in the bowl after you eat all of the Fruit Loops.  We also tried Loopy with pineapple juice and grenadine, and that was great, but very sweet.

On Sunday, Hubs woke up in a terrible amount of pain and he could. not. move.  I wound up taking him to the hospital because he was in such bad shape, and after a CAT scan and tests, they found that Hubs pulled a muscle in his lower back, has gall stones AND has fatty deposits on his liver.  Yikes!  He's going to his regular doctor to get everything checked out soon and hopefully he gains some mobility soon.  I feel sorry for the poor guy, but I'm taking good care of him.

Well that's it for me!  It's been a busy couple of weeks, but I've been thinking of some fun new posts that are coming soon.  Toodles!

My Life Lately ~ Part 1

I admit it, I've been a little lax on putting up posts over the past two weeks even though I've had oodles of things going on.  I keep meaning to add new posts, but life has just gotten in the way.  Things at my job have been out-of-control busy, I've been dealing with a sick dog, I visited my parents, I've helped my poor husband who is out of commission and somehow managed to fit friends and commitments into the picture.  I wanted to go to bed when I got home today at 8 pm, but I have way too much to do to be that indulgent with my time.

Last weekend, Hubs and I both took a couple of extra days off around the holiday weekend, for no real reason other than that we wanted a break.  It was actually terrible timing with everything I had going on at work, but what the hell.  We deserved a mini vacation!!

On Saturday, Hubs and I had a double date with our friends Joe and Megan, and we decided to hit up Splitsville in Channelside for a couple of games of bowling and dinner.  Splitsville isn't like a normal bowling alley.  It's upscale.  They serve sushi.  They serve beer in goblets.  Two games of bowling and shoes for two people cost us almost $40, which is more than the typical bowling alleys in this area.  But it's pretty amazing, and worth the extra dough.  We had a great time, and I even had a few lucky strikes, even though I barely scored above 80 in either game.

Still dressed up from the RNC

This goblet was super heavy, requiring me to use two hands like a 2 year old

I promise I won't steal these ugly shoes.

I <3 as="as" blue="blue" doesn="doesn" drinks...="drinks..." in="in" long="long" matter="matter" re="re" s="s" t="t" td="td" them="them" they="they" what="what">
Here I am in action.  Please don't critique my form!

Proof that I got a strike and a spare on the last frame, and that I was NOT the lowest scoring bowler in the group.  Woot!

The following day, Hubs and I took off to visit my parents for a few days down in Boca Vista (aka Venice).  We had a blast lounging by the pool and eating our weight in lasagna.  My mom rarely cooks anymore, but when she does, it's so, so, so good... and fattening.  I was reminded several times that I needed to come home and detox with copious amounts of salad and water.  I also went shopping with my mom, and I came home with some cute colored jeans and a chambray shirt, which I'd been trying to find for months.  Score one for Kari!  Here are a few pictures from our little trip...


Hubs and I at our favorite restaurant

The best parents in the world, hands down.  I LOVE these two!

This Blueberry Rosemary Martini was my favorite cocktail in years. 
I could have had 3 more, but I was with my parents and didn't want to look like a lush!

Hubs and I got back home and ran a bazillion errands, including getting my eyebrows done, going to the doctor and taking Bella for her annual vet exam.  At the vet exam, I learned that my dog has been having some wacky allergy issues and now she's been put on doggie Zyrtec, eye drops, antibiotics and some ointment to treat a little case of dermatitis.  If it's not one with with Bella, it's another, which is just par for the course with older dogs.  I get frustrated about it, but then she looks up at me this face...

...and I melt into a gooey, lovey mess.  I just adore her!

Stay tuned for part 2 of My Life Lately...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Changing It All: My Casa

Lately, I've been feeling the home decorating itch, and it's making me want to do two things:  completely declutter my home and fix up alllllll of the loose ends around my house.  I just want work on every little project that I've been putting off over the past year, and there are more than a few.  Then, I want to buy a new house and start all over.

Thinking about this makes me reminisce about my abode.  Last week was the 7 year anniversary of purchasing my condo.  7 years!!!  That number shocks me, because I never thought I'd live here that long and I seriously moved 1-2 times per year leading up to me buying this place.  It's a miracle that I've been able to lay down roots for this long because I used to get super antsy about my living arrangements.  My dog certainly thanks me for sticking to one place for so long, I know that for sure.  She HATES seeing moving boxes and gets very anxious when they're around.  She even had to take a special natural herbal supplement from my hippie veterinarian to calm down when we last moved. 

I bought this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo when I was in my mid-20's and wanted to own a little corner of the world.  It's quite small, 928 square feet, which was great when I was single.  It was just enough space and there wasn't much to clean.  It was perfection.  Hubs wasn't even a glimmer in my eye back then, and neither were kids, so all was right in the world.  Hell, I didn't even cook back then, so I didn't care that the kitchen was the size of a postage stamp.

Yesterday was also the 4 year anniversary of Hubs and I's first date, and about a year into my relationship with him was the time I realized that this condo wasn't going to cut it for long.  I made some room for Hubs to move in, and he we shoe-horned his stuff into this place, but to say that we've outgrown this condo is an understatement.  We're bursting at the seams, like Violet Beauregard turning into a blueberry after eating the dinner flavored gum in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

So, I've known for awhile that this little casa wasn't going to last much longer for us, but I've been trying to give it another 6 months to a year.  I figure that we'll look for a house once we get closer to having a baby, which may be coming sooner than I'm ready to admit.  (Let me diverge for a sec.  It's ridiculous that I'm getting into baby mode and talking about finding a bigger 'nest'.  I never thought I'd see the day!)  In the meantime, I want to go crazy on this place and get rid of anything we don't need.  By we, I mean me.  I have a lot of stuff, and I feel a good purge coming on.

Next steps after purging:  organize what's left, paint the master bedroom and guest bathroom, and touch up the paint throughout the rest of the place.  Organization is key.  I see an Ikea trip in my future, or maybe a field trip to a Container Store.  Those stores are like playgrounds to me, with endless possibilities and hours of fun.  YAY!

After the painting and the organizing, I'd love to redecorate the my living and dining room. It's been the same brown and red color scheme for years and I just FEEL something new coming on.  I will turn to Pinterest for inspiration, as always!  And my new Ikea catalog, of course.

Have you gotten the home decorating or organizing itch lately?? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fall Has Arrived

By and large, I enjoy Summer every year.  Is it my favorite season?  Not so much, but I like the light food, fruity drinks, sunshine and cook-outs.  I love wearing flip flops and light clothes, and going to concerts outdoors.  Those are my favorite parts of the season, for sure.  But a part of me always starts jumping for joy when Summer comes to a close and ushers in Autumn.  I certainly won't miss the humidity and sweltering heat.  No sir.

It's now the beginning of September, and I'm starting to see signs of Fall all around me.  It makes me giddy with excitement because Fall is easily my favorite season.  I love seeing the leaves change colors, going to cider mills and carving pumpkins at Halloween.  I love everything pumpkin flavored and scented, too, so it's a multisensory experience.

On Sunday, I was at the mall and saw that this had arrived...

Oh happy day!  I can't get enough of Bath and Body Works's Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin scent.  I go through 4-6 bottles of the shower gel every Fall, and it was time for me to stock up for the season!
Hubs came home with this sampler pack of pumpkin beer for me a few days ago.  He knows how much I love pumpkin beer, so this put a huge smile on my face!  I love it when he surprises me because it's always something good.

L to R:
Shipyard Pumpkinhead
Terrapin Pumpkinfest
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin
Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider
Samuel Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

No, I won't drink all of these myself, though I might be tempted!  I tried several of these last Fall, and they were great, but there were a few newbies that have been on my list for awhile.  I already tapped into the pumpkin cider and I loved, loved, loved it.  Woodchuck also makes a tasty pumpkin cider, if you're looking for options.

I've also been doing some online shopping lately, and I see a lot of tweed out there.  I just love tweed in the cooler months, though I can't really pull it off until Florida dips below 75 degrees in the daytime (think December).  Here are two tweedy things I'd love to have join my closet...

The leather trimmed dress with boots would be really cute for work, but it would have limited wear since we only have 2 months of Fall and Winter (and it's still warmer than most of the country's Fall and Winter).  The Toms just make me smile and they'd look cute with jeans.  So yeah, I want them, as soon as I clear up some room in my closet!

Finally, I was hellbent on finding a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks this weekend since I see that EVERYONE on Twitter has been drinking them (and I was bubbling over with jealousy).  On Sunday, I went to my neighborhood Starbucks, where I was told that they wouldn't serve me a pumpkin spice latte because it was before some special date set by corporate.  The guy told me "any Starbucks that is serving pumpkin spice lattes before September 7th is cheating".  Apparently someone always follows the rules.  Ugh.  So I went to a Starbucks at the mall by my parents' house, and voila, I was served a pumpkin spice latte immediately. And with a smile!  I even tried it iced, and it was delish.  Take that, Starbucks man.

I'm loving everything Fall right now and I can't wait for more!

My photo
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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