Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My New Job Is...

I started my new job this week, y'all!  Yesterday was my first day, and I was sooo incredibly nervous as I drove into work.  I prayed that I would like everyone, that they'd like me and that I would feel like part of the team quickly.  I chugged some of coffee, ate a protein bar and gave myself a pep talk.  I can do this.  I'm good at my job.  This is the job I deserve.

When I arrived in the HR office, I was greeted warmly by two of the HR Assistants, and shown to my office.  It was there that I saw my "new" (former) boss, Steve, and my former VP, David, who gave me a big hug and told me how glad everyone was that I was there.  I let out an audible sigh of relief.  I was thrilled to be there and working with Steve and David again was just icing on the cake!

My first day was not without some hiccups, though.  My computer didn't show up, Steve and David spent most of the day in meetings and my other meet & greets were quick.  I spent a lot of time in my new office cleaning the desks and getting things organized, which was actually not a bad thing.  Oh, and at lunch, I dropped some rice on my shirt leaving a little stain.  Of course.  But you know what?  It was a great day.  I was back to work and happy to be productive again.

Day Two at my new job was also pretty awesome.  I finally got my technology hooked up, and my boss and I started talking more specifically about the organization and people.  I learned about the computer systems and read the employee handbook cover-to-cover (no, that wasn't a highlight, I'm not that big of a geek!).  Even after my second day, I have a wonderful feeling about this place!

I have thought long and hard about this new job, and what it means to be.  Besides the blanket answer of "everything", I've come up with a little list.

My new job is...

A brilliant excuse to go shopping (even if it is for work clothes and accessories)

A chance to reconnect with my two favorite former bosses EVER

An opportunity to meet new friends

An opportunity to have a big office again

An opportunity to get hooked up with work-appropriate tools (a laptop, a wireless card and a Blackberry)

A bigger paycheck (never hurts!)

A chance to work near some of my closest friends, so I will always have people to meet for lunch

A chance to feel good about the work I'm doing again

An opportunity to manage people

An opportunity to work for an organization that serves the community in a vital way

A chance to do the types of work that I really care about

One that gives me excellent benefits and tons of vacation time (thank you, healthcare industry!)

All good things!!  I'm feeling blessed right now, and I'm looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.  I just know that this is the right opportunity for me, and it couldn't have come at a better time.  Sometimes life is uncertain, but things always look up and make me feel thankful for the opportunities I have.  I'm a very happy Kari today!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hand Soap Snob

I fully admit that I love a good hand soap, and would even consider myself a bit of a hand soap snob.  I've tried just about every hand soap out there, and I've fallen in love with certain brands.  Some I love because of their scents, some I love because of the lather, and others I love because they make my hands super soft.  I know what I like when it comes to hand soap, and I don't mind spending more to get what I want.

For years, my top three hand soaps have been Bath and Body Works (foam or deep cleansing), Molton Brown and Method.  Molton Brown has white mulberry and rose scents that I can't get enough of, and they leave my hands feeling oh so soft.  They are the most pricey of my faves, but I like to think of it as a fun treat when I feel like splurging.  Method's scents are awesome and I love their modern packaging.  Their formulas are gentle and not drying (yay!), and I love the company's mission to be good to the environment.  Bath and Body Works foam and deep cleansing hand washes are the soaps I buy the most often, and I love so many of their scents and the way their products lather.  Lots of lather = Lots of love from yours truly.  Even though I absolutely adore these brands of hand soap, I'm always on the lookout for new favorites.

Enter Lysol Touch of Foam.  Recently, BzzAgent sent me a bottle of Lysol Touch of Foam antibacterial hand wash to try and share my opinions on.  I wasn't sure I was going to blog about it, but after trying it, I thought it would be fun to share.  Even though I received this product for free, my opinions are 100% my own, as always.

I was skeptical at first about trying a hand soap from Lysol because I always associated their products with being harsh.  My first use of Lysol Touch of Foam made me realize that Lysol can no longer be characterized across the board as harsh, because this hand soap was very gentle on my skin.  The formula didn't dry out my sensitive hands, and even my husband commented that he liked how soft his skin felt after using it.  Since he's a hard man to please when it comes to things like soap and hand cream, this was a big compliment.  Score one for Lysol!

I received the Creamy Vanilla Orchid scent, which was actually quite pleasant.  This product also comes in Rose & Cherry In Bloom and Wild Berry Bliss fragrances.  I also liked the antimicrobial pump because you never know what germs could be lurking on it the pump, especially in the kitchen.  Any antimicrobial action is fine by me.

My one complaint about this product was it's claim of being a drip-free foam.  I did the drip test, when I pumped the soap into my hand and turned my hand upside down (kind like how Dairy Queen demonstrates the thickness of their ice cream by turning the cone or cup upside down).  I tried it once and the foam stayed put for a good 15 seconds.  Not bad.  Each time I tried it thereafter, though, the soap dripped right off my hand and into the sink within a couple of seconds.  While the foam is thick and will keep it's shape for a moment, it's not drip-free.

Here's the soap hanging on during my first drip test

Despite the issue with dripping, I really liked this soap.  This little hand soap snob will definitely buy this soap in the future.  I believe it retails for around $3.39 right now, and it widely available in most major stores.  If you're interested in trying a new hand soap, check this one out!

Many thanks to BzzAgent for sending me this great product to try!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stepping Into Spring Swap - The Big Reveal!

I'm so excited because today is the Stepping into Spring Swap reveal!  I have had my lovely box o' fabulousness for the past week and a half, and I've been dying to post about it.

I was paired with Heather from My Little HEA, and she did a GREAT job of choosing swap items.  Some people have the gift of being great swap partners, and some people don't.  Thankfully Heather DOES, so there was much rejoicing on my end!

I received a Color Club nail polish in neon pink (!!), a Seche Vite Top Coat, two La Fresh nail polish remover wipes, a Kai fragrance rollerball (she read my post about the latest POPSUGAR box and knew I loved it), and some great black flip flops.

The Kai smells heavenly (I'm totally wearing it today), and the La Fresh wipes took my nail polish off in a breeze.  I'll be using the adorable pink polish when I get my pedi this weekend.  YAY for happy spring colors and fabulous tootsies!

Thanks sooooo much to Heather for being an awesome swap partner!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fun & Games

As I've mentioned, I've been out of work for the past month, and I'll be starting my awesome new job next week.  While it's been super fabulous to have some time off work, I've been home A LOT and my cabin fever was running at an all-time high last week.  I was dying to get out and do, well, anything, and I was going to drag Hubs along with me if it was the last thing I did.  

On Thursday night, we finally decided to check out Flicks & Food Trucks in the Channelside district of Tampa.  It's a fun event that happens the third Thursday of each month, and features 10-12 food trucks and local, independent short films shown outdoors in a courtyard.  One of the food trucks that attends the event is the C&S Brisket Bus, which I've been dying to try.  My brother-in-law once worked with the guys who run that truck, and I heard that their sandwiches would blow my mind.  

I tried this bad boy, the Black and Blue sandwich, and it was the most delectable sandwich I've EVER eaten.  It had beef brisket, fresh veggies, hot sauce and a ton of their signature blue cheese garlic mayo.  Noms.  The weather was also perfect, so we had fun dining al fresco and sampling food from various food trucks.  It was a great date night, but it would also be fun to do with my girlfriends.  I will definitely be going to Flicks & Food Trucks again!

On Friday night, Hubs and I stayed in an enjoyed pulled pork that I whipped up in the crock pot.  It was delish, and Friday was my evening of rest before the weekend of fun began.  

On Saturday, I had a Junior Women's Club event to attend, where I worked in the silent auction room at the Women's Club's annual fashion show and luncheon.  I was out of there really fast (and fulfilled my final club event of the year!).  Can I just say how glad I am to have discovered this club and FABULOUS group of girls?!  I've had a blast getting to know them, and seriously, they couldn't be nicer or more welcoming.  I've even introduced some of them to Birchbox and Ipsy!  They're just wonderful people to know and enjoy some fun times with while helping the community.

After my afternoon of fun, I came home to hang with Hubs, then we met our friends for a triple date at the Cigar City Brew Pub.  This was my first visit to CCBP, and it was so stinking awesome!  I ordered the Cuban Sandwich and Hubs and I split the cheese and charcuterie plate, and all of it was incredible.  I also tried two new beers there, so I'd call that a successful dinner out.

On Sunday, Hubs and I enjoyed our normal no-kids ritual of sleeping in, then making breakfast and puttering around the house, and it was lovely.  Simply lovely.  I made pulled pork barbecue nachos for dinner (which were also ridiculously good) and we went out to the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey game in the evening.  We've only been to one other hockey game this season, and I was dying to get to one more game this year.  Well, let me be honest here.  I really just wanted to see some more hockey fights.  Gimme a fast moving game with some bloodshed and I'll be a happy camper!  The game was pretty good, but the Lightning lost by one point and there were just a couple of little fights, nothing major.  Oh well.  

After my fun weekend came to an end, I had to get back to reality.  I had to go to do my pre-employment physical, which was actually kind of a joke.  Can you bend over and touch your toes?  Do you have peripheral vision?  Are you free of communicable diseases?  Sweet, then you pass!  It feels divine knowing that I'm one step closer to my new job.

What a wonderful weekend and start to the new week!!  This is my last week of freedom until I'm back to the working world and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it!

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Birchbox and a Farewell

I have a confession to make.

Everyone knows how much I love my subscription boxes, and I've subscribed to 5 different boxes/bags over the past 6 months (not simultaneously).  I have my favorites, but there are constantly new subscription services offering bigger and better products.  In order to try new boxes, I've had to say goodbye to some of my long-standing subscriptions.  I decided to drop Ipsy last month because I wanted to try FabFitFun (post to come!), and I also decided to drop Birchbox.  Yup, I'm really doing it.

Dropping Birchbox was the biggest pain point for me because I've had some AH-MA-ZING boxes, and then I've had some awful boxes that were NOT worth the money.  The good ones kept me comin' back for more, but I couldn't ignore the duds.  But, wouldn't you know it, once I decided to drop Birchbox starting in May, I got two awesome boxes in a row!!  OF COURSE.

Truth be told, I was going to cancel in April, but I realized I had 298 Birchbox points, just 2 points shy of earning a $30 Birchbox.com credit.  OF COURSE.  I determined that it would be cheaper to get one more month of the box (and do reviews to earn my last couple of points) than it would be to order an item (plus pay tax and shipping) to earn the points.  So I hung on for April, and I was not disappointed in my box.  YAY!  But, BOOOO.  I don't want to drop Birchbox when I've been getting awesome boxes.  It just feels counterintuitive, but I'm trying to remember the duds and my wallet.  I can't afford all of these subscription boxes, so tough decisions have to be made.

Want to see my Birchbox this month?  (I heard that, it was a resounding "yes".)

L to R (Clockwise):

LAFCO Fleurs de  Baies Bath Soap
Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-on
Mineresse Glossy Kiss Lipstick
Kerastase Age Premium Bain Substantif (2)
Joanna Vargas Daily Serum

This is a successful box for me in a couple of ways.  First, I got two full-size products (Simple and Mineresse), and the other three sample sized products I received are all truly deluxe-sized.  This is a HUGE improvement over some of my past Birchboxes, which contained several single-use sample packets and one or two deluxe-sized samples.  Second, there is real value in this box.  The Mineresse lipstick is work $26.55, and the Simple eye roll-on is worth $10.99.  The bath soap is not full-sized, but it's the perfect size for guests who come to visit for the weekend.  I also got two of the single-use Kerastase shampoo samples, and the face serum will be good for several uses.  It's a winning combination.  I'm stoked to feel like I got way more than my money's worth with this box, but it makes giving up my subscription bittersweet.  

My favorite part of the box was actually the Simple eye roll-on.  I doubt I would have ever bought this at the store, but I love the way it feels around my eyes!  It's cooling and refereshing, just what my tired eyes need in the morning or the evening.  While Simple isn't the typical luxury brand that Birchbox promotes, it's a great product that I'm happy to have.

While my Birchbox subscription will be gone, it will not be forgotten.  I may resubscribe down the road if FabFitFun doesn't work out, because I still think Birchbox has some good things going for it.  

Farewell for now, Birchbox.  May we meet again in the future and enjoy happier times together.  While our history wasn't always rosy, at least we went out with a bang!

Have you tried any of the Simple products before?  What did you think of them?
If you got a Birchbox, what were your thoughts on this month's box?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pedicure Predicaments and Demanding More

As a girl, not much feels better than having a fresh manicure or pedicure on your nails, and it's such a soothing experience to have someone pamper you for an hour or so.  I like to treat myself to pedicures every few weeks, but I don't often spend the money on professional manicures.  While I love the end result, I have had WAY too many horrible manicurists in the past and my manicures rarely last beyond a few days.  Unless, that is, I go with shellac, and then you know the saying... Once you shellac, you never go back!

I had a pedicure the other day with my sister and I had a very, um... questionable, pedicure experience.  It started as the pedicurist was filling the tub with water.  She didn't put in any bath salts, but when the tub was about halfway full, she sprayed what appeared to be a bottle of 409-style bathroom cleaner into the water.  I guess she wanted to disinfect... the water?  And then she expected me to put my feet in it.  In my never-ending quest to be seen as an amenable, non-bitchy client, I kept my mouth shut and lowered my feet into the water.  Ew.

When my feet came out of the water, the pedicurist proceeded to rough-house my feet.  I think she was angry at them, but I have no idea why.  I just know that she was extremely aggressive with the tools and me saying "ouch" didn't slow her down one iota.  She also did something that has never been done to me in all of my years getting pedis:  she trimmed my nails with the cuticle nippers instead of nail clippers.  Weird.

When my pedicurist used the pumice on my feet, she barely scrubbed them and didn't use the ever-popular cheese grater or razor to address my serious callous issue.  Hmph.  Again, I didn't say anything because I didn't want to act like too much of a bitch.  Ugh.  I really have to stop that.  After she got done rinsing her pumice, she put it in a cup in her basket of tools and put my feet back in the water.  A few minutes later, she took the pumice out of the cup and emptied the cup (which was full of water that the tools had been soaking in) into the tub, where my feet were.  I gasped and was so grossed out, but still, I remained quiet.  The pedicurist then applied my polish unevenly, and my toes hurt for a couple of hours afterward because of her taking her personal issues out on my tootsies.  Thanks a bunch, lady.

The whole situation was just bad.  But you know what?  I paid for this pedicure, and even tipped my pedicurist.  It wasn't a GOOD tip, but it was a tip nonetheless.  I should have refused to pay, or at least asked to talk to a manager about what I had experienced, but again, I didn't want to be a bitch.  I just decided that I will never go back to that nail salon and neither will my sister.  I really need to address these issues in the least offensive way possible so I don't continue to have these problems with being unhappy but saying nothing.  I should demand better service!

I've already given up on other nail shops due to overly-rough pedicurists and manicurists who don't know how to file nails evenly, and I'm slowly knocking nail shops off my list of places nearby.  If anyone in the Tampa Bay area has any recommendations for nail salons, please let me know!

Awful nail experiences are a travesty.  Women pay to get these services done to treat themselves, and they should get a thorough, technically sound service every time.  But, these are humans doing the services and there are bound to be mistakes, but still, they should be few and far between.  I will continue to hunt for an awesome nail service because I know that one must exist!  Helllloooooo nail shops?  I'm coming for youuuu!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Big News and a Trip to O-Town

Hola chicas!  I hope you all are enjoying this fine spring day.  The weather here in Florida is warm, the sun is shining, the birdies are chirping, my gardenia bush is blooming, and it all just screams "gorgeous".

A few wonderful things have happened over the past few days, and I MUST tell you about them!

At the end of last week, I had several interviews for a job that I desperately wanted.  The position would be working with my former boss and former VP, and it is a completely different industry than my previous employer.  After two interviews on Wednesday, I was invited to lunch with the VP of Human Resources on Friday.  It was supposed to be a one hour casual interview over lunch, but it was actually an hour and 45 minutes of stress!  The man, who was very nice, grilled me on my human resources knowledge and I could barely choke down my lunch.  Worse yet, he had the worlds greatest poker face, so I couldn't even tell if he liked what I was saying!   Two hours later, I received a phone call from my former boss offering me the job!  I won't start until early May, so it gives me a couple of weeks to relax and have fun before starting the new job.  As you can imagine, I was elated and tearfully called Hubs and my family to tell them the good news!  Needless to say, they were all happy for me, too.

I had already planned to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Orlando this past weekend, so I quickly (and haphazardly) packed the car and bolted off to O-Town.  After I arrived, the three of us went to the Shipyard Emporium (Shipyard Brewery's brew pub) for their killer happy hour specials and delish foodstuffs.  It was such a fun night and I loved getting to hang out with my family.  I would have loved to go out to the bar after dinner, but now that my sister is seven months pregnant, she feels like it would look inappropriate to be chilling in a bar with her Diet Coke while my brother-in-law and I booze it up.  We settled for drinking some beer back at the house.

On Saturday, my sister and I got up early and went to breakfast, then hit the outlet mall for some retail therapy.  I needed some clothes for my new job (which has a much more professional dress code than my last employer), and my sister needed baby clothes.  We did great shopping for both of us, and I also managed to snag some sneakers and cute accessories along the way.

Cute Cheap-o Accessories

New Kicks

You don't really want to see the work clothes I bought, do you?  I didn't think so.  They're boring.

After we took on the outlet mall, my sister and I stopped for lunch at BJ's Brewhouse, then went to Buy Buy Baby to purchase, you guessed it, more baby stuff.  For dinner, we pried my brother-in-law away from the TV (he was glued to The Masters, as were all serious golf enthusiasts that day) and went to Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen for dinner.  Tibby's is owened by the company that owns Tijuana Flats, and it's a test for a new restaurant concept.  It was seriously delicious!!  There were hardly any veggies on the menu, but aside from that, the food was yummy and I can't wait to go again next time I visit Orlando.  I had a beer, which was served in a goblet that weighed about 5 lbs.  It reminded me of drinking a margarita, but it was really just a Miller Lite.  At least my right bicep got a workout lifting that big boy!

Before we left, we decided to split the small order of beignets, and they were THEBOMB.COM!   They were served piping hot and covered in a snowfall of powdered sugar.  I could have eaten 3 more, but I'm glad I stuck to one.  One was perfect.

On Saturday night, after our amazing dinner, my sister and I stayed up until an asinine hour gabbing away and watching late night TV.  I really loving having sister time like that and it makes me wish I lived closer so we could do it more often.

Sunday morning we slept in, then went to get pedicures at a place with highly questionable pedi practices.  My toes were sore for two hours afterward, and the polish was sloppily applied.  Let's just say that we won't be going back there ever again.  We hit Target for more baby shopping, and got some Wawa hoagies for lunch.  I finally had to head back home to Tampa to see my hubby, and I was really missing him!

When I got back home, I was greeted by this...

Hubs bought me a balloon, flowers and champagne to celebrate my new job, and he took me to Seasons 52 for dinner that night.  What can I say, he's a wonderful guy!  He has seen how hard I've worked at trying to find a new job, so he knows more than anyone how much this means to me.

It was a lovely weekend and I loved that I had such a wonderful time celebrating my new job with those closest to me.  I really do feel blessed to have this great of a family.

I hope you ladies had a wonderful weekend!  I hope your week ahead is awesome!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's OK

It's Thursday, it's GORGEOUS outside and I'm feeling pretty darn happy today, so why not link up for It's OK Thursday with Amber and Neely??  I mean, there are no better reasons than that.

It's OK...

That I put off working out in favor of meeting up with friends for Thai food

To be both excited and scared sh*tless about my big job interview tomorrow

To think my dog is the cutest creature that ever walked God's green Earth

 To continually forget to wash my car, even though it's totally filthy

To be a tad bit obsessed with Yoplait Simplait yogurt

To be childless after 30

To fear moths

To shed big, pathetic tears at losing my Tory Burch aviator sunglasses

That I love balancing my checkbook (and that I still use a checkbook)

That the past few weeks have been far more awesome than I ever anticipated

To love the way my husband talks with his hands like a true Italian

For friends to be brutally honest, even when it stings a little

To love that Jimmy Fallon (one of my TV crushes) will be moving to 11:30 pm next year

To not like the mean girls in blogland and wish everyone would just be nice to each other (it's just not that hard, ladies!)

Ahhh, that feels better.  I just needed to get that out.  Love to you all and sending you wishes for a happy Friday ahead!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April POPSUGAR Must Have Box

Yesterday, I received a knock-knock on my front door, and I saw the mail man scurry away to his waiting chariot (or white mail truck, if you prefer).  I wasn't expecting a package, I thought.  I peeked out my door and noticed a white box on my porch--it was my POPSUGAR Must Have box!  I don't know why I thought that it wasn't time to receive it yet.  I guess the days are getting away from me now that I'm not working.

I got a little rush of excitement, until I picked up the box.  Once it was in my hot little hands, I was struck by how light the box was.  It definitely didn't feel as hefty as the usual Must Have boxes, so I was anxious to tear into the package and see what was inside.  Or wasn't inside.

This is what I found...

I quickly discovered why the package was so light.  There wasn't much in it, and what was in it was small.  Hmph.  At first glance, I couldn't believe this package was worth at least $100, as POPSUGAR claims, but I was sure it was worth more than the $35 I spent on the box.

Here's a run-down of the contents in this month's box...

Shashi New Nugget Bracelet ($28)
Tatcha Petal Fresh Evening Aburatorigami Beauty Papers ($19)
Kai Perfume Oil Rollerball ($48)
Alter Eco Organic Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bar ($3.49)
The Green Garmento Four-in-One Reusable Dry Cleaning Bag ($9.99)

Total Value:  $108.48

Wellllll, I guess it's worth more than $100 when you calculate actual retail values, but it just doesn't look like much, especially compared to previous months.  I bet the ladies on the message boards and subscription obsession blogs are going to have a freaking field day with this one!  I'm sure you can hear the collective boom of all of them dropping their POPSUGAR Must Have subscriptions in unison.

Here are my thoughts (you can always count on me for that!).  I actually LOVE the Kai perfume rollerball because I'm REALLY into floral fragrances.  If you don't like flowery scenty, this isn't for you and you'll probably think it stinks.  You know, those women who hate the smell of flowers.  I like it and I'll be using it, but I doubt I'd ever drop $48 on a rollerball that is this small.

See?  It's pretty tiny.

The Tatcha evening facial blotting papers are fine, but again, I'd never spend $19 on them.  They are in a "clutch-sized" package, perfect for taking with you for a night on the town.  I have a bunch of Boscia and Clean & Clear blotting papers that do just as good of a job but for a smaller price.

The bracelet is cute and I *might* spend $28 on it, if I was in the market for such a thing.  I only have a handful of bracelets because I just don't wear them very much, but this is cute and I dig the turquoise and gold.  Apparently the gold beads are plated in 24K gold, so they can justify the price tag.

The Alter Eco quinoa chocolate bar sounded kind of gross, but it was surprisingly tasty.  Think of it as a dark chocolate Nestle's Crunch bar, all crispy but not too sweet.

The Green Garmento bag was probably my least favorite item in the box.  This item was featured on the ABC series, Shark Tank, and is being used by individual consumers and dry cleaners to reduce waste.  Honestly, I don't have much need for a reusable fabric bag that pulls quadruple duty as a laundry bag, reusable dry cleaning bag, duffle bag and garment bag.  I'll probably store some old jackets in this and stuff it in the back of my closet.

Overall, I like some of the elements of this box, but it just feels cheaper than usual.  POPSUGAR can and has done better, but I'm sticking with them.  I was thrilled at last month's box and hope that some of the upcoming summer boxes will be winners.

What did you think of your POPSUGAR box this month?

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Pink, Gray and White Baby Shower

I get some notable traits from my family members.  From my Dad and Grandma, I get my humor and silliness.  From my Grandpa I get my determination and resolve.  From my Mom, I get my chin and love of hosting people.  I love throwing parties and having friends over to our house, and I would definitely host more if we didn't live in such cozy accommodations.  I can't say that I throw the best, most Pinterest-worthy parties because let's face it, I'm no Martha Stewart, but I enjoy doing it and always try to step up my game.

This past weekend, I was thrilled to host my twin sister Kelly's baby shower.  She is due on June 25th, so she's definitely showing now and I wanted to have her shower before some of our family goes back to Michigan for the summer.

I was really happy with how everything turned out, and Kelly was happy too (and she's the most important person to please, being the guest of honor).  We chose to do a pink, gray and white theme and found some cute details using elephants.  It was not an extravagant shower, but it was nice and comfortable, and the perfect setting for an enjoyable afternoon.  I decorated the tables using fresh hydrangeas and roses in mason jars (cheaper than vases!), balloons and a custom gingham runner sewn by the mommy-to-be.

Of course you want to see pictures, don't you?  I expect nothing less from all of you.  Here are a sampling of shower pictures...

My mom, Kelly and Me (in the chevron dress!)

Saying Hello to Baby Moody

Cookie Mix Favors

Our humongous table

The diaper cake I made that turned out SO cute

My sister was thrilled with the Kate Spade diaper bag I bought her

Food is an absolutely critical element of any party, am I right?

Up close and personal with the cookie mix favor

Notice above that I have a total inability to tie a perfect bow.  My crooked bows are as good as it's going to get, girls.

I got the idea for the cookie mix favors from Bakarella, but had to alter the recipe a bit to get all of the ingredients in the jar.  I recommend using fewer M&Ms and chocolate chips and skipping the nuts to make it all fit, and even then, I practically had to use a shoe horn to get it all in.  Tight fit.  I made the tags, which have the cooking instructions on the back, by printing on card stock and cutting the scallop shapes out using a scrapbooking punch.  I decorated the tags using some "It's a girl" stickers I found at Hobby Lobby and attached them using some baby pink ribbon.

The diaper cake turned out FAR cuter than I anticipated, but it was really hard for a not-so-crafty gal like myself to put together.  I made Hubs help me, and he acted like he was being tortured!  To create it, I roughly followed some online tutorials but went my own way with the decorations.  I was bound and determined to pack in lots of onesies, burp cloths and sleepers, in addition to pacifiers, shampoo and toys.  To be honest, I was really stressed about building this thing and worried that it was going to fall apart in transport, particularly the top layer, which was a bit tippy.  I used the sunglasses and spoons to add extra support to that layer.  Thankfully the diaper cake made my sister squeal with delight (not kidding) and it stayed together throughout the party.  I even got compliments and a high five from my brother-in-law, who is not easily impressed.  Hallelujah!

This is just one more step in awaiting my niece's arrival.  I truly can't wait to meet her and become her favorite aunt!  I'm also so glad that Kelly appreciated all of the elements and time spent on the shower, as I knew she would.  

This baby shower has tickled my party planning bone, and now I have to start planning my next party.  Maybe a Cinco de Mayo shindig should be planned next... what do you think??

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Weekend of Fresh Air

Some weekends are very utilitarian and are just about getting things done.  Chores, errands, home maintenance, it just never seems to end.  We need weekends like this, particularly when we work all week, but they are never quite as rejuvenating as we need.  Am I right?  After the past couple of weeks, I really needed a FUN weekend, one that was about enjoying time with my friends and husband and not worrying about the minutiae that needed to be done.

This past weekend was just what the doctor ordered for me.  Halle-freaking-lujah.  It was like a breath of fresh air.

On Saturday night, the club that I joined earlier this year held it's annual pub crawl, Glow for Education.  We wore colorful neon glow necklaces and bracelets and followed each other around from bar to bar, getting rowdy and waaaayyyyy too much fun.  It was the perfect night.

Here are a few pictures from the night...


I can't believe I drank that PBR
Double Fisting

Hubby-Wubby and I... awwww....

At our Chinese auction, I won VIP tickets to a local concert venue and a restaurant gift card, so I think I did pretty well!  Hubs and I definitely wanted those concert tickets since we LOVE live music.

After the pub crawl, we stopped at Taco Bell (of course) and I vaguely remember eating a Cool Ranch Doritos taco or two.  It was a fun night, one that helped me to laugh a lot and remember what really counts in life.  I'm so blessed to have my friends and family.

On Easter Sunday, Hubs and I exchanged Easter baskets.  I gave him an all Reese's basket, while he made me this little gem...

It was lots of delicious Easter candy and bottles of Angry Orchard Elderflower and Abita Strawberry Harvest beer!  My man knows me SO well!  It was the perfect little bucket of love.

For brunch, Hubs and I met our friends Jess and Steve at Hula Bay on the beach.  I felt remarkably good (which was nothing short of a miracle) and it was lovely seeing them on such a beautiful day.  I felt so good that I drank a cocktail that was served in a bucket, which tasted mostly like fruit juice.  Yums.

Beverage of Choice, in a bucket of course

Brunch Buddies

Sunday afternoon was comprised of Hubs and I watching tons March Madness basketball, including that God-awful leg injury by Louisville's Kevin Ware.  I said some prayers for that guy on Sunday because that was so scary!  

On Sunday night, Hubs and I watched the Walking Dead season finale, and I was bummed about how the season ended!  The producers said we'd get closure to the Woodbury storyline, a while we sort-of did, we didn't get closure on what happened to the Governor.  Ugh.  They've kept me hanging on for another season!  In honor of the season finale, I decided to turn myself into Walker Kari using the Dead Yourself app.  Here you go, for a good laugh...

That's some scary shizz.  

It was a fab weekend and I wish I could do it all over again!  

Next weekend, friends... Next weekend.

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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!

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