Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Recap: Jan - March

Happy Wednesday everyone! Are you ready for Christmas? Me, still not so much. Last night was the first night of Hanukkah and we did the exchanging of gifts. Kev got me this awesome bracelet that I'd seen at a store in Pittsburgh but he was able to find it at Helzburg. I love it. #firstnight

Alright, on to the post. I've seen a lot of year end recap posts and love reading them, I figured, why not? Since I didn't start this blog until June, I have a few months what I'll have to rely on my handy phone to remind me what we did.

January - We were actually in town for New Years and we decided to go downtown for the celebration. In Raleigh we drop a giant lit acorn. I'm assuming because we're the "City of Oaks" or some business.

Most of January was uneventful but at the end of January I traveled to Chicago for Kappa Delta's National Leadership Academy. Every year KD has some sort of event for collegians. In odd years it's National Convention and even years its NCTA. The entire council attends as well as one of their Advisors and it's such a great experience for the new council. In June it's time for convention again and we're off to Orlando!

Had my first Chicago Style Pizza. It was actually really good! I was expecting not to like it but it was delicious. Kev is a hard core NY pizza fan and he thinks this is a meat and cheese casserole. I don't care, it was delicious. 

We walked over to the sliver bean and took pictures. On the way we were harassed by a homeless man and I really thought I was going to have to pull out my Northern attitude and tell him off. Thankfully he wandered away.  My poor Southern girls had no idea what to to, vagrants don't randomly curse at you here in North Carolina.

Me at the bean

February - I don't remember much about February but here in Raleigh we had Snomegeddon.  It snowed 3 times in February which basically shuts down the city. One day it started snowing at noon and about 3 inches fell in an hour which crippled the city. It took me an hour to get out of the complex I worked in and another hour to get home. It was honestly my worst nightmare, being stuck in a car and not able to pee. I was getting a little frantic by the end.

This is not a photoshopped picture. No lie, this is exit 4 off 540 on the same day. People in NC just can't handle the snow.

I also ran the Shamrock and Run 5k sponsored by the UNC - Chapel Hill KD Chapter. It's a hilly course but the shirt is nice and I'm supporting UNC's Shamrock Project. 

I made tutus for the first time ever for and while I didn't run in mine, I certainly sported it for the pictures afterward.  Fun story, that tutu is still in the trunk of my car. I guess I know where it is when I need it next year.

In February I also successfully completed the 21 day Sugar detox. Not gonna lie, it wasn't easy but it definitely reset my taste buds and I broke free of my artificial sweetener habit. I'm already allergic to aspartame but was guzzling Splenda like crazy. I'm really proud to say that 10 months later I'm still going strong and haven't caved! I'd rather have a but of real sugar than use artificial stuff that's probably going to hurt me.

March - Most of March I was training for half marathon #3, Tobacco Road. It was my comeback race after spending most of 2013 injured and unable to run (it stunk). Handy tip from Lara - 21 day sugar detox and long runs don't mix. There were several times I was trudging though my runs because I wasn't properly fueled. Wait until after the race to drop the sugar. #themoreyouknow

It wasn't the race I wanted to have but it was exactly what I was capable of doing at that time. I was running with a group from Fleet Feet and went out with the run / walk people. For the race I ran 10 minutes and walk 1 which was a step back from the 2012 Skinny Turkey where I only walked twice the entire race.  I was my worst time to date but I was happy to actually be able to run again.

In addition, I was fighting a terrible cold that week. I was horribly congested and drugged up on nasal spray and cough medicine. I went to Walgreens as asked for medicine that would clear me out for 2:30-3 hours and they gave me some awesome nasal spray. 

In March I was also introduced to doTerra essential oils and I have to say, they've made a huge improvement in my life. I can sing the praises of oils all day long. 

And finally we celebrated Kev's birthday with some friends at Sullivan's and a giant plate of dessert!

I'm sure I missed some things but that was the first quarter in a nutshell!

What about you, what did you do the first part of this year?
#Hashtaghumpday @ Genuinely Lauren
Monday, December 15, 2014

I Finally Decorated

For some reason this holiday season has just crept up on me and somewhere along the line I lost 2 weeks of productivity. It's been odd, I missed my KD alumnae chapter's holiday party for the first time since we've moved here. Kev and Avante were singing and I had a good excuse but it's still strange not to have gone. We didn't have a CAB holiday party and no friends dinner at the house. It's just left me not feeling terribly Christmas-y this year. 

We do have my company's holiday party on Saturday and a cookie exchange that morning, so better late than never, right? I do have a feeling that this company party is going to be a little out of control. It might be the party that they all talk about "why we can't have holiday parties anymore". I can't wait. 

But I finally did start decorating last night. We brought the boxes down for the attic and started putting things up.

Once again, I'd like to demonstrate how much easier it is for Jewish people to decorate this time of year. Go to closet, take box off shelf, take out menorah, put it on the counter. Versus 6 giant totes that you have to lug down 2 flights of stairs. 

One of the reasons I waited (I swear) is because I scheduled the house to be deep cleaned on Saturday morning. It didn't make a whole lot of sense for them to clean around all the decorations. Bless their hearts, they cleaned for over 5 hours Saturday morning. I had my first appointment with the acupuncturist that morning and when they got back I hung out upstairs in the bedroom to stay out of their way. I felt like such a jerk sitting on the bed watching People's Court while the ladies toiled away cleaning my mess but I didn't want to hover and be that creepy lady watching their every move. I want them to come back every 2 weeks and make it nice and I can't scare them away. 

It looks amazing and I wanted to hug them after they finished. Again, can't be creepy and scare them away. 

I decorated the fireplace and put up the stockings. Yes the dog has a stocking but the cats don't

I love poinsettias during the holidays and it's what I decorate with. I can't help myself. We got a box of 4 plants at Costco last week for $14 and it might be the best deal ever. 

Note, they are NOT poisonous to cats, that's an old wives tale. Besides, if it was true, wouldn't there be a big sign on them with a cat and an X through it?? I always have poinsettias and the cats always investigate. They've tasted plenty of times and no one has died. 

My one concession this year was to make the dining room table nice. I got this awesome sparkly table cloth from Steinmart and the place mats  and silver things from HomeGoods. No I didn't iron it but will if anyone comes over for dinner or something. I saw some awesome gold chargers at AC Moore for $1 apiece but I couldn't fund the things I went there for and no one would help so I left them there. Really, I needed thicker elastic for a bracelet and one person vaguely gestured over to the jewelry area and that was it. Nope. 

The rest of the weekend was spent baking, baking and more baking. Every year I make pizzeles for the cookie exchange and I need 10 dozen. Considering I can only make 2 at a time, it's a little time consuming. I also re-made the Hershey kiss cookies and did the dough for chocolate crinkles.

What about you, how was your weekend??

Linking up!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five Thing Friday!

I swear I'm coming back! I might be typing this post at 830am but I swear it's all thought out in my head, now to get it on screen.

I love lists, we all know that, and who doesn't love the holiday season? Here are 5  holiday things that are happening right now!

1. I don't have a single decoration up at my house right now. Nope, not a single one. I have been talking about getting them out and ready since before we left for Thanksgiving. I decided not before we left because 1. I ran out of time and 2. my cat is an asshole and likes to pee on things. I'd rather not give him free pee reign on all my Christmas decorations. (I've taken him to the vet and $300 later the diagnosis is "he's a jerk") They are still in the attic.

2. I asked Kev if we could be Jewish this year. Before you get your panties in a bunch Kev's Jewish so it's not even an odd request. Think about it, you take the menorah out of the box and set it on the table. THAT'S ALL THE DECORATING. Then you put it back in the box. He said I would be sad on Christmas morning. Maybe...

3. When I finally do get that -ish up it's going to be up for a while. I'm not one of those take it down on the 26th people. Every year my Mom left the decorations up until the 7th of January to celebrate Serbian Christmas. We aren't Serbian, I don't know any Serbians but we apparent;y honor the traditions of the old ways.

4. Every year I bake a crap ton of cookies except this year I'm really behind, like really, really behind. On the 20th I go to a 13 person cookie swap where we each make 12 dozen cookies and each dozen is individually wrapped. I make pizzele every year, tried to make another cookie 2 years ago and it didn't go over well. Needless to say, me and my press are going to be making 2 cookies at a time all weekend.

For real, mine look just like that.

5. I made 2 batches of peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies because I love them. But instead I used sun nut butter because I didn't have a full jar of PB. 7 jars of nut butter but not plain old PB. I figured crunchy PB with chia seeds would make a nasty cookie. I discovered that when you press the kisses into the cookie, the compression of the cookie dough turns green. GREEN!

So pretty on the outside

 This doesn't do it justice, it's MUCH greener than that. Friends with peanut allergies said that happens to them too. They're fine to eat, I tasted one and it was delightful but I can't give them to anyone! I can't pass them out to my employees and forever be known as the lady who gave green cookies. I pulled all the kisses off and trashed both batches. Annnnd I'm even more behind than I was before.

Here's the thing, I'm not going to stress about it. I just ordered a bunch of stuff on-line and it's being shipped to the house. I don't feel guilty that I didn't brave the mall and look in store after store to find the right shirt. Nope. Found what I needed on Amazon and got free shipping with Amazon Prime.

Tell me I'm not the only one this far behind.

Linking up with Meet at the Barre!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Day in the Life

Oh Hey, it's Lara, so glad you aren't dead in a ditch somewhere. Yea, great intentions ti blog have gone completely out the window. New job is super busy and this was the first month I was responsible for grading the KD division 5 financial reports. It took me a while but hopefully I'll get faster at them instead of cramming them all in at the last minute. Who am I joking, I'll still cram them all in at the last minute.

I've seen a few of these and I thought it would be fun to do a day in the life. I don;t know that anyone cares about my daily travels but I'm strange and like reading the ones other people do, so here goes! #adayinthelife

6:30am - Alarm goes off, hit snooze

6:40 - Alarm goes off again, drag self out of bed and to the bathroom.

6:42 - Stand in the closet and try to decide what to wear. Wonder for the second day in a row where the heck my black flats are. Look under the bed, SUCCESS!

6:44 - Give myself a mental pat on the back for 1. remembering that trouser socks exist and 2. locating a pair to wear so my feet won't freeze today.

6:45 - Gather everything and take it into the bathroom. Check email and FB while doing my hair and make-up.

7:05 - Emerge from the bedroom and step over the dog who's sleeping in front of the door. (Awwww). Let the dog out, let the cats out of the garage (they were screaming at the bedroom door last night trying to get in). Feel a little bad as the cats run to the water bowl and drink like they've just emerged from the desert.

7:10 - Feed cats, make sure the dog peed, untangle the dog, who's wrapped herself around a tree. Give dog a treat for peeing. The dog wants more treats, no. Realize I don;t have any breakfast food in the house, decide to call in an order to the Brunch Box. Find an apple and some cheese, perhaps Brunch Box for lunch as well.

7:35 - Leave the house and head to Breugger's for my coffee. Drive to work.

7:45 - Remember to call and order Breakfast

8:00 -  Pick up breakfast, head to the office.

8:15 - Get to office, immediately have a conversation with my boss regarding the selection of cubes. The sales team is moving to the other side of the building and we need a way to determine who gets which. Several of us think we should do it like homesteaders got their land in the 1800s. Everyone gets a flag and runs to the cube they want and stakes their flag. As crazy as he is, my boss has a few concerns over this plan. I think it's doable.

8:25 - Check e-mail, eat half my omlette

8:45 - Start this post and hope that I rememebr everything that's happened this morning.

9:15 - Hiring planing meeting with the recruiter. BTW, we're hiring like crazy for sales people. Know anyone?

10:00 - Check e-mail, figure out how to return 2 items. More e-mails and stuff.

10:45 - PB and toast snack with tea snack

11:00 - Side by Side with one of my employees

12:15 - Other managers asks if I want to go to lunch. I didn't bring lunch so sure, but I HAVE to stop at the post office.

12:30 -  Neomonde for lunch, No picture because I'm still too new and it would be strange.

1:40 - Back from lunch and Post Office. Make more tea, it's fricking cold

2:00 - Meeting with Scottish manager man. Next time he;s bringing his kilt, Awesome

3:00 - Interview someone for Sales Associate position. Debrief with my manager, I liked the kid, he's a good egg.

4:00 - Hungry, I have a cheese and meat snack that I brought. Lament only getting 1 chicken kabob for lunch. It was like 2oz of meat.

4:30 - Send some e-mails. Debate going to the gym, think of how no cookies are made and the house isn't decorated. Running out of days in December/

5:15 - Leave work, immediately stuck in traffic because it's raining and people are scared. Sigh

6:00 - Stop at Kroger for peanut butter, powdered sugar and foil. Yes, it's cookie baking season.

Yay for locally sourced.. foil?

6:15 - Get home, take Cleo to pee in the rain. Thankfully she actually pees. When it thunders that dog has been known to hold it for 18 hours.

6:25 - YAY, package from Very Jane, it's my new fleece tunic from White Plum!

Annnnnd it's about 5 sizes too big. That folks is the Med/large. I would NEVER order the XS/Small option and with any other company I would expect this to fit. I'm really kinda cranky. I just spent $7 to send back 2 White Plum shirts that were enormous and now this is going back too. I'm out shipping both ways for 2 items and I'm more than a little cranky.

6:30 - I'm going to eat my face. Time to try out my new spiralizer.

I got a little carried away but I swear this is my new favorite thing. It was an Amazon deal a few weeks ago for $20. I'm so happy.

7:00 - Cookie baking time! I'm running late with my baking, like really behind. I have a crap-ton to make and I've only done 2 kinds, well, except for the sun butter cookies that turned green but that's another story.

These are quite labor intensive, roll dough into balls, roll out balls, spoon filling, roll up and bake for 20 minutes. This is a once a year thing.

9:00 - Kev gets home from a meeting and it's time for a shower.

9:30 - Try to stay awake on the couch watching People's Court

10:30 - Fall asleep on the couch

11:00 - Wake up and go to bed

And that friends, was my exciting day, what about you?

Linking Up!!

#Hashtaghumpday @ Genuinely Lauren
Saturday, November 29, 2014

Forget everything I said yesterday

Remember yesterday when I was all.."O, I don't care about Black Friday, I could take it or leave it." We totally went Black Friday shopping and I braved all the crowds at 10am. At 10am everything we wanted was still there and I didn't feel deprived in the least.

We got up and headed to Robinson Town Center Mall but first breakfast. The Center Diner is pretty new to the area but we ate there the last time we were in town and it was delish then as well. I went with eggs, bacon and hash browns, Can we take a moment of silence for these hash browns? 

Sliced potato hash browns with a little onion? Happiness. They don't make them like this down south, They just don't. Kev got some crazy challah french toast and it was amazing too.

Then we headed over to the mall. I had my eye on some new booties and Macy's was having 25% off boots until 1pm. Also, they had a door buster for $35 gold earrings and I wanted to get some for my grandma.

Macy's was ridiculous, they just didn't have a good system for the retrieval of shoes. I waited close to 45 minutes to find someone to get the shoes from the back and check out. Conversely, there were 5 people with nothing to do over in the men's shoe section.

In the end I was pretty happy with my purchase. Kev wanted to get me better boots as a birthday present. I went with these Dolce Vita Prynce booties. I love them a lot.

Then I waited a really long time for someone to sell me these earrings. 10k for $35, I really can't complain, especially since all the other ones I've seen were well over $100.

Another great deal were these Yurbuds which were 50% off at Dick's Sporting Goods. My earbuds are constantly falling out of my ears and I've heard that these ones stay in pretty well. For $10 I'll give them a go.

Then we headed over to the Sephora at JC Penny. I heard about the $10 eye shadow palette they had on special and wanted to check it out. I got there exactly at 1pm and the last one juuuust sold out. It was OK, I got this Smashbox one instead. It was a little more expensive but I kinda love it. They also talked me into an eyeshadow primer.

Then it was time for some lunch. We went over to a new coal fired pizza place and they had a meatball lunch. Now, I love me a good meatball and it's pretty hard to find a good one in the south. 

It was soooo good. I only ate one of the meatballs and a piece of Kev's pizza. The thing that makes it different and delicious is hands down the sauce. The sauce is phenomenal. Only in the north can you get a bowl of sauce with a dollop of ricotta cheese.

On the way back from lunch Kev wanted to stop at a tool place and maybe get a weed whacker. Instead we found an assortment of tools that we never knew we needed. 

Work gloves, a storage container for small things, a hand held spotlight and this.

That would be a $4 machete. In true Back Friday fashion, we didn't know we really needed one but when offered a machete for $4?? How can you pass it up?

We own a machete now.

Did you go Black Friday Shopping?

What did you get?
Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday thoughts - I just don't care

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday! We left bright and early yesterday morning to dive to my parent's house and spend a few days in WV / PA. We made it here at 430, waited a bit for the turkey to be ready and enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with my parents. We have a few activities planned for the weekend, including a trip to the casino and the Pittsburgh Steelers game on Sunday.

Well, well, well, It's Back Friday and all across the land people are up and about looking for the best deals. Back in the day when I used to work in retail, I didn't mind working Black Friday. As a matter of fact, it was one of  my favorite days. I loved watching the crush of humanity and people fighting over the last turtleneck sweater. I would work my 8 hours or whatever and still go out shopping that night.

Main reason is that oddly enough, Black Friday is not a busy day for jewelry stores. Know why? Men. Men are the biggest jewelry shoppers over the holiday season and they wait until the last minute to buy anything. The week before Christmas is really busy and during the 2 days before Christmas jewelry stores will do 2% of their entire sales for the year. That's equivalent to the month of January. #themoreyouknow

The last few years I just haven't really had a reason to brave the Black Friday crowds. Here's why.

1. I value my time. Time is precious, I want to spend it wisely, battling crowds and waiting in line just isn't my idea of a good time. One year, Old Navy was having their crazy sweater sale and the line to check out wrapped all the way around the inside of the store, It took over 30 minutes to get to the front. Do I really need another $7 sweater? Probably not.

2. I think the sales cause us to be impulsive and get things we really don't need, I wasn't planning on replacing my towels but OMG for $8 apiece, how can I not? $9 Waffle iron? I don't make waffles, but what if I did? For $9 I might start making more!

3. I don't have a lot of people to buy for. Kev could care less about a discount sweater and the things I would buy him are usually found online or in stores where they don't really have Black Friday. I'll bake a crap ton of cookies and give them to mt employees, Kev's co-workers and out friends and pretty much everyone else wants gift cards.

4  Let's be honest, there is going to be some sort of door buster every Saturday morning from now until Christmas. If you miss one, wait a week and there will be another.

5. Amazon. I love Amazon prime. I can sit on my computer and order everything I need and have it shipped to my house. I don't need to fight the crowds ever again.

Let's be honest, after all of that, I'm absolutely going shopping today. I have my eye on a new pair of black boots and I know there are some great deals out there. :)

Happy Shopping!

Linking Up:
Meet at the Barre

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Hi all! Today is an amazingly awesome day. WHY, because it's my BIRTHDAY! It doesn't matter how old I get, I still love me a birthday.

Being born this time of year means you get a Thanksgiving birthday every few years and there's a pretty good chance you'll be out of town. The past few years we've been away and for some reason we seem to end up in Atlantic City on my birthday. One time Kev's poker table sang me Happy birthday at midnight. This year there's no casino (well, maybe in a few days), I'm actually at work and tonight we have dinner reservations at Bin 54. Tomorrow we take off bright and early and drive to my parent's and make it in time for Thanksgiving dinner. We'll spend some time in Pittsburgh and catch the Steeler's game on Sunday before heading home.

In honor of my birthday I wanted to show you some of the awesome things that I'm loving right now.

These Lululemon pants! They're the Sattva ii pants and right now they're on final sale. Go to your local lulu store and head to the discount rack and find them. They are seriously the comfiest, most amazing lounge pants you'll ever wear. I got them in gray. loooooovvvveeee....

Kev gave me my birthday present early, unlimited beverages from Breugger's. I love Breugger's coffee and go more mornings than not. Even though it's a birthday present, this is actually going to save me money in the long run. There's a Breugger's by my house and one by my work. No need to go anywhere else for beverages. Now to plan our road trips around the Breugger's.

I was recently asked to join Kappa Delta's National Leadership Team as the Chapter Accounting Specialist for Division 5. I am so, so honored to be asked to join such an amazing group of women and to be able to work with collegiate women on a national level. Needless to say I need to be even more organized than ever, hence why I'm loving these next two things.

I took the plunge and got an Erin Condren Life Planner. (Thanks mom and dad!) I went completely electronic a few years ago and over the last several months I've slowly come to the realization that I can't keep track of everything on a phone. There's also something really calming about writing everything down in one place.

May Books. OMG, I love them so much. You can customize the cover, the colors, the monogram, you name it. There are also tons of choices of what can be inside, just a notebook, address book, planner, calorie tracker, all of the things. I love that I can have a notebook with graph paper, because I'm slightly OCD and love putting letters in small boxes. Also, this week everything is 40% off when you use code THANKS40. You really can't not get a few. I got one specifically for KD notes to put in the pocket in the back of my planner. 

For those of you familiar with sororities, you know that this time of year is when the chapter council changes. That meant I had to say goodbye to the President and Treasurer that I've advised for the last year and the Standards chair I had this semester. 

I always get my advisees a little something at the end of their term because they deserve it for having to deal with me for a year. lol. 

I got this from Harley Stripes on Etsy. She did a great job and I love the bracelet. I would also love it with a little pearl dangle added, because KD and stuff.

I cant even put into words how much I LOVE this bracelet. Kappa Delta's open motto is "Let us strive for that which is honorable, beautiful and highest". I had Tomi's Treasures stamp "honorable, beautiful, highest" on the bracelet for the outgoing President. She had such an amazing year and I thought this was perfect.

It even has KD stamped on the end. LOVE. Great present for your favorite CAB - Chair or CAS (hint, hint)

There so many things I love (obviously) but I did find something that's a big no for me.

You can for real buy one of these on no more rack right now. A scarf, with pockets. What the frig are you going to put in scarf pockets??? Sad that you don't have enough pockets on your clothes? Add some with a scarf! cold hands? have multiple pocket options! Need a place for your skittles? Put them in your scarf pockets. (OK, maybe I would use it for that.)

Have a great Wednesday everyone! Go eat a cupcake and celebrate my birthday! #itsmybirthday

Linking up!
Because Shanna Said So

#Hashtaghumpday @ Life with Lolo