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!

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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

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Monday, November 24, 2014

It's a short week

Remember when I used to blog regularly and read other blogs and comment and stuff? Yea, me too. Last week I talked about the Blog Baton and how I would be posting all day long on Instagram and I would try to make it interesting? Nope, not so much.

I woke up Weds with a raging headache. I've never had a migraine before but I imagine this is what it would feel like. I left work at 830, on day 8. Yes, I had do be feeling pretty crappy to leave my new job on the eighth day. Any who, I went home and slept all day. Pictures of a dark room and People's Court probably wouldn't be terribly interesting to anyone and really, I wasn't doing anything that day. Apologies if you actually went over to Instagram and looked for any posts.

The rest of last week was pretty uneventful. I went to work, didn't go to the gym and that's about it.

Friday night Kev and I did head out to the movies to watch Mockingjay part 1. It was pretty good, lots of talking and drama. Katniss was angst ridden most of the movie, but it was fine. I barely remember the 3rd book (it was the weakest out of the 3 story-wise).

Saturday morning we got up, went to breakfast and headed out to get some groceries for the week. Well, 3 days. We're heading up to my parent's for Thanksgiving and really don't need a lot of food. I'm also bringing dinner to a friend who recently had a baby and I needed supplies.

After we got back, I wanted to go for a run. I had Kev drop me at Whole Foods and I ran to the dog park 4 miles away.


I felt pretty good about that, especially since it's been 2 weeks since the last time I ran. The Jingle Bell run is December 6th and it's my current PR of 30:11. I really want a sub-30. I'm not sure if it's going to happen but after this run I felt considerably better about my chances. 

When we got home I made a crap-ton of banana bread. We had a bunch of bananas that Kev brought back from his road trip and I needed to do something with them. 


I found the recipe on Pinterest here. It's seriously awesome. You should try it.


Moist Banana Bread
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, white
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
Directions:
Combine butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Add banana, sour cream and nuts. Mix until combined.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool in the pan on a wired rack.
Yield: 1 9″ loaf
I baked 4 loaves at once and it took about 90 minutes. I think if you only made one, you'd want to err closer to an hour. 
Alright, time for more laundry and I have to get ready to head over to the KD house for my official visit meeting. Hope you all had a great weekend

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Confessions - Blog Baton Edition

Happy Wednesday everyone! If you're visiting from the Blog Baton, welcome! If you aren't familiar with the Blog Baton, it's a pretty cool idea, a few days each week, a blogger takes over the Instagram account for the day and you show off the things you enjoy that day! Check out @TheBlogBaton and also check out @Masonlikethejar on Instagram and her blog over at Mason Like the Jar, This was her fantastic idea!

So please check it out on Instagram today! I'll try to make it interesting!

Alright, how about some confessions?

1. I was creeped out and a little disgusted with 2 guys I encountered this past weekend. Friday night I was getting my nails done and a fairly manly man came in and asked for a mani / pedi. I thought, how metro of him, It's nice when a man cares about his nail health. Then he asked for them to be kept long and to be polished. OK... I mean if you want to have your nails painted a sparkly pink, that's cool. You do you. But it was the long part, Then he kept staring at the lady and I think I heard him take a picture of her. It really freaked me out, I hope she doesn't end up in a well somewhere,


Then a guy in Body Pump sat on his risers and poured a bowl of cereal and ate it with some milk literally 2 minutes before class. A belly full of fiber and lactose just don't mix well. I was more than a little scared and glad no one saw his breakfast again.

2. I still have up my Halloween decorations. I'm just going to take them all down this weekend when I put up the Christmas ones. Also, these sticky hooks are still on the wall over my stove, from last Christmas. I don't take them down, I seriously thought about it in September but figured why bother, Christmas will be here soon enough and I'll have to put them back up. I'm the worst decorator ever..

3. I'm getting my house deep cleaned soon and after then I'm looking for someone to come 2x a month to clean. It's my mission to clean as little as possible before they come, I'll tidy and pick things up but I really don't want to do much else. The cleaners will probably be horrified but I just don't want to do it. Now that I told the internet that I don't clean my house, I'm sure you all want to come over for the holidays. We'll have cookies,

4. Kev was away last weekend at a concert and it was cold as heck. I was so cold and bundled up most of the time because I can't work the thermostat. Yes, I can't work the thermostat in my house, The main reason is because the house was remodeled by a giant and his wife. I'm 5' 3" and can't see the numbers. Even if I bring over a chair, I still don't know how to work it. I need a simple thermostat. 4 buttons, max. Up, down, hot and cold. That's it. Mine has 17 and levers and crap. I don't have time to learn it, I'll just get another blanket.

That's all for me today! Don't forget to follow @BlogBaton on instagram and check me out today!
Monday, November 17, 2014

The Story of the Mincemeat Cookies

I know that usually on Monday people expect to hear about my weekend and the various things I ate. At last I like to delude myself into thinking that. As thrilling as pictures of coffee and sushi might be, I have a story to tell today. The Story of the Mincemeat Cookies, aka A Story of Injustice.

When I was growing up, my Grandma made three types of cookies. Just three, and my mom made the rest. Grandma always had peanut butter balls, (some people call them buckeyes), hers were peanut butter, powdered sugar and rice krispies rolled in a ball and dipped in chocolate. They were my brother's favorites. She also made nut cups which are essentially tiny pecan pies. Those were my mom's favorite. I've made both of these cookies before and they are extremely time consuming and kind of a pain. I think this is why she only made a few types.

Then she made mincemeat cookies. They were a dense puffy cookie with raisins, hints of clove and cinnamon and were delicious. These were my favorite. I have very distinct memories of standing in my Grandma's kitchen eating these cookies for several years. Remember this part of the story, it's important.

A year of two after we moved here I was invited to a cookie swap held by one of the people at the church Kev works at. It's been running every year for 40 years and is a dang nice swap. You make 12 dozen cookies, each wrapped by the dozen. 13 people attend and you come home with a dozen of 12 different types of cookies. It's a crap ton of cookies and you can wrap them in individual boxes and give them away for Christmas. Everyone thinks you're an amazing baker and slaved away for hours in the kitchen.

I thought, what better to share with my new friends than one of my favorite Christmas cookies of all time? Grandma's mincemeat cookies. I was so excited at the prospect of making them again. I called my mother and asked her to find me the recipe. I couldn't wait for her to call back with the instructions.

A few days later she called and left me a message. "Hi Lara, this is your mother. I looked in my recipe box and didn't see anything, then I looked in Grandma's and it wasn't there either. I called Grandma (she's well into her 90s and sharp as a tack) and she said she never made mine meat cookies, she has no idea what you're talking about. I don't remember them either and neither does your brother, you must have imagined them. Talk you you later, bye."

.....

There are plenty of things from my childhood that I don't remember but there are some that I have a picture of in my mind, as clear as can be, and this is one of them. I ate those cookies, at Grandma's house and it wasn't just one random year.

I've been stewing over this for years. Seriously, how does NO ONE remember these cookies? This is probably my 5th or 6th year at the cookie swap and every year they make me tell this story. Everyone gets a nice chuckle and you know what? I still don't get my cookies.

Well you know what, I'm going to find that damn recipe and make them. If I have to make every last mincemeat drop cookie on Pinterest this is going to happen. I found soy-less shortening at Whole Foods and that was the last piece of the puzzle. We're going to my parents for Thanksgiving and you know what I'm bringing? Mincemeat cookies.


Have you ever experienced a similar injustice?

Do you absolutely remember something from the past only to have others say you imagined it?


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Five thing Friday - New Job Edition

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a lovely week and are winding down for a great weekend! I want to give a shout out to Kev and his vocal jazz group, Avante. They're heading up to Kev's home town for a concert this Saturday and I know they're going to kick some major butt! 

It did mean that Kev left the house at 415am this morning. Which resulted in all the animals waking up and singing me the songs of their people. Godiva was screaming for food, Cleo was whining to pee and Titus banged on the door like a swat team. Oh, and I had a flat tire this morning. I'm going to need copious amounts of coffee. 

For my 5 things Friday I decided to show 5 things from my new job. Here they are!


1. When I was negotiating my salary, my new boss asked me what snacks I wanted and of course, Skittles. This bowl and bag was in my office the first day. Reflecting back, I should have asked for Skittles in perpetuity. Just a never ending bowl of Skittles.


2. This might seem trivial but this is the first time I legitimately have an office with a door. For real, this makes me so so happy. I also have a window with a view of the parking lot. 


3. The first day, as an initiation, they took me to Smokey's BBQ which is literally a trailer that has amazing BBQ. I've driven past it 100s of times in the last 4 years and never stopped in. 

One of the best things about the place is all the things to look at. The walls are full of "interesting" things. This note was in the women's room and it made me chuckle. 


Then there was this. The stuff that nightmares are made of. Apparently someone took the butt of a dead deer, turned it upside down and made it in to a horrific face. The deer's butt hole was made into a mouth, completed with tiny awful teeth. The worst part, one of the guys I was there with had seen others of these. Seriously, MORE THAN ONE PERSON THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. 

It haunts my dreams...

4. There is a room full of snacks. All the snacks you could possibly imagine... here for the taking. Apparently the stash is low right now. 


In the pantry in the kitchen, it's nothing but giant boxes of sugar cereal. It's like an 8 year old was given a credit card and sent to Costco.


5. I got this doTerra car diffuser but it's the perfect size for my office. I love that I can diffuse some oil to my heart's content and I don't even care if someone thinks I'm a hippie. I'm going to have some calm and peace. 

Yes, that's a TARDIS pen and it's awesome.

That's all for me! Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RDU Baton and a few confessions!

First of all, if you've wandered over here as a result of the RDU Baton, WELCOME! If you're wondering what that is, let me tell you... On Instagram the @RDUBaton account is held by a different person every day. They show you a glimpse into their lives and some of their favorite spots around tow. I've been on the waiting list for a few months and today is my day! Not on Instagram? no worries, I'll do a blog post about everywhere I went today. It's also a great excuse to get Kev to take me out to dinner tonight. 'Cause I have to take pictures and stuff...


Like this one of my back yard. It's all fall and stuff. :)


It's been a while since I've confessed and I have a few things to get off my chest. Time for Wednesday Confessions!

1. I don't always wear my wedding rings. Now, before you lose your minds and think I'm trolling for a hook-up, no. I love my husband and I love my rings but believe it or not, the majority of wedding sets aren't meant to be worn every minute of the day. Heck, jewelry shouldn't be worn 24/7. Gold wears down. prongs get snagged on things, diamonds get lost. You shouldn't be scrubbing floors or cleaning toilets with your rings, the chemicals in the cleaners can cause them to pit and get nasty.

I sold jewelry for many years and saw all kinds of bad that happened as a result of rings / jewelry being worn 24/7. I put my rings on in the morning before I go to work and take them off when I get home. If I stop home before going to the gym, I take them off then as well so they won't bang on the weight bar.


2. When Kev and I were on our loooong road trip, I started pondering the state of music today and how there are things that people don't sing about anymore, like rebelling against society. Back in the 80s there was a lot of "We're not Gonna Take It" and "Youth Gone Wild" now it's just "Yay, we're going to listen to what we're told' That kinda makes me sad in my heart.

3. I was also pondering how things had different meanings a few years ago. Kiss has a song called "Deuce" and they sing about how "He's worth a Deuce". I only know a deuce to be a #2. Why would someone be worth a poo?

No Way! That's what it means. I had to get to the 12th entry in Urban dictionary to find it though... The first 5 entries are all about poops.

4. Being in Sales, you can get away with a lot of things because you're "in Sales". Like constantly asking for money or resources. It's a great excuse and really, I would expect that if anyone would ask, it should be sales. At my old job, I got a new boss boss and I immediately asked him for $500 for a sales contest. He said yes... and the day the contest was to start I gave my notice. Oops. #sorrynotsorry

5. I'm a bad cat parent. One of the cats, Titus, the fat one, was being a pain in the ass and spraying and peeing on everything in the house. It was ridiculously frustrating and he ruined a multitude of things. We made the decision earlier this year to convert him into an outside cat. We put a cat door to the garage, moved the food and blankets in there and blocked him from coming inside. 

Well, while we were on vacation we received an e-mail from the neighbors that he was terrorizing their cats and they wanted us to keep him out of their yard. Right... the cat is going to stay out of a yard. So we made the decision to convert him completely into an inside cat and never let him out again. We put him in the garage for a week to get him to use the liter box again and slowly started letting him in the house. 

He's had a few slip ups and has been beating on the door to go outside but overall, it's been as smooth transition. Hopefully he'll continue to behave, but probably not because he's a jerk. But he's our jerk.


Do you wear your rings all the time?

Have a cat? Is he/she a jerk?

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