Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites: 2.16.18

Happy Friday!  This week started off on the wrong foot, but I have to say as the days went by it got better and better.  Here's to hoping that means it'll be a great weekend ahead!

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1.  Charmed eCommerce website!  I have talked about Charmed multiple times on my blog.  It is the cutest boutique in my hometown.  I always find great items there, and they are constantly getting in new merchandise.  I am super excited, because Charmed will now be online.  Normally when I want something, I ask for it to be held and then my mom stops in to pick it up for me and I pay my mom back.  Or I think I might have even given them my payment information over the phone before.  So while still easy enough for me, having an eCommerce site will be even better, because I can just go online to browse and then purchase as I would like any other online shopping site.  Super excited about this, although I think my wallet is going to be hurting a bit.  You can find a great mix of styles and price points at Charmed, so if you feel like doing a little online shopping, I highly suggest checking out!

2.  Passing a test at work!  I have mentioned before that my company offers associates the opportunity to take exams that further our knowledge on our industry.  They are not required, just a little extra something that is available to us.  I opt to do the online exams, since I can go through them at my leisure, and I finished one this week.  Once you sign up for an exam, you have 6 months to complete it and if you don't complete it in that time, you are charged for the test.  Well, I was pretty darn close to my 6 month mark, with it ending at the end of this week!  In my head, I had planned to do the exam around Christmas, since things are slower, but that did not happen and before I knew it, I needed to get it done ASAP.  I started last week, and then had planned to finish it this past weekend on Sunday, but it totally slipped my mind.  I was a bit frantic when I realized that I still needed to complete 3/4 of it by the weeks end.  I finished it Wednesday, and not only do I have that exam under my belt, I also earned a designation!  Now, I don't get a raise or anything like that, but if I so chose to, I could add these letters after my name - ALMI (Associate, Life Management Institute), which I think is pretty neat.  And I do get a little one time cash payment for completing the test and earning a designation.  Pretty exciting!     

3.  I made this simple and delicious strawberry, whipped cream, dark chocolate covered pretzel crumble dessert for Valentine's Day and wanted to reshare it with you all again, because it is so darn good!  It's such a light dessert, that feels so indulgent at the same time.  Yum, yum, yum! 

4.  I cleaned out my purse yesterday and it feels so much lighter now.  It's amazing how many receipts and just little slips of paper and coupons can weigh things down.  And I just feel so much better about my life in general when I have a cleaned out purse - it's one of those little things that makes me feel like I have got it together.  Definitely one of those things I want to add to my weekly schedule so that I can stay on top if it!

5.  As I mentioned on Monday, I took a total of ONE picture at the gala last weekend, but luckily one of my good friends sent me some of hers.  It was such a great night!

Don't mind me...just having a little solo dance party! 

And if you missed it, on the blog this week...
Weekend Recap - gala weekend!
February 2018 Book Review - one of my favorite posts of the month!
Home Hack - a little trick that has made my life so much easier
Girl Chat: How I Stay Organized - I seriously love writing and reading about organization - it is so motivating!

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Mine is a long one since we get President's Day off (hopefully you do, too!), so I will see you back here on Tuesday.

Linking up with AndreaErikaApril, and Katie. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Girl Chat: How I Stay Organized

Happy Friday Eve!  It's time for another around of Girl Chat with some of my favorite ladies.  Last month, we did a little reintroduction to familiarize everyone, and this month, we are sharing how we stay organized.  I love reading about organization, and writing about it, so I was really excited for this topic.  Even more so this week, because while I do pride myself on being organized and staying on top if things, I did not start Monday off on the right foot, and felt like I was playing catch up the first half of the week.

Lists upon lists upon lists.  I am a list person.  I love to write down lists of things to do - not matter how big or small they may be.  Any time I go to the store, I HAVE to write it down, even if it is just two things, because to be honest, if I don't, I will end up leaving the store forgetting something.  I feel like making lists also helps take things back a step and calm you.  When I think of all the things I need/want to do, it can get overwhelming.  Putting them on paper helps me actually see them, and prioritize.  Making a list makes things become more manageable in my mind.

Email myself.  As I mentioned, if I don't write something down, I will forget.  That isn't always convenient, so I have been known to email myself as a reminder.  This is especially helpful with me for work.  There may be something I need to do first thing, that I remember right before bed.  I shoot myself a quick email as a reminder, and then when I go into work I see that item in my inbox.

Paper planner AND online calendar.  The past few years I have had a paper planner.  This year I have been using the Essential Planner from Peacock Paper & Gifts (BIG fan!).  At the beginning of the year, I set it up with birthdays, appointments I had scheduled, those types of things, and continue to do so as things get scheduled.  I also input those important dates on my online calendar so that I have two reminders.  It may seem like overkill, but I find it really handy to do.  In my planner, there is also a to do list section which I utilize a lot, a meal planning section, grocery shopping list, and so on.  It's really handy!

Meal planning / prepping.  This is key for me.  I plan out my meals for the week, then head grocery shopping, then do whatever prepping I can to make the week ahead easier.  There are some weeks where I don't do this, and I can tell you from experience, that it makes a huge difference when you take the time to prep and plan.  One thing I have found helpful to do, too, is make a crockpot meal on Monday.  For me, the start of the week means back to work, and it's just not usually a 'fun' day.  The weekend is over and it's back to the grind.  I know some people enjoy Monday since it is a fresh start to the week, which is something I can appreciate, but some Mondays can be rough, and when I get home I am tired and don't want to cook.  Having a meal in the crockpot, already going, helps to eliminate the stress of putting a full meal together and also keeps me from throwing my planning out the window and picking up food instead.  I usually meal prep on Sunday, and it really takes an hour at most to set my self up for a successful week.

Something that I have not started yet, but hope to (it's one of my New Year's Resolutions!) is create a weekly routine.  I have been pondering this for awhile, and I am still not exactly sure what this will look like.  But I do know that there are certain things I can be doing weekly to help myself stay more organized.  Whether this be dealing with my receipts / updating my budget, meal planning, or even doing a face mask.  Some of which I already do weekly, whereas others I could step it up.  Creating an actual list I think would help me put together a schedule of sorts to ensure that these items get done on a weekly basis, allowing me to stay on top of things and even more organized.  I feel like this may sound very rigid and extreme, which isn't how I am thinking of it at all, but more of an outline to keep myself on track.  Like I said - I can be super forgetful and not having things written down often leads me putting some things off.

As far as keeping my home organized, I have been trying to stay on top of putting things back in their place right away, or doing a little pick up before bed.  Sometimes just putting the pillows back on the couch nicely and folding the blanket on the couch can make a world of difference.  I am also trying to really clean things out and organize them in a workable fashion.  I say workable fashion, because you really have to consider how the space / items are used to make it truly organized.  I found a great system for my bathroom a few years ago that still continues to work well for me, but my tupperware cabinet literally took me almost four years to get right.  As in I just got it together how I like it this last time my mom was in town.  

I honestly could go on and on and on - can you tell I love this topic?!  Can't wait to check everyone's post out!

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat! 

And if you aren't already, make sure to follow your hosts via the links below!

Danielle - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

Emily - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest 

Lindsay - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Lizzie - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Sierra - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Home Hack - Keeping a Utility Tote in the Car

Hey all!  Happy Wednesday - we made it to mid week!  The week started off a bit rough for me.  It was definitely a Monday, for sure.  However, it was the day that did give me a little inspiration for this post.  Before I get to it, though, I wanted to remind you all about tomorrow's Girl Chat link up.  We are sharing how we stay organized, which I am super excited about.  I have a few ways that I keep myself organized, and am excited to learn more tips and tricks!

Back to the actual topic of this post.  Carrying in groceries, or items from Target into my apartment is one of the banes of my existence.  (A bit dramatic, but also very true.)  I load up my arms as much as I can so that I am able to bring everything inside in one trip.  It's ridiculous and I am always about to lose some things by the time I get to my doorway, not to mention actually being able to get my keys into the door to unlock is a feat in itself.  Enter in my utility tote.  My mom got me one of those big Thirty-One utility bags years back.  Mine is actually a Christmas bag, and over the years, I have loved to use it around the holidays to haul presents back and forth.  After the holidays this year, a light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that if I kept my tote in my car, I could just put all my bags in there and use it to carry everything in without the big hassle of loading up my arms and overloading myself just to try and get it all in at once.  I unload the tote inside, then just put right by the door to grab and put back in the car next time I leave.  I have done this a few times and it's been so handy!  While there are some days I can't fit everything in there (think those trips that I stock up on both paper towels and toliet paper), for the most part it all fits and in turn I have a sturdy bag that I can put on my shoulder to carry in.  Now it doesn't have to be a Thirty-One bag, that is just what I have so I use it, but I am sure there are other really good options out there as well.  Whatever you may use, I am telling you - using something is SO handy, especially for those people like me who live in an apartment, or have a detached garage.

It's made my life easier and I thought I would share in case it would make yours easier, as well!

Linking up with LindsayJenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 2018 Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you.
The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley.  This is my second home book of the year, and I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better than the first!  It breaks things up, and at the end of each chapter has checklists for you to do to help get organized.  Now some of it still was common sense, and some of it was a little out of touch (like most people I know don't have a 'baking station' in their kitchen - I mean I have most of my baking supplies grouped together for convenience, but it's nothing I would consider a baking station - for some reason that particular comment just stood out to me, haha!), but overall it was a good read and I definitely would suggest it if you are wanting some structure and help getting your home organized.

Deadline by Sandra Brown.  I am usually a fan of Sandra Brown and this was no different.  I liked this story and how it unfolded - it was a bit different and there was definitely a huge twist at the end that I did not expect at all.  If you like mystery and suspense - and some romance - this is a good book to read!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins.  This was my book club book, and while I had to miss attending club, I still read the book.  I was curious about this one, because I remember it being a popular book.  I wasn't a fan.  I thought it was a little confusing and slow and just odd.  And I felt like I didn't get all my answers by the end of the book.  Turns out, not many that actually made it to book club read it, and those that did, were not fans either.  So in my opinion (and some others!), this is one to skip.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman.  This is my second time checking out this book, because I didn't get to read it before I needed to return it.  I thought it was a really good book.  Very topical, too, with all that is being talked about in the world these days.  My only issue was I feel like the ending wasn't as clear as I had hoped - I want things spelled out for me so I get good closure, but that is my only qualm with the book.  I know it's a popular one, as well, but if you haven't read it yet, I would suggest it!

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel.  I needed something a little more light hearted after Bear Town, and this fit the bill.  It's about a girl who gets a job in admissions at a private school in New York.  There are quite a few characters, which keeps things interesting.  A few of them are annoying, but isn't it rare to find a book where you like every single thing about every single character?  It was cute and one that I would recommend.

Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke.  I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark for a long time now, and I feel like her books are always ones I can count on for being good.  In this book, they have a show that revisits cold cases to share the story, and hopefully help to solve the crime.  This one was about a woman who was thrown to her death at a Met Ball.  It was interesting, and I feel like, while you have an idea of who did it, you are between a few until the end and aren't sure how it will all play out.  Another good one!

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle.  This book hooked me.  I was so confused at what was going on, and what the end result would be.  After being married for 7 years, a woman realizes that her husband isn't who she thought he was.  It's very interesting with good twists and turns throughout.  I would recommend this one for sure!

Linking up with Steph.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekend Recap: Spirit of Provident Gala 2018

Another weekend has come and gone!  This was a really good one for me, because it was the Provident Gala!

After work on Friday I did a little running around to try and find a clutch for the gala.  I had ordered one from Nordstrom, and when I received it, the bag had a big rip in it.  I chatted with them online, and they resent me one that I was assured would be delivered by Saturday.  I got the shipment notification and the delivery date is actually today, so I needed another option.  I was able to find something at Target, thank goodness, and then I spent the rest of the night cleaning and getting a few things done for the next day.

Saturday started off with a lazy morning, which was so nice.  I had picked up peppered turkey bacon from Trader Joe's the other night, and made it for breakfast with some eggs.  It was so good!  I highly recommend it.  I almost didn't even miss the taste of pork bacon when I ate it!  I finally made a little dent in the Hallmark movies I have recorded, and watched the cutest Valentine's movie - My Secret Valentine.  I had a hair appointment in the afternoon.  I am so not good at doing hair, and I wanted to look a little more special, so I decided to get an updo.  It turned out really well and I am so happy I went that route.  I was getting antsy afterwards, just waiting around til I needed to finish getting ready for the gala.  The time seemed to crawl by!  My friend and fellow YP came over to get ready and then we were going to head to the gala together.  We got there right as it was starting, and spent some time catching up with the other YPs in attendance and checking out the silent auction items.  I never bid, but I always enjoy taking a look!  Soon it was time for the program to start and everyone found their seats.  The program was fantastic.  The speaker was Pete Early, and I highly urge you to look him up.  His son has struggled with mental illness, and hearing his story was just truly inspiring.  After the speaker, it was time for the awards!  It was such an honor to be an award receipent - I really cannot put it into words.  As dinner was ending, they shared with us that while we had been sitting there, enjoying the program, the hotline had received 29 phone calls, 10 of which were suicidal.  Talk about a powerful takeaway.  I walked out of that room wanting to do more - a sign of a successful gala I would say!  We rounded out the night with some live music and drinks, then headed out before the weather got too nasty.

Surprise, surprise, I totally slacked on pictures from the gala.  This is the only one I have of me and Dara, who was my fellow award winner.  However, my friend got a lot more and I should be getting them soon!

The area got a wintry mix overnight, so I took it easy Sunday morning, staying in and catching up on Fixer Upper.  I missed going to church, but I do not mess with iffy roads!  I worked on laundry in the afternoon, along with a little meal prep and planning.  We checked out Jumanji which was SO good.  It was really funny and had some really endearing parts to it, too.  Then it was time for more laundry and prepping for the work week ahead. 

Linking up with Lindsay and Biana.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Favorites: My Love for Trader Joe's, White Teeth & The Pioneer Woman

Happy Friday!  This is actually one week that I could have used an extra day and wasn't as thrilled as normal to see Friday.  Work sped up again, and it just seems like there is so much to do in a short amount of time!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you.

1.  Trader Joe's.  I ended up working later on Thursday, and decided that the perfect way to unwind after work, would be a visit to Trader Joe's.  I was already planning on stopping by to pick up a few things, but by the time I got there, I decided to just take it easy and do some browsing, while the store wasn't super busy.  It was SO NICE!  Usually when I go to the store, it is on a mission and I want to get in and out.  This time I took it easy, and it was the perfect way to relax after a long day.  I picked up lots of new to me items - a few of them pictured below - and I am super excited to give everything a try.  I grabbed two different flavored chicken sausages, which I plan on trying tomorrow night for dinner, along with the mashed cauliflower and frozen asparagus.  I have been eating a lot of almonds lately as snacks, and I saw they had cocoa glazed almonds.  I thought that would be perfect to mix in with my regular almonds as a way to mix things up.  I tried one when I got home, and oh my goodness, as they delicious!  Trader Joe's just has so many great things!

2.  I have been bleaching my teeth for the upcoming gala I am attending, and I just love these Crest Whitestrips.  I got them from Walgreens, and they were (and still are) on sale for $45 (originally $64)!  It looks like you can get an extra $5.00 off right now, too, with a coupon.  Wish I had looked online before I went and bought them - that is a great coupon!  Speaking of teeth, does anyone drink coffee out of a straw to avoid staining your teeth?  I noticed someone at work drinking their coffee from a straw (and not an iced coffee), and wondered if that was the reason why they were doing it.  Just curious if anyone else does this, too!

3.  When my mom was in town last, we picked up some new flowers from Trader Joe's.  They are still going strong, two weeks later!  I removed the eucalyptis, because it was making a bit of a mess, and then cut down the carnations to fit in a small mason jar.  I don't know why I never kept fresh flowers before, but I definitely plan to do so going forward!  You cannot beat the price (I think the carnations were $4, or so), and they last so long.  Just have to remember to change the water every so often! 

4.  I was going through my mail this week, and in one of the magazines I get, I saw a little post card to subscribe to The Pioneer Woman's magazine!  When it first came out, you could only find it at Walmart, and then the second issue, while more widely available, was still a little difficult for me to find.  I am excited to subscribe and be able to not have to hunt for it!  I just love everything she does (as I have shared many, many times on the blog) and I can't wait for her next issue.  

5.  Next week is our second Girl Chat link up for the year!  We will be sharing ways that we stay organized.  I always love reading about others' tips and tricks when it comes to staying on top of things, so I hope you will join and link up with us!

And in case you are way behind you blog reading like me, this week on the blog...
Monday - TBB Asks - 'tis the season for love!  
Tuesday -  Sausage Bread - a family favorite that everyone needs in their recipe box!
Wednesday - DIY Keepsake Card Ring - this only took me a year plus to do, but it's the easiest thing and a great way to corral all your cards.
Thursday - Introducing LuLaRoe Jessi - sharing one of my really good friends who sells LuLaRoe.

Happy Friday!

Linking up with AndreaErikaApril, and Katie. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Introducing LuLaRoe Jessi!

Hey guys!  Hope you are all having a great week.

A couple months ago, one of my very good friends, Jessi, became a LuLaRoe consultant.  If you aren't familiar (which I wasn't really), LLR is a clothing company that utilizes a multi-level marketing model to sell its goods.  From what I understand, the set up is similar to LipSense and other companies like that.  I got to do a little try on session at Jessi's before book club one night (ya know, the night I thought it started at 6:00, when it actually started at 7:00) and it was a lot of fun.  I hadn't ever tried anything LLR before, and after doing so I feel like it's one of those brands where everyone can find something that works for them.  Not to mention, the fabric is so very soft, especially the leggings, and there are a million different ways to style everything!  I asked Jessi if she would mind doing a little Q&A for the blog - I think it's been really neat following along with her on this business venture and wanted to share with you all.  She said yes, so here we go!  

What led you to become a LLR consultant?
One of my sorority sisters (now sponsor) sold me my first pair of Lularoe leggings from her bargain bin because I was a little turned off by the price. The first time I wore them I was like ‘OMG, these are amazing!’ I remember having to drop off some packages at the post office and a lady in line even commented on them. I was hooked and kept buying from her and not just stuff out of her bargain bin, I wanted the latest and greatest stuff. After a month or so, I thought to myself, I need to start selling. I knew it wouldn’t be hard for me because I’m already an active seller on eBay. So, I signed up under my sorority sister and it’s been one of the best decisions I ever made.

What is your favorite thing about being a LLR consultant?
I love putting together outfits, especially when customers request it. I had a lady who bought a couple solid tops from me and wondered if I had any leggings to match. I have 100’s of leggings so of course I could find her a fun pair to match those tops. I, also, enjoy doing flatlays. My first 3 flatlay outfits sold in a day! Not only am I selling more pieces by posting one photo but I’m showing how cute it can look with booties, a purse and jewelry.

What do you love most about the clothes?
I love the versatility of LLR clothing. One of their dresses, the Carly, you can wear at least 10 different ways. You can tie it, layer it, belt it, just to name a few. Some of their skirts you can wear as tops or even a scarf. Another dress, the Amelia, you can wear backwards with the zipper in the front. This is great for the breast feeding mamma’s out there. And, of course, I can’t forget the comfort.

What is your favorite LLR piece?
My favorite piece depends on my mood and what I’m doing:
Relaxing at home – Classic T with Leggings
Date night – Nicole dress layered with a Gigi Top
Work (when I have important meetings) – Julia dress or the Carly dress, wrapped to the side
Chasing my 3 year old – Randy Top with Leggings
(Just a little add in from me - my favorite is the Amelia dress.  While I don't own one yet (waiting for the perfect for me print), I think they are SO flattering and can work on anyone and everyone!  And for a bunch of different occasions.  I also just bought my first pair of leggings this week and really, really like them!)

Speaking of my leggings - this is the picture I snapped of her packaging.  How cute is that?!

If you are a LuLaRoe fan, you can reach out to Jessi / follow her via any of the links below!

Instagram: LularoeJessiHosmon

As she mentioned above, she is having a lot of fun (and success!) with her flat lays, so I asked her to send me five of her favorites to share.  

If you are in the mood to shop, you can check out her next sale which goes live Friday (2/9) at 8:00!

Linking up with Owen.