About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

What I Was Into in February

Another month has come and gone...a month filled with movies, books and plenty of TV watching - because this month has been absolutely beyond dreary and when that happens, you just need to escape. Whether that be through reading a good book, having a binge on a TV show or seeing a few good movies, you just have to make do when the weather is so pitiful! So, the things I was into in February!

Books I Read

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - Absolutely an excellent book! I literally finished it on February 1st in the early hours of the morning; I mean, if you consider 8:15 AM the early hours of the morning. Which I do. Especially on Saturday. The book is a coming of age story told from the point of view of Henry, the young son of Adele. They take in a stranger over Labor Day weekend and their lives are forever changed by letting him into their lives. I was really trying to get this book finished before I went to see the movie and I did; so score a point for me! I'd definitely recommend this book; it was excellent! The movie is also good but that's further down in the post - and as a general rule, I always say: the book is almost always better than the movie.

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - This book is a long one, no doubt about it...clocking in at 745 pages and yet another book I was trying to finish before I made it to the movie, which I did not do. Oh well! I have to say that the book was so much better than the movie and heavens...I do know that the movie diverged quite a bit from the book. The book was so descriptive; colorful and fantastical but still grounded in the gritty city of New York. The author's descriptions of the city of New York and the town of the Lake of the Coheeries in the winter was so vivid, it gave me chills...ha-ha! The characters were so intense; almost fantastical but just like the setting, perfectly grounded within their story. I thoroughly enjoyed the book! The movie though...

Excellent book - so descriptive and beautiful!

Beyond the Wall edited by James Lowder - Nerd alert! This book is a series of essays on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire; which the HBO show Game of Thrones is based on. The essays touch on feminism in the fictional Westeros, the use of symbolism and foreshadowing, the ways that the inconsistent seasons affect the timeline of the stories and so many other things. I won't bore you with the details because if you aren't a fan of the series then these books would bore you silly. I am a HUGE fan and I just lap up all the essays. So yes, nerd alert!

Winning the Game of Thrones by Valerie Frankel - Yes, another nerd alert book! This book is all about the books and the TV show Game of Thrones; it discusses the characters and their motivations, the similarities and nods to other fiction within the books and the exploration of the hero's journey and which characters are on a hero's journey. Hint - Joffrey is NOT one of them. And if you've never read/seen Game of Thrones, that last sentence will make no sense to you. The most interesting part of this book to me was seeing all the nods that George R.R. Martin makes to other works of fiction; an example of this: Daenerys' husband in the first book is named Khal Drogo - Frodo's father in the Lord of the Rings series is also named Drogo. Coincidence? I think not! I devoured this book in about five days - probably because the closer the new season gets, the more my interest starts to peak again!

Books in the Queue

Wideacre by Phillipa Gregory - This book is set in England and (from what I've read on the back of the book, because...hey, I haven't read it yet) and tells the story of Beatrice Lacey, who will use whatever means necessary to save her family home, Wideacre. I've read several of Gergory's books before, I'm especially a fan of her books about the Tudors of England. This is the first of her books that I've bought that has nothing to do with the Tudors, so here's hoping it's good!

It looks intriguing....here's hoping I'm right!
Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman - I don't really know what this book is about...but my friend Nickolee has been telling me to read over and over and over. My Mom bought it for me for Christmas and it's been sitting in my stack of books. So, I suppose this will make the list for March and I'll see what it's all about!

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner - Another writer that I love; I've read all of her books and I haven't been disappointed by a single one, so I'm expecting this one to be no exception. This book is about a young woman who up and moves to LA to fulfill her dream to be a screen writer - but when her sitcom pilot is picked up, she begins to realize that sometimes the dream you had in mind isn't all it's cracked up to be and you might be better off with the next "best" thing. I can't wait to read it!

I need a pool like that...and a lawn like that....with a view like that...

Can't Miss Television

The Winter Olympics - Hello, I had to watch some Olympic action and support good ol Team USA! Not to mention, when the Olympics are on there really isn't that much else on because the whole word unites in programming harmony and we all agree to watch NBC for two weeks, right? My favorite event besides figure skating (because hello, I figured that much was obvious...I'm very typically girly about my Winter Olympic sports...) was actually snowboarding - which didn't end well for Shaun White, but the US pretty much owned the rest of the snowboarding events. Go figure!

Being Human - This show is something of a blast from the past for me; it originally premiered in 2011 on SyFy and I was hooked on the first season but then I moved into my house where I had no cable for over a year, I lost track of it and only recently acquired the first three seasons and remembered that I now have SyFy to be able to watch the fourth season. I mean - whoosh - take a breath after that explanation. I have been playing catch-up and it's easy to remember why I liked this show in the first place! The premise is that a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost are all living together in Boston, doing their best and realizing that "being human" is much harder than it looks. I was initially drawn in by Sam Witwer, who plays the vampire Aidan; he was fresh off a stint on my long time favorite show Smallville where he played the big bad, Doomsday. The best part? I normally think everything that comes on SyFy looks like it is about a hundred shades of crazy but Being Human is only about five shades of crazy and they are all the good kinds of crazy. And I do love the good kinds of crazy...and Sam Witwer's washboard abs....and Sam Huntington's doe eyes.

The Lady Killer, The Free Spirit & The Wild Man
Downton Abbey - Well, things down at the Abbey started to get downright interesting but they never got very far past getting interesting and I gotta say, the fourth season has not been nearly as intriguing to me as the first three seasons. *Gasp* I know, I'm awful to say that, right? I have two small rants with this season though: 1) I really wish they would cut Edith a break; seriously, she just stays on the struggle bus...as in, sitting in first class on the struggle bus and I am about tired of it. 2) It kills me how quickly all these men just fall in love with Mary overnight! It took three seasons to build the epic romance that was Matthew and Mary and suddenly every man that comes in contact with Mary falls madly in love? Can we give things a little time to develop...because if someone is going to be Matthew's replacement, I'm going to need more than a night rescuing pigs or a walk on the grounds of the Abbey as all it takes to trigger eternal love....and now that the season finale has aired, oh my goodness. Y'all - it seems like nothing was resolved! Mary is still wishy-washy when it comes to choosing between Blake & Gillyweed. (I know, it's Lord Gillingham, but just...yeah....) Edith is still heart-broken and sad, which makes me sad, Tom is still hanging around the Sarah girl (who can go away now - thank you very much) and Thomas is still a big honking jerk. Although - Carson & Ms. Hughes holding hands at the beach was precious.

Sherlock - Oh my, what a finale! I think it's just cruelty that Sherlock only has three episodes but I must say, all three episodes always deliver and the season finale was no exception. My jaw dropped over and over and at one point I literally almost fell off the couch - a direct result of edging down the couch toward the TV as the episode progressed until I scooted a little too far and almost crashed into the floor. Of course, the last sixty seconds of the episode completely blew my mind and oh me, if we have to wait for two+ years for Series four, well...I guess we'll all wait, won't we? And I seriously doubt we'll get Series four quickly since Cumberbatch and Freeman are already committed to multiple projects that will have to be completed before they can get back to Baker street. Oh well, I certainly enjoyed three weeks of excellent television while it lasted! *Update - apparently Cumberbatch just backed out of one of his movie commitments, so maybe it will only be a year and a half...not two years. Ha-ha!*

Reign - I cannot say enough about how glad I am that I chose to check this out when it premiered back in the Fall; it has easily become one of my favorite new shows. I think one of the things that makes me love it so much is because Lindsey and I both watch it and talk back and forth about it from week to week - it's the little things that make you feel close to family when they're far away, you know? Beyond the running weekly commentary that Lindsey and I keep going, I do love historical fiction; certainly this takes quite a few liberties with history but it's still fascinating and makes learning about what really happened even more intriguing (history nerd alert). The actors that play Mary, Queen of Scots, Prince Francis and Sebastian are all great in their roles but I have to say, Meghan Fellows as Catherine De Medici steals the show - she is one wicked queen! Also, in case you didn't know - Meghan Fellows played Anne of Green Gables; talk about a complete role reversal! This show is great and since it was just renewed for season two, I can't wait to see what's to come!

Hmmm Mary...who are you going to choose?

Movies I Watched

Labor Day - As predicted, I saw this movie pretty much the minute it came out - it came out on Friday, January 31st and I was in the theater to see it on Saturday, February 1st! I really enjoyed this movie, except for the one or two minor deviations from the book that I honestly thought weakened the movie a little bit. That being said, the movie was really great - Kate Winslet is always fantastic in whatever she does and the young man that played Henry (Gattlin Griffith) was absolutely exceptional. If I've really enjoyed a book (which hello, see above review) then I always have high expectations for the movie - this film did not disappoint and if it's still out in theatres, then I recommend going to see it post haste!

Excellent movie - go see it!

Winter's Tale - This movie was a huge disappointment to me...and I hate to say that, but sadly it's true. I'd read about three-fourths of my way through the book and I really thought I had a pretty clear picture of what to expect from the film...and I was looking forward to it. The story started out just fine and the love story between Peter and Beverly was delightful and romantic...but then things just veered so far off course from where I ever thought the movie would go and I just sat in the theater in confusion. Jessica Brown-Findlay and Colin Farrell were great in their roles and I thoroughly enjoyed the love story portion of the movie but the rest of it....no thanks. Sadly, I cannot recommend this movie and it also serves to cement my feeling that the book is almost always better than the movie!!

Pompeii - Oh my goodness, I really loved this movie. I did! I've been intrigued by it since last Fall when I saw the picture of Kit Harington (from Game of Thrones) in his costume for the movie and just thought "well, hello abs!" If a movie has drama, romance, some action and it's all set against some crazy historical catastrophe - I mean, sign me up! Also, have I mentioned Kit Harington's abs? I do love Kit Harington period because he portrays Jon Snow on Game of Thrones and let's be honest, if you've read even a couple of my posts then you know I do love my Game of Thrones and by extension, my Game of Thrones people. The premise of the movie is that an enslaved gladiator must break free from the arena and then fight against mother nature itself to rescue the girl he has fallen in love with, all while trying to escape the destruction being rained down on them. A bit dramatic - maybe, but it's right up my alley - I do love this type of movie. If you like drama, romance and action set against a historical backdrop, then definitely go see this but if you think it's all cheesy (which, you gotta do you...but also, BOO to you) then I'd skip it. I definitely loved it.

Loved it - really loved it.

Those abs though...I think he needs a new costume on Game of Thrones, don't you? Although I guess he'd get cold in the arctic tundra that is the North....
Music I Listened To

Savage Garden - Oh my goodness, I have rarely bought a CD that I could say I loved all the song and I bought this CD back in 1997 at the ripe old age of thirteen and must have played it a thousand times. It's funny that when I listen to it now, some of the songs...suffice it to say that I am pretty sure I had no clue what they were singing about, ha-ha! I rediscovered the CD on iTunes, downloaded it and have been listening to it on pretty much a constant rotation since I bought it. What can I say - I know what I like and I like Savage Garden!

Echo by Jason Walker - I love this song, mostly because it's like someone crawled into my head and wrote lyrics based on the way I feel about being single/alone/far from my peeps. I won't get too deep into that because it would probably make all involved sad and because the song pretty much lays it all out. It's a good song though, very pretty.

Yummy in my Tummy

Italian Ravioli Carbonara - I dedicated a whole post to this crazy delicious comfort recipe that I stumbled upon and whipped up in my own way. Definitely so yummy that I might have made it twice in a week! I mean, I needed to use the leftover ingredients...and it's SO good. So good. Go make it yourself.

King Cake that someone (one of the companies we do business with) sent to the office. I need King cake like I need a hole in my head, but it's absolutely delicious and I've enjoyed it while it was at the office. Yum!

Chocolate covered strawberries that my sweet parents sent me for Valentine's Day, so absolutely yummy and delicious. And I was kind of enough to share...thankfully only a few people actually accepted one. :) Ha-ha!

What I'm Looking Forward to in March

SPRING!!! Seriously, some Spring and some sunshine would be absolutely fantastic because I am not even into anymore gray, dreary days. I cannot take anymore of it and I am not sure how people who deal with this kind of gray crappiness on a daily basis don't go crazy. I enjoyed visiting Forks but I could never live there - this weather of late has proven that to me.

And...that's all for now! I don't know about you, but I'm happy to be saying adios to February and hola to March! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Favorite Things Thursday...Cooking Edition

So, one of my favorite things of all time is Cugino's soup mixes, they are so completely delicious and make cooking something good for supper so easy! However, I am kind of a stickler when it comes to potato soup and while I do like the Perfect Potato soup mix I wanted it to be a bit more...thick, creamy and filling. So, I got crafty tonight and turned my bag soup mix into what might be my favorite potato soup yet!


The one thing that I did before I started cooking was to dump the bag soup mix over a colander - the soup mix comes with small pieces of dried potato that; while they serve just fine, I wanted to take out and do more with. So I put a colander over my soup pot, let the soup mix and spices go through and weeded out the potato pieces...and then we were off to the races!

Some delicious root vegetables, cooking away!

Bacon and the bag soup mix, awaiting the rest of the ingredients....

- 1 bag of Cugino's Perfect Potato Soup mix
- 4/5 small potatoes
-5/6 small carrots
-3 cups milk
-3 cups water
-1 cup half & half
-1 cup reserved potato water
-2 tsp. sour cream
-4/6 pieces of bacon, torn into pieces
-1 tsp. parsley
-1 tsp. black pepper
-1 tsp. dried onion 
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-2 tbsp. butter, cut into cubes

The beginning of the soup...before everything was good and combined...

The soup starting to look absolutely delicious; thick and creamy...just like I wanted.

How to Cook It

- Wash and scrub potatoes and carrots, cut into small pieces. Cook for about ten minutes or until tender; they should be easily pierced with a fork. Set aside one cup of potato/carrot cooking liquid.

- In soup pot, empty the Cugino's soup mix, (minus the potato pieces) bacon pieces, parsley, pepper, onion, milk, half & half, water, cup of reserved potato water, butter, sour cream and cheddar cheese, mixing well.

- Bring to a low boil on medium heat, then turn down to medium/low heat and cook for approximately twenty minutes. Stir frequently to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

- Serve garnished with cheddar cheese...or bacon pieces...or sour cream. Perhaps all three! Enjoy!

Absolutely delicious!

So good with potatoes and carrots - yummy & with more veggies!
So - there you have it! One of my favorite things, turned into a new favorite thing! Try this out and I know you'll love it too!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Italian Sausage Stew

So you see, I got a brand new fancy-pants crock-pot for Christmas this year and I have been searching out a recipe to try as the inaugural recipe to make in it. I stumbled upon this recipe and after reading several people's rave reviews of it, I decided this would be the recipe. I gathered together my ingredients, pulled my crock-pot out (while singing "Aaaaahhhhaaaahhh" in a ceremonious fashion) and got right down to business!

Ingredients, ingredients...they're what make a meal!

- 1 package (approximately 18 ounces) of tortellini; your choice what style - I used three cheese
- 1 can Italian diced tomatoes
- approximately 2-3 ounces of Spinach, torn in pieces (a bag is usually about 5 ounces)
- 1 8 ounce brick of cream cheese, cubed into small pieces
- 4 cups chicken broth
- sausage of your choice, about 1/2 a pound

Viva Italia! 

I love all the colors in the crock-pot!

Italian Sausage Stew
- Brown sausage; set aside

- In crock-pot combine tortellini, shredded spinach leaves, 1 can of Italian tomatoes, 4 cups of chicken broth and cream cheese, stir together well...chunking up cream cheese.

- Add in sausage.

- Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

I only cooked mine about 4 hours and thirty minutes; so it's worth watching to make sure the tortellini doesn't get over-cooked. If you want it to be more soupy as opposed to having a stew consistency, I'd suggest using a bit more chicken broth. You can also substitute vegetable broth for chicken.

Loking delicious after about four and a half hours!

I garnished my bowl of stew with just a wee bit of Parmesan!

So yummy and filling - perfect for a chilly day!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

And All was Calm....

Only five more days and February will be over - I can't believe it and I can't say I'm sad to see it go. February is always the most desolate of all the months and so I certainly won't be sad to see it go...not just because the weather has been dull and gray; the month itself hasn't really been walk in the park either, and so I will happily bid February adieu! Having said that, the past week was pretty good (even with some crazy, still gray and dreary weather) and that's certainly worth looking back on! This week is mostly pictures because the week was fairly uneventful and seemed to fly by.

A Monday made better with new shoes - a Valentine's gift from my parents.

Monday is tiring for everyone apparently....

A detour on the way home...a creepy house as part of the new route...

The joy of plumbing issues - not that I had this major plumbing break down this week or anything but it's kind of a constant thought in the back of my mind. I mean, I do have to think about "oh yeah, I can't just go down the hall and use my second bathroom..." those are the thoughts I have on a fairly constant basis. I finally decided to take the chance and run my dishwasher, which was far more nerve-wracking than it needed to be because I have anxiety issues and I fear that my house is going to explode due to pressure on the pipes. I know, I know...crazy. It's okay though because the dishwasher actually does work, there was no house explosion and apparently I can use the dishwasher pretty much whenever and there will be no issue. However, for the first thirty minutes that I first turned on the dishwasher I went up and down the hall to check that the toilet (and the bathtub and the sink) didn't explode with some kind of Old Faithful type geyser of pent up water. It didn't - thank goodness...and all is (kind of) well. Emphasis on kind of.

A Tuesday sunset - thank Heavens for some blue skies.

New water bottle courtesy of a visiting insurance rep...it turns blue when you put cold water in it!

Mid-week selfie!

Why is chocolate so delicious? 

Wednesday - puffy clouds and blue skies, now that's what I'm talking about!

Sweet dreams, courtesy of my linen spray!

I'd describe the teal color as pretty....if I knew it wasn't well...poop water!

The calm before the storm on Thursday night...
Oh - bad weather, how I love it. NOT. I tried to let Watson know that it was going to come a flood and that he shouldn't stray too far from the house...but he didn't listen, because maybe he didn't even know what I was saying to him because he's a puppy. Anyway, the bottom fell out all of a sudden around 6:30 and he was nowhere in sight! I called for him and it wasn't long before I saw a little white streak zipping across the yard toward the house and a rain-free zone. Thankfully it never got too awful but around midnight the weather did pick up for about fifteen minutes and when it did pass, I had to coax Watson back into his bed. The first time he got in the bed, he immediately got out and ran for the safety of the living room. No amount of sweet talking would do, so I had to scoop him up, carry him to his bed and talk in gentle tones until he decided to stay in the bed...so that I could go back to my bed. Silly little puppy.

Headed for a cloud wall on the way to work Friday morning!

Watson has friends - let there be much rejoicing!

My little brown-noser (he'd been digging in the dirt...)

I got to leave work on Friday at 1 - something new that my office has started; alternating afternoons off with pay, which is really nice. I left the office at work and took myself straight to the movies to see "Pompeii" in 3D. Afterwards I got some Chick Fil A for an early supper, stopped by the bank and still got home before 4 in the afternoon - amazing! I used my extra hour to get a jump on my laundry since I'm walking across the yard to do my laundry at my Grandma's because as I've mentioned...my washing machine is a big no-no right now. My next afternoon off at 1 isn't until April 4th but I know I'll be counting down the days until my Friday comes around again...because an extra four hours of freedom is absolutely amazing!

A beautiful Friday night sunset!

Taking a break atop the freshly raked leaves.
Saturday was delightful...mostly because there were no plumbing problems and that makes me really happy. My toilet didn't overflow and I didn't have to invite people over to dig holes up in my backyard while I had a nervous breakdown. That constitutes a good Saturday in my book. I raked leaves in the yard and Watson promptly made the pile of leaves his new favorite spot to sit - which cracked me up. I ran errands to get the mail and get groceries, had a relaxing afternoon picking up on commercial breaks while I was watching Indiana Jones on USA and then around suppertime, I spruced myself up and went to town to watch my surrogate little sister in her high school beauty pageant - which she totally should have won, but unfortunately I wasn't a judge, so she got second alternate...which is still awesome! I made a late night (okay, not really late but late for me...) Taco Bell run and came home to eat and watch Being Human with Watson before going to bed. Like I said - a good Saturday. No issues.

So beautiful in her pageant dress....and she's beautiful in her every day as well!

2nd alternate - way to go girl!

2nd alternate - we'll take it! 

Having some late night Taco Bell with newly discovered Verde salsa - hello delicious.

Thankfully it's not too hard to make a bed with a little twenty pound knot on a log asleep in the middle of it..

Sweet girls on Sunday morning!
Well - I guess that's about all she wrote this week. Like I said, nothing too much happened this week and sometimes I like things that way. On to the last week of February and soon - Spring! Oh how I'm looking forward to Spring! Now then, I don't know about you but I've got watch the season finale of Downton Abbey and get some sleep...Monday always dawns early, if not always bright.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Flashback

In honor of the Olympic Games, let me share with you a short and sweet little flashback that I had on Wednesday night while watching the Women's Figure Skating competition get under way...you see, Lindsey and I used to have our very own Olympic Games.

Picture if you will - a perfectly clear "ice rink" with a dazzling lighting scheme, a fantastic sound system and the most elaborate of costumes. The commentating was always riveting, narrating each spin, turn and precision jump with excitement and accuracy. I'm telling you, these Olympic Games were almost; if not more wonderful than the actual Olympic games. We may not have had all the skills, the rhinestones and the flashy skates but I will tell you what we did have...

We had a freshly mopped kitchen floor to serve as our amazing ice rink. We had the staircase off the kitchen to serve as the commentators booth. We had white socks, fresh out of our dresser drawers to serve as perfectly fine-tuned skates...and if we were feeling really crazy, we might put on colored socks instead of white socks! We might even put on old dance costumes to really spice things up and then, while my parents were busy cleaning, reading a book or poking around on the computer , Lindsey and I would have our very own Olympic Games! We would hop and spin around to our music; one of us would "skate" and the other would be the commentator. We won quite a lot of gold medals you see, because we were quite excellent at our skating skills.

Olympic skaters in disguise...didn't you know?

Those are some good memories y'all! I have a feeling if we could just happen to be together at the right time, here at my house, we could make some skating memories all over again. I could push my kitchen table out of the way, we could grab some socks and have ourselves a good ol time!

Side note - I am SO pleased that Bob Costas has returned to the NBC Olympic commentating fold! Those eyes were looking rough but Lord knows, it is just not the Olympics without Bob!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Favorite Things Thursday

This is just a short, sweet little post to share five things that I am really into this week...maybe even this month. They run the gamut from cosmetics to entertainment to food and drink. So, without further ado - five things that are pretty much my "favorite" this week!

Best. Color. Ever.
Clinique's Black Honey lipstick - which at first glance looks like it would go on SO dark, but let me assure you it doesn't and that is why I love it! I am not a huge lipstick person; I don't like to just overpower with color and that is what makes this color my favorite - it goes on with the perfect hint of color and shine, without being overwhelming. And therefore, I love it!

It's tough "being human"
Being Human - which I will elaborate more on in my What I was Into in February post but I have just been on a binge with this show for the past week or week and a half and I am eating it up. The show has a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost as the central characters, which if you've paid any attention to some of the shows I normally watch, you will know this one is right up my alley. It's even managed to draw me away from the Winter Olympics broadcast - GASP!

Ocean Spray Chocolate Covered Craisins - one of my new favorite snacks; I stumbled upon these in the Dollar General and bought a bag just to check them out. Oh my, hooked is not the word. I could eat the whole bag but I promise that I haven't done that. I eat them sparingly as one of my healthier snacks...I suppose they aren't 100% the most healthy thing I could eat, but they're better than what I've been snacking on and they still taste delicious!

Delicious liquids...with 0 calories!
Sobe Life Water Zero - When you jump into a diet and you're used to drinking soft drinks, or at least something with flavor then going to nothing but water all the time. Thank goodness I found Sobe because it has six different flavors (strawberry kiwi being my favorite) and is a really nice break from drinking plain old water all day long!

The best stuff - no doubt!
Vaseline Lip Therapy - No doubt, one of my most favorite new finds. I didn't actually find this so to speak since it was gifted to me from "Santa Claus" as a stocking stuffer this Christmas. I put it in my purse and to be honest, I kind of forgot about it until I was in desperate need of some lip gloss about a week ago and remembered this was in my purse. I haven't quit using it since; it is smooth without being sticky or gummy and provides just the right amount of gloss and tint. I love it!

So there you have it - five things that are my favorite this week! What are some of your favorite things?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

10 Things I am Learning

Life has been throwing out some lessons at me and I thought I'd share some of them; some are deep and maybe even a little sad, some are funny and others are just...just lessons - broken up with a couple funny pictures that somewhat go along with. So there you have it. Read em and weep...or laugh...your choice.

10 Things I am Learning

1.       Going at it alone – not easy; and if there is a lesson to be learned, it will probably be learned    the hard way.
-          Seriously people, being on your own is not easy. I grew weary of coming home with no one but the dog to talk to two years ago and yet the trend continues and so I trudge on. Another delightful thing about being on your own is that as a homeowner and as a human being in general there are many lessons to be learned and trial and error (emphasis on error) is usually the name of the game. Example: my recent (and still ongoing) plumbing debacle which has involved much wailing and gnashing of teeth – and is still not over yet. As someone on another blog pointed out, I am learning so many life lessons by being on my own and supposedly that is a wonderful thing…and yet, they always seems to come with drawbacks: Moving the fridge to discover possible leak? Back hurts for several days after because; well, I’m not physically equipped to drag around a fridge. Weed-eating one’s own yard? Yeah, I got Lyme disease people. Seriously. So yes – life skills have been developed – but can I just say, I’m tired of learning all these “valuable” life skills. Or at least, I’m tired of learning them on my own. Where can I sign up for the mutiny?

2.       I depend too much on other people’s approval, admiration and praise.
-          I think we all probably have this issue to a certain degree but I know full well that the degree to which I have it is less acute and more obtuse – and that isn’t really a good thing. Late last year an incident occurred wherein numerous people were recognized for their hard work but my contribution was left out; actually it was assigned to someone else entirely, which left me not only feeling hurt but also feeling like I was terribly inadequate, unimportant and not doing anything worthy of being praised. I am in desperate need of figuring out a way to shake things like this off and come to the realization that other people’s opinions are just that, opinions and they don’t really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. I’m getting better at this but it’s still a struggle; a struggle that is made more intense because I am one of those people that doesn’t want to rock the boat, so just ignoring people, being who I want to be and not worrying about who I might “offend” in the process, well that stresses me out. It’s a vicious cycle and I’ve got one leg off the hamster wheel…I guess I need to just make the jump, right?

3.       I am not nearly as efficient as I’d like to think I am.
-          On a lighter note, because 1 and 2 were kind of heavy, I know…I know. I get a serious high from making myself a nice little to-do list and then crossing everything off as I complete it. This has somehow led me to believe that I am highly efficient and just always about some business when in reality; more often than not, I am just a lazy bum! I realize there are people in this world that come to the realization of what needs to be done and they just tackle it but I am of the variety where I need to first be seized by a mood if I am going to accomplish certain tasks. The rug needs to be vacuumed? I mean…if I am not in the mood, it’s probably not happening – even if it is on the to-do list. This results in spastic cleaning bursts at 9:30 on a Wednesday night. So you see, having a to-do list does not make one efficient. That being said…

4.       I am quickly becoming my Mother.
-          Which is 100% not a bad thing; I love my Momma and think she is quite amazing, but it completely tickles me. I say things and the minute the words leave my lips, I realize I have just repeated something that I have heard my Mother say for these twenty-nine years, four months and some odd days of my life. My favorite thing is when I tell my Momma (of all people) that I just feel like I can’t sit down and chill out until I’ve finished all the little things I need to do around the house (see above; this obviously only happens in the midst of a cleaning frenzy) – something I used to laugh at her for saying. I see so much of my Momma in things I do, say and the way I act and while it cracks me up, it also makes me really happy because if I can turn out to be just a tenth of the person she is, I think I’ll be just fine and dandy.

5.       Life tends to go smoother when you are organized.
-          Ha-ha, this points back to the above. My Momma has preached organization and being prepared since I was small and while it took me a little while to catch on, I now stand by the ideals of organization hard and fast. Everything has a place and at the end of the day, all of those everythings need to be in their places…because if they aren’t, then there is sure to be struggle in the future. I took my dog’s collar off of him last night and just tossed it onto the chaise lounge which is NOT where it goes!! What was I thinking? I’m not sure but I can tell you I spent about five minutes hunting all over my living room for it this morning before I found it, my dog watching me all the while like I’d come unhinged; which honestly, I kind of had. So what if some of the people I work with tell me that I am anal – I don’t lose things on my desk like they do and that gives me much joy. And yes, while it may seem silly to you to spend time picking out my clothes for the week ahead or readying my lunches for the week ahead, I tell you that it seems delightful when I can sleep an extra ten minutes in the morning because I don’t have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, searching for this black tank top or that bag of Craisins. Organization – it is of the good.

6.       Genuinely loving people is REALLY hard.
-          Oh me, this one is a big one. You see, people are all just one big ol mess; you can pretend that you aren’t and that’s just fine but let’s be honest with each other for a minute, we are all flawed and have crazy issues (hello, please see above for just one or two of the plenty of things I’m carrying around) and that makes it really hard to just truly love on people. It is much easier to pick reasons why people have disappointed you, made you angry or just been downright mean and it’s even easier to forget the times that they have been supportive, loving and encouraging. I am preaching to myself here for sure – you see, I have a low tolerance for people that…for lack of a better word, seem na├»ve to the ways of the world. It bothers me to no end when people act surprised or dumbfounded by simple things – you guys, I do not suffer fools lightly. It’s the truth and maybe it’s awful but it’s a cross I have to bear. That being said, I need to let it go a little bit. I need to just love people, because we all have something we are struggling with and we are all just fine the way the good Lord made us. So, I will try to love people more and you do the same and the world will be much nicer; right?

7.       I really don’t understand grace; at all.
-          Which ties in to the above about learning to love people; I think learning to love people and understanding grace go hand in hand. As a child you accept that you are loved and you don’t question it; the innocence of youth makes us all so trusting, we accept grace for what it is – love we don’t deserve. The older I get, the more I realize that in all honestly, I am a very unlovable person sometimes and I try to do things to work toward being loved when we aren’t meant to do that. No amount of good deeds, prayer and supplication, none of it is enough to earn the kind of love that we all desire (even if you don’t realize what kind of love that is) because that love is given through grace. I often think it would be nice to retain a bit more of that childlike innocence; the childlike faith, because grace makes much more sense as a child. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

8.       I’m MUCH less mature at 29 than I thought I’d be.
-          I don’t really have too much to say about this one…because really, what can I say? So…yep, it is what it is.

9.       My life, my relationships, my circumstances are nothing like I thought they’d be – and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
-          Oooh, this one could go deep again. I mean, I know we’ve all heard the phrase “people plan and God laughs” but I honestly get the feeling that he just laughs hard at me. I don’t mean that to sound sacrilegious or even downright terrible but I can go ahead and assure you that if you’d asked me at nineteen what my life would look like at twenty-nine..folks, this just ain’t it(and yes; I know, ain’t isn’t a word, thaaank you! It just seemed to provide the right flow for that phrase). This isn’t even in the ballpark. My reality compared to what I thought my life would be – well, it’s so far off that I might as well be standing outside the ballpark…and the ballpark is in Tokyo. I have read where other people experience this same phenomenon but they are actually thrilled and delighted by the way things have gone but at this point, I just cannot say the same. I am neither thrilled nor delighted…if we are being honest, I’m more on the level of troubled and confused. That being said, I guess I just push on while praying for clarity and try to assure myself that one day I’ll look back at this stage in my life and it will all make sense. I sure hope so.

10.   Every single person is just making their best guess as they go.
-          Once upon a time I thought people hit a certain age and everything just clicked. I would understand how the world worked, I would know how to take care of all the necessary parts of life without too much stress or strain and I would achieve that place where I appeared to be a fully functioning adult that had it all together. I don’t know if that place exists anymore. I think everyone is just trying to make the best of the hand they’ve been dealt and if that means that you don’t always have everything together, that’s perfectly fine. It’s a comfort to know from talking with friends that nobody is really strutting around, saying proudly to themselves “I have GOT THIS and everything is going make perfect sense from here on out!” Those people don’t exist. And knowing that makes me feel just a little bit better when I realize that I still don’t really know what I’m doing.