Friday, June 29

Finally Friday

Somehow I felt like this week flew by, even though each day was filled with its own craziness.  

I was so thankful to see my new, sweet nephew on Sunday.  My cousin was able to snap a couple of pictures with #4 & #5 getting along swimmingly-what a relief!  Teddy is 2, and Tony is 0. I think these pictures prove they're destined to be best buds :)

I've been reading an absolutely fantastic book this week.  It's called Wilderness Skills for Women by Marian Jordan.  I highly recommend.  The book is written from her perspective of each woman's personal wilderness period, and it truly is like she is speaking to you personally! 

Whether it be a break up, a loss of a friend, or a riff with a family member, a wilderness period is inevitable throughout our lives.  What is interesting is that Marian talks about how this period should be a sign to hope, not to despair.  What?! HOPE?! How much easier is it to have a melt down and doubt your entire future? Much easier.  But to have hope brings such a greater sense of peace.  I can't tell you how much good this book has done for me, just in one week!  I can't wait to read her other books!
Thursday, June 28

Thirsty Thursday: July 4th Cocktails

July 4th is coming up, and I'm sorry to say it's on a Wednesday this year. WHICH, I shouldn't complain about having a day off, but I will go ahead and do so because I wish the holiday fell on a non-Wednesday like normal* so I would get a long weekend.  w/e.

This year, we're taking my gramma (lovingly nicknamed the "old bag"**) out for her birthday Tuesday night, to get this day off started right.  Wednesday we'll probs frequent the local parade, and jump in the pool.

My mom, Josie, is great with cocktail time. She is always ready and waiting for me to say "is it time?" and she is ON it.  I should mention I won't be featuring any blue drinks below.  I'm not really a fan of having my mouth turn blue like I'm a four year old... Sorry I'm not sorry.  These are my three favorite ideas for a killer fourth cocktail:

1. Wine Spritzer.  Whether you use white wine or red, or even a rose, get ON it.  It's super easy, so you have no excuse. Just mix the wine with a club soda or even a fresca, and you can even throw in a melon ball of your choosing.  My gramma (the old bag) has a little melon scooper that she uses for watermelon and canetelope.  Cutesie!

-1/2+ part wine
-1/2- part soda
-fruit to add some flavor/garnish

2. Vodka Soda.  Listen, don't judge it! It goes down easy, and it won't treat you badly the next day, AND it's low cal.  I told you that I wasn't going to have some snooty blue drink featured.  Spruce your soda up with some fruit: watermelon (see old bag reference w/ melon scooper), lime, lemon, orange...or all!  I also enjoy this with Hendricks Gin since it has a nice cucumber tone to it.
-1/4 part gin/vodka
-3/4 part soda (they also make light tonic)
-fruit to garnish/flavor
3. Moscow Mule.  Now I believe I've mentioned my love for ginger beer, and above my love for vodka, so why not marry the two together?  This drink is utterly refreshing, and has been around since the 40s.  I actually found this video how to which is great, mostly because he has a british accent.  I will tell you I've made it the easy way, starting with already made ginger beer, and I've also made it from scratch. Go ahead and take the easy road.  Now if I can just get my hands on the signature glass...
-1 3/4 oz vodka
-1/2 oz lime juice
-ginger beer
-lime wedge and fresh mint for garnish


*granted, in my 5 years of employment (so not that long), it's been the norm for the holiday to fall on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.  In the case that it falls on Tuesday or Thursday, my job has given us Monday/Friday off.  Hel-lo four day weekend!  Makes for a perfect time to take a trip! Alas, this year, I'll be staying local, but making the most of it.

**look, she came up with the nickname herself. Don't judge me for going along with it!
Wednesday, June 27

Work Wear Wednesday: Look for Less Part V

We're going to venture over to Neiman Marcus.  Ahh, lovely Neimans. You can just smell how expensive everything is when you walk in, but the quality is nearly unbeatable. When you dress for less, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little quality, which usually doesn't bother me. I buy cheaper pieces especially when they are trendy, and buy a little nicer when it's a staple, like black pants.

Moving on. Here's the look:

Pants, $375 (on sale!). Top, $510 (on sale, too!). Pumps (similar), $575.
Total cost: $1,460

Look for less:

Top Option 1, $69. Top Option 2, $59. Pants, $49.95. Suede pumps, $59.99.
Total cost: $178.90-$168.90

Tuesday, June 26

Top Three Tuesday: Cleaning Utensils

Does that even make sense: cleaning utensils? Did you see where I was going with that, or are you still confused?  Bear with me here, and let's get straight to the point.

Do you like to clean (like I do)? Honestly I find it to be like a mini work out, a major stress reliever, and a series of task with maximum satisfaction.

While I'm irreversibly obsessed with this counter spray and this kitchen hand soap, there are a few "utensils" for cleaning I cannot live without.

3. Microfiber cloths. I use these with the counter spray to clean the granite counter top about 327 times a day. I also use them when I'm washing the mirrors and sinks.  I may go buy these microfiber sponges next!
2. Dust Buster. Look,  I don't even really like my current dust buster at all, but that is not the point.  The point is, a dust buster can get the crumbs under the cabinets, in drawers, on the shelves, and even around/in the microwave before you apply elbow grease with a sponge or mop.
I'm going to go ahead and add a 2b here.
2b. A small broom and dust pan.  This is also extremely useful in the kitty litter cleaning department, and with small spills.  Get one at BBB.

3. A good lint roller. We use this on the couch, pillows, and chairs to remove cat hair and our hair.  One time we splurged for the pet specific one, and it was worth it. It's just a thicker tube and a sturdier tape, so don't worry if you bought the cheap one.

Some other good things I use on occasion are rubber gloves, a mop, and a microfiber dusting mitt.  The gloves I put on when the job is particularly gritty and I don't want to ruin my manicure. Duh.

The mop I should use more frequently, but don't.  I think instead of a once/twice a week routine I'm more like a bi-monthly user.  And, this dusting mitt has stayed with me for years. I just throw it in the washing machine when it gets particularly dirty and carry on.  I use it for dusting tables, furniture, book shelves, and light fixtures (that are turned off!).

 I keep everything in a bucket under my half bathroom sink (the sink cabinet in the kitchen contains cleaning products and trash bags...).
Monday, June 25

Manic Monday: A hodge-podge.

My 7th nephew was born last night and he's just as precious as he can be.  Little Tony and mom are doing great!

I drove back this am, so I'm utterly exhausted, and very tempted to embark on a Pioneer Woman cooking adventure tonight (since it's Bachelorette night and all).

Indian Fry Bread: This is a Native-American quick bread that's fried and served on its own, drizzled in honey, or made into a little taco pizza. 

I may wait till next Monday to make this, but I will definitely take pictures/post about this after I try it.

Happy Monday!
Friday, June 22

Finally Friday: Another Boy Coming

No, not a boyfriend.  A nephew! Remember how I said I have 6 nephews?! The 7th boy is making his grand appearance on Sunday.  My sister, Audra, is being induced that afternoon, and I can't wait!  Henry is her 3rd, and he sports the wildest red hair.  He is hoping for another red head to spice up our worlds! 

It's so ironic, because you'd think Audra's house would be mayhem, but with all those boys running around, and tons of different house projects going on at once, she manages to instill a sense of calm and peace.  I like to sit in the middle of the kitchen in the morning and watch as each one of the older boys slowly wakes up and makes their way downstairs.. they're about ready to out grow me! (That is a small feat...I'm only 5'1").

I will be the family representative to greet the baby this weekend.  Our sister, Virginia is busy with her own two boys :).

In addition, I hope to have lots of time with my cousin to eat tacos, drink coffee, run around town, and stay up late talking. 

Now to get through the next couple of hours until I can get out of work and gooooooooo!

Ps, Delta Spirit released a new album a couple months ago.  You should definitely check it out as soon as possible.

Pps, did you see this interview with Jimmy Kimmel pranking a kid with a lie detector? Too funny!

Yes this is the most random post ever, and I hope you have a happy weekend :)
Thursday, June 21

Thrifty Thursday: Cross Body Bags

Cross body bags are huge right now. They're so easy to wear, and travel the world over in.  On something like purses, it's easy to drop a wad of cash fast.  I have a fantastic Marc by Marc cross body bag that I use all the time:

to be fair, I bought it with a huge coupon on piperlime.

back to the point. SHOULD YOU want to purchase a cross body bag for your upcoming music festival/travels/or really any other reason (such as ease during a high speed chase), you don't need to break the bank.

For super budgeters:

1, 2, or 3

For moderate budgeters:

1, or 2

and for those who just don't care, go get this one PLEASE!

Wednesday, June 20

Work Wear Wednesday: Look for Less Part IV

I'm obsessed with stripes. Isn't everybody?! You should be. So versatile, so un-boring.

Moving on to today's look:

JCrew is a likely culprit, because they have it DOWN as far as style, but I'm not always down with their prices.

Cost break down: Dress, $148. Scarf, $59.50. Flats, $188. Denim Jacket, $98.
Grand total: $493.50

Look for less:

Dress, $20. Scarf, $12.90. Flats, $39.99. Denim Jacket, $34.94.
Grand total: $107.83.

Tuesday, June 19

Top Three Tuesday: Top Three Splurges

We all have them.  You know, things we spend money on that we might be ashamed about, or that we should consider spending less money on.  Oh I am about to admit the three things I splurge on, that I just can't do without.

3) Night Cream.  Look, I'm not getting any younger, so I've got to have a great night cream with anti-aging in it.  I actually have several other qualifications for a night cream including: light weight, soaks into skin, smells nice, won't make me break out, won't hurt my eyes if a little gets in, and actually does said anti-aging magic. It's a fairly small jar, but it lasts at least 3 months!

2) Gel Manicures. Have you tried it? If not, you better get on it. Your polish stays at least 2 weeks, sometimes longer! My place has a discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of 20% off, so it makes the cost around $28. I try not to go too often, because of a few concerns mentioned in this article.  I definitely get one before a wedding or major event.

3) Bar Method. I've actually been going since the studio in Dallas opened. I got hooked! Then I tried to leave, and eventually came back.  Nothing tones better than a bar workout.  I did yoga for 3 years, and tried to do both simultaneously, but found I wasn't getting my butt to enough classes to make the cost < benefit.  I was stressing myself out to go to classes all the time!  Bar Method (and the like) can cost just under $200 a month for a membership, but I locked in a deal for $125 a month by purchasing during an incentive.  This is just $8 more than my yoga membership was for years, and it's much closer to home.

What are your top splurges? (please divulge so I am not the only one confessing here!!!)
Monday, June 18

Manic Monday: Music to Get You Through It.

Mondays are always difficult. Why is re-entry to the work week like that? You spend half the morning cleaning up the things you decided to set aside on Friday, and half of the morning trying to keep your eyes open.  It's usually a good day to go out to lunch and leave right at 5.

Here's a great little band I like to call the Alabama Shakes to get you through the day. As you can imagine, they hail from Alabama, and Brittany Howard is bursting with energy throughout the entire album.

Here are a few tracks to get you on board:

Hold On


Going to the Party

Friday, June 15

Finally Friday, after Sick Day Thursday

Out sick yesterday.  Not a ton to share for today, except for my huge man crush and him singing my favorite song.

I really am convinced that if he had met me before his wife, he would see that we are clearly soul mates.
Wednesday, June 13

Work Wear Wednesday: Look for Less Part III

Let's go on over to Anthropologie to continue my Look for Less trend from here and here.  Since I've done both posts with pants, let's move on to dresses.  Anthropologie has the most whimsical, fresh dresses on the block, don't you agree?

I love this look...the dots, the splashes of color, and her untamed hair.

She's not pictured with shoes, but I decided these are great, so I chose them for discussion.

Total cost: dress, $168. Wedges, $168. Belt (similar), $58. Lipstick, $22.50.
Grand total: $416.50.

Look for less:

Total cost: Dress, $46.99. (other options here, here, and here). Belt, $16.99. Wedges, $56.99. Lips, $5.
Grand Total: $125.97.
All of the budget items came from Ruche this week...don't you LOVE that site?
Tuesday, June 12

Top Three Tuesday: Flats/Sandals for Summer

Grace suggested I blog about some flats/sandals options for Summer that aren't ugly. Ha! Her husband, Simon, gives her a lot of grief over these.

In general, I think it can be difficult to wear flats. You may feel more frumpy.  Heels definitely elongate your legs and improve your posture.  But let's be can't wear heels every day!

Some options I love right now:

3) A little bit of neon:  WHO DOESN'T love neon right now!? And for $39, what a great way to sass up your old blues.  Here is a more pricey pair I love, too. And alllllll of these are fantastic.
2) A little bit of tribal: This pair is a little more pricey, but Sam Edelman makes a great, lasting shoe, so why don't you just splurge a little bit.  Tribal is always in style, IMO.  These would be great with a long summer skirt, shorts, jeans, or at the pool.

3) A little bit of animal: Or a lot...let's be real, these are pretty fantastic.  I know this, because they are currently on my feet! Dolce Vita is my new fav brand, and I picked up these sandals (in gold) before summer when I got my jelly bow flats (so it's becoming very clear that I have a shoe problem....). I'm wearing mine with these skinny black pants and a light blue blouse to make an otherwise plain outfit a little more snazzy.

Monday, June 11

Manic Monday: Chia Seeds Please Kick In.

I had a juice smoothie this am with chia seeds in it.  I really need those puppies to kick in so I can start being super mega productive.  Grace swears by them, so I'm sure they'll kick in shortly..

In the mean time, I saw a very funny movie this weekend.  Bernie.  Jack Black plays an assistant funeral director, who moves to the small Texas town of Carthage, and befriends a grumpy widow, played by Shirley MacLaine.

Here's a clip from the movie..

Go see it! If for no other reason, you'll giggle your hiney off at the funny East Texas women portrayed oh-so-accurately.
Thursday, June 7

Thirsty Thursday: Margaritas!

Last weekend my friend Brittany came in town, and we basically celebrated her homecoming for four days.

I'm not one to partake in sweet drinks, but the mango margarita at Gloria's was fantastic. It is made with pureed mango, so it tastes extremely fresh and flavorful.

Here are some great looking recipes for margs I want to try this summer:

-Blood Orange Margarita:
1 quart fresh blood orange juice or fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
3 1/2 cups silver tequila
Coarse salt
1 blood orange wedge or orange wedge
12 thin blood orange slices or orange slices
12 small sage sprigs or leaves

-Spicy Margarita:
1 chili pepper of your choice
1/2 cup tequila of your choice
1/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
2 TBS fresh lime or Rose's Lime juice

-Beer rita (if you haven't had one, you're missing out. I had one Friday during happy hour...before consuming said Mango Margarita at dinner. Whew!)
1 oz Triple sec
1 oz Cointreau
2 oz Sweet-n-sour mix
1 tall glass of ice
1 bottle of beer (your preference)
blend for 30 seconds!

1 (10-ounce) bag frozen diced mango
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2/3 cup tequila (preferably silver, 80 proof)
2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 cups ice water
(pictured above: Corinne, me, and Brittany enjoying our pureed mango margs :))