Wednesday, December 30, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

You get a car and you get a car...

No just kidding it's not like that. If you are at all familiar with Oprah, you may have heard of her favorite things show she does around Christmas. I would have given anything to be in the audience at one of those shows because not only does she share her favorite things, but everyone in the audience goes home with one of each of them!

She gives away things like $200 pj sets, refrigerators, and the latest and greatest gadgets...but I don't have Oprah kind of money. However I still wanted to share a few of my favorite things with you and give away a set of them to one lucky winner!

Here it is:

What's Included?

Bath and Body Works Foaming Antibacterial soap in Coconut Lime- I love this foaming soap and the Coconut Lime is by far my favorite scent. If you need to kill germs on the go, they have these tiny little bottles of hand sanitizer for like $1. I always have one in my purse just in case, but the foaming soap is still my favorite.

Sephora's Whipped Body Delight in Marshmallow Fluff- I love, love, love these little tubs of body butter. They are harder to find in the stores now, but they still have them online in gift sets sometimes. I have one in my car and they are the perfect size to take on vacation. I love the Coconut or Grapefruit scent in the summertime but the Marshmallow Fluff and Peppermint Mocha are my favorite fall/winter scents.

Cover Girl's Lash Blast Mascara- I'm not a huge make up person, but I always keep a travel sized eye lash curler and mascara in my purse because a) my eyelashes need help and b) that one little step can make you look so much more awake. I used to be loyal to Benefit's BadGal mascara, but I decided to give this one a try because it is available in more places and cheaper. I think I may like this one better! Now they just need to make a travel size!

Miss Manicure's Mini Emory Boards- I have these all over my house, car, purse, work...they are great. I am always breaking a nail and I used to just rip it off. But now that I have these handy little things, I don't have to destroy the whole nail. Plus they are super cute- you know how I love travel sized things!

Got2Be Smooth Operator- I got a free sample of this stuff and have been a loyal user ever since. Every morning I am always in a rush, but all I have to do to my hair is quickly run a straight iron through it and put a tiny dollop of this in my hands, rub them together, and run my fingers through my hair. It leaves me with smooth, silky hair and tames all those little fly-aways.

Would you like to win this loot? I know you guy readers are just clamouring to get your hands on this stuff! Here is how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already AND
2. Leave a comment on this post with one of your favorite things!

And since this is going up a little late and I know you'll all be out partying it up over the weekend, you have until midnight on Monday Jan. 4th to enter.

This is the last Grateful Giveaway, so don't miss out!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Blogs You Should Check Out in 2010

I stole this idea from here. (I don’t normally read that blog, nor do I read any of the blogs mentioned there, but I stumbled upon it today and thought the idea was great!)

I read a lot of blogs…A LOT. I am constantly updating my list, as good blogs die, and some blogs start to bore me, and as I discover new awesome blogs. I suck at showing enough love though sometimes. I don’t update my blogroll and am bad about passing on blog awards.

I wanted to keep with the theme of 10, so here are 10 Blogs You Should Check Out in 2010:

She Worships
This girl goes to my church, but I have never met her. (It’s a big church ya’ll!) But I have been reading her blog since I started my own little blog. I discovered it through our pastor’s blog, and she always writes such thought provoking posts. In the beginning, most of her posts were mostly topics for single girls. However, she recently got married and she now blogs about married life too. However, I love that she hasn’t forgotten her single gal readers. She does a great job of incorporating her married life into her writing but not letting it dominate it. She writes about everything from “Should Single Women Adopt?” to “Learning to Trust God…and My Husband”. It’s a great one to add to your Reader.

All Thing in Moddy
I forget how I discovered Hollie’s blog, but it is one I have been reading for a while. She’s a southern gal with a great little family and most of her posts include great pictures from her life. Her little girl Kate is so adorable, and earlier this year, she had the best post announcing that they were expecting another one. (Check it out!) I have come to know her and her family so much through her blog, that it felt like one of my best friends just announced that she was pregnant! I was that excited! You’ll love her too!

Amazing Ads
I found Sam’s personal blog through her commenting on mine and started following and then a few weeks ago she announced that she was starting this blog to highlight some great ads and I love it. I’m in marketing, so I may be a little biased, but I think anyone can appreciate these entertaining and thought provoking ads.

I think I discovered this blog through Gigi’s Gone Shopping (a great blog too). This girl has the kind of style and wardrobe I wish I had! I love pictures of clothes on real life people and have become kind of obsessed with finding more blogs that have real life pics of their style selections. So far this is my fave! Not only does she have amazing style, but the perfect photos she takes make her look oh so adorable with just the perfect touch of quirk!

Sean *heart* Chloe’
I just recently started reading this one and I can’t even remember how I discovered it, but I already love it. They are so cute and some of the stories are just too dang funny. You have to see the pics from the open house they went to at the crazy Christmas lady’s house HERE and the post about how her big Christmas surprise for Sean was ruined HERE. I also like the fonts she uses and the layout of her posts…I know that seems weird, but it really is aesthetically pleasing and makes her posts stand out in my Reader.

The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy
This is one I have been reading since my beginning blogging days as well. This girl can write! She is witty and descriptive and turns the most mundane adventures in to hilarious posts. Sometimes her posts can get a little long, so there have been a few that I have skipped, but this is definitely one to add to your Reader.

Average But Not…
I discovered this blog through a comment left on my blog…I always check out my commenter's blogs and it has led to some very terrific finds! Anyway, Ann always posts her thoughts and advice on great topics relating to everything and anything that girls like me would be interested in: from diet and exercise to sex and relationships. What I like the most is that she incorporates current events in to her posts a lot of the times in a very relevant way. One thing I don’t like about this blog, is that it won’t show the whole post in my reader (which usually qualifies you for an automatic unsubscribe in my world) but the titles do pull me in and make me click through to read the whole thing usually.

ITB Insider
This is another one I have been reading for a while. I was a little scared to highlight this one because A) I don’t know how well it will translate for people not living in Raleigh and B) I don’t want him to find out a “commoner” loves his blog so much. So ITB stands for “Inside the Beltline”. There is a beltline that runs around Raleigh and living ITB supposedly makes you better than everyone else. This is reflected in the real estate prices ITB- it’s at least double what you would pay per square foot outside of the beltline and quadruple what you’d pay in the suburbs of Raleigh. Anyway this guy plays up the “old money” and “exclusivity” in his hilarious posts. Think Tucker Max. You want to hate him, but he’s just so darn funny and a pretty good writer. But like I said, I don’t know if it translates as well for people not in Raleigh.

Silly Grrl
I’m not sure how I discovered this blog. I stumbled upon it not too long ago and it has steadily become one of my favorites. She always writes about interesting things and I love her style. Check out a sample here!

Naked Discourse
My friend Jen just started her “official” blog and it’s one I look forward to reading now too. I love her Review Thursdays (that’s how I learned that new John Meyer song I liked really wasn’t so sweet after all). She’s really open and honest in her posts with a healthy does of snark to make you chuckle along the way.

Of course I still love my old standbys like Can I just Say?, A Little Pink in the Cornfields, From L.A. to LA, Girl v. The World, The Audacity of an Optimistic Pessimist, Planting Daisies, Hang on Little Tomato and many many more that I just can’t mention all of them here. I just wanted to highlight some that you may have not heard of that I really enjoy.

Have you made any great new blog discoveries lately?

P.S. I am going to try to post my final giveaway tonight or possibly tomorrow morning. You WILL want to come back for that. Are you familiar with Oprah's Favorite Things show? Yeah, it's going to be kind of like that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Find a Doctor You Trust- CHECK!

I put this on my list because I haven't had a steady doctor since my pediatrician. Most of the time I would just go to the Minute Clinic when I got sick. Whenever I filled out a form that asked for my Primary Care doctor, I would just leave it blank. I totally forgot that "doctor" includes a primary care doctor, gyno, eye doctor, and dentist!

I moved around so much the last few years that I just didn't feel settled enough to go find a permanent one. But after I had been in Raleigh a while I thought it was time to get my doctors in order.

It is HARD to find a new doctor, new hairdresser, new dentist, new mechanic, etc. when you move to a new town. It takes research (I used a lot), asking everyone you know if they know of anyone, and some trial and error on your own.

I have found my full line-up now though:

Doctor: Meredith Barbour of Duke Medicine in Brier Creek

Before I found Dr. Barbour, I went to a really old male doctor near the hospital and a younger male doctor near my old workplace. I didn't like the first two because they did not listen to me or ask the right questions. It was like I waited around forever just to be rushed out. I just did not get a good vibe from them at all.

I found Dr. Barbour partly through a referral from a friend and another referral from a co-worker for that practice and a search on my insurance provider's "Dr. Search". I like Dr. Barbour because she is near my house. Getting one near your workplace may seem like a good idea so you can pop in during your lunch break, but you have more control over where you live than where you work. If you don't work at that location anymore, than that convenient location isn't so convenient anymore. I just make my appointments for early in the morning or last thing in the afternoon so I can pop in on my way home.

Dentist: Dr. Ben Britt

I've already told you how much I love Dr. Britt here. He really is great and his office is always so fast. I am in and out of there in no time! And did I mention the massaging chairs? He is also near my house for the same reasons I mentioned above. Before I found Dr. Britt, I had been to 3 other dentists in Raleigh that I all hated. So I'm glad I finally found someone I like.

Eye Doctor: Eye Care Associates

I'm not too picky about my eye doctors because I have gotten so used to the routine. The only reason I go is to get my contacts. Your prescription is only good for a year, so when you run out, you are forced to go have your eyes examined again. Eye Care Associates have multiple locations across the Triangle, so there is always one close by. And during the summer you can get a free pair of sunglasses with your purchase!

Gyno: Dr. Karen Roane

You want me to undress completely? You have to put that where? You are going to SCRAPE some cells off?! I mean I dread this one more than anything. I had been to another gyno near my old workplace that my boss had actually recommended, but now that location wasn't convenient. So, I went to Dr. Roane at the end of last year, and she was ok. I went back a few weeks ago and the one thing I found that I love about her is she is quick. The whole exam is over in less than 5 minutes and is pretty painless. She is nice enough and chit chats with you while she does the exam to keep your mind off it. So that works for me. (I did have a male gyno while I was in Greenville that I loved, so as you can see I am not partial to one gender or the other.) Another good thing is she is in the same office building as my dentist. So if I ever wanted to knock out 2 in one day, it would be pretty easy.

Overall I trust all these doctors and hope I can stick with them for a long, long time.

I also found a good hair stylist- Carly at Who Does Your Hair? and a good mechanic- Westgate Imports, in case you were curious.

And I found the best source for finding these service providers is through word of mouth. (Although I did find my dentist through a direct mailer he did to my neighborhood.) Basically though you just have to be patient and try a few out until you find the one that fits you best.

Do you find it difficult to find service providers- like doctors, hair stylists, etc.?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This week has felt crazy! I have been so busy, but I pretty much got it all done. It may not have been exactly perfect- my poinsettias died and some of the gifts I bought for people weren't exactly what I wanted to get them and cooking was hectic, but it's all said and done and it was pretty good.

I cooked a turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed red potatoes, gravy, rolls, cranberry waldorf salad, pumpkin dessert squares, and cranberry walnut cookies. I chopped, beat, blended, mashed, baked, and stirred my way through the last 24 hours and now have enough left-overs to last through the rest of the year! And it was all delicious!

But no wonder people were skinny back in the day before fast food, microwave, and food is hard work!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and took a moment to remember the most important gift of all- the birth of a savior. For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

As promised one of you lucky readers will soon get a little after Christmas present from me. And the winner of the Border's gift card is...

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 18
Result: 13


Email me your address so I can get it in the mail to you!

And don't worry if you didn't win...there is one more giveaway this month, so come back for another chance at a little after-Christmas present!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Countdown to Christmas & Giveaway #4

We are getting closer and closer to Christmas!

Are you all ready?

I’m certainly not. I haven’t wrapped a single present. I still have some shopping to do. I have to cook Christmas dinner and I haven’t even made my list and gone shopping for the food yet (although I do have a huge turkey defrosting in my fridge). My mom requested I cook a turkey this year. I have never cooked a turkey before, so we shall see how this turns out. Maybe I should have some microwave lasagna on hand just in case?

Speaking of cooking, I watched Julie and Julia this weekend. It was pretty good. I liked the blogging aspect of course. But really who does that happen to? I mean what a dream come true…to become a writer because of your blog!

Back to the point- Grateful Giveaway #4!

You know I love to read and I hope you all do too because this week’s giveaway is a $10 Borders gift card!

I used to be loyal to Barnes and Noble. Now with I don’t have to buy books too often (although I do make way more trips to the post office!) But when I do buy books, I find myself heading to Borders more and more. They always have good deals, send out way more coupons, and you don’t have to pay to be a part of their membership club (unlike B&N). Even if you don’t win the gift card, you should check them out!

If you'd like to win the Borders gift card, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite book or a book you are dying to get your hands on!

I'll draw a winner on Friday (Christmas Day!). Good Luck!

P.S. Shoshanah at From L.A. to LA is doing a book giveaway on her blog in honor of her Blogoversary! Go check it out!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thank You!

Sam at Simply Sam and Brittany from A.S.A.P. gave my this lovely award last week:

Thank you so much girls and I love reading ya'lls blogs too!

I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and pass this on to 10 bloggers.

I have done "what makes me happy" post in the past you can see here and here...

So here's 10 things that made me happy this weekend:

1. Not having to go to my work Christmas party alone

2. Getting the Nike Plus for my iPhone as an early Christmas present from a very thoughtful friend.

3. Chatting with another volunteer at church and getting to hear her awesome love story of how she met and got engaged to her husband...I'm a hopeless romantic.

4. The sermon at church today. It was really insightful and was about Fatherhood. He talked about the different types of ways you may have been hurt by your earthly father, the effect that can have on your adulthood and of course how that relates to your heavenly Father. You can listen to it here if you're interested.

5. Getting a front row parking spot at church AND at Target today!

6. Having Julie and Julia reserved at the Redbox for me thanks to my new iphone app.

7. Taking a nap with Cam on the couch.

8. Christmas makes everything feel so magical

9. Yummy food and drinks at my work Christmas party...tried eggnog and it was actually pretty good!

10. Thinking about day after Christmas Christmas is only a year and 5 days away!

I want to pass this on to all my readers! Take the image and post 10 things that made you happy this weekend. If you do come back here and leave a comment with a link to your post! I'd love to hear about your weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

And the Winner is....

The winner of the $10 Starbucks gift card is...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 19
Result: 12
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Aritza, Goddess of Sarcasm and Unfinished Sentences!

Congratulations! Email me your address so I can send it out to you!

By the way, I tried the Caramel Brulee Latte and Peppermint Mocha this week (skim- no whip) and I have to say the Caramel Brulee Latte is my new fav!

Also we got about 15-20 minutes of beautiful snow this afternoon and it so felt like Christmas! It is calling for more tonight. I wouldn't mind a few more flakes, but I hope I don't get snowed in this weekend!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Too Much Going On!

I know I said I had some good posts for this week, but this week has been super crazy at work, so I am going to give you the cliff notes version here:

Oh Baby Deer!:

Saturday night, a baby deer ran into my car. I was on a back road near my house and I saw a whole pack of deer crossing the road, so I stopped in the middle of the road and let them cross because those things are crazy and will just jump right into your car. After they crossed I started rolling again and I heard a thunk. I stopped in the middle of the road and looked in my rear view and started freaking out because it looked like I had run over a dog and it was lying in the middle of the road. I put it in park and hopped out and starting running towards it. It wasn’t a dog, it was a baby deer. It was thrashing around trying to get up but couldn’t, so I tried to help it, but it just fell down again. Then I saw that one of its front legs looked like it was broken.

I was freaking out and didn’t want the deer to die so I PICKED IT UP and carried it to the side of the road. It made a crying noise as I carried it and I could literally feel my heart breaking. I laid it on its side and it was breathing so hard from the shock and all that effort that I thought it was going to die right there in front of me. I didn’t want to see that so I got back in my car a tearfully drove home as I prayed for the baby deer.

All this happened around 9:30 pm. After I finished baking five dozen cookies for a party that night, I just couldn’t stop thinking about that deer. So at around midnight I took some dog food and drove back out there to check on it. It was still alive and curled up in a little ball on the side of the road. I got out and tried to feed it, but it wouldn’t eat. I talked to it and was freaking out all over again, but didn’t know what to do.

I drove home and looked up an emergency vet on the internet. They told me to call the police. The police couldn’t figure out where it was exactly so I had to meet them out there and point out the deer. It wasn’t thrashing around in pain so they didn’t know what to do, so they called the supervisor and before I knew it, 3 cop cars were out there. Finally the supervisor came up to me and told me they were trying to get a hold of someone at animal control to find out what to do. I begged them not to kill it and he told me to just go home and know that they would take care of the baby deer.

I drove by the next morning and I don’t know what happened but the baby deer was gone. I hope he is in deer rehabilitation safe and sound somewhere right now!

Marked something off my list:

I have found all the doctors I need in Raleigh- a good general doctor, eye doctor, gynecologist, and dentist. Little did I know when I said “find a doctor I trust” it would turn into find FOUR doctors I trust! I’ll write a more in depth post about this and my other healthcare and insurance woes later when all the craziness dies down.

Guess what I got today as an early Christmas present?

Any good app suggestions?

Can you believe Christmas is next week!?! This month flew by!

P.S. I haven't forgotten about the awards from you guys and I'll do that one this weekend hopefully! And don't forget to enter my Grateful Giveaway #3! I'll draw the winner tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grateful Giveaway #3

You know what is almost a good as Christmas cookies? All the yummy Starbucks flavors that come out around the holidays! So for my Grateful Giveaway #3 I am giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card!

My go-to drink there is usually a grande skim caramel machiatto so I would probably like their new drink this season- the Caramel Brulee Latte.

I also love their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Last year I tried the Gingerbread latte but I didn't like the little pieces of ginger in the bottom.

This year I really want to try the Peppermint Mocha!

Also I heard you can pick regular or Godiva chocolate for your hot chocolate there. Yummy!

If you'd like to win the Starbucks gift card, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite Holiday drink or Starbucks favorite!

I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good Luck!

P.S. Caribou Coffee's White Hot Chocolate is to die for too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Tour of my Home

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

First I want to apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. I obviously need a new camera and maybe some photography lessons. I am a sucker for pretty pictures and on my next "list" will definitely be "learn to take pretty pictures".

Here is my humble abode all done up for Christmas:

P.S. I have some good posts planned this week including the baby deer story in which I think I may have lost my mind for a night due to a breaking heart and some awards from fellow bloggers, another giveaway and I am going to mark something else off my list this stay tuned!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I don't know where that phrase comes from but it makes me chuckle.

The drawing for the CD winner was a little complicated because of the anonymous comment throwing things off. Anyway there were a total of 11 people once I skipped over the anonymous comments, my comment, and comment from friends who already got the CD. And the winner is...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 11
Result: 9

AnnQ! Congrats and send me your address so I can get this in the mail to you.

And a special bonus second chance drawing for the book The Traveler's Gift (I couldn't get in touch with the original winner)

And the winner is...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 7
Result: 7

Sam! Congrats and send me your address so I can get this in the mail to you.

Thank you for all the kind comments and emails on my last post. I really appreciate it and am glad I can share my journey with ya'll!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Defining Character- Accepting Criticism

I got a comment on one of my last blog posts criticizing me for my spending habits and how I slammed those who send picture Christmas cards. It really bothered me. I was angry and shocked and didn’t know how to respond. It’s hard hearing criticism. The first reaction I often have is to defend myself. Even if I know what the other person is saying is true, I want to explain why I have fallen short of their expectations and give a long list of excuses to justify my behavior.

But that never gets me anywhere. I don’t want to use the word “sin” because that sounds so ugly and ultra-religious, but that is what it is. Every way I fall short in life can be traced back to sin (aka a deep seeded issue in myself that causes me to act destructively to myself and/or others). Call it what you want- sin, vice, problem, issue…it’s all the same. Confessing my sin is the first step to overcoming it.

What do I struggle with constantly?

Envy- This is the one that usually leads to overspending and self esteem issues. I see someone else with something shiny and new and I want to have it. I hear about a competition and I have to win it. I envy other people and I want other people to envy me. This is what leads to spending lots of time and money on my Christmas decorations. This is what makes me want to buy a new house. This is why I hate Victoria Secret models. This is part of the reason I hate picture Christmas cards- because I envy that person and their perfect little family. It’s an evil that creeps up on me everyday and I just have to shift my mind to think about things in a different way to shake that green eyed monster off my back.

Gluttony- I think about food a lot. I’m not just one of those people who can eat the same tasteless thing everyday. I have cravings and sometimes I like to indulge those cravings. When there is chocolate or cookies in the office, it is hard for me to say no. When I am craving a cheeseburger, even if I put it off for weeks, I will eventually cave and have to get one. I've wasted a whole lunch hour before because I just couldn't decide what to eat. I let food control me sometimes instead of me having control over the food. It’s a blessing and curse- this wonderful tasting food. And it’s one of the hardest things to overcome because you have to eat to live, so why not enjoy it? It’s all about finding a balance and it's a constant challenge for me.

Sloth- I am lazy. I hate to clean. I put off exercising. I get distracted easily. When I get home from work (especially in the winter) I just want to cuddle up on the couch and watch mindless TV sometimes. I have spent entire Saturdays in my PJs never leaving the house. I try to overcome this with lists (like my 30 Before 30) because that motivates me. But that doesn’t stop me from procrastinating either.

As to what the next steps are in overcoming these things, I really can’t say for certain. I know that I need God’s help and it isn’t something that will happen overnight.

The good thing is that we are all in this together. Everyone has something they struggle with. No one is perfect and if you think you are, then you are in denial. You may not have the same struggles I do, but everyone falls short in some way. Realizing that is what helps keep me humble and understanding of others. All I ask for is the same forgiveness and understanding from others.

But I have to remind myself understanding and forgiveness is not acceptance. I can’t just confess my sins and then keep on doing them and never change. Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It would be like a murderer who confesses, asks for forgiveness, but then goes out and does it again. It’s an extreme example, but it’s basically the same thing. I can't just accept my shortcomings and expect others to as well.

So even though it’s not easy to hear, I am thankful for the criticism. It’s like medicine on a cut- it stings, but in the end, it helps.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chistmas Elf Spreading Christmas Cheer

I'm a little elf spreading Christmas cheer this year! Last year I didn't even put my tree up because it was too much work. This year, I have went all out.

I have the inside of my house decked out and the outside too. I'll be posting some pictures next Monday when I go on The Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester!

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Also this year I did a little something different with my Christmas cards. I included a mix CD of some of my favorite Christmas songs! I mailed them out this weekend, so people started getting them yesterday and I got so many positive comments on them!

I also tried to write something personal about the person I was writing to in each and every card. I think this is the most important part. It lets the person know you weren't just a part of some kind of mass mailing. I often feel that way when I get a generic card with just a person's signature, or even worse, their TYPED NAME. I mean thanks for slapping my address on the front, but really you could have saved a tree and a stamp. Thanks for letting me know I made your "list". I feel so honored.

The picture ones kind of bother me too sometimes. It's like, lets promote our perfect little family. "Look how happy and perfect we are in our matching outfits...just wanted to let you we don't care about you, but look at us and Merry Christmas anyway."

Ok, I digress...losing my Christmas spirit...anyway, back to the point.

I spent a lot of time and money on these cards. I bought songs I really liked. I burned over 50 CD's. I bought cases for each one and made a personalized cover insert. This was my gift to all the people who made a difference to me! Even though it was a lot of work and it cost $1.28 to mail each one (dang post office...I hand delivered some, so take that!) it was so worth it! I love spreading Christmas cheer!

I wish I could send you all one! But I have limited resources...

So for my Grateful Giveaway #2, you can win a copy of my Christmas Mix CD and a handwritten personal card! Some of the songs include Sugarland, Dave Matthews Band, Martina McBride, Mariah Carey and more!

If you'd like to win my Christmas Mix CD, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite Christmas song!

I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good Luck!

Friday, December 4, 2009

We have a winner!

The winner of my first Gateful Giveaway contest is...

True Random Number Generator

Max: 8
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Congratulations Amanda!! Email me you address so I can mail the book to you!

Thanks for all your bits of wisom everyone! Look for my next Gateful Giveaway next week!

Speaking of neighborhood is having a contest to see who has the best decorated house this year (outside only). I had no intention of entering because there is this crazy person who has a huge blow up Santa every year and I thought they would win. But I think those people moved, because I have not seen the Santa.

Last night I drove around my neighborhood to check out the competition. There wasn't much! I mean we live in townhouses, so there isn't much you can do anywaay. There were a couple houses that had some lights on the bushes, some with candles in every window, but not too much else going on.

So now I am on a mission. I want to win! I got a candle for each of the windows in front and got wreaths with red bows to hang on each of the downstairs windows. I wrapped a tree in white lights. I got a lighted garland to wrap the column on my porch with. I put out a Christmas garden flag.

But I have this tree with bare branches right in front that needs something. I want to find some lighted balls to hang in the tree but I don't know where to find them. I was thinking of hanging some big pretty ornaments in the tree, but I don't know if you'd be able to see them at night. So I need some suggestions!

Here's a picture of my house (it was from when it was first built, the tree in front is much bigger now):

So give me some suggestions...what can I do to win this thing without being tacky?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Forget Twilight...Pick Picoult!

When I read the Twilight books, I devoured them. I would read all the time obsessively. But I have discovered something I like just as much as Harry Potter and Twilight- Jodi Picoult!

I read her book My Sister's Keeper a few years ago and loved it. I didn't want to ruin it with a book of hers that may not be as good so I didn't read any of her other books. But I just recently decided to pick up The Pact- loved it! And just finished Plain Truth- loved it too!

Her books are one of the few that I just can't put down like Twilight and Harry Potter! But in a totally different way because they are not about vampires or wizards.

Go read my review of Plain Truth on my Bookshelf Blog

What authors do you love? What books can you just not put down?

Also don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grateful Giveaways

As you know Christmas is the time for giving and who better to be an the receiving end than YOU!? When I first started this blog, I never thought anyone would read it other than my loyal friends who I sent a link to. It is just crazy how people (i.e. YOU) have discovered this blog and started following along!

So for the month of December I am going to have a giveaway each week!

Giveaway #1:

Remember how I blogged about a book my office was reading called The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews? I finished it last week and it is just too good to NOT pass on to someone else.

A unique blend of fiction, history, allegory, and inspiration, The Traveler's Gift has motivated tens of thousands since its release in late 2002. David Ponder's lost his job, his confidence, and his will to live. And just when it seems that things can't get any worse, they do: his only child falls ill, and he's involved in a serious car accident. But a divine adventure that includes encounters with seven of history's most inspirational characters, among them Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus, leaves him with a glimpse of life's big picture, and seven bits of wisdom with which to confront his future. This thought-provoking book encourages readers of all ages to reach their full potential using these simple keys to success.

If you'd like to win my paperback copy of this book, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR best little bit of wisdom or favorite quote!

I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good Luck!

And be on the lookout for other giveaways all this month!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tis the Season to Shop!

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving! Mine was wonderful. I went to see my mom and we had a yummy Thanksgiving lunch that we didn’t even have to cook or clean up and then went to see The Blind Side (it was excellent! I think I am getting soft in my old age because I teared up multiple times and I rarely ever cry at movies!)

I also experienced my first ever Black Friday shopping experience! My friend and I got to Target by 4:45 am. As we were pulling in I could not believe my eyes. The parking lot was packed and there was a line around the building! We decided not to wait in the car, but to get the fullest experience to brave the cold and wait in line.

Neither one of us had anything we were going for or had to have. As the line made it’s way into the store it was pretty orderly, but some people did break into a run and started piling their carts high like on Supermarket Sweep. I got the last of the $3 crock pots as we passed by the end cap for them (it is teeny tiny though…about big enough for a cheese dip). I decided to go back and brave electronics to see if they had any TomToms for $97 (normally $250) left. They did but we had to wait in line and pay for it back there. I settled in for the wait and enjoyed watching the craziness around me:

I got my TomTom and with my $3 crock pot and $4 bodywash, I was able to qualify for the free $10 Target gift card! We were out of there by 5:30 am and home before the sun came up so I could head back to bed! I would do it again in a heartbeat…especially if there was something I had to have.

I tell ya this time of year is hard for me. With all the stores screaming DEALS DEALS DEALS, it is so hard for me NOT to shop…for myself! My friend talked me out of going to hhgregg to get a $400 stainless steel stove rationalizing that then I would have to get the microwave and then I would definitely want the matching fridge.

Today I have gotten a million emails touting free shipping and up to 80% off…I find myself in this state of WANT WANT WANT! I feel like that little spoiled girl in Willy Wonka that just has to have the golden egg. And now that I am older most of my wishes aren’t $20 barbies, but $200 iphones.

And since I don’t have a very big family I don’t have to do much shopping for others, so that makes the temptation to shop for myself even greater!

I just keep pulling myself back and reminding myself that just because I have an extra hundred dollars in my checking and a fresh American Express in my wallet doesn’t give me a license to a shopping spree.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Can you be friends with an Ex?

Every guy I have ever dated I have wanted to stay friends with after we decided it wasn’t going to work out. (Aside from a few losers in high school. Side note- I actually found out one of my high schools exes spent the last 7 years in prison- I tell ya, I know how to pick em!)

Anyway, this usually leads to a very long, very drawn out confusing break up. My long-timer, that I dated all through college (’98-’02), and I were never able to completely get away from each other until 2005 even though we broke up in early 2003. That is the most extreme case, and now that we have had four years of not seeing each other, we are able to chat on the phone strictly as friends, but it took a long time and a couple hundred miles between us to get to that point.

But I guess I didn’t learn my lesson with that one because my last two break ups have been mini-versions of that one. We decide to just be friends, then we get back together, then we break up, try to be friends again, and it starts a vicious circle.

The problem is that these guys are really good guys, they just aren’t the one for me. Over time they have come to be my best friend and I just don’t want to throw that away. But it always makes things harder.

The only way I have been able to completely get away from them is when all communication stops for an extended period of time. Then, as in the case with the long timer, it seems like we have enough time and distance from the relationship that we can just be friendly without all the confusion.

So freeders, have you ever been able to stay friends with an ex? How did you make that transition?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taking Notes?

I never take notes in church. But today's sermon was really good and I just couldn't help writing some stuff down...

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

"The initiative for miracles lies within us."

"Prayerlessness comes from pride or lack of faith."

"Realize how desperate you are and how willing God is to help."

Desperation + Faith= Prayer

"Let your desperation overwhelm your dignity."

I need to remember I can't always do it on my own and ask Him for help in everything!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Are you going to see it?

I feel like such a pedophile for getting all hot and bothered when I look at this! I can't believe he is only 17! He was on the Today Show this morning and I like him even more! He seems like such a sweet guy and I love him and Taylor Swift together!

I love me some Edward, but in this book I was really rooting for Jacob and every one after that I always had a soft spot for him.

Are you going to see it? Have you already seen it at the midnight showing?

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So I have to force anorexia on my dog?!

Last night we had our second agility class. It was ok. I am less than thrilled with this class because it seems to move SO slow. Last night we practiced the turns again and added a cone (woo hoo). We also learned the command "Go" to send our dog to a target in front of us.

The most exciting thing came at the very end of class and it was the tunnel! Cam didn't want to go through it at first. But he had it down by the second try. By the end of class we were doing the full 10 ft. length of the tunnel.

Most all of the dogs in class pick up on things quickly. I just hate that we use this hour to practice things that are so easy over and over. We can practice at home you know? Fit in more things to teach us so I don't have to take so many dang classes!

Anyway, I had sent an email to the instructor 2 weeks ago asking how long it would take Cam to get to the point where he could run a course and she wrote me a long email back explaining the progression of the classes. So after class she asked if her email was helpful. I told her it was and just expressed concern that Cam picks up on things so quickly and I want something more challenging for him.

She told me just to practice over and over again and gave me some new tricks to teach him like spinning in both directions (he mastered this last night when we got home!) and walking up the stairs backwards (that is going to be a little harder).

Then she told me Cam was overweight. Cam is by no means fat, but he is not skinny either. She has a boarder collie too and was upset that he gained 2 lbs. and was now 41 lbs. Cam weighed 60 lbs. last time we went to the vet! She told me I need to get him down to 40 lbs max. So that means he has to loose 20 lbs! She told me to feed him as little as possible and to use pumpkin as a filler if he needs more volume to his food.

Since I need to loose weight too, this is good because now Cam and I can get in shape together. But it does concern me because I think he will look like skin and bones at 40 lbs. I know it is the same breed of dog as hers, but maybe Cam has a different body type. Maybe he is meant to be a little heavier than 40 lbs.

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer about the class. Cam does love going for a car ride and spending all that time with me and I love it too! I love the way he looks to me for direction. I love when he gets so excited when he does something right. I even love when he gets frustrated when he gets something wrong. He is just so cute and I am glad we are in this together!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kids say the darndest...

My friend told the most hilarious story at dinner last night:

Her niece was over at her mom's house and her mom had just finished giving her a bath and was helping her dry off and getting ready to get in herself. As she was undressing the following conversation took place:

Niece: "Nana! Why do you have a beard on your kitty-kat!?"

Nana: "Well, you'll have one too when you get older."

Niece: " momma doesn't!"

Hehe! Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Read This!

The Broker in Charge at our Re/Max office bought a bunch of copies of this book for the office. It was mainly her team reading it, but since the books were free I thought I would pick one up. They have an office meeting every Tuesday and they were going to discuss the first 100 pages of the book today, so last night I read 110 pages.

I am telling you, go get a copy of this book. It is an inspirational book wrapped up in a fictional story which makes it VERY easy to read and it has some REALLY great points.

The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews

Only a few months ago, he was a successful executive. Now he's a desperate man. But a divine adventure is about to unfold. Join David Ponder on an incredible journey that will help you discover the Seven Decisions for Success.

Go get it quick...and come back here to tell me what you think!

But if you decide to read the book, read it quick because I am going to review it and discuss the whole thing (with spoilers) when I am finished. So if you are too lazy to get up and read the book, you can get the review here soon. But seriously, don't be lazy...go read the book!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I can’t believe all that just happened

Last night witty guy and I went grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. I know, I know, I hate Wal-Mart too, but it is super close to witty guy’s new house, so we have been there a lot lately.

Anyway, we were in the check-out lane and so many things happened in that 10 minutes, it was just crazy. Our poor little check out lady had 3 people with full carts lined up in her lane, when the manager let her know she could turn her light off. Well, people at Wal-Mart, don’t check to see if the light is on, they just fall in to the shortest line. So she had to tell at least 5 people that she was closed. I felt bad for her because she was so sweet.

Then all of a sudden there was a big crash on the register next to us. Some lady had dropped a bottle of red juice and it went EVERYWHERE. I mean it was the biggest spill I had ever seen! I would have been so embarrassed, but of course these ladies didn’t seem to care too much. The Wal-Mart people kept trying to page maintenance to come clean it up and tried to sop some of it up with paper towels, but it was still there when we left.

Right as I was paying for my groceries, I kept looking back at the cart behind me which held a little kid. I kept looking at their cart because I was wondering if they had really waited in line this whole time to purchase just one balloon. The little boy had this Sponge Bob balloon and he had put it on the belt, and sure enough the rest of the cart was empty. At the same time I was contemplating all this in my head, the little boy (about 2 years old) was reaching, stretching his tiny little arm and body as far as he could to reach the string of the balloon that was on the belt. Then in slow motion, he tumbled head first out of the cart and on to the floor at my feet. I think I even reached out to try to catch him. He landed on his head and had rolled over to his back and looked up at me. I said “Oh my goodness are you ok?!” At first he just looked at me in shock as I looked at him in shock. Quickly his mother noticed what happened and came to pick him up and as soon as she did he started screaming. I’ve seen this delayed reaction to screaming in kids before and sometimes I think they really aren’t hurt that bad, but they think they need to play it up for us when we adults make a big deal out of it. Still, as we walked out of Wal-Mart I couldn’t get over all the action that had happened in the checkout lane. But now as I type this, I can’t believe that is the most exciting thing in my weekend to share with ya’ll!

I spent all weekend helping witty guy move in to his new house, which I love. It makes me want hardwood floors and a new kitchen all that much more.

I weighed myself this morning and I am down 4% in body weight (despite pigging out on cake and Italian food this weekend for witty guy’s birthday.) That was since Nov. 3rd when I went to the doctor. Now just 6% more to go before Christmas!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Worth every penny!

Look what I found for $1 in the Halloween Clearance section at Target...

Bailey always acts like a King all the time and now he looks like one!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm not changing The List but I am changing my Life

Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice and comments on whether I should change the list or not. You're right- it is my list and I can do whatever I want with it. And you're right that this list is supposed to bring me excitement and happiness and not stress and despair.

You see like most human beings I have issues. I have issues leaving something unfinished. I have issues not doing what I said I was going to do. I have issues with feeling like a failure. But at the same time I have issues with waiting until the last minute to do things too. And all of these issues have been magnified in doing this list.

In the end though, I reviewed the list and everything I have on there I still want to do, so I am leaving it the same.

If I don't cross some of them off by my 30th birthday, oh well. It's not the end of the world. But I am still going to try my best to get them done!

Right now my focus is on #1- Get in the Best Shape of my Life. I want to loose about 35% of my current weight. I want to loose about 10% of it before the end of the year and then spend the next 8 months trying to loose the other 25%.

It isn't just about loosing weight. Weight doesn't dictate everything, but it is an indicator. It's an indicator of how I am living my life and the things I am able to do- like run, hike, lift, jump, and throw.

I've done this before- lost a chunk of weight. I know how to do it and I know I can. It is all a matter of habit. When I am in the habit of exercising, I don't even think about it. All that exercise makes me not want to ruin it with junk, so that makes it easier for me to eat healthy.

But I know I can't jump in and try to do it all at once, or I get burned out and quit after a week or two. So I am trying to concentrate on developing the healthy habits. It HAS to be a habit. It HAS to be the way I live my life.

I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Revise the List?

This weekend I was talking to a friend about how much I am stressed out about getting everything on this list marked off. A lot of the things on the list depend on one of 2 things: money or being skinny.

Both of these areas of my life have suffered a lot over the last year. I had to take a job at a significant pay cut and I have overdrawn my account every month I have worked here. I can't ask for a raise because the winter is the worst time in real estate. Everything dies down and we are not selling as many houses, so it is the worst possible time to ask for a raise. I really like my job and I don't want to leave, but I HAVE to make more money to cover my bills!

I even applied for a part-time seasonal job and Target and got an email saying they did not have a position for me at this time. Seriously? I can't even get a job at Target. Even if I wanted to find another job, I probably wouldn't be able to and I REALLY don't want to go back to the corporate world, but that seems to be where the money is.

How am I going to be able to pay all my own bills when I can't even make it to the end of the month even with Mom's help? How am I going to upgrade a room in my house when I can't even afford DVR? How am I going to invest in the stock market when I can barely afford health insurance?

On top of all that I found out most of the mission trips my church has planned for next year cost $2500! How am I going to afford that?

The other things on my list require me to get skinny. #1 on my list- get in the best shape of my life...yeah...that really meant get as skinny as I was in high school. I am SO far from that now. I am the biggest I have ever been in my life and I hate it. When I rode the rides at the fair I was seriously scared I wouldn't fit. How am I ever going to not feel self conscious at a water park? I am afraid I would flip over in a kayak and learning how to surf requires a bathing suit too.

So yeah, I had a mini freak out. My friend told me to revise my list. I CAN'T revise my list! Why even have a list then? My friend tried to reason with me that my life has changed a lot in the last year, and you can't put a timeline on your goals and used the example of putting a timeline on getting married and having kids.

What do you think? Revise the list or stick to it and pray for a miracle?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our First Agility Class!

I can mark something else off my list! Cam and I went to our first agility class last night. We are taking training at Pet Behavior Help (PBH) which is in Chapel Hill, but ironically it is a straight shot and only takes about 20 minutes to get to. Cam was so excited to go!

I was a little disappointed because we didn’t learn anything too exciting. Everything we did was pretty easy. I wanted to get him out there jumping over bars and running through tunnels, but mostly we just learned how to control our dog better. I guess you have to learn to communicate with your dog really well before you can go flying around an agility course.

First we practiced targeting. We were given these circular plastic lids and were told to put a treat on the lid. We were supposed to get them to go to the lid get the treat and them move on away from the lid. Cam liked to pause at the lid a little too long and lick it, but for the most part he did fine. Then we added another lid, so they paused at the first one, went to the second one, paused and then moved on. I think Cam was mostly just confused about what the point of this exercise was. He did it, but with no enthusiasm and kind of just got tired of it towards the end. Then again, I did too.

Next we practiced going through 2 cones to simulate a jump. The assistant would hold the dog and I would walk either through the cones or around them and get Cam to come to me through the cones. We did this at different angles and from different sides. Again, Cam did great. We did have to get behind the class misfit, so it always took a while for our turn because the misfit would have to have several tries. Really it’s not the misfit’s fault. She is less than a year old and just full of energy with a very short attention span. Cam was like that in his first obedience class and it always embarrassed the crap out of me.

Finally we practiced turns. We practiced getting the dog to turn going around our body following the inside hand and then we practiced turning with the dog staying on the same side by switching our inside hand. This was probably the most exciting part of class.

We are supposed to practice what we learned at least 3 times this week.

I guess I am just a little frustrated that things move so slowly. I went back and looked at the classes and it will take forever and lots of money to get Cam to the competition level:

Beginner Agility 1: $110
Beginner Agility 2: $110
Beginner Agility 3: $110
Intermediate Agility 1: $110
Intermediate Agility 2: $120
Intermediate Agility 3: $120
Advanced Agility 1: $120
Advanced Agility 2: $120
Advanced Agility 3: $120

Total: $1040!

And most of the class descriptions say they are designed to be taken multiple times! What did we get ourselves in to?

Maybe we should have skipped up a class? If my dog gets everything we do right on the first try, why am I paying $110 dollars to practice it over and over? I mean I am glad he is one of the best students in the class, but for $110 I want him to be challenged! And I don’t want to spend over $1000 to get a chance to run a course with him. Ugh. Maybe next week will be more challenging.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Defining Character: The Proverbs 31 woman

For the next few weeks in Bible study we are going to be focusing on femininity in the Bible. Of course one of the first things we started with (after establishing that men and women were created equally, we all just have different, but equally important roles) was Proverbs 31. This is a much noted passage that I had read before. It is basically a part of a letter that a King is writing to his son and the Proverbs 31 passage comes from the King's Mother. She describes what a wife of noble character looks like.

Now I am telling you that I had a bad day when I sat down to do this study which probably skewed my thoughts on it. We were asked to list the capabilities of this woman and I wrote "cook, sew, teach" None of which I can do well. And I was starting to think this describes your typical stay-at-home mom...what does this have to do with me? A single woman with no prospect of having a husband or kids anytime soon.

But through discussion tonight I learned I was not looking closely enough. The woman described can also dress well, is a planner, is very business savvy, invests in the future, and volunteers. Ok...sounds a little more like me. I do some of those things.

Then we get to listing her character traits. I had a few about being trustworthy, hard working, decisive, savvy, giving, and physically strong (she must work out!). But I also added (through discussion from the other girls) that she has dignity, faith, wisdom, stays busy, comforting to others, has confidence in the future, always positive, and an asset to her husband.

Now she is starting to sound less like the little stay at home barefoot and pregnant version I thought she was and fits more with what is expected of today's modern woman. In fact it sounds overwhelming- like some kind of super woman. But not so unattainable in small doses of each and development over time.

The end of the study asked us what kind of woman did we want to be five years from now. I put "kind, successful, wise, loved, a good example, and facing the future with confidence." All of which fit in with this version of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Our very last question was "How can we begin to develop these characteristics and capabilities in the current "season" (S-I-N-G-L-E) of our life?"

Here come my goal setting obsessions...

1. workout- to become strong physically (no lie that part was in there!)
2. Always be helping others as much as I can - to become giving
3. Have more trust and faith in God- so I can face the future with confidence
4. Utilize my time better and not be lazy- to become hardworking
5. Dress Well- so I can exude confidence and nobility

I am really going to try to work on these things. I wrote them on my whiteboard on my fridge and I am going to post a copy of them work so they will always be in my face.

Developing character takes time and practice. I also heard a great little tidbit on the way to work this week. It was talking about how life is a test. You are constantly being tested and while there may be no right or wrong answer to each test, you reveal your true character through those tests. I can say I am dependable, but anytime I show up late or don't answer a friend's call because I am too "busy" does that make me really dependable? I can say I am honest, but every time I tell a little white lie, that etches away some of that trait. I can say I am giving, but if I pass up a chance to volunteer to help and instead lay on the couch all afternoon, am I really giving? So I need practice and reminders to solidify these traits in me. And I'll be watching out for those little tests God throws at me to measure just how far along I've come!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Proud Momma and Annoyed Home Buyer

Cam had his test for Agility School on Wednesday and he did great! He performed on command and kept his attention on me while the other doggies were doing their tests. He was the second best dog in the class! The best one was this shepherd that does competition obedience. During his leash walk he never took his eyes off his owner and never strayed from her side. That is the one thing Cam and I need to work on. When I take Cam for walks, I let him run ahead of me and just enjoy being a dog. His doesn’t pull on the leash too much, but he sure doesn’t have his attention on me. So we have been practicing to heel on the leash this week. I’m competitive and I want him to be the best.

That being said, I was SO proud of him on Wednesday. Sometimes you never know how your dog is going to react to new situations. He did wonderfully and I was bursting with happiness that everything went so well! We start learning new things next week and I can’t wait!

Oh and check out his Halloween costume:

Cute huh? In case you can't tell, he is supposed to ba a devil.

Last night I went with Witty Guy for the final walk-thru of his house. When we pulled up a huge moving truck was parked in his 2 parking spots and the sellers were moving stuff out. We were annoyed that they were still there, but thought maybe they were just finishing up. We drove around and found a Visitor parking spot and waited for his agent to get there. When she pulled in, we walked down to the house to meet her and it seemed like chaos in that house! It looked like the only thing that had been moved out was their dining room table! The sellers said the movers had been there for 7 hours and I thought “Doing what?”

We walked in the house but it was a disaster with moving men and stuff everywhere. We went upstairs so we could have a more private conversation, but it was impossible to do any kind of walk-thru to check for things! As we were heading back downstairs a moving man was coming up and we asked him how long they had been there. He said they got there at about 6. Our walk-thru was at 6:30! They had only been there a half-hour!

We walked back downstairs and our agent said to the sellers that if we knew they were in the process of moving out we wouldn’t have come and she kept saying “Oh it’s no problem, we don’t mind.” Ummm, well we do!

So Witty Guy and his agent are going back for another walk-thru this morning. I sure hope everything looks okay. Judging from the condition we saw it in, the sellers were going to have to be up all night moving and the cleaning and touching up paint and patching holes. His closing is this morning at 11 and I am very excited for him. I can’t wait to see the house with all the sellers stuff out and help him make it his own!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Adventures in Babysitting

So I forgot to tell you, I babysat an infant for the first time on Saturday. I babysat in college and high school quite often, but never for someone still in diapers. I volunteered to watch my friend Heather’s little Avery if they wanted to go out to a movie or something, just because I think the whole reason I put a few baby things on my list was because I need some more experience with those little buggers.

Here’s what I learned:

1. If you try to take a bottle slowly out of the mouth of a baby who is falling asleep, she will immediately wake up and start sucking the crap out of it

2. Snaps on a onesie can be hard to line up on a girl who loves to kick her chubby little legs in your face (maybe she’s a future rockette!)

3. When a baby starts whining or getting fussy, you have this instinct to comfort them and make them quiet again. I don’t know how I could ever let them cry it out

4. Walking and swaying is very soothing to a baby but can be hard on your back

5. The black remote does not change the channel on their TV, it will cause the TV to say “No Signal”, and once you loose nick jr., you have to do all the entertaining yourself!

Overall it wasn’t too bad at all. Kind of scary to think of having one of those all the time, but I’d fill in for someone else in a pinch again!

But the funniest thing of all that I learned from this adventure didn’t happen until this morning when I read Heather’s blog.

Go check it out!

Halloween Customes! Such Fun!

I always liked Halloween, but I think it got ingrained in me as a yearly celebration during my time at ECU. ECU has one of the biggest Halloween celebrations in the state. I went one year and never went back. The crowds and crowds of people all dressed up and drunk scared the crap out of me! But I still loved the excitement! I just avoided downtown like the plague!

THEN- Five years ago my friends the Inscoe's threw a GREAT Halloween party and from there it just got better and better and now it is a tradition. I am so excited for this weekend!

Here are some costumes of Halloweens Past:

an angel - homemade from a sheet and foil pipecleaners!

a cow girl

a geisha - spray painting my hair black did not turn out well!

1 of the 3 blind mice

a mail girl- I delivered mail to other party guests that had a dare on them- it was a hit!

a pregnant trailer park trash girl

a black angel

a celebrity incognito- I was lazy and put on a huge black hat and huge sunglasses

a mime

Here are a few pictures I could drum up:

I'm not a big fan of store bought costumes because they seem to be too slutty, so this year again I am throwing something together.

Care for any guesses?

What has been your best Halloween costume?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

State Fair Fun!

I went to the NC State Fair yesterday. Witty guy and I left work early to get a head start and his 13-year old nephew joined us. We got there around 4pm and didn’t leave until after 10 pm, so it was a long day. We went on a Wednesday because I hate crowds. I have this form of claustrophobia where I freak out in crowds. I think it is because I am so short I feel like I am in this hole of people because I can’t see over them. It gets so bad I get panic attacks and just have to find a way out of the crowd. So I thought it would be a lot less crowded on a weekday than on the weekend. But dang if it wasn’t still packed!

The fair layout is very confusing. There are alley-ways with games and food vendors packed on each side and then these dead ends that lead no where which forces you to turn around and try a different way. So it was a lot of walking.

We did get to see the animals this year. That was my favorite part. There were lots of cows there with their little babies. There were pigs and piglets, little baby chicks, a beautiful horse and her baby mule (I think that is a cross between a donkey and a horse right?), but my favorites were the little miniature donkeys. The baby ones had this shaggy hair in their eyes and they were so stinking cute. If I had a big backyard I and could keep them baby sized, I would so get one. They also had a few cows you could milk for $2, but the line was too long, so we skipped that.

Witty guy and his nephew are not into rides. But I managed to get him to ride this one spinny ride which he hated. Then we all rode the Ferris Wheel and a dinky little haunted ride and then I rode the swings by myself.

The fair food is just crazy. They had ostrich, alligator on a stick, chocolate covered bacon, fried EVERYTHING, turkey legs, roasted corn, frozen bananas, pizza, ham biscuits, elephant ears, blooming onions, candy/caramel apples, ice cream, and pretty much every other unhealthy food you could imagine. I wanted to try everything! But let me tell you, fair food is expensive! We had turkey legs, a homemade lemonade, a chocolate covered frozen banana, and then the fried candy combo- it had a fried Snickers bar, a fried reese’s cup, and 2 fried oreos. It was all delicious!

Witty guy and his nephew spent at least $30-$50 on playing some games. And we only walked away with 4 tiny stuffed animals. (I’ve never been big into the games because I always thought they were a scam and have never ever known anyone personally who has won one of those huge stuffed animals.)

All together between the 3 of us, we spent $130 on the fair! Isn’t that crazy?

Overall I had fun, but I was a little disappointed with the fair. I think I blew it up too much in my head. For some reason I thought the fair was romantic. The chilly night, all the lights, sharing fair food, winning a stuffed animal for your girl, the cozy Ferris Wheel, but I had forgot about all the walking, the crowds, and all the money that would be spent. Oh well, it was still fun and I’m glad I got my fair fix!

Have ya’ll been to the fair this year?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I checked something off my list this weekend…I changed my very first diaper! We had a cozy girls night at my friend Heather’s house and now that Avery is older she was actually awake for most of it. She’s growing up so fast! We spent a lot of time looking through her clothes and boy she has a lot! Heather is a little fashionita, so I guess Avery will be following in her footsteps! Here's a pic of the little Bookie-Lou:

My friends told me I had to change a poopy diaper or it didn’t count, but luckily Avery didn’t work up a poop for me so it was just a pee diaper.

When I say I have never changed a diaper before I mean never. I didn’t know how to unhook the thing. I didn’t know what was the front or the back. I didn’t know how tight it should be. But Avery likes having her diaper changed and was a very cooperative little girl, so the whole thing was pretty easy. So- change a diaper- check!

In other baby news, I sometimes think about what I would want to name my baby if I ever have one. I REALLY want to have a little girl, actually 2 little girls. My mom’s maiden name is Lovejoy, so I want one girl to have the middle name Love and the other one Joy. As far as first names, I want to name one Lily because my name means “Lily of the Valley” and the other one McKenna just because I LOVE that name and it doesn’t seem to be too popular so hopefully it will still be unique if I ever get around to having a baby.

Knowing me, I’ll probably be cursed with all boys and I don’t really have any boy’s names I am in love with.

What are your favorite baby names?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Agility School!

I signed Cam up for an agility class today!

Here's how he took the news:

(Sorry for the blurriness...dang phone camera sucks!)

He goes for an evaluation test in 2 weeks and I'm hoping he will have no problem with it. Here is what he has to do:

1. Sit on command without immediately getting up
2. Down on command without immediately getting up
3. 15 second stay with dog in any position and handler in any position
4. Restrained recall with distractions
5. Move with handler while on leash without dragging handler or being dragged continuously
6. Ability to be in a class setting with other dogs without being disruptive (no continuous barking or lunging)
7. Ability to do 2 tricks

If he passes we will get to start Beginner Agility 1 which lasts 6 weeks. He doesn't really know it yet, but he is going to be so excited!

And I will finally make some progress on my list!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Over the Top!

Hooray! One of my most favorite bloggers over at her new blog Busy Bookworm Review has given me a blog award! You should check out her book blog because it is very snazzy and her regular blog because she is awesome and dates a Lobster!

The rules of accepting this award is that I have to answer the following questions and then pass the award on to six other bloggers. So...

1.Where is your cell phone: right by my left hand on my desk at the ready

2.Your hair: needs a bang trim

3.Your mother: sweet and oh so nice

4.Your father: passed away from pancreatic cancer

5.Your favorite food: cupcakes

6.Your dream from last night: can't remember but I had a bad one this weekend

7.Your favorite drink: cherry coke or diet mnt. dew

8.Your dream/goal: to be a mom with a big family and a successful realtor

9.What room are you in: office

10.What is your hobby: reading, entertaining my dog

11.What is your fear: never having a family of my own

12.Where do you want to be in 6 years: hopefully married and a kid by then because if all my eggs aren't dead by then, there will be very few left

13.Where were you last night: at home transferring my CDs to my computer so I can maybe sell the CDs at a yardsale

14.Something you are not: rich

15.Muffins: strawberry

16.Wish list items: hardwood floors, Iphone, new shoes

17.Where did you grow up: Morganton, NC- look it up, it's pretty but was such a bore of a town in high school

18.Last thing you did: called agents for feedback on their showings of our listings

19.What are you wearing: black pants, pink sweater

20.Your TV: only gets like 4 channels now

21.Your pets: are so freaking cute! Cam might have Bailey beat though

22.Your friends: great

23.Your life: a mystery I keep trying to solve

24.Your mood: content

25.Missing someone: the crew

26.Vehicle: XC90 still lovin it!

27.Something you're not wearing: jewlery (not even earings right now)

28.Your favorite store: Tar-jay

29.Your favorite color: pink

30.When's the last time you laughed: earlier today...I laugh a lot

31.When's the last time you cried: last week when my teeth hurt so bad

32.Your best friend: gets me

33.One place you go over and over:'s neverending isn't it?

34.One person who emails me regularly: Centralized Showing Services and I wish they would cut back with their notifications dude!

35.Favorite place to eat: too many...right now I am craving Flying Buscuit Oatmeal Pancakes

I pass on this award to:
My real life friend Heather at Colormehazel
Gigi at Gigi's Gone Shopping
The Lovely Opptomistic Pessimist

and my first 3 Bookshelf Blog Followers!
Somewhere In Between
Simply Sam
thanks for following girlies!!

It's the little things...

I just wrote a review of The Opposite of Love over on my Bookshelf Blog yesterday.

I wandered over there today to check and see if I had any followers because I just added that followers widget yesterday (nope no followers). BUT I did see my review had a comment. (I rarely ever get comments over there. I don't think anyone reads that blog)

Lo and Behold it was a comment from the author herself! Ummm...yeah, that made my day!

Good thing too because I was feeling crappy about yesterdays post.

Amazing how such little things can sway your mood one way or the other!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

Here is what I did this weekend:

-Had a fight with witty guy and we're going to just be friends again

-But he did cook me this cheese grits and egg concotion that I will be adding to my rotaion

-Painted my nails (love OPI's new suede colors but they don't last long)

-Beat the Sushi Chef game on my computer

-Got Outback takeout and caught up with some TV at a good friend's house

-Went to church and did my volunteer shift with my favorite co-volunteer- she and I get along really well and I am so glad to make a new single girl friend!

-Went to Bible Study and had to pray out loud (I HATE praying out loud!)

-Ate sushi with witty guy (I've been craving it forever and see we can do the friend thing!)

Overall it was a really good weekend!

BUT- What i didn't do this weekend was go to a wedding shower cookout for some of my really good friends who are getting married next year. I wanted to go, but I was afraid. I was afraid because I wasn't going to know everone there. I was afraid because I didn't want to arrive by myself. I was afraid because I haven't seen a lot of these friends in a long time and things don't always seem as easygoing when I am around them as they used to be. I was afraid because I really can't afford to buy them a gift right now. I was afraid because we were supposed to bring a covered dish and I am not a good cook, plus did I mention I am broke? I was afraid because it was going to be mostly couples and people who are related to each other and I ALWAYS feel like an outsider. I was afraid because I feel fat and frumpy right now and didn't want to be judged. I was afriad because as much as I wanted to go and have a good time, I didn't think I would because everyone else would get drunk and I would be the sober one. I was too afraid to go so I made up an excuse that I wasn't feeling good.

I miss my friends. But things have just been so different lately. Everyone is so grown up and busy and that time and distance has made things awkward sometimes now. It makes me so sad, but I am to blame too because I could've went this weekend, but I let fear hold me back. I don't know how to fix this.

P.S. Friends that I lied to about not feeling good- If you read this I am so sorry!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Everyone will have their own "Sob Story"

Today at work a few of us got into a kind of deep discussion about life and what we thought happens after this life and such. One of the ladies in my office had a son that died. Apparently he was really sick and had heart surgery, but recovered only to be killed in a car crash a month later. This tragedy has made her not believe in God because how could there be a loving God when such bad things like this happen. As I was trying to relate to her I told her about how my boyfriend was killed in a car wreck in high school. She said "Yeah but this was my son, not just some boyfriend."

At the time I brushed this comment aside and tried to relate to her story and her pain, but deep down this really bothered me. Josh was not just "some boyfriend". He was my first love and the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was 17 and about to graduate high school and step out to the next phase of my life and all my future plans, hopes, and dreams had him in it. Just as I was about to cross that bridge to the next phase of my life, it was like that bridge just crumbled before me. I spent many years lost and just going through the motions of life. Then 2 years later my dad dies. Then my grandpa dies. Then we had to put my dog to sleep (any real dog lover knows this is like losing a family member, so don't trivialize it.) It sucked.

I know losing a child is really bad, but you can't trivialize someone else's sob story because you think what you went through is worse. Everyone is going to have to experience losing a loved one, unless you never love anyone or you have your life cut short and are the first to go. Bad things happen to everyone. Everyone is going to have their own "Sob Story".

But good things happen too. If you weigh out the number of bad experiences and good experiences at the end of your life, I am willing to bet the good outweigh the bad.

Yes, losing a loved one is one of the worst things that could happen, but don't let that loss define you. Don't let that hurt and unfairness overshadow all the good.

Imagine if your whole life was bad. Everyday sucked. Every time you left your house you were the victim of a crime. Every family member you have died. Every dollar you ever earned was lost. Everyday you went hungry. Your health is never good. You experience life in a wheelchair. You never fall in love. You never have children. You never experienced a sunny day. You get struck by lightning every time it storms. You never go on vacation. You never laughed. You never smiled. You never enjoyed anything. All of that, everyday. Nothing good ever entered your life.

Sometimes you have to have to bad in life to see the good. But you can't get so lost in your own sob story that you discount all the good. Because eventually you might stop seeing the good. You can't get lost in the "why me?" "what did I do to deserve this?" because it was already a given. You will experience suffering in life. Even the one "man" who lived a flawless, blameless life suffered. When you think about it it is almost arrogant and selfish to think you won't suffer in life.

I'm not saying don't sob for your own sob story. Feel that grief. Cry. Scream. Get angry. It isn't fair. But don't let that suffering define you and your life. Because you are so much more than that and your life is so much more than that, because if you look close enough you'll see the good too.

And don't compare your life experience to others. One of the best quotes I ever read was something like "Never compare yourself to others, for there will always be someone better AND worse than you."

Own your sob story. It is a part of your life. But don't let that sob story define life for you.