Thursday, December 31, 2009

Highlights of 2009.

First off, as I write this I have posted 219 entries to my blog in the year 2009. So this will only highlight a few of my very favorites. However long you've been reading, I do appreciate you. I certainly don't write just to entertain myself. : ] So thank you for your support, comments, e-mails, suggestions, and love in 2009.

I started this blog on January 12th of 2009. So I have almost reached a full year at 'So Scared of Getting Older, I'm Only Good at Being Young'...creeping up on 9000 views! It has been a great year and I look forward to many more years of blogging and many more 'blog worthy' events in 2010!

For now, I'd like to highlight a few of the big events in my life (and blog) from 2009:

In January....

Changes - I wrote what I was expecting out of this year. Not so far from accurate. : ]

In February....

The Super Bowl Breakfast - I posted this entry about the Super Bowl breakfast which I was able to attend. It was a great morning with fellow believers and a joy to watch Tony Dungy be honored.

The Friendship Crisis - I wrote my first open, honest blog entries that explored what I was dealing with in my 20s. Later as I explored blogging more, my entries took this tone more often.

March was apparently boring.

In April...

A Bittersweet Return - I wrote one of my favorite entries, where I finally returned to Raymond James Stadium for the first time since Coach Dungy, Dad, and the rest of us were let go years ago.

In May...

Saving Babies - I was able, with your help, to raise $1500 to prevent Crisis Pregnancies in Tampa.

One Year. - I also celebrated then end of my first year in Tampa.

In June...

Bloooood. - I gave blood for the first time, and yes, had my picture taken with it.

In July...

Dear President Obama. - I wrote my first blog that had a backlash...but I'm still proud of it.

Young, Fabulous, and Broke - I also discovered a new topic that would later dominate quite a few blog entries to date, personal finance.

In August...

Seasons. - In August, I got a new job!

Hands. - I wrote my first blog that got published on other sites.

In September...

Mr. & Mrs. - My first ever roommate (at Purdue) got married! I took a little trip up with my girlfriends to see it all happen.

Hello 24. - In September I turned the big 2-4.

Review. - I did my first book review (well, where I got the book for free at least).

AND Enter Dave. - I started Dave Ramsey!

In October...

Titans Weekend. - I had my first event as staff with All Pro Dad.

In November...

Gold Digger. - I was a gold digger...well, technically it was in Oct, but I posted it in November.

Thoughts. - I read a lot.

Over Thanksgiving - I saw my family.

In December...

Night of Pampering. - I got invite to my first event because of my blog.

Don't Judge Me. - I finally wrote about the whole 'I don't want kids' thing.

Merry Christmas to Me! - I bought a house (condo)!

So there you have it. A great year in my life, and blog. 2009 was my favorite year yet and I truly believe, they're only going to get better from here.

Love,
B

From Pennsylvania...

'What will you do differently this year?'...

'Nothing. I'll continue to get serious abou tmy diet starting Monday, then blow it the first time I have dinner with the girls. I'll buy the shoes I don't need, the dress I won't wear, and the workout videos I won' use. I'll continue to drink too much coffee and eat too many French fries. I'll live for today, forget the past, and make the same mistakes - and I will love every second of it, because my flaws make me me!' - Emily M. Harrigan or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From California....

'What will you do differently this year?'...

My doctor wants me to reduce my caffeine consumption to one cup per day. To make this cutback easier, I'm going to savor that coffee from a pretty china cup while sitting at my kitchhen table instead of rushing about drinking it from a paper cup' - Nina Garcia of Oakland, California

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Calling All Readers.

I need your help readers...I've commited along with a good friend, Joy Engdahl, to read 50 books in 2010.  So you have probably guessed what I need help with...

I need you to give me some good ideas for books to read.  Comment or e-mail me titles, a lil description, and why you think it should make the list.

Thanks.

B

From Minnesota...

'What will you do differently this year?'...

'Not a thing! This past year has been a tremendous year of personal and professional growth. I have explored my baggage, learned to set boundaries, and achieved some important goals. It is so nice that I'm finall at a point in my life where I do not feel like I am working on something' - Crystal Clancy of Lakeville, Minnesota

My first piece of furniture!

Well friends, after 2 days of home ownership, I traveled to Indiana to spend Christmas with my family. BUT now that I am back I'm in full time condo mode. Here is my first official piece of furniture and it is complete with Mischka Badgley place mats and fun red napkins courtesy of my older sister Rae and her husband Chris.



Note: the table is 'pub height' and black, even though it kind of looks brown in this pic. We haven't put the chairs together yet. But hey, one thing at a time!

Love,

B

Monday, December 28, 2009

From Arizona...

'What will you do differently this year?'...

'I'll eat pasta at every chance I get and not feel guilty' - Natalie Garner of Gilbert Arizona

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From South Carolina...

'What will you do differently this year?'...

'I will not let one opportunity pass to tell those I love how I feel about them. - Dorian B Swaney
of Columbia, South Carolina

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Resolutions? To do or not to do.

Readers, how do you feel about New Years Resolutions? I've always avoided them, feeling they're cliche. Why choose 1 days per year to make a plan for your life? I keep lists and journals year round of things I want to accomplish, get done, plan for, or dream about. I think a running 'bucket list' is an essential part of living a fulfilled life. It is far to easy to float through life leaving to many 'should haves' undone.

But whether or not you chose Jan. 1st as your day to determine...here are a few interesting responses from Real Simple Magazine's question, 'what will you do differently this year?'...

- Buy a house with a garden that I can dig in. - Christina of Rapid City, South Dakota
- Some friends and I challenged one another to do 101 things in 1001 days, so I will try things I've shied away from in the past. - Ariel Harris of West Liberty, Ohio
- Smile more. Pray more. Complain less. - Theresa Horan of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersy
-Send handwritten letters - Carla Rincones of Del Rio, Texas
- I will use the computer less and spend time in the real world. - Karen Amatangelo-Block of Bethesda, Maryland

I love these answers. Who of us does not need to spend more time in the real world and less in front of our computers? Is there anyone who doesn't need to complain less? Smile more? Pray more? What about writing hand written letters to the people we care about or try new things? And the first one, I tell myself often the importance of getting your hands dirty in life. Each of these peoples responses touched me.

Some others I enjoyed were one gal who speaks of being a big planner and list maker. If I haven't shared with you all yes I color code my planner! I'm completely OCD (self diagnosed of course) about being organized. She writes, 'This year I will focus on the present'.

These women have inspired me to do 2 things. First, to post an entry each day until the new year with one of their goals for doing 2010 differently than 2009. Second, to consider (and possibly share with you) some goals for making 2010 even better than 2009, which for me was my best year yet.

Consider with me, will you?

Love,
B

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A note from home.

Well I arrived back in my parents neck of the woods yesterday evening. My flight and airport experience was surprisingly painless for this time of year. I had to laugh as I stood beside two guys about my age on the curb, freezing, waiting for our rides here in Indiana....one turned to the other and said, 'did you just arrive from Florida?'. The answer was yes. He turned to me and asked the same (as if the fact that I was turning blue wasn't proof enough). We finally compared stories that we all came North for at least a week last year, and we all shortened our trips this year because the bitter cold is just too much for us Floridians.

It is in fact freezing here. And I'm pretty sure I have not and will not be warm on my trip here. At all. But it's nice to be in my old childhood room, and spending time with my family. The weather is a great reminder of why I chose to more to Florida and plant my roots there. But being with my family is an even better reminder, of why I appreciate airplanes and that I can hop one to see them every few months.

Had a great time catching up with friends last night. Sean and I got to go to 'our spot' (The Fox and Hound - lovingly referred to as The Fox) and chat for 3 hours about life, work, our families, and a little bit of everything else. It's hard to believe we've been friends for 4 years now...Junior year of college does NOT feel that long ago. But I'm thankful for his friendship, he has truly been great to have in my life.

I also revisited the good ole high school days by seeing a few friends I've stayed in touch with since then last night. Talk about a long time ago. This May I will have been out of high school for 6 years. Good grief I have grown old. When did this happen? But it's great to see how they're doing now and where life has taken them. Most of my high school friends stayed local in the Indy/Carmel area and it seems that for the most part they're glad the chose too.

I got a quick few minutes with some of my boys from my Purdue days as well. Always great to see them. Great boys. Interested to see where the next few years takes them. I know they're destined for big things.

Last night, and all my trips here are a great reminder of how far I've come in the past year and a half. May will mark 2 year in back in Tampa and I'm thankful for every minute of my time there. I have never experienced happiness and contentment the way I have since moving my life there. The city itself, is of course not entirely to thank for that. But I have certainly had the best year and a half of my life to date there.

While I never expected to feel or say so, I am thankful for the time I lived in Indiana with my family. I think my character was built in those years. If I hadn't experienced them I know I would not have become who I am today. So for that, I am eternally grateful.

I hope you all are enjoying your times with your own families. My only wish is that my older sister Rae and her husband Chris could have been here this year. I'm glad they're with his family, but I miss them.

Merry Christmas Eve.

Love,
B

Quote of the Week.

It seemed only appropriate to give you all a quote about Christmas. I like this one.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Love & Merry Christmas Eve!

B

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to me!



Well, it's official. I'm a homeowner! Just to make sure they couldn't take it back, I had all the locks changed. : ] This was one of the most exciting days of my life but one of the most intimidating. I was able to accomplish my dream of buying a home within my first 2 years back in Tampa. It will have been 2 years in May since I moved here, so I was a little bit ahead of schedule!

I didn't realize how much work this whole process is. And even now, the work is just beginning. But I have a home! A home of my very own, in my favorite city in the world (or at least of the ones I've been too). So, I wanted share my good news and excitment with you. Thank you to everyone who has given me advice, support, and prayers throughout this process. I'm glad it is over and I hope that those of you who are local will be able to come over soon (when I have furniture for you to sit on).

I've been getting lots of questions about my move date but sadly, I'm not sure what it is yet. I have to do a little bit of work before I can get moved in, so I'm working on getting that taken care of now. I hope to be moving in the next few weeks though.
Stay tuned, there will be updates and pictures to follow. But for now...here's a little preview.


Love ya!
B




The first item I contributed to the condo...a welcome mat. : ]


My favorite room in the house, at least so far. The kitchen. Now I just need to learn to cook!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Schadenfreude.

Scha-den-freu-de/n: taking pleasure in the misfortunes or others - esp. boastful friends, unscrupulous colleagues, billionaire bakers, and celebrities who are famous for no good reason.

I was fascinated by an article in this month's Marie Claire (page 86) that discusses the love hate relationship we have with other people's success.  Summed up by this quote, 'We're fascinated by people who pull out in front, but we hate them as well' - John Portmann.

So why is it that while we applaud people who blaze their own trail to success while waiting for them to make a mistake? When they do, we criticize them more harshly than those who made a slow climb to success.  Is it jealousy of their courage?  Is it discontent with our own circumstances?  Is this a misery loves company effect?

Here is what I have learned in my own life.  That when you are happy in your own circumstances it comes far more naturally to be happy for others.  Not that I have ever wished bad on anyone but it is easier not to begrudge people their successes when you are pleased with your own.

This entry doesn't really have a moral, just an interesting article if you want to pick it up.  Got me thinking.

Love,
B


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Quote of the Week.

In honor of the movie I'm currently playing on my DVD player...

Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope. - Gigi, He's Just Not That Into You

Note: This time tomorrow I will be a home owner! Eeeee!

Love,
B

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekend Wives.

So I'm writing to you all from Riverside in Jacksonville, FL. I'm away for 2 days...but more about that later. At Einstein Bagels today I was reading 'Marie Claire' magazine and came across an article under 'the careerist' (one of my favorite monthly columns) - titled 'The New Weekend Wives'. The article talks about this new set of couples that live apart. The husband has a place, the wife has a place, and they meet in the middle on the weekends.

Apparently 3.4 million married couples are living this way! 3.4 million? Good grief I'd say this is quite a trend. I've known a few married couples, mostly in my Dad's industry that have done this for a period of time as they're transitioning from one team to another. But these couples (the 3 interviewed) choose to do this, indefinitely. Can you imagine?

One girl said that she likes the arrangement so she doesn't have to chose between her husband and her friends. She can 'live like she's single while still having the security of a partner'. Does this strike anyone else as a little over the top in the 'have your cake and eat it too' catagory? Part of getting married IS giving up the single life. You're not single. Friends are important but you made a commitment to make your spouse your number one. Losing that causes inbalance. It may seem fun at first, like many things, but the long standing consequences, not worth it.

Another couple is raising a 1 year old daughter while living apart and the wife said she loves the arrangement because she can raise her daughter her way. Hmm, is this single parenting by choice while married? Odd. Very odd. And I hope that if I had a child (review my former entry if you'd like to read more about my feelings about being a parent) I would want my husband and I to agree on how we could raise our child. That would be more important to me than getting my way.

Wife number three said that she likes the time apart so that she can work more. Now as a bit of a workaholic myself this is probably the wife I related to best. But few people ever look back on their lives and think 'I wish I'd spent more time in the office'. It's key to realize young (the younger the better) that work is not even in the top 10 important things in life. Family is. Keeping a clear perspective on what your priorities are and should be for your life and time is key to being content & 'successful'.

Those are my thoughts.

Love,
B

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I wanna dance the tango with chance
I wanna ride on the wire
Cos nothing gets done with dust in your gun
And nobody respects a liar
So goodbye for a while I'm off to explore
Every boundary and every door
Yeah I'm going north
- Missy Higgins

Well loves, I'm headed North for the 3 days to Jacksonville, Florida. I love a good roadtrip to clear my head and get myself out of my routine. A read a great book last month that talked about how we need to make a point of getting out of our routines because that's when God speaks to us best.

Whether or not you're a Christian, breaking routine, getting outside of your typical day-to-day life allows you to gain perspective. I try to take a roadtrip on which I drive alone a couple times a year for this exact reason.

While I'm there I will be supporting my Daddy at his game against the Jaguars with my friends Sarah & Mike. Sarah and I even had t-shirts made. So there will be plenty of pictures coming soon.

Until then...I'm going North.

Love,
B

Ps: if you want to see pictures along the way, tune into my twitter (http://twitter.com/thequeenbc)

Friday, December 11, 2009

When the weather outside is frightful...

...its hard not to have dry, sandpaper skin.  It dipped before 60 in Florida today (at least for a couple hours) and I broke out my winter skin care.  I thought I'd share a few of my favorite winter skin fighters...

- Dead sea salt scrub.  You can pick your brand.  I usually find a tub at TJMaxx.  It exfoliates all your dead skins cells away, allowing fresh new ones to the surface.  It's not expensive but it has great results.  A tub can last you several months, even if you use it 1-2 times per week.

- Dove exfoliating body wash.  This is new to my list after my piticure experience at the Dove night.  It's fabulous.  It's good for every day use, a gentle exfoliator is has a similar effect to the sea salt scrub but on a gentler level.  On elbows, this can be a miracle worker.  You can get it for 5 bucks at Target.  Beauty on a budget, the way I like it.

Matrix Hydratherapy Conditioning Balm - great for year round 'hairapy'.  I use it in the summer when I'm out in the sun.  But it's great for year round moisturizing.  As instructed by my hairdresser, I use it once per month.  I wash my hair, massage the balm into my hair, put on a shower cap to hold it in and keep it from rinsing out while I take a 15 minute shower, then I rinse with cold water.  Works like a charm.

Body butter - my absolute favorite winter-beater-beauty-product is body butter.  I'm partial to Arbonne myself, but many companies have a version.  A thicker, deeper moisturizer than lotion.  I recommend it post shower, at night.

I hope this helps all my little snow bunny readers.  I'll have to take my own advice very seriously as I brave 5 days in the bitter cold of Indiana over Christmas.  DIY spa days every day while I'm there?  Don't mind if I do.

Love,
B


Winner!



We have a winner for my 'pit stains' contest to win free Dove deodorant and the winner was so great, she's getting both the prizes...so CONGRATS to Miss Ebony Jewel for creating this lovely image just for us...Even though she admitted to creating them not with actual sweat. They made me laugh so she wins.

I love her for participating. Great sport.

And being a Florida girl myself, real pit stains happen to the best of us...including celebs:





Oh Edward Cullen.






Real women may of curves...but it looks like America also has some sweat issues. Oops.

So my first ever giveaway is complete and I will be mail E.J. her prizes this week. ; ] I don't have immediate plans for my next giveaway BUT I am collecting ideas on a fun giveaway if my Colts make it to the Super Bowl and I get to go. So, if you have ideas, hit me up.
Love,
B


In December.

1.  Try red lipstick (ladies)
2.  Find jeans that fit
3. And buy shoes with zippers

These are the top 3 things In Style suggested this month.  Well, actually in the Jan. magazine.

I did try red lipstick in November and now I love it.  Not for every day...but it makes me feel glamorous.  It is the perfect touch for a night out, a Christmas party, or the like.

Also, if you have 3 bucks and 5 minutes, grab a copy of the Jan. In Style when it hits the shelves if for no other reason than to catch the feature 'A month of Easy Outfits: Your Calender for Go-to Chic'.  I love articles that give full outfit suggestions of how to work with a wardrobe you already have.  It's full of fresh ideas for paring pieces I never would have put together myself.  It's on page 114.

Also featured:
- Your new perfect haircut, color, and style
- 15 best new makeup tricks
- Eat your way to gorgeous 

More tips to come soon, I'd bet on it.

Love,
B

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don't judge me.

At the recommendation of a good friend, Katie Mayfield (who I'm trying to get to return to the blogging world) - I'm going to write about a topic that may or may not go over well with you readers.  Bare with me though.  It's a topic I feel deserves a bit of attention.

Now I know that there are traditional gender roles that date back before you or I.  Heck, before the internet, blogging, and freedom of speech!  I'm about to bust a myth about them right open.  I may have a uterus but it doesn't mean my goal in life, or even one of them, is to get married and have babies.  Not that I think being a traditional (or unconventional) housewife is a bad thing.  I don't feel that way at all.  

In fact, I think the opposite.  I think being a wife and a mother are both important jobs that demand respect.  I admire my own Mom and my friends who are moms.  I'm grateful for how active she was and continues to be in my life.  I have learned an immeasurable amount of wisdom and have seen first hand what unconditional love looks like.  For that I could never extend enough thanks.

That being said, I'm not someone who has a desire to be a mom myself.  I do want to get married someday (not soon).  After I've had a little more time to enjoy this phase of my life I do feel like I will 'settle down' and love the next phase of life as a wife.  Now, Lord willing of course...since he's going to have to find me the right one!

I want to talk about this children v. not issue.  Myth: because I don't want kids of my own I must hate kids.  False.  I love kids.  I've always loved kids.  I do not now nor have I ever had a dislike of kids (wait, that might be false...maybe certain kids at certain times).  My lack of desire to have any of my own does not stem from some sort of dislike of kids.  Honestly, I picture myself as more of the 'cool aunt' type.

As I've gotten a little older (a whole 24 years old now) this topic has come up in more and more conversations.  Here is what I've found...

A. People are shocked that as a girl I don't want kids.  I'm not even sure what being a girl has to do with it since I know plenty of girls who don't want kids, and plenty of guys who do.  But that aside, shock.  Real, true shock.

B.  It is assumed that I must be some crazy heartless woman who hates children.  I may admit to being a bit crazy at times but I think most if not all my friends would tell you, I have a big heart.  I really love people.  It's why I chose social work.  It's why I tend to be the 70% of effort in my friendships.  I really truly love people...including children!

C.  Often times I am told at this point that I should want kids because 'I'd be a great mom'.  Don't get me wrong, that is an unbelievably generous compliment of which I am completely undeserving.  However, we all have things we are good at that we'd rather not do.  Right?  I mean I may be a natural at one thing but completely drawn to another.  Whether or not I'd be a good mom I don't know...but I don't see the relation in my skills to my desires.

D.  This isn't really a point, just an observation....that besides the assumption that I'm a freak of nature for not wanting to have children, I do often find that people think I will never find someone to marry who wont' wants kids either.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there may in fact be some guy out there somewhere who also doesn't want children.  And if there isn't well I guess God will just have to change one of our minds.

Here are my disclaimers....

I believe in God having a plan for my life.  And if it includes children, then like many other things since my walk with the Lord - I believe he'll change my mind.  He's done it before and he may just do it again.  I'm in a good place both mentally and spiritually that if God choses to give me children I will love and care for them as I know He intended me too.

Also, I'm 24.  Many things will change in my life before I die and a year from now I may want 6 kids.  I reserve the right to change my mind for at least another 10 years about the whole kid topic.  So before you throw any stones, give me a few years.  : ]  

The point of this entry really was to say that I do and I wish more people did, respect that some people want children and some don't.  Similarly, I understand why some people choose never to marry.  Or not to go to college.  You have to find what works for you.  If, like me, yours doesn't fit peoples idea of 'normal' don't be afraid to want different than the crowd.  More importantly, never be too proud to change your mind someday.  People are always stressing that life is short, but it's not so short that you can't learn as you go.  

So (for now), I don't want kids...and I don't want any judgement for it.

'If you judge people, you have no time to love them' - Mother Theresa 

Love,
B

One more!

I only have one Christmas gift left to purchase. It's for my Daddy dearest and I cannot for the life of me figure out what to get him! He loves golf but golf related items are incredibly expensive and let's face it my budget won't allow me to go buck wild with the spending this Christmas. Like me, he already has quite a few clothes and he's picky so somewhat hard to buy for (though admittedly he usually likes what I pick).

In recent years I have bought him:

A Coach money clip
A designer cashmere sweater (I found a fabulous deal)
Before that a tie I believe

Any good ideas?! I'm really at a loss here. And I'd like to finish up my Christmas shopping for the year.

Love,
B

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December Reading.


I recommended this little lovely for December book club. Now, I want to go on record as saying that this is written at a high school reading level. A fact that normally irks me in books. But there's something about this book that spoke to me. That reminded me of a time in my own life and high school experience when I was searching for myself and seemed to be looking in all the wrong places.
If you need a quick, easy read (it'll take you one day over Christmas by the fire) - I recommend you read it this December as well.
Love,
B

Quote.

You guys know I love quotes and sometimes I can't wait until 'quote of the week' day to share with you... I love this one.

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Wise.

Love,
B

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Camera Faux Pas - Two.


While enjoying a lovely night with Dove Thursday (see earlier entries) - I had my second major camera 
faux pas since I bought my new camera in September of this year. The first was when I accidently left it at the
Lodge in Soho here it was violated with obscene pictures in the bathroom before being returned to me a week later.
Yeah, awkward.

This time, I set my camera cord in a tea candle while enjoying a pedi. It burnt right through the strap before
the lady giving me a pedi said, I believe your camera is smoking! Oops. Above is a picture of me and my poor camera
who has thus far, had a rough life.

Poor thing.

B

What makes blogging worthwhile...

What I love perhaps most about blogging is the chance to help others by sharing your own experiences. Last week I recommended some financial books that helped me get a feel for where I am now and where I want to be in the future.  With the help of great advice from the authors and from my own financially savvy parents - I got myself debt free, established a good amount of savings, and now am starting a new journey as a homeowner!  All this from 23 to 24 years old.  

After that post a fellow blogger took my advice, bought one of the books, and then wrote this entry.  She's also gotten a plan (thanks for the book) for paying off her credit card debt.  It's exciting to see 20-somethings get on board with good financial decisions.  And I love that blogging can inspire other people, just by sharing what you're going through yourself.

Love,
B

Monday, December 7, 2009

If I had a million dollars...

Ok, so if I really had a million dollars I'd save, invest, travel, and buy tons of books. BUT if I had a million dollars I could only spend on fashion (that would be fab) I would start with a few of these.  I have always wanted....

A pair of Tory Burch flats.

This studded handbag by Burberry...imagine this with jeans and a cute, casual grey top.  Amazing.





I love statement bags that make the outfit.  I dress to go with my bags, not the other way around.

A set of Louis Vuitton luggage.  I travel a lot. Why not travel in style?!



Don't judge me for this one because I've wanted for years....a burberry poncho.



Van Cleef & Arpels clover necklaces...yeah, several.  And yes, I was in love with these BEFORE Serena's mom started wearing them on Gossip Girl.



Speaking of jewelry I'd also fill my jewelry box with David Yurman cocktail rings...



I'd buy my first pair of Jimmy Choos, of course.  I don't know which pair though.

I'd buy a few strands of these Chanel double C necklaces:



These are just the accessories...don't even get me STARTED on the clothes. : ]  Thought I'd share with you a few things on my fashion 'wish list'.

Love,
B


Paycheck decisions.

How should your paycheck be split up?

According to a KipTip in January Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine you should divide it as follows:

Mortgage/Rent: 30%
Food: 15%
Debt: 10%
Utilities: 10% 
Transportation: 10%
Savings: 10%
Clothing: 5% (Ouch)
Entertainment: 5%
Misc: 5%

This makes sense to me, though I do mine a bit differently.  You have to personalize this but there is wisdom in watching your percentages.  You don't want 50% of your income going to housing and 20% to clothing (well, you may want that).  Watch where your money is going and make sure that if you're percentages are out of whack, you reevaluate how to get back in track.

Hope this helps.  Happy budgeting friends.

Love,
B

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Night of Pampering w/Dove.

Dearest Readers,


You may remember from this entry that I received an e-mail from Rachel at Edelman who works with the Dove Beauty account. She invited me to a spa night that would include trying a new beauty break through called, 'the Piticure'. Here's how she described it:
'Dove Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant would like to invite you to spend a luxurious evening at Sharmaine’s Salon & Day Spa in Clearwater Beach to get pampered with a manicure and pedicure. You’ll also be one of the first Tampa women to experience the newest beauty treatment, Dove’s very own “PitiCure.” Simply put, a PitiCure is to your underarms what a pedicure is to your feet. A PitiCure combines massage, exfoliation, cleansing and includes the application of Dove Ultimate Beauty Care, which cares for delicate underarm skin while providing effective 24-hour odor and wetness protection. After all, your underarms deserve the same spa-style pampering usually reserved for the rest of your body'

Sold.


I was later invited to extend the invitation to a few blogging lady friends from the Tampa area and my friend Joy was as excited as I was. We met Thursday after work to head to Clearwater. Neither of us were entirely sure what to expect from this evening but we had a good feeling that complimentary spa nights are never a bad thing.

Armed with our old lady speed sticks for trade in, we entered the salon.





We are welcomed by Kristen from Edelman and the lovely ladies of Sharmaine's Salon. We were even able to meet Sharmaine herself. The salon by the way, is located directly on Clearwater beach! What a great idea. The salon was beautiful and Dove had done an incredible job of making a cozy, inviting set up. There was a delish assortment of food, drinks, and a warm glow from candlelight.






Joy & I were the first to arrive...perhaps a little over eager? Can you blame us? We were introduced to the ladies assigned to give us our first ever Piticures & given a large, lovely goodie bag. The bags included a spa wrap with the Dove logo to wear during our piti's (I'm going to go ahead and get that nickname started).

Want to know more about the Piticure? Watch the official video:


Here's Joy talking about our experiences with the Piticure, a process that involved massages, exfoliation, lotion, and Dove deodorant:



After our experience with the Piti we were treated to mani/pedis!










Don't think I forgot to show you what was inside those goodie bags!



I highly recommend you take a day to hit the beach in Clearwater and visit our new friends @ Sharmaines:


Sharmaines Salon & Day Spa

483 Mandalay Ave.

Suite 206

Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

727.447.2025


Love,
B

Quote of the Week.

You are responsible forever for what you have tamed. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Friday, December 4, 2009

My first giveaway!

Joy & I trading in our Lady Speed Sticks for Dove!

This is my 200th blog post and I'm excited to be doing my first ever giveaway!

I hope you all are looking forward to hearing about my experience at the Dove event Thursday night. In fact, I owe each of YOU a thank you that I was invited since this blog is how they found me and the reason I got a free spa night courtesy of Dove. There will be video, pictures, and details to come. BUT thanks to Kristen and Rachel from Edelmen's & Dove - I'm able to share a little of the love with you.


It's time for my first official giveaway on my blog. Here's the deets:


I was given a few extra sticks of Dove deodorant to give away to you lovely readers. And I'm going to take full advantage. Joy and I talked about what would be the most interesting way to pick our winners. I'm not sure what she's going to do yet...BUT I've decided to make mine funny. The best 2 pictures I get of you with 'pit stains' are going to win you a free stick of Dove deodorant. Send them via e-mail to: rebeccaholmeschristensen@gmail.com and after I select the winners (next Friday) I will mail (or hand deliver if the winners are local) you your prize.


Get your sweat on.


Love,

B

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

That'll do it.

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a coworker & by my fellow blogger Ebony Jewel 's commitment to blogging daily for a month with posts that will help others. Thanks for inspiring me ladies!

My coworker & I were discussing money and how easy it is to not save because 'there's no money left'. How many of us have fallen into that trap? If I had to pinpoint the primary reason that until taking Dave Ramsey's class I never saved money, it would be that 'there was never any left'.
The problem with putting it that way, is the lack of ownership. The reason we have no money left is because we don't have a plan, guildlines, a cut off number. Hince: budget. If you plan how much money you are allowed to spend per month in catagories, then you plan to have money to save. Also, MOST finance professional's will tell you the only way to get ahead financially is to quit waiting til the end to pay yourself and start paying yourself first! Personally I've learned to do it this way...I tithe (give to my church) first, pay myself (save), and then I use the rest of what I have from that paycheck to filter through catagories such as: living (rent), car insurance, saving for my next car, haircuts & facials, etc.

Much like getting the laundry done or picking up a wedding present, if you don't make plans to do so - 'shockingly' you don't get it done. Don't allow your money to slip through your fingers!
Now, some of you may not have the time (right now) or the money perhaps to take a finance class. So, I wanted to offer a little freebie help. You can send your thank you's to Kiplinger.com for providing this great FREE household budget tool.
I'm a subscriber to Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine. I signed up with them shortly after reading 'The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke' at the beginning of the year. Once I got the ball rolling with my finances, it felt good to finally understand money. I got thirsty for more information. Kiplingers has provided me great information about investments, mutual funds, the best banks, credit cards, etc. I've even begun to follow them on Twitter for daily tidbits.

I know that it's overwelming to think about budgeting, especially when spending money is so much more fun. But I promise, once you start building good habits - it gets easier!
Want more resources? I've turned to these experts for help to kicking my shopping habits and start being the master of my own financial destiny:







Beccaism.

I love to say 'don't judge me', not because I think that people really will but mostly when I'm judging myself for being a hot mess. I was teaching my cousin the skill of 'don't judge me' use over thanksgiving and this is still my favorite to date...

(to my coworker, the day after Halloween)

'I ate left-over Halloween candy for breakfast this morning...at 6am. Don't judge me'

Feel free to leave me some of yours. : ] Practice is good for you. But use the skill well friends.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Over Thanksgiving....

                             From left: Dad, Ruthie, Momma, Me, Meme, Rach, & PopPops.

                                                                         And Bres! : ]

Love,
B

And then there were two.


I was asked by Rachel of Dove if I had any other young, 'influential', blogging friends I'd like to bring along for the Dove event Thursday! Sadly, Christina Sanders can't attend but thankfully my good friend Joy Engdahl (author of binding the broken) will be accompanying me. Both ladies I consider to be young (even though I like to tease Joy about being older than me) and both run fabulous, noteworthy blogs.

Joy & I both love a good freebie so a free spa night? Done & done. We've decided since we are curious ourselves about this 'manicure for your armpits' called a 'piticure' we will be taking a flip camera and getting a little video blog action. I even e-mailed Rachel from Dove for confirmation that we can document this interesting new phenomenon. Be excited. I haven't done a video blog in quite a while but I figure getting your armpits exfoliated is video worthy. Stay tuned for that.

Just wanted to share the fun news with you that I now have backup for Thursday's event. I am seriously looking forward to some time with the Dove group.

Love,
B

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts from Tgiving Reading.

I did quite a bit of reading over Thanksgiving break.  Here are a few thoughts I had from what I read...

'Selfish goals always result in shallow victories' - Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase

How true this is.  This one resulted in Kindle underlining.  Don't we all occasionally need a reminder of this?

'My conscience is taken captive by God's Word, I cannot and will not recant anything.  For to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us.  On this I take my stand.  I can do no other.  God elp me.  Amen' - Martin Luther

Love.

'Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell' - C. T. Studd

I leave you to ponder those friends.

Thoughts welcome.

Love,
B

Quote of the Week.

My deepest belief is that living as if you are dying sets us free. - Anne Lamott

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Season.



There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, 
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, 
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, 
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, 
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, 
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3, the Bible

This passage has always held a special place in my heart.  Perhaps not for the reasons you would most expect.  The part that touches me in a way I feel is unique is the use of the word 'season'.  God's promise that for everything there is a 'season' has to me always felt personal.  

As a child I measured everything in football seasons.  I am after-all, the daughter of a coach.  My fellow coaches kids, players wives, coaches wives, or players kids will related to this.  When I was in the 5th grade we moved to Tampa.  I remember being asked 'how long was your Dad at Clemson?' and saying '2 seasons'.  This response was met with a bit of a puzzled expression.  Where I come from we don't understand years, we only understand football seasons.  Later I would say that I lived in Tampa for 6 football seasons.  And so on.

In some ways my life was defined in football seasons for the first 22 years.  So in my childlike faith of years past I found this passage and I thought, 'hey, God thinks in football seasons too'.  It brings a smile to my face to think now.  Honestly, I bet he does.  When he thinks of me and my family and of the families of football households like ours - I bet he does understand exactly what seasons are like.  Though, for us I guess the verses would be a bit more like...

A time to win and a time to lose
A time for victory and a time of defeat
A time to pack and a time to move
A time to come and a time to go
A time filled with boxes and a time filled with loneliness
A time filled with challenges and a time filled with hope
A time filled with bad articles and much criticism
A time to be on top of the world
A time to have beer spilled on you and a time to deck the patriots fan behind you
...

You get the idea. : ]

I guess what I want to convey in tonight's blog is that I love the fact that I serve a personal God.  A God that has been there while I cried in the stands after hearing my Dad called bad names.  A God who rejoiced with me as I cried on the field after our first Super Bowl win.  A God who's heart broke for me through countless moves and left behind friends.  A God who cheered me on through victories and held me through defeats.  For everything there is a season, and not one have I faced alone.

I'm 17 hours away from the football chaos now.  But my life continues to be filled with seasons.  From job changes, to housing decisions, to new and old friendships, to relationships with boys (no, I won't blog about these!).  Life is a constant journey. Life is always in transition.  Seasons are still coming and going with regularity.  This year has brought a new season in my baby sister being in college!  This has brought a new dimension to what being a good big sister looks like.  This year has brought a new season in my relationship with my older sister as she's exited school (finally - DR. Breslin!) and entered the full-time work force.  It has brought a new season in my time as a daughter - being 17 hours away and living on my own but loving every bit of love and advice that's coming my way.

Hey, speaking of seasons - I'm loving this season of being undefeated.  I know better than most that you can't win em all but 11-0 sure feels good.

Here's to seasons of all sorts.

Love,
B



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#6

Airplanes. I'm thankful that I can get on a plane and be at home in 2 hours. It would take me 17 to drive it...and if we want to get all sentimental about the olds days, weeks in a covered wagon. Yeah, I said it. I played a lot of Organ Trail growing up. I don't know about you but I know the odds of surviving are slim...esp if you have to take the wheels off and float across a river! So thanks to the inventors of planes today. Because of you, I'm headed to see my family tonight and will be back in time to work Monday.

Love,
B

#5

Facebook. Now before you laugh at me...let me explain! I'm thankful for facebook because it's brought people back into my life that circumstance might not have. I love being able to reunite with old friends, keep up with college buddies, and see new pictures of peoples growing families. Before facebook, how did we ever do all of these things?!

Love,
B

#4.

I'm thankful for parents who taught me to work hard for what I want. The older I get the more I appreciate that my parents helped me but they didn't do things FOR me. What a great life lesson that has carried me through well. For this, I am thankful.

Love,
B

Thanksgiving Reading List.

What will you be reading by the fire (or on the beach if you live in Tampa) this Thanksgiving? You will find me in the Indiana, curled up by the electric fire reading these lovelies...








I've been on a roll lately, so if you've got any additional titles you'd like to throw my way, hit up my comments section or shoot my an e-mail. I like to keep my Kindle fully stocked with new titles to keep my motivation to fly through books high. I'm use to being busy so when I get away for a few days of food and family, I usually find myself quite productive in all things literary.
Love,
B









Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What are you doing for NYE?

I love New Years Eve. To me, the start of a fresh year and the possibilities it holds are cause for a celebration. Well, that and I love to get dolled up.

Here are some great dresses for under $45.00 if you're thinking about getting dolled up to ring in your new year.

Here's a few that I found myself.

INC - in Gold. - This dress paired with my Guess 'flesh colors' heels would be perf.
Adorible Satin w/Ruffles
Love me some BCBG
And again.
Phoebe in one of my favorite shades of the season.

So there you go - 10 party dress ideas to get you thinking about and excited for NYE like me.

Watch for shoe ideas coming soon.

Love,
B

#3

Great books. I can't imagine living in the days before people knew how to read or could get their hands on books. I love a great book. So I'm thankful to all the wonderful authors out there who provide me with an ever-growing list of books I wish to read.

Love,
B

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review - Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado.

Jenna Lucado, daughter to the famous Max Lucado author of over 75 titles sought to teach young ladies how to define beauty not on a worldly, surface level but as God defines it.  I chose the book knowing I would be seeing Max Lucado speak this month and curious to see if his talents were also present in his daughters writing.  The book was styled in a format that I found less than ideal.  The style, to me, didn't match the format.  There are workbook areas, meant to be filled in my the reader.  I found this distracting in many ways and I found that I wanted to skim ahead.  The audience Jenna was reaching out to seemed to me to be much younger than my own 24 years of age.  If I were to recommend this book I would choose an audience of 12-14 year old girls.  Older than that I feel the reading level keeps it from hitting home.

Personally, I was a bit disappointed with this read.  I felt there was a lack of depth. The juvenile approach left much to be desired for a young adult reader.  Great topic and concept for the book.  I would have liked to see her gear it for young adult women, like herself.  Also, leaving out the 'write your thoughts here' would have made for a more cohesive read.

Do you want to review for Thomas Nelson Publishing?  Click here.

Love,
B

#2

Number 3 on my postings of things I'm thankful for is moment that make you laugh til you cry. There is something so refreshing, so wonderfully stress relieving about laughing until tears run down your face and your stomach hurts. I am thankful for moments like these. Laughter is such a beautiful remedy for life, mondays, and just plain bad days!

Love,
B

#1.

This week I'm going to share some entries on things I'm thankful for. Though I hope that you can always tell how grateful I am and it is in no way limited to 'Thanksgiving week' - I would like to take this chance to share a few.

#1. I am thankful for an incredible, healthy, wonderful, close-knit, Christian family. I do not for a second take for granted that there are few people in this world who's family have been blessed as mine have. I am so incredibly blessed. I think to myself often that I wouldn't want to do life if it couldn't be with the 4 of them.

Love,
B

Quote of the Week.

Sorry for the break in these posts. Here's one that reminds me why I am thankful to be going home to my beautiful, wonderful family this week...

'The family is a haven in a heartless world' - Christopher Lasch

Love,
B

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Challenges and Champions.







It's almost midnight and I have to be up at 4:45 in the morning to get ready and go to Charlotte, North Carolina for an event with the Panthers.  But a brief blog entry about tonight's banquet just couldn't wait until I return.  The Family First banquet is one of the bitter sweet things about Tampa for yours truly.  While I love this banquet and have attended since long before I became staff (this was my rookie staff year) - I attended with my own family.  

One of the draws of Tampa for me I believe, was that this is the last place my family lived together all 5 of us.  When we moved to Indiana, we left Rachel.  Soon after I was gone.  Now Ruthie.  I love that I now live where we were last all under one roof, enjoying a chaotic life together.

Tonight's banquet did make me miss my family and wish that they could be here to celebrate with me the incredible year Family First has had.  The Challenges and Champions evening feels like a family dinner to me for many reasons.  I laugh and cry in one sitting (and sometimes laugh until I cry).  It is full of family, friends, and family friends.  Most of all, God is at the center.

This years 'make me cry' award (and Family First's - Wilbur L. Dungy award) goes to Matt Mooney, father to sweet Eliot.  This is his video and the story of how he came to inspire so many fathers, mothers, and people through his journey and through YouTube.  Warning, you will most likely cry too.



My Dad & Coach Tony Dungy were co-winners of the Family First Ambassador award in 1998. Dad has since been joined by great company such as Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp, and this year's winner - the gentlemen from Sherwood Pictures.  They've produced Fireproof and Facing the Giants.  Like my Dad and Coach Dungy, they are pioneering an industry that rarely boasts of Christian morals or values - with a solid stance and bold words of their faith!  How inspiring to find great Christian leaders who are uncompromising in their 'workplace'.

As always, it was extra special to hear both Coach Tony and Mrs. Lauren Dungy speak this evening.  They are generous with their times and talents to further our ministry.  I love to hear them talk about their sweet family and it's a joy to watch God use them here in Tampa.  I'm glad we all ended up back here after so many years.

It was an incredible blessing to be challenged by Max Lucado on the subject of fear.  'Fearless' is the title of his most recent of 75 books he's authored.  I received an autographed copy of said book and look forward to reading more of his challenge that we are not to let our fears get the best of us.  He did an incredible job and brought both humor and inspiration to the evening.  It was a delight to hear him speak.

In the brief conversations I was able to have while trying my best to serve our guests, several people mentioned that they read my blog.  So, thank you to anyone reading who attended tonight's banquet.  Your support is in fact, providing us the opportunity to help further families.

In short, tonight was a beautiful, blessed evening.  

Signing off to rest up to serve Dad's and their kids in NC at our Father/Kid's Experience Saturday.

Love, 
B

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life & Death.

'We have to stop living as if the purpose of our lives is to arrive safely at death' - Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase

I love this quote.  How true is this?  

Love,
B


Colts update.

If you're a colts fan you should read this blog from former Head Coach, Tony Dungy about Sunday nights incredible game.

You should also check out this great picture of yours truly's padre from the sidelines after Sunday's win. Love this picture of Dad. You may have to hit pause on the slideshow because for some reason when I link it, it tries to keep going and showering you other pictures. So if you want to pause on the big grin, you will have to stop the slideshow.

Love,
B

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November Update.


November's off to a great start.  One trip down (to Indianapolis) and two to go this month.  Next week will be an exciting week for me at work.  Thursday night we have our banquet for work at the Grand Hyatt, with guest speaker Max Lucado.  I will be sporting a (new) black and gold dress I found online and love.  Amazingly, it's comfortable too.  Still working on a shoe plan.  I have a great pair of Coach gold peep toes but...I'm afraid I'll be running around too much for 6 inch heels.  So I'll be trying to come up with a better plan this week.

After a late night at our banquet, I will depart at 8am the next morning for Charlotte, NC.  Back to my families roots - the Carolinas.  We have an event Saturday with the Carolina Panthers.  Friday will be spent prepping for the big event.  Saturday we will have our last FKE for 2009 and then hop a flight back to Tampa that evening.

Wednesday I'll jet set again, back to Indiana to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.  I can't wait to see both of my sisters, my bro(in law), my parents, and my mom's entire side of the family!  Well, actually I think were going to be short my cousin Wes, which I'm really sad about.  But he is in Spain and the trip home for a day, probably not happening.  I'll eat your share too Wes, don't worry.

Since moving to Tampa, FL I haven't missed Indiana once.  That's not to say, however, that I don't miss my family every day.  There's something comforting about heading home.  Back to my roots.  Back in time to when life was simpler, easier, less complex.  When I go home now I'm ready to just unwind.  Relax.  Just enjoy being with my family (and select few close friends).  I'm looking forward to a long weekend of this.

November November...what else should I share with you?  I'm 2 presents away from being finished with my Christmas shopping.  I hit the amazing 'give and get' sale from the Gap.  Now when I head to the midwest, I'll be fully stocked with sweaters. I don't miss the cold but I do miss fall clothes.  Who doesn't love a good sweater?

I'm cleansing myself of all the excess this month in prep for a yard sale the first weekend of December.  I have 3 garbage bags full already and more cleaning out to go. Bleh - how do I get so much stuff? I've got to cut that out.

Still searching for the perfect condo.  I've got one in mind.  Now I'm just praying about whether or not it's the right condo at the right time.

My Colts are 8-0.  What a great first season for Coach Caldwell.  I'm so pleased.  Sadly, last week was my only game this season.  But I will be at two in December.  It's hard being so far away during football season.  I miss being at every game.  It's hard to feel as supportive while screaming at the TV in a sports bar in Florida.  Somehow, I think my Dad knows though.

It's hard to believe 2009 is almost over.  This has been a great year.  I plan on the next 6 weeks of it being the best 6 yet.  I'm getting ready for 2010 with football, friends, and family.  November and December are looking promising.  Stay tuned.  

Love,
B