Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back and better?

Well it's only been a few days since my last blog entry BUT it feels like it's been a month. Maybe that's because I started this new venture of trying to be healthy/get ready to wear a bridesmaids dress this fall. Turns out when you're not eating chocolate the work days feel twice as long. To top it off I am attempting my scariest health related adventure yet - cutting back on diet coke! Gasp. I know. Me, the 100 ounces a day girl. If this cut back lasts, the makers of diet soda everywhere might actually feel the affect and it may result in layoffs. No, really. I hate to put people out of jobs and all but it's time to reintroduce water to my daily liquid consumption. Blah.

Here's the thing I hate most about when you try to make healthier habits. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE wants to tell you what they do, how they do, what they think you should do, how you should do things, what you're doing wrong, etc. Honestly, I know I should appreciate the input and I think most of them genuinely want to be helpful. I just simply don't want to talk about it all day everyday. So I'm drinking more water. Drinking less diet coke. Eating fewer calories. Working out an extra time or 2 a week. What's to talk about? It doesn't require a million hours a day of advice. It's actual pretty straight forward.

I finished 2 more books since last I blogged. So that was productive of me. Started a new bible study book - which I'm meeting out about with my girls tonight. I picked it, so I should be really into this one, right? Booked my next flight to Indy...score. Hello Indy, I will be visiting you May 13th. Even got a little sun. Goodbye winter skin.

You all must simple start reading my newest blogger bff: Tara. She is the Regina George to my Katy Harron, if you speak Mean Girl. You should also read what she had to say about me here. Her blog is a guilty pleasure for me in the way chic lit hits me just right while laying out on the weekends. She's so fun. Oh and a Colts fan - we're going to meet at a game this year.

A little sad about spending Easter apart from my sisters. But fortunate to have Aubs to spend Easter with this year. We're churching, brunching, and laying out. If you have to be without family you should at least be with best friends and sunshine, right? As my Dad reminded me last night 'you chose weather becs'. Ah yes, I did.

Getting my hands dirty this coming Saturday doing the Laundry Love Project again - pumped for that.

Hooray for a 3 day weekend.

Missed you all.

Love,
B




Sunday, March 28, 2010

These are the Days of our Lives.



My first two weeks living in my condo, my dream condo that is, I had no furniture. Just me and an air-mattress which at the time was in the living room, waiting for the 3rd floor (with the bedrooms) to be re-carpeted. I was living out of a suitcase, picking up a new outfit or 2 every couple days at my rental. One of my showers wasn't getting hot water and for whatever reason that was the one I was using. The cold one.

My first night my Dad called me as he's gotten in the habit of doing to ask me 'how's the condo doing' (almost 4 months later he's STILL asking this a couple times a week) and I explained I was finally going to spend my first night in my first home. My Dad remind me that this was a once in a lifetime experience and he said, 'these are the times you'll always remember, it doesn't get any better than this Bekes'. He was more excited for me than I was for myself.

What he said stuck with me through the first couple months here. A few weeks later Dad and his Colts were in the AFC Championship game and Jess and I felt it was only right that we watch it here, christen my new place into the Colts family so to speak. However, at this point I was still living with only an air-mattress and a kitchen full of cookware my Mom bought me for Christmas. Ain't no party like an air-mattress party? Jess, Jen, and I lounged in a Colts themed air bed, eating off my lovely new kitchenware. By the way my Mom deemed having people over to lay on my air-mattress totally creepy.

What I've learned is that I love firsts. The first person to the stay the night. My parents first visit. Building my table (my first furniture) - thanks P! Watching the movers lug my 1000 pound dresser up my two flights of stairs (first night in a bed). First meal - Jen & I eating pizza on the floor. First Colts win - AFC Champions! First party. First game night. Finally, the first hot shower!

The condo's come a long way since my closing in late December. I have it almost fully furnished, for starters. Many people have come and gone, leaving behind memories that hold a special place in my heart. I love having somewhere to welcome them into, for a meal, a night, or a spring break. Without a single picture in this house, I could tell you a hundred stories already. More than filling the house with fun decor and funky furniture ( like my velvet couch), I have filled it with lasting memories.

I will never be 24 again. I will never again be a first time home buyer. I will never be this young, single, and free. I will never again paint my first wall (magenta) or cook my first meal (Sante Fe Soup, I believe). Thankfully, I will never take my first fall down the stairs (almost healed now). Or put my first dent in the wall (gr - it keeps staring at me).

It's not just about the new place. I've been in Tampa almost two years and they have been the best 2 years of my life. First 'big girl job', oh and the second too. First time away from all my family (wah). Firsts firsts, firsts - you get it I'm sure. I'm feeling sentimental and gushy about life tonight.

Life is short, but sweet for certain. And these are most definitely the days of our lives.




Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where's the Fire?!

Ok there's been a common theme in my conversations lately and it deserves attention. This entry affectionately entitled, 'Where's the Fire' is about people who rush into relationships. And no, I'm not just talking about girls. This is just as applicable to guys as girls, at least these days. As much as girls are growing more and more aggressive these days, guys seem to be growing even more clingy! What is happening in the dating scene? And honestly, where's the fire?

Let's be honest, we had to know that when Internet dating became all the rage that old fashion days of 'courting' had bit the dust. What did this mean for the single society? Well, I think we're only beginning to see. Now before I get 9342390 comments from people who met someone on the Internet and it 'worked' - chill out for a sec, let me talk. I don't have a problem with Internet dating, in theory. I assume that Internet dating was intended to be a way people could get to know each other before our shallow sides judged their looks, which formerly served to cause us to interact with members of the opposite sex. However, in our sex crazed culture this has gotten out of hand. Ie: the personals section of Craigslist. While you're on the Internet buying say, a couch, you can also get a hookup. 'No strings attached', right? Does anyone else think this is insanely off?

OK, that's another rant. What this is about is speedy dating habits. I was recently a little overwhelmed when a guy I'd been casually talking to/hanging out with felt the need to breech the topic of ...drum roll please...moving in together! Yes, that's right. We weren't in a relationship. We weren't even seriously dating. In fact, the scariest part is the fact that by even asking me about that he revealed how little he actually knows about me. He knew I went to church. He knew I was a Christian and involved in ministries. He was cool with all that. He was a 'christian' himself, he said. But apparently, he hadn't realized I wasn't 'one of those Christians' who goes to church but lives however I want.

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to call out anyone from my dating life on my blog. And that remains the same. I've been seeing a few different people as of late and so we'll just say that IF they ever find this entry, they can assume it was one of the others. Fair enough?

For arguments sake we'll say that homeboy and I just weren't on the same page at all. What I thought was really more of a friendship, he was planning as a future. I'll go so far as to take some responsibility for not mentioning I don't believe in living together before marriage. Although, in my defense I thought a few times of hanging out didn't really lead to quite such in depth convo's about 'our future' as I wasn't really thinking of a future with anyone at the moment.

My personal experience aside, in the past few years I've had several people in my life meet either via the Internet or out & about and enter these whirlwind 'romances' if you will. Each deciding to get married, elope, or have a kid in the first couples months of knowing each other. Now don't get me wrong...I can wrap my head around the whole 'when you know, you know' thing. Maybe you really can know on a first date or in the first month that you want to be with someone (this has yet to happen to me) BUT a month, even 3 months can't possibly teach you everything about a person. In my book, you put yourself at huge risk when you throw yourself head first into a relationship before you really know who you're with!

Puzzling to me is...why? I mean, I'm 24. Most of my friends (and the previously referred to couples) are in their 20s. We're still young, peeps! I realize we're not 21 anymore BUT forever and ever til death does us part is still a long time. So where's the fire? If you're head over heels now and you want to be together forever, what's 6 months? Or a year? Why rash decisions and rushing?

I had a friend recently tell me they'd found 'the one'. The 2 in question had known each other about a month, only half of which they'd actually been single (as in, not committed to other people). Now I love and adore this friend, so don't hear me wrong here. What though, was I supposed to say to that? 2 weeks? I don't know if they are or aren't 'the one' for each other. I found myself tripping over my words, trying to be supportive of my friends while offering wisdom. While there's not commitment on one end of this relationship yet and so therefore it's 'still dating'. ..one person involved is moving closer to the other, to 'make things work'. If someone can't commit to you, I'd be leery of changing your life for them.

If love never fails, as 1 Corinthians says then why not heed the rest of the warnings, like say 'Don't awaken love before it's time'? Love is patient. If the person your dating is in a huge rush, it's probably not because they're in love. We live in a scarily unhealthy relationship culture, one that breeds failure. Don't be afraid to make someone wait on you. I mean that on several levels, and I hope you catch my drift!

Now more than ever we need to know that we haven't just found 'the one' were attracted too but the one God designed for us. In a nation with more than half of couples getting divorced, we can't afford to be hasty and reckless with our hearts. Don't confuse emotions and passion for lasting commitment.

Slow down friends, love's worth waiting for.

Love,
B

Friday, March 26, 2010

Writing.

I remember distinctly the first time I wrote a paper for someone other than my mom (was homeschooled, remember?) and the praise I received felt so good. I was 12 or 13 at the time and on cloud nine at being told I was an excellent writer for my age and grade. I remember relaying the praise to someone whose opinion meant the world to me and being shot down, told I wasn’t nearly as good as my sister. Which, while true, burst my bubble at the time.


See, Rae was better than me at most things academic. Maybe not sign language, since she didn’t actually take that. Honestly, she deserved to be. She was a much harder worker than I was and she earned every perfect score she got. It never bothered me as I was her biggest cheerleader. I have incredibly talented, beautiful, intellegent sisters and I adore them. Rachel is unbelievably hard working and Ruth has the most incredible memory I’ve ever seen. Ruth can recall anything in vivid detail. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she remembers being born!


I never really remember feeling competitive with either of my sisters. Were each so different and our gifts are uniquely ours. But I do remember this particular time, wishing that the person in the question wouldn’t have felt the need to compare my newly discovered love (and skill?) for writing with that of my older sister. I firmly believe that for each of my talents there is someone, somewhere who is better than I at it. I’m ok with that. I do however, like the ownership of having something that is mine.


For years after that comment I avoided letting my writing be seen. I ‘blogged’ before it was called blogging under a fake name on of all sites, Livejournal! Yes, I was emo like that. I went through the rest of middle school and high school proofing my own papers, avoiding the critical eyes of others. I loved to write and I was afraid that criticism would take the joy out of just being able to let my fingers fly over the keys and leave my thoughts behind them.


I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers in college. I minored in English because by sixteen I couldn’t keep my nose out of books or my hands off keyboards long enough to care about much else. I wasn’t sure I wanted to (or would be able to) make a career out of either, but I was sure I wanted to soak up as much literary knowledge and new writing skills as possible. In high school I was already taking 3 college classes per semester in downtown Indy. My first writing teacher was incredible. She had a way of giving me just the right amount of creative criticism so that I could improve without dampering my spirit. She and the peers I was finally forced to allow to read my work encouraged me to keep writing. I did.


Reading and writing didn’t come naturally too me as I have (self diagnosed) dyslexia. I see things backwards and you should have heard me try to read aloud as a kid! I hated reading as a child since everyone seemed to be faster than me and as I’ve confessed in previous entries, I’m a wee bit (cough) competitive. Over time it got easier and more natural and with that came more confidence. To this day I’m a slower reader and when I get tired I can’t read straight.


After taking every English class I could get my hands on in college while still getting done my classes for my major, my love to writing only grew. After moving to Florida I started to get my feet on the ground and have confidence in who I was becoming. With that eventually came blogging in the open, as me. It’s been a smooth transition into writing not only knowing that other people would see it but wanting them too. Blogging really is much more fun when people are reading it.


That person may have been right about my wirting abilities not being anything special, but in one year 13,000 people have read what I have to say anyway. So as I’ve come to see it now, people can only hold you down as far as you let them. Their words are only powerful if you let them fuel the fire of your insecurities. I don’t write to be the greatest writer that’s ever written. I write for me and for those of you who loyally read.


Love ya,

B

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Love lost.

Note: This blog entry was written MONTHS ago (September of 2009) and saved in drafts until I decided if I wanted to share it, or not. I have determined that it is rawly honest but I feel it worth sharing with you all. So, without further ado...

I've always been a big fan of quotes. I love peoples opinions. The various definitions people can have for the same object or concept. Hearing how people feel whether good or bad about a given topic. There's something fascinating to me about people's words. This is of course why I do a quote of the week. There are so many great, inspiring, funny, witty, quotes out there - I want to share them with you.

My Mom once told me she didn't agree with the quote 'it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all' (Tennyson). Being young and rather naive at the time I didn't understand her response. When I asked for an elaboration she said, if you're going to lose at love why wouldn't it be better just not to love? Then you wouldn't get hurt.

I recently had a flashback of that conversation and I began to analyze my own experiences with love and loss. When I was 20 I lost a friend who was like a brother to me, to suicide. Having grown up together it was a mind numbing blow. The grief hit me in waves, sometimes leaving me feeling like when you're standing knee deep in the ocean and suddenly one wave tumbles you to shore...spitting you out in a heap, nursing your wounds.

When I moved from Tampa (to Indiana) I took one particular friend with me, in that our friendship remained solid. Seeing each other several times a year still, talking daily. Even as I headed off to college and they to pursue a career, there was no slack in our friendship. We worked hard to make sure distance wouldn't deter us. For four years, it didn't.

Losing a friend can happen in a lot of ways. One of the most devastating for me personally was losing this one to lies. After years of a friendship that was based on brutal, over-the-top honesty in which there was no topic off limits, it seems ironic it ended with lies. Dealing with lies is a tricky beast because other mistakes within friendships are far easier to forgive and repair than the loss of trust. One giant lie, even one of omission can drive a wedge in a friendship that can take years to repair. Lies tend to travel in groups, though. One lie lead to another and before it all was said and done I didn't even know who they were anymore.

Further complicating this particular loss of love in my life was the late apology. Apologies it seems are complicated in that even when one desires with all their heart to forgive, sometimes the inability to forget the deafening sound of your own heart breaking can keep reconciliation from being feasible. Forgiveness is a process. So why is it that people want you to be able to forgive and forget after 2 words? Two words didn't cause the damage, and two words can't heal the hurt. After over a year of complete silence an apology didn't hold much weight anymore. Sometimes you just know, it's over.

When this happens, the best thing you can do is forgive...and release. Some relationships aren't worth salvaging. There are people you can't afford to let back in. For me this is when I learned to set boundaries in my friendships - a valuable skill to this day I wonder how I ever lived without.

A few years later I would lose someone else I loved. Not to death or to lies this time but to the pursuit of a lifestyle I couldn't accept. Drugs and alcohol would become the new lord of his life. I would find myself fighting to save him, myself, us. As best I can describe it I felt like the line from a John Mayer song that says, 'we're slow dancing in a burning room'. When you think about a life or a relationship falling a part you never realize how slow it will happen. When you lose at love it rarely happens like in the movies, one harsh blow. For most of us it is a slow torturous process, hurting you worst when you dare to hope that things may be on the up and up.

If I'm being honest with myself and with you than it's only fair to say that the years in which I experienced these three heart breaking losses were also years when I was farthest from God. In a period of my life in which I didn't love myself and I'd put my relationship with the Lord on the back burner (at least when I wasn't in crisis), I was easy prey. It wouldn't have taken much to break my fragile heart. I didn't know then how to guard it.

It's been years since all of these incidents happened. I've grown up, moved away, and rebuilt healthy relationships with my God, my family, my real friends, and even myself. In hindsight I often wonder if I'd known that each of these relationships would have ended in just the way they did, would I have still moved forward with them?

That's a tricky question because I see how there was beauty in the ashes. The person I've grown into is certainly a product of the past I've overcome. I see how each of those people's impact on my life has in a sense molded me into the person I am today.

Was it worth it? Well.. I miss the first person often. After his death I experienced one of the greatest victories of my life. One I couldn't help but think wasn't right without him there. In fact, I'd venture as far as to say the world isn't quite right without him and I'm not sure I'll ever feel differently about that. He taught me so much, I wish I'd had the chance to thank him. He cared for me in a way that changed my life. I look forward to many chats in heaven someday...and I know that loving him was worth every second.

In the second and third case, well I guess if I'm being honest (which I recently promised I would be) then I'd take back those experiences. Did God use them in my life? Absolutely. But I can't help thinking there was probably a much easier way to learn the same lessons. While I've forgiven them, taken responsibility for my share, and even had some contact with them over the past few years - the best part has been getting to a place in my life where I wish nothing but the best for them. All the while I continue to believe that doesn't include me in any finite way.

Is it better to lose your love or lose out on love? The question remains.

Love,
B

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Perfect Match.

The best part about being an accessory crazy is that once you develop an eye for colors and materials you can be out shopping and find the perfect match. After reading In Style I bought a great pair of nude heels, learning only later they were absolutely right - they match so many things! Flash forward a year and I found my shoes the perfect best friend, a matching nude patten leather handbag. I found it on a stellar sale at the Coach outlet (yep, outlet) last weekend.


I had to share with you because I was so excited! You know I love shopping and more specifically - accessory shopping! Note: please ignore both my pale legs (it's been cold in Florida!) and my awkward stance.

Love,
B


Quote of the Week.

This very special quote of the week comes from an e-mail sent out by one of my directors at work, said by Peter King, and talking about a very special man...

I think if I'm a Colts fan, I love Clyde Christensen taking over the offensive coordinator (and play-calling) duties from Tom Moore. Not that it's going to be any great overhaul of an already prolific offense. Peyton Manning likes and respects Christensen; I could see that watching three practices during the Super Bowl with the way they'd come together several times during practice and Christensen would make suggestions and Manning would nod. And I think Christensen, who has mentored all the receivers on the team (he's been huge in the development of Pierre Garcon and the quick ramping-up of Austin Collie), will have a better feel than Moore for the patterns each receiver can best run. -- Peter King

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You're a Mean Girl, Katy.


In one of my favorite movies, Mean Girls, I picked up a term I am forever using...word vomit. A term used to describe the feeling when you can no longer hold something in and you vomit out the thoughts in your head in a never-ending-spew-of-words. We've all had these moments, yes? And for the more fortunate of us, we have the person who hears us out when we need to spew. I've been known to call someone and start the conversation pre-greeting with, ' I just need to vent' or 'can I word vomit?'.

Now controlled spewing to a good friend is totally different then when you're caught off guard by the overwhelming need for this while dealing with say, incompetent or out of line customer service representatives. So lets talk about that for a moment. I try to always be polite and well spoken when trying to handle issues. I don't accuse or demand, I just try to present the facts and politely request the course of action I deem appropriate. Whether a return at a department store, an error in an order I made online, or one of my utility companies. Their behavior, however, often tempts my inner Mean Girl to come out in full force!

Last week, this very thing happened. One of my utility companies and I had a misunderstanding that resulted in some frustrations on both our parts. I called in, patiently waited on hold, and explained the issues. The customer service rep (who was clearly in the wrong job for her sparkingly personality) proceeded to tell me in plain English that it was 'all my fault'. My fault? I am the customer and therefore should be right even when wrong. My training from working at Coach has taught me this well. In customer service you never accuse the customer. Never.
So rules aside, the damage was done. My inner Mean Girl was clawing her way to the surface by now. I elbowed her down and calmly responded to the rep who was raising her voice with me that I in no way meant to offend her or her company and would only like to resolve the present issues. Another five minute into the conversation I was irate. I don't mind owning some responsibility in misunderstandings, but being accused over and over of being at fault in something that was clearly not my fault was more than I could handle.

My coworkers and I joke because I once told a customer service rep in college that I would 'haunt them' until they fixed the problem. So I'm known to be more than a bit scary when necessary to accomplish my goal. However, I do always, always, always try to be civil first. If being lady-like fails me the fangs do occasionally come out. In this case the woman was condescending enough to insult my intellect and ability to perform their instructions properly, which was not the cause of the problems nor an accurate statement. But while my inner 'Katy Harron' was begging to respond with a snide remark about the differences in her intellect and mine, I was struck with the idea that this was the perfect opportunity to extend grace.

Now, I've come a long way in the last few years with this whole patience and grace thing. But I admittedly have a long way to go because once I hit my boiling point, IF I manage to extend any grace it's always a bit begrudgedly. Progress though, is that I extend it even when I don't want too. AND I like to think that after practicing some restraint with my tongue, it may get easier in time.

The sometimes sad part about life is that it isn't fair. Sometimes you have to pay fees you shouldn't really owe to people who stink at their job and ruin your day. And while you may secretly (or not so secretly) want to punch them in the throat, adult life often includes swallowing your wounded pride and cutting your losses. If you're like me, you may throw in the 'I'll pay this to resolve the conflict but I still believe you are doing the wrong thing here' so you can sleep at night knowing that perhaps they may later feel bad about purposefully wronging you and cheating you out of your money.

Rounds one & two may have gone to 'Patty Positive' of the customer service line, but don't count me out just yet. Come to find out, a darling coworker of mine happens to know the head of the company and volunteered to pleed my case to him and try to get these crazy, random, unlabeled fees removed from my bill. After she chats with him, things may just get resolved properly after all.

Here's to all my free spirited, wild women who are trying to tame their inner Mean Girl. I feel your growing pains. I adore you. We are kindred spirits. Oh, and you can always word vomit to me.

Love,
B


Monday, March 22, 2010

Awkward compliments.

We have all been the victim of an awkward compliment at some point in our time here on planet earth. I personally was one this weekend (a victim that is). This awkward compliment took place in Bare Minerals, the makeup store I've never set foot in before at International Plaza. My best friend had a gift card there and wears all their makeup so we'd pop'd in to take a look around. We were browsing and after declining help from two women were making our way through the bronzers when I noticed Candy look up at someone approaching.

I was still facing the makeup when the male, heavily makeup laden, employee approached Candy and started to ask her (the third time since we'd entered) if we needed help. I turned around (so as not to be rude) and realized he was all of 5 inches from my face. Now, I should mention here that while I'm not a 'personal bubble' kind of person, I do appreciate some breathing room when talking with strangers. He proceeds to say in a voice that implied he was totally shocked to find, 'Oh my! You are REALLY PRETTY?!?'. Note the question marks as implied by the inflection at the end of his sentence.

So not only was it awkward because he was in incredibly close proximity to my face and said it in a tone that implied shock! Gees. I awkwardly mumbles a thank you and proceeded farther down the aisle of makeup in an attempt to escape his watchful eyes and Candy and I snorted with laughter after making our way out of the store (without purchasing anything). We continued to laugh every time one of us thought about it for the rest of the weekend. Or to get really close to each others faces and do impressions of t he space invading compliment!

When complimenting someone please avoid the errors of A. leaving the second person standing there out of the compliment. Even if you don't intentionally mean that to exclude them, it does. And it's not favorable. B. Don't invade peoples personal space (or check their face for pore size). No one wants to smell your lunch while you're trying to compliment them. No one. C. When making a comment about someones personal appearance meant to be taken in a favorable manner, please refrain from sounding surprised.

To end this on a positive note, it was great for a laugh.

Love,
B

Friday, March 19, 2010

Surfacing.


Coming up for a diet DP and an episode of Criminal Minds after hours of perfection. With my best friend in town we've enjoyed a few of my favorite things. Including but not limited to a day of outlet mall shopping resulting in a few new classic pieces for my spring wardrobe & a new *insert squealing here* handbag! You know this is my one true accessory love. Ok fine, I love shoes in a close second but handbags were my first love, they can't be replaced. Candy and I actually met working for Coach, so I owe it to my love for handbags for bringing her into my life! A debt I take quite seriously.

Other than shopping there has also been yummy food including Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 (a new favorite). Lots of diet coke, of course. A Lifetime movie & a few episodes of Gossip Girl (had to catch Candy up on this season). A couple hours on St Pete Beach, although it's admittedly still a bit cold to be in a bathing suit on the beach. And a couple hours at my pool here at the 'the batch pad'. Oh yeah, I even finished another book!

Jealous yet? These 2 days of PTO have been a much needed TLC for my pale skin and my busy mind. I'm loving the time to catch up with my best friend and hopefully help her enjoy her spring break from grad school craziness and midwestern weather. We're going to further enjoy our TLC weekend with pedis in about an hour up at Ultra Violet Salon. We decided to take a few minutes to relax before we drive up north to relax again. Hard life I live.

Just wanted to check in to say 'hi' and maybe to brag a little bit. Just teasing. I wish all of you were off work and enjoying TLC with your bfs as well. I really do. I'm a firm believer than there should be sun days in Florida much like there were snow days back 'home' in the midwest. I also wish you a week full of great deals on fun purchases (Cash only peeps, no credit cards!) and delish foods.

Love love love,
B


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rules were Made to be Broken.

After encouraging Joy to write this entry about the types of guys she's attracted too, I thought maybe I'd break my own rules about blogging about boys. Only I'm going to switch it up a bit and tell you the kind of guys I tend to attract...

The Athlete.



Almost every guy that asked me out in college was an athlete. Not all limited to one sport although I will say my intense love (and knowledge) of football kept me in that circle more than others. But as it turns out, even when I wasn't wearing a dead giveaway (like Colts gear) I still found that every guy who approached me when I was out with friends, played a sport at Purdue. Even since graduating college I find that about town here in Florida I still seem to be found by all the athletes. The slightly bizarre part about this is I'm not real athletic myself. Heck, I fall down my stairs tripping over my own feet (happened Saturday).


The Bad Boy.



Think Shane West in 'A Walk to Remember'. Apparently I'm an absolute magnet for guys who have attended more raves than college classes or are 'modern day hippies' who smoke pot and listen to Dave Matthews (who I can't stand) and Bob Marley (who I don't mind). This catagory can sometimes double as the 'hot mess' catagory. Usually including baggage of the non-louis vuitton variety. I know stereotyping is frowned upon but this is just true. These people find me! And when they do they are convinced that somehow if they can date me, the straight edge, educated, career woman - their lives will be changed. Well I'm no Mandy Moore, and this is not the answer!

The Ultra Conservative.


In somewhat stark contrast to categories 1 and 2, there is the ultra conservative. Turns out that as much as bad boys love a good girl, good guys want a walk on the wild side. I may be a good girl but compared to some more conservative Christian...groups...I'm actually quite 'modern'. I equate these hyper conservative Christian types to the 'home schoolers' my sister and I use to observe at testing every year. Think homes without hair dryers and shark teeth necklaces. Yeah, you've got it now. In the past I've attracted these guys because my vivacious personality and unladylike love for sports, crime shows, and scary movies intrigues them. The problem is, it does not intrigue their ultra conservative families. I promise, I do not want to make a 'rebel' out of anyone's son!


So, this entry may leave you wondering who AM I attracted too? That changes fairly frequently. Each guy I've liked has been unique, completely different from the one before. But as a general rule of thumb I look for:

1. Love for the Lord. My number one requirement and honestly, attraction, is Christian guys. I am way more likely to rubberneck to catch a second look at a guy volunteering or worshiping near me during service than I am a guy at the mall or at a party. Don't mistake this, I don't go to church to meet guys. I'm just admitting that while I'm there, I'm likely to notice certain qualities in the guys around me. This hasn't always been the case, but in recent years, this is number one.


2. Family. I'm wicked attracted to guys who are into their families. Not because I want some super huge family of my own (I don't even want kids) but because how you relate to your family, I think, says a lot about how you will relate in relationships. I have an incredibly close relationship with my family and I love that in a guy.


3. Football. He doesn't have to play and I'd really rather he doesn't Coach (coaches move...a lot). BUT I also need someone who will understand that I do not MOVE from in front of the TV from 1pm-midnight on Sundays during football season and even if I watched football all day, I still need to watch the highlights Monday morning before work. I don't particularly like to be talked to during any of this. And I cannot deal with questions about 'what is happening'. I just need someone who knows.

The football thing isn't a total deal breaker, but it sure goes a long way when I meet a guy who loves the game as much as I do. Somewhere in these catagories are also the requirements that he has a job, preferably that he has a college education, and yeah, looks don't hurt. So there ya go. And no, this is not an invite for you to introduce me to every Christian football fan you know between the ages of 20 and 50. I'm content with my current dating life. : ]

Love,

B

Monday, March 15, 2010

Checking Back In.

Some of you may remember that before heading to the Super Bowl I did a giveaway. This entry told why I chose Drew. Well apparently Drew, the cutest little Colts fan ever, was pretty pleased with his prize. So, here's a picture for you all to enjoy. How presh is he?




Also, thanks Drew for still representing the Colts super bowl gear after the fairly crushing loss. We'll get em next year!

Love,
B

Ps: Don't forget to comment on my Dove entry for your chance to win my current giveaway.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kell on Earth.



The ladies of the Hills who led me to Kelly

I first fell in love with Kelly Cutrone's abrasive, brutal honesty when Whitney Port and Lauren Conrad worked for People's Revolution in the Hills. Her 'if you have to cry go outside' & 'there's no crying in fashion' tag lines kept me watching not just the girls of the Hills, but her. So when Bravo gave her, her own show, 'Kell on Earth' I set my Tivo immediately.


I've always been fascinated by power house women. Women who burst into an industry and take it by storm. Much like Kelly has done to the PR world of fashion. Her company, People's Revolution, does PR world wide for up-and-coming as well as establish fashion icon. As I sociologist I've studied gender roles inside and out until I'm blue the in face. As far as we've come, it's still hard to be the top in an industry, as a woman.

What I love about the show is that on top of being a little crazy, Kelly Cutrone is an incredible single Mom! Her daughter, Ava, is her main priority. She sends her off to school in the mornings (from an upper story of the same building in which she works) before heading downstairs to conquer the PR world, and she comes back upstairs in time to meet Ava as she comes. Spending the time with her until she tucks her in an night, and heads back downstairs to work til 2:00am or so.

Her relationship with Ava is endearing. The only person she doesn't 'tough love', she's gentle and encouraging. She loves the simple parts of parenting, from homework and story telling to helping Ava pick out clothes to wear to school or one of her Mom's fashion shows.

I, for one, also love her no non-sense (slightly psychotic) office style. She's hard on each and every employee but you can tell she loves them. She also crosses every boundary. In this weeks episode she crashed one of her interns dates, just for fun. She took her assistant and just showed up to meet him. She said she 'likes to be active in her employees personal life'. I think she's hilarious.

Love,
B
Kelly Cutrone & daugther, Ava.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dove Sponsored VIP Red Carpet Event



Dove Visibly Smooth deodorant and I paired up to host a party for this years Oscars. They funded the party, supplied most of the goodies for the gift bags, and materials for each attendee to do a giveaway! Why you may ask? So each girl who attended my party and each of you who receive one of my giveaways will know that Dove visibly smooth can actually cut back on how often you have to shave or wax your arm pits! What more could you ask for? Well, it smells great and keeps you from sweating also! Not to mention, moisturizes your armpits!

So whether you win one here on my blog, or buy yourself one you simply must give it a try. They made a believer out of me at my last Dove event and I now have a stash 10 sticks deep. They have made a lifelong friend in me!

So from goodies...



(Roasted red pepper hummus & Stacy's Pita Chips, chips & salsa, red velvet cupcakes, and of course the brownie bites)

To friends & fellowship...






To Oscar predictions...



video

And red carpet starlets...



To a few shocking outcomes (and jokes)...


To Oscar worthy jewelry (provided by Dove)...





And of course, Dove Visibly Smooth deodorant...



video


...it was an enchanting evening!

A special thank you to my attendees, everyone at Dove beauty, and the Oscars for a great night! Thank you to you, faithful readers, for following along. I hope you enjoyed the pictures, video clips, and laughs. Now, it's time to finish this entry with a giveaway! If you're an official follower AND you leave a comment on this entry, you are eligible to win. I will generate the winners based on numbers. 5 of YOU will receive a stick of Dove Visibly Smooth. Watch this video about the product, then comment for your chance to win...



Love,
B





Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The fear of truth.

When I wrote months ago of what it means to face our fears and my discovery of the fact that I actually HAVE fears I think somewhere in the back of my mind I thought the end of my fear related self discovery would end there. I found out I have fears. I admitted them to you all here. I faced them, right? Done and done.

But fears are funny little demons. As we face our fears and sometimes we even have them confirmed, we recognized that as we identify them they lose a certain amount of their power over us. Does that make sense? An example would be this blog. I blogged for a bit as a anonymous blogger on a different website entirely. Under a made up name. With an e-mail account of it's own. I was afraid of being me. Silly, I know. But so much of our lives are lived being what we are expected to be that I wasn't sure what happens when you're really you and people finally see just who that is. Fear.

I started this public blog with my name and e-mail address a year ago. I wondered if giving people access to it would scare me away from being honest. What would happen the first time I faced criticism? The first time a Christian didn't think I was Christian enough or my faith bothered one of my readers who's anti-religion? What would happen when I wasn't smart enough or my ideals were threatened? Where would that leave me? Would I run back to blog as someone else, where the criticism wasn't really about ME but about the girl I created to be my thoughts on the Internet.

In the year I have been blogging I have had to face each of these fears head on. I have endured criticism, scrutiny, praise, judgement, compliments, and questioning. I have found that the fears are much like finding that the monster in your closet is really a sweater throw over your old hockey stick. When the light hits them, they're not as scary as once thought.

Mark Batterson said it like this:

The cure for the fear of failure is not success. It's failure. The cure for the fear of rejection is not acceptance. It's rejection. You've got to be exposed to small quantities of whatever you're afraid of. That's how you build up immunity.

I've faced some fears these past two years. From living away from every one of my family members. To moving. To changing jobs. To blogging openly. To publicizing my thoughts about our president, abortion, and a number of other controversial topics. To homeownership. To heights.

Blogging opens you up to criticism and while I feared that for a period of time I've perhaps come full circle. As I face the scrutiny that some of my beliefs or actions may cause, I find that I am more secure than I've ever been about who I am. I am incredibly flawed. I am ridiculously imperfect. And I am undeservedly loved in spite of myself. When you experience or in my case accept a love that isn't based on you, your good works, or what you wrote on your blog, you find that other peoples opinions just don't hold much weight anymore. While I enjoy and process each comment written here and even the sometimes wonderful and sometimes nasty e-mails I receive for my writings, I find that I am peaceful. Sometimes I pray and thank God for putting the people this blog has brought into my life, here. Sometimes I pray that God will give me the right response.

Overcoming my fear of writing this blog has held immeasurable rewards. I am thankful for all the good is had brought in my life. And for the challenges along the way that have reminded me that while my thoughts are here, my worth is not.

Face your fears...the rewards out weigh the obstacles.

Love,
B



Me time.


Well, my Dove post is coming so never-you-fear. I've got all the images uploaded and the text written, but I need to deal with my vid clips before the post goes up. So hopefully tomorrow. Hold your breath if you like. But I wanted to take a timeout from my party planning entries to talk about what I like to call, 'me time'.


Now you all know from former confessions that I am a scheduler. If it's not written in my planner and highlighted in the appropriate color, it doesn't happen. So for a girl with a plan, I have to make plans to do nothing. Silly? Maybe. But that's just my life. On really busy weeks I have been known to schedule in sleep! So as of late, I've been scheduling my 'me time'. One day per week where I come home, straight from work, and just spend time alone for one night.


These nights have been known to include: reading a ridiculous amount in one night, bubble baths, red box movies, DIY facials or pedis, cleaning out my tivo, cooking, or going to bed ridiculous early just because I can. Sometimes theses nights are a combination of 3 or 4 of the previously mentioned luxuries.


For a girl who goes full speed ahead from 6:45 every morning to after 10 some night with work, volunteering, teaching, and errands crammed in over lunch breaks while returning phone calls and e-mails via blackberry - these nights are a treasure! While I live full throttle by choice, I also chose to have a night to myself weekly to remember all the things I love about my life.


I schedule these nights, allow nothing to cancel them out, and highlight them in pink (which means stuff I'm excited about in planner world). I don't break dates with friends (or guys), commitments at church, or work related items so why should my time alone be negotiable? This is where saying no and keeping schedule boundaries has come in handy.


So my advice this week is to get out a pen and mark across an entire evening on your calender 'me time'. Keep the appointment. And relax. Life is too short not to sit back in a bubble bath and smile about the good people & things in your life.


Love,

B

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Party Planner Diary - Decorating.


If your venue (or home in my case) is already decorated, there's no need to go over the top with additional decor. My place has quite a bit of character as is, with black furniture, red, and zebra accents. As a result I chose to keep the decor simple. I lit my bar with tea light candles in red holders (from Pier One), borrowed candle holders and vases from a friend, and filled 2 vases with red roses and white carnations.

I found great party platters for the food at Home Goods in Lutz,
FL at reasonable prices. I also found a table runner (pictured below) on sale for $5. I kept my theme the same as my house and my invites - red, black, and white. You could certainly run with any number of theme ideas. Since last night was an 'Oscars' party, I could have gone movie themed with balloon bouquets (Party City has excellent ones) popcorn boxes for goodies, and a 'real' red carpet.

For a party about beauty products and VIPs, full of 10 of my favorite girls - I kept things glamourous and maybe a little 'matchy tatchy' as my mom says of people who get carried away with everything matching. But it fit my crowd, my place, and me.

Here are some pictures, a teaser of what is to come as I review last nights events!

Love,
B



Here you can see the bar with candles set out. I should have gotten pictures before the place filled up. Oh well. You get the idea.


Auburn reminded me that a fresh market by the spa we go to, sells a dozen roses for $6.99! I bought 2 dozen roses and a bouquet of carnations and made my own arrangement. : ]


Vase is borrowed from Aubs, who was sweet enough to lend me several great red pieces. The candle holders I found for, get this, 9.99 each at the South Tampa Marshalls. Score. This is also my $5.00 table runner. Love it.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Party Planner Diary - Gift Bags.



While goodie bags may seem a item of birthday parties past, I don't know anyone who doesn't love a take-a-way after a great evening. Goodie bags can be simple, with a few items - or even edible treats! Give your guests a thank you for coming, I assure you they'll be appreciative.

Just a few tips for putting together a successful goodie bag...

1. Keep it simple.
2. Keep it relevant.
3. Keep it personal.
4. Don't be afraid to ask.

Dove provided a necklace & a stick of Dove Visibly Smooth deodorant. They also provided product information, sheets to predict the winners for tonights Oscar festivities, AND the chance for each of my guests to share Dove with 5 friends! I asked my facialist who's also a good friend and does a great job with all her services, if she would contribute material. This way, my guests get a discount on a service AND Jen gets exposure! It's a win, win. Never be afraid to ask someone to contribute to your goodie bags. In this case, my guests can get a free mani, a $10 pedi, or take $15 off of a facial (my personal favorite).

I also added a personalized thank you card for each of my guest. Thanking them for taking an evening away from their busy lives to spend with the Oscars , Dove, and myself. I included a personal note to each guest & added an invite to my next get together, in April.



Never underestimate the power of a goodie bag to get you repeat guests! I for one, am a sucker for freebies.

Love,
B

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vibes.



Feng shui, a Chinese practice of using decor in your home to promote harmony amongst your household has never held much weight with me. I'm a social worker. Therefore I think harmony goes much deeper than the color of my walls or the layout of my living room. I do however, love a good vibe.



Being at home is essentially going to make you feel something. In my book, you might as well pick what you want that feeling to be. As I was designing the decor of my condo in my head, I was trying to decide how each scenario would make me feel when I was at home. My peace comes from the Lord, but I won't deny that high thread count sheets make climbing into bed that much more relaxing, or that candles don't put my mind at ease as I'm slipping into a bubble bath or going through my routine at night.


Each of my three floors makes me feel something different. My bottom level which houses my garage and my laundry makes me feel efficient (and sometimes a bit disoriented). That's the only place in my house where a bit of chaos is allowed. I think that is healthy. Everyone needs that one place that you don't have to be perfect. I have a giant piece of carpet (let behind by my guys) in front of my washer and dryer so that when I do laundry I can sink my toes in (and be barefoot in the garage).


My middle floor makes me feel glamorous. This may sound a bit silly...but it's true. With high ceilings, black furniture, red & zebra accents, granite counter tops, and huge doors leading to the balcony - I feel like a queen on this floor. This is where I spend the majority of my time. Typically with the balcony open, under a white throw, on the velvet couch (reference former entries for pictures of this). I'm finding that I've become more comfortable in the kitchen now that I have one to myself, and Sunday afternoons are usually spent in the dining room playing cards with friends. This floor my favorite for vibes and because it houses my company.


For a look at glamorous...check the photos on this blog. This house is insane. But I would definitely say glamorous. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to rest in that house though.

If your read many magazines or keep up with any design blogs (I've recommended a few recently) then you're seen that some people like to take glamour into every room. Here's an example of a bathroom posted on the Material Girls blog...






Now that is on intensely decorated bathroom. In my mind, if it takes your eyes several minutes to find the toilet, your bathroom is over the top! But for the sake of a picture, this is kind of fabulously cute.



I use my guest bathroom for my more than once a week bubble baths that usually involve candlelight and a good book or some music. I can't imagine feeling very serene in a fuchsia bathroom with a mound of pillows! I keep my bathrooms fairly streamlined. My guest bath is black and white with orange accents. My master bath is black and white and has yet to acquire an accent color (still torn).


I recently joined the white sheets bandwagon. I read a design book that said they're more conducive to rest. I'm not sure about that...but high thread count white sheets make me feel like I'm taking a nap in a spa. And you all know how much I love a good spa day. My zebra bedspread is quite a bit less 'rest producing' but I've never been one to have trouble sleeping. Most essential to my sleeping is that my room is a little bit chilly and I have a fan to run throughout the nights. Check and check.



My third floor houses 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. This floor makes me feel at home. When I climb up the stairs I shed all the weight of my day, however good or bad it was. It's my escape. I always feel comfortable and at home when I hit the top of the second flight of stairs. I love that. There's still a little priss to my master bedroom though. From the huge closet full of high heels, designer bags, and over 50 dresses to the candleabras on either end of my dresser, to the chinese lanterns, magenta wall, and vase of 'diamond flowers'. It's actually surprisingly prissy for me...but I love it.

Ok before I sign out I have to show you a few heavily decorated bedrooms from the same blog (material girls) that I find fascinating...









Love,
B





Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Footprints.

So tonight I set out to create the brownie bites for Sundays party. You have to make them a few days early to cut back on the stickiness. I wanted to try out my new camera and let you in on the chaos that was my kitchen tonight. Hope you enjoy the footage.

Love,
B

video



video

Tidbits.



Almost done playing catch up on my goal of 50 books this year, as a week ago I was about 4 books behind schedule! I read 3 books in the past week to catch back up and have now finished 7 books in the 8.5 weeks of 2010. I finished Shutter Island last night as well as saw the movie with friends. I was trying to finish the book before we saw the movie but had 13% left, which I finished last night/this morning. So, it got done.


This book/movie combo was the closest I've seen in a while. The story was the same, and they used almost the exact same wording. But I enjoyed both, though I'd hesitate to recommend them since there was a certain 'creepy' element to them I'm not sure many of you would enjoy. I personally enjoy the occasional psychological thriller as I was subjected to quite a few semesters of Psyc in college, including 'Social psychology of mental disorders' so I find it rather fascinating.


In other news, the blog hit 12K views yesterday afternoon. So thank you to all my faithful readers, that was exciting. : ] I have in my head a personal goal of how many views I'd like there to be this year. But it's not really about numbers, I know. I just prefer to make absolutely everything a game/competition. Don't judge.


My Mom's continued love for my zebra print theme in my house continues! Even while in Washington DC she managed to find some zebra I just couldn't live without that she will be sending to Florida via my aunt when she comes to see my cousin ball this month. Love my Mom...she's so fun.


Wishing I was going to be in North Carolina with the other 3 Christensen (well, Christensen/Breslin) ladies this weekend. My 'Meme' has a birthday this week and the fam has gathered to celebrate back in my Momma's home town of Winston Salem, NC. Dad and I are however, absent. Tear. But we've been consoling each other via the phone since were both 'home alone' this week.


Wishing my Meme (on the left) a very special birthday!

Love,
B

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Check up, Check In.

I wanted to take a blog post to catch you up on my personal life. Most of what I blog isn't directly related to my everyday life so from time-to-time I like to pause in the chaos of my thoughts, suggestions, and musings to just tell you what I am up too. Today, will be that day.

The Family.

I was recently blessed with a quick visit from the parental units. They popped through Tampa for a quick spend-the-night in the condo (their first time seeing it) before heading to a couples retreat for the rest of the weekend in the Naples area (my Mom said Naples my Dad said Ft Meyers...I'm not really sure where they were). It was a hilarious time of my Dad wandering the condo repeating over and over how 'quality' my place feels & how much he 'loves the Spanish architecture'. Mom noticed the places I missed cleaning and started making a list of fix it, buy it, or polish it projects for her next visit.

Dad, who opted for the airmattress in the guest bedroom proceeded to wake half my complex screaming about the high quality (of course) of my airmattress, to which I had to remind him about 20 times that night to stop yelling down the hallway, I share walls with my neighbors! Mom and I enjoyed a slumber party in my room talking about all of our ideas for decor in the coming months.

I recognize how incredibly blessed I am to have such wonderful parents. I love every minute I get to steal with them in whichever state, game, hotel, or work event is so happens to be. I'm grateful that despite the distance, I'm spoiled rotten with seeing them every 2 months or so.

The Workplace.

In work news, we're about 6 weeks out from our first NFL event of the season. The down time was appreciated to learn the ropes, catch up on the less pressing tasks, and prep for this year. I am however, glad to be getting back at it. We will kick off the Spring Event Season with our Tampa FKE at Raymond James Stadium on April 24th. I'm back in touch with vendors and working towards what I'm confident will be a great event, featuring our own, Coach Tony Dungy as the speaker!

I'm anxiously awaiting the finalization of the date for our spring event with the Indianapolis Colts, of course. I will be letting those of you in Indiana know when I will be headed that way, in hopes that I will be able to find some time with a few of you while I'm there. I look forward to my times in Indy to catch up with my parents, my buds at the Colts, and my darling friends who still remain up that way.

The Blogfront.

I'm excited to say that my 'little blog' has really taken off in the past few months. I've received a few exciting offers lately. One from my a book distributor who would like me to link the books I read to the option to purchase from their website, in return I would get paid. I'm in touch with them but at this point have made no conclusive decisions. I try hard to protect this space where we can 'chat' and communicate - I do not in any way want it to be overrun with ads or things of that nature. The offer is flattering and I continue to consider the option. I guess you'll figure out sooner or later if this works out.

As you know from my 'Party Planner Diary' series, I'm in the process of planning a party that is to be sponsored by Dove. Edelman's out of Chicago and I have stayed in touch since my last blog adventure with them and we now are joining forces on another Dove related adventure. Exciting times for me, as the last Dove experience I had converted me to Dove deodorant AND exfoliating body wash as well as got me giving myself regular 'piticure's. I love their products and the ladies of Edelmans have been a delight to work with, both times. I'm only sorry they won't actually BE at this event.

I do have several giveaways coming up! As I do some Random House book tours, I will give away a copy of a few of the books I will be reading. Also, courtesy of Dove, several of my readers will get free product as well. You're the reason I get these offers, I can't leave you high and dry! So be watching for my freebie posts. I would like to keep fairly regular giveaways on my blog for you all, as a thank you for all that you contribute to my life!

Lastly in 'blog news', I received my first gift from a reader. One who was incredibly insightful in her gift choice and sent me this...


Thanks to Shawn, a darling friend and reader who is currently on deployment. You were so sweet to think of me and send me such a thoughtful, adorable gift. My coworkers also thank you as they will no longer have to hold the door for me as I flash in and out packing for events. You have no idea how handy this gift really is in my work life. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship, readership (is this a word?), and your thoughtful gift!

Personal Life.

I've been insanely occupied by my reading the past week or so. This week that includes staying up entirely too late for a work night, reading Shutter Island. I'm attempting to finish this book before I go see it with friends Wednesday night. If you're already seen the movie you can tell me if you do or don't like it but don't spoil it for me, I heard it's different from the book!

I'm anxiously awaiting a few days off to 'beach it' with my best friend Candy on her spring break from grad school. Along with 5 days of vacation together, I'm getting excited for her wedding this Fall! I tried on my bridesmaids dress last week (floor length!). The dresses are orange, which I think is a fabulous choice although I really better stay on top of my tan game this summer by my new pool! She bought a beautiful wedding gown last week. So exciting. I love weddings. And dancing at receptions! Note: I'm a terrible dancer.

My Small Group (through church) just had their first visit to the condo. With all around stamps of approval we're now planning a sleepover there soon. It's so wonderful to finally have a place of my own, to myself, to have people over too. I never feel alone there. I enjoy the quiet when I get it and I have great friends who find ways to invite themselves over the rest of the time. I love that about them.

I'm hosting several gatherings at the condo in the next few months so I've been excited with the progress there. I now have seating! My steal of a find on Craigslist (originally from Scan Design) couch has been a smashing success. I'm anxiously awaiting my Mom's visit during which we're going to upgrade the blinds, repaint my trim, and touch up my walls. She also volunteered to make me curtains and buy me a few things (like a rug) that I'm still lacking. Isn't she the best? Anyway, Mean Girls, Dove Events, and House-warming parties oh my!

Also this month my cousin, Wesley will be down this way playing some baseball for Hamilton College. Can't wait to see him and hopefully my Aunt Ju and Uncle David while they're here watching. I'm glad that Spring Break beings influxes of friends and relatives my way!

Monday nights I'm now co-facilitating a group for the Dave Ramsey class at church, Financial Peace University. Mandy (my co-leader) and I have the best group, I'm sure of it. The first week we had a cookout and got to know everyone. Last night we kicked off Lesson One on saving and how to 'pay yourself first'. Two of our group members are already paying off g's (thousands) of debt. This group knows how to get after it. I love that about them. I'm confident I will learn as much from them as they learn from me, possibly more.

I really need to face H&R Block and get my taxes done this weekend. Gr. I don't know why I'm dreading doing my taxes, especially since I was a first time home buyer in 2009 so my return will be happy.

Ok, I think that's enough about me.

Love,

B