Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Quick Farewell.

Well, I'm headed out this morning for my 4th of July trip I've been bragging about and looking forward to for months. It's some much needed time away from big cities with some best friend time, small town living, and adventures galore. Don't worry, I've charged my video camera and brought it along for the trip - you won't totally miss out, there may even be some video blogs when I return.

I have decided to leave my laptop at home and I will more than likely stay 'unplugged' as much as possible the next 6 days - other than the occasiona; tweet so you know I'm alive and all. I've had a tough couple of weeks on several levels and I plan to wisely use this time away to clear my head, make some decisions, and maybe even relax for the first time in I can't even remember how long (this much is self-inflicted, I'm a busy body by nature and career).

I finished 3 books on Monday and Tuesday and I'm currently reading:

I've been a bit obsessed with Kelly Cutrone since I was first introduced to her through watching 'The Hills' (I'm also mildly obsessed with Lauren Conrad). I'm drawn to people with an intense passion and drive to succeed, however they choose to define success. Kelly was a small town girl with big ideas and much like myself, often felt like no one believed she'd do half the things she said. Well, I'm not sure my run with success will look anything like hers but I have to say so far, I've managed to quite a few of the things on my dream 'hit list' and I'm just getting warmed up.

I love a go-getter. I love the spark in people who are hungry for more. Too many people define success by money, but if you're doing what you love and acheiving your goals - you are a success in my book.

Kelly vowed as a 16 year old girl to make it to New York City and call it home and she did just that. I love that about her and I admire her spirit, even if I consider her a bit rough around the edges (have you seen her show Kell on Earth?). I vowed as a sophmore in high school to return to Tampa and make it home and I did just that. With a a job offer, 1,000 bucks, and sheer will I found my way back here and in less than 2 years I had a career path, a home of my own, and a life I love. I imagined that would be 'it' - but my dreams just keep getting bigger.

The wheels are turning upstairs friends, and I expect they won't slow down much while I'm away. When I visit NYC in May I came back with a new life plan - so who knows what 6 days in Indiana & Kentucky might do...especially since I sent my running shoes ahead of my in my USPS box of clothes.

I know when you're in your 20s its hard to find the time and money to travel but I always recommend to my friends making it a priority to get out of town from time to time. I've found that leading up to this trip I'm feeling a bit sick and tired of being me. That sounds odd but it's true. To quote the lovely Tom Petty....

'I'm tired of myself and tired of this town'.

Time to get away, clear my head, do non-Becca-like things (like relax) and come back ready to dominate the next chapter. But don't worry, I'm not leaving you totally without - there will be blogs while I'm away, so stay tuned.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Travel.

I shared in a previous entry about ordering a bag from LLBean's clearance and having it monogramed, something I don't usually have done to any of my purchases. I have to say I'm extremely pleased with my 'boat 'n tote' purchase, although the extra large is EXTRA LARGE...

Excuse the poor quality blackberry pic but I had to show you just how XL this bag really is...

Yeah, it's huge. But I didn't have any trouble carrying it on (I had a back up plan just in case) and it would make the perfect double as an overnight bag, which is will do during my upcoming Indiana/Kentucky trip. I promised a pic so I had to follow through. If you're interested in getting one yourself check out the site, I think they're still on sale.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA - Round 2.

Well I'm back from my second trip to Pittsburgh and after taking it easy (as easy as I ever take it) yesterday - I'm back up and running. With only 4 days between Pittsburgh and Scottsburg I've got to be on my A game this week. I continue to feel bad that the blog has been sorely lacking in attention as of late. But as we all know, there are just those seasons of life where certain things have to come to top of the priority list for a while, while others fade and so forth.

But here's a few highlights of this past week...

Thomas and I enjoyed a great date night at Fly Bar and Restaurant, a tapas place in downtown Tampa the night before I left for my Pittsburgh adventure. We had a great time and you can read my review of Fly Bar here. We enjoyed a walk around downtown while we were there and partly because with as busy a week as we both had, we were afraid if we sat still too long we'd fall asleep. I love that we've explored and dated all over Tampa from New Tampa, to North Tampa, to Clearwater, to downtown, to St. Pete - we've been all over the place and back.

Don't worry - I remembered to keep up the tradition alive with a Pittsburgh postcard for Thomas and I's collection. We'll actually be adding 2 new ones this week, and another in 3 more weeks from St. Louis. I love having our own special tradition.

After our lovely date night on Thursday it was off to the first of 2 burghs I'll visit this week for our Steelers event....

I got to have a quick catch up chat with Steelers head coach and All Pro Dad spokesmen Mike Tomlin on the morning of the event. He did a great job and it was fun to catch up on what his family is doing and give him the quick run down on ours.

Had to get a shot with the practice field while I was at it. Be jealous of my britney-wanna-be headset and my double nametag usage.

It was a great event though and I enjoyed my time with our team working this weekend - but as always it was good to return home. Tampa has a wonderfully welcoming feel every time I return.

Home for 3 days and then it's on the road again.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Quick Check-in.

As I write this it's before 7am and I'm about to head into the office early, again. It's event weeks loves, and this girl has been one busy beaver. However, I have to say I planned this week with enough fun to keep me sane. I worked Saturday morning, because there just weren't enough hours in last weeks work week to pack 36 boxes for our Pittsburgh event, but I managed to get in a date night with my man that night, which relaxed me after going hard all morning.

Sunday was productive - getting the house clean, beginning packing for my next 2 trips, running a few errands, grabbing some groceries. But I wound it down with a movie night with the roomie and friend. We watched 'Fracture' with Ryan Gosling - it was so good. We'd DVR'd it earlier in the week - and we snack on delish goodies and just relaxed to end the weekend.

I even managed to finish my 17th book of the year poolside on Saturday after work - so the weekend wasn't totally work, there was some play in there as well. Especially going into an intense work week like I knew this one would be, I try to make time to unwind and rest up for the whirlwind.

I came in early and stayed late Monday -finishing up the boxes that will ship out from Tampa this afternoon and beat my to Pittsburgh for this weekends event. But I didn't stay too late to work in a trip to Ulta before a date night with Beks - dinner @ Johnny Rockets & seeing Bridesmaids, the movie.

If you're friends with my on facebook, you may have seen that Thomas, Bekah, and I all bought a groupon for movie tickets last week (maybe 2 weeks ago now?) - 2 tickets for $9. So Bek and I used our deal to see Bridesmaids and while there was some crude humor - we got in some great belly laughing. Much much much needed after a long day.

I will admit I didn't get much reading done last night, by the time I crawled in bed with my book I could barely see straight I as so tired. But I'm up early this morning and headed into the office to crank out a few details before the rest of the crew arrives.

Hope all is well with you guys and I'm sorry I've been a bit more scarce lately. I'm headed to Pittsburgh in 3 days, Scottsburg in 9, and St. Louis in 24! There will be little sleep and much fun in my days to follow.



Friday, June 17, 2011


My Dad is in the habit of making things he likes that we don't, 'traditions'. He's tricky like that. But I've been thinking recently about traditions and which ones of our family traditions I'd like to keep going with my own family someday and what traditions I want to start.

I mentioned back in January that I'd like to make visiting my best friend over Christmas a new tradition. I'm headed to see her over 4th of July - but for as long as my parents stay in the midwest, I want to spend part of Christmas vacation with her. After that, well I guess we'll have to see how that works, huh?

For this season of my life, traveling is a big part of my life. When I told Thomas about all my upcoming travel I wanted to think of something that I could bring back from all of my trips for him, a new tradition of sorts. I couldn't think of anything wouldn't get excessive after about 5. I couldn't imagine him collecting thimbles or shot glasses...and so, we decided on postcards.

As I travel the US (and who knows, maybe the world someday) I will pick up postcards along the way and write about my travels - places we should visit together someday, things I loved seeing, and if my New York postcards where any indication - probably a little bit about the yummy food I found there as well.

It seems appropriate with this being Father's Day weekend and all to share a little bit about a tradition that was between my Dad and I only growing up. More of you know that my Dad has been a football coach my whole life. But after he made the change from college to the NFL we decided to make a tradition. As he would travel around (and sadly, I couldn't go) he would bring me back a field pass from each new stadium he went too.

We faithfully collected them for YEARS - from Lambeau field in GB (my favorite at the time) to even stadiums that no longer stand - RIP Big Sombrero. I was thinking just the other day I should go back and find these in my bedroom at my parents house.

I have the most precious Daddy in the world - hope you all are making yours feel special this weekend. And who knows, maybe starting some new traditions of your own.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Summer Time.

Well it's the time again - summer! My favorite season of the year. I've already shared a bit here and there about my summer plans which include a trip to Pittsburgh, PA next weekend, the 4th of July in Scottsburg the following weekend, and less than 2 weeks after that - a trip to St. Louis, MO. I figured it was about time I treated myself to a new carry on, dont't you think?

Well, llbean must have agreed with me because this little number (ok, not so little since I bought the biggest one they make) on sale! I went ahead and had it monogrammed (only an additional 6 bucks) and the shipping with is always free. No minimum or anything. Fabulous.

The boat n tote bag is one of their most popular and had over 150 reviews - in all of which the owners were raving about how much they love them. From the durability to the easy cleaning - there are a win-win say their fans. So, I'm jumping on board with one of my own and I even personalized it.

I can't wait to get it in the mail in the next week - I'll make sure I post a picture of me toting it next time I travel (oh wait, that's next week - yikes).

Moving on - I've already started packing for both of my upcoming trips! Whew. Have to stay ahead of my game these days because there isn't much time to spare in my hecktic schedule. I enjoy traveling for work but I have to say I'm willing these 2 weeks to go quickly so that I can be in Scottsburg with my best friend.

This summer is full of traveling AND 3, count that, 3 weddings! Whew. Don't worry, I've already picked out my dresses for the next 3 months. I'm way ahead of myself.

I hope your summers are going to be just as fun as mine - but maybe with a bit more relaxation than mine is shaping up to involve.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Reading List - In the Works.

I'm taking suggestions for my summer reading list which promises to be rather intense with several trips coming up (you should see me read on a plane, I am intense). Thought I'd share what I've got so far, my first 7 reads of the summer, and then let you all toss out a few ideas of what should be added (I do not promise to read them, but I promise to at least consider them - ha ha):

A former planned parenthood worker's story.

A girl who was abducted, and now is in her adultlife going back to explore old memories (what I read online anyway).

Bought this one recently on sale, thought it looked interesting and I recently ate at Serendipity in New York City so I guess that may have something to do with it as well.

Continuing my relationship research. I use to be a relationship educator but now after a rather long break from dating, I'm also in my first serious relationship since I graduated college 3 years ago (so it's more applicatable as of late).

The fourth and final of the 'Michael Bennett' series. Oh what will I do when it's done?

Currently reading this one - it's number 3 in the series. I'm wait listed for Tick Tock so I'm trying to drag this one out a bit.

I love the occasional auto-biography or story about someones life. I'm fasinated by Ashley Judd's story anyway, so I'm wait listed at the library to read her new book. There's a promising chance I give up the wait and buy it on Kindle.

What else should I be reading, loves?


Ps: 16 down, 9 to go to reach my 2011 reading goal. Which I have a feeling I'm going to smash.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If Only...

I realize I've been slightly bipolar with my blogs lately - jumping back and forth from fun to serious but honestly, that's kind of normal for me. Feel free to judge...

I've been pondering this week the fine line between keeping the peace and shying away from saying what needs to be said. Despite how people normally perceive me I'm actually non-confrontational by nature. Now, I am a sucker for defending someone else. You hurt someone I care about, I'll put up a fight. But when it comes down to being angry, or upset, or getting MY feelings hurt - I tend to wimp out on saying what I mean.

In a recent situation of this nature I told myself (and a few other people) that I was being a peacekeeper. That letting it go as best I can and moving on without incident was to make it easier on everyone by not causing a fuss. I even thought to myself, this is my chance to grow from this and build character. But in the crazy overanalytical, self-assessing way that I have of doing so - I came to realize that really, I was lacking in spine.

I want to be someone who effectively and lovingly communicates my feelings. I desire to be someone who's willing to say that hard thing, the tough thing, the unfavorable thing, the truth. I long to be someone who truly says how I feel (with a bit of a filter, of course). I want to be that person, but I'm not there yet.

There is certainly something to be said for being a peacekeeper. It's biblical but it's also common sense - others are drawn to the peacekeeper. They make good friends, great significant others, and are the people we all find ourselves drawn too.

That being said, there is in fact a fine line between being a peacekeeper and being a doormat. A fine line that on a few occasions I find myself on the wrong side of. These thoughts have been running through my head the last couple of weeks and while I haven't been beating myself up about it, I do realize I have a long way to go to be the kind of communicator I desire to be.

Confrontation is not a dirty long you don't confront people just for the sake of a confrontation. - Don Hewitt


Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend Recap.

Well, this weekend was pretty much perfect.

Friday night the roommate and I went to see Katy Perry in concert with my friend, Jessica, for her birthday. Her boyfriend had gotten her four tickets and she invited us. We had a blast - from dinner at Stumps in Channelside to bobbing our heads with teeny boppers in during the concert. We had great seats in the club level and could see everything.

The St. Pete Times Forum looking like we'd been transported into a game of Candyland. It was unreal. And her sparkley sequen outfits were also something else. Seriously though, we had a GREAT time (I may be able to snag a few of Bekah's pictures to post soon).

Saturday was a much needed day that involved a hard 1 hour cardio workout in the morning, 5 hours poolside with a book, and then a couple of hours of babysitting (but with the kids asleep) that night. So I finished Love and Respect, made a dent in my latest James Patterson novel, and even started 'Sacred Marriage' while I was at it. It was heavenly.

Sunday I went to church. After church Thomas and I got to have lunch with Trish and Glenn at PF Changs. I was so excited to finally introduce them. We had a great time catching up and it was fun for me to have T get to know one of my absolute favorite couples. The food was pretty rockin too. ; ]

Since he was already on my side of town Thomas laid by and in the pool with me all afternoon. My favorite weekend activity WITH my favorite guy -what more could a girl want? Oh wait, it gets better...

Last night we packed a picnic and hit the beach with our friends Lindsay (who introduced us) and Zach. We ate delish food (including key lime pie) and took a long walk on the beach. Then we laid around until the sunset. It was the perfect end to a great weekend!

Hope you all had just as much fun (and a little relaxation) of your own.



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fourth of July.

Ok, I want to know what you all have going on for the 4th this year - and if you happen to own a boat, I may just be jealous. Actually, I'll be packing my bags up for the 2nd of 3 trips in 4 weeks and headed to Scottsburg, IN.

You may remember what a great time I had there over Christmas with my best friend when her bro-in-law took me four wheelin' late at night (on the ice), we went to a real soda fountain in a drug store, and I even got to meet a few cows. You can read more about that trip here but for a Florida city girl, it was quite an exciting trip. Shortly after (in Feb I believe?) I went ahead and booked a flight on Allegiant Air to spend the 4th of July with my bestie and her sweet, fun families (her's and her husbands - love em both).

Allegiant is one of the best kept secrets in travel - my flight, round trip, was less than $150! Woot. I was so proud of myself. Now, I will be even more proud if I manage to pull off a carry-on only for a 6 day trip. I'm good, but I'm not sure even I am THAT good.

Anywho, I figure if I determine what exactly I need to bring, and don't bring 100 options, I can maybe, possibly, probably pull it off.

Here's my packing small for summer ideas:

- Kindle instead of library books. That way I KNOW I won't run out (which has been known to happen, you know how crazy I am with my reading). This way A. it takes up less room but B. it weights way less than 3-4 novels.

- Staying in the same color family - then I can pack one purse and minimal shoe options (if I don't have to match black and brown outfits).

- Sundresses. They take up WAY less room than a whole outfit AND they're cooler in the hot temps.

- I figure you probably always need at least one pair of jeans or jean capris - so I'm going to wear mine on the way there, that way they don't take up room in my bag, but I still have them if I need them.

So, what are YOUR 4th plans? In town? Out of town? On a boat?



Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Club Friday - Love & Respect.

I'm going to assume that you all are growing tired of my James Patterson posts. I'm rather obsessed with his writing lately, and I did dominate another one this week, called Run for Your Life, part of a four book series I've been working on and I'm on the 3rd one now. But while I've been flying through Patterson's suspense thrillers, I've also been working on a book of a very different sort...

I guess you could say the last few months have changed my perspective on a lot of things. Being someone who thought I would be single until I was 35, busily pursuing my career - I was happily rerouted when I met Thomas. I was getting all mushy on here about how amazing he is but even though I don't know what the future holds for us or what the Lord has in store for us as individuals or as a couple yet, I find that being with him has motivated me to better myself in a great number of ways.

One of them being that for the first time, maybe ever, I feel the Lord working on me and giving me the desire to be a great wife, someday. A friend of mine, Melissa, told me recently that every couple before getting married should be required to read, 'Love and Respect' as well as take the Dave Ramsey course. Well I took and then taught Dave, so budget girl I am but I had recently bought and begun Love and Respect just before she told me that.

I haven't finished it yet but I have to say it really has been life-altering for me. I recruited my best friend, Candy, who's fast approaching her one year anniversary of marriage, and we started reading it and talking about it together. It is teaching me so much about love and about the importance of respect to men - something that makes perfect sense the way Eggerich lays it out for you in this text.

I highly recommend this to any of my readers who are: married, engaged, seriously dating, or would like to be any of those 3 things someday. It is a Christian, biblical based text - I know some of my readers are not of the same beliefs as I am but the principles apply either way.

Whew, well, that feels like a breath of fresh air after weeks of Patterson recommendations. I'm hoping to sit down and really write out some of my thoughts on the book and what exactly I've been learning soon - when I have time to put them all into words.



Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Melting.

I knew we were in for a brutal Florida summer when I was sweating in March! But it's continued to prove me right with hot, hot, hot days and scarily hot nights. But I actually enjoy the heat as long as I can tough it out poolside with friends. However, the problem I've been facing is makeup related. I shared before that I had the chance to sit down during my on TV makeover, and ask a makeup artist for some makeup advice. I did ask her a few questions about keeping the shine at bay but I had more questions about summer makeup...

Thankfully, I'm not the only one. I read a great article in InStyle magazine about products that won't melt in the heat and I added a few to my current makeup 'hit list'. I love to work the system so I made my whole list of items which included: shine control primer, cheek tint (instead of blush), oil control and matte finished bronzer, etc. So after I got my list made up I hit up with the whole list. This way I got free shipping, 4x the points on my credit card, and 8, count that 8 samples for free with my order.

So a few new things I'm beating the heat with this summer:

I bought this 3 color cheek tint kit, so I can see which color(s) go best with my skintone, and give this whole cheek tint idea a try. I've never used any before and benefit cosmetics are always popular, especially these so I thought they were worth a gamble.

This I've bought before but I was out of it and needed more. I bought the to go size since it lasts a LONG time for me (and I didn't want to spend the money on the full bottle this time). You mist this over your finished face and it holds your make up all day, even in the heat. I love it.

Cosmedicine's Matte and Bronze powder. Two things I love to be - matte and bronze. Enough said.

I bought some mineral powder and one other bronzer to try as well. But you get the idea.

I also browsed a few articles about summer makeup tips and one suggested applying tinted moisturizer (which I love) with a damp sponge. I'd never tried it that was so I've added that to my mental to do list. I frequently do a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation on the weekends, with a hint of blush and a few strokes of mascara.

Another highly recommended producted in InStyle's summer ideas was Burt's Bees tinted chapstick. A product I can't live without since my sister got me hooked on it back at Christmas time.

How do you keep your makeup from melting in the summer? I'm taking all tips and tricks into the database this week because let's be honest, the summer is just beginning for me and it's goign to be a hot one!



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This is me.

I've been a people pleaser my whole life. It's been a blessing and a curse. My biggest strength and my greatest weakness...

As I grow older I consider myself to be both freakishly analytical and somewhat abnormally self aware. I am more than willing to admit my long list of flaws and guilty pleasures. I'll openly talk about my failures. I've become maybe too willing to confess my shortcomings and sins to my fabulous small group this year...

That being said, this is the first year in my life I've ever felt like I really know who I am and on the flip side of that, who I am not. I tweeted the other night after an unexpected attack of my character, 'Know who you are so that when other's question it, you don't falter'. My roommate who read my tweet from our burgundy velvet coach downstairs said as I came down the stairs a few minutes later that she had to give that an amen.

I was struck as I was talking about said incident that for the first time in my people-pleasin'-life I knew who I was and I didn't question the validity of any of the statements in the attack. That sounds silly because as I shared two days ago the person who came after me had only actually met me once, so why would I ever have believed what he had to say? I get it. It's common sense. But for a people pleaser like myself, every negative thing someone utters about me plays through my head a million times, keeps me awake at night, and causes me to question myself for months after...until now.

I finally know with clarity exactly who I am and exactly who I am not, and I love that. I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. Just being me. Flaws and all.

I may drink out of the diet coke bottle (at 8am) when I'm washing down my morning vitamins. I may screen all my phone calls (yeah, I admit it - I ignore people everyday). I love to eat way too much to ever really be skinny but I'm vain enough to workout so I can. I read too much and not always of the intellectual variety. I would have better fit in the pre-sin day when people didn't wear clothes. I'd wear a vneck tee, jeans, and a baseball cap every single day if I could. I wasn't a Dean's list student, even though some would argue I should have been, I just liked to play more than work then. I have 'ah ha' moments way too regularly. I'm overly organized. I'm a freakish planner (I booked my Christmas flights in June last year). And I have about a million other flaws but...

I am a redeemed sinner with a growing love for her Savior. I am a purposeful and loyal friend. I am hardworking and self-motivated. I am diligent and persistent in reaching my goals. I am a big dreamer and an unfaltering realist in one. I am a dork. I have a huge heart for people that gets me in trouble from time to time. I place high value on my relationships with my family members and I put much of my energy into keeping those going. I am learning more everyday and I am constantly questioning, changing, redirecting, and sometimes even apologizing. I am blessed - with great friends, an encouraging and loving boyfriend, an amazing family, and a job I'm passionate about.

I am unapologetic and unwavering in my convictions, my stance, and my moral standards. And I am finally, and I do mean finally, really comfortable with that.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bic Giveaway Winner.

Hello loves,

The winner of the bic giveaway was comment #6 - which was left my Christine. I'm not actually positive which Christine this is so, yeah, get in touch with me so I can send you the goods!

Thanks to everyone who participated.


The Fist.

Did this book grace any of your childhood shelves the way it did mine? I love this book, because some days really are just that bad. Last week was a week of those days. With a few highlights mixed in like pottery with Bekah, dancing with Thomas, and a lunch with some special long time family friends - the rest was pretty ecky. Truly a week of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

Vicki, my hilarious coworker, has a habit of saying 'I give you the fist', which basically means when you're bothering her or you do something that makes her mad she shakes her fist at you. Well, I shake my fist at all of last week and I bid it farewell. Or not so well, either way.

I took a personal day over the weekend. Slept in til 10am (that's late for me), read 200 pages of a book, laid by the pool for 4 hours, and relaxed at a movie (X-men) with the boyfriend that night. I cleared my head, put that week behind me, and determined to start this week off right and ready for a good week. I will have a good week this week, if it kills me.

It got off to a rocky start with a startlingly drama-enducing message via facebook Monday afternoon (while I was on lunch). I was caught off guard by a message from, get this, someone I have met exactly once. I should preface this by saying I hate 2 things: facebook messages and people nosing into business that isn't theirs. This particular person found it necessary to message me to say that someone else was mad at me (someone I do know, at least). Let's just say the tone of said message was insulting, assuming, and just plain rude.

I took a deep breath as I finished reading the message on my blackberry and thought hard about my response. I gave myself the following pep talk: I WILL have a good week this week. I will not adopt other people's drama as my own. And so, I responded politely, graciously, but with a firm 'you're highly misinformed and fiercely out of line'. Even after a several message exchange, I refused to make a fight out of something that wasn't - I addressed the proposed issue with the person it involved, and tied up the messaging sequence with a polite, ' have a nice day'.

There will always be frustrating things and people that come up in a given week, how we respond to them has a profound effect on US (more so than on the person at hand). Don't own other people's drama. Don't be afraid to confront people, when necessary. Don't pick fights or allow others to pick them with you. Don't own other people's insecurities. Be firm. Set boundaries. Don't be afraid to tell people that you'll discuss issues only with the people involved or something equally concise. Being an effective and purposeful communicator can really cut down on drama. I find that most drama comes from a misunderstanding, avoid being the person that causes that and when possible, be the one who sheds light on the truth.

Here's to a week of good days and I leave you with these parting thoughts:

Know who you are so that when other's question it, you don't falter.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Painting Pottery.

Ok I know I'm a bit of a groupon crazy lately, but after Thomas guessed about 50 times that his surprise (which was actually an Easter basket) was painted pottery I couldn't resist buying a groupon to visit Pottery Bears 'n Beads in Clearwater with my roommate, 'the other Bekah'. We bought them just before I headed to New York and she headed off on a crusie (rough lives, yes?) but we're diligent planners so we'd marked down last Wednesday night as the big day.

So after work we picked up my car which had to go in for a little tune up during the workday, we headed home, got comfortable (changed into sweats), and went for 'ladies night' at the Bears 'n Beads. We bought our groupons for $12 and they were good for $24 of 'goods'. We didn't know just how far that would get us but I have to say, it was impressively reasonable - with a $7.50 studio fee no matter how many pieces you paint (I painted 3), free soda or wine while you paint (on Wednesday nights because it's ladies night), and plenty of pieces under 10 bucks.

I painted a picture frame for Thomas and these lovely salt and pepper shakers...

I can't wait to see them after they've been fired. Were picking them up this coming Wednesday (I'm horrible at waiting).

We had a great time though, and the guy working was delightful. I can't believe I didn't think to ask his name and neither did Bekah. But they gave us coupons for our next trip in, which I hope will be soon. We had a great time and for me, a great first experience painting pottery. I wouldn't say I'm talented or anything, but I do love a good craft night.



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Looks I Love #11.

I love maxi dresses although truthfully I haven't bought new ones since my weight loss so I should get on that. Love the casual, effortlessness of this outfit.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

As life continues to get even crazier for me, one thing I've managed to do well is stay organized. Partly because I've self-diagnosed myself with severe OCD with more obsessive than compulsive behaviors. But also because I refuse to allow my crazy life to get the best of me. I desire to be someone who is disciplined, purposeful, and productive. So with my growing life and schedule, has come even more need for my freakish organizational skills.

I've been carrying my faithful black Coach planner for 5 solid years now (I'm thinking of rewarding myself with a new one this winter) but in 2011 I've added a few new things. The tiny spiral notebook pictured above holds my shopping lists. Sams club, Publix, even clothing needs - they're all listed there until they've been checked off and bought. It keeps them handy, so that I don't have to make extra trips for things I forgot I needed. Cuts down on wasted time and money. Love it.

The tan and brown notebook is my new to-do list notebook. Note: spirals are the way to go for these type lists, as they're not hard to write in or keep open while you're checking off. I work 2-3 days out at all times. As I think of what needs to be done, I put it either on that day, the next, or something 2 days out. This helps me stay on top of dry cleaning, house cleaning, bible study homework, cooking, cards I want to send out, birthday presents that need to be mailed, etc. Also, being able to check things off gives me a sense of accomplishment.

I enjoy having the ability to see what's been done or is coming up to be done later that week at all times, but when a notebook is finished, I toss it. Not reason to hang on to what's been done and checked off. This notebook keeps me both purposeful and productive and reminds me what needs to be done if I have a free 10 minutes. I even keep track of who I owe a phone call this way, and it keeps me from letting weeks go by without calling a friend or family member.

You'd be surprised how much more you accomplish when you have a list. I encourage any of you who feel a little overwelmed lately to give it a try. Takes a little while to get in the groove but I promise you, it's life-changing.


Friday, June 3, 2011

NYC Giveaway: Winner!

Congrats to Kate - the 6th commenter on my New York Giveaway post, you're the winner! If you'll send me your info via e-mail to I'll get your gifts in the mail to you. : ]

Thanks to all my followers and those who commented to participate. The winner of my Bic giveaway will be announced on Monday.


Dance Lesson Adventures.

Well friends, the dance lessons have the begun. Thomas texted me a month or so ago and mentioned that there was a groupon for dance lessons - 2 private and 1 group for $25. After his cousin Brian's wedding we realized were both equally lost on the dance floor and so he suggested we do something about that before his brother's upcoming wedding in July.

I agreed and we purchased the groupon and I called last week to schedule our private lessons, the first of which was last night. The lessons are at Arthur Murray dance studio here in Tampa.

I wish I'd recorded the conversation I had when I called in. The friendly woman on the other line asked if Thomas and I have danced before. I responded something along the lines of 'if you can call it dancing'. She asked what kinds of dance we're interested in, as if we could name more than 3 kinds between us (and the first one that came to mind for me was 'booty dancing'). I responded, 'let's just say we need all the help we can get just to look comfortable on the dance floor at his brother's wedding'. That drove the point home.

So, our first lesson was last night (Thursday) and I think we may have been equally anxious about it. Thomas asked me what to wear...something I hadn't even thought about until he asked. In hindsight I probably should have worn heels since when we dance at the wedding that's what I will be in, I'm sure. But I wore clothes you'd wear to the gym and he wore jeans.

Thankfully our instructor was incredibly kind and gracious. He was so encouraging of us. I am equally thankful that we weren't nearly as bad as we expected once we were told what to do. It was a 3o minute lesson during which we learned the tango, the rumba, and the fox trot. Not bad for two rookies with 30 minutes, right?

I think we may actually come out of these lessons being able to scoot around the dance floor looking like we belong (though probably not stealing the show anytime soon). We may have to hit up a few of their social nights, where you pay 10 dollars and you can dance with your partner, with their instructors, etc for 3 hours and just get a little practice in (we probably have to learn how to stop counting in our heads and just be able to move more naturally).

Overall, a pleasant first dancing experience. I'm excited we decided to go for it even though it was a bit out of both of our comfort zones. : ]



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bic House Party & Another Giveaway!

After attending a sponsored party through House Party before, at my girl Auburn's house, I signed up myself and was selected to host a party for Bic. The party was to highlight their Soleil razors which each of the attendees got to take home and try, along with coupons for more, and scrapbooking supplies to document their favorite summer memories.

I love summertime, in fact, that's a huge part of why I moved to Florida, so I could pretend it's summer year round. Sadly, that doesn't come with the freedom to spend every single day at the pool (I keep hoping). So I made a few summery treats to go along with our party and I thought I'd share one very successful recipe here:

Lemon-raspberry mousse squares:

- 48 Nilla wafers, divided
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 pkg lemon jello
- 1 cup ice cubes
- pkg (8 0z) philly cream cheese (I used fat free)
- 1/4 of sugar
- tsp lemon zest
- 1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip (again, I used fat free)
- 1/3 cup raspberry preserves
- 1-1 1/2 cups fresh fruit

Make it:

- Stand 16 Nilla wafers around edge of plastic wrap lined 8 inch square pan. Add boiling water to gelatin mix, stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in ice until melted.
- Beat next 3 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gradually beat in gelatin. Whisk in 2 cups Cool whip.
- Pour half the gelatin mixture into prepared pan; cover with 16 wafers. Microwave preserves on high 15 sec or until melted; brush onto wafers. Top with remaining gelatin mixturee and wafters.
- Refridgerate 4 hours or until firm. Invert onto a plate and top with remaining cool whip and fresh fruit (I did strawberries and raspberries).

It was SO good and the way we made it really low fat/calories. Just don't forget it has to sit 4 hours, I didn't notice that in time.

The party was a a great time. Good food, fun activities, lively fellowship...what more could you want?

Oh wait, I know what you could want... they said I could giveaway a set of party favors to one of you lovely ladies (or gents I guess, if you're interested). So, you know the deal - I like things simple. Comment below (you do have to be a follower) and you're entered to win. I will generate the number and announce the winner Monday, June 6th. Two chances to win in one week, what could be better?



Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Can I brag on myself for just a moment? Hey, my blog - I do what I want. I blogged here last week about making a new life plan and setting some new goals and priorities to focus on. Well I know it's been less than a week since that post but I have to tell you I have been DOMINATING my new life plan. Most importantly with my new budget, financial plan, and reset priorities for where my money is going and what I'm saving for - I have rocked it. Like 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 rocked it.

I'm also trying to be more on top of my house (which I cleaned relentlessly this weekend). I reorganized and cleaned the fridge, pantry, freezer, and cabinets. I also vacuumed and mopped the floors, cleaned my bathroom, changed sheets, dusted, wiped my baseboards, that whole sha-bang. I feel cleaned and organized, now just to stay on top of it.

In the spirit of getting back on my health goals, I got a few good workouts in, including a walk on Bayshore, my favorite place to workout.

And I can't forget that I shared I was trying to be a more thoughtful friend... and I haven't let that goal go without attention either. I made breakfast for a group of friends Saturday morning, sent another card out this weekend, called a few friends just to say hey, and invited a couple over for dinner this week so we can have a double date that doesn't hurt the budget.

Thanks for helping me stay movitated loves - 2011 sure is turning out to be a great year. The best yet, perhaps?