Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fashion Help.

Ok, I need some advice. One of my favorite post-college traditions with my Momma is that every year she helps me pick out (and treats me too) a dress to wear to my works banquet. We're bargain shoppers so it's never anything excessive, just a fun dress I can rewear throughout the fall to holiday parties or weddings, etc.

In 2009 it was a leopard print Michael Kors dress. I couldn't find any pictures of myself from banquet that year so here's me rewearing it at a later date:

Why yes, I was twice the size then AND I don't know what's going on with my hair color. But we'll just roll with that for now.

In 2010 it was this fancy little number:

The photo doesn't do a great job of showing the best part of the dress, the skirt part which was silver and had cool flowerish things (you can kind of see them here, a little).

Not that leopard print wasn't bold but this year I've decided to kick it up a notch with some color. So I introduce you too this year's 2011 Banquet dress as selected by my Mom and I in September (I will post a picture of me in it after the banquet, of course, but not before).

(it's cobalt blue, if the pic quality fails me here)

Here's where you come in though. I can't for the life of me decide what shoes to wear. See, the problem is, they have to be comfortable and functional since I'll be on my feet working most if not all of the night. So, all my truly fabulous shoes are out. There's not chance I can quickly dart around in 6 inch stilettos all night without breaking something.

I don't want to wear flats (blah) but I'm thinking wedges are as good as it's going to get. Thoughts? Suggestions? Shoes you want to lend me? (I'm a size 8).



Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday, Friday....

Happy Friday morning to all! I'm quickly writing this entry over a cup of coffee before I head to work (but of course you won't get it til I'm already there). I'm excited for this weekend! I'm babysitting a good bit (hello, exceeding my financial goals for Oct) BUT I'm also enjoying a spa day Saturday morning that will include a facial, a new hair color, and a long overdue haircut. I think I'm going to go lighter brown this time...

Think the after picture of this set. A golden brown (sans highlights however, I think I've shared before how much I despise myself with highlights). Plus I like to keep my hair low maintence. I don't have the kind of time and energy required to maintain good highlights.

I've kept my hair really dark for a couple months now and I think going into winter it will wash me out too severely so, I'm going to lighten up and roll with a bit more like my natural color (if anyone even knows what that is).

Keeping with my LC theme the cut will be more like this:
It's been a busy couple of weeks and I decided it was time to have an unwind and pamper kind of morning - so starting at 9:30am, the transformation begins. I'll try'n post pictures to the twit afterwards. Stay tuned. Either that or I'll blog the results later in the day (when I'm not fresh off the facial table, yikes).

Sunday I will be shopping til I drop getting ALL (I hope) of my Christmas shopping done in one day. Jess, Kayla, and I will be heading out early Sunday to Ellenton to 'get er done'. I've got my list ready, I've filled up my Christmas present budget, and I'm ready to go. I'm hoping to pack a whole suitcase with my family gifts and take it with me to Thanksgiving to send them home (to Indiana) with my Mom afterwards. I try to avoid having to ship a bunch of stuff - it just feels like such a waste of money.

While babysitting a couple evenings in the next few days I'm hoping to finally finish The Help, the latest InStyle, and my packing list for Thanksgiving which seems to be fast approaching.

Check back tomorrow for a fashion related post about my upcoming banquet and my newest edition to my rediculous dress wardrobe.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Present and Future.

With 2012 fast approaching I'm having a hard time living in the present. I attribute this not to being unhappy with the way things currently are, since I don't ever remember being this excited or motivated but to my excitement for the year to come. I've got big dreams, high ambitions, and fun plans already coming together for 2012 and it's making it hard to live in the now.

My best friend and I have been happily planning the times we'll be together in the coming year which has made me look forward to December, February, May, July, and even the holiday season next year. Having a long distance best friend may be harder than having a long distance dating relationship, I swear. I cry harder saying bye to her than I ever have over a guy (if my Dad read my blog, he'd read that line with great pride).

This is my favorite time of year. Buying presents. Going to holiday parties. Spending the holiday season with my family and best of friends. Shopping. Lights on trees. Giving. And the anticipation of the good things to come with a fresh year!

I'm headed Christmas shopping this Sunday with Kayla. We've decided to hit up the Ellenton Outlet Malls and do some treasure hunting. Ok fine, there will probably be a few fall/winter/holiday outfits for ourselves included in this trip. But with my newly inspired (and so far successful) budget - I'm ready to knock out most or all of my Christmas shopping AND a few things for myself.

Let's be honest, I'm probably going to need long johns to survive my 3rd winter up north since becoming a renewed Floridian. I get a little wimpier each year. Have I already shared my holiday plans?

I'm headed to Raleigh, NC as well as Winston Salem, NC for Thanksgiving. I will fly up Wednesday night after work and hopefully meet my niece for the first time (if she decided to arrive in time). Followed by thanksgiving in WS with my Mom's side of the family (she grew up there). I will jet back to Tampa Saturday morning to arrive by noon and do the worlds fastest transition to wedding attire to arrive at my friend Joy's beachside wedding in Ft. Desoto by 2:00. Can I do it? We shall see. Never a dull moment for me, is there?

Christmas time will be spent in Indiana - both Scottsburg for a traditional Christmas visit to my bff and her family and Carmel, Indiana to be with my own family. Here's to hoping the whole Christensen clan will be there! You can find me curled up by the fire (mostly because I couldn't feel my feet for a good 8 days last year) reading books. I can't wait to have some downtime to actually just sit and read a book a day (I hope). I will also be enjoying some time with my closest Indiana friends, whom I love and adore and maybe even sharing a ridiculous amount of pictures, here, on the blog.

Oh and I will be catching a Colts game on the 22nd as well, I fly in the afternoon for some Thursday Night Football.

I'm obsessing over holidays, clearly, so you should share your holiday plans with me. Please?



Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend Recap.

This was a truly great weekend. I won't bore you with all the nitty gritty details I'll just give you the highlights.

Friday I got to have a wonderful lunch with my sweet friend Toni, who I've been exchanging letters with but haven't seen in far too long. We go to the same church but on different days and we live on opposite sides of town, etc. So we met for lunch Friday and it was delightful. She is so fun and I just loved the face time with her after weeks of wonderful letters. Not to mention the food, at Wrights, is delish as well. Hoping for many more lunch dates to come!

Flash forward to Saturday night and I hit up the lightning game with my friend Jessica and her fiancee Mike. I was delighted to be invited and actually be free to go, this time.

We started off by enjoy the new Party Deck:

I love the view of downtown in the background. And of course the lightning that's coming out of my head in this particular photo.

I probably would have gotten into hockey a lot sooner if someone had told me how good the food at those games is! Whew! Off the hook. We were in the club area so there was literally a giant hallway of stations of food. You name it, they had it. Including a pretty amazing dessert bar. Good for my soul, bad for my waistband.

View from our seats.

Jessica & I.

With the rink, of course.

I haven't been to a lightning game literally since high school so I had a blast and I love Jessica and Mike. Ever since we met on a plane last year, we've been fast friends.

Sunday I attended the first birthday party of a precious little girl I babysit for. I love her and it meant so much to me to be included in the family birthday. I wish I thought to get a picture with her.

Sunday night my roommate, Bekah, and I had a few friends over for food, fellowship, and of course football. The highlight of the night may have been our new neighbor saying, 'you girls know way more about football than I do'. Fact.

Yours truly made 50 hotdogs on the grill, as promised! I may have been a little freakishly proud of them and wanted my picture taken with the finished product.

I was a bad party photog and missed some of the guests but I think it's safe to say a good time was had by all (pictured and not):

Hope you all had wonderful weekends as well. I can't wait to read about them!



Friday, October 21, 2011


I've never been particularly fond of the month of October but since I like to stir up a little backlash from all my crazy Christian followers who read this blog waiting for the chance to say something snarky about the fact that I've, gasp, read Twilight ...or something...I like Halloween. I know I know, it's Satan's holiday or whatever but as a believer I've never celebrated Satan, I just like costumes and candy. My Dad use to take my trick or treating and I loved it. It's the one time of the year your parents actually encourage you to take candy from strangers...winning!

I think it's great when people stick to their guns, everybody needs their standards. But as for me and my future household there will be trick or treating (even if I have to take my animal because I don't have kids). Wait, I don't really do pets either. I'll take my future husband trick or treating I guess. Or at least to costume parties.

This weekend will hold it's usual amount of chaos and craziness mixed with relaxing workouts, reading, babysitting, and cleaning. But Sunday the roommate and I will be having a football party at the batch pad. Well, a game night partnered with Sunday Night Football. Yours truly will be in charge of grilling (does that make me the man of our house?) hot dogs. Can I please share that I literally laughed out loud at myself for how fat I must of looked buying literally 48 hot dogs and buns at Sam's Club? As if that wasn't bad enough, giggling about it just drew MORE attention. Awesome.

I've had the itch to buy sweater after sweater lately. I live in Florida - I know I don't NEED them but in my defense I have 3, count that, THREE upcoming trips and I just want classy sweaters and boots to wear, is that too much to ask?

I haven't gotten to wear alot of sweaters yet but I have enjoyed wearing some rich fallish colors:

I never find stuff I like at Old Navy but I popped my head in during their 75% off sale and bought this shirt. I have a purse (pictured) and shoes that match so I thought, why not? Their stuff is usually so ill-fitting on me. But every once in a while I find something worthwhile there. My roommate has much better luck there than I.

I've been pouring through the November InStyle. I have to say, I'm not into alot of the fall trends but I DO want a neon yellow dress. Asap.

Happy Friday Night to all - hope you're weekends are fabulous.

Love, B

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Hiney is in Gear.

Fall finally feels like it's here in Tampa, with the highs in the low 70s! My AC is finally off, my windows are FINALLY open, and I can enjoy having the balcony open when I'm at home which - oh wait, hasn't been much lately! I thought with the end of the 2011 event season at work, life would get a little less chaotic for me. It turns out this fall/winter is going to be crazy in a whole different way.

The good news is I'm back in my groove which is making my feel like myself again. You know, super OCD, super organized, super over-the-top. Feels like home. It's good to be back to my crazy old ways.

I'm no longer living at the office and have returned to my (almost) daily workouts, card writing, and book reading ways. I managed to finally get a few fun packages out to my most loyal pen pal, Lacey, and my bff Candy this week. I've finally returned the 30ish letters I got last month. My laundry is done AND put away, for once. I returned my suitcases to the garage until at least mid-November. The girl at my gym doesn't regard me as if I'm new or she should know me but can't quite place my face because I'm gone every other week. And I've actually seen and talked to my neighbors within the last week. I'm almost done with two, yes, two books.

This girl is baaaack!

I'm happy to report that as some of you know I've been on a budget mission lately that has kept me busy, thrify, and a little obsessed. The good news is - it's working. I declared via twitter a few weeks back that the last item on my 'to pay off' list is my house and then this girl will be totally and competely debt free. Thanks Dave Ramsey!

I've been obsessively saving as well because you know me I had to focus my attention somewhere new as soon as I finished the pay offs, right? I've already saved for all the Christmas gifts I need to get done which will be taking place next weekend on an outlet mall trip with Kayla. I'm also happy to report my hardwork is paying off in tangible, fun ways. This week when Southwest announced their sale for the week which included flights in Jan and Feb, I had the money in my travel budget to spend and I bought myself a ticket to visit my best friend the first weekend in Feb.

This my friends is what were working for, right? Financial freedom and the freedom to have fun without having to pay interest on it for months to come. Ah.

In case you were worried I'd lost my freakishly organized edge - have no fear. My custom made two photo Christmas cards arrived in the mail yesterday from Vistaprint. Can I brag on my thriftiness for a moment and tell you all that I managed to swing 50 cards and envelopes with two photos and shipping for less than $20 bucks? AND I have them before the end of October. This way, I figure I can start addressing a few a week and then drop them all in the mail (without pulling a December 20th all nighter) in mid-December. Ah.

I've been furiously writing in my Harriet the Spy notebook (ok, really, I tote a cute notepad with me everywhere so I can write things down as they come to me). I'm in holiday overload already and I'm loving every second.

I COULD use some help on what to put on my Christmas list though. What's on yours? Maybe I'll want one too.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


My best friend has been working for the American Cancer Society in Louisville, KY for the last couple of months preparing for their walk, which will take place this Sunday. I'm so proud of all her hard work and for her dedication to see the cure for breast cancer found. I love her passion for the cause and her desire to do more than just throw a few bucks their way - she's gotten in there and lead tons of teams who have raised alot of money AND created an awareness in the community.

I desperately wanted to join her for the walk this week but with plans already in place and not enough money in the budget for a last minute trip up there - I will be doing my own walk here in Tampa sporting the above t-shirt. It's not the same, but hey, I do what I can. I realize that we are in an absolute battle against breast cancer, with one in eight women having it in their lifetime. I really desire to see us beat this, find the cure, and eliminate this before the next generation suffers as our already is.

If you want to join my Mom and I in supporting Candy on her walk you can visit her page here:

What are you all doing in October to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness month?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Recap & Misc.

First off, I joined pinterest. I'm not NEARLY as thrilled as everyone else seems to be. But I'm on there. Kind of. I haven't done much. Again, not that into it. Is there something wrong with me?

This weekend was amazing. I got in some good long workouts including weights, 3 miles Friday night and 5 miles Saturday, some Jillian Michaels, etc. I made a big jump towards my October weight loss goal this week, so I feel excited about it being within reach and motivated by this weekends success despite having to eat out 3 times! Whew.

I've been slowing learned how to use apps (lets be honest, my blackberry could barely handle the amount of texts I get in a day, let alone app usage). I'm not on endomondo which I love for tracking my walks/jogs on Bayshore (pictured above). I also got the 'lose it' iphone app to track my weight loss and it says I might just reach my final goal weight by MARCH! That seems so soon and acheivable.

Saturday night I went to FCA's event that replaced their banquet this year. It was a blue grass and blue jeans night and I wore the sweater I told you all about last week with my new bag (well, birthday bag):

Jess commented that she liked the reverse cuffs on this sweater and I have to say that was the selling point for me! If I look a little dazed, excuse me, I was feeling a bit under the weather that night.

I loved the event though. What a fun idea to change it up from a traditional banquet and give people the chance to mingle instead of being confined to their table. The venue, Mosi, was a fun change of scenery as well. I even rode a rollar coaster simulator (which thankfully did not make me sicker!). It was a fun time to be amongst sweet friends and show support for a ministry that has had a huge impact in my own family over the years.

After a day full of church, football, and working out (my trifecta for Sundays, btw) - I got to head out to dinner with my friend Jessica and her best friend Becky who was in town from Kansas City. We went to Fly Bar for Tapas and if you live in Tampa and haven't been - I highly recommend it!

Unfortunately my Colts didn't pull out a victory and our rough start to the season continues. But other than that - this was a great weekend! I've been busily planning my holidays with my mom, sisters, and best friend all of whom I will be seeing shortly. Christmas shopping is in 13 days AND my vistaprint Christmas cards should arrive sometime this week. Yikes.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Splurge and Steal.

I was flattered by some of the comments I received during the September Style month on the blog. I don't consider myself to be particularly stylish - I just wear what I like and what I feel like works for me. But I guess I consider that to be good style, working with what you have. We all have unique builds, shapes, sizes, and coloring so the trick is in finding what highlights the you that you love as Carrie Bradshaw would say.

I've been pondering lately the art of balancing what you splurge on and what you get as a 'steal' (a rediculously good deal, by definition). See, some of my best outfits include at least one 'steal'. An item I got for less than 20 dollars on most occasions but when pair right - can make a really great outfit that looks anything but cheap.

Allow me to illustrate. I bought the top I'm trying on for you below at Kohls. It's a LC by Lauren Conrad top that started at 56.00 (I think) and I found on super clearance for $12. That's right $12. Think how many people spend that on a lunch in a workday.

This picture doesn't do a great job of shop the color which is a pale pink. I see it with dark denim, a black cardigan, and simple heels. Since I already own a black cardigan, dark jeans, and more than a few pairs of black heels, I don't actually have to purchase anything additionally to go with it, making it that much more of a 'steal'.

This next one is more of a splurge. I found this Lucky Brand sweater at Marshall's in South Tampa for 29.99 which isn't totally unreasonable but isn't in the 'steal' catagory either.

I love it though - especially the cuffs being reserved. It fits great and it comfortable! I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it this fall/winter - with jeans (obviously) boots or flats, maybe even some fun red or gold accessories.

Ok fine, I have to share my big splurge of the month. I'm a little ashamed of this one because it was over my normal allowance for one item, especially a top but I LOVED it and can imagine doing so many things with it.

I'm a Nordstrom Rack insider so I know when all the sales are going to happen in advance. I usually hit them up on lunch ready to hunt through the sale racks for treasures. This item is a splurge but it's also what I'd call an investment piece because it's versatile and could be work a lot of different places and ways. Ok I'm

This was on super clearance but was still a little steep. Marked down from $158 to $58 - I just had to have it. I sent the picture above to two of my budgeting babes and they said go for it, just this once. ; ]

What have you been splurging on lately? What steals have you found? I'm always looking for fun ideas and I love to talk fashion.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh Fall Oh Fall, Where Art Thou?

So I keep hearing the hype about pumpkin lattes and gingerbread this and that - but I have to tell you it does not feel like Fall in the TPA.

Now the good news about this is that I can layout this weekend and the next 10ish and come home for the holidays tanner than all you people. I do love that. Especially since I have crazy tanning bed paranoia so good old natural sunlights the only way this girl will be sporting any color come December.

The bad news is that other that football, it really doesn't feel like fall!

I have, however been trying to invite fall weather my way by dressing for the occasion when possible...

Sporting my new Max Studio leopard print flats I LOVE that my Mom bought me while I was home in September. Oh and my new bag I bought myself for my bday. Happy 26th birthday to me (and many more?).

I think I may have previously shared my love for the brand Caslon as sold at Nordstrom but I found this fabulously comfy sweater there a few weeks ago while shopping with my best friend, Candy, and have worn it both with jeans and leggings in the last week (oh and the previously featured ballet flats).

I realize that big comfy sweaters are not the most figure flattering fall wardrobe addition but hey, we've all got to pick comfort of flattery once in a while, right?

One last fallish outfit share for the day. I felt a little skeptical of this combo together so was relieved when several of my coworkers (in a row) complimented it.

In total it was brown boots (that match the belt), black leggings, the striped shirt you can kind of see is long (and by kenneth cole), covered by a new york & co...sweater vest? I don't know what to call it. It comes to about my knees but it's open in the front (until I belted it). I also have one in grey. It was riskier than my usual but I think it went ok.

Sometime soon I want to share a few pictures of a few bargains I've found lately....but those will have to wait til another post.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hello, I live here.

Do you ever go through these weird phases where you have this kind of sad feeling like 'I want my life to be like this forever, but I know it can't'? I know, I know I'm a crazy but seriously, even though every year keeps getting better I've been feeling this since of 'but I like the way things are right now'.

I'm fast approaching the 2nd anniversary of owning my condo. 2 years! Where have they gone?! These have been without a doubt the best 2 years of my life and I wouldn't trade a single second of them. I think I'm starting to realize that no one gets to stay in one place forever (I don't necessarily mean physically) - I have to keep moving, keep dreaming, and allow myself to be content but not too comfortable. I am NOT the kind of person who can just stop pushing myself.

Change has always scared me. My whole childhood was this shifting, changing, unsettling mixture of loving, leaving, moving, and packing. I swore my adult life would not be the same. But as I feel torn between places and people and dreaming and well, just hanging out in happy land - I have to say I feel weirdly sentimental about everything.

I'm enjoying this season of life but I'm praying that the Lord will keep leading me forward. I don't know what all that will include but I have the sense that something is coming. Something good. Something big.

Since we're clearly in the honesty box today - can I just say I really hope it's that book I've been meaning to write for the last 3 years?! Come on writing inspiration, I'm ready!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And this is my, beautiful life.

While I was so busy with real life I didn't find time to get on the blog, I had my best friend and her husband in town the same weekend as my precious Dad. I'm blessed to get to see both of them on a pretty regular basis but I have to say there is something extra special about having them on my 'turf'. I love to play hostess to those I love the most. I shared with you previously how much it meant to me to have my sister and bro-in-law a few months back (August) and now to have my Dad as well as Candy and Josh - well, I'm getting just plain spoiled.

Out to dinner at Lee Roy Selmons.

Doing a little Florida shopping for their fams back home - these were my idea, clearly. But I got overruled.

Happy One Year Anniversary to my best friend!

Church with my bff.

Grill master.

Quick nighttime trip out to the beach.

I love making memories in my favorite city. It's so fun having company. We also got to catch a Colts game including sideline passes for warms.

Candy, me, and Kayla in the WAY upper deck.

Josh and his two favorite ladies on the sidelines.

Dallas Clark - one of my favorite Colts during warmups.

The only part about this weekend that wasn't perfect was that it had to come to an end. I said a tearful goodbye to my sweet Dad at the buses Monday night after the game and a sleepy but thankful too sleepy to include tears goodbye to my bff on Tuesday morning. So thankful for a perfect weekend and looking forward to being reunited with them all in Decemeber.

Love, B

Monday, October 10, 2011

Back for Good?

Well hello friends. I know I've continued to be fairly absent since my last post saying I was hoping to be done being absent. Oops, here I am again. I've just returned from what I suspect will be my last work trip for 2011 (don't worry, there's some personal travel coming so I won't forget how to be a profesh flier anytime soon).

I imagine you can go ahead and expect that there will be a series of updates coming in the next week or so filling in the gaps on where I've been these past few weeks.

I just returned late Saturday night from a whirlwind 48 hours in Baltimore, DC, and Virginia. My work hosted out Baltimore event for the second year in a row at M & T Bank Stadium. Don't worry I brought you back a few snapshots...

M & T Bank Stadium - home of the Baltimore Ravens.

I thought this was really cool - between the locker room and where the guys can come onto the field.

Beautiful stadium.

A little time with my sweet PopPops (my Mom's dad)

Oh and hey Washington Monument - we'll be hanging out in the spring on my much longer trip to DC.

Thankful to be home safe but I have to say I wished this trip could have lasted longer. I got to sneak away to Alexandria, VA to spent a night with my Aunt Ju, Uncle David, counsin Wesley, as well as my Meme and Poppops who were up for a visit. It was precious family time, which I treasure. Just wish it could have lasted longer. Glad to have thanksgiving with Mom's side of the family already on the books to look forward too in a couple of weeks.

Hope you all are well and for those of you I haven't been keeping up with via letters and the tweet- I'll be catching up soon.