Monday, July 23, 2012

“The key to change... is to let go of fear.”

'Well, things are changing again. Since my last post, Spencer and I have moved into our house. It is coming together, but it has a long way to go... but I will blog about that later.

The big news today is that I am changing jobs again.

My job at the firm just wasn't the right fit, so I started looking for something different. I would like to tell you I found my dream job, but I didn't. I don't even know what that dream job is at this point. While I keep moving forward and growing, I did find my dream company. I have accepted a job at a non-profit organization as a customer service representative. It is close to home and part-time, so I will be spending the rest of my free time between three other endeavors:

-Writing a children's book;
-Doing social media marketing for the florist; and 
-Starting a social media marketing company with my sister.

Spencer and I realized that life is too short to spend in a job you hate. You have to find your own bliss and your own path, even if that means you aren't making as much money as you could otherwise. I spent four years and countless hours working on an education to be a paralegal. One might think I am "throwing it all away", and perhaps I am, but not for nothing. I am seeking happiness and a different life than I initially envisioned. Is it scary? Yes, but I believe fear is one of the greatest motivators we have, only second to love. I am so fortunate to have Spencer's love and support in allowing me to look for my passion and my calling by taking this leap and starting a non-conventional search for myself.

So how about you? Are you really happy with what you do when you wake up every day?

“Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” -  Keri Russell 

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” - Unknown 

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” - Anatole France

Sunday, April 1, 2012

House Hunters

Today I felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This house was too small, this house was too cold, and this house was juuuust right... well, maybe. I definitely didn't find any of these houses too big ;-) no such thing, right? Unless your're Spencer.

Today we saw 5 houses. There is so much to consider and we have to make sure we consider all the angles: resale, room for Jade to use the bathroom, floor plan, appliances, flooring, and so much more.

Here are our top two so far:
My Favorite
Pros: lots of space for Jade in back, room to grow, 4 bedrooms, 1st and 3rd floor master, beautiful exterior, community pool, private wooded back, nice kitchen, w/d included, lots of storage
Cons: higher price, odd painted stairs, laminate tile in kitchen and laminate wood in living room

Spencer's Favorite
Pros: lower price, nice living room, large laundry room with built in cabinets, downstairs office, large porch in back, 
Cons: no community pool, laminate kitchen floor, white kitchen cabinets, 2 bedrooms, little room to grow, very small area for Jade to use restroom, 

There are still at least 4 more houses we want to see... maybe next weekend if Spencer hasn't overdosed yet. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Personal Update and Coach Handbags Changes

Hi everyone. There have been a lot of changes in out lives again, but I am pleased to announce that I will be starting a new job later this month as a legal administrator at a local law firm. It is about 10 miles from Spencer's work which will allow us to move right in between our two jobs. Talk about a great commute!

Spencer and I are also considering buying a house! We have met with a real estate agent and are excited to start looking at houses in the next few months, but more to come on that later.


So Coach might be doing away with their monogram "C" logo. I don't know how I feel about this. You can read the article for yourself HERE.

I love the classic Coach "C". It is part of the brand. I own several bags like this.

I hate the new "C" font. They look like crappy knockoffs did in the late 90s. I refuse to buy one.

I do love some of their leather, non-monogram bags... but they really aren't identifiable.

Let's face it, the point of buying brands like Coach, Juicy, Louboutins, Prada, etc. is that other people know you are wearing those brands. As tacky as that sounds (and as the article points out) it is true. Sure, sure, you buy the brand because it is of a "superior quality", but on a basic level most people buy just about everything because of the perception it gives. If logos and trademarks weren't so important to marketing, branding, and sales, a multi-billion dollar industry in trademark protection wouldn't exist. Consumers buy brands and their identities.

They need to do something to make their leather bags obvious Coach merchandise, otherwise you might as well get a no name brand from Kohl's or Target than pay $300. Coach will be making a huge mistake if they "debrand".

What do you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March / Teen Vogue Birchbox Review

This has been my favorite Birchbox yet. I am so glad that I opted in to receive the Teen Vogue box.

What was inside:

Essie - Luxeffects
What they say: "Layer this glittery top coat onto any polish for an eye-catching look. Full-size, $8."
What I say: I am SO excited about this product. First, it is full size, which is worth $8, so I would say my box was worth the money this month. Second, I almost bought this Wednesday night. I am so glad I didn't since it came in my box. Third, Essie has great polish colors and they last. I just painted my nails Friday though, so I haven't been able to try this yet.

Kate Spade New York - Twil
What they say: "You'll adore this flirty scent, which is a modern update on a timeless fruity floral. Full-size, $65 - $80"
What I say: This perfume is pleasant, sweet, and light. I can't see many people passionately "disliking" this scent. I did like it, but not enough to buy it. I will wear the sample though.

Kerastase - Elixir Ultime
What they say: "Add this nourishing oil to your hair regimen to hydrate, smooth, and sleekify your strands. Full -size, $54"
What I say: This is apparently a L'Oreal Paris product, and besides the complicated name it seems like a good product. I was rather annoyed that this product didn't have any instructions. Does it go in wet hair, dry hair, before washing, etc? I had to Google to find the answers. According to their website this product can be used before cleansing, as a deep conditioner, before blow drying, or as finishing oil. It seems expensive especially when compared to Redkin's Heat Glide. 

Tarte - LipSurgence Lip Tint 
What they say: "This long-lasting stain adds rich pigment and is designed to boost moisture levels in your lips. Full-size, $24"
What I say: This was my least favorite product in the box. I am not a fan of matte lip color. My lips looked and felt dry after I put it on. Whatever moisture they are talking about I didn't get it. It did seem to stay on well, but the color was also too pale for me. It is a shame because it was also full size. I gave it to my sister who seemed to like the color and feel, so to each their own.

Twistband - Hair Tie
What they say: "Give your ponytail a makeover with these colorful, snag-free elastics. 12 pack, $18"
What I say: Another favorite in the box! I have it in right now. They hold your hair really well and give your hair the "scrunchie" look (no bumps) without putting in a large 90's band. I got orange, which is fine for around the house, but I would prefer black to wear out.

Interested in ordering your own Birchbox? Click HERE for more info.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Update and Vichy Birchbox Review

I want to apologize for my lack of posting and participation in the last month and a half. I really wanted to get this blog going, and it was not my intent. With all of Jade's health issues I just didn't feel very social. Jade was home for about a month with some spotty bleeding here or there before we had another scare. She started losing more blood, and we were terrified we were going to have to put her down. We still don't have a concrete diagnosis, but are treating for Colonic Casular Ectasia. We have had a lot of ups and downs in the last few weeks, but her blood levels came up this week. We hope we have really found the cause.

:::Now for the good stuff::: 

I signed up for Birchbox in January and my first shipment came in February, and unfortunately I was not impressed. Birchbox is a $10 monthly subscription of deluxe samples. This first started as an entrepreneurship project for two Harvard students and has just boomed! It comes just like a magazine subscription. I was so excited, but as I said I was disappointed by my first box, so I didn't blog about it. It also came in the middle of Valentine's craziness, so I didn't exactly have the time. 

Since then I have gotten two more boxes. One was sponsored by Vichy, a skin care company. This came as an additional free box (I was emailed with the option to opt in). My second box came yesterday and was sponsored by Teen Vogue. This box replaced my monthly box that I was given the option to opt into. I can honestly say I was far more impressed by these boxes than the first. I am hoping it was just a fluke "intro" box and that the amazing samples continue. Here is what I got in the Vichy box:

Aqualia Therman Day Cream
What they say: "24hr Hydrating Care" Infused with a high concentration of mineral-rich antioxidant water, this moisturizer keeps skin hydrated around the clock. Use it every morning on a clean face, alone or under make-up. Full size (1.7 fl oz) $29.95
What I say: This moisturizer is great. It isn't too thick and make up goes on smooth underneath it. I swear after using it my skin looks instantly brighter. 

Lifactiv Rhamnose Night Cream
What they say: "Anti-wrinkle + Firming Care. This lush night cream works its magic with Rhamnose, a plant-derived ingredient (concentrated at 5%) that helps skin renew itself. Apply a thin layer after washing your face, and do not forget your neck and decolletage. Dull size (1.7 fl oz) $49.00"
What I say: This s one thick cream! This product seems to get used more quickly than any of the others. I haven't decided if it is worth the full size price or not... 

Purete Thermal 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser 
What they say: "A real triple threat, this unique formula works as a cleansing milk, toning lotion, and a makeup remover all at once. Dab it on with a cotton pad, or smooth it directly onto your skin and rinse with water. Full size (6.7 fl oz) $19.50"
What I say: This is definitely a unique cleaner. I have never used anything that wasn't soapy/foamy so I was a little apprehensive. So far it has worked great. I prefer to use a cotton pad to help get the make up off, though. This product is non-greasy and seems as if it would be good for sensitive and dry skin. Also, while it does remove foundation well, it does not remove eye make up. I would say this product is worth the price. 

Purete Thermal Eye Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes
What they say: "Laced with cornflower water and vitamin B, this uber-gentle formula thoroughly cleanses your delicate eye area. Pour a small amount onto a cotton pad and pat into skin. Full size (5.1 fl oz)  $16.50. 
What I say: This product is worth the price! It smells light and sweet and really gets off eye make up with out leaving a greasy feel. Even if I don't get anything else from the line, I will be getting this product. 

What they say: "Instensive Treatment for the Appearance of Cellulite. Vichy's own Liocidine Complex teams up with caffeine to tine the skin of your thighs, hips, and derriere. Massage into your skin to zap cellulite. Sull Size (6.7 fl oz) $39.50"
What I say: I actually haven't used this yet. I wanted to wait until it is warm enough to wear a dress or bikini so I can really see if there are any results. It seemed like a waste to put it on under jeans. My only comment is that I can't believe this product would cost less than the night cream! 

Overall: I have been using this product night and day since February 22nd, and I still have a lot left. I have liked the products a lot so far. I did have three pimples in the last few weeks (very uncommon for me -- but they weren't bad), but that is supposedly expected when changing skin care systems. I was also very stressed, so that could play a role. It seems like a quicker process than my traditional cleaner. Also, if my hair is already styled or dry my hairline doesn't get all wet like it used to. I am debating if I am going to buy this line. I still have a lot of my old skin care system left, but that is the only thing holding me back. 

I will post later this week about my Teen Vogue Box, but in the meantime if you are interested in signing up for Birchbox you can do it HERE

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Worst Week Ever

and it isn't over yet.

This last week has been by far the worst week of my life. My dog, Jade became really ill on Monday evening after passing a very bloody stool. I will spare you the gory details. Then Wednesday morning at about 5:30am, my mom's dog Chloe had a seizure. This has been a bad week for puppies :-(

Jade has been hospitalized since Monday at the NCSU Veterinary Hospital and they have stabilized her and finally gotten control of the bleeding. she has had a blood transfusion which has brought her red blood cell count back up to normal. All tests have come back negative, so today they are preparing her for an endoscopy to see what else might be going on. It is currently looking like she will finally come home on Saturday.

For those of you who don't know, Jade is a huge part of my life. I moved home from my college dorm after one semester because I missed her so much. She means more to me than just about anything. The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster. I haven't been able to focus on anything, I haven't eaten much, and I haven't worn make up. I have had many sleepless nights. For some people this kind of attachment to a pet is unfathomable, but for me, Jade isn't "just a dog". She is my heart, my family. Every moment she suffers, I suffer. If she can't eat, I can't eat. Until she comes home, neither of us will be okay.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hearty Oat Loaf Recipe

Everyone who knows me knows I love carbs. The Atkins diet is definitely not for me. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I did make an error while baking this bread though: the oven was 50* too high. Oops. I cooked the bread about 1/2 the time, and it was a little dry.. but butter fixed that. I would make it again, but with the right temperature setting. 

Hearty Oat Loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup whole wheat flour 
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats, divided 
1/4 cup sugar 
3 teaspoons baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
1 egg 
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk 
3 tablespoons canola oil 

"In a large bowl, combine the flours, 1/2 cup oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spread batter into an 8 or 9in round baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining oats. 

Bake at 350* for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack. Serve warm. 

Yields 1 loaf (10 wedges)

Nutrition Facts: One Serving (1 slice) equals: 
229 calories 
6 g fat 
22 mg cholesterol 
272 mg sodium 
38 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber 
7 g protein"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Compromising to be Mr&Mrs

Let's face it, relationship are full of compromise. Spencer and I have this bizarre ability to agree on all of the major aspects of life: family, money, education, politics, etc - but then we disagree on the small stuff: towels, onions, the usefulness of bread makers, china pattern... so essentially anything and everything dealing with our home decor.

So we compromise and find something we BOTH like.

For example, Spencer likes plain white dishes, but they make me fall asleep. Our compromise? We registered for white plates with some character, and I have (almost)full reign to decorate the table with pretty napkins, table cloths, runners, and the occasional salad plate.

We registered for Portmeirion by Sophie Conran (found here). A four piece place setting retails for $71.50 but is on sale for $39.32. Let's hope it stays that way for the next 7 months. Made from porcelain, these plates are durable and can go from the freezer to the oven. And if you hit them on the display, they don't chip... (yes, we both did this multiple times because we are super clumsy). 

Brights and patterns will look so amazing against what I call "vanilla" plates. Here is what I have to spice up the table: 
Twist Wire Napkin Rings - Bed Bath&Beyond $2.99ea

Solid Turquoise Napkin - Pier 1 $3.95ea

Cotton Cloth Napkins - seller CarrottCreations $8 set of four 

What have you and your significant other had to compromise on? 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Visit to Blue Jay

I am trying to get Jade prepared for our move in the spring by bringing her to new places. We are also trying to be more active so she can have a healthier, longer life. She last lost 2lbs!! This might not sound like a lot, but when you start off at 12.5lbs, it is. That is 16% of her body weight. We are doing great.

Today we went to Blue Jay Point Park and walked a trail near the main entrance/play ground. Since the playground is being renovated and it is about 45* out, we basically had the park to ourselves. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Our save the dates went out in mid-December as Christmas cards! Another big check off the list :-)

They were ordered from which allows you to customize colors. We also got matching return address labels and envelope seals. They looked great, but it took a few weeks for the product to get here. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Holiday Pretzel Bites and News!

First thing is first: I have decided to stay at my current job for the spring full time beginning in February. I will still be taking about 10 hours of classes in the paralegal program as well. I can totally do this. After the semester is over I will continue to search for a job in the legal field.

Holiday Pretzel Bites
I made these wonderful little pretzel bites to take to Spencer's family Christmas party. They were a big hit and very, very easy to make. Any combo of Hershey kiss flavors and M&M colors/flavors can be used

What you need:
-1 bag grid pretzels
-2 or 3 bags of Hershey Kisses
-1 large bag of M&Ms (can by many of all one color at Popalops in Crabtree or can buy seasonal)
-Parchment paper

1) Preheat oven to 200*F

2) Line a cookie sheet (or 2) with parchment paper cut to size.

3) Place pretzels on cookie sheet with Hershey Kiss on top

4) Place tray in oven for 8 minutes or until chocolate is soft, but not melted.

5) Press M&M into top of chocolate and let sit for an hour or so or the chocolate to harden before placing in bag(s) or in a bowl.

What I learned: 
-Peppermint white chocolate kisses melt much quicker than milk chocolate. Cooking multiple types of chocolate at the same time is a bad idea.
-Even though it might seem like the chocolate will never harden, it will. Just be patient.