Saturday, December 31, 2011

My resolution to make NO resolutions this year!

It is the FINAL day of 2011! All this week I have seen people talking about New Years Resolutions. While having a "resolution" is a grand idea, I am not a fan. In general, people take resolutions too lightly. The resolution lasts maybe a month or two then people fall into their old ways. Like at my gym, it is crowded and the classes are full for the first 2 months of the year. Which makes things kind of annoying for me since my favorite classes have a limited number of spots available. But come March I won't have that problem because people somehow forget their resolution to work out more. Instead of making a "resolution" this New Year, I propose you make a "LIFE CHANGE". That just sounds more permanent and serious. Maybe by starting to take the phrase more seriously, people will be more serious about their commitments in 2012. 

Looking back at 2011, this year was full of new life experiences for my family. To name just a few: At the beginning of the year we started our first deployment (and it looks like we will start another one in early 2012). I actually committed myself to a gym and personal trainer. I am back down to my pre-baby size and I am in better shape! I was also a little brave this year, I took boudoir photos for Hubs and got a tattoo (which I plan on adding to this upcoming year!).

These are our Christmas card photos from 2009 & 2011 
(2011 photo courtesy of Rusella Photography!)

Boudoir photo of my new tattoo, thanks La Mia Bella Photography!

So today I have been thinking about what challenges and experiences 2012 will bring for us. As I stated earlier, we have another deployment. Since I have one under my belt already (especially one as tough as the last one!) I know I will be better prepared for this upcoming one. My goal during this deployment will be to save more money. We didn't do too bad last time, but I know I can do better. One idea I have is to cut back on eating out while Hubs is away. Since I was eating healthy food while I was out, it was even more expensive! Why is it that healthy food is never cheap & convenient? I'm starting to love cooking more so eating out less should be easy enough. This deployment will be a different experience in some ways, Little Miss is getting older and she realizes when Daddy is gone for a long time. I will also be dealing with this deployment from the Ombudsman perspective. So far I am LOVING being ombudsman, it is so satisfying to help out the families in this way.
I also plan on continuing putting in time at the gym. Even though I have hit my goal, now is not the time to slack off. I only have one body in this life and I need to keep taking care of it. In the next year I am also hoping to get pregnant and I would like to keep active during that pregnancy in hopes that I won't gain 60+ lbs. or if I do, I am hoping it will come off easier if I keep active.

We are also talking about taking our first family vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios! Once I gather all the information I will be sharing the planning experience on my blog. I've already visited the ITT office at Dam Neck for some information but I'll need to visit the ITT office at Little Creek to get the info. about lodging at the resort. I know Little Miss is still so young, but for Hubs and I this trip will be about the family time together. I know Little Miss will not remember this trip, but I will. For example, this week we went to Busch Gardens Christmas Town with my parents and saw the Sesame Street Christmas Show. Little Miss was so in awe when she saw her favorite characters right in front of her. She was so excited I teared up just watching her. I know Disney World will be like that for her as well. Plus, since she is under 3 years old we don't have to pay for admission or meal plans for her.

So for now those are all the "LIFE CHANGES" I have planned for 2012. I am sure I'll come up with more as the year progresses. I hope everyone has a safe and happy NYE. Remember, please don't drink & drive. Before you head out, please look online for ways to get home safely. In the Hampton Roads area AAA is offering services to get you home safely! Happy 2012 Ya'll!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I am super excited to be hosting my first PC show this week, so I want to blog about my favorite tools & gadgets and show you all my wish list! With all the cooking I do, this stuff makes it simpler and easier to clean up.

*This blog post is not sponsored by PC, I am writing this simply because I love their products*

I literally use the following utensils every day in my kitchen, whether I am preparing cookies or making dinner!

Mix N' Scraper: The unique shape of the silicone head allows you to both mix adequately and scrape the bowl clean (as the name implies)! I've had mine for a couple of years now and it hasn't cracked or melted. It scrapes the bowl so clean that there is no need for licking the bowl anymore. I use this to mix everything, it has *almost* totally replaced my electric mixer!

Apple Wedger: Little Miss LOVES apples and this makes it so easy to slice an apple into 10 slices!

Stoneware: I use 2 different round stones and their bar pan stone. Whether I am baking cookies, biscuits, or pizza these stones come in handy! At the last PC party I went to they made this amazing ultimate brownie sundae in the bar pan that is on my list of things to make. What I like about the stoneware: They evenly distribute heat, they don't retain odors or flavors, and they keep food warmer longer. 

Mix N' Chop: This is a must have if you brown meat on the stove-top! It does a great job at breaking up what  you are cooking, plus it won't scratch up your cookware. I've also used this to break up cake when I am making cake pops. 

Measure-All Cup: I absolutely loathed having measuring cups all over the place in my kitchen. This one cup eliminates that problem! You can easily measure liquids or solids in this one handy tool. Definitely helps get rid of the clutter in kitchen drawers. 

If you are looking for a few basic pieces, I would definitely go with those. I use them all daily, they are very affordable, and will last you a long time!

Okay here is my Wish List!

Deep Covered Baker: The final piece of stoneware I want for my kitchen. I can bake a 5lb chicken or a casserole in this. But what I love best: There are recipes to use this in the microwave to make dinner!! They made yummy bbq chicken sliders at the last PC party in this using the microwave. Talk about an easy way to prepare supper!

12" Skillet: Every year it seems I am buying a new skillet. They start to warp in the center and they stop evenly distributing heat. I have a friend who has this whole set and swears by it. She had Cephalon before and she says this set is even better! I use my current skillet at least 3 days a week so I am looking to make a long term investment. 

Small Bamboo Knife Block Set: I desperately need to upgrade my current knife set. This one has a lifetime guarantee and my friends who own this set love it. 

If you are interested in browsing their online catalog, take a look here! You can also order online or find a consultant near you, the parties are lots of fun and a good excuse to have a house full of people and yummy food!



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good Wine, Good Friends, & Great Deals!

This is how I am unwinding after a crazy few days. My "secret santa" brought me a new set of Mikasa wine glasses & a bottle of moscato and I could not be happier! I am so fortunate to have finally found great friends. Actually, I am doubly blessed because I have 2 groups (Play Group ladies and my "Big E" ladies) of great ladies that I can call on at a moments notice, trust with my secrets, rant to when I need someone to listen, and count on them to be there for myself & my family.

I made another dress yesterday as a birthday gift. It turned out really well, I loved the contrasting pockets. This was my first time making a pullover dress!

I have my first "Tacky Christmas Sweater" party coming up and I have no ugly sweater! So I went to Goodwill to find one. I didn't find an ugly sweater, but I found a whole lot more goodies. I paid $39 for 4 long sleeve tops for me, 3 long sleeve tops for Little Miss, a sweater dress & shawl for her, and a pair of adjustable pants! These clothes look so new I am wondering why someone would give them up. I found a white cable knit sweater from Ann Taylor Loft, a new black Nike hoodie jacket, a grey GAP hoodie, a bright green top from Izaac Mizrahi. Little Miss scored Oshkosh jeans, a GAP corduroy jacket, a Gymboree top, a shawl from Children's Place, and a sweater dress from Old Navy. If you break it down, we averaged $3.90 per piece of clothing. I tried on some jeans from BeBe and True Religion but they were the low rise ones, low rise jeans do not work on me since I had Little Miss. I don't know what happened but all of a sudden I have major plumber's crack whenever I wear low rise jeans. 

 So does anyone have an ugly sweater I can borrow for my "Tacky Christmas Sweater" party next week?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Long Day and a Fast Cruise

Today was a day I was hoping would not come so quickly, but alas we are here: Fast Cruise. (*the ship officially released this information*) It has been less than 5 months since Hubs came home from deployment #1 and now they are gearing up for the next one. Waah.

I'm not going to lie, I am not a very happy camper at the moment but that is mostly due to sleep deprivation and this dull headache I've had for 2 days now. Had to drop Hubs off at the pier for 4:30am this morning and Little Miss has somehow managed to only sleep in the car since then so I have gotten no sleep yet. After dropping him off, I did my super sneaky mind trick where I convince myself that Hubs has duty for XX amount of time so he's not really gone. It worked so well last time, this time however Little Miss is old enough to now ask where Daddy is: That snaps me out of my make-believe fairy tale land where deployments and work-ups do not exist. Kids are so dang perceptive. Or else I am just a really bad liar because she definitely did NOT believe me when I said Daddy is at work and will be home soon. Since my realization, I've been coming up with ways on how we are going to tell Little Miss about deployments. I am hoping the Elmo video from Fleet & Family will help out alot. Yah they have an Elmo video where he is talking about his Daddy going on deployment, how perfect is that?

This is my new reality. Yes, I know deployments are inevitable and are part of the deal when you are a part of the military. That does not mean I will be 100% okay with that fact all the time, but what it does mean is this: I have to accept it. I have to figure how to help Little Miss get through another deployment. No amount of whining, crying, or moping will change the Navy's mind and let Hubs stay home (but wouldn't life be grand if it did?). In the grand scheme of life, this is really a short blip of time. While right now it looks like a mountain, years down the road I can look back and say, "That wasn't easy, but it helped me get where I am today and appreciate what I have now."

So time to put on my big girl panties and tough out another deployment. Better to prepare now instead of waiting until the ship pulls away from that pier for a long time! I guess that is what work-ups are for, they prepare the sailors and the families for what is coming up ahead.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Duty Day = Being Super Productive!

At first, I really hated duty days. It meant Hubs was gone for over 24 hours and I was left all alone (well as alone as you can be with a toddler) to entertain myself. Hah! Little did I realize duty days were a blessing in disguise because when Hubs is home, we put off most household responsibilities. Granted, if something is smelly we take care of it but not much beyond that gets accomplished. So instead of worrying about keeping the house in tip-top shape and fretting about my limited time with Hubs, I just put off housework until Duty Day. Little Miss has become very good at entertaining herself and taking naps at just the right time so I had 2 hours of uninterrupted time to clean house, fold laundry, clip coupons, make my grocery list, and shop online!  Gotta love Duty Days :)

See what I did there? I turned a negative into a positive. Yes, being apart from Hubs isn't ideal but what is complaining about it going to get me? Its just going to put me in a sour mood. Now don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to complain about deployments, work-ups, duty days. I am not trying to take that away from anyone. However, for myself I would much rather make the best of an undesirable situation therefore allowing me to have a much better day!

Did anyone else do most of their shopping online like me? I am starting to get all the gifts in the mail and I get excited all over again about giving the gifts to my friends & family. I do not have the best track record with our local post office, they have lost 2 packages of mine and misplaced a bill from the IRS. While I am excited, I am just as nervous that my purchases will be lost in the black hole at the post office. So far so good, I've gotten 3 out of 4 gifts shipped through USPS! The last one won't be here until the beginning of December.

I cannot believe it is almost December. Wow, where did the last 5 months go? Time to put my big girl panties on and prepare for the road ahead. My plan: Keep as busy as possible! It worked before and I am sure it will work again. 

One way I am keeping busy, I am throwing my first Pampered Chef party in December! I've never hosted "one of those" sorts of parties. By no means am I a salesperson and I don't want to endorse any products that I can't stand behind. However, I own several (okay pretty much half the catalog) of their tools and I love them all. First of all, I haven't destroyed them and that says alot. I am not the kindest on my kitchenware. I've melted countless spatulas and spoon. I've morphed cookie sheets and stained sheet pans. When I replaced all of the destroyed utensils with PC stuff, they have all held up very well. On top of their durability, they have the coolest tools that make cooking super easy and quick to clean up. So I have decided in honor of hosting my first PC party, I am going to outline my favorite must-have items in an upcoming blog! 

My house is clean, I burned 1000 calories in spin class, the shopping list is ready for tomorrow, Hubs will be home super early, I think my day is done and it is time to get some much needed beauty rest!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Mug Cake!

So while cooking is all sorts of fun, sometimes I just want to be lazy. Late last night (duty night of course) I was craving chocolate cake. I didn't want to make an entire cake so I searched online for an easier solution and then I found it: Mug cake. Apparently, this was a popular thing 3 years ago. Where was I and why didn't I get the memo? I came across this yummy recipe and amazing blog all at the same time.

I posted on facebook that I made a Mug Cake and received some requests for the recipe, so here it is (courtesy of Baking Bites!). Though I do need to let everyone know while the Mug Cake is delicious, a cake baked in the oven is still far better. But if you are just lazy and want cake, this is a viable option: 

Microwave Chocolate Cake for One:
4 tbsp cake flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (or hot chocolate mix!)
pinch salt
1 large egg
3 tbsp strong coffee (or milk, flavored creamer)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a large coffee mug (or small bowl). Stir in egg, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla, mixing until smooth. I added small chocolate chips as well! If you are mixing inside a coffee mug, be sure to scrape the corners well.
Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Cake will puff up like a souffle and should appear to be “set” after 3 minutes. Cake will fall once removed from the microwave.
Serve in the mug, or turned out into a bowl, with a bit of ice cream or whipped cream.
Serves 1-2

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yummy Muffins!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! This is the first year since I have been married that we did not have a house full of people. So we went dinner hopping and had amazing meals at our friends' houses. It was refreshing having someone else cook for us, but I was saddened when I realized there would be no leftovers at home for late-night munchies :(

I didn't go out and brave the crowds this year for Black Friday, I hid behind the safety of my laptop and picked up all my gifts online. However, I will be fighting with the masses for the sales on the day after Christmas! There are a few Christmas decorations that I would like to have and they are the cheapest after the holiday. We put up all the decorations inside our house, including our new tree (a day after Christmas purchase!). We had to make sure all the decorations were out of Little Misses' reach, we have quite a few decorations that have been passed down from family that we could never replace.

Hubs has duty today, so I am cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I have the perfect occasion for it too! Everyone likes muffins right? I found this recipe on the back of our giant container of oatmeal. While it does have alot of ingredients, it is very easy to make, and quick too! I have tweaked it a little bit to ensure the muffins were moist and extra cinnamon-y.

Oatmeal - Applesauce Muffins

1 c quick oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c cinnamon applesauce
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400. Grease or paper line 12 muffin cups. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Combine applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla in separate bowl. Add all at once to oat mixture, stirring just until moistened. Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups. Back 20-25 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean! Makes 12.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mmm Cookies!

I have been baking quite a bit lately and my Pampered Chef consultant shared a recipe with me that I MUST share with everyone! It is super easy and it comes out amazing every-time. I figured with the holiday season coming up, a new cookie recipe is needed!

Fast & Easy Cookies 
1 cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
Optional: morsels or nuts

Mix together fully (I use my PC Mix N Scraper). Scoop onto cookie sheet (I use my bar stone!), 1 tbsp. is a good size! Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 10 mins. Let cool & enjoy!

I have tried this with a few different cake mixes, my two faves are spice cake with pecans and yellow cake with chocolate chips! The combinations are almost endless; my next batch will be red velvet cake with white chocolate chips. Let me know what you come up with!

2 of the cookies disappeared mysteriously before I took the picture...



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Ideas for My Blog

I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately, trying to come up with ways to put out there all the information and ideas I have going through my head. As I am becoming more crafty and embracing my inner domestic goddess, I want to share my projects and recipes. With my new role in my husband's command, I am becoming aware of some great programs for military families and I want to share that as well. Of course I also want to continue with the random thoughts and topics that I come up with too! So this is the direction I plan on taking my blog into in the coming weeks, I hope everyone enjoys reading as much as I enjoy blabbing about it :)

The last week has been fairly hectic. We had our command holiday parties and they were both a blast. Of course I loved getting dressed up with the hubs and spending an evening with adults sans children! Events like this remind me how lucky I am to have friends that I can have so much fun with. I've even included a photo of us all dolled up, it isn't very often we take cute couple photos! 

We had the children's party a few days later, so excited we took a family Santa photo! We are very fortunate our command puts on such wonderful events for the families. Did I forget to mention I was able to go to the movies this weekend...twice! see Breaking Dawn?! Stay tuned for an upcoming post about why I think the Twilight series has become so insanely popular and it doesn't have to do with how good looking Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson are or even werewolves versus vampires. 

I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day. If you haven't gone shopping for your groceries yet, be aware the shelves are already empty! I was at WalMart late this evening and the store was packed. Thank goodness I just needed milk and cheese!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting My Craftiness On!

Life sure is keeping me busy! It is totally my fault though, I want to do as much as possible each day. You know that feeling you get when you finish a project or complete a task? I am beginning to think I am addicted to that feeling, haha! 

I just completed another dress for Little Miss. It is my first dress with sleeves and I think I did a pretty dang good job. This was also my first project I've completed without my mom here to help me understand the patterns. One night we skyped just so she could help me figure out a step! Sewing has also made me realize something about my husband: He is way smarter than I give him credit for. I was confused about one of the pictures and I was almost frustrated to tears. He looks at the picture, reads the directions, and shows me what I need to do. My jaw literally hit the floor, I was astonished. So now I have been teasing him, they must be teaching the Nukes how to sew on the ship! That man never ceases to amaze me and I love it. 

 3/4 Sleeve Lightweight Flannel Dress with Yoke Neck

My next project: A fleece hat, scarf, and mittens for Little Miss!

I am hoping to find fleece with a super cute pattern in different shades of pink. That way it will match Little Misses winter coat which is a light pink. 

This sewing stuff really isn't that hard, trust me! I am getting lots of feedback and people are saying they wish they could sew. I was intimidated at first too, but once my mom walked me through my first dress it wasn't that bad. Yes, I still get confused and frustrated but alot of that is my own fault.Instead of walking away and coming back later with a fresh perspective or looking up help online I let myself get too flustered. There are plenty of tutorials online, especially videos that walk you through it! It is so rewarding to accomplish something you have always wanted to do. So go ahead and give it a try :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sew Crafty!

Wow, has it really been over a month since I've blogged?! Where in the heck did the last 35 days go...I have been a bit busy lately, lots of new and exciting things happening! 

Hubby took his first class exam and we are anxiously awaiting the results. 

Our FRG had their elections and I am anxiously waiting (lots of waiting going on for me it seems!) to train my replacement, the new board is going to do a great job there is lots of potential there. I am glad I was able to work with the FRG and I plan to still participate but just as a "Big E" family this time :)

I start ombudsman training next week which I am SUPER stoked about. 

3 of Little Miss's friends had birthdays this month so every weekend we have had a party, including hers! I can't believe my baby girl is 2 now. We had her party at a local bounce house and of course ELMO was the theme. My parents even came in town to help celebrate!

 Little Miss with her birthday cake!

I have been experimenting with my craftiness: I have been baking alot more and I have a minor obsession with Pampered Chef. I am even hosting a PC party in December! I've NEVER hosted any of those sort of parties before, but it will be a good excuse to have a get-together while the ship is underway.

I learned how to sew. Finally. My mom gave me her sewing machine (passed down from my great-grandmother!) and taught me how to use it. I can't believe I made it by all these years without knowing how to sew on buttons and hem pants. I made Little Miss a dress for our holiday photos while my mom was here, its navy blue corduroy with white snowflakes. I bought a pattern for another dress that I plan on starting on next week. I have been looking around online today for things to make for Christmas gifts. I found lots of cute stuff I want to make, especially lots of stuff for babies! So any suggestion on nifty website/blogs about sewing would be greatly appreciated.

I think she likes her dress!
She has a white shirt she will be wearing with it, she just had a pink one on for the day.

I started a new workout routine and it hurts. At this point, I am working on maintaining my weight-loss (I've lost 60lbs now over 2 years!) and building muscle. I wouldn't mind having more muscle, but I don't want scary muscle like Madonna or Cameron Diaz. Icky they almost don't look feminine anymore!

Slowly but surely I am getting the drama out of my life. The last week has been pretty great and stress free. Well, except for normal stress like a toddler and husband and family in town. That sort of stress I can handle though. I DO NOT like the stress that is reminiscent of the gossip that goes on in high school. I know I will never eradicate the useless drama, but I'll be damned if I knowingly allow people into my life that bring that sort of chaos on a regular basis. There are some people that just thrive on that sort of nonsense and I don't have room in my life for that I have better things to worry about. I hate having to separate myself from certain people in order to achieve this though. I've realized it is better to lead by example, so by stepping back and refusing to taken down by negativity maybe they will realize the error in their ways and cross over from the "dark side". 

I hope everyone else has had a productive week!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ready for Sweater Weather!

I am officially ready for cooler weather! I was going through my closet and looking around online to determine my fall wardrobe. All the stores at the mall are starting to have huge sales, I scored some amazing pieces at Express to work into my fall looks! Of course I have my favorites from last season: 

Tall boots: They go perfect over straight or skinny leg jeans, with skirts & dresses!
A cardigan with a belt! 
 If you are having a fat day, wearing this combo won't make you feel like you are saying "Hey look at my tummy poking out" plus the skinny belt accentuates the smallest part of your midsection: your waist! You can dress this look up or down, wear with jeans or a skirt!
I love sweater dresses, I have like 3 of them! I can dress up or down in these, add cute patterned stockings & statement jewelry! You can pair this one with that skinny belt or even a wider belt. Or go for a dress with a different cut, like empire waist if you are self-conscious about your midsection.  
Lastly, a ladies inspired blazer! I love how it can be thrown over a white tee and jeans (like the pic). I like to dress it up by throwing it over a dress or wearing with a sparkly top underneath. I personally like the longer blazers that hit below the hips, I think it makes for an elongating and slimming effect. 

And of course a MUST have is a basic long sleeved tee. They go with anything, pair with skirts or any color jeans. Wear them under cardigans or any sort of jacket. Also great to wear as layering pieces. I like this tee especially because of the light cotton material, the extra long sleeves, and the detail around the neck so it isn't just a plain boring tee. I love tucking these into skirts like in the photo too!
What I like best about all these pieces: it doesn't matter what your size or shape is, you can make each one work! If you don't like skinny jeans, go for a straight leg cut! Just make sure they fit, baggy jeans don't flatter at all! If you are small chested like myself, you can wear a blazer with wider lapels or a sweater dress with ruffle detail along the neckline. If you were blessed with a larger bust and hips, the belted styles will definitely help accentuate your amazing curves! Don't let style intimidate you because you see it on stick thin models, you can make it work for you. 
I have a few pieces I am dying to try out too, the weather just needs to cooperate so I am not sweaty mess!
I found a pair of AMAZING high waist jeans! Yup, I want to rock the mom jeans. Pros: no worries about muffin top! I found this pair on clearance for $20 at The Limited. Those of you that know me, I have a minor addiction to that store but I never buy anything at full price! They have stellar sales and functional, quality clothing. Anyways, these jeans are a cotton stretch blend so they aren't undesirably clingy on my tummy. Plus they have the flare at the bottom that balances out the way these pants accentuate my hips. I plan on pairing these with this top I bought on super sale from Express:
 This is what I would consider to be a thin sweater tee, but it has these cute ruffle sleeves! It looks super cute tucked into the high waist jeans. And guess what? When it gets even cooler out, I can pair this outfit with a long open cardigan, score!

I have been searching for a while now to find the perfect loose style top that didn't make me look like I was 10 sizes bigger than I actually am. I figured it was a lost cause, I mean how can a baggy shirt make you look skinny? Well I think I finally found my answer with this dolman sleeved sweater from Express (on sale of course!). I like how it is fitted from the waist down to the hips, instead of just at the hips with other shirts like this I have seen. When it gets even cooler outside, I can even put a fitted long sleeved tee underneath. 

I may not be able to wear this skirt much, but I am the MOST excited about this piece. Its a bright coral color underneath the black flowery lace. I am planning on pairing it with a simple black tee (any sleeve length) tucked it, maybe with stockings (no crazy pattern though, it would make the outfit too busy perhaps solid lines?) and black boots or flats. I'll have to work with it, I love the skirt but I don't want to wear too much black if there is such a thing!
 Okay there is one thing I have been wanting to purchase since last season and I am officially on the lookout for a cute leather jacket at a good price:
I absolutely LOVE how they mix this leather jacket with feminine pieces. This outfit would even look great if you swapped out the skirt with jeans, dark wash or even a gray color! I would wear the leather jacket with feminine flowing tops, with lots of color or floral pattern, stripes would look great too. So many options...
What are you most excited about wearing this fall? 



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deployment #2 on the Horizon

It finally set in the Deployment #2 is coming up fast. I haven't even really had a chance to adjust to Hubs being home; He came home with an inguinal hernia so standing up for long periods of time bothered him, lifting Little Miss hurt, as well as a long list of other things. It definitely limited what we could do once he came home. He finally had the double hernia repaired last week and he's on 2 weeks of bedrest. So yes, he has been home, but his ass has been planted on the couch until he heals. By the time he is fully healed up, it'll be time for him to leave again but hopefully for the last time.

My husband warned me before the deployment that some marriages don't make it. Not that he had any doubts about us, but he wanted me to be prepared for it when I saw friends' marriages break. Seasoned Navy wives told me the same thing. I guess distance doesn't always make the heart grow fonder.

But I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for, was coping with life AFTER deployment. I'm not going to sugar coat things, it isn't easy. I've seen more relationships break after deployment than while the ship was away. This totally blows me away, even though things haven't been all sunshine and rainbows since Hubs has been home it hasn't been anything catastrophic. I don't think a day goes by that we don't argue about something. No major huge fights or anything like that, it generally goes like this: "Did you really not wash off your dish before you put it in the dishwasher?!" or "Why can't you put your dirty clothes IN the laundry basket instead of right outside it?". See nothing too serious. Hubs has actually been super helpful since he came home: He cleans the kitchen every night after I make dinner, he takes out the garbage and takes care of the furry kids without me asking, we wash our cars once a week now, he even volunteers to vacuum or mow the lawn before I even ask. But I do have to admit, life with Hubs home is a different kind of tough then when he was away. 

When he was gone, we missed each other like crazy and the distance was kind of romanticized. I was counting down to the hour to his return. The first week was pretty damn near perfect, minus the whole hernia thing. Then real life started back. I had to share MY space, there was someone snoring in MY bed. There was another mouth to feed. Another person to fight over the TV with. I know there were adjustments on Hubs end too, he was used to being told what to do daily. Then he came home and I wanted him to plan everything because I was tired of planning daily activities for over 6 months. We are getting used to be around one another again. 

I had just assumed life to return to the way it was before he left. But I should have known that would've been impossible. Life happens during deployment. We both had to change and adapt to our new circumstances. I had to become more independent and self-reliant. Hubs experiences on the ship changed him as well. Now its just a matter of embracing the "new us". And I had better do that pretty quick-like before Hubs leaves again!

For those of you out there that are having a hard time adjusting to your sailor being home or if you are having any sort of problems, you have resources available to you for FREE! Please check out Fleet and Family Support, they offer confidential counseling by professional, licensed clinicians that is free of charge to active duty personnel and family members.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I am NOT a doormat!

Anyone else ever feel like that? I am such a people pleaser and you would think that would be a good thing! I like for everyone to be happy except for the times when it comes back to bite me in the ass. It takes a really special person to take advantage of the people that want to help out. Well I am done, over it, time to move on. Time for you to do your own job without me saving you from mistakes and doing the manual labor. Okay I feel better getting that off my chest! Bloggie friends, feel free to rant in the comments section if you need to vent as well :)

I had a pretty good day today, I almost spent our savings on a new Pampered Chef decked out kitchen. I was thisclose I swear (just kidding Hubs if you are reading this!). I am in desperate need of some replacements, most of my kitchen gear was given to us almost 6 years ago when we were married and they are wearing out. I wasn't very kitchen saavy so I didn't register for very high quality items. Like my  cookie sheet will no longer come clean. I have melted several spoons and utensils. I have a few Pampered Chef items so far: pizza stone, apple wedger, spatulas, mixing spoons, silicone scrapers, silicone whisk, 1 cup prep bowl set, dinner plates and coffee cups, mix 'n chop, bamboo salad tongs and I love them. Today I added a mango wedger, hand chopper, cutting board scraper, measure-all cup, and adjustable measuring spoons to my collection. I have plans to purchase a cutting board in the near future, especially since I have friends throwing more Pampered Chef parties next month! I find myself cooking much more now that Hubs is home from deployment and I need the proper gear. I've added to my "When I Win the Lottery" list; I want a kitchen stocked with Pampered Chef gear!

Hubs is doing better today, he tried to not take his pain pill though and he soon regretted it. Luckily for us it has been rainy and chilly this weekend so hanging out at home watching football has been great. Can I tell you how stoked I am Auburn lost to Clemson?! Geaux LSU!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ready For What Lies Ahead!

At this point, it is safe to say that I am used to my hubby being home. I finally have my schedule figured out. Solutions have been found to my stressful situations, now its just a waiting game. I am ready to move on and prepare for the fun stuff ahead!

Rumor has it, the weather is going to cool down tomorrow here. Fall is my FAVORITE time of the year. Today I bought some pumpkin ginger scented goodies from a friends' Partylite party, I can't wait until my house smells yummy! I love being able to walk outside around the block or at the park with my little family without feeling like I am melting. Fall also means FOOTBALL SEASON!! I am not a huge follower of NFL, but I live for college football. Especially my LSU Tigers. I am glued to the TV every Saturday flipping channels from game to game. The game is so much more interesting on the college level, these guys have a real passion for it. Plus you can't beat the atmosphere of a college stadium!

Its birthday party season here for Little Miss, most of her friends (and herself) turn 2 in October. So between birthday and halloween parties, our weekends are booked that month! I am looking forward to hay rides and pumpkin patches.

Hubs finally had his hernia repair surgery. That was the longest day of my life. Hubs has never had surgery so we didn't exactly know how he would react. We narrowly avoided an overnight stay, thankfully they finally were able to control his pain. I am looking forward to him being fully recovered and being able to actually do stuff! He couldn't stand for long periods of time or walk very much because of "Bubbles", now he has no excuse! I definitely want to go to Busch Gardens because Little Miss is overly obsessed with E-L-M-O. She is going to love the Sesame Street area of the park. 

I just submitted an application and if I get accepted, it will bring some new responsibility to my life! It would be an honor to be selected and I will definitely be kept busy during the upcoming deployment. I am just ready for a change of duties and I know I will be satisfied with this new possibility!

Our Command Holiday Party is going to be in 2 months, I can't wait to dress up! We had so much fun last year. I just have to keep in shape so I can wear the dress I have . I know how I want to wear my hair (simple and chic), now I need to find a nice youtube how-to video. I already have it all planned out in my head how we will improve upon last years fun times as well: get to the hotel WAY earlier, byob so we don't have to deal with "drink tickets", and get into the dining room early to save seats so we don't have to eat at the bar!

So many fun things coming up, I am ready for it all. Anyone else have an exciting few months ahead?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Another 9/11 Post

On this day of remembrance, I will say a prayer for the families that were forever changed. I will honor the men & women that have fought and continue fighting to protect our great nation. One day we will heal and this day will just be one in the history books, but I will never forget where I was when our country's innocence was taken away. I hope everyone hugs their loved ones a little tighter, appreciates what they have a little more, and spends a little more time with their families today.
I can hardly believe it has been 10 years already, although my life has changed drastically it still feels like a fresh wound. It is so hard to believe I was a 17 year old freshman in college and watching it all unfold on the TV while less than 100 miles away a man I hadn't met yet (but soon he would be a major part of my  life) was called to war. 
 Today, I spent time with my family. What did you do today to honor what happened 10 years ago? Did you spend all day watching the programs about 9/11 on TV? Did you watch the NFL games and the special way they commemorated this day? Or did you just try to get through this day like every other day of the week?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hooray Randomness!

 Saw this over at The Ramblings of a Marine Wife and since I am feeling quite random today, I decided to fill it out myself!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8:40 a.m.
2. How do you like your steak? Medium Rare
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2!
4. What is your favourite TV show? I have a few: Glee, House, Teen Mom, Real Housewives of OC, NJ, BH (hate ATL and NY)
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I would definitely stay in the US, I would love to try living near the mountains since we've been on the coast for almost 4 years now.
6. What did you have for breakfast? English muffin breakfast sandwich with southwestern style egg beater and slice of cheddar. Can't forget the coffee!
7. What is your favorite food? I miss cajun food
8. Foods you dislike? Pizza with pineapples
9. Favorite place to eat? Right now, in love with Yukai Byuffe
10. Favorite dressing? I love homemade vinaigrette
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? 2011 RAV4 :)
12. What are your favorite clothes? I will take any chance I get to dress up, so I am usually overdressed but I don't care. Most of the clothes in my closet are from The Limited
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Italy
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Working on being a full time 1/2 full sort of girl, I still have my 1/2 empty days  
15. Where would you want to retire? What is retirement? Way too far off to think about!
16. Favorite time of day? I like the mornings when I still have time to do everything!
17. Where were you born? Baton Rouge, Louisiana  
18. What is your favorite sport to watch? College football, Geaux Tigers!
19. What is your favorite fragrance? Victoria's Secret Bombshell.
20. What is your favorite face cream? Is that like lotion? I use Clinique Dramatically Different Gel Lotion
21. Favorite baby/kids products? Ones that actually work as intended!
22. People watcher? Definitely, and even Little Miss enjoys it!
23. Are you a morning or night person? I can handle either, just not on the same day
24. Do you have any pets? 2 gray & white cats
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I get to see my husband today, no duty!
26. What did you want to be when you were little? I wanted to be a teacher until I realized kids talk back...
27. What is your favorite memory? Christmas at my grandparent's house in WI
28. Are you a cat or dog person? I like pets, but would rather not have any right now
29. Are you married? According to my marriage license and the state of Louisiana
30. Always wear your seat belt? I don't believe that is a question. If it is, its the stupidest one I've heard in a while
31. Been in a car accident? Yes.
32. Any pet peeves? I HATE liars and hypocrites
33. Favorite pizza toppings? Veggies
34. Favorite flower? Pretty ones LOL
35. Favorite ice cream? Ben and Jerry's Red Velvet Cake
36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Chick-Fil-A or Panda Express
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? None
38. From whom did you get your last email? Probably Groupon or LivingSocial hahaha
39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? The Limited, hands down
40. Do anything spontaneous lately? My toddler and husband prevent spontaneity
41. Like your job? Of course!
42. Broccoli? Yup
43. What was your favorite vacation? Honeymoon in Europe!
44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Probably my husband and kiddo
45. What are you listening to right now? Elmo sing about potty training
46. What is your favorite color? Blue
47. How many tattoos do you have? 1
48. Coffee drinker? Everyday
49. Nicknames? Momma?
50. What are you doing next? Going to the gym

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Focus on the Positive, the Rest Will Fall Into Place

Life sure keeps me on my toes. Things were going by so smoothly and effortlessly, then BAM! life happens. After spending a restless night trying to solve the problems in my head and an interesting morning filled with more drama, I am still no closer to a solution than I was 36 hours ago when this all began. 

To be blunt, it really sucks that there is NOTHING I can do to solve the problems. It sucks that part of my life that used to bring me such fulfillment now hangs over me like a rain cloud. It sucks when people refuse to respect or appreciate the people that would do and give anything to see them succeed. After spending hours trying to find an answer to the problems I am faced with, I've realized there is nothing I can do but pray and stay out of it to let time take its course. There is nothing I can say or do to change the minds of the parties involved, I will just pray and put my energy elsewhere.

Since I can't solve all the problems that will arise in my life, the next best thing is finding a way to deal with it: Its better to focus on the things in life that are going great and put my energy into that rather than waste it on problems with no absolution in sight. 

 Remembering the moment this photo was taken still makes my heart flutter!

I am blessed with an amazing family!

I couldn't have more understanding, patient, and dependable friends!

I wish I had a good picture to post of my parents, but they are included too. I am one lucky girl! I would be wasting my time and energy if I spent one moment worrying about problems that can't be solved. I look at all the things going right in my life and that makes me happy. There will always be problems so why should I spent my time being miserable and stressed?

So right now I am going to spend some time with Little Miss and watch Elmo (her current obsession), go to spin class later today, and enjoy a quiet night at home while Hubs had duty!



Monday, September 5, 2011

Do It Cheaper! My Hairstyle on a Budget

Does anyone else get stupidly excited whenever they manage to save money? Yup, I am one of those people! My latest feat: I usually spend around $120 on my haircut & color every 2 months. This time, I managed to do it for only $46! I am grinning ear to ear right now just thinking about how much money I saved :D

Back in the day before I had much money to spend on my hair, my mom used to color my hair at home. For some reason, I forgot how awesome she was at it! So when she was in town recently, we made a trip to Sally's Beauty Supply and picked up some hair color. We went with Clairol Professional Liquicolor in Lightest Gold Neutral Blonde 10GN/12G2. I was very impressed with the sales person, she made sure we had all the supplies we needed to color at home (gloves, bottle for the haircolor) and even gave us some helpful tips. It was super easy to do especially with my mom here. The smell was rather strong though. My hair turned out PERFECT! It was slightly more red than the box said but I knew that was going to happen, my hair tends to pull red. And that is my only word of caution about coloring your hair at home: be aware the end result may be different than the box depending on your hair. I am not a salon professional nor do I pretend to be, so if you try this at home and your hair turns pink or something please don't blame me I warned you! I think I ended up with a good result because I wasn't trying to lighten my hair too much or do a drastic change, I just wanted to blend in the roots. Anyways, the haircolor and supplies cost me $16 with my Beauty Club Card. As for the haircut, I got lucky! A few months back, I had boudoir photos done (check out her blog she is amazing!) and as part of the photo package, we had someone do our hair and makeup. The hair stylist was super nice and I found out she cut hair here in Virginia Beach. So I went to see her where she worked (check out her fb page and paid $30 for a great haircut, including tip! 

Another thing about coloring your hair at home, make sure you have a good conditioner (NOT Suave!) and possibly a deep conditioning treatment if your hair is on the drier side already. Coloring my hair at home made my hair dryer than usual, so I picked up some Biolage shampoo/conditioner at the suggestion of my stylist. It wasn't pricey, you can get Biolage at Target or Walgreens or Supercuts. 

I know its nice to go to a salon and get pampered, spend some time away from the craziness at home. So I am not bashing or trying to turn people away from the salon experience. If that is how you want to spend your money, then by all means do it and spoil yourself! Everyone deserves to be pampered. For right now, there are other things I'd rather budget my money for (ahem, Christmas is coming up!).