Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Job!

Oh 2015, you're crazy already. And that's not even considering the whole moving out the basement and getting married part.

I've worked at my current job for nearly a year, and it took me 8 months to find it while working part-time at an internship. Those 8 depressing months were incredibly challenging, and I was so grateful to find a full-time job. Anyone who has job hunted for any length of time can probably attest to that feeling of I am going to be unemployed for the rest. of. my. life.

How strange it is then, a year later, to have a company approach me for a job when I wasn't even looking! 

I gave work the news yesterday and everyone was incredibly supportive. My current coworkers are incredible. I work with 14 women and I have made some great friends. That's the hardest part about this transition right now.

As for the new job? Better pay, I can use the skills I went to college for, a small but flourishing local company, plenty of opportunity for's a fantastic opportunity. 

That's the thing about networking: I knew these people from one of my side jobs, and that's why they offered me the job. Had I sent in my resume, I can't say I would've looked right for the job on paper.

So there it is, kicking off a new job Feb. 9!

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My makeup trial!

January 21st already?! Man, this month has been crazy. And getting crazier. More on that next about shaking things up.

This weekend I went home to Chicago for a late family Christmas party! It was great getting to see everyone and we ate a LOT of food. It was wonderful.

Also, my cousin is doing my makeup for the wedding, but she lives in California and I haven't seen her in two years! We were worried about getting to do a trial. But then she ended up coming out last weekend! So I finally got to see her again, and she did my makeup trial (yay!)

Here were some of the inspiration images I pinned:

Because we're getting married in late October, I wanted to try the dark lip thing just to see how it went. I wear very little makeup on a daily basis (conceal raccoon eyes, put on lip gloss...that is my morning routine) so I was worried it would be too much for me. I tried to find some pale/brunette people wearing it to give me an idea, hence the photos above.

And the result!:

Definitely love the lip color! It was fun being really made up for our late Christmas party, even though I immediately tried to explain to everyone "It's the makeup trial! I don't always wear fake lashes!" It was a pretty big relief to be able to fit in a trial.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Snow, books + wedding updates

Ahhh, January. Sweet, sweet January. I kind of hate it. I like New Year's and fresh starts, but January in Illinois? No thanks. I have a car that is definitely more suited for California weather, so until I get around to changing that, January and I are not friends. I will say there is some part of me that kind of revels in battling the snow and shoveling and braving the elements. Makes me feel like a true Midwesterner! I tell myself that to feel better.

This is how we handle the snow.

Other than the snow (which is actually really beautiful to me when I'm not driving in it,) this month is pretty good. I'll be going home to the Chicago suburbs for a late family Christmas party, attending yet another bridal expo to talk to a vendor (remember this?) and finally getting to sample the food we will have at our wedding! I have been looking forward to this food tasting since we booked our venue in October 2013. Yes, like fifteen months ago. 

And...big news...I FINALLY CONTACTED A BAKER. Oh my gosh, that is like the pinnacle of wedding planning to me. I mean, finding the dress was good, too. But sampling cake? Little girls dream of their weddings. I dreamed of going to college, and maybe getting married so I could sample some cake. Only half kidding. The best part is we will be going on my birthday. Which is a Friday. And I have the day off. And Tom is taking the day off. And we get to go back to the delicious Mackinaw Tearoom at the Depot...These are from when we went last month. So. Good.

Book update too! Book two after Brewed is almost done. Like, five pages away from being completely done. And I still love our Owl Book more than words can say.

I am feeling very optimistic about this year.

Oh! I am attempting to make some resolutions. So if you'd like, please share yours below! I love hearing people's resolutions. Maybe it'll inspire me to actually make some this year.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Grocery shopping on a Friday night. Plus 2015.

I've never done my grocery shopping on a Friday night. I did tonight. It was my first day back at work after nearly two weeks off, and I felt like being productive for the duration of my day. It's a weird world at that time, especially in the dairy aisle. Mostly young families and the elderly. Not 23-year-olds. 

I spent the rest of the night submitting my self-published novel to agents. I haven't done that in over a year. Not since my book was first picked up by a publishing house. Unfortunately, that agency closed up shop last spring, so I'm back to square one. It has taken me quite some time to get back to square one.

I am nearly done with book two of the series. That has given me some courage to go at it again. And what with all those New Year's resolutions floating around, now is as good a time as any to go for it. My attitude about it all this year is "What have I got to lose?"

Ah, New Year's. How I love that holiday. We hosted a fun, fancy party this year and ate a lot of good food. We had lemon drop shots in Power Rangers shot glasses, but only after yelling "It's morphing time!" 

2014 was just what I needed after 2013. 2013 was rough. Very rough. 2014 was rejuvenating. 2015 will be one of the most memorable years of my life. 

We are finally getting married after two years of being engaged this year, and we will be moving. Those two things alone are major, but then there are all the other little moments to come.

Cheers to the new year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shopping local. My town edition.

Happy Christmas week, friends! With only about two more days to feasibly get some online shopping done, I have a couple last minute gifts from right here in Central Illinois.

I haven't always lived here. I came here from the Chicago suburbs for college. You'd think moving two and a half hours south wouldn't make much of a difference.
But I promise you, it does.
There are a lot of things about Peoria that surprised me. Like the sheer amount of camouflage worn in any given restaurant, for example. Honestly, when I first arrived here, I thought it was hideous. (Looking back now, that's probably because my mom and I drove up the run-down warehouse district route to get to my university.)

Now I work in the tourism industry promoting this town, and something else has surprised me: Peoria has one heck of an artistic, entrepreneurial crowd. There is certainly more here than CAT headquarters. So because I live here and many of my family and friends are split between Chicago and St. Louis, I thought it would be fun to shop local for my gifts and give them a little Peoria flavor.

Here are my top five picks for great local gifts (if you can't tell, I love gifts involving delicious food and drinks):

1. Thirty-Thirty Coffee, Roaster's Choice Bi-Monthly Coffee Subscription, $35

Oh how I LOVE Thirty-Thirty, even though I rarely touch coffee. (They have lovely teas, however!) This coffee shop is housed in one of the oldest buildings in town, and it's actually the coffee shop that inspired my novel. They have incredible coffee. Like they were named one of the six best U.S. roasters by Yahoo! Shine. That's how good they are. This coffee subscription is perfect for the java addict on your list.

2. J. Draper Glass, Blown Glass Wine Sets (prices vary)

I recently had the pleasure of watching Jeremie Draper, owner of J. Draper Glass, create a glass-blown pumpkin. It was amazing. She did it in about ten minutes. I particularly like this glass gift set including a wine preserver and two glasses, but there are plenty more on their site. Contact them for orders here.

Julie's Corner Store is a local legend where fudge is involved. We often pass around a plate of it at my office. The Butterfinger fudge is my one of my all-time favorites. They even offer a fudge-of-the-month club for those who take their sweet tooth seriously.

4. Olio and Vino, Specialty Gift Baskets

Truffles and Bubbly, Table in Tuscany, Wine Lovers Gift Set...Olio and Vino has something for every food lover. Their specialty is actually olive oil and vinaigrettes, so they certainly have gift sets for that as well. See the options and shop online here.

5. Pumpkin Glass Gallery & Studio, Sterling Name Pendant

I have been very into personalizing this year, and I would love to get one of these for my grandma. The sterling silver stacks to showcase every child or grandchild's name. Shop for this and other products here.

I have been seriously impressed with all the incredible local businesses around here, and what they give to this community. If you own a small business, be sure to check out Kabbage - an online provider of small business loans.
Kabbage provides resources to help small business owners build a strong business that will thrive in their local communities.Please consider shopping local for those last minute gifts and support the small businesses in your community. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mid-December?! Plus that time I met the Grinch.

Good morning!

Just popping in to say I have some blog posts coming up again, and I am, indeed, alive. It's been good having so much to do. I do kind of feel like I'm drowning, but I'm getting things figured out. 

That aside, here are some random things that have happened:

The children's book is published! I've been doing lots of fun signings with this:

You can find it here. How amazing is that cover?! Thank goodness I stumbled across an awesome local illustrator.

Thomas and I created our own version of Christmas Clue:

And we put up our Christmas tree, complete with a Grinch, swords and owls. 

Speaking of the Grinch...

So I hate anything in costume pretty much. Yesterday at the grocery store I walked up and noticed Santa and a real reindeer were outside, with people waiting in line for pictures. I thought that alone was pretty weird.

But then I was in the pasta aisle, on the phone with my friend, and when I turned around I saw the most terrifying Grinch standing there, waving at me. It was scary. 

I didn't smile at it.
I didn't wave back.
I gaped at it in horror until it walked away. No one else in the aisle saw that thing and I was kind of scared I fabricated it.

On that note, today is day one of our Secret Santa at work and I am so excited! I've never participated before. This will be good.

Happy Monday, friends!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

One year to go + Halloween fun!

Hello hello! Happy Monday!

The past two weekends have been wonderful. Top-notch Halloween/wedding fun.

Two Fridays ago, Tom and I took the day off work to celebrate our one year to go until our wedding day! Would that be called a -1 anniversary? 

Anyway, we started the day with homemade pumpkin pancakes in bed and watching some Merlin.

Then we went to Tanner's Orchard, which is where we got engaged last year! I love llamas, clearly.

Then we went to our hotel, where we also stayed last year after we got engaged. We took a walk by the river before dinner.

We got fondue for dinner! It was amazing. Especially the cheese. I don't care what food they give me, I just want more vehicles for cheese.

I am pale...

The chocolate portion of the cheese and chocolate dinner. It was heavenly!

Spooky trees and fog outside our window the next morning.

And here are some pictures from Halloween and our Halloween party! I was very proud of our Merlin/King Arthur costumes. We worked on them for literally two months. There were a lot of JoAnn Fabrics runs and brainstorming. I also got to see my brother and his friends briefly this weekend and some friends came in from out of town. As you can see, we take our Halloween seriously:

My work wear on Friday

Tom played Merlin on Friday night for the trick-or-treaters

I attempted to craft some wrinkles, and I think it turned out pretty well! 

The Halloween party group!

Hope you had a wonderful Halloween!

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