Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Disappointing products, peanut butter and chili, and the book

So you know how it's April Fool's Day and all that? Well, I don't trust ANYONE today! Anyone. Especially Tom, because if he's going to want to prank anyone, it's going to be me. He did, actually. He convinced me he'd be home late, then BOOM! He wasn't, and I was happy.

However. We had dinner tonight, and there he was, telling me how delicious peanut butter and bread is with chili. Naturally I thought he was spewing lies, because come on now. Gross. But his family was in on it! They all eat that weird combo! So I ate it, and it was kind of delicious. I'm still convinced it's an elaborate April Fool's Day prank.

Anyway, something has been on my mind. And it's that the last group of products I bought have been deeply disappointing. I would like to share those with you so that you might save some money. However, I do have successful versions of all of these things, so I will do another post with the good things I have bought.

There is something so awful about being really, really excited to try something for awhile, buying it, and then hating it. All of these things fit into that category.

1.) Herbal Essences naked shampoo and conditioner, Herbal Mint scent

I was so excited to try these! I kept seeing ads for them, and I love anything that's a little more natural, so these seemed like a budget-friendly option. Plus, the packaging was pretty and I can be a sucker for pretty packaging.

All I can say is my hair was VERY dried out after using them, and for whatever reason, the scent smells like men's body wash. It's weird for your hair to smell like that. I was so disappointed in these that I don't even think I want to finish the bottles. They are "moisture" shampoo and conditioner, but it took a lot of coconut oil to make my hair look less fried. They had some good reviews online and they may work for your hair, but for me, they were disappointing.

2.) gud from Burt's Bees, Red Ruby Guava body lotion

I am a big fan of Burt's Bees products. I have been using their cream cleanser for years and I love it. So when I saw they had a new line of products, I was excited to try it out. I smelled the gud's lotion in the store and thought it smelled light and refreshing. Then I got home and put it all over my arms. It felt really weird, like it made my skin feel even drier. Then, after a little while, the scent seemed to intensify and ended up smelling like rotten fruit. 

It didn't provide much moisture at all and smell really ruined it for me. I used it once or twice but I don't plan on finishing it up.

3.) Tom's Long Lasting Aluminum-Free Deodorant, Fresh Apricot scent

I've been trying out aluminum-free deodorants for about a year now, and it's been hard to find one I really like. Since I ran out of the last one I liked ("Kiss My Face" Natural Liquid Rock) I decided to give this one a try. 

For me, it wasn't long-lasting and it made my skin peel. I felt like I just rubbed some apricot-scented lotion on my armpits. So I ended up buying the liquid rock again, and I think I'm going to stay with that until I give Lavanila a try. For now I'm pretty happy with it, and it's even unscented.

Book Updates

I got the edited manuscript back from my editor! I fixed what was needed, sent it back, and now it has to go through formatting and one more round of editing. Pretty soon I will also get to see the cover!

This is such a terrifying/exciting process. Last week I panicked and almost didn't want to put the book out anymore. Something about just inviting people to read this made-up story from my brain is scary.

I don't know if that makes sense or I just sound crazy, but either way, I have accepted it now. And the second book is well under way. I will share the release date once I know it! I'm guessing it's two weeks away now.

Happy Tuesday! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I don't do....

Happy Saturday! Ahh, the weekend. Always over too fast. Last night we got to see Jim Gaffigan perform (hilarious) and today I am working on one of my side jobs and shopping with a friend! It's really hard to keep up side jobs with a full-time job. Once the weekend hits, I don't want to do even more work! But I have something I am working toward, so for right now, I'm going to try to keep it going.

This is a random aside, but I thought I should include it...I am growing an herb garden again! Lavender, rosemary, thyme and basil. The kitchen is going to smell delicious.

This post is something I saw on Stay Crafty My Friends, and decided to do for myself! So, here we go. Things I do not do!:

-Sleeping in: The past two to three weekends, I have been waking up and leaving the house at 6:30 a.m. to run errands. I have no idea why, but I really enjoy it. Sleeping past 8 makes me feel like I'm wasting my day, and I love how few people are out at that time of day.

-Games: Card games, board games, sports, etc. I will play if I am forced into it or if we are with a group of friends, and I usually enjoy it. But if you ask me if I want to play a game, in my head I will always be thinking "NO!" I have a hard time with movies, too. I don't like committing myself to anything that will take a couple hours. I've always been like this, and I kind of wish I was more into card games and things. But I would probably rather do the dishes.

-Trends: In terms of fashion, that is. Ninety-five percent of my closet is made up of solid sweaters and long-sleeved thermal shirts, jeans, boots and scarves. I rarely ever buy patterned anything. Today I am wearing this huge button-up sweater I got at a thrift store five years ago, jeans from high school and a plain, long-sleeved purple shirt. Occasionally I try to be exciting and buy something fresh and trendy, but then I never wear it.

This is my thrift wear sweater that I wear ALL the time. I think I wore that exact outfit yesterday:

-Makeup: This may be misleading because I do wear a tiny bit of makeup. Usually my daily go-to includes concealer where I need it, curling my lashes and lip balm. If I'm feeling fancy, I'll wear mascara. Usually I prefer not to because I forget and rub my eyes. I love the idea of makeup, but even when I try to put a lot on, it's barely anything.

-Heels: At the end of this list, you will probably realize that I dress myself like I live in the woods. Alone. I think heels are lovely. There are so many beautiful shoes in this world. But I go for comfort every time, even if I look like I'm fifty years older than I am. Even "comfy" heels aren't comfy enough for my feet. I might wear heels three times a year, if I have two weddings to attend and feel really girly one night.

-Cutesy fake word speak: Huge pet peeve of mine. HUGE! There is a blogger who I will not name that uses cute little words like "perf" for "perfect," "nast" for "nasty," "deets" for details,"adorbs" and all that. I had to stop reading because of it. And it's a pretty good blog, too, so it was sad when I couldn't look past the total and utter disregard for perfectly good words.

-Chicken: If I made it myself, or if I get any sort of "chickeny" taste from it, my day is ruined. Thankfully, the crock pot knows how to cook it just right, so I don't have to give it up entirely!

-Petty gossip: I get really uncomfortable around people who are judging someone for their appearance. I think that's the worst. Or just being really mean for no reason. Or making a snap judgement based on ignorance. It drives me nuts. The older I get, the more I try to stay out of it because it's completely useless and unproductive.

What are your don'ts? If you do one of these, let me know! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014


Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Tomorrow marks one year since we took off for our trip to Ireland. So the holiday feels a bit anticlimactic this year. I did, however, spend a good portion of my day photographing the local parade and leaving work early to drink with my coworkers and a good portion of the other downtown workers dressed in green. (Don't worry, the WHOLE office left to go party. So I'm not a slacker. I just work for people who love the Irish.)

From today's instagram:

Ahh, this town.

Also, (and I am WAY late on this,) Tom took me to see Kings of Leon in Chicago two weekends ago for my birthday!

We were for sure in the nosebleeds, but it was fantastic. They were so, sooo good live. Even with clouds of marijuana smoke wafting all around us. 

I had just discovered the song "Pyro" the summer Tom and I started dating. It's not a romantic song by any means; in fact, it's a little dark. But to us, it sounds like that summer. So it's special.

Oy. I don't know what else to say here. See, I didn't blog last week, so I had to write SOMETHING to get me back in the habit, you know?

Here you go!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

On becoming a published author

This whole book thing started at a coffee shop in March of 2012. Spring Break, actually. I was home at my apartment while everyone else left, and I loved that time. It was unseasonably warm and it was beautiful.

My favorite writing spot at my favorite coffee shop with the greatest almond butter croissant that ever existed!

Here are some posts from that time in my life:

Other than that, over the course of TWO YEARS, I haven't talked much about my book series. Because it was only going to be for me.

So, here are ten facts about my book!

1.) Yes, it is a romance.
2.) It is a very light read. Think Summertime, or Spring Break. I'm not going to lie and tell you it's the deepest, most important book every written, because it's not. It's completely for fun.
3.) It is one in a three-part series.
4.) It revolves around one character in a group of three friends. The following two books will each revolve around the other two characters.
5.) The second book is a little darker. I am working very hard to get the story just right, but usually it kind of writes itself as I go. So it will probably end up totally different.
6.) Books two and three aren't written yet. Ahhhh!
7.) It took me six months to find a publisher who wanted it. I figured it would take like...five years?
8.) It will most likely be in e-book format/pdf.
9.) I can pretty much guarantee it will cost less than $5, and will definitely be available on amazon, Barnes and noble's site, etc.
10.) I got to help design the cover! But I haven't seen it completed yet, so you know as much as I do.

And one more, the release date is March 31st!! That is a little terrifying because I still don't really believe it's happening.

Random people can download something I wrote to keep me sane at the crack of dawn when I just didn't feel like studying anymore. And that is incredible to me.

After it comes out, I want to write more about the actual pitching and rejection and getting published cycle of it. For now, feel free to ask me anything about the process! I will post short updates on the progress each week until it comes out, as well as when the next books will be out.

This isn't even like I have a huge wall at the book store. This is an e-book that maybe 50 of my closest friends and family will buy for their Kindles. But if you choose to read it and it brightens your day a little bit, then the whole process was completely worthwhile.


Oh, p.s. The title is "Brewed." As in coffee.  (:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Midweek Randoms

It is snowing today. Again. We've already had 53 inches this winter. Record-breaking! That's a crappy record to break. Everyone else is just sad for us. "That's what you get for living in Illinois!" Yeah, yeah, I know.

Today is a random post because I feel like blogging and don't have anything specific to talk about!

First of all, I love Clothes Mentor. A lot. I get all my work clothes there because the deals are awesome. Except pants. I only buy work pants at Express. It's an expensive one-time buy that is SO worth it. I only have three pairs and that is plenty. 

Another thing I bought recently? Genie Bras.

GENIE BRAS!!! I thought they would be a stupid As-Seen-on-TV scam, but I found them at Walmart and they are incredible. Honestly, best $20 I've spent in awhile. And that's for a two pack. I will definitely be getting more. 

I got this dress that I wore to work today. It's hard to see in this picture but it's a button-down belted dress. My selfie skills are pretty rough early in the morning.

We didn't get a ton of sleep last night because we were up late talking and watching The Dog Whisperer (we are preparing for our future puppy!....Two years from now!) and then I heard this weird noise outside and couldn't fall asleep.

Actually, because it was my first week at work, I haven't slept past six since last Friday. Nerves and all that. I went grocery shopping at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and shoveled the driveway at 6:45 Sunday morning. Here's to going to bed early tonight!

And then this weekend we are off to Chicago for a Kings of Leon concert!! So excited! There are so many fun things happening this March. And March is my second least-favorite month, so that's saying something. (January wins first place. Always.)

Wedding Updates

Tom and I have been talking budget a lot lately, and I have definitely said "We can always just elope" more than a couple times. That being said, things are moving along well, and despite the craziness of it all, we are totally on board with the ideas we have now.

For anyone on the fence about a long engagement...I love it so far. I don't want to have to think about our wedding all the time, so spacing it out like this has been fantastic. And it's moving along quickly.

Also, my best friend is getting married five months from now!! (Well, from March 1st.) I'm so excited!!! It seems like it just snuck up on us.

Finally, this is what I have been blasting to get up in the morning (I know it posted it here somewhere before, but that's how good it is!):

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Goals, and orthopedic shoes

I have seen some other bloggers share their monthly goals (like Raine and Skye and Shelby) and I think it's brilliant! I actually have some concrete goals to share this month, so here we go:

1.) Get settled into new job. Feel more confident at the end of the month than at the beginning.
Well, duh. That's usually how things progress. Today was my second day, and I felt significantly more confident than I did yesterday.

2.) Create author website.
I am supposed to make one for my book launch at the end of the month. I should probably get on that, yeah?

3.) Write at least 15,000 words of new book.
Right. My book is part one of a three-part series. So that means the other two should probably get written. Eventually. This will be the most challenging goal to hold myself to.

4.) Make at least (set amount in my head that changes regularly) in side hustles.
This should be pretty easy, actually. I have a couple little side jobs I work on here and there. But I want to make sure I don't forget them.

5.) Work out every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Working on it. Oh, wait. Today is Tuesday...

So speaking of the new job, I am pleased to say things are going well! I haven't had great experiences in the past, so I have been pleasantly surprised to be settling in so well. Yesterday involved a tiny Abraham Lincoln doll and a nudist art exhibit, if that tells you anything.

There is just one thing...everyone is way more stylish than I am. Especially their shoes. I work with mostly females, all of them spanning a wide spectrum of ages. And they ALL wear heels, except the one woman with the injured hip. Actually, I think she was also in heels today.

Most of them wear stiletto heels and makeup and just generally look glamorous. I make myself look professional, but I am still all about the comfort. ALL about it. So while they rock their sky-high heels, I waltz into work wearing these orthopedic beauties I bought at DSW last week:

Heck yes! Do I get extra points because they're Mary Janes? 

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Quick Reflections

Today is my last day of work at my internship. I used to think I would be an intern forever, sitting there in my windowless cubicle. I kind of loved that cubicle (and the people around it) but I am ready to move on to something new! 

I really hate the beginnings of things. I like being established. But no one really enjoys being the new person, do they? We all have to go through it.

I have to stop by my new job after work (we get out at 12:15 on Fridays...I'm definitely going to miss that!) so I can get some papers filled out and do some of the awkward introductions today. I am excited to make new friends! But meeting a large group of people for the first time makes me pretty uncomfortable. So I will get some of that out of the way this afternoon.

Tom and I went to St. Louis last weekend to visit family! My dad, stepmom and stepbrothers live there, so that was fun. It was actually warm enough Saturday morning for Tom and me to visit the nearby dog park!

I have some RAGING puppy fever, so we were the weirdos standing there eyeing people's dogs. This woman had a French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix, and I zeroed in on her instantly. The poor woman. I was asking her all about her dog, and it was probably a good thing I wasn't also wearing my French Bulldog sweater.

We also visited Old St. Charles and ate potato soup outside. It was perfect. Can't wait to return!

At the dog park/ regular park. I am learning how to use my Afterlight photo app.

And St. Charles:

P.S. I think Tom and I won a free trip to the Bahamas from a bridal show we attended...so we will find out tomorrow if that's a scam.

Happy Friday!!!