Monthly Archives: September 2013

On Learning

This is the first fall in  18 years that I have not been starting a new school year. Since it is my first year of my career, I feel like a lot of the same “first day” thought apply. I am doing a lot of learning in my training program, and a lot of days it does seem a lot like school.

I recently was watching reruns of one of my favorite teen dramas when a conversation between two characters really got me thinking about learning and school. Even though I am not in school I feel it can apply to anyone because we should never stop learning. If you have, you are really setting your self up for failure.

I feel that the position of learning is really one of the most vulnerable positions that we can put ourselves in on a regular basis.  To learn means to admit that we don’t know everything.  I think this is something that  is difficult to admit. I try so hard to get a head, to prove that I am better than someone else. It sounds bad, but its true. In college, at least in engineering school, it wasn’t about knowing 100% of the material, but rather beating the curve. As long as you know more than most of the people in your class you would be golden.  In the workplace, I feel it is the same. Without grades to measure yourself against, all you can do is your best. Hopefully your best is better than someone else’s in order to make a name for yourself or earn a promotion.

learning

The line in the show said something along the lines of “once you can overcome the discomfort of uncertainty, then you can really learn”.  I mean think about it. You come to college (or a job, or any situation) and are too afraid of what you don’t know or if others know more than you that you start to pretend. You pretend you know something already or just try to learn it enough to get by. I think it is so common for us to just study enough to take the test, rather than fully understanding and committing it to our brains for ever. If we can come to some type of understanding with our subconscious where we become content with the idea that it is okay not to know something already. It is okay to stop pretending and attempting to play catch up. If we can be okay with the discomfort of uncertainty, then we can really learn.

If anyone has any tips in how to overcome this discomfort, please share! All I can recommend, is to really think about it, be aware of it, and like all else: pray about it.

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Weekend in pictures…almost

So I had plans to document my weekend in photos, but started having so much fun, I kept for getting to take photos.

Here is what I remembered to document of my fabulous weekend on the road.

I spent a good 8 hours here. In the seat of my car. On the road again. The hours of driving was worth the company for sure. Thank goodness I drive a civic. Yay for good gas mileage!

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I had a wonderful night with my boo thang! He took me out for a romantic dinner at one of our favorites, Texas Roadhouse. (Their rolls are yuummmyy!)

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Oh and Trent came too…did I mention it was romantic?

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We stopped by a redbox on the way back. (Great pic right?)

2013-09-20 20.03.40We watched the movie…I fell asleep as usual. And in the morning woke up bright and early to head to STL to meet my mom and sister to tackle some wedding to do list. Thanks to all of their help, we are just about finished with center pieces, invite designs, accessorizing, flowers, and some other odds and ins. Here we are with our mystery shopping bags.

2013-09-21 11.58.48-3We are frequent shoppers at Michaels and JoAnns. I don’t want to ruin surprises before the wedding, but I will share some how-to guidelines after this. Small spoiler…I am still finding glitter EVERYWHERE!

We met up with papa bear for some $5 Hot-N-Ready Pizza!

2013-09-21 13.41.29In the evening we went to a BBQ/ watch party at my sister’s boyfriends house to watch MU beat IU. We wrapped up the weekend with more wedding crafts and taco lunch with grandma and grandpa.

Even though I didn’t photo document the weekend as planed, it was a wonderful time spent with my family. I am so thankful for all of their help and time with planning, and the laughs shared this weekend!

That time I locked myself out…with the keys in my hands

Last week I had a horrible case of the Mondays…but it was a Tuesday. Besides the fact that I didn’t feel like getting out of bed,  I had the worst congestion/sinus head ache/snot fest ever. To add a cherry on top, as soon as I got to work, we got some bad news. The server had crashed and needed to be completely reset, meaning that every last thing we had done on Monday was completely gone. Eight hours of hard and tedious work had been reduced to nothing. We were able to rebuild this work a lot quicker than I thought. About 1000 tissues, a bottle of hand sanitizer and eight super long hours later I finally got to head home. I was exhausted and hungry, but came home to a bare cupboard.  I slammed my door in disgust and headed  out to grocery shop and run a few errands. I even decided to treat myself and buy some ice cream sandwiches to make my day better (plus they were on sale).

As I came back to my place, ready to cook dinner, and indulge in my ice cream, I unlocked the door, and pushed the door SLAM. It wouldn’t open.  My door has one of those hotel like dead bolts like this one:

Apparently when I slammed the door to leave, the dead bolt loopy thing bounced into the locked position. There I was, starving, with bags of groceries, melting ice cream, and an almost-dead cell phone locked outside my door…with the keys in my hand.

My stuff just chilling  melting outside.

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I went around to the back door, but being a smart girl I was not surprised that it too was dead bolted. It was such a tease to be able to see into my apartment though the inch crack in the door, but not be able to open it! I thought about checking to see if any of the windows were unlocked and I could find a way to pry one open, but my protective dad devised a fool proof window locking system before I moved in to make sure I would be safe. I was able to call the on-call maintenance  man, who laughed and told me the he would be there in about 15 minuets.

It was hot out. I had two choices. A) I could sit on my butt and eat an entire box of ice cream sandwiches before they melted Or B) I could put on my problem solving hat and try to get into my apartment. Although option A was super tempting, I decided that no matter how bad of a day I had, that much ice cream would not be beneficial to my pre-bridal figure.

I spent a good five minuets trying to stick my fingers into the crack and move the bolt…no surprise, it was unsuccessful. Next I headed out to my car to see what kind of tools I could find. I was equipped with a coat hanger, a first aid kit, and a cloth grocery bag.

I ended up using the inside plastic bottom of the cloth grocery bag. You know that piece that is supposed to help it keep a rectangular shape.  I was able to close it in the door and wiggle and jam and try again and again until it opened! I was working on the back door. Once I was in I hurried to the front door to open it and grab my groceries, and there was the maintenance guy walking up with his tool…just a little too late.

The method I used ( I have never embedded a GIF before…I am not sure if it works on this page or if you need to click on it to work)

Practice this!

Practice this…it will come in handy someday.

How you know you are not in college anymore

I have now been graduated for about four months and been working in a “big girl job” for a little over a month. Here are a few key things that have been reminding me that I am not longer in college but in the “real world”

  • The only mail you get is bills and more bills

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  • There is no such thing as a lazy sweat pant day in the working world
  • People look at you funny when you paint your toes different crazy colors and accidentally wear open toe shoes the next day

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  • Sunday afternoon is spent relaxing (or cleaning) and not doing homework
  • Your first day of school work picture is no longer taken by your mom or room mate…but a selfie

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  • Staying up late on a work night means anything past 10:30pm
  • Instead of seeing cans of red bull in class, you see cups of coffee in cubes (neither or which I drink…yet)

I am sure this list will continue to grow the longer I live in the “real world”.

A Delightful Mother/Daughter Weekend

Half way though this past week I was looking at my 4 page wedding to do list feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s just about 110 days until the big day, and there is still a lot left to do.  Lucky for me, I have an incredible mom and sister. My sister has this great job that has the benefit of hooking up my parents with airline tickets. With just a couple days notice my sister was able to get my mom a ticket to come spend the weekend with me!

Even being empty nesters, my parents have been staying busy on the weekends with church activities, work, taking care of the house, and getting together with their friends. I was so glad that this weekend they didn’t have too much going on, and mom was able to take a break from the cleaning and to do list to spend time with me!

I couldn’t have asked for a better couple days. My mom swooped in and did two of the things she does best: selflessly help me, and shop! God gave us the perfect day for strolling around the Zona Rosa, a huge outdoor shopping mall in KC. We girl talked as we window shopped and discussed wedding accessories and center pieces.

Mom is the BEST lunch date! It seems restaurants make  their portions perfectly Julie + Lynne size. (Not to mention we like the same flavors, and she always foots the bill 😉

We made two trips to our favorite store. Once for wedding registration and once just for fun.  After one month of work, I was running the risk of an outfit repeat. Luckily “my personal shopper” was able to find me a few cute outfits to prolog the dreaded outfit repeat.

I got fancy with the registry “booper”. It was so nice to have a kitchen pro help advise my choices on the home-making necessities.

registering

We shopped until we dropped then headed back to my place to tackle that massive to do list. We got down to business and were still able to squeeze in a walk and a little wine before dinner.

We ended the night with Chinese food, a redbox, Oreos, and pillow talk before bed.

chineese

I am so thankful that my mom was able to drop what she was doing and join me for the weekend. It was so nice to have her to myself and show her my life here. She has taught me to cook, clean, and take care of a home. She has prepared me to be independent,  and I really liked showing her the life I have made for myself here because of what he has taught me.

I was sad to see her go home on Sunday afternoon, but so thankful for a perfect weekend.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

Friday Favorites

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Some of the blogger girls I follow do a “Friday Favorite” post, so I thought I would try it out. It took me like .05 seconds to think of my first favorite. Nexxus youth renewal dry shampoo! If I could only choose one hair product/makeup item/ beauty treatment, this would be it!

I have very thin, naturally straight, blonde, flat-as-can-be, oily hair. (I would have been a big hit in the 70’s). I know they say it is unhealthy, but I HAVE to wash my hair every single day, usually by the end of day one it already looks greasy. If for some reason I don’t have the chance to wash my hair before 24 hours, you best believe i will be wearing a hat….That is until I discovered this dry shampoo. Well actually George got it for me to try out when he was interning in the plant that makes some Nexxus products (He really spoiled me with great hair products during this time!) I had been previously using tresemme dry shampoo which I thought was okay at the time, but It wasn’t that great. It felt like it would cover up the grease for an hour or two but didn’t leave me feeling fresh. I also felt like it had a pretty distinct smell, which I started to associate with dirty hair.

The Nexxus dry shampoo has a delightful fresh smell. I  almost always get compliments when I wear it, people will tell me they love my perfume and how fresh I smell.

I am not really sure why it is only marketed as a youth renewal, because I am young and totally appreciate it.

“Our first anti-aging range that combats eight signs of aging hair: volume loss, breakage, roughness, less shine, dryness, brittleness, unruliness and loss of color vibrancy. Replenishes and revitalizes for more vibrant, youthful-looking hair.”

(Website for more details) It can be purchased at any drugstore that carries major hair brands.

Some times I feel like products like these change the labels simply for marketing when they are selling the same thing as the cheaper alternative, but I stand behind the marketing 100% here.  Here is a “it claims vs. how I feel” to sum it up!

Added Volume: totally love it! so much volume. I used it simply for volume even when my hair is fresh out of the shower (and I think it keeps it feeling clean longer)

Reduces breakage/roughness/ dryness/ brittleness: I honestly see less breakage since I started using it ( 8 months ago) I have scheduled less appointments to have dead ends trimmed off, and my hair is the longest it has ever been

Less shine: I can go two days with out grease  shine! I never could have done this before

Prevents loss of color/ vibrancy:  I am not sure about this one…I don’t really know how to measure it.

For those of you who have not used a dry shampoo, its super easy. I flip my hair upside down and spray, like hairspray, into the roots and places were it gets oily first. I then rub it into the scalp a bit, and  let is sit for a few mins (I usually do my eye makeup). I rub it in again and then brush my hair out. You will not believe the volume until you try it.

This post is 100% my personal opinion and is not endorsed by any company whatsoever. (however is Nexxus wants to pay me, I would totally be cool with that! )

DYI Easy Pillow Covers

My first real sewing project was a total success! If you have any ugly, or out of style pillows that need a face lift, you have come to the right place! These envelope style pillow cases are super easy and such a money saver!

George and I were lucky to have inherited a really nice leather couch and set of recliners when his dad moved to Canada a couple years ago. Now that we have a place I am super excited to use them! They are extra comfy, and gray is super in style. What is not in style right now…the pillows that came with it.

West Philadelphia born and raised...
West Philadelphia born and raised…

No offence to the original pillow owners (aka Kathy and Bill). The pastel splatter paint rainbow look was totally in style in the 80/90s. It reminds me a bit of Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I know the apartment is only temporary, but wanted to make it feel like home. I went out looking for some more modern throw pillows, and was shocked to see that most throw pillows are $15-$40 bucks a pop. It just seemed a little silly paying that (x2) for a couple of temporary pillows. I know I will want to redecorate when we move into a house in the next year or two, and I am sure I will change my mind about decorating styles 10 times between now and then. For now, my decorations are going to be more on the temporary/ inexpensive side. I have been scouring thrift stores for good finds. Although I don’t think I would ever buy pillows used (you just don’t know where they have been), I did find some fabric I thought would be perfect! Even better, it was enough to cover 2+ pillows, and was only $1!

Here is how I did it!

With my new sewing box, and machine in hand I got to work! (Read here for the story behind them)

2013-08-06 22.47.06Here is what you will need. – an outdated pillow- measuring tape-pins or safety pins-sewing machine (or a very strong/ straight hand stitch)-new cute fabric-maybe some fun buttons

I measured the length and width of each pillow.

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I then used the following equations to calculate the cuts for the fabric. Its envelope style, so It is just 1 piece of fabric and 2 lines of stitches per pillow!

Measured width +1 and Measured Height times 2.5

For my pillow the measured width was 15 inches and the height was 17 inches

The new dimensions of the new fabric I cut were 16″ by 42.5″.

15+1= 16″ and  17*2.5= 42.5″

This equation will work on every pillow! Now that you have new dimensions, cut your new fabric. Your piece should be just barely wider than your pillow but much longer.

In the pictures I took, it was hard to see the folds. I thought some graphics might be helpful. The “right” side, or the side of the fabric that will show is red, and the inside of the fabric is purple. So for these graphics, the pillows made will be red.

Lay the fabric down with the right side facing up. Fold about 1/3 of the fabric from the bottom up. Like this

Slide1

Then from the top of that fold, fold 1/3 of the new fold down. This will create the “seam” of the envelope.

Slide2

Then take the top portion, and fold it to cover your last small fold. You should now mostly see the “wrong” side of the fabric.

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Put your pillow on top to make sure that the length is a good fit. You may need to adjust based on your eyeballing 1/3 skills.

Once you have it the right size, pin the fabric down along the long side.

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Now just sew 2 straight lines down  following your pins save about a half inch seam.

Flip the case inside out, slip your pillow in and vwhala!

You could put the fold side in the back, or add some buttons and have it on the front.  It is also super nice to be able to take the covers off and wash them or change them at any time.

Before and after
Before and after

I really like how mine turned out, and look great with the rest of the room. I am still in the decorating process, but everything is different shades of grays and dark blues with just  few pops of red. I will post more of my inexpensive DYI projects  on how I decorated my place.

After
After