Monday, July 16, 2018

Weekend Recap: Condo Work

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend.

My weekend was full of condo work.  I did a little yard work on Friday evening.  There is one section of the yard where grass and weeds just pop up all over.  I need to figure out a way to keep that in check.  And the darn bugs.  They are too much!  After I caught up on Southern Charm and Shooter.  Two of my favorite shows right now.  I am super excited for the Southern Charm reunion - I can't wait to hear what is going on with Thomas and Ashley.  I know he won't be there, but I would assume they would discuss them still.

Saturday I was up early and tried to take advantage of it with a morning walk/run.  I sure miss Michigan mornings, haha, this muggy mess in St. Louis is kind of miserable.  I had a few errands to run, so I did that and then got to work on moving some things over to my condo.  It was also carpet cleaning day - I was SO excited for that, because then I could really start to move things over.  While the carpets weren't super bad before (although there were some spots), it's just nice to know that they have been freshly cleaned.  And they really do look better.

My refrigerator was set to come sometime on Sunday, so I stayed home from Sunday school and church, and started moving things right away.  I was a little nervous, because the sales associate told me that I would be getting a call at 7:30 that would give me my two hour window.  Well, I finally got my window at 9:30.  I was getting worried that something had happened!  I was able to get a lot moved in the morning and before I knew it, the delivery people calling that they were on their way.  I had this crazy fear that the frigde wouldn't fit through the doors, but with the handles off, it squeezed through just fine.  And now I have a refrigerator!  It finally starting to actually feel like a home.  A few more loads in the afternoon, and then before I knew it, it was 5:30.  The day just flew on by!  And today I think I will be paying for it, because Sunday night I was already feeling sore.

It was a super productive weekend, and I am getting closer and closer to being fully moved over to the condo.  I was getting a little emotional on Sunday - just excited to be moving and all the fun stuff ahead (decorating / organizing), and kind of sad at the same time.  Taking down the decorations just reminded me of when my mom and I came up with them when I first got my apartment.  I think moving is just a bittersweet thing in general, and I was definitely feeling that!

Posts are going to be a bit light from me this week.  Between moving and work - I am feeling stretched a little thin.  But I will for sure be back on Thursday, for July's edition of Girl Chat.  We will be sharing our favorite summer recipes, and we would absolutely love for you to join in and link up!

Linking up with Biana and Lindsay.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Favorites: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you. 

Hey all!  I hope you have had a great week.  I was on vacation for the first part of the week, which was sooooo nice.  I will be recapping that next week, with lots and lots of beach pictures.  It was tough coming back, but the highlight was that Thursday was the start of early access for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  So while I was bummed not to wake up in Michigan, at least I was waking up to do some serious shopping.

I'm sharing some of the items I purchased yesterday at the sale, and then once I actually get them in and am able to try them on, I will report back on what worked / what didn't.  

1.  Booties.
I have quite a few booties, but I am missing a cognac color.  I feel like the sale always includes lots of cute shoes, especially booties, so that was the first thing I looked for.  I purchased the BP Brice Notched Booties (originally $119.95, on sale for $79.90), as well as the Sam Edelman Maurine Booties (originally $169.96, on sale for $99.90).  I am hoping one of them works!

2.  Tall Boots.  

Along with booties, I was also on the look out for tall boots in a tan / cognac color.  These will end up being a Christmas present, but I wanted to take advantage of the pricing now.  I got two to try, the Sam Edelman Caprice Boots (originally $224.95, on sale for $149.90), and UGG Daley Boot (not part of the Anniversary Sale, but still on sale - originally $249.95, on sale for $149.96).

3.  Jeans.  

I decided to try out a couple pairs of jeans, with the plan of keeping one pair.  I have only heard good things about AG jeans, so I ordered a pair of the Farrah jeans to try.  They are still really expensive on sale (originally $225.00, on sale for $149.90), but I feel like all I do is wear a few pairs of jeans over and over again, so price per wear would be minimal at the end of the day.  I also went for these STS Blue Emma jeans, which are at the other end of the price spectrum (originally $59.00, on sale for $38.90).  Another relatively well priced pair are these BP Cutoff jeans (originally $65.00, on sale for $42.90).  While I wouldn't usually for go for something with a raw hem (not really practical for work), I saw them cuffed and they were too cute!  I figured for the price, I should at least give them a try!  As my 'safe bet' I ordered a pair of my tried and true NYDJ jeans (originally $119.00, on sale for $78.90).  I got a pair during the sale last year, as well as another for Christmas and just love them.  

4.  Wubby Pullover.  
I feel like this was super popular this past winter and I really liked it then, but I think when I wanted to buy it, it was sold out.  What I love about it is it just looks so darn comfy and cozy!  The original price is $78.00, and it is on sale for $51.90.

5.  Dresses.  

I like to use this sale to grab a new dress or two for work.  I really like the Eliza J. brand, and ended up grabbing three different dresses to try out.  The first is this navy Bell Sleeve Fit & Flare dress (originally $148.00, on sale for $98.90).  I actually got a dress super similar to this last year during the sale, but it didn't have the bell sleeve.  The second was this Faux Wrap Ponte dress (originally $138.00, on sale for $91.90).  I feel like it is classic and I am thinking the faux wrap will be least that is the hope!  I don't really have a ton of patterned dresses, and this Faux Wrap Collared dress (originally $118.00, on sale for $78.90) stood out to me.  The colors are really pretty!

6.  Tops.  

This Halogen Ruffle Neck sweater (originally $79.00, on sale for $49.90) originally caught my eye in the catalog.  I loved the green color, but I ended up ordering it in the gray.  I have a green sweater, and while my sweater isn't kelly green, I was still worried it would be too similar.  And I feel like you cannot have enough gray sweaters!  I am a little nervous about the turtleneck, because sometimes those make me uncomfortable, but I am hoping the fact that it is ruffled at the top will make it feel less constricting.  I also saw this super cute Calson Tunic (originally $49.00, on sale for $29.90) in the black and white striped later on in the day and picked it up.  I think it'll be great dressed down with tennis shoes, or up with some booties and a fun necklace.  

7.  Button Front Skirt.  
I have been needing some new skirts for work, so when I came across this skirt (originally $79.00, on sale for $49.90), I thought it would be really fun to try.  I like the button detail, and the navy color - it goes with a ton of things I have.  I think the A-line style is classic, and I am hoping flattering, too!

8.  Lotion.  
The Creme de Corps lotion (originally $75.00, on sale for $52.00) is a must purchase for me.  I got my first bottle last year during the sale, and fell in love.  So much so, that I bought one full price earlier this year because I ran out.  My skin gets super dry in the winter and this is the only lotion that I have found to help it.  The price seems crazy at first, but a bottle lasts me 6+ months, making it less than $10 a month, which really isn't bad.  I grabbed 2 to last me until the next sale.  

Whew, that's a lot!  I always way over buy during the sale and have lots of returns.  Which, honestly, I feel kind of awkward about.  I just get embarrassed dragging all this stuff into the store to return.  But I also feel you have to grab what you even 'think' you may like to try it, and if you think too long about it, it will be gone.  And things you think will for sure work out, don't, and it's nice to have options.  So lots of returns it is!

If you have shopped the sale, I am curious to hear what you have gotten, or what you have your eye on!  It's fun to shop vicariously through others, haha!

Hope you guys have a great weekend.  I am hoping to make some progress at the condo, and enjoy a little down time, too!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Chickpea Summer Salad

I am throwing it back a bit in sharing this recipe.  It's been awhile since I made it, but as we are in the throes of summer, I thought it would be a great time to break it out.

A few of you may have seen this before, as I originally shared this recipe via a guest post, quite some time ago.

I discovered this salad a few years ago and for awhile, it was my go-to lunch to take to work in the summer.  It's great paired with some pita bread or chips for a light lunch, and would make a great side for a cook out, or just for dinner with a piece of grilled meat.  

Chickpea Summer Salad
2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 small container grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of basil, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, mixing together.  In a small jar, combine dressing ingredients and shake well.  Pour over salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

I think the key to this salad is the basil.  One time I forgot to pick up basil from the store, and instead of running out, I just made do without.  Definitely was not as good!

If you plan on splitting up the salad for lunches or dinners, I suggest leaving it undressed until you are ready to eat it.  Refrigerate the salad, but store the dressing at room temperature.  

I think that you could substitute the chickpeas with navy beans, or white kidney beans.  Lately chickpeas have been hurting my stomach, so when I make this again, I definitely plan to switch it on up.  I am also imagining it over a bed of greens - either a spring mix, or some arugula.  And even some quinoa.  The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 2018 Goals

I feel like this week just came out of nowhere.  I know we were at the end of June, but it didn't hit me that it was actually going to be July soon.  And yes, I realize that makes no sense, haha!

I am really excited for this month, as it is moving month - which is what my goals are centered around.  

July Goals

1.  MOVE!  I have a few weeks before my official move date, and I cannot wait.  I am so ready to be settled into one place!

2.  Move ALL the little things.  The official move date that I referenced above is for the big items.  I am having a moving company come in and move my couch, bed - those types of things.  But, I am responsible for all the little stuff.  And I have a lot of little stuff.  I have already moved a few things, but the whole electrical panel replacement through me off my game.  It pushed back my carpet cleaning date, but I have a new plan of attack, so I am set.  The overall goal, though, is to get all the little things moved the weekend before my actual move date.  I will be left at my apartment with only the essentials, that way things can go as smoothly as possible.  

3.  Send snail mail.  I'd like to send moving announcements out so that people have my new address, as well as a few random things to friends.  I absolutely love getting 'fun' mail, and often think, oh it would be nice to send so and so this, but fail on the execution.  It's one of those lost arts that I want to start doing occasionally.        

June Goals

1.  CLOSE ON MY CONDO!  CHECK!  I closed on the 18th and it was relatively smooth.  I had a minor freak out the week before, because I was still waiting for my final down payment amount towards the end of the week, but I got it, got my cashier's check and everything went without a hitch.

2.  Clean out my email inboxes.  I have made a lot of progress on this.  Honestly, I think the blogger glitch helped a ton, haha, but I am still not quite to where I was hoping for.  It's a work in progress.

3.  Complete 30 Day Fitness Challenge with Megan @ Honey We're Home.  I started off doing so well with this, at least the first few days, and then totally fell off the wagon.  I blame work travel.  Then I was feeling under the weather...excuses, excuses, I know, but it's the truth!  I printed out all the workouts, though, and saved the meal plans / recipes she shared, so I plan to do my own little challenge next month.  If anyone wants to join me, let me know and we can be accountabilabuddies (a coworker used this word awhile ago and for whatever reason it cracks me up - it's kind of fun to say!).  

What do you want to accomplish this month?

Linking up with LindsayJenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July 2018 Book Review

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you. 

Lethal by Sandra Brown.  Surprise!  I read more Sandra Brown this month.  Definitely saying that sarcastically, as I always read a lot of Sandra Brown.  I was really surprised by this book because I thought I had read it.  I had a few different ideas on who the 'bad' person was, but still was surprised at how it all shook out.  I will say that the end was not my favorite.  I like things to be all tied up neatly, and I feel like this one just left you to thinking.  Like you probably know what happened, but I want it spelled out!   

Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown.  I liked this book.  It had a lot of bad stuff in it (rape / suicide), but I liked being able to see how those events shaped the characters and their lives.

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts.  Well, Nora Roberts is one of my very favorite authors, but this was NOT my favorite book.  And it was because of the topic - a mass shooting.  I felt this way reading The Luckiest Girl Alive, and then also when I started another book (I can't remember the title - I ended up not getting past the first few chapters).  It was written like her books normally are, so you get a love interest in there, mystery and suspense, and honestly it was a good book, but I just hate, hate, hate reading about mass shootings.  School shootings, mall shootings, movie shootings - for whatever reason (I mean they are obviously terrible, but I read books that have really disturbing stuff in them - see above - but the shootings are the ones that just really hit me) it makes me sick and I just get so scared.  I guess it's too realistic for me?  I don't know.  I had a bad day a few weeks ago and I went to the library, picked up my holds and thought oh good, I will start this new Nora Roberts one, that will make me feel better.  Didn't even remember what it was about, and then I was like well I need to finish it!  So yea, if you are sensitive to the mass shootings like me, don't read it, but if you can handle it and enjoy her books, then I'd say to check it out!

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott.  Years ago, a girl died, and a group of 6 friends were the last to see her.  The body has been found, the case is being reopened, and they are all being questioned again.  I really liked this book.  It kept me guessing on what actually happened those years ago, and there was a bit of a love story, too, which is always my favorite.  My only issue with it, was towards the end when they know who the killer is, and the detective says they had help...but it doesn't spell out who exactly helped.  You have an inkling, but I like things very cut and dry.  So that was my one critique.  But other than that, it was really good and there was even an epilogue, which I always love!

That's it for this month's review.  It was a little bit of a slower reading month for me.  I have oodles of books checked out, though, so I am hoping to dive into some of them soon!  

Linking up with Steph.

Monday, July 9, 2018

4 Tips For Choosing Paint Colors For Your Home

I knew when I bought my condo that I would want to paint ALL the rooms.  Everything was a beige color, and while it really wasn't that bad, I knew that the easiest way to make a huge impact on would be to paint.  A fresh coat of paint just instantly perks a place up!  

However, the idea of picking out colors was a little intimidating to me.  

I think the reason I was intimidated was because it was a completely blank slate.  The few times I had picked out paint colors previously, I had other things to go off of like the decor in the rest of the house, what furniture I was working with, etc.  And while I still had my current furniture to keep in mind, it seemed like the possibilities were just endless.  Which equaled way too many choices for me!

Luckily, I figured out somewhat of a process, and was able to narrow things down rather quickly.  

Take A Suggestion From Your Realtor
I knew that I wanted a gray / beige for my main color.  Which sounds simple, but goodness gracious, there are SO many of those colors.  My realtor and her real estate partner made it super easy.  They mentioned a color that previous clients of theirs had used - Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.  The painters they used said it was super popular and a great neutral - a lot of the interior designers they have worked with like that color a lot.  So as soon as I left meeting with them, I headed to the store and checked out the color.  I loved it.  It's that perfect color that leans both gray and beige, so it really goes with everything!  It's light, but still adds some color!  

Check Houzz
One of the things that really sold me on it, was another tip from the realtor and her partner.  You can check out Houzz, type in the paint color and see actual rooms painted in that color.  It really gives you a great idea of how things will look!

Grab ALL The Colors & Lay Them Out
I spent about a half hour or so at the paint store pulling out different paint chips.  I grabbed all that caught my eye, and then started narrowing things down.  I knew I wanted to do a blue for the half bath, or even in a bedroom - kind of like a moody blue, or the blue of the sky right before a big storm, or even a navy, so I was drawn to those colors right away.  There are of course a ton of those, as well, so I just grabbed any that seemed nice, and laid them all out on the little table and started picking out the ones I liked.  I put them up to the Agreeable Gray and the Extra White (trim color) to make sure that it seemed cohesive.

Check Pinterest
I ended up with probably 10 chips or so, and then over the next few days I would mix them up and see what I liked.  Again, I utilized Houzz, but Pinterest actually was more helpful than Houzz when it came to picking out these colors.  I was able to search on the paint color, and then images would pop up.  I ended up creating a board for just paint colors, here.  Being able to see things on a grander scale really helped, and before I knew it, I had things narrowed down and ultimately picked Let It Rain for my half bath.

I love how both colors turned out.  Agreeable Gray is the perfect canvas for anything - I have it all over the first floor (excluding the half bath) and all throughout the entry / upstairs hallway.  Let It Rain is so pretty - it's exactly what I had pictured in my mind and I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up in other areas of the house.    

I still have the master bedroom / bathroom and the guest bedroom / bathroom to pick paint for, but I am waiting to figure out bedding and go from there.

Let me know if you have any additional tips or tricks that I may be missing!

Linking up with Lindsay.     

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday Favorites: More Condo Talk & A Favorite Blog Post

Happy Friday!  This week has been all out of sorts for me.  My mom was here earlier this week, then it was the 4th and then pretty much the weekend!  Can't complain about a fast week, though.

1.  I mentioned yesterday that I had a few things I wanted to highlight from Sunday, but felt like the post was getting long, so I didn't want to make it even longer!  So here are the remaining few things.  First was church.  Sunday school has been slim due to it being summer, and this past Sunday, those of us that were there were all having some kind of issues.  Mine was the electrical, and it was nice I think for us all to kind of commiserate together.  The community aspect was one of those things I was looking for when finding a church, and I that day just really reiterated that I have been able to find it.  When I got home from church, my mom had just gotten to town.  She was back down to help me with my condo.  While we initially had planned to do a few different things, because the carpets were to be cleaned the prior day, we still got a ton done.  She stayed until Tuesday morning, and it just was so nice.  

2.  One of the nice things about my mom being here was on Sunday night, I had a bit of a scare with the electrical, and I was so glad to have someone there with me.  My initial electrician had taken a breaker out, and I noticed Sunday evening, right before we left, that it was glowing.  I was SO scared that it was going to cause a fire.  Luckily, we realized it was the air conditioner, so once that was off, it was ok.  But it still was freaky and it took us a while to figure out if it really was ok and what was going on.  Luckily, I had an electrician out the next day, he gave me some encouraging news and was able to get us back up and running with the air that day.  And, he came yesterday and fixed it all.  No more electrical panel problems (knock on wood)!!!!

3.  Three things that I really was dreading purchasing were the refrigerator, washer and dryer.  There are just so many darn options and I was super overwhelmed.  I actually had a refrigerator in mind from the beginning, but when my mom and I went to look at it again, we realized the freezer portion was itty bitty.  Luckily, while we were out looking, I found one I really liked just a few down.  After going back and measuring my opening for the millionth time, I ended up purchasing it.  And, I also got my washer and dryer.  My parents swear by Kenmore, which is a Sears brand.  Initially that turned me off, since Sears isn't doing so hot, but I learned that other brands parts can work for Kenmore, which alleviated my concerns.  All items have been scheduled for delivery and I am just so glad to have made a decision about those big appliances and not have it in the back of my mind anymore.  Fingers crossed the deliveries go well!    

4.  My mom almost always brings food when she comes, so we had our dinners planned out for when she was here.  Well, with the electrical issue, we didn't leave the condo until late on Sunday, and just decided to get Panera.  It had been awhile since I had something other than breakfast there, and I found my new favorite salad - the Southwest Chile Lime Salad.  It is delicious!  We ended up running a bit behind again on Monday, so we had Panera again, haha!  I used to just love their Greek salad, but they changed it up a bit and then I the other things I would try, I just didn't love as much.  So glad I found a new favorite, though!

5.  Chelsea's 'On Falling in Love With Your Life' post.  If you guys haven't checked out Chelsea's blog, I highly suggest it.  She wrote about post this week about perspective, and it was so good.  I feel like she always shares these insightful posts that just have you nodding along the whole time.  Or maybe that is just me, but I suspect not.  Definitely worth a read.

Linking up with AndreaErikaAndreaApril, and Katie.