Wednesday, February 21, 2018

LOFT Loves

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My birthday is fast approaching, and my mom reminded me that I needed to decide and let her know what I wanted as a present.  She suggested a Fitbit, which I am still considering (does anyone have the Alta - if so please let me know how you like it!), but I also was thinking some new work clothes.  It got really warm last week, so I was able to break out my favorite crop pants from LOFT, only to notice they were looking a little worn.  I started looking online for replacements to send to my mom and fell down the online shopping black hole.  Below are a few of the items that caught my eye!

Skinny Ankle Pant.  These pants are just classic!    

Puff Sleeve Shift Dress.  I actually saw this in the shirt form first, but I love it even more as a dress!

Poppy Bloom Shift Skirt.  This skirt is a little too impractical for me, because I really don't know if I would have enough to wear with it, but how gorgeous is it?! 

Pull On Flippy Skirt.  I have a flippy skirt from here in a black twead and wear it all. the. time.  All the time!  It's one of my favorites - so very comfortable and flattery.  A plain black option is high on my list of items to buy!

Wildflower Mixed Media Shell.  I have a few mixed media tops and just love them.  The print on this top is what really drew me to it.  How very springy and colorful is it?!

Ruffle Shell.  I love the details on this top with the little buttons and ruffles.  So very femine!  The have a long sleeve version which I just love - it's only sale, too!  They don't have it in my size though, which stinks.

Mixed Stripe Sweater.  I love stripes, especially navy and white/cream.  I think this would be the perfect transition sweater for spring!  

Blouson Cardigan.  The sleeves on this cardigan caught me eye, as well as the styling.  I really love tucking sweaters in for work, but I have never thought of doing so with a cardigan.  It looks so cute!  This cardigan also comes in a bunch of different colors.  Something lighter would be great for winter to spring and summer.  Just a very classic piece!

I really could go on - I feel like with some places things can be hit or miss.  You don't find very much you love, and other times you find all the things to love.  This was definitely the latter!  

Linking up with LindsayJenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Weekend Recap: President's Day 2018

Happy Tuesday!  I hope all of you that had the day off yesterday enjoyed it and for those of you that had to work...hopefully it went by fast!

The weekend started off with a happy hour at one of our favorite places.  It was a great way to start the long weekend.  I came home to the gorgeous sky below and couldn't resist a picture.  The rest of the evening was mainly spent reading.  

Saturday I woke up to snow!  I do remember them mentioning it in the forecast, but it was more of a passing note, rather than something that was actually going to accumulate.  I had plans to run errands, but instead decided to stay inside and tackle my closet.  I shared some of my morning on instagram stories - I am trying to remember to do that more!  I went through my clothes and reorganized things to make better use of my closet space.  I am so pumped about how it turned out!  Definitely a day well spent.  I took a little break in the afternoon for some coffee, then after a quick chat with my grandma, I headed to the library.  It was jumpin' - I guess everyone was trying to stock up for the long weekend.  I headed out for the evening and spent the night eating wings and playing cards with friends.  It was a ton of fun and I love getting to see all their kiddos.  They are too cute - the little girl came over to us with a fireman hat on, and so of course, we were like ohhh are you a fireman?  And she was like no, I am a princess fireman.  I loved it!  We played What Do You Meme?, and then ended the night with 'Pass the Trash'.  Both so fun - I swear you don't even need the pictures, you could just read the cards and crack up laughing.

I headed to Sunday school and church the next morning.  I hadn't been in a few weeks, so it was nice to be back.  We actually had one of the past pastors do the sermon, which was really neat.  After, it was out to a late lunch for some drinks and apps, then a quiet night in.  

As I mentioned on Friday, I didn't have to work yesterday, which was really nice.  We got President's Day as a holiday a few years ago, and I am so glad!  It was a dreary and rainy morning, which made it perfect to just stay inside.  I did a few things to prep for the week ahead and laundry that I had put off the rest of the weekend.  Since the weather was crappy, it was also a great day to go see a movie (although in my mind the weather can be awesome and I would still think it's a great day to see a movie!).  We saw Black Panther and thought it was super good.  I highly recommend going to see it!

Linking up with Erika and Ashley.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites: 2.16.18

Happy Friday!  This week started off on the wrong foot, but I have to say as the days went by it got better and better.  Here's to hoping that means it'll be a great weekend ahead!

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1.  Charmed eCommerce website!  I have talked about Charmed multiple times on my blog.  It is the cutest boutique in my hometown.  I always find great items there, and they are constantly getting in new merchandise.  I am super excited, because Charmed will now be online.  Normally when I want something, I ask for it to be held and then my mom stops in to pick it up for me and I pay my mom back.  Or I think I might have even given them my payment information over the phone before.  So while still easy enough for me, having an eCommerce site will be even better, because I can just go online to browse and then purchase as I would like any other online shopping site.  Super excited about this, although I think my wallet is going to be hurting a bit.  You can find a great mix of styles and price points at Charmed, so if you feel like doing a little online shopping, I highly suggest checking out!

2.  Passing a test at work!  I have mentioned before that my company offers associates the opportunity to take exams that further our knowledge on our industry.  They are not required, just a little extra something that is available to us.  I opt to do the online exams, since I can go through them at my leisure, and I finished one this week.  Once you sign up for an exam, you have 6 months to complete it and if you don't complete it in that time, you are charged for the test.  Well, I was pretty darn close to my 6 month mark, with it ending at the end of this week!  In my head, I had planned to do the exam around Christmas, since things are slower, but that did not happen and before I knew it, I needed to get it done ASAP.  I started last week, and then had planned to finish it this past weekend on Sunday, but it totally slipped my mind.  I was a bit frantic when I realized that I still needed to complete 3/4 of it by the weeks end.  I finished it Wednesday, and not only do I have that exam under my belt, I also earned a designation!  Now, I don't get a raise or anything like that, but if I so chose to, I could add these letters after my name - ALMI (Associate, Life Management Institute), which I think is pretty neat.  And I do get a little one time cash payment for completing the test and earning a designation.  Pretty exciting!     

3.  I made this simple and delicious strawberry, whipped cream, dark chocolate covered pretzel crumble dessert for Valentine's Day and wanted to reshare it with you all again, because it is so darn good!  It's such a light dessert, that feels so indulgent at the same time.  Yum, yum, yum! 

4.  I cleaned out my purse yesterday and it feels so much lighter now.  It's amazing how many receipts and just little slips of paper and coupons can weigh things down.  And I just feel so much better about my life in general when I have a cleaned out purse - it's one of those little things that makes me feel like I have got it together.  Definitely one of those things I want to add to my weekly schedule so that I can stay on top if it!

5.  As I mentioned on Monday, I took a total of ONE picture at the gala last weekend, but luckily one of my good friends sent me some of hers.  It was such a great night!

Don't mind me...just having a little solo dance party! 

And if you missed it, on the blog this week...
Weekend Recap - gala weekend!
February 2018 Book Review - one of my favorite posts of the month!
Home Hack - a little trick that has made my life so much easier
Girl Chat: How I Stay Organized - I seriously love writing and reading about organization - it is so motivating!

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Mine is a long one since we get President's Day off (hopefully you do, too!), so I will see you back here on Tuesday.

Linking up with AndreaErikaApril, and Katie. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Girl Chat: How I Stay Organized

Happy Friday Eve!  It's time for another around of Girl Chat with some of my favorite ladies.  Last month, we did a little reintroduction to familiarize everyone, and this month, we are sharing how we stay organized.  I love reading about organization, and writing about it, so I was really excited for this topic.  Even more so this week, because while I do pride myself on being organized and staying on top if things, I did not start Monday off on the right foot, and felt like I was playing catch up the first half of the week.

Lists upon lists upon lists.  I am a list person.  I love to write down lists of things to do - not matter how big or small they may be.  Any time I go to the store, I HAVE to write it down, even if it is just two things, because to be honest, if I don't, I will end up leaving the store forgetting something.  I feel like making lists also helps take things back a step and calm you.  When I think of all the things I need/want to do, it can get overwhelming.  Putting them on paper helps me actually see them, and prioritize.  Making a list makes things become more manageable in my mind.

Email myself.  As I mentioned, if I don't write something down, I will forget.  That isn't always convenient, so I have been known to email myself as a reminder.  This is especially helpful with me for work.  There may be something I need to do first thing, that I remember right before bed.  I shoot myself a quick email as a reminder, and then when I go into work I see that item in my inbox.

Paper planner AND online calendar.  The past few years I have had a paper planner.  This year I have been using the Essential Planner from Peacock Paper & Gifts (BIG fan!).  At the beginning of the year, I set it up with birthdays, appointments I had scheduled, those types of things, and continue to do so as things get scheduled.  I also input those important dates on my online calendar so that I have two reminders.  It may seem like overkill, but I find it really handy to do.  In my planner, there is also a to do list section which I utilize a lot, a meal planning section, grocery shopping list, and so on.  It's really handy!

Meal planning / prepping.  This is key for me.  I plan out my meals for the week, then head grocery shopping, then do whatever prepping I can to make the week ahead easier.  There are some weeks where I don't do this, and I can tell you from experience, that it makes a huge difference when you take the time to prep and plan.  One thing I have found helpful to do, too, is make a crockpot meal on Monday.  For me, the start of the week means back to work, and it's just not usually a 'fun' day.  The weekend is over and it's back to the grind.  I know some people enjoy Monday since it is a fresh start to the week, which is something I can appreciate, but some Mondays can be rough, and when I get home I am tired and don't want to cook.  Having a meal in the crockpot, already going, helps to eliminate the stress of putting a full meal together and also keeps me from throwing my planning out the window and picking up food instead.  I usually meal prep on Sunday, and it really takes an hour at most to set my self up for a successful week.

Something that I have not started yet, but hope to (it's one of my New Year's Resolutions!) is create a weekly routine.  I have been pondering this for awhile, and I am still not exactly sure what this will look like.  But I do know that there are certain things I can be doing weekly to help myself stay more organized.  Whether this be dealing with my receipts / updating my budget, meal planning, or even doing a face mask.  Some of which I already do weekly, whereas others I could step it up.  Creating an actual list I think would help me put together a schedule of sorts to ensure that these items get done on a weekly basis, allowing me to stay on top of things and even more organized.  I feel like this may sound very rigid and extreme, which isn't how I am thinking of it at all, but more of an outline to keep myself on track.  Like I said - I can be super forgetful and not having things written down often leads me putting some things off.

As far as keeping my home organized, I have been trying to stay on top of putting things back in their place right away, or doing a little pick up before bed.  Sometimes just putting the pillows back on the couch nicely and folding the blanket on the couch can make a world of difference.  I am also trying to really clean things out and organize them in a workable fashion.  I say workable fashion, because you really have to consider how the space / items are used to make it truly organized.  I found a great system for my bathroom a few years ago that still continues to work well for me, but my tupperware cabinet literally took me almost four years to get right.  As in I just got it together how I like it this last time my mom was in town.  

I honestly could go on and on and on - can you tell I love this topic?!  Can't wait to check everyone's post out!

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat! 

And if you aren't already, make sure to follow your hosts via the links below!

Danielle - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

Emily - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest 

Lindsay - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Lizzie - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Home Hack - Keeping a Utility Tote in the Car

Hey all!  Happy Wednesday - we made it to mid week!  The week started off a bit rough for me.  It was definitely a Monday, for sure.  However, it was the day that did give me a little inspiration for this post.  Before I get to it, though, I wanted to remind you all about tomorrow's Girl Chat link up.  We are sharing how we stay organized, which I am super excited about.  I have a few ways that I keep myself organized, and am excited to learn more tips and tricks!

Back to the actual topic of this post.  Carrying in groceries, or items from Target into my apartment is one of the banes of my existence.  (A bit dramatic, but also very true.)  I load up my arms as much as I can so that I am able to bring everything inside in one trip.  It's ridiculous and I am always about to lose some things by the time I get to my doorway, not to mention actually being able to get my keys into the door to unlock is a feat in itself.  Enter in my utility tote.  My mom got me one of those big Thirty-One utility bags years back.  Mine is actually a Christmas bag, and over the years, I have loved to use it around the holidays to haul presents back and forth.  After the holidays this year, a light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that if I kept my tote in my car, I could just put all my bags in there and use it to carry everything in without the big hassle of loading up my arms and overloading myself just to try and get it all in at once.  I unload the tote inside, then just put right by the door to grab and put back in the car next time I leave.  I have done this a few times and it's been so handy!  While there are some days I can't fit everything in there (think those trips that I stock up on both paper towels and toliet paper), for the most part it all fits and in turn I have a sturdy bag that I can put on my shoulder to carry in.  Now it doesn't have to be a Thirty-One bag, that is just what I have so I use it, but I am sure there are other really good options out there as well.  Whatever you may use, I am telling you - using something is SO handy, especially for those people like me who live in an apartment, or have a detached garage.

It's made my life easier and I thought I would share in case it would make yours easier, as well!

Linking up with LindsayJenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 2018 Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you.
The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley.  This is my second home book of the year, and I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better than the first!  It breaks things up, and at the end of each chapter has checklists for you to do to help get organized.  Now some of it still was common sense, and some of it was a little out of touch (like most people I know don't have a 'baking station' in their kitchen - I mean I have most of my baking supplies grouped together for convenience, but it's nothing I would consider a baking station - for some reason that particular comment just stood out to me, haha!), but overall it was a good read and I definitely would suggest it if you are wanting some structure and help getting your home organized.

Deadline by Sandra Brown.  I am usually a fan of Sandra Brown and this was no different.  I liked this story and how it unfolded - it was a bit different and there was definitely a huge twist at the end that I did not expect at all.  If you like mystery and suspense - and some romance - this is a good book to read!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins.  This was my book club book, and while I had to miss attending club, I still read the book.  I was curious about this one, because I remember it being a popular book.  I wasn't a fan.  I thought it was a little confusing and slow and just odd.  And I felt like I didn't get all my answers by the end of the book.  Turns out, not many that actually made it to book club read it, and those that did, were not fans either.  So in my opinion (and some others!), this is one to skip.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman.  This is my second time checking out this book, because I didn't get to read it before I needed to return it.  I thought it was a really good book.  Very topical, too, with all that is being talked about in the world these days.  My only issue was I feel like the ending wasn't as clear as I had hoped - I want things spelled out for me so I get good closure, but that is my only qualm with the book.  I know it's a popular one, as well, but if you haven't read it yet, I would suggest it!

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel.  I needed something a little more light hearted after Bear Town, and this fit the bill.  It's about a girl who gets a job in admissions at a private school in New York.  There are quite a few characters, which keeps things interesting.  A few of them are annoying, but isn't it rare to find a book where you like every single thing about every single character?  It was cute and one that I would recommend.

Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke.  I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark for a long time now, and I feel like her books are always ones I can count on for being good.  In this book, they have a show that revisits cold cases to share the story, and hopefully help to solve the crime.  This one was about a woman who was thrown to her death at a Met Ball.  It was interesting, and I feel like, while you have an idea of who did it, you are between a few until the end and aren't sure how it will all play out.  Another good one!

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle.  This book hooked me.  I was so confused at what was going on, and what the end result would be.  After being married for 7 years, a woman realizes that her husband isn't who she thought he was.  It's very interesting with good twists and turns throughout.  I would recommend this one for sure!

Linking up with Steph.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekend Recap: Spirit of Provident Gala 2018

Another weekend has come and gone!  This was a really good one for me, because it was the Provident Gala!

After work on Friday I did a little running around to try and find a clutch for the gala.  I had ordered one from Nordstrom, and when I received it, the bag had a big rip in it.  I chatted with them online, and they resent me one that I was assured would be delivered by Saturday.  I got the shipment notification and the delivery date is actually today, so I needed another option.  I was able to find something at Target, thank goodness, and then I spent the rest of the night cleaning and getting a few things done for the next day.

Saturday started off with a lazy morning, which was so nice.  I had picked up peppered turkey bacon from Trader Joe's the other night, and made it for breakfast with some eggs.  It was so good!  I highly recommend it.  I almost didn't even miss the taste of pork bacon when I ate it!  I finally made a little dent in the Hallmark movies I have recorded, and watched the cutest Valentine's movie - My Secret Valentine.  I had a hair appointment in the afternoon.  I am so not good at doing hair, and I wanted to look a little more special, so I decided to get an updo.  It turned out really well and I am so happy I went that route.  I was getting antsy afterwards, just waiting around til I needed to finish getting ready for the gala.  The time seemed to crawl by!  My friend and fellow YP came over to get ready and then we were going to head to the gala together.  We got there right as it was starting, and spent some time catching up with the other YPs in attendance and checking out the silent auction items.  I never bid, but I always enjoy taking a look!  Soon it was time for the program to start and everyone found their seats.  The program was fantastic.  The speaker was Pete Early, and I highly urge you to look him up.  His son has struggled with mental illness, and hearing his story was just truly inspiring.  After the speaker, it was time for the awards!  It was such an honor to be an award receipent - I really cannot put it into words.  As dinner was ending, they shared with us that while we had been sitting there, enjoying the program, the hotline had received 29 phone calls, 10 of which were suicidal.  Talk about a powerful takeaway.  I walked out of that room wanting to do more - a sign of a successful gala I would say!  We rounded out the night with some live music and drinks, then headed out before the weather got too nasty.

Surprise, surprise, I totally slacked on pictures from the gala.  This is the only one I have of me and Dara, who was my fellow award winner.  However, my friend got a lot more and I should be getting them soon!

The area got a wintry mix overnight, so I took it easy Sunday morning, staying in and catching up on Fixer Upper.  I missed going to church, but I do not mess with iffy roads!  I worked on laundry in the afternoon, along with a little meal prep and planning.  We checked out Jumanji which was SO good.  It was really funny and had some really endearing parts to it, too.  Then it was time for more laundry and prepping for the work week ahead. 

Linking up with Lindsay and Biana.