Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites

Hi Girls-

We made it!  I don't know about y'all, but I for one am super glad this work week is over.  It's been ROUGH!  But...for my meme of the day.  Let's get Friday started!

Now that we've shaken our rump a little bit--let's get to it because I'm super excited for today's Friday Favorites link-up with Andrea, Erika and Narci.

Chips & Salsa is probably my #1 fave snack food of all times.  And I had a certain brand I loved until I discovered this and it blew everything I had snacked on in the past to smithereens.  It is the bomb!  Does anyone say that anymore? :)  I'm thinking this version of the already yummy Tostito chip is new and you have to, I repeat, have to pick this up---immediately.  Like go out right now and buy them. I'll wait. They are thin and crispy like you would find at your favorite Mexican Cantina.  And I can't say enough about Mrs. Renfro's Peach Salsa.  They have other versions but this is by far the best--at least according to my selective palette (which is not all that selective seeing as I would eat Chick-Fil-A #1 Combo everyday if I could). 

OK, so I try to make a point not to buy anything "Dry Clean Only".  But every now and than, the clothing gets the best of me and it's something that I just can't live without.  Well, last year, I was working a trade show and my booth was next to a dish detergent, laundry detergent, all purpose cleaning type booth and he had this little gem that he graciously gave me at the end of the event.  I was a little hesitant to use for fear of ruining my clothes BUT after doing some research and reading the online reviews I figured I'd give it a try and let me tell y'all, they work fantastic.  As the back of the box instructions say, it is really as easy as 1-2-3.  I highly recommend it if you are like me and want to save a few extra pennies on dry cleaning.
I {heart} Jim Cantore!  There I've said it--he may be the only reason that I watch the Weather Channel.  Well, last week Jim (because we are on first name basis now-ha!) was in Boston and experienced a "thundersnow".  I laughed so hard at his excitement.  Check out the video here to see what I'm talking about.  Also, I will add that he was in Charlotte this week for NC's Snowmageddon and I briefly thought (well, let's be real I was already lacing up my shoes before I came to my senses) about risking life and limb in the bad weather and going a little stalkerazzi on him since he was in my nearby.
OK gals, let's get personal.  Let's be BFF's and have some girl talk and venture "down there".  I'll be real for a minute, shaving down there is a pain in the patookus.  I usually get waxed during the summer time because it's swimsuit season and you can see everything BUT during the winter months I take care of business on my own--unfortunately razor burn is my arch nemesis and happens nearly every time.  Until I found this product!  This is a roll on that you use after you shave down under and it really does prevent razor burn and in grown hair down in your lady bits.  You're welcome in advance!
Yesterday was #SNOMG2015---it really was a big fail for some in my local area but I got about 3.5" at my house and it was soooo pretty but I am soooooo ready for it to be Spring.  Anywhoodle, my girlfriend had some sitter issues so I had her kids for the day.  We spent some playtime outside in the morning, ate a little lunch, some snacks (boy, do kids eat a lot on snow days) but in the afternoon I really had to get some work done (I work from home so snow days don't exist).  I told the kids I needed an hour of uninterrupted time.  Well, about 5 minutes after I said that the 3 year old came trapsing in like this (first picture below).  Needless to say, I decided that I would get caught up on work after they left.  You can't relive moments like this. 

Working opposite from me on my desk.
Who doesn't love a good hand trace?
Speaking of the snow, I was so excited to have my new camera to capture all the fluffy stuff outside so I got up at 6:30 yesterday morning and walked out in my jammies, coat, hat & rain boots (too bad I didn't get a picture of that).  And then I got the pleasure of capturing some snow fun with the kids.  These are some of my fave shots of the days. 
This happened after I asked her for the 19th time to jump off this ball of snow trying to capture the perfect "in the air" shot.  This is also before I learned how to work the Action feature on my camera.
Alright gal pals, what are your favorites today? 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thinking Out Loud Thursday--This Week is Lasting Forever...

Hi Girls-

I love me a good meme card (now that I know they are called that).  And one day, I think I might do a whole post with just them.  But in the meantime and in honor of Friday eve, here's my meme of the day :)

OK, now that we've got that out of the way, let's get to the task at hand.  It's link up with Vanessa over at X-Tremely V and Penny over at Penny's Passion for a little thing called:
X-tremely V

Wowza, I have had a crazy week!  You know the kind where you don't even know what day it is because the bad ones just seemed to blend altogether.  Yep, that's what I had over the last 4 days. 

So, here's what's on my mind on this super chilly, beautiful NC day:
  • I am sooooo tired of cold weather.  But we got great snowball, sledding, snowman kind've snow last night. And who am I kidding, it's beautiful!  Below is what I woke up to this morning..but I still say bring on Spring! 
  • Tuesday was a horrible day!  Not only was it the anniversary of my father's passing but it was also by far, the worse travel day I have ever experienced---like ever!  I was traveling to Ft. Wayne, Indiana by way of Chicago but it was only going to be a day trip. I woke up at 3:30am after getting to bed a little late and was already super exhausted.  But I got up, got dressed and was in my car at 4:28am to leave for the airport.  Only my car wouldn't start---battery was dead.  It's 4:30 in the morning y'all--I can't call anyone at this time and get them to my house in time to not miss a 6:35am flight.  So, I got on my Uber app and fortunately, there was a driver 5 minutes away.  Now before you get all cray cray about Uber, I've used it for several months now and although it can be a little different because it's just a regular person in a car picking you up, I've not had a bad experience yet.  OK, back to the story.  Uber driver picks me up at 4:45am and it now starts snowing.  We get to the airport, I'm checked in, get myself a Starbuck's Vanilla Iced Coffee and board the plan at 6:05am.  Everything is looking up.  Until, the plane is informed that there is no Captain for the flight.  Come to find out the original pilot had gotten sick and the pilot on-call was an hour away.  So, we sat and sat and sat on the plane for over an hour while I watched the snow build up on the engine and wing from the window seat I had.  After the pilot finally got there and we de-iced, I felt 99% certain that I was going to miss my connection.  Which I did--by 5 minutes!  What's a girl to do now?  I ran back to the original gate and got back on a plane to Charlotte because the meetings that I was going for started at 11:30 and 1 and the next flight to Ft. Wayne wouldn't get me in until 2.  Just so you know, USAirways calls this a "Trip in Vain" and were very nice and refunded me the whole amount of the ticket.  I literally spent 20 minutes in Chicago.  I get back to Charlotte, took an Uber home, called AAA, got my battery checked, they determined I needed a replacement, took it to Toyota to get a replacement (oh and they informed me I had some recalls) and after 2 hours I was finally back home.  Whew, that was stressful just reliving that day. 
  • I have a date tomorrow night y'all!  And I'm really excited!  I'm not going to go into details yet (of course I'll share all the good, bad or ugly details about it later) but as my bloggy family, I just wanted you to know. 
  • I really love to cook but I just haven't done it in forever due to my recent travel schedule and because, well let's face it, a bowl of cereal is worth not messing up a ton of dishes.  But I was craving something different so I had a bowl full of mussels in a tomato broth with French bread and a glass of wine.  So scrumptious!
  • Speaking of food, I think I mentioned last week that I was trying to be more healthy--which means eating better, drinking an obscene amount of water and exercising more regularly.  The water and exercise I can do--it's the food part that messes me up and this is exactly how I feel:  Struggle is real y'all!
OK gals, that's all I have for today! Come back tomorrow for Friday Favorites!  I've got a few items that I'm sure you'll want to stock up on!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You Are Beautiful...In Every Single Way!

Hi Girls-

Happy Wednesday!  You made it half way through the week.  In NC, we are bracing for another #SNOMG2015--can I just say I am ready for Spring?  No more SNOW! 

I've been working on this post for a couple of weeks now because I wanted it to convey the right message.  I feel so fortunate and blessed to have "met" some great blogger friends so far in this journey of documenting the craziness of my life....a couple in particular are Megan over at More Sweet Tea Please? and Vanessa over at X-Tremely V.  These are some super talented gals and I just love reading their blogs.  A few weeks ago Vanessa tagged me in a "20 Beautiful Women" challenge on Instagram and she did it sans makeup.  First off, she's gorgeous so it didn't even look unnatural.  Obviously I accepted the challenge but hesitated doing an au natural photo because I thought what if someone says "Ewww" (said in my best Jimmy Fallon voice--if you know what I'm talking about, you just lol).  But I ended up following  her lead and posted an au natural, no filter (which was super hard to do), undereye dark circles, greasy hair photo.  And I got some super sweet comments---thanks y'all!  After I did the picture, sweet Megan, who I am now calling my LLBFF (Long Lost Best Friend Forever because I totally think we may have been separated at birth) sent me an email including a post that she had written last year.  Check out her Beautiful post here.  She is so cute and has an adorbs family and I love getting to know her through "Blogland".   Anywhoodle, her email and blog post totally inspired me to write something because it is something that we, as women, all deal with: the notion of beauty and how we fit into it. 

I love me some Christina Aguilera---don't judge!  Her song "Beautiful" came out in 2002 but it was the only thing I could think us when I decided to write this. Below are part of the lyrics for this song that I am now calling the Women's National Anthem (according to Jenny that is).

We are beautiful
No matter what they say
Yes words won't bring us down
Oh no
We are beautiful
In every single way
Yes words can't bring us down
Oh no
So don't you bring me down today

There's so many standards of beauty in today's society.  Is it a size 2?  Is it blonde hair?  Is it having your nails done?  A certain hair style?  Certain makeup?  Unfortunately, most of us think so.  You can open up any magazine and there she is, right in front of you, staring right back with her perfectly coifed hair and perfect clothes saying, "Do you look like me? Cause if you don't, I know you want to."  I look at these images and think about how I can change myself to conform into this image of beauty--whether that be losing weight, getting my hair colored, buying new clothes, etc. 

Truth!  I've done this before and than I secretly cursed the person that posted the picture. 
How many shots does it take for you to get a perfect selfie that you are happy with enough to post on social media?  For me on average of 7--taken with different angles of my head, proper lighting and the best filter I can find :)
Oh, if we could only feel this way instead of not being focused on a number? {insert sigh}
None of my friends look like me and there's a reason for that---God made them in his image, not anyone else's.  He knew what he was doing when he created me and why should I question that?  But I do and I know as women we do---and aren't we awfully critical of ourselves?  There are a million and one photos of myself that I would NEVER post on social media.  In fact, there are photos that I have untagged myself in on FB (just like the above meme card).  But again if I know that I am created in God's image, why am I so self conscious and unhappy about what I look like?  So, I am going to share some of those photos when I felt like I didn't look pretty but after really looking at them, I realize how beautiful they are not only because it is the real me but also because of the moment that they were shared in.
This is the sweet girl that I threw the gender reveal for a couple weeks ago.  She posted this on FB and tagged me in it.  I almost died!  I thought, I look horrible!  What I didn't see was the comment she made on this picture which was "This will forever be a memory I hold with Jenny."  The photographer was taking pictures before the ceremony and she got a little teary eyed and I'm sure I said something terribly inappropriate because it made her laugh which was my goal.  This is a beautiful photo--now I see that!

OK, could this scream more piggy?!?  LOL, I jest but in all seriousness, this was one of the photos that I untagged myself in that my sister took at Christmas.  My sister made this sign for me--that's what I should be proud of, not what I think others might say when my face is beside an "Eat More Bacon" sign.

This is one of "my" kids participating in a fundraiser for an awesome organization in my town called Joyful Hearts.  Their mission is to inspire, empower and support individuals with special needs.  Even though I am standing next to a 17 year old teenage boy dressed in drag, the only thing I saw in this pic is how big my arms looked, how flat my hair is and how I am in desperate need of lipstick.  Now I see the awesome teenage boy who dressed up like a girl to make money for great cause and that those are my pearls he is wearing :)
So, ladies, long story short---YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!   Just as HE created you--in every perfectly imperfect way!  And if you ever need someone to tell you that, you just let me know :)  Have a great Wednesday!  Come back tomorrow for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

19 Years...

Morning Girls-

Hope you all survived Monday!  I am Indiana bound, but fortunately just for the day and then I have nearly two weeks with no travel.  Can I get an Amen? Whoo hoo!

Today's post is all about my Daddy!  If you've been reading here for a little while, you know that I lost both of my parents in 1996---totally unrelated incidences but it is a year that I've tried to push completely out of my memory.  Except on days like today when I'm reminded of when it happened. 

February 24th, 1996--19 years ago today, I lost the greatest man I think I'll ever know. A man that had a contagious smile and laughter.  A man who had the best work ethic of anyone I have ever known.  A man who loved the Lord with every fiber of his being and wasn't afraid to tell anyone about it.  A man who seemed to know everything about anything.  A man who instilled morals and values and the love of Christ in me from a very early age.  A man who was a gentle giant and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.  A man who was incredibly kind and adored by so many.  A man who was patient beyond measure especially living in a house with 3 girls.  A man who adored his wife and treated her like a Queen everyday.  A man who loved his family like none other and who gave the best hugs and kisses.  A man that I was blessed to call my Daddy.

I remember everything about that day.  I remember the room in the hospital that they brought us to, the pictures on the wall, the chairs my momma, sister and I sat in and I even remember that it was freshly painted because I still have that scent in my head.  It was the most horrific day I had ever encountered in the 17 years that I had been alive.  The doctors said, "We did everything we could."  Words you never want to hear---ever!  I honestly don't remember much after those words were spoken.  I remember packing up our stuff from the waiting room we had been more or less living in for over a month and being ushered to our car and going home and that was it.  My daddy was gone--I would never see him again.  The heartache was immediate and incomprehensible. 

The next week went by in a blur with people stopping by, sending their condolences, massive amounts of food being brought over, receiving at the funeral home and the funeral itself.  I remember sitting in the pews at our church and feeling overwhelmed with pride that there was standing room only in our church and that people were actually standing outside.  He had touched THAT many lives.  I was a Senior in High School at the time and my world was shattered. Thankfully, school was so different in those times and the many days I missed were forgiven and the slide in my grades were ignored.  I had the most supportive community ever during this time. 

So, here we are...the hours turned into days, the days into months and the months into years.  It almost seems unfathomable that it's been 19 years.  He's been gone longer than I knew him.  However, I try not to dwell on that fact.  I consider myself so lucky to have had 17 years and 9 months with the first man I ever loved and one that I have and will compare all others to.  He was an amazing husband and an incredible father and I am so fortunate to have had that in my life. 

Daddy---I will continue to think about you everyday.  I will relish in the fact that you made me who I am today and that I know how proud you would be of me.  I will love you forever and always! 

This is by far my most favorite photo of my Daddy, sister & I--like my most favorite ever.  He loved his girls so much and his smile shows that! 
Our Family!
This was the last photo of my Daddy & I at my Senior Homecoming Court. 
Y'all remember that yellow sweater that I posted about a couple weeks ago?  Well, this is another photo of him in it along with my god parents.  I am so glad my sister found this sweater.  It's the little things and oh, how I love this smile!
And just him!  He was perfectly imperfect and everything that a father should be! I am immeasurably blessed to have known him for the little amount of time that I had him here on Earth with me. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Recap: A Whole Bunch of Jesus and Birthday's

Hi Girls!

Happy Monday y'all!  I hope you had a super fantastic weekend--mine was crazy busy and it flew by faster than a jar of Nutella lasts in my house but overall it was fun and productive.  I found this meme card while searching for something inspirational to start the week off right but when I saw this I deemed it so much more appropriate to how I was feeling versus some inspiration blah blah blah.

I didn't get home until late Friday night, although I took an earlier flight from Florida.  I was able to get on an earlier flight back to NC but I was literally in the last seat (34F) in the very back row of the plane---like I was the last person to get off the plane.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of it.  After I landed, I had to go to the grocery store to get all the makings for breakfast on Saturday morning for my ladies Life Group as well as some stuff for my B-I-L's birthday party on Saturday night.

Can I just say that I seriously {heart} my church and I even more than {heart} my ladies Life Group?  Saturday was our first meeting of 2015---I sure did miss those girls during break.  What's perfect about these ladies is that they are all women of God who are so lovely and share what's on their heart.  We are a mix of different ages ranging from 25 to ??? (some of the gals might be reading this, lol) but it doesn't matter---we all mesh together so very well!  They have truly made a difference in my journey with Christ since starting with them last Spring when I decided to step out in faith and start searching for a new church.  We have group at my house (because y'all know I love any opportunity to entertain) and this semester we are reading the book 24 Hours That Changed the World by Adam Hamilton.  I don't have any feedback on it yet because I haven't started but I can't wait to fill y'all in on my thoughts.


On to super exciting news, this gal here has gotten a big girl camera :)  I think I've mentioned before that I'm a QVC lover.  Well, last week I received an email about their Monday Today's Special Value---if you don't speak QVC that's just their deal for the day.  Anywhoodle, I debated about it (because if you've been reading my blog, you know I put myself on a budget) but I decided to go for it anyway because it was a super great deal.  My friend Deven was here when I opened the box and let me be the first to say that I can't put anything together if it has more than one part.  Like I would have a serious panic attack if I had to put together any piece of furniture from Ikea!  Well, this didn't have any parts other than the strap---yes, that's right the strap y'all and after much frustration from said new camera owner, I turned over the reigns to put it on for me.  And y'all, she had to look up a video on her phone about it.  So, imagine my concern for myself in getting this brand new fancy camera that I know has more features than I'll probably ever know about and I can't even put the darn strap on.  Regardless, after watching the video 7 times, we got it on and after a quick battery charge I was off and rolling.  Be warned, I will be posting lots and lots of photos now.

The camera couldn't have come at a better time because I was able to test it out at the birthday party of my most favorite brother-in-law ever.  Mind you, he's my only brother-in-law but I can't imagine anyone else in the world having a better one than me. 

I love cookbooks in general but this was one of my momma's cookbooks that was made by the ladies in our church.  Y'all know there is nothing better than a church women's cookbook.  I actually have a recipe in here as well for bologna & cheese roll-ups.
The birthday boy and all his young glory!

I'm not kidding that these were the best tasty treats ever y'all---pimento cheese baked in a phyllo cup and topped with a pepper jelly.  Y'all---like seriously soooooo good!
My beautiful sister and B-I-L
Sunday morning was spent at church and than this was my afternoon.  I have a million things to do but I've been running non-stop crazy over the last few weeks and decided that I was going to have a completely lazy Sunday.  So, I caught up on my magazine reading, snuggled under my warm fuzzy blanket with my dogs, watched a few Lifetime movies and took a nap.  Perfect, perfect day!

Speaking of birthday's, my BFF celebrated her birthday yesterday.  I can't begin to describe how I feel about this gal.  We've been BFF's for 23 years---like wowza, 23 years, how can that even be?  And y'all, we've been through everything but I can't imagine not doing this crazy thing called life with her.  This was our 10th grade prom picture.  Oh my, look how young we were?  Here's to another 20+ years of friendship!  I love you to the moon and back!

Alright gals, I have some great stuff lined up for this week!  But to give you another funny to end with, I'll leave you with this.  I chose this partly because I'm a super fan of Golden Girls and also because I adore Prince.  Megan this is also for you too---my LLBF :)