Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is Twitter The New Blog? And Other Pregnancy Related Things

For me, it seems, that Twitter has killed my desire to blog regularly. I kind of feel like "what's the point?" because those (a handful of people) who would read this already follow me on Twitter anyway. And I probably would've tweeted what I would write a post about.

Maybe it's just because I'm pregnant, and overly-lazy right now. I don't know. I would've thought that pregnancy would be the perfect excuse to blog constantly, keeping tabs on how I'm feeling, etc. 

Perhaps it's because I generally don't like to talk about myself. 

I was thinking about this at work yesterday. It's kind of strange, but it almost irks me, in a way, when people ask me how I'm doing, or how I'm feeling. (This doesn't apply to everyone, just mostly people at work). I simply don't like to talk about myself much, or be the focus of attention; so being in the "limelight" because of pregnancy is slightly foreign, and honestly, slightly annoying. This must make me sound like an asshole, but that's how I feel a lot of the time. I know (for the most part) that these people are genuinely caring and just want to be nice, so I always give them a smile and a courtesy "doing/feeling pretty well." Maybe it's because a lot of these people ask me the same questions every single day. How much is going to change in 24-hours?

Some days it doesn't bother me as much, so maybe I'm just more moody and sensitive than usual. I'm guessing by the tone of this post, you're gonna go with moody. I must sound like a miser right now, huh? Don't answer that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


...I've felt the baby's kicks stronger than ever. At one point this morning, it felt like he was tap-dancing on my uterus and bladder. THAT is a strange feeling. I wonder if he had a little growth spurt, because his movements were much more pronounced today than even just two days ago.

And did I mention it's a boy? We're thrilled. I can't believe we agreed upon a name just one day after we found out his gender. Considering we had ZERO boys names in mind, I'd say it's impressive. For now, we're keeping it a secret. We're 99% settled, but still open to another name if we find one down the road. But, I think this is it. 

It's all becoming so much more real now. And yet, it's surreal. Zac and I went baby shopping (browsing for ideas) for the first time last Friday; and though we were browsing, I had to pick up a few things, of course. Leaving the store with an umbrella stroller and a bathtub shaped like a whale, that was the point in which we realized, "wow, this is really happening."

There are many times throughout the day that I forget I'm pregnant. I forget that in just a few short months, my life will be changed forever. And then he moves, and I feel kicks and butterflies in my stomach all at the same time. And then I remember. I'm having a baby. A boy. And I smile.

Today has been amazing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: 3

Seems as though it's been quite a while since I've written one of these, but here goes ::

1. Big Day for us tomorrow! We're having "the" ultrasound, and will be finding out the sex of the baby. I am so excited for this moment. I think it'll definitely feel more real once I know if it's a little boy or girl wrigglin' around in my tummy.

2. I've had a teeny, tiny problem with my lady-parts over the last few months. I'd developed a cervical polyp during the first 13 weeks. Generally they're not removed during pregnancy to prevent complications. At my last check-up, it had grown, and my doctor recommended that I have it removed. Well, I was worried and nervous and scared for the unknown. Would it hurt? Would I have any complications? WOULD IT HURT?

I'm so happy to report that during the removal this morning, it did not hurt at ALL. I didn't feel a thing, and I was beyond thankful for that. I said prayers last night and this morning, and then did some deep breathing to stay calm. It certainly worked! Phew!

3. Our sectional from Macy's is already done and will be delivered next Thursday! Sadly, they didn't have an earlier delivery date that fit our work schedule, but considering they're ready about 3! weeks ahead of schedule, I can't complain too much. I can't wait to be comfortable in my living room again!

4. Today was the first eye appointment I've had in about 3 years. I like my new doctor, and the fact that they had my contacts in stock, so I don't have to wait to get them! I'm also going to get some new glasses, as my old ones are definitely ready to be replaced. It's the little things that make me happy. I like being able to see.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Update: Couch Saga

I am happy to report that the e-mail I sent to Macy's was a success. Perseverance paid off, and they will be giving us a full refund. The morning after I sent my e-mail, I received a reply (and 2! phone calls) saying they were sorry for all of the hassle we've had to deal with, and that they would be immediately returning our entire set. Not gonna lie, I was still half-asleep, but there was some major fist-pumping action.

In roughly 5 weeks, they'll be picking up the old, and dropping off our new sectional. I'm so glad that in the end, great customer service prevailed. Thank you, Macy's!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Couch Saga Continues

Today was the day that I expected all of my dreams to come true, and my living room set problem finally solved. Boy, was I wrong. The lady technician who came out saw the problems that we're having with the couch, but somehow, the issue didn't fall under the warranty that we're still qualified for. Immediately after she left, I took to Twitter in disappointment and anger.

As I had hoped, Macy's responded. 

So, write an e-mail I did. It can't hurt. And I figure that may be my last shot at a resolution. Here's what I said.


I was told by your Twitter account to e-mail you in regards to my issue. My order number is XXXXXX, and a technician just left my house an hour ago. What is boggling my mind is that the loveseat has broken down, to where if I am sitting in the right side, I am leaning to the right. If I'm sitting in the left side, I am leaning toward the left. To say that it causes discomfort would be an understatement. The couch is separating in the middle, and falling apart. The technician claimed this was a "mechanism" issue and not a frame issue. A frame, by furniture definition, is what supports the structure. It is what keeps the furniture LEVEL. My furniture is not level.

The warranty for the mechanism is apparently only 1 year, while the frame warranty is 3 years. How convenient. Another issue is that green foam is falling from underneath the couch. I'm currently pregnant, and when our baby is crawling around, I can't imagine what would happen if they ingest it. We also have a dog that my husband has found chewing on said foam. I never know when it's going to fall out, and I would be absolutely heartbroken if something happened to my dog because he ate some of it.

My husband and I work very hard for our money, and we paid top dollar for this furniture. We bought it for our first home, and expected to get something that would last MANY years. For it to be in this state after only 2 years is unacceptable. I am not the type of person who wants to get something for nothing. I simply want what is fair, and what is right. Macy's should stand by the quality of their product, and should find FAULT in the fact that their product is not holding up after such a short time. This piece of furniture is now discontinued from Macy's, and I'm not surprised, considering that the quality isn't there.

I am so disappointed, and considering not purchasing from Macy's again. Costco has a successful business model, and Macy's should take some notes. I purchased a mattress from Costco, and after 1 1/2 years, it was faulty. They returned it no questions asked. They saw it for what it was, a faulty product. And a faulty product is what I have from Macy's.

Thank you for your time,
Stephanie H.
I wrote this e-mail an hour ago, and I'm anxiously awaiting their response. I definitely have a bad taste in my mouth, and I've mentioned this before, that I almost feel like I'm being duped. Don't people know not to mess with a pregnant lady?!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lots of Words About Couches

5 years ago, I would've laughed if you said that one day I'd be excited over buying a couch. But here I am, 2 days after ordering our new sectional, and I'm like a kid anxiously awaiting Christmas morning. As excited as I am, this is a somewhat unexpected purchase.

When we moved into our new build home in January 2010, we were lucky enough to be able to afford brand new furnishings. We scrimped and saved in order to do so. One of our biggest purchases was our living room set: Dylan, from Macy's. We had originally planned on buying something else, but when we came back to purchase that set, Dylan had just come in. It was its first day on the sales floor, and Zac REALLY wanted it. It wasn't my first choice, but being the awesome wife that I am, I conceded.

At first it was great, but after a few months, the cushions started to flatten, and the frame began to break down. I tried convincing Zac that we should consider taking it back, but he didn't see the things I was seeing. Not yet - he wasn't ready to come to grips that his beloved recliners weren't panning out.

But 2 1/2 years later, there is no denying that it's breaking down much faster than it should. It's just the two of us and a 14-pound dog. How much damage can we really do? We've contacted Macy's, and they're sending someone out to look at it on Friday. And that person isn't leaving my house until we get a full refund. There's a 3-year warranty on the frame, and we're definitely still within that grace period.

Some of the reclining mechanisms are even harder to close than when we first got it (and it was pretty hard, then). Seeing that I'm pregnant, in a few months it would be nearly impossible for me to get out of the seat on my own. That ain't gonna cut it.

This brings me to the replacement: The Elliott sectional, also from Macy's. We decided to stick with Macy's, because in general, I find their products to be of high quality. All of my furniture has come from there, and I'm banking on a credit for the set we're returning. They BEST be taking it back!

I spent a few days scouring different stores online and pinning my top choices. Macy's just had what we were looking for in terms of price and selection. The Elliott sectional was in my top 3 favorites, and it quickly jumped into first after we tested it out in the store.

The only thing I'm not happy with is that the size we want (120" x 95") has to be special ordered, so it's going to take 6-8 weeks to get it. I feel like Veruca Salt, because I want it NOOOOOOOOW.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Alive!

Whoa. Where did the last 25 days go? I am finally(! I think) starting to come out of the coma that I've been in for the last 2 months. I don't fall asleep as soon as I get home from work every night (just some nights for a little nap). And I generally feel a bit better.

What's killing me, though? My allergies. Holy cow, the snot. Sorry for TMI, but firreal. It's driving me INSANE. I naturally have allergies 100% of the time, all year long. And now that I can't take my Allegra, it's just misery. The past few days have been full of sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.

I'm taking Zyrtec, because it was deemed more safe than Allegra, and it is just. not. cutting. it. I have nausea every morning, and end up throwing up all of the post nasal drip goodness from the day & night before. (Again, sorry for the visual). I learned that pregnancy actually exacerbates all of the symptoms I already get from my allergies, and it's no lie. BOO ON THAT.

But, there are things to be grateful for. Like, the fact that I don't generally feel nauseated all day, and SOMEHOW, I've only gained 1-2 pounds thus far. Confession: I haven't been to the gym since the week before I found out I was pregnant. It's been 2 MONTHS, people. I was sick with a cold the week before I found out, and then right after I found out, I was a little paranoid about over-doing it and causing a miscarriage.  After a while, I wasn't worried about causing a complication, I was simply TOO TIRED to even think about exercising. I know I've fallen out of shape, but now that I'm starting to get my energy back, it is time for me to get moving.

I'm 14 weeks and 4 days, which means I've finally hit the 2nd trimester. I'm excited for all that this trimester brings, because I have some serious to-do lists to tackle before this baby's here!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The First Time I Turn 29

Today is my 29th birthday. The last year of my 20s. Just typing this seems really crazy to me. Almost as crazy as the notion that I'm currently growing a tiny baby inside of me. It's quite surreal.

Normally, I'd be at work right now. But a few weeks ago, I decided to request the day off, and just have a "me" day. So far, my "me" day has consisted of laundry, doing some dishes, and a little bit of tidying up. I'm embarrassed to admit that this is the most housework I've done in nearly a month. I simply don't have the energy.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew that I'd be tired. But I had no idea how tired that I'd become. I mentioned it a little in my last post, and it certainly hasn't gone away. If it's a workday, once I get home, I'm done. I can't keep my eyes open. Last night, I got home from work at 6:45. By 8pm, I was truly fighting to keep my eyes open, and I slept on the couch until 11:30, when I finally got ready for bed. Rinse, repeat. Every day.

I'm so beyond thankful to have such a wonderful husband who has seriously picked up the slack. Not only does he do it all- he doesn't get angry, or resent me for it. How lucky am I?

Later this evening, we're meeting up with some friends who are visiting from Idaho. We're going to have dinner with them in Seattle at 6pm, and we get to meet their 2-month-old daughter for the first time. I'll be honest though, I'm just hoping to stay awake. Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Biggest Secret of My Life

I haven't been blogging much over the last 3 weeks, because I've been keeping a secret.

On May 20th, I found out that I'm pregnant with my first child. As the line began to turn blue, I said "holy sh*t" probably fifty times in the span of one minute. When I told my husband after I was SURE the test was positive, he gave me a big hug and we did an awkward high five. We were in shock. I've had irregularities in the past, so we weren't even sure that we'd be able to conceive.

The pregnancy has been pretty much the only thing that's been going on for me, and since we couldn't tell anyone yet, I became kind of a hermit. That, and the fact that I'd been completely and utterly exhausted once my work day was over. The other night, I fell asleep on the couch at 8 pm. I woke up at 10 and it took me a half-hour to muster the energy to go upstairs and get ready for bed.

Nausea hasn't been an issue for me until a few days ago. In fact, it's taken me 25 minutes between the last two paragraphs because I'm feeling decidedly woozy. The nausea doesn't usually result in anything, it's just a nagging feeling. Not fun. I'm ready for the 2nd trimester pick-me-up. I'm tired of being tired!


We didn't keep it a secret from everyone. We actually called our parents about 20 minutes after we found out that I was pregnant. I was disappointed that my brother wasn't able to find out right away, because he was on vacation in Poland. Luckily, he was coming back a few days after we found out.

We couldn't wait to tell him in person, so I called him up. After the 100th time of him yelling "unbelievable!" I knew that I needed to record our phone conversation. It was hilarious, and touching at the same time.

I could've kept recording, but it probably would've filled up all 16GB on my iPhone! To answer the question at the end of the video, I'm about 8.5 weeks. (At the time, I was 5 weeks). We initially planned to wait until 10-12 weeks to tell anyone else, to be in the "safe zone."

But, we had our first appointment yesterday, and the doctor yesterday said that everything looked great. She told us that if I didn't have any complications up to this point, it should be no problem telling the world. We got to see our baby for the first time- see and hear its little heart beating a mile a minute. 

I still just can't believe it sometimes. And then I remember every time I can't fall asleep, even though I'm exhausted. Every time I can't stay awake, even though I have to get up. Every time my husband looks at me with pure love in his eyes, and then rubs my belly.

So here I am, announcing it to the world. We're having a baby! And we couldn't be happier.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Healthier Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

Sometimes having a boring life means there's really not much to blog about. Hence, my radio silence for the last couple of weeks. Thems the breaks, yo.

This afternoon, I set out to make my chicken & spinach enchiladas when it struck me. "Why don't I make a recipe post about this?" Unfortunately, I had already started my process before I realized I'd be making a post. Luckily, it's all pretty self-explanatory.

The way I make this, it's more of a casserole. Traditionally, corn tortillas are flash-fried in oil to make them more pliable before they're stuffed and rolled. Not only is it healthier by omitting the oil, it's faster this way, too! Another way it's healthier is the spinach (you don't say?). It allows for a much smaller quantity of cheese to be used. You won't even know it's not there!


1 pkg corn tortillas 
1 28 oz. can enchilada sauce (I always use salsa verde)
7-10 cups fresh spinach (you can use frozen, or omit it all together. I use the big package of organic spinach from Costco. It's inexpensive.)
1 8oz pkg shredded cheese (2 cups)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cups shredded chicken (I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken for something quick)

First, I add the olive oil and onions into a hot pan. After about a minute, I add the cumin. Stirring frequently, I'll let the onions sweat for another minute or two before adding in the spinach. I know it's going to seem like a ton of spinach, but it wilts down to almost nothing. I fold the spinach for about a minute, and then I add the shredded chicken to infuse everything with the oniony, cuminy goodness. It should look like this:

You've now completed the hardest part. No. Really!

Next, pour a little of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. Layer your tortillas, and add a little more of the sauce. Decide how many layers of tortillas you'll want, and then divide your cheese, and chicken & spinach mixture accordingly.

It'll go like this:

1.) tortillas
2.) enchilada sauce
3.) chicken & spinach mixture
4.) sprinkle of cheese
5.) repeat

When you reach the top layer, pour a more generous amount of sauce on top, and then add the remainder of the cheese. You may or may not have some sauce left over. It's good either way.

I baked this at 425 degrees for 12 minutes, and then at 375 for 8 more minutes. Then, I broiled the top because I love golden brown cheese.

Let it cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy! This re-heats very well, and is great for leftovers.

Serves 8

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lovely Lady Lumps

Let me preface this by stating that I am absolutely fine.

I haven't shared this with anyone except for a small handful of people, but 5 weeks ago, I came across a lump in my breast. I've been doing self-exams for some time to familiarize myself with what things should feel like. There is a strong history of breast cancer, and cancer in general on both sides of my family, so I've always wanted to be pro-active about such things.

I made an appointment with my OB/GYN for May 11th for a check-up and breast exam. My doctor didn't feel any unusual lumps, but referred me for a mammogram and ultrasound to make sure everything was all right. Being that I'm not yet 29, I'm not a normal candidate for either procedure. Typically, mammograms aren't recommended until 40.

My appointment was this morning at the Breast Health Clinic. I kept pretty calm about the whole thing all week. My biggest concern was how much the mammogram would hurt. The receptionist last week told me that times have changed, and it doesn't feel like it used to - and not to worry. Well, I took her advice. Normally I'm a worrier and a daydreamer of all things that might go wrong. But, I didn't worry, or dwell on it. And let me tell you this: mammograms AIN'T NO THANG.

After the first image was done, I said "wait... was that it?" Seriously, it didn't hurt in the slightest. Sure, I don't have gigantic breasts, so that might be part of it. But it's really just a slight pressure for a few seconds. NICE.

"Is it a girl or a boy?"

Immediately following the mammogram was an ultrasound for each breast. Not exactly what I pictured for my first ultrasound, but hey, things happen. "Is it a girl or a boy?" I asked the technician. She laughed, and then I realized she probably gets that a lot. No one likes hearing the same dumb things while they're on the job. Trust me, I know.

This whole process took about 10 minutes. Then, the technician left so she could get the results from the radiologist and I could clean myself up and get dressed.

I waited no more than 10 minutes to find out that everything came back normal, and no other tests would be needed. I'll just need to keep an eye on the things, and if nothing changes, I won't need another mammogram until I reach 40.

That couldn't have gone any better, and I'm so glad to have peace of mind now. Everything is gonna be all right.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: 2

Here's my list of what I'm thankful for this week ::

1. Sunshine: Seriously?! The weather has made it two Thursdays in a row! That's huge for the Seattle area. I seriously can't get enough of this sunshine. It'll be here for about another day or so, and I'm definitely taking advantage of it. Since I'm decidedly sick with a cold, I wasn't able to make it to Seattle like I planned. Instead, I've relaxed on our back patio with the dog. Not a bad compromise, I say. Which brings me to my next point...

2. Relaxing: With the prospect of soon trying to start a family, I'm definitely aware of each quiet moment I have. Someday, the idea of a lazy afternoon doing nothing will be all but a distant memory. Let's just say I'm getting my fare share of relaxing in now, before it's too late ;)

3. Fresh-Cut Flowers: The other day was the first time I've ever cut flowers from my yard and brought them inside. It made me ridiculously happy to snip a few stems of our hydrangeas that were already blooming when we planted them. My only problem now is that they're already starting to wilt. Hydrangeas are notorious for this, so I'm hoping I'll figure out how to make the blooms last.

4. Big Stick Popsicles: I had Zac pick me up some of these popsicles at the store last night to soothe my sore throat. These bring me back to my childhood, as they were my absolute favorite popsicle to have. And I think they still are. The beauty is that almost every store has their own store brand version of these for a hell of a lot cheaper than the Popsicle ones. It's funny how something as simple as a popsicle can instantly cheer you up.

Thankful Thursdays: A lesson in appreciating what we have, and finding the joy in every day life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where'd You Come From?

Suddenly, it seems, that I'm fighting off a rogue head-cold. Something like the plague blew through my workplace about 1 1/2 months ago, and I didn't get sick then; so I'm slightly bewildered why I'm coming down with something all of the sudden.

This morning, I woke up with a very slight sore throat, not terribly uncommon for me because of my allergies. But when I checked my tonsils in the mirror, they were definitely red and inflamed. No bueno. Throughout the day, I'm getting more sneezy, and I feel the histamines going nuts.

I'm pretty bummed, because I planned on having another superawesomefuntimes day in Seattle to soak up what little bit of sunshine we're gonna have left around here. I just took a dose of Airborne, so I'm hoping that helps. Perhaps tomorrow I'll just douse myself in Dayquil and head to Seattle anyway. The sun is hard to come by, you know!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This Week: Instagram Style

I love these little weekly re-caps with pictures from Instagram. Here's mine:

1.) Tonight I made a chimichurri sauce for chicken kebabs. It's SO good. I'll post the recipe soon!
2.) Parker was tuckered out from our day in Seattle on Thursday. He NEVER lies down in a car!
3.) Parker and I as he sat on my lap while we found a new parking spot.
4.) It was a gorgeous day in Alki Beach.
5.) I'm half-hispanic, and I was definitely looking the part. Side pony, tortoise-shell earrings and a knit poncho.
6.) Nothing makes me happier than coming home to my doggie. Can you tell I love him?
7.) Our peonies are going crazy! They've grown about 6 inches or more in one week.
8.) I love the color of this ELF polish. Unfortunately, it's quick to chip. I might have better luck using it on my toes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: 1

In the spirit of being more appreciative, I've decided to create a series called "Thankful Thursdays." Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what IS going right, what IS good in our lives - so these can be little reminders to myself that I'm pretty damn lucky.

1. My Husband: I truly married my best friend, and I couldn't be happier. He is my strength, my shoulder to cry on, my source of laughter, and of course, occasional frustration. He cooks, he cleans, he does his own laundry (and sometimes mine!), and he gets up in the morning to walk the dog so I can get more sleep. I mean, COME ON. I won the marriage lottery.

2. My Doggie: We are absolutely smitten with this dog. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but sometimes I used to cry while browsing for dogs that I couldn't adopt. I wanted a dog so badly, but couldn't have one in a rental. Once we bought our house, I wanted to get one as soon as possible. We finally adopted Parker in September 2010, and we love him more and more each day. He's our best pal.

3. The Weather This Week: If we forget yesterday (it was cold, mixed with some sprinkles), the PNW is having a really nice stretch of great weather. It's supposed to start warming up again today, with temperatures reaching near 80(!) degrees over the weekend. I absolutely adore the summers here- you know, when it's actually sunny and warm. Can't get enough.

4. HomeGoods is Coming to Town!: I didn't know about HomeGoods until I started reading design and decor blogs during the last couple of years. With each find and crazy deal that I saw, the more jealous I became over the fact that the nearest store was over 3 1/2 hours away. Then, about 6 months ago, I started seeing commercials for them. It drove me NUTS, because I knew there were no stores anywhere close to the market in which they were advertising. It was like they WANTED to torture me.

The other night, after seeing the millionth commercial, I decided to look up their Portland, OR location. Hey, I've never been to Portland, and this would be a good excuse. Yes, I'm weird.

Well lo and behold, there were 2 listings for HomeGoods stores IN MY AREA. I gasped. I fist-pumped the air.  And I did some quick research. I learned that both locations (Lynnwood & Federal Way) will be opening on June 24th. MY BIRTHDAY. The day that my No Shopping Challenge ends. IT IS FATE. The Federal Way store is only about 25 minutes from my house. FATE, I tell ya! I am way too excited for this. Is it bad that I'm considering taking the day off from work for this? *shifty eyes*

I'm really glad I'll be doing this each week. I had a rather emotionally draining week at work, and sadly, that is often the case. My days off are Thursdays and Fridays, so it will be refreshing to start each weekend focusing on things that bring me joy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birchbox: May 2012

As I stated in a previous post, my Birchbox subscription is tiding me over while I'm doing my no shopping challenge. Imagine my delight when Zac came back from the driving range, Birchbox in tow! Normally, it arrives around the 15th, so I'm super excited that it came early this month. It's seriously like Christmas morning every time I get one!

Here's a peek at what's inside:

The Contents:

1.) Dr. Jart + Waterfuse BB Cream: These are all the rage right now. I haven't found one that works for me yet, so we'll see what I think of this one!
2.) Color Club Nail Polish in Disco Nap: This looks really fun. I wonder how sheer it'll be. Maybe it'd be a great top coat for other polishes.
3.) Blender Cleanser - make-up sponges and brushes cleaner: I looking forward to using this on my beauty blender that I got in March's Birchbox.
4.) Twistband Skinny Headband: This is really cute! It's a good thing I'm into pink now. It's bright! I think I'll try this as a ponytail holder.
5.) Arquiste Perfume: I like the dry down better than the initial scent. I'm on the fence. I'm pretty particular about the perfumes I like.

Underneath the tissue paper is a notecard sample with an envelope. I didn't see it at first, so that's why I don't have a picture. They always include a non-beauty item in each month's box. This notecard is cute!

And there you have it. I definitely think Birchbox is worth the $10 a month. The nice thing is, you can choose a monthly subscription if you don't want to commit to a full year. Do any of you have a subscription? What do you think?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quick & Easy Salad Dressing

In the past week, I've made this recipe a handful of times. It's something I just threw together on a whim, and it came out great. I decided that making it in the serving bowl would eliminate superfluous steps and streamline the process.

This is a great trick if you're having a dinner party, or if you need to prepare your salad ahead of time. If the dressing is at the bottom of the bowl, you can just pile the greens on top and toss it together when you're ready to serve. If you do it this way, the greens won't wilt or get soggy. Win!

The more you get to know me, you'll realize that when it comes to cooking, I rarely measure things. I rely on sight, feel, and taste. I just think it's so much easier to grab & go, instead of having to mess with measuring spoons & cups. That's just how I do. Less steps equals less dishes. Am I right?

Now let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

I mix it all together using the tongs that I toss the salad with. Make sure your tongs won't scratch the bowl you're using. Otherwise, use a whisk. If you want to double the "recipe" or make this in a separate container, it should keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

Simple Olive Oil Vinaigrette:

3/4 tbl olive oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp honey
1 small pinch of good salt (I like sea salt, but kosher is great, too)
2-3 grinds of freshly cracked pepper or 1/8 tsp black pepper
1-2 good shakes of garlic powder

Serves 2-4 
These are approximations. Play around with it and see what you like!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rainy Day Blues

The sound of the rain against the skylight awoke my senses as I stumbled into the bathroom this morning. "Not again," I said with a sigh.

Today is probably the 8th day in a row of rainy, gloomy, stereotypically Seattle weather. It's May 3rd, but if you didn't know any better, you'd think it was November. Or maybe January. Perhaps even March.

Who am I kidding? Today looks and feels like it could be ANY day in Seattle.

I decided to be a masochist and look at the 10-day forecast, hoping to find at least ONE sunny day in the midst of rain showers. Much to my delight, I was shocked to find 9 of 10 days promising just what I need: sun, warmth and more sun.

In my efforts to appreciate what I have, I've tried to tone down my outspoken desire to move back to California, and focus on what I love about living in Washington. But when the weather is a big reason why I find it a challenge to live here, it's hard to remember the good things.

When it's nice out, I definitely try to squeeze every last drop out of each day- I'll go outside on my breaks at work and sit on a bench, I'll read a magazine on our lawn, or I'll take the dog on a nice stroll of the area. I'm already planning what I'm going to do next week if the forecast doesn't change. I see lots of grilling, lounging on the patio, and sunbathing in my future.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Who's Idea Was This, Anyway?

I'm currently in the throes of a self-imposed no shopping challenge. And guys, it got really difficult in the middle of March, when everyone and their cousin launched their spring lines. It was especially painful on a trip to Target (which is my absolute weakness) when I wanted to buy ALL THE THINGS.

It's not that I'm a shopaholic, because I'm definitely not. But, I need to keep myself in check every-so-often. Every $10 here, $50 there, and $125 over here all adds up. My main problem areas are make-up (helloooooo Sephora), home decor, shoes, and just about anything from Target (told you I love this place).

In the past, I would have said clothes, but I've already stopped buying them as much since I started losing weight last August. I'm waiting until I hit my goal to buy new pieces. However long it takes me.

The sole reason for this challenge isn't just to save money, but it's also intended to be a lesson in appreciating and using up what I already own. I have probably 50 lipsticks & lipglosses already, so do I really need that new shade? Not so much. It's really tough sometimes, because I like to keep up on the beauty blogs and YouTube videos. I'm finding myself occasionally avoiding them, so I don't feel so deprived.

My Birchbox subscription is tiding me over, though. Each month I get 4-5 beauty samples to try, so that is currently filling any void I have. Plus, it's been fun re-discovering things I already own, but may have otherwise tossed aside.

I started this challenge February 13th, and chose June 24th as its end - my birthday. Here's to two more months of appreciating what I already have. Two more months of not giving in. I've got this.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's Do This Thang

So, yeah. I'm back in the game, so to speak. I've been blogging off and on since the year 2000. (Remember that Conan O'Brien skit? Seemed like the year 2000 was so far in the future, and now it's so far in the past).

I had my own domain for about 2 years when I got into blogging, and then I was kind of done. I created another Wordpress blog back in 2007-2008, but I didn't put a lot of effort into it, and my interest fizzled quickly.

Strangely, I mostly have Twitter to thank for my new-found blogging desire. When Twitter first came out years ago, I scoffed and thought to myself, "What a dumb idea. Who wants to know every little thought that I have?" I made a vow to never use Twitter - and I was good on my word up until last August. Over time, I made some good connections with people on Twitter, most of whom have blogs that I've been reading for years.

Over the last few months, I've been talking with my husband Zac about wanting to get back into blogging, and he's super supportive. So, why not?

After mulling over domain and blog names for a couple of weeks, I bought via Name Cheap. For now, I'm going to use my free blogspot account until I figure out if I want to have hosting or not. Plus, I need to re-learn how to actually design. I hand-coded everything when I had my domain in the past, so it's kind of weird not doing it now.

I think that about sums it up for now. Hi! I'm Stephanie.