Starting over in 2014

Hello old friends! It was a helluva 2013 and needless to say, I ditched blogging to focus on myself, getting my Masters, planning my wedding, being married, working full time, etc. etc.

Now that it’s 2014,  I don’t feel less stressed, I just feel more lazy and procrastinate more. I’m using the excuse that I was so busy last year that the next year I’m allowed to detox and breathe deeply. Really, I’m just tired all the time. 

Tired of winter. 

Tired of working for “the man” and being so bored I nearly fall asleep.

Tired of doing the same old thing over and over again.

So, I’m doing something about it. 2014 is going to be the year that I begin the “live for myself” plan I’ve conjured up. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t, but it doesn’t matter because I can sense the journey will be more fun than the end game.

For starters, I’m writing a book. I mean, why not right? If it takes off, awesome. If not, I still wrote a damn book. I promise it’ll be full of correct grammar usage and blah blah. My blog is not and will not be. It’s a mental dump whereas my book is meant to be read without feeling annoyed. 

Second, I AM GOING TO GET THROUGH T-25 IF IT KILLS ME. I’ve started a lot of workout programs and get distracted, worn out, unmotivated. I’m so done not working out that I made my friend Amber burn the discs for me. I figure 25 minutes a day is worth it. 

Third, I am going to travel 3-4 times this year. I already have one under my belt since I spent New Year’s in Denver, and our honeymoon to Mexico is in February. I have the rest of the year to manage two more trips. Easy. 

Fourth, get a new job before I lose all sense of my soul. No need for explanation, half of you I’m sure are reading this thinking ‘Yeah, my job is sucking my soul into oblivion too’. Apparently having a Master’s degree means you get to take notes in meetings because you have the best handwriting (note: because I’m female) and that about sums up my job. Thank you, chauvinists of the world. I’ll jump off my soapbox now.

Lastly, I will blog. Not daily, but yes I will blog and it will be full of amazing things like some crap recipe I made, the inches of snow that fell in Minnesota, how my fantasy football team is doing, and why being someone’s wife does not mean I am willing to accept the idea of “wifely duties”.

With that, I leave you with a photo from my wedding in August. It was awesome, flew by too effing fast, and I seriously regret socializing with only a small amount of people when there were hundreds to chat with and thank for coming.

Image

xoxo

Wedding Checklist Update

I’ve updated the checklist with the few things I have accomplished since November…which isn’t much.

However, one of the main items to cross off the list was sending our Save the Dates.

At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money to send Save the Dates. I figured we had told a lot of people when the wedding is and if we sent the invitations out in May, guests would have plenty of time to make arrangements. Then it dawned on me that an August weekend in Minnesota guarantees cabin and/or some sort of travel plans. It’s an unspoken tradition in Minnesota that come Friday afternoon, you zip out of work as early as possible to pack up your car and head north for the weekend.

That being said, I wanted to make sure no one made any vacation plans or summer BBQ parties on the weekend of our wedding.

I Googled “free save the dates” and “cheap save the dates”. I’d decided to do the postcard approach because a card & envelope meant twice as much printing & twice as much cost. Then, it dawned on me. Why not design my own? I wasn’t digging any of the pre-made designs and I decided to find an online print shop, design my own postcards and save some money.

The average Save the Date postcard starts at .89 cents. That means ordering 175 would equal $156 plus tax and shipping. I designed mine on nextdayflyers.com and got 500 postcards for $19.95 plus tax and shipping. My total was just over $30 and they’re BEAUTIFUL. If you have a few hours to size an engagement photo, align it correctly & play with their limited choices of font styles and colors…you’ll save yourself a good chunk of money. The online design tool is very easy and they ended up calling me the next day to say how good they’re turning out. Nice touch!

Sure, now we have a bunch of postcards we don’t need but this way if we screwed up an address, we could just grab a new one without worrying! And I’d rather have 300 extra than have to re-order 5 more.

Check out my screen grab from when I was designing the cards…super easy!

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Welcome to the New Year!

Welp, I was a slacker in 2012 and stopped posting when school/work/wedding planning/50 Shades of Grey/Pinterest began to distract me. But now, I’m back and pretty excited to document what’s going on in my life. 

Instead of catching you up on what I’ve been doing for the past 3 months, I’ll just make it simple and start with the typical New Year post by discussing my New Years Resolution.

They say you should only have 1 Resolution to make sure it’s an attainable goal. Also, don’t make it too vague like “lose weight” but rather say “lose 10 lbs. by March”. Makes sense. So here’s my Resolution:

Make healthier choices.

Mind blowing, I know. In reality, this means drink water over soda at work. Drink black flavored coffee instead of a mocha/latte from Starbucks daily. Allow myself a good stretch every morning. Light candles more often. Clean up after myself before I leave the room. 

Ya know, basics. This being said, my new Keurig from Christmas is helping out with the coffee thing. The sick part is that a new Starbucks opened near my house this winter and I was on a first-name basis with the drive-thru girl. After $4.88 every day for nearly 3 months, I had had enough, and so had my bank account.

My morning stretches consist of an 8 minute daily morning stretch DVD from APY60. The actual yoga work outs are seriously rough but the morning stretches, body movements and meditation have really improved my overall mood and focus not just for the morning, but throughout the rest of the day.

So there you have it. Cut down to the basics and find what changes you can make now to improve yourself for the long term. However, as a side note, I refuse to quit smoking right now. That’s just too much commitment for one girl.

xoxo

My Work Blog

I know, I know…it’s been weeks since I posted something new to this blog.

The truth is, I have been blogging for my company’s blog and today my first post was published. Click here to view the post entitled: Fall Decor In A Pinch.

I hope you’re all doing well. I’d like to update you on how my $5 Savings Plan is going, wedding planning details or any other info but I have to get back to work.

Have a great Tuesday!

xoxo

5 random things that determine success

I’m sure you’ve heard that your degree can get you places or your outfit can speak volumes during an interview process but did you know being crowned Prom King in High School could get you just as far and help make you more money?

Yeah…random.

A compiled list from Cracked.com offers up a list of 5 random things that determine your success in life that have nothing to do with education, experience or skill set.

5. Your Face & Race

If you’re white, a more distinguished face (laugh lines, crows feet) show a commitment to your job, an ability to smile through the stressors of life and an easy-going personality.

If you’re black, a baby face is what will set you apart when being promoted. A young looking baby face on a black person is apparently less threatening and expresses a more liberal point of view. If you’re black but don’t have a baby face, big ears and a wide grin a la Will Smith or Barack Obama will do the trick.

That’s not racist or anything. *sarcasm*

4. Your Name

Hard to spell or pronounce? Good luck getting ahead in life. People have an easier time hiring and promoting people who give a better first impression. Also, don’t name your boy kid a girl’s name…it’s detrimental from the beginning.

3. Your High School Popularity Rank

The study went like this: kids in high school were asked to write down 3 friends in their grade. Fast forward 35 years and the kids with the most friends (determined the most popular) were earning an average of 10% more. I’d like to take this moment to announce that if the “popular kids” from my grade are earning more than me at age 40, I’m going to make sure my kids are the popular ones🙂

2. You’re An Addict

Wait, what? Having addictive tendencies can make you successful? Not exactly.

The same tendencies people have toward craving sex, drugs or rock and roll are the same tendencies business leaders have. Their commitment and desire toward their own definition of a “high” is what keeps these people rocking at their jobs. To win over a large account can be the same euphoria for a VP of Marketing as is the euphoria of strippers and booze on a Saturday night Vegas bender. Either way, the compulsive behavior of an addict is what keeps these people focused on attaining the goal, sleeping less, working more, and functioning at a higher-risk-higher-reward level than the rest of us.

1. Where You Sit

“A series of studies by the New School for Social Research found that people’s preference for their dominant hand is so subconsciously powerful that it makes them favor things that happen on that side of their body, to an absurd extent.”

So, next time you’re in a meeting, sit across from the CEO and check out which is his/her dominant hand. (By the way, lefties are generally more successful. Click here to read the article) Then the following meeting make sure to catch a seat on their dominant side.

 

Did you learn anything? I did. I’m not a white “weathered-looking” employee, my name is messy and sometimes difficult to pronounce, I was barely noticeable in high school, I’m not addict and I don’t care where I sit. Therefore, I should anticipate being average.

What are your thoughts on this survey?

UPDATE Weekend To-Do List

How did I do on my to-do list? Well I knew it was quite the ambitious list and that I generally accomplish 50-75% of any to-do list that I make so here are the final results:

School

  • Write 2-3 page paper on argumentative and aggressive communication
  • Post to the class discussion board & respond to a minimum of 2 fellow students in my class
  • Read 3 chapters of school book (very dry book)
  • Maybe read ahead but probably not

Work

  • Put together content outline and calendar for social media posts for the Facebook/Twitter pages I manage.
  • Develop proposal for corporate partnership opportunities
  • Write blog posts for company blog (Topic: Garage Organization for the Fall)

Wedding

  • Nail down photographers
  • Visit the Dollar Tree to see what they’ve got that I can use for centerpieces and decor

Cleaning

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean bathroom
  • 1 load of laundry
  • Put away all laundered clothes

Other

  • Groceries
  • Weekly dinner list
  • Decorate for Fall
  • Buy wine (Can never have too much wine!)
  • Pay bills
  • Pre-order iPhone5 from Best Buy for fiance
  • Donate money to my ALS Walk fund…if you’d like to donate to my team, click here
  • Work out
  • DIY gallery frames for bathroom. Example frames here

Not bad right? Yeah I didn’t touch work once I left the office on Friday. I also didn’t do any reading or discussion boards for class because that’s due today and I REALLY enjoy procrastinating. However, I did write my paper and submitted it on Saturday.

The best part of the weekend was a trip to Dollar Tree where I picked up a mirror and some frames to make my gallery in the bathroom. Mixed with a few frames from Home Goods and sticker wall art from Pier1, it turned out awesome! Check out my photos below.

    

Tonight I plan to put away all of my laundry. Wish me luck!🙂

Weekend To-Do List

I’m VERY excited for this weekend for 3 reasons.

  1. My Fiance & dog are at the cabin which means some “me” time!
  2. I’m going to ROCK my to-do list
  3. It’s the weekend…it doesn’t get better than this

Granted, my to-do list consists of work, errands and chores, there’s nothing better than getting things accomplished, cleaned and purchased.
Want to know what is on my to-do list? I’m going to tell you anyway.

School

  • Write 2-3 page paper on argumentative and aggressive communication
  • Post to the class discussion board & respond to a minimum of 2 fellow students in my class
  • Read 3 chapters of school book (very dry book)
  • Maybe read ahead but probably not

Work

  • Put together content outline and calendar for social media posts for the Facebook/Twitter pages I manage.
  • Develop proposal for corporate partnership opportunities
  • Write blog posts for company blog (Topic: Garage Organization for the Fall)

Wedding

  • Nail down photographers
  • Visit the Dollar Tree to see what they’ve got that I can use for centerpieces and decor

Cleaning

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean bathroom
  • 1 load of laundry
  • Put away all laundered clothes

Other

  • Groceries
  • Weekly dinner list
  • Decorate for Fall
  • Buy wine (c=Can never have too much wine!)
  • Pay bills
  • Pre-order iPhone5 from Best Buy for fiance
  • Donate money to my ALS Walk fund…if you’d like to donate to my team, click here
  • Work out
  • DIY gallery frames for bathroom. Example frames here

Sounds ambitious right? It is. Especially since I plan on seeing friends this weekend and watching plenty of Sunday football. I generally get through 3/4 of every to-do list I make. However, if I get up early enough & get a coffee in my fast enough, this is all very do-able. Wish me luck! I’ll definitely update come Monday morning.

What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend?

Cake tasting at Buttercream

On Saturday my fiance and I spent about 1 hour at Buttercream in Minnetonka, MN tasting 12 different cake flavors, viewing all of their cake designs and negotiating price.

The 12 flavors of cake from Buttercream

Okay, the cakes are effing awesome. They really know their cakes here. However, the customer service was rude from the get-out and she was mildly awkward. We rushed through the cakes quickly (literally still chewing as she described the next one) then she went in to a giant book of god-awful pictures of 80s-style cakes. As we politely browsed the photo album, she sat at the table quietly staring at us and asking bizarre questions about where we work and where we live. She then suggested we walk around and look at the display cakes to get a better idea of height and design. Instead of letting us take our time to discuss, she rushed us from one display cake to the other showing what she thinks we would like. She disagreed when we offered suggestions and consistently passed by cakes that had add-on fees assuming that we wanted to be frugal.

Here are some of the display cakes we liked:

If I were to have a winter wedding, this Birch tree cake was adorable and perfect.

And now…(drum roll please) the cake we chose to get a quote for!

   

Envision round tiers, green ribbon and green hydrangeas. We really liked the simple branches that come over the ribbon on each tier but are blended into the frosting so as to not standout so much. The branches will match the centerpiece ideas I have so it fit with our theme very well.

Our quote ended up just over $550 with a 3-tier round cake and 2 sheet cakes for our 275-some expected guests. We chose 2 flavors: lemon/raspberry and chocolate/Bailey’s….YUM! She gave us this price quote assuming we would be trying to save money and pick up the cake ourselves. Umm…again, we’re not cheap just because we don’t live in Minnetonka or drive a Benz.

Overall, the experience was relatively negative because she didn’t even ask us about budget she just assumed we were going the cheap route. She rushed through the entire process and kept interrupting our conversations or creepily wandering near us silently. Their cakes are amazing but based on our experience, I highly doubt we’ll be ordering our cake from them.

So now, we get to do more tastings! This Sunday we are going to Queen of Cakes in Edina, MN and we are also entertaining Byerly’s since their cakes are just as amazing even though it’s a high-end grocery store.

Are you from MN? Can you recommend a good cake vendor? Please comment below!

xoxo

Where I was on 9/11

Everyone has their own story of where they were 11 years ago today, hearing for the first time that something crazy is happening in New York. Planes hitting buildings, explosions, fires.

I was in 10th grade sitting in my 2nd hour Spanish class with our teacher Mrs. Salguero when our principal came over the intercoms announcing a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City. My instant thoughts were ‘What? What’s that?’ while my teacher nearly lost her mind. Hands on her head she started speaking in very fast Spanish as we silently watched her ferociously search from room to room for a TV to plug in and turn to the news station. Without much luck, she sat down at her desk, clicked her little desk radio on and quietly murmured to herself in Spanish as she listened to what was going on.

As the day went on, each teacher had a television in their classroom and we watched as the second plane flew into the WTC, as people fled city streets and as sirens overtook any other audio available.

When I got home my mom was on the phone with her sister in Poland assuring her we were nowhere near New York and everything is okay (we live in Minnesota). My dad was already home watching the news since they’d sent everyone home from work around the noon hour. I don’t remember the rest of the day but I remember sitting with my parents on our deck in the evening and noting how eerily quiet it was. Planes had been grounded and without them, our little Minnesota suburban skies were silent.

As you think about today and where you were 11 years ago, don’t forget to pay tribute in which ever way you are able. We lived through an important milestone in this nation’s history and we will never forget.

xoxo

29 years young

Today is my fiance’s birthday! He’s 29 today and doesn’t look/act a day over 21 (lucky jerk) so after work today we are driving down to Rochester, MN to have dinner with his family and spend the night in what he lovingly refers to the city as Crotch-town. I’d love to mention what his gifts are but he reads this blog and I don’t want to ruin the surprise!

I’m currently 27 and I couldn’t help but wonder where I’ll be at 29. Kids? New house? A sexy white Range Rover in my driveway? Yikes!

One thing is for certain…I’ll be married to my best friend.

In other news, Caribou Coffee totally screwed me on my lunch plans today. I dropped by this morning for my regular skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte and paid with a $20. Welp, he gave me 3 $5 bills as change and if you read my previous post, you’d know that I am currently on a version of the $5 Savings Plan. So…I needed part of that change for lunch today! It serves me right for not bringing lunch from home but now I am stuck with the $1 bills from my original $50…which is $4. On the bright side, I have saved $40 this week from my savings plan and I find that pretty darn exciting. I figure if I average $25/week in savings that’s $100/month or $1,200/year. The unfortunate part is that it’ll take 3 years to pay off my CapitalOne with these savings alone. I’ll have to “match” the payments to ensure that the credit card is paid off (and canceled) by the time our wedding swings around. I’d like to be credit card debt free when I finish my Master’s degree so that I can focus on saving for a new house, new car and of course…paying off those damn school loans.

And…in other other news…I’m digging my outfit today and wanted to share it with you all. We don’t do casual Fridays here at the office and since today is a little rainy and filled with important meetings with important people, I did the whole suit jacket thing. The pictures don’t do the outfit justice since the green is actually a very vibrant grass green but, oh well.

Jacket: Express
Top: Target
Pants: Express

Yay color-blocking!

 

Tomorrow my fiance and I are doing a cake tasting at Buttercream here in Minnetonka, MN. I’m PSYCHED. Probably because I love cake and I’ve heard they’re one of the best in the state! I’m excited to share pictures, taste opinions and stories with all of you!

Enjoy your weekend!

xoxo