Friday, January 31, 2014

ABC's of Me

Today's post is a little lighter and sillier than usual. Remember how much fun it was doing surveys on MySpace back in the day? Well here is a little flashback, where you can get to know a little more about me!

A - Age: 26
B - Birthday: July 30
C - Color: mellow yellow
D - Drink: rum & coke!
E - Eyes: blue gray
F - Flashback: things were much simpler during school days!
G - Gent: my fiance Mike!
H - Hobby: taking photos, racing, dance, travel when possible
I - Indulgence: nail polish and purses
J - Job: quality coach for an internet company
K - Kiddos: my kitties, Turbo and Nitro
L - Love: peacefulness, living in the moment
M - Music: everything except heavy metal. currently loving Alt-J!
N - Nation: USA!
O - Overstock: clothes
P - Pets: Turbo and Nitro
Q - Quote: "Everything drifts. Always in waves." - Kurt Halsey Fredriksen
R - Residence: Jacksonville, FL
S - Siblings: one brother, and two future sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law!
T - Temperature: 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit
U - University: UNF
V - Vehicle: Infiniti G35, but saving up for a Corvette!
- Want: more free time!
X - X: xyz?
Y - Yuck: olives
Z - Zodiac: Leo

As always, I love your thoughts and comments! <3

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Currently Reading

You know the library in Beauty and the Beast? I have always wanted a library like that. Stacks and rows of books everywhere. But I was really more of a reader when I was younger than I am now. Now I prefer magazines, but I still will pick up a book here and there.

Right now I am reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I started it forever ago, but haven't read it in a while, actually. Since I am writing a post about it, maybe this will motivate me to get back into reading. It's a really intense book, and it's one of those books you have to focus on. You can't just read it when you're tired and only half- paying attention.

Part of the fun of reading is relaxing while you read, and that's why I prefer magazines. I don't have to be super focused, and I can even skip parts of magazines. With a book, you can't do that. It's strange because I used to get addicted to books, but now it just seems that I don't have the time! I miss that feeling though.

One of the magazines I really like to read is Bridal Guide. It is about all things bridal, of course! Ceremonies, receptions, decoration, honeymoons, you name it! Now that I have a lot of my wedding vendors already booked and a lot of my ideas fleshed out, I don't need to delve into the magazines as deeply anymore, but they are still always a fun treat when they arrive in the mail!

What books and magazines do you look forward to reading?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don't Forget Time for Fun!

Wow, things have been so busy lately and I've been totally absent from the blogging world! What have I missed? I've tried to keep up with you ladies and leave comments on your blogs, but sometimes it is impossible to get everything done!

Work has been totally overwhelming lately, but it always is at the end of the month. There are goals to reach and lots of meetings always scheduled during this time. It is stressful, but I am getting through it. I am happy to be returning to blogging, though!

It is easy to get caught up in work (whether for your job or home life), and forget to allow yourself to have a little fun. I just reminded myself today that it is ok to take a break sometimes, and it is necessary to allow yourself to have fun! Be sure to take that time out to let yourself let loose.

Some things I enjoy doing and plan on doing really soon are trivia, riding my bicycle, playing with my cats more, and of course, blogging!

I appreciate you ladies hanging with me and still checking out my blog despite the little hiatus!

What are some things you like to do for fun when you get a chance?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Liebster Award

Oh my goodness, I've been nominated for a Liebster award! I'm so honored. Thanks to Fashion Styling by Kendra for the nomination!

Here are the rules:
:: Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you.
:: Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
:: Create a new set of 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

Without further ado, here are the questions from Kendra for me to answer:

1. What is your favorite clothing store in the whole wide world? Forever 21
2. Would you rather wear all black or a pop of color? Pop of color!
3. If you could only wear one or the other which would you..purse or watch and jewelry? Purse; you can put stuff in it!
4. Favorite celebrity? I've never been into celebrities... so, none.
5. Boots or sneakers? Sneakers; they're so comfy!
6. For a gift would you rather be given flowers or chocolate? Flowers; super romantic
7. Favorite clothing trend of 2013? Umm.. leggings?
8. You can only wear one item of make up on your face for a day, which do you choose? Mascara
9. Notebook or a Walk to Remember? A Walk to Remember
10. Favorite brand of make up? Maybelline
11. Chevron print top or Chambray top? Chevron

I wasn't able to find any nominees, particularly who hadn't already been nominated, but I did come up with 11 more questions. Feel free to answer one or a few (or all of them)! I'd love to get to know all of you :)

1. Would you rather bungee jump or sit on the dock of the bay?
2. Do you prefer cats or dogs?
3. What is your favorite flavor of gum?
4. Would you rather read a book or watch TV?
5. What is your favorite place to shop in general?
6. Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it?
7. What is your dream job?
8. What is your favorite snack?
9. What do you not feel guilty about splurging extra cash on?
10. What is your favorite sport?
11. Would you rather spend time at the beach or on the river?

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to getting to know you a little better!

Friday, January 17, 2014

How I Coupon

Couponing is so fun! Do you all agree? Yes, it is work, but it is rewarding work. It's fun doing the research, and then you save money that you can later spend on fun things like nail polish (or whatever sparks your interest).

The last couple weeks, our local newspaper has had quite a few coupon inserts, which is glorious for me! So many things to look through!

The way I coupon is really pretty simple. I don't consider myself an extreme couponer (although sometimes it is fun to think of myself as that), but I do invest some time into saving money.

Basically, here is my routine: Look through the Sunday newspaper. That's it! On my best shopping trips, I've been able to save up to 22% off my grocery bill. It's not a ton, but it's about $20 worth! Believe me, $20 can buy a lot of fun things, or it can go a long way toward another household need.

We recently got a printer for our house, so my fiance and I are excited about the ability to print things now. I am mostly excited about being able to print extra coupons! Silly us though, we bought the printer, but we didn't buy printer paper at the same time, so we will have to wait just a bit.

Do you like to coupon? What is your technique?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Healthy Habits are Hard!

Let's face it: It's hard to get off your butt and get exercising! I have so many ideas about what I'd like to do, but I haven't yet taken action on any of those ideas.

One of the primary things my fiance and I want to get into is riding our bikes. Here in Florida, the weather is pretty wacky, so that is always an excuse. It's either raining, too hot, or too cold. On the perfect days (when we aren't working), we do try to get out and ride.

Our bikes are locked up in our shed, so this will have to do.

Our ultimate goal is to start riding our bikes before work. My fiance wants to ride three times a week (!!!) but we are going to start with just one. I'm sure it won't be too hard once we get started. One of the most difficult parts for me is going to be getting up early.

What I'm going to try to do to overcome that tough part is envision the results. I do the same thing at work. Have a picture in a convenient place of what you are working toward. You know you will be so much happier and proud of yourself when you reach that goal. You don't want to let yourself down, do you?

What are the biggest obstacles for you when it comes to exercise? How do you plan to overcome them?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Real vs. Fake Flowers for Weddings

"Ewwww, she's using fake flowers!" This is what I hear so often on all those wedding shows on TLC. You know the ones. Fake is always less appealing than real, but does it have to be that bad? I don't think so.

Real flowers, of course, do have a lot of advantages. They smell pretty. They are poised in a certain way that just makes them look full of life. They provide a soft touch. But if you don't touch them, how obvious are fake flowers?

Fake flowers have their advantages too. Specifically for weddings or other events, you can arrange the flowers beforehand and not worry about last-minute arrangements. You don't have to worry about keeping the flowers fresh-looking.

I am leaning toward having fake flowers at my wedding because it is more economical. The only thing is, I will need to read up on flower arrangement so I can construct some pretty things. Fake flowers can be more costly if you go for the ones that really look really real, but I don't need that. As I've mentioned before, weddings are about the couple, not the decorations.

What is your opinion on fake flowers? Would/did you use them at your wedding, and would you use them in your home?

Winter Skin

With winter still in full force in much of the country, skincare can become an issue. It's dry and cold, and those are not ideal conditions for glowing skin.

Many people have a plethora of skincare items, including anti-aging stuff. Personally, I think you don't need to use anti-aging anything until you're 40 or 50. Even then, embrace who you are! Wrinkles and spots add character and wisdom. All these fancy beauty products are aiming to make us all the same, and I don't know about you, but I don't want that.

However, I do use a couple products on my skin, especially in the winter, just to keep myself feeling healthy and fresh. First of all, I like to use basic lotion (after a shower especially) to moisturize. I use this mostly on my arms and legs. My favorite lotions are from Bath and Body Works. When I want to feel extra sexy, I use the Forever Red. The smell is super luxurious!

I also use a few products from The Body Shop for my face. It is a three-step process. I don't do this daily, but only when I'm feeling like I need a face refresher.

First, I use the facial cleanser in the shower to clean off makeup and any other buildup from throughout the day. The next step happens after the shower. The toner is rubbed all over my face to help clarify. After that, the last thing I do is apply some facial lotion, lightly, over my face.

These steps give me a nice, fresh glow, and I smell good too! My skincare routine is not extreme, but when necessary, I like using these products. What skincare products do you like to use for yourself particularly in the winter?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Click Chicks Challenge: Vision

This week I am participating in Krystal's Click Chicks challenge. Every week, she'll challenge readers to take photos about a certain topic and blog about them. This week's topic is vision. The challenge asks "What do you see? What are you planning? What do you hope for?"

I've always enjoyed looking at things in different ways -- intellectually, spiritually, and physically. Since this is a photo post, this will focus on the physical ways that I look at things differently.

One of my favorite photo techniques is macro. I love looking at things up close. When you are closer, you can see things that you normally wouldn't. You can also see something else entirely, if it's close enough. It can alter the shape of the object, and if the focus is on a unique point, it will disguise the object further.

Looking Down a Straw

Sometimes macro photography isn't about getting a different perspective, however. Sometimes it is just about getting a closer look so you can admire the tiny elements of something and all the beauty within.

Layers of Glitter Polish

What is your vision? What do you see, and how do you like looking at things?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You Are What You Think About

Here I am, sitting around trying to brainstorm blog post ideas.

What about this? No, that's not unique. Or this other idea? Everyone knows about that. It's nothing new. You don't have any ideas.

Suddenly, I realized that I didn't have ideas because I was telling myself I didn't have any good ideas. I'm never going to come up with something if I keep telling myself I have no ideas!

This concept can apply to more than just blog posting. With the new year, we are all trying to accomplish something -- whether that is losing weight, cooking at home more often, or simply staying positive throughout the year.

How are you planning on accomplishing that? What is your thought process? It is easy to put yourself down. Sometimes even when you want to do something, you tell yourself you can't do it, or it's hard, or your ideas are worthless. But that's not true!

Don't let your brain trick you into an alternate reality. The reality is, you have a world of possibility. Allow your mind to wander. Allow yourself the chance to accomplish those goals without any negativity butting its way in. You deserve it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Guest Post: Neatly-Packaged

Today I have a special guest post for you all! This is from my fantastic friend Nancy!


Hi there! My name is Nancy and I am the proud writer for Neatly-Packaged :) When I came to Rachel with the idea that we do a guest post on each other as a way to put our new blogs out there, she loved it! She initially reached out to me after seeing through my blog that we had more than a few things in common and I was more than thrilled to hear from her. And thus our bloggy friendship was born :)

I started blogging about 3 months ago as a way to document my adventures post-graduation from university. Neatly-Packaged is my little piece of the internet where I write my likes, dislikes, adventures, and passions. I had really no idea what the blogging world was like and only had a tiny glimpse through the movie “Julie & Julia.” So when I found myself spending hours surfing the web, pinning on Pinterest, and watching countless shows on Hulu, at my now finacé’s office I knew I needed to do something. The credit for the commencement of Neatly-Packaged really goes to my finacé. He suggested that I start a blog and maybe one day I could make money off of it. Now this is not my sole purpose of writing Neatly-Packaged but it is something nice to look forward to. Getting paid for writing my thoughts? Cool!

I am 23 years old and newly engaged. I graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with my B.A. in French and minor in International Business. I had every intention of attending law school after I graduated but that is not what the stars had planned for me. I met my very handsome fiancé, fell hopelessly in love, and made the promise to follow him :)

My hobbies include reading my nook, looking for great deals on wine, reading greeting cards, and most recently blogging :)

I have really enjoyed becoming fully immersed into the blogging world and figuring out the ins and outs. Reading some truly, beautifully written posts and makes new friends like Rachel have really made this experience worth it. Please check out my blog as well as Rachel’s and lets become friends too :)


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Simple Escape

Do you ever have those experiences where something simple transports you to a different place and time? For me, it doesn't happen super frequently, but when it does, it's usually a fun daydream.

Today my fiance and I went on a bike ride, and afterward I was super hot. Despite the cold in the rest of the country, it's actually pretty decent here in Florida. I noticed a fan sitting on the shelf next to me, so of course I started using it.

As soon as I started fanning myself, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the cool breeze. Almost immediately, I was transported elsewhere. It was unexpected, but I ended up feeling like a rich lady sitting by the pool, surrounded by luxuries, including my fan providing the freshest breeze.

I felt like I was in California, sitting beside an infinity pool, surrounded by hibiscus and other tropical delights. Of course I had a fruity rum drink in my hand in this little fantasy.

It was short lived, but it was a nice little daydream that interrupted my ordinary day. It's nice to allow yourself to have these simple escapes. Sometimes it's one of the only things that can keep us going.

Always allow yourself to dream!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Inspiration

I am participating in a 2014 Blogger Challenge, where a topic is given at various times throughout the year, and bloggers write a post about it. The first topic is inspiration. Instead of coming up with resolutions, which I've already decided against, the idea is to share an inspirational quote or picture. Here's mine:

This image appeared on my feed a few weeks ago and I had it saved on my phone. It really spoke to me, because so often in life I tend to go along with the flow even if it's something I don't feel too crazy about.

It's easy to let other people make the decisions in life. But ultimately, if you're not making the effort to put aside some time for yourself to do something fulfilling, you're really harming yourself. This happens to me way too often. I usually don't realize I haven't been taking care of myself until it's been so long that I feel like I'm suffering.

On a similar note, the people you surround yourself with can impact your well-being too. If there is someone around you who doesn't make you feel good, get them out of your life (as much as possible). It's ok to not be friends with everyone.

What is most important is that you surround yourself with positive things and positive energy so your soul can be nourished and fulfilled. Going into the new year, I am going to focus on living in the moment and making sure I don't sacrifice too much to the point that it is harmful.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Want $1,378 for Free?

The only thing this will cost you is a little willpower. I've seen this idea various places across the web, and it is a great way to save a little extra cash!

Basically, each week of the month, you'll deposit some cash into a savings account, and at the end of the year, you'll have a total of $1,378! Here is how it works:

Week 1: Deposit $1
Week 2: Deposit $2
Week 51: Deposit $51
Week 52: Deposit $52

There are 52 weeks in the year, so whatever week it is, deposit that much cash. I've obviously skipped quite a few weeks in my example above, but you get the idea.

Some people like to reverse this plan instead. Money can get tight around the holidays, and setting aside $50ish might be a squeeze for some. Sometimes we even have a little extra cash at the beginning of the year after receiving gifts from people!

Instead, you could follow a plan that goes like this:

Week 1: Deposit $52
Week 2: Deposit $51
Week 51: Deposit $2
Week 52: Deposit $1

I already have some budgets and a savings plan in place, so I'm not sure if I will do this challenge this year, but let me know if you plan on doing it! I'll be rooting you on!

Living Day by Day

Do you ever feel like you just don't have a plan and you don't know what direction you want to take? That's how I feel about 2014.

So many of you have goals of weight loss, blog organization, doing things to make yourself happier... but what do I want? Do I need to want something specific? What does it mean about me if I don't have specific goals? What does it mean for 2014?

There are so many questions I could dwell on, but I'm not going to. Sometimes it's nice to live day by day without the pressure of reaching certain goals.

Sure, I would like to weigh a little less, I'd like to have a list of blog topic inspiration, I'd love to spend my days at home organizing the house and being a housewife (technically, fiancee). Some of these are possible, and some of them aren't.

There's nothing wrong with waiting until you feel up to tackling a task. The new year is inspirational for many people, and that is fantastic. I'm just not feeling it this year.. but I have a feeling that positive changes will come in the next few months.

Until then, I'll enjoy my days of nothing and living in the moment, and look forward to taking action later on! Are you excited about the new year? What goals do you have, or why do you choose not to have goals this year?