Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Favorites!!

Well, folks. We made it to another weekend. Glory be hallelujah can I get an amen?!

Since it's Friday and everyone automatically wakes up with a little more pep in their step, I figured why not link up with these three lovelies and share my Friday Favorites!!

These are completely random and simple, but they've all just put some extra happy in my here you go. Enjoy!

My Keurig 2.0

Betcha didn't see that one coming, huh? :) Y'all. Jeff got me this for Christmas, and it's WON.DER.FUL. It literally is what gets me out of bed some mornings. For those of you that don't know, first off, welcome, and secondly, the Keruig 2.0 brews both a cup of coffee (like the normal Keurig) AND it also brews a pot of coffee. What the what? I know. In fact, I'm drinking out of the pot right now. Our kitchen is on the second floor and my room is on the first, so when it's a blogging morning, the pot travels downstairs with me. :) And yes, it works as a thermos and keeps it nice and hot!

"The Lip Scrub" - by Sara Happ

In the winter, my skin gets all kinds of dry. My bathroom looks like a moisturizer factory. We have lotion, eczema therapy lotion, body butter, coconut oil - you name it, I have it. And I use it all. Well along with the dry skin comes the dry lips....and that's just nasty. People with dry lips make me crinkle my nose. I did some research, found this little gem, and was sold. Well, and it was sold. Cause I totally bought it. It's like a spa day for your lips. And it tastes like Creme Brulee. I mean I really don't know what else you expect me to say here. It's just goodness. In fact, the instructions on the back end with "wonder how you ever live without it." AND it's available in all sorts of yummy flavors.

Dustin Lynch - "Right Where We Want It" 

Give it a listen and you'll know why it's a favorite. It's a total head bob-n-sway song. I'm bobbing and swaying right now to try to figure out how to explain the experience to you but it's just not working. It's country. And he has dimples. Go listen.  

Essie Nailpolish - "Buy Me a Cameo" and "Good as Gold"

Mercedes and I took a break during work this week and ran to Walgreens for necessities (since we work our lives away right now). Well, as you females know, I passed the nailpolish aisle and it was game over. I loved them both, couldn't decide, asked Mercedes, she couldn't either, and so they both came home with me. They're neutrals, but shimmery, but not too flamboyant - so they're perfect and it's totally justifiable that I got both. .....Right?

Just Mango Slices - Trader Joes

 My friend Lisa over at Finding Fit introduced me to these and I've been hooked ever since. It's literally just dried mango - but it's SO GOOD. Naturally sweet, not too heavy - perfect for a mid-day snack. Plus it's from Trader Joes. All things wonderful are found at Trader Joes.

Wine Glasses - Olivia Pope Style

My final favorite is in honor of the return of Greys and Scandal last night. Olivia Pope wine glasses! Kelsey got these for us for Christmas and we are obsessed. These puppies make any 'girls night in' ten times more sophisticated (but you can still be in your sweats). We will be breaking these out for roommate night tonight to indulge in Greys, Scandal, and the final episode of Parenthood (insert me sobbing). This work day can't go by fast enough!

For all you gladiators, the glasses can be found here.

And those are my Friday Favorites!

I actually have a full weekend off from work this weekend and I am so stinkin excited!! Despite the fact that it will be a high of 47 and a 90% chance of rain, I am going to make the most of it. After this weekend comes one more month of busy season and then freedom.

Don't forget, Country Megatickets go on sale TODAY!! Click here to see my full blown analysis on what this should mean to you.


Until next time,
Monday, January 26, 2015

The Country Megaticket

I live by country music...the old, the current, and the up-n-coming. I don't understand how people DON'T live by country music. It's just good, people. That's all there is to it. There are very few days that country music and a good cup of coffee can't fix.

My love of country music has sent me to many country concerts over the years, with my first being Faith Hill in 1998 (10 years old). She was performing at the Houston rodeo, so Amy, my dad, and I took a little road trip. 

Here's the thing, I didn't know a single one of her songs. So, Amy, being the best big sister that she is, put Faith's current single, This Kiss, on repeat the whole way to Houston. She wanted to make sure I would be able to sing along with one song! And y'all. It was her closing song. I got SO excited! Amy and Dad picked me up and let me stand in my seat and I sang my little heart out. Of course having NO idea what I was singing about.

Cut to 17 years later and I'm still singing my little heart out. I refrain from standing in my chair though. That apparently stops being "cute" (and socially acceptable) when you hit adulthood. 

Here's what I love about country concerts....they're real. The vocals sound just as good as they do on the albums, and the theatrics are limited. It's just real southern people singing real southern music. It's like a family reunion with a whole bunch of family you don't know.

While I have attended several concerts, I had never purchased a "megaticket" until last year. Let me tell you: best. decision. ever.

2015 Promo Poster
So yes, downside, you have to shell out a chunk of money in the beginning, but consider it an investment. :) You get to go to SEVEN concerts! Plus your tickets end up way cheaper than they would by individual sale. Let's discuss.

Last year my friend Lisa and I purchased lawn megatickets. Why lawn, you ask? For many reasons:

1) If you purchase a lawn megaticket, your friends can purchase individual tickets to whatever concert(s) they want to join you for and you can sit together! Lawn is general no reserved or assigned seats. 

Me and Amy at Lady Antebellum last May
 2) During the warm summer months, you can actually feel the breeze. Jeff and I went to Tim McGraw at the beginning of August, and I actually felt bad for the poor nuggets in the covered seats. The sun was beaming on them (the lawn is shaded by a wall), and the covering prevented any airflow whatsoever.

3) You can lay down! While you're waiting for the acts to change you can sprawl out and relax.

4) People watching. OH the people watching. Sometimes more entertaining than the show you came to see. 

To each their own, but I've sat in both, and I prefer lawn. it's cheaper.

Me and Jeff at Tim McGraw - and Faith showed up!

The lawn ticket was a little less than $250, and you received tickets to 7 shows. For those of you that despise math, that comes out to about $35/ticket. Let me tell you, tickets to Luke and Jason last year were well over $100 by the time the show was actually being promoted. So basically my tickets were free. Girl math. 

I knew I wasn't going to be able to attend two of the seven shows last year, but to me it was still worth it. If you find someone else that purchases a megaticket, you can swap tickets on the shows you can't attend. That's what Lisa and I did and it was a perfect arrangement. She couldn't go to Timmy, so Jeff used her ticket, and I couldn't go to Rascal Flatts, so one of her people used mine! Wins all around.

Me and Aimes at Brad Paisley
The shows run once or twice a month with the first one at the beginning of May and the last one at the end of October. 

Here's the line up for 2015:

Lady Antebellum (w/Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt)
Tim McGraw (w/Billy Currington and Chase Bryant)
Darius Rucker (w/Brett Eldredge (!), Brothers Osborne, and A Thousand Horses)
Rascal Flatts (w/Scotty McCreery and RaeLyn)
Florida Georgia Line (w/Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard)
Dierks Bentley (w/Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae, and Canaan Smith)
Luke Bryan (w/Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch)

(Dates all included here)

I've seen all but two of the above in concert already....but I'm still considering doing it again. It's just that much fun, people.

Me and Kristie watching Luke Bryan's hips. Oh, and he was good, too. :)

Tickets go on sale this FRIDAY!!! If you love live music and have a pair of cowboy boots...I'd highly suggest you look into a megaticket. 

And for fun, even though this wasn't part of the megaticket last year, below is when Lisa, Becca, and I went to Jake Owen and Jason Aldean....and got SOAKED. They cancelled before Jason even came on. One of the best times I've had at a concert. Once every ounce of you is soaked, you just can't help but laugh. Plus Jake Owen has some seriously pretty teeth.

Happy Monday everyone!

Until next time,
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

World's Best Work Pants

Let's face it. We have all wished for careers in the medical profession....simply for the scrubs. I mean Meredith and Cristina always look SO comfy. I've worked as a receptionist in a couple of doctors' offices in my life and let me tell you...changing from jammies to clothes that feel very much like jammies is a glorious thing!

Well that ain't such a luxury in corporate America.

When I first started working a few years ago, I didn't understand the meaning of a blended wardrobe. I had work clothes, and I had non-work clothes, and I really didn't feel like they crossed barriers. If someone asked me to dinner after work, I felt like I needed to run home and change first. I didn't have a dual-purpose closet. And it simply left no money in my wallet and no room in my closet. 

SO I got smart (and I also got a sense of fashion). Now I like to buy things that can accommodate both work and play. 

I will give the disclaimer that normally, I'm a dress/skirt wearer. I've always thought pants fit me weird. I don't wear jeans. In fact, in high school my mom told me she'd take me on a shopping spree if I didn't ever wear jeans my senior year. I'm telling you - they look weird on me. I've been told I need to go to the Blue Jean Bar here in Dallas, but alas, I have not.

In the winter, I can only wear so many tights/skirts combos. By about 2 pm, I want to rip the tights off my body. And whoever invented the pencil skirt obviously didn't have to go to the bathroom a lot. Plus I like to sit cross-legged in my chair and it's just not very appropriate to just spread em in a short skirt, SO I needed some pants. 

I noticed my friend Mercedes was always wearing the cutest pants to work and she had them in like...8 different colors. She ranted and raved about these pants. But for those of you who don't know Mercedes, she's tall and teeny, so naturally I just thought they just looked good on her. 

Well, friends, I caved and ordered me a pair on Cyber Monday.... and I've just ordered my third pair. They literally are the world's best work pants. And I believe they look good on anyone. 

I introduce to you, the Banana Republic Sloan Pant

Sloan-fit Slim Ankle Pant - they have them all. Plus they now have these color block pants. Equally cute and two-toned to match those days that you're feeling a bit bipolar. 

Sloan is the way to go. They're flattering, dual-purpose, and SO comfortable. Y'all. I'm working 15 hour days right now. It's a good day when I get to wear these suckers to the office. Just try a pair. You'll find yourself ordering another. 

Also, in TV news, the final season of Hart of Dixie came back on this past week and man oh MAN do I love that show. Two words...

Wade Kinsella

My biggest TV crush to date. Sorry Zac Efron. 

It may be busy season, but I will choose this show (and that face) over sleep any day! :)

Until next time,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Roommate Night: Paleo Pizza and Parenthood

I live with one of my best friends. It is quite the convenient living situation. This is the third time we've lived together in the past five years. When it works, it works.

Me and the Rooms (you can call her Kelsey)
The only problem: we're both busy little bees. I've often referred to our house as "the revolving door." That being said, we have to schedule roommate nights. And Friday night was roommate night!

Here's the thing. We're TV show obsessed. Our senior year of college, we had a Sunday night ritual of Chinese take out and "Brothers & Sisters" on DVD. Only after moving the couch as close to the TV as possible. We love our TV shows. And the characters in those shows have a part in our daily conversation. We're not ashamed. 

So while most of our shows don't return until the end of January, our beloved Parenthood came back on Thursday. And it's the last season. And it's such a fantastic show. And we got new wine glasses for Christmas. And it's really cold outside these days. So it most definitely called for a roommate night in. 

We love the Braverman clan
Due to our New Years resolution of eating better, we made paleo pizza! Now, I am not a 100% paleo eater. I love my carbs and apparently if you do paleo you don't do Blue Bell and well, that just doesn't work for me. BUT, I think paleo has a lot of good principles and if I can eat a paleo version of pizza and not feel like there's a brick in my stomach afterwards - I'm all for it.

The finished product  
Isn't it colorful and yummy looking? And this pizza is LOADED with goods. I mean you don't even miss the cheese. Yes you read that correctly - you don't get cheese. The crust is an almond meal base, but other than those two things, it essentially is just a "supreme" pizza. 

Here's what you need (or this is what was on mine). It's your pizza. Do what you want.

-Almond Meal (I use Trader Joes brand)
-2 eggs
-Coconut Oil
-Italian Seasonings (oregano, basil, etc.)

-Tomato Paste
-Marinara Sauce
-Baby Spinach
-Italian Sausage
-Bell Peppers

There are a ton of recipes out there for various "healthy" crusts, but I just combined two cups of the almond meal with the 2 eggs, seasonings, and enough coconut oil to make it 'sticky' - like dough.  

Combine the dough into a ball, and use a rolling pin to flatten into a circle. Hence begins the image of the pizza. (Tip: Cover the dough with wax paper so your pin doesn't stick)

Couldn't find my round pan - but trust me, round is easier
Bake the dough at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. The length of how long you cook it depends on how thin you make your crust.

While it's cooking, brown your sausage and onions and cut up the veggies. Once you pull the crust out of the oven it's really just an art project from there. I loaded the thing in the order listed above, but again - your pizza. Be bold. Be adventurous.

My dad once told me the more colorful your food is, the better it is for you!

So we grubbed and hung out (and I cried) with the Bravermans, and then the Dunphees (Modern Family), and the Johnsons (blackish). And don't even worry. We drank out of our new Olivia Pope wine glasses the whole time. Just call us "gladiators-in-training."

Crate and Barrel - in case you Scandal fans are wondering :)
OH - and we're already planning our January 29th roommate night. You know, when Greys and Scandal return. Oh glorious day. 

Until next time,

Monday, January 5, 2015

Planning the Erin Condren Way

If you've read any of my other posts, you're aware that I'm a planner. I live by lists and don't have "free time." On the rare chance that I'll plan to give myself a "free" weekend, I'll have it filled by the Thursday before. Free time gives me anxiety or something, I don't know. Whatever the reason - that's how I am and how I've always been. 

Most people in this day and age live electronically, and the iPhone calendar is what they use. Yes, I agree the iPhone calendar is easy and convenient, but it just doesn't work for me. I like a combination of big picture and detail. Plus I like paper. Call me old school, but I love hard copy. And hello you can use colored pens. Yes, please. 

My 2015 calendar came in this past week, and I'm just so excited, I'm going to tell you all about it. Lucky lucky you :)

I was first introduced to the Erin Condren life planner in 2013 and have re-ordered each December since. I just haven't found a better planner. I love love LOVE this planner!!

Okay so obviously I've had consistent tastes over the past three years...

Why you ask? Here are a few reasons:

  • The "big picture" view
At the beginning of every month I sit down and like to look at an overview. What's to come? What do I need to prepare for? Is there a shower coming up? Do I need to get a gift? A party to attend? Do I need to bake? Basically to ensure there are no surprises. This planner opens up with a monthly overview of each month.

  • The weekly detailed view
A big picture overview is key, but I also have to have the detailed option to hold my "to do" lists. What chores do I need to get done on a Saturday morning? What bills do I need to pay? What groceries do I need to grab at the store after work? Following each month overview, the planner provides a weekly view. Best of both worlds? I think so! 

Clarification: AA stands for American Airlines. And I likely cancelled those pure barre classes..

  • The colors and quotes
Everything is better with color, and everyone loves some inspiration. This planner is the most colorful planner I've ever seen, and the pages are covered with bits of "umph" for those harder, stressful days. 

  • The stickers
Why write that you have an appointment, when you could put a cute colorful sticker instead?! Birthdays, appointments, games, concerts, vacations - this planner has them all. And if that's not enough, they give you blank ones to write whatever you want. And if THAT'S not enough, they give you the option to custom make your stickers. There are actually quite a few options - you can even have picture stickers! Y'all - the possibilities are endless.

  • The pocket and pouch
 So essentially your life can be maintained in this planner. But what if you need to keep a receipt? Or you make a list on a napkin at dinner and don't want to lose it? Ladies and gents, this planner has a pocket and a pouch. 

And she always sends you a little treat (personalized notecards) in the pouch!

Your life will never be the same.  Okay... it's still just a planner. But I seriously live by mine. I absolutely love this thing. There are so many options available to customize. All of her stuff is incredible. I want to start a family just so I can buy a family chore chart. ...but I'm dead serious. 

Check out her site. She has something for everyone - teachers, travelers, moms, and more. I'm (obviously) obsessed with mine - and I'm confident you would be too :)

Until next time, 
Friday, January 2, 2015

What Will Bring in 2015

So I'm usually not one for New Years resolutions. In fact, I've never done them. But - over the past couple of months, I've found myself saying "well maybe next year I'll....." quite a bit. That being said, I thought I'd make myself a list of some (attainable) resolutions. Plus we all know I just love a good list. 

1. Eat Better and Work Out More

Are you shocked? Surprised? Totally flabbergasted? I mean I'm pretty sure this is everyone's #1 right after the holidays... The thing is I'm not going to try some diet, and I'm not even going to submit to a lifestyle change. I love Blue Bell, pie, and pasta - and that's never going to change. So for me, I'm just going to do better. Eat less crap and eat more produce. Maybe I won't eat Heath bars for lunch anymore. I just want to take steps towards putting "cleaner" stuff in. 

Also, I do not work out right now. Like I just don't. If I tell you I do Pure Barre - I'm lying. I DID Pure Barre... for like two months... two years ago. Since then I've just been signing up for classes and cancelling them. In my defense I've gotten really good at it, and rarely get charged a late cancellation fee. 

Anyway. That's besides the point. I'm about to start working crazy hours (woo busy season), so I need to make a game plan now. The thing is, I will have to do the 6 a.m. classes, and y'all, there's not much more I get up for other than a hot shower and good cup of coffee. And it will be cold outside. UGH. I hate this already. I think I'm going to start with low expectations such as 3x a week. I can do this. I can do this. I just need to do better. 

2. (Re)Implement a Quiet Time

I will be the first to (shamefully) admit, when life gets busy, this is the first thing to go. And that's so unfortunate because it matters more than anything else I do. Yes, some days I may have 30 minutes and some days I may only have 3, but regardless of the time slot, I need to make it happen.  My spiritual life becomes pretty complacent without it. 

Over Christmas break I went to Lifeway and bought two new books to kick off my year. One is the "One Year Love Language" minute devotional by Gary Chapman, and the other is "Crazy Busy" by Kevin DeYoung. 

Jeff and I have been dating for almost a year, and over the course of that year we have realized that (just like my parents) we have very opposite love languages :) It has (quick!) words of inspiration for each day of the year, so I'm excited and prayerful over how these words will be an encouragement to our relationship!

The second one? Well - it doesn't need much explanation. :) It did win 2014 Christian book of the year, so I'm pretty pumped to start that one too!

All in all, my Savior is my #1, and I need to make sure I treat Him as such.

3. Take Guitar Lessons

In September of 2013, I decided I was going to pack up and move to Nashville. I was pumped and terrified. But so ready to give a try at a new city, new people, and (maybe?) a new career that was themed around country music. My brother surprised me that Christmas with a guitar, and I was a basketcase. I was so overjoyed I just couldn't stop crying. In fact I'm tearing up just thinking about it. That will always be such a special moment in my life. 

Love love love my big brother

Well, 2014 was well underway and a lot of doors started opening for me in Dallas. I decided to withdraw my transfer to Nashville and stay put for the time being. One of the "doors" was a really great career opportunity that [unfortunately] left me with very little Katy time. BUT - it's a whole new year. So, after busy season, I am going to sign up for guitar lessons. One night a week for an hour. I can do that. And it'll make me happy. Just because I didn't move to Nashville doesn't mean my love (or dreams) of music has to stop.

4. Save More; Spend Less 

I am really good at putting money in my savings account each month. But I'm also just as good at taking it back out a few weeks later. So - my resolution is to put the money in savings, and leave it. How will I be able to do this? Well, I have to spend less. And that's just no fun. But I should be better about my spending. More frugal, if you will. Maybe I'll try to live off cash for a couple of months. I just need to commit to baby steps. Baby steps in the direction of the piggy bank. 

5. Read More

I love reading. Curling up and getting lost in someone else's world just makes me happy, and less stressed. But due to this crazy fast-paced life I live, I don't make too much time for it. BUT - I will crawl in bed and play on my phone for 30-45 minutes before I go to sleep. I mean, really? What do I gain from stalking people on facebook? Nothing. I could be reading. So in 2015, I am going to make more time to read. 

6. Skin Care Awareness

I went to the dermatologist a few months ago for the first time in my life. I initially went to get my plethora of moles checked out (so far so good!), but it also peaked my awareness to skin care as a whole. I'll turn 27 this June (holy moly that's not far from 30), so it's time to really take care of my skin. I don't do a bad job of that now - I wash, moisturize, spf, etc., but I want to take the time to research and find the best options for my skin in the long run. More on that to come I'm sure...

7. Clean Out My Closet

Uggggggggghhhhhh. I'm dreading this one. Have you heard the phrase "closet full of nothin' to wear?" (rasies hand) Yeah that's me. I can barely fit anything else into my closet, yet I never seem to have anything to wear. Know what that means? It's time for a cleanse. And I'm really bad at closet cleanses because I justify a need to keep everything. I actually should just make a girls night out of it and have them tell me "keep" or "trash." Ohhh I could make voting signs too! This could be fun! 

  Moral of the story - I need to throw away the stuff I can't (or won't) wear. And just tell myself that it means I have room to buy more things. ....on sale.
Which is me practicing #4.....

8. Pretty Painted Nails

You may think I'm crazy, but this is a resolution. I think people with painted nails give the image that they have their lives together or something. Now don't get me wrong, I paint my nails, but then I let them chip....down to the middle of my nail...for like a month too long. It looks horrendous, and probably gives off the "homegirl is a hot mess" image. So, in 2015, I am going to paint my nails (all sorts of fun colors!) and when it starts chipping - repaint or remove. 

Alrighty. Eight resolutions. I think that's doable! I almost added a ninth of "slow down and say no," but then I realized I just don't want to. I have lived a jam-packed, exhausting, I-don't-sit-well life for 26 years. Why stop now? I love it. It's who I am. I'll slow down when I have kids or something. 

For 2015 - full speed ahead. 

Until next time,