The Big Easy (and Other Rambles)

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I hope you weren’t coming here today to read something wise or heartfelt or deep and intellectual, because I’m about to ramble for a bit. Mostly about New Orleans.

1// I’m going to New Orleans on Thursday! My super-amazing, generous, wonderful, fabulous best friend surprised me with a last-minute bachelorette celebration. We’re going to the Big Easy for 3 days and I’M PUMPED. There will only be a few of us since not many people could skip town with barely two weeks notice, but I think I like it better that way. Small groups are easier to manage, especially when you are traveling.

When Jess and I get together, it is always a blast. I have no doubt that this trip will be another raging good time.

When Jess and I get together it is ALWAYS a blast. I have no doubt that this trip will be another raging good time.

2// I’m not 22 anymore, so last minute trips aren’t quiiite as easy to swing these days. (Because, you know, I actually have a life and a few responsibilites now. Effin’ adulthood.) So naturally, I have a ton to do and very little time to do it in. Whatevs, I got this. And don’t worry, I’ve got some awesome guests stopping by to post for me while I’m gone!

3// Going to New Orleans for the weekend means missing Joey’s first birthday, which is on Friday. I know, I know…WORST FUR-MOM IN THE HISTORY OF FUR-MOMS. I promised to make it up to him when I get back. I’ve already found him an adorable party hat and I plan to make him some homemade peanut butter doggie treats to nom on before Mr. B and I take him to Petsmart so he can pick out a new toy.

4// I’m finding myself wayyy too concerned about things that aren’t actually problems these days. Like the fact that I won’t be here to feed Mr. B for three days. Why am I worried about this? The man is almost 30 years old. He’s not going to starve to death if I leave him unattended. And all the preemptive grocery shopping in the world won’t stop him from eating nothing but quesadillas and Nutri-grain bars while I’m away. Like I said, things that aren’t actually problems. I need to worry about actual problems, like the laundry that I’ve been putting off for far too long. We are running out of underbritches.

5// My WordPress Android app won’t let me respond to comments on the blog. It’s frustrating the crap out of me. Does anyone else have this problem, or does my phone just hate me? I think it’s time for a new phone. Too bad I’m not eligible for an upgrade for another year. Womp womp.

6//It’s embarrassing how much I am looking forward to eating on this trip. I love trying new foods and exploring local cuisine when I travel, but I’m ridiculously excited about what New Orleans has to offer. I can’t wait to eat all the food. Make me feel better and tell me I’m not the only one who gets like this. (Lie to me if you have to.)

7// Poor Daisie has dry skin, so I bought her wipes that promise to “soothe itch and pain” with a “bitter taste that stops licking and chewing”. I just tried them out, and good news- they work. She stopped chewing her little legs immediately. A few minutes later I forgot all about it and touched my mouth. I know why they work so well, and I can’t get the AWFUL taste out of my mouth. Maybe you should have washed your hands, dumbass.

8// The beautiful Amber over at Mr. Thomas and Me has a little giveaway going on right now. If you haven’t entered already, you should go check that out.

So yeah, that’s what is going on in my head right now. What’s new in your world? Has anyone ever been to New Orleans? Any tips or suggestions?

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The Thankful Project {A Room}

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I am thankful for my home office.

That’s odd, right? But I am really grateful for it. It’s my little space. I’m grateful to have a work area all of my own, and I’m thankful to have a man like Mr. B who was thoughtful enough to give it to me.

When Mr. B and I began the huge project of renovating the interior of our home, we discussed the changes we would make in every room. When the subject of the home office came up, he told me it was mine and that I should make it a nice little work space for myself. I protested at first. After all, it was our home, he should have a say and feel comfortable in there too, right? But he insisted that I take it and make it my own. He wanted me to have a place to write and create and just do my thing.

Office

 

OfficeView

Sadly, I can’t find any “before” photos of the office. Trust me though, it was a mess. Dingy, scuffed up white walls and stained, trampled green carpet. It was kinda gross. We ripped out the carpet and replaced it with hardwood floors. I painted the walls a soft gray, which ended up being a light grayish-purple that I love more than I would have expected. I painted the doors and baseboards a crisp white, refinished the doorknobs and hardware, and started hunting down furniture and decor.

OfficeWindow

I’m still searching for wall art, but other than that, I’m pretty pleased with my little office. We found this desk at a flea market for $75. It is quite possibly the heaviest piece of furniture ever made. And those drawers are the full length of the desk, which means I have lots of great storage. All I had to do was polish it up and refinish the ugly gold knobs.

OfficeDesk

This chest belonged to my great grandmother. I’m not sure I love it’s placement yet, but it has such sentimental value that it will most definitely have a place in my office (or perhaps at the foot of our bed??), even if it is missing a knob.

OfficeChest

The lamp on my desk used to sit on my mother’s nightstand when she was a child. I painted it pink and put a new shade on it, so it no longer looks like it’s fresh out of 1974.

OfficeLight

I also revamped an old chair, an old nightstand, and a wicker trash bin with a little bit of paint. (I like color, can you tell?)

OfficePrinter

My office isn’t all mine though, I currently share it with Joey.

OfficeCrate

I don’t mind though. He’s got a cute photo-bombing butt.

OfficeJoey

I love this room. It’s mine. I’ve made it my own and decorated it to reflect my style. It’s my space to write, create, and do what I love. (And, sometimes, pay bills.) But it is so much more than that. It’s a space that Mr. B wanted me to have. He wanted to make sure I had a place in our home that was my own. He replaced the flooring and hauled in the world’s heaviest desk. He wanted me to have a space where I could do what I love, and I love him for that.

OfficeChair

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Herding Cattle: What Not To Do

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This is post was one of the first on the blog, but since it’s one of my favorite accounts of Joey (and since I’m pretty sure only my mom and Mr. B ever read it), I’m re-posting it today for a link up with Jackie and Karly.

Jade and Oak

Back in the early days of spring, we took Joey to meet the cows for the first time. He’d been up to the cow pasture once before, but that time he decided to wait by the truck rather than follow Mr. B into the herd. This time, Mr. B and I coaxed him into the pasture with us. He wasn’t exactly stoked about it, but he did join us.

The cows were curious about Joey,

 

JoeyCowsMrB

 

but he was not equally intrigued by them.

 

What the...?!?!

What the…?!?!

Please get away from me. Please?

Please get away from me. Please?

 

He tried hiding behind me

joeythecoward

 

and behind Mr. B.

 

JoeyHidesBehindMr.B

 

He also tried seeking refuge between my feet

 

Check those hot boots. Farming can be sooo sexy.

Check those hot boots. Farming can be sooo sexy.

 

and in Mr. B’s arms.

 

JoeyMrBCows

 

When none of this worked, he ran from them. It backfired – they chased him. Which is the opposite of what is supposed to happen when a dog herds cattle.

 

CowChasesJoey

 

CowChasesJoey2

 

Hopefully, with a little bit of practice, he’ll figure out that he is supposed to be chasing them. Fingers crossed.

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The Thankful Project {Something I Was Taught}

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Thankful Project Title

I remember a short conversation I had with my father when I was a child. I don’t remember how old I was or any other details about that day, but the words he spoke are crystal-clear in my mind.

In typical whiny, small child fashion, I had asked my dad “why do you have to go to work?”

His reply: “I don’t have to go to work, I get to go to work.”

I barely understood his meaning at the time, but those words have stuck with me. That one simple sentence has lingered in my mind, as a verbal representation of a lesson he taught me through his actions every single day: Find something you love to do, and do it with everything you have.

My dad has worked in the car business my entire life. He’s had different roles, titles, responsibilities, and customer bases along the way, but one thing has always been constant for me: my dad sells cars. I’ve always known – even if I wasn’t really aware – that he loves what he does. And that the satisfaction he gets from spending his days doing something he truly enjoys makes him great at his job.

He hasn’t always been in the business; he dabbled in other trades before finding his niche. It was such an odd thing to learn as a kid, that dad used to do something else. I’ve realized that this wasn’t odd to me simply because it was different from what I knew, it was odd because I can’t imagine my father finding such joy and satisfaction in any other career.

It was such an important lesson to wrap my head around. I don’t recall him ever lecturing my brother and I on the importance of doing what we love, in fact, I don’t remember him saying much about it at all. Instead, he showed us every day. As I’ve come to understand all that it means, I’ve noticed how true it is in my own life. I do my best work when I’m truly happy with what I’m doing. I’m happiest in all aspects of my life when I enjoy how I spend the bulk of my day.

So, Daddy, thank you. I know I haven’t said it enough, but I appreciate all that you did for us every day. You did so much more than put food on the table and a roof over our heads. You taught me a very important lesson, one that, sadly, too few people ever learn. Sure, the paycheck matters, but we need to spend our lives doing what makes us happy. If we are going to spend most of our hours, days, weeks, years doing something, shouldn’t it bring us joy?

Because of you, I know how important it is to be able to say: “I don’t have to go to work, I get to go to work.”

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Ladies, Meet Booger…er…Roger

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First of all, let me say THANK YOU for all of the amazing love and support you guys sent my way after yesterday’s post. Seriously, my heart is bursting after all of your thoughtful emails and comments. I haven’t had a chance to respond to many of them yet, but I have read them all and I’m so grateful for each and every one of you.

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Mr. B has a good friend/coworker whom we adore. We call him Booger. He gets all “Really, Nik. Booger? Come on.” every time I introduce him to people as “Booger”, but sorry dude, that’s what I know you as. It would be weird to call you Roger even though that’s your name.

So for the sake of not getting yelled at, let’s start over. Ladies, meet Roger.

DSC_2922

 

Mr. B and Roger (dude, that is so weird) were working together today. On their way home, they stopped at Lowe’s so that Mr. B could pick up some supplies for this never-ending project. While there, Booger…GAH…Roger decided to grab some chain for his new boat anchor. He was assisted by a lovely young lady who caught his eye.

I’m told that the pretty miss and Roger made “googly eyes” at one another the whole time, and I’m left to assume that “googly eyes” is a Boogerism for flirting. When they left the store, the guys called me to get my opinion on what was shaping up to be a very important debate. Since he didn’t get the pretty girl’s phone number (or, as best I can tell, even introduce himself), Booger Roger wanted to know if it was cute or creepy to send flowers (3 yellow roses) with a little “thank you for cutting me a piece of chain” note with his phone number. Mr. B voted that it was a little creepy, and Roger wanted a second opinion. Plus, he knew I won’t hesitate to tell him when he’s being a bit of a creeper.  I told him I’d do one better and put it out into blogland for him as an informal poll.

DSC_2781

To help you decide if it’s a creepy or cute move, here’s the information I was able to collect from my conversation with Mr. B and Roger as they left the home improvement store:

  • She was not wearing a ring;
  • she “eyed him up” from another aisle before assisting him;
  • the flowers would need to be sent to her place of employment, as this is the only way he knows to contact her;
  • there was a brief moment where he may or may not have gotten caught checking out her, umm, top shelf;
  • “She was so pretty. Like naturally pretty. She wasn’t wearing any makeup and didn’t need it. She’s the kind of girl I would be proud to introduce to my mom.”

Mr. B thought the poor girl might be creeped out by his gesture, while I think her reaction will depend on whether or not she was into him. (If she thought he was a hottie, she’ll find it adorable. If she saw him as just another customer, it might be a little creepy.) And personally, as someone who does not appreciate being the center of attention – like, AT ALL – I would not like getting flowers from a stranger in front of all of my coworkers. But that’s just me, and I’m fully aware that not everyone shares my aversion to that kind of attention, so she may love such a public overture. Plus, it’s the only way he knows to reach her, and such grand gestures are sweet.

So tell me ladies, is Roger’s idea to send the helpful Lowe’s sales associate three yellow roses and a short note creepy or adorable? (Be honest, he’s a good sport.)

DSC_2029

*It’s probably worth noting that he went ahead and sent her flowers and the note before asking for anyone’s opinion. His phone call to me and this resulting poll were an afterthought, likely spurred by Mr. B’s “really, dude??” reaction. So I’ll keep you guys updated as to how this all plays out.

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A Change Is Brewing, but I Am Hopeful

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I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. Not sure what to say, or how to say it. Not entirely sure I wanted to say anything at all.

But I do want to talk about it. It has been pulsing gently in the back of my brain every time I sit down to write. I feel like it has dampened my mood and spirit, and I’m afraid of the toll that it is taking on my writing. I fear that the tone of my blog has changed ever so slightly. Maybe it hasn’t, really. It’s possible that I am the only one who sees any change, but still…I want to get it out. To share.

My parents – after 30+ years of marriage, two kids, one house, and a handful of Labrador Retrievers – are divorcing.

And while it does suck for so many reasons, at the very heart of the issue, I support this decision. I’m ok with it. I really, truly am – probably more than you would expect a child to be.

Secret To Change

Of course I’m sad. I’m sad for the end of their union. I’m sad that my parents, for the first time in my life, will relate to my brother and I as individuals, instead of the unit we’ve always known. I’m sad for my brother, who is closer to the nucleus of this whole ordeal. I’m sad for the parent who didn’t ask for this change, but who must muddle through it anyway. I’m sad to say goodbye to life as I’ve known it for 28 years. It weighs heavy on my heart and mind.

But I am hopeful. I know there is a beautiful life waiting for both of them in this next chapter. I am certain that they will thrive in this new unknown. We all have to learn to exist in this new reality, but I have hope that we will be better, stronger, and happier for it.

I love my parents, and I want them to be happy. I can honestly say that I see them both being happier, stronger people when they emerge on the other side of this mess. First, though, we have to get through the mess.

So, if it seems like my head isn’t always in the game, forgive me, please. My world is in a bit of a transition.

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The Contents of Our Bedroom are Now Piled Up in the Living Room (and Other Weekend Shenanigans)

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One of these days I’m going to write a post about all of the renovations we’ve done to the house, complete with before and after photos and a few mushy paragraphs about making our house a home and all that good stuff. If I’d already done that, you’d know that we’ve so far replaced almost all of the carpet in the house with hardwood floors. Almost, because we still had carpet in the master bedroom…until this weekend.

Sami's Shenanigans

We finally started the process of replacing the floors. This weekend we moved every thing out of our bedroom. Every. Single. Thing. (I have had pretty severe allergic reactions each time we’ve pulled up carpeting in the past, so we had to make sure everything was out of the reach of the dust.) So now, everything that was in our bedroom (including all of the furniture and the contents of two walk-in closets) is now piled up in our living room. I’m surrounded by piles of our stuff.

bedroombarefloor

Mr. B, with the help of my cousin, Ty, pulled up all of the carpeting and padding and removed the baseboards. Then we made a (very successful) trip to Lowe’s. So now, we have a bare bedroom floor, stacks of flooring, underlayment, and tools, and two very confused, displaced pups. And piles of our stuff everywhere we turn. Side note: It’s motivating me to do some serious purging. There’s no way we need all of this crap. Also, we are sleeping in the spare room, and I miss my bed.

The whole project will probably take most of the week, since it’s an after-work affair, but Mr. B has already made some great progress. I’m not much help since I can’t spend much time in the allergen-infested room right now. I mostly just help Mr. B figure out angles and whatnot. (Yay math!)

Plus, our trip to Lowe’s also resulted in a garbage disposal. This is huge, guys. You have no idea. I’ve never not had a garbage disposal until I moved here, and I’ve been harassing Mr. B about getting one since I moved in. He’s never had one before so it wasn’t on his list of priorities, but we finally bought one. He even installed it last night! It’s not hooked up to power yet, but by golly, it’s here and it’s installed. I’m a pretty happy camper. It may even distract me from the fact that we are living in the middle of chaos for the next week or so.

Also providing distraction is the latest addition to my Kindle library: Harry Potter. I started it on Saturday and I’m already about halfway through the first book. I’m a little late to the party, I know, but I’m here and I’m hooked.

HPwine

What did you get into this weekend?

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A Role I Play {The Thankful Project – November 2}

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This month, I am joining Kenzie for The Thankful Project. It won’t be everyday, but I will be following these writing prompts to talk about the many things in my life that bring me a feeling of gratitude. Today we are talking about how thankful we are for a role that we play…

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Thankful Project Title

 

Unearthing recipes, new and old. Making the grocery list. Clipping coupons. Scanning the aisles and filling the grocery cart. Stocking the pantry, the refrigerator, the spice cabinet. Planning meals. Preparing each dish. Baking, grilling, stirring, boiling, mixing, kneading, seasoning – in our home, I do it all.

It’s one role that I play in our little family; it’s what I do for us.

It never ends. We will always need to eat. Some days it feels like a dreaded chore. Really? I have to go grocery shopping again? I need to make another dinner? Ugh. I have “better” things to do, other items on my list that are vying for my time and attention, and sometimes, I just don’t feel like doing it.

Other days, I love it. The planner in me loves making lists, organizing meals, and searching for deals and discounts. The wanna-be chef in me loves trying new recipes and playing in the kitchen. The foodie in me loves to eat, sip, taste, savor.

No matter my mood, I do it with pride. It is an important role that I play, and it is about so much more than food and cooking. I plan our week, manage a budget, run the errands. I provide the comfort of a warm meal to the man I love at the end of his hard day. I make decisions about the healthy options in the cupboard, the delectable treats in the candy jar. I show my love through these choices, through the work that I do in the kitchen, both at the stove, armed with olive oil and fresh vegetables, and at the counter, armed with a calendar and a calculator.

It is only one role I play, one hat I wear of many. I do it for love, for our family, to help and to provide. It is an important role and one for which I am profoundly grateful.

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Halloween…or Theme Party?

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Happy Halloween!

Sadly, I’m old and boring. I’m not doing much of anything to celebrate Halloween this year, which means I have no fun stories or photos. So I went digging through boxes of old photos looking for pictures of Halloweens gone by. I love dressing up, so I was pretty confident I’d find lots of goodies to share with you all.

Trouble is…lots of the costumes I’ve worn haven’t been for Halloween. There have been lots and lots of theme parties, too. And I’m not entirely sure which costumes were Halloween costumes and which were theme party costumes. #sororitygirlproblems

Let’s play a fun little game of Halloween or Theme Party. (Sometimes also called Why Did The Drunk Girl Wear That Costume?)

Photo #1:

LingerieParty

 

Was it Halloween or a theme party? Theme party. Lingerie theme, actually.

Numero dos:

SchoolGirlParty

 

Did you guess Halloween? Understandable, since the slutty school girl is a popular All Hallow’s Eve choice. But no, you’d be wrong. It was a school girl themed party. By the end of the night we all had ties on our heads.

SchoolGirlTie

Feel free to judge me. I understand.

The school girl outfit did get worn again as a Halloween costume, but these pictures are from a theme party.

Round 3:

ThemeParty

This one was a theme party. What was the theme? you ask? I have no idea, but there were lots of girls in boas and sunglasses. Bling-bling party, perhaps?

Picture #4:

TopGunFloat

 

Halloween or theme party? Halloween. Sorta. It was Homecoming weekend and we were dressed like this to ride on the Top Gun themed float in the parade. After the parade, those of us dressed as sailors joined the rest of our sisters for a Halloween celebration, so it doubled as a Halloween costume that night.

NewspaperFloat

 

It should also be noted that our float one first place. It was awesome. I really wish I had more photos of it.

I did find one that I’m confident was for Halloween, since it was taken in 1986 – long before I knew about the joys of a good theme party:

NikkiPumpkinCollage

 

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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P.S.- I’m making an appearance over on Dog Hair Is An Accessory today – go check it out and say hi to Adriana and Lil!