Monday, February 24, 2014

Sister Style: Spring Wish List

Thanks again to those of you that are continuing to meet me here (and on FB/Instagram/etc.), leave comments, etc.  It has meant so much to me the past few days to know that the little community we have built is not dependent on a domain name... You guys are the best!

On that note, change is on its way here friends (or, well, not here... but you know what I mean).  I'm busy brainstorming and dreaming behind the scenes for something new on the horizon, but - in the meantime - I thought I'd go ahead and share some of the content I already had ready to go for E, Myself, and I... Like spring wish lists, naturally...


The weather here has been SO crazy this year.  Up until a few days ago, we had eight feet of snow on the ground, and yesterday it was almost 70 degrees outside!  I can't keep up!!!

Anyway, these sunny days have given me spring fever BAD.  And, while y'all may not have cared one way or the other about it, but I had a lot of fun doing last week's "Sister Style" post with my sis Kathryn.  SO.... I asked her to come back today to talk Spring Wish Lists!  Because this feels a little less greedy than giving our mom a handwritten list for our spring birthdays. ;)


Here's what I'm eyeing lately:

E's Spring Wish List

(Click the link for all the sources!)

Basically, I'm loving bright pastels, monograms (duh), neutral sandals, and Gap skinny jeans.  Ahhh.


And, Kathryn's:
KK's Spring Wish List

(Click the link for all the sources!)

I love how you can totally see our differences in these lists.  Kathryn is 100% the type to pull off a Tory Burch purse with Old Navy jeans and a fedora.  I love it - and am a little jealous to be honest. *Also, just a note, she says that she actually owns that dress in black and the colored pants in red and calls them the "most flattering things ever."  Who can resist that?!?

What's on your spring wish list?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How I Lost My Web Domain & What's Next for EM&I

If you are reading this, you've already read plenty about my blog-domain drama in the last 24 hours, and still went out of your way to find me here, so THANK YOU!.  I'll try to spare you my sob story and just share a couple of the facts in case you are interested or worry that this could happen to you.  Then, we'll talk about where we are going from here.  Sound good?

(P.S. I kind-of just need to write all this out too.  Sorry if you are already totally 'over it' and/or think I'm being ridiculously dramatic.  I'm fully aware that I probably am being silly, but it's just where I am, and writing is how I process.  Y'all know me well enough to expect it by now...)


Part I: The Unnecessarily Long Story of a Lost Domain

E, Myself, and I has been in existence since June of 2009.  (If you're doing the math, that's almost five years ago.)  Of course, when I started this blog back then, I never expected anything to come of it, and - frankly - I figured it would die out like most of my other hobbies/habits in no time. BUT - much to my surprise and delight - I really liked blogging; and, even more shocking, it seemed that people kind-of liked reading what I had to say.  So, about six months in to this little gig, at the recommendation of my husband and a close tech-savy friend, I decided to switch out the standard "blogspot" web address for my own personal domain - www.emyselfandi.com.  (Incidentally, my blogspot address - yes, the one you are reading this on right now - also included my last name, and Jeff and I decided that probably wasn't the wisest idea either... So, it made sense.)  I had about 50 "followers"/regular readers at the time, and since blogger easily allows you to "redirect" from your blogspot address - it was no big deal.

At the time (and, let's just be honest here, still today) I knew VERY little about the technical side of blogging.  In fact, I probably said something very close to "just do it and tell me when it's done" to our friend regarding buying and making the move to a new domain... And, that's what he did.  I have some vague memory of him telling me that it cost $10 a year to keep, and that was that. I had no idea where the domain was purchased, how it was maintained, etc. As far as I was concerned, some little internet fairies were in charge of it now, and I honestly never gave it another thought.


Ok... Fast forward four years.

For four years, I had zero problems with the web address.  I never received a single bit of correspondence about the domain at all.  Like I said, I had nothing to do with it.  (Yes, in hindsight, I realize that isn't the best "management" technique.  I am young and stupid and never had any business playing with the internet in the first place... What else can I say?)

Around November of this past year, I started receiving email from Google saying that my custom domain would expire on January 7th, 2014 and that my account was not set for auto-renew.  January 7th felt like a long time away (and, if I'm really being honest, I also kind-of thought "I've never had to renew my subscription so far, why would I need to start now?"), so I made a mental note to look into it and kept blogging away... Finally, some time around the end of the year after receiving my 2nd or 3rd notification, I DID actually take some action and went on Google Apps to change the setting to automatic renewal - or so I thought.  Then, once again, I didn't give it another thought.


Ironically, about two weeks ago, I casually mentioned to Jeff that "I guess my auto-renew worked because it's long past January 7th and the world hasn't ended yet."  #insertfootinmouth  Also, in hindsight, a couple of different people had said things to me over the course of the last month or so that indicated that my website wasn't working normally (things like not being able to get there one time, but then the address working the next); but, since I don't typically access the page through my browser (I usually go through Blogger), and - when I did - it always worked for me, and I'm totally computer-ignorant, I didn't worry about that either.  *Basically, this is all just proof that I SHOULD worry a lot more in life. ;)

Then, randomly, yesterday the site just stopped working.  Kaput.  When you typed in the web address, a message came up saying that the "server is unresponsive" and several of you confirmed that this was happening across the board via Facebook etc.  #uhoh  

(Can I just be vulnerable for a second and admit that for a tiny minute yesterday, I thought to myself: "Ahh this is it! Your blog has blown up so much that you have officially broken the servers!  You've MADE it!!"  Then I remembered that my most recently published post was a recap of The Bachelor and determined that was probably unrealistic. Ha.)

***This is the part to read if you just want to know what happened and prefer to skip all my meaningless commentary***

I spent the better part of yesterday investigating and worrying (making up for lost time I guess) and ultimately learned the following:

- My domain was originally purchased (back in December of 2009) and paid for four years. #noidea

- I had not completed the full process for setting up auto-renewal on Google Apps, so as of January 7th, 2013, the domain was officially "suspended."

- This basically took all matters out of the hands of Google and gave them back to GoDaddy - the company where I originally purchased the domain (who knew?).

- GoDaddy gives a month or so grace period and then opens up an expired domain to "auction" for anyone that may have placed it on "back-order" - which basically means someone was waiting for my account to expire so they could purchase it.

- That "grace period" apparently ended yesterday, and my custom domain was sold (I think pretty much immediately) to an unregistered/private source. (i.e. I have no way of getting in touch with the person)

- IF my domain had NOT been purchased, I could have pretty easily just "bought it back" from GoDaddy for a small fee.  BUT, since it technically belongs to someone else now... I'm plum out of luck. Nothing anyone can do for me... Except the new owner of the domain, of course. ;)

Which brings me to...

Part II: How I'm Feeling

Sad. Frustrated. Stupid. Disappointed. And a tad bit silly for feeling all of those things over a BLOG - it's not like someone stole my dog!!

Mostly, I'm VERY thankful that - thanks to Blogger - I still have all of my blog content and was able to immediately switch back to blogspot with little to no change content-wise.  Losing the last five years of writing would have been DEVASTATING; losing some Followers, ultimately, is not.  It's not the end of the world, and it will be OK. 

BUT, of course, I'm sad.  I've spent a lot of time (not to mention money) building that little brand (ugh all those beautiful business cards from Blogher!!) and have made commitments to sponsors etc. that I feel like I can't fulfill right now.  THAT part is hard to swallow.  That part is a bit (ok, a good bit) overwhelming to me right now.  But, still, it is not the end of the world. More than anything, it is inconvenient, but really that's all. Life - even my own - will go on with or without emyselfandi.com.


As of late last night (yes, I kept checking because I'm a freak) there appears to be a new blog going up in that space by the same title - E, Myself and I.  There is still no contact information for the author, but I did leave a comment there asking him/her to contact me ASAP, and I have a tiny spark of hope that he/she had no idea they were purchasing a domain that was already "home" to someone else, and we will be able to work out some kind of deal.  *Person, if you happen to be reading this, please email me! I'm nice and will give you a SWEET deal.  Thanks!

To be clear, I am NOT mad at this person (I honestly believe he/she probably just has a name that starts with an E and thought the title was catchy.  I know I didn't spend time Googling things like that before I settled on a blog name).  Whoever it is did NOTHING wrong.  They bought an expired domain more than a month after it expired. That's all.

I'm also not mad at Google or GoDaddy.  Yes, I wish they had been a little more specific/clear in their emails and instructions for renewing - something like a humongous posterboard in hot pink letters probably would have been helpful - but I really can't fault them either.  Ultimately, this was/is my fault, and I'll own it. If I'm mad at anyone, it's myself. (And, really, if I've learned anything from the blog world in the last five years it's to show myself grace too; so, really, I'm not that mad at anyone.)

Part III: What's Next?

The quick answer is that I really don't know.  Yesterday, I had a lot of thoughts about just throwing in the towel and calling it quits all together - letting myself fall off the Internet for good.  BUT, when I'm being reasonable, I know that's not what I want.  I still really love writing and - ESPECIALLY - you all.  This has become an incredible support system for me.  It is like my "home" and emyselfandi.com was just the "house" you know?  Plus, I don't want to be someone who just gives up when the going gets tough.  Some day, I assume, it WILL be time to give up the ole blog; but, when that time comes, I want to do it because it is TIME - not because I was dumb and let my domain expire.

So... As I've said on Facebook and Instagram already, I'll be making a decision about where to go from here in the next few days.  Basically, right now, it's a toss up between simply switching to emyselfandi.net or something like that and keeping everything else virtually the same OR using this as an opportunity for growth and change and starting off my 30th year (one more month to the BIG birthday folks) with a new name and a new internet "identity" so to speak.  I'm just not sure yet.

In the meantime, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this epistle and for traveling with me back to my old stomping grounds for a few days.  You are my dearest and closest blog friends, my "people," and I could not be more thankful for you!


And finally, a little business to wrap up:

- Along with my domain, I also lost access to my email account through it.  SO, if you need to contact me directly for any reason you can reach me at emyselfandiblog@gmail.com temporarily.   If you have written in the last 24-48 hours or so, please accept my sincere apologies and send your message again to the above address!!

- To my amazingly kind and patient sponsors: Please know that I have not forgotten about you! I will do my best to right any wrongs that this may cause you and will happily reimburse your sponsorship costs etc. as soon as I get things figured out a little more. For now, feel free to email me with any special concerns or questions.  Thank you in advance for your patience with me in the coming days/weeks.



So... Has this happened to any of you before?  How did you recover?  

In general, I would LOVE any feedback you have to offer - ideas/suggestions/etc. - on how to proceed from here.  I value each of your opinions SO much! 

Thanks friends!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Bachelor: Welcome to Miami

I was going to start my "Before We Were Mommy & Daddy" posts today; but, I have a few thoughts on this week's episode of The Bachelor that I simply must share before I can move on with my life... 


Week 6: Juan Pablo takes the girls to his hometown of Miami, Sharleen leaves, Nikki and Clare shoot daggers through each others' eyes, and the most sensible one of them all gets sent home.  #inanutshell

Now, let's break it down...

The episode begins with some obligatory footage of Juan Pablo getting to see Camilla again.  This is sweet, don't get me wrong - I love a girl and her daddy, but I think the "single parent" story line is becoming kind-of overused... I'm at least ready for someone to have a teenage daughter that puts the girls through the ringer or something.

Next up, Sharleen receives the first date card and acts very confused and awkward about the whole thing... I, also, was very confused by 1. the fact that she acted like she was totally caught off guard and not at all prepared to go out; but, her make-up was perfect and her hair was already done, and 2. was Juan Pablo wearing fushia jorts on the date?!

In the end, their date consisted of nothing but making out, and Sharleen telling the cameras that she was missing a "cerebral connection" with him.  At one point, she also told Juan Pablo that she wished "she was dumber," which might be my favorite Bachelor statement of all times.  That should have been his 23490nd clue that this girl is way out of his league.

I have to be honest, I've been pretty much hating on Sharleen the whole season so far.  I still really don't understand what made her come on a show like this in the first place - my guess is that it's not a big spot for opera-singer scouts - and I think she could have at least acted like she wasn't so much better than everyone else all the time.  BUT, she started to win me over in this episode...

You're right Sharleen - amazing chemistry with a guy is something special.  Not being able to stop yourself from making out with him is great; but, also, it is kind-of a red flag when you literally cannot have a conversation.  I think she genuinely wanted to talk to Juan Pablo, but he just whispered and coo-ed and went in for another kiss.  I'm kind-of with her lately - J.P. is NOT the sharpest tool in the kit.  In fact, come to think of it, the closest I've ever seen to him having a real conversation with anyone mostly just involves him saying "look at me" a lot.  

Anyway, Sharleen ultimately decides to leave the show on her own accord and any doubt we might have had about Juan Pablo's intelligence is completely solidified by his profound statement after her departure: "I would rather be appreciated and be honest than be appreciated and not be honest."

Hmm. Bless his heart. (He didn't even really seem upset either, you know?)


In the end, I was actually kind-of sad to see Sharleen go.  I think, other than not being all that nice, she was a good example of a strong woman and not "settling" for someone that makes you feel good temporarily.  That, and the fact that she was one of the very best dressed I've ever seen on the show.  I LOVE her style (and I really really wish she had left one of her suitcases for poor Nikki or Renee to borrow for the reminder of the season).  *P.S. I'm still not completely convinced that she won't be back next week... We'll see.



Nikki gets the next one on one and - frankly - I thought the date was completely lame.  #Imsorry

For starters, why didn't he just tell her what they were doing at the beginning of the date instead of building it up like it was some kind of incredible once-in-a-lifetime adventure?  I mean, yes, I think it says a lot about the way he feels about her (although I'm not totally convinced that he has ANY say in who goes on what dates), but it really just seemed more like a concert-performer fell through and the producers had to go with plan B.  Am I right?  Also, was it just me, or was that totally NOT a dance recital?!?  That was - daddy's on The Bachelor and we need to figure out a way to get the baby-mama casually worked in to a scene, so lets pull in some bleachers and some extras and call it a show.  Oh silly producers, we're on to you.

Now, on to the more important part of the date... Nikki's outfit. Nothing says "I'm ready to be a mom" like wearing almost non-existent jean cut-off shorts and a silk robe. Uggggg.


Seriously, this is why one should ALWAYS dress sensibly, because you never know when you might be called to duty at a dance recital.  Poor girl.

But really, I felt a little sorry for her and told myself that surely she begged Juan Pablo to take her home and let her change once she found out what they were doing (but the producers cut that part, obviously) UNTIL... I saw her outfit choice for that evening.  Oh geez. #therearenowords

(As a side note, how beautiful and classy did Carla - Camilla's mom - seem? Oh how I wish there was confessional footage of her!!)

How one can go from being attracted to someone like Sharleen one night and Nikki the next (can we say opposites?!?) is beyond me; but, Juan Pablo is falling in love left and right and thoroughly enjoying the ride...



Later, on the group date, which I - for the life of me - cannot remember a thing about - Clare reveals a little more about herself (being the youngest of SIX girls totally explains some things to me) including telling Juan Pablo about her father's death and the video he left for her future husband.    Juan Pablo's heartfelt response: "Can I have a [little kiss]?" Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and call it a language barrier, k?

In the end, Andi gets the only rose of the dates and looks ROCKING for their one-on-one time later on.  I kind of think she's a cuter/more fun version of Sharleen now - obviously too smart and sophisticated for Juan Pablo - but I think they look AMAZING together.  She's still my top choice, but I don't think they'd last if she does win.



Back at the mansion - where the girls have absolutely NOTHING to do but pick at each other - drama is heating up between Clare and Nikki.  Their fight over whose room it was came straight out of my 15 year old students' playbook.  I loved it.  They are both morons.


And finally, at the rose ceremony, poor Chelsie got sent home.  I knew it was a toss-up between she and Renee, and I would have been sad to see either of them go.  Chelsie was cute and sweet (with just enough sass); but, she just didn't cause enough drama.  Sorry girl.  Adios!



Now, next week it's FINALLY hometown dates and, I for one, am PUMPED.  This is, by far, my favorite episode of the season and, from the teasers this week, I think this one is going to exceptionally good.  #whatintheworldhappensiwithAndi?!?! 

It's also time for us to be narrowing down our picks for next season's Bachelorette... What do you think? I'd say Andi has a good chance if she doesn't win - Clare and Nikki aren't well-liked enough, and Renee is way too vanilla.  (Come to think of it, that fact alone tells me Andi is NOT going to win... She has to be the next Bachelorette.)  We'll see.


What did you think this week?  Are you on a Team Clare or Team Nikki? Do you think Clare has had Botox?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Before We Were Mommy and Daddy (Intro)

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to cleaning up/organizing my basement and experienced a bit of nostalgia as I dug through boxes and remembered this whole "other life" Jeff and I lived before becoming parents.  As high school sweethearts, we dated for almost six years before we got married, and were married for four before Sam was born.  During those ten years, we were extremely fortunate and able to have LOTS of incredible experiences "just the two of us" including a six month study-abroad in London/ travel all over Europe, skiing in Park City, Utah and Breckenridge, Colorado, a three week cross-country road trip, and many other smaller trips etc.

As I labeled boxes of "camping gear," "skiing gear," "travel guides," etc. I couldn't help but wonder if Sam would ever know how "fun" and "cool" we were before we became Mommy and Daddy.  (Ha!) Sure, I hope that one day - in the not so distant future - we will be able to introduce our kids to many of the things we used to love to do together and build new traditions of travel and adventure with them, but there will always be a season of our lives and relationship that they will never really know.


Of course, it goes without saying that we chose to trade in weekend getaways for car seats and Sesame Street Live, and we would absolutely not have it ANY other way!  While I will be forever grateful for those years of adventuring with just Jeff and a single back pack, becoming parents FAR outweighs any of the other experiences we've had together.  

Print from BWPrints on Etsy/ on sale at Brickyard Buffalo now!

Still... It makes me a little sad to think that Sam might not ever look at his Daddy and see a shaggy-haired kid hanging upside down from a zip line or scaling a rock wall with no net the way I do.  He will probably never think of Mommy as someone who used to ski Black Diamonds or once hiked overnight in the Bavarian Alps.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to be posting some stories here in the next few weeks about our life together "before we were Mommy and Daddy."  These will mostly be for Sam (and any future kids), but I hope you all will enjoy the little trip down memory lane too as I recount the days when we were just "Jeff and E."   


Stay tuned!

* I've written about our high school "love story" already here, and all the details of our cross-country road trip in 2010 are here.  

Also, if you've never seen it before, here is the video we showed at our rehearsal dinner in 2007 that pretty much covers the first 23 years of our lives (and makes me cry every time):


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow-Week Gems

As usual, LOTS of goodies on the world wide web this week.  Cozy up by the fire and give 'em a read!


"Dear New Girl at the Gym" by Erica Millard
This was actually posted a few weeks ago, but I just found it, so it counts.  (Thanks for linking Katie!)  I needed to read this.  Good stuff.


"Let's Get Together, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" by Elizabeth Robertson Williams.
I was recently introduced to Elizabeth's blog from a mutual real-life friend, and I feel like we might be soul sisters already.  I love what she has to say about hospitality and taking it seriously when we say "let's get together" to people. (Although, I have to admit, when I first read the title I thought she was going to invite me to her house... And, I was pretty excited about that!)
"The Promise You Can't Keep in Marriage" by John Mark Comer for Relevant Magazine.
This is a great article about what marriage IS and what it is NOT.  The idea that it isn't supposed to make you "happy" can be hard to accept, but also so freeing! A great message - especially after this week of loooove. :)


"Living Small: Current Thoughts" on The Vanilla Tulip
The Vanilla Tulip shared master bedroom/nursery
I have so much respect for Ashley.  She and her husband are raising their four beautiful kids in an 1,100 square foot cottage with two bedrooms and - I'm not kidding - it is one of my FAVORITE houses in the blogosphere. (If you want, start by reading the Introduction to her Living Small series here.  I love her heart and am so inspired by the life she is intentionally living.)

"Why Sean Lowe's Story Matters" (with a link to his "I Am Second" video) on Annie Blogs
If you read my post about Sean & Catherine's wedding, you know how much I agree with what she is saying...  And, you totally need to watch the video.



Also loving...

This necklace.

The new-and-improved Room to Romp website - especially this cute spring outfit for Sam.

This amazing striped tunic (with pockets).

This perfect Valentine's gift from my main squeeze:


I have had my eye on these for a while now, and Jeff finally picked up on my - not so subtle - hints. #heisakeeper I just sent in our photos and CAN'T WAIT to see the finished product of our little family in a few weeks!


And, finally, congratulations to Veronica - the lucky winner of the Valentine's Group Give Away! Look for one of these cuties headed your way from me!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!



I'm super late getting this posted today, but it's for good reason.  We have been busy ALL day playing in the snow, drinking coffee, and visiting with friends and neighbors. Our house is full of wet clothes, empty cups, cookie crumbs, and people.  It's been the best.

Amanda and Davey and Baby Luke are on their way over with take-out Chipotle for our Valentine's dinner now... It's funny to think of what Valentine's Day used to look like (before Sam); but, honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I am so blessed by this little life and so thankful for my two WONDERFUL Valentines.

Hope you've been celebrating all the ones you love today!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sister Style: Make-up Steals & Splurges

When I visited my sister a few weekends ago, I was (as always) amazed and enlightened by her make-up collection/ expertise.  A lot of people think we look a lot a like, but I feel like our style (especially when it comes to make-up etc.) couldn't be more different.  It's actually kind-of fun, you know?  She's like my fancier/trendier/more made-up twin*. ;)

Do you remember when she took me make-up shopping for my 29th birthday?  It was SO fun, and my "Natural Make-up for Freckle Faces" from that post is one of the most 'pinned' images from this blog... She's a good one to have around.  Anyway, that gave me the idea to start asking Kathryn to contribute here more often and share some of her favorite beauty products and style advice with YOU, so I'm starting up a new "occasional series" called: Sister Style (original, I know).


This way, if you're into those kind of things too, you'll get some of Kathryn's great advice; or, if you're more like me, you can live vicariously through her too!  What do you think? (Do you think we look alike?)

On to today....

Not only is my sister totally beautiful and could - easily - be a make-up artist for a living - but she's also a total product junkie.  If it's out there, she's probably tried it!  Luckily for me, that means she almost always has a "cheap option" for some of the best products on the market, and knows when to save and when to splurge.  (Most of the time, I would much rather spend my money on fancy pens or gummy bears.)

So, here is her complete make-up regime (she says it honestly isn't as much as it looks like) with a 'steal' and a 'splurge' for each:

*The little star indicates which one she personally uses on a regular basis, although, she switches it up all the time!

Makeup Steals and Splurges Part 1

Face Wash: Garnier Cleansing Oil ($8) / Philosophy Purity Made Simple ($40)
Primer: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer ($7) / Benefit The POREfessional ($30) 
Foundation: L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation ($13) / Tarte Amazonian Clay ($38) 
Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer ($9) / Benefit Boi-ing Concealer ($20) 
Bronzer: Rimmel Natural Bronzer ($5) / Lorac TANtalizer Baked Bronzer ($32) 
Blush: NYX Powder Blush ($6) / Benefit CORALista ($28) 
Highlighter: NYX Born to Glow Illuminator ($7.50) / Laura Geller Baked Split ($42.50) 
Finishing Powder: NYX HD Studio Finishing Powder ($10) / NARS Light Reflecting ($35)


Makeup Steals and Splurges Part 2

Lipstick: Maybelline 14-Hour in 'Perpetual Peony' ($9) / Tarte Amazonian Butter ($16)

*To keep things simple, I used Ulta.com for all of the above links and prices (except for the NARS product, which isn't sold there).  This is in NO way sponsored, and these products - obviously - can be bought in lots of different places.  Prices vary.

Personally, I (E) tend towards less expensive face wash and creams, nicer face make-up & blush (both by Benefit), many of the NYX products (I love their eyeshadow, illuminator, and finishing spray), & Maybelline mascara. What about you? Do you use any of these products?  What items do you splurge on and which do you save?  Please share some of your favorites in the comments!



What else would you like to see from my sis?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Confession Time


- The other night, I dropped a pen in the cushion of my favorite chair and went "digging" to find it.  In my search, I uncovered not only the pen but also approximately six pennies, nine Goldfish crackers, and two Legos.  Without hesitation, I took the pen and pushed the other items back into the crevice. #Iwillvacuumsoon

- I am LOVING Zumba; but, I'm slightly concerned about the songs I now find myself humming and singing to myself all the time.  Today's pick? "Talk Dirty to Me" by ________.  (I don't know because I was afraid to type in the song title on my school computer.) ;)

- Poppy is having some trouble with food, so I took him a chocolate milkshake (his favorite) last week at lunch time.  When I got to his room, his roommate informed me that he was in therapy and wouldn't be back for a while.  Since I was just sitting there - and it was melting - I decided to have a sip of the milkshake.  Fifteen minutes later (and 750 calories - can you believe that?!?), when he finally returned, there was approximately 1/4th of the milkshake left for him.  Oops.  #notonmydiet

- I am a giddy school girl over the possibility of a big blizzard here today.  I have done NOTHING all week in anticipation of several days of being snowed-in and doing nothing again.  It's bad.


Got anything to confess today?  I'd love for you to join me and link-up below!
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Juan Pablo Kisses His Way Through New Zealand

You know what is really amazing about the Bachelor - I mean, besides Juan Pablo's hair? The weather.   Did anyone else realize that Andi and Juan Pablo's date consisted of bathing suits and waterfalls AND scarves, winter coats, and visible breath.  Same thing on the group date - rolling around in water-filled balls wearing bikinis by day, coats and blankets by night. #mysteriesofthebachelor 

Anyway, now that that is out of the way, here's a quick recap of last night's episode:

Juan Pablo & Andi go on a lovely one-on-one date where they slither between rocks in (no doubt) snake-infested waters to get to a beautiful clearing where they can stand under a waterfall and make-out. (Speaking of rocks, Andi totally rocks the one-piece bathing suit. Right?) Then, they bundle up for a romantic little dinner (of hardly any food) but get rudely interrupted by a geyser spraying them with cold mist.  (Didn't the producers speak to that geyser before taping? #rude)

In short, their time together went something like this --- 

Kiss, kiss, kiss, "I'm cold," kiss, kiss, kiss, "that geyser is so rude," kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, "I can't wait to have kids," kiss, kiss, kiss "will you aksept this rose?" kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss.

Basically, they have a lot of the same goals for their lives and have a strong spiritual connection. ;)

*I still like Andi (remember, she was one of my top picks originally), and I think she's both beautiful and cute at the same time which ranks up there with being the Assistant District Attorney in terms of difficulty and impressiveness; but, I don't think she's the one.  He basically only wants to make out with her - which is all fun and games until they get home to Camilla and jobs and all that other totally boring stuff that will interrupt this vacation way worse than any old geyser did.


Next, it's group date time.  I thought this date started out just lovely - does it get more beautiful than the New Zealand countryside? - and turned pretty weird.  Rolling down a mountain in giant hamster wheels is one thing (I actually thought it looked pretty good), but kudos to the random production person who must have had the great idea to ADD WATER to the balls so that everyone would have to be half-naked while they did it.  #thoseproducersthinkofeverything

Later, the girls got to enjoy more time with Juan Pablo over "dinner," this time in Hobbit-ville from the movie Lord of the Rings.  This was actually pretty cool, except I just couldn't stop thinking about how devastated the die-hard Rings fans must have been seeing their holy-land disrespected like that.  I'm guessing quite a bit of disinfecting and sanctifying had to take place there once filming wrapped up.  Don't you think?

Juan Pablo kissed Renee during their time together (thank goodness), and I was happy to see that he really does seem to like and respect her -which I can't say about a lot of the other girls.  Unfortunately, he went on to then kiss Nikki and Sharleen also (ON THE SAME DATE), so that kind-of cancelled things out a bit.  *To be honest, I really like Renee; BUT, I think she's too good for J.P.  He's the kind who likes to talk about respect and role models and mothers; but, mostly, just likes to make-out.  She can do better than him.

Then, at the end of the date, Juan Pablo wished Cassandra a happy 22nd (22?!?! Is it even legal for her to be on this show?!?!) birthday by sending her home.  You gotta give it to him for not wasting any time once he knew she wasn't the one, but I still felt for the poor girl.  Oh well, I feel confident there will be PLENTY of eligible bachelors lining up to meet her back home. (Plus, she's pretty much guaranteed to get on the next season of Bachelor Pad or whatever, to "win money to support my son's future" right?)


*Nikki has made a swift turn for trashy-ville, and I don't like it.  She had me in the beginning because of her passion for her job as a pediatric nurse and her "bubbly" personality.  Lately - based on some of her outfit/language/hair color choices,  I think I'd be looking for another practice for my kids.  (#Iprefermynursestobegrandmas). Sorry girl!  Plus, one of the tabloids said she calls the other girls FAT!  On no you didn't!

*I've actually really come to like Chelsie, but I don't see much of a future for her.  She's adorable and seems confident and secure (ahem, Clare) without coming across as too obsessed with herself (Kat), which are good qualities in my book.  I hope things shift for her.

*Sharleen.  UGH. Go home already.  The truth is, I don't hate her; I just really wonder what made someone as "sophisticated" as her think coming on television to date a guy with 15 other girls was a good idea.  Let's not drag this out, go home.  Honestly, I don't think Juan Pablo will be all that upset, and we can all stop holding our breath in suspense (#notreally).  P.S. Whatever you did to your hair that night at the Hobbit-house... I wouldn't do it again if I were you.


Next, we're on to Clare's one-on-one.  Oh Clare.  She's totally beautiful - albeit kind-of in a your face and hair never move kind-of way - but a dra-ma queenBy this point, I was bored of the show and TOTALLY bored of the "we snuck out and went too far in the ocean at 4:30AM last week" story line.  Clare still felt sad (which I understood - J.P. handled the situation TOTALLY wrong.  #typical) and like she needed to "crawl back into her little turtle shell" but Juan Pablo eased her fears (I'm still not exactly sure what he did other than just look hot and speak in that accent to her) and they went on to have a lovely date that involved gigantic black sweatpants, a very tight fitting wife-beater (of course), and a rose.

To be fair, I appreciated that J.P. and Clare's date was normal - even down to the hideous couch and poorly decorated room they were in - but it still felt forced to me.  Isn't there a happy medium somewhere between hobbits and harem pants?!?!


Finally, the rose ceremony.  Honestly, this was not too eventful to me.  I thought J.P. seemed sincere when he told Chelsie not to worry and that it was obvious that Kat pulled out the final stop when she, totally randomly it seemed, told a sad story about her father during her one-on-one time.  I honestly thought Kat would have made it further, but I wasn't sad to see her go.  This feeling was only confirmed by her statement that she's "always been told how great she is" in the limo ride home.  #byebyebirdie Regardless, with those boobs that personality she'll be all over the Bachelor circuit before we know it. 



So, that wraps things up for this week.  Did you watch?  Who would you say are the frontrunners now?  *I'm rooting for Renee or Chelsie, but I honestly think Clare, Nikki, or even Sharleen will win. Also, it's worth noting that Juan Pablo is moving up the sleaze-scale each week in my book, therefore, vastly decreasing my amount of investment in his future. #sorryJP



P.S. Don't forget to get your confessions ready for tomorrow, and enter the Valentine's give away here before Friday!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life Lately

Last week wasn't my best for blogging; but, if I can be annoying for a second, it has been a pretty good couple of weeks for me in the "real world."  I'm finding a lot of peace in pursuing less this year and finally getting semi-organized, feeling some of the benefits of taking care of my self health-wise, in a bit of a creative "sweet spot" when it comes to decorating and other little projects, AND I'm continuing to LOVE this stage of parenting.  (Yes, I've always enjoyed being a momma, but right now my time with Sam just feels so natural and easy... He's really my "buddy" and not just my "baby" anymore. He is at such a fun stage, and I enjoy being with him so much.) 

I feel like there is a good bit of "updating" I need to do, so I thought I'd share a few of the things we've had going on lately to catch you up on life around these parts...


We've had quite a bit of "winter weather" here already this year (in fact, last week was our first full week of school in a month) but nothing really significant.  *According to the news, that might be about to change with significant snow accumulation coming this Wednesday and Thursday.  I'm crossing my fingers!  Regardless, Sam loves being outside in the snow and coming back in for "warm" chocolate, as he calls it.  His new favorite thing is to lay on the floor and make "snow" angels anytime and anywhere. :)

With our neighbor and Sam's best-bud Benji.
...
Two weekends ago, Jeff was out of town with his Bible study group, so Sam and I packed up and headed to spend the weekend with my sister in Northern Virginia.  Her beau was out of town too, so it was a perfect sister-weekend centered around shopping, eating yummy food, and spoiling Sam.  (In less than 48 hours we went to a gymnastics center open-gym,  a bouncy-house play place, Chickfila, Chuck-E-Cheese, and a playground - and that was just the stuff for Sam).  I wish I had taken more photos, but these two pretty well sum up our time.

Blurry, but I couldn't resist this one of Sam & KK (in a dress) coming down the slide.
On our way back home... Happy & TIRED
I don't think she will mind me saying this, but Kathryn isn't exactly the most maternal person in the world; so seeing her relationship with Sam grow and how much they just ADORE each other has been such a blessing to my heart. This weekend was such a fun real life version of all the years we spent "playing house" in our basement only with real chips and salsa instead of felt ones. ;) She really is the BEST aunt (Jayme too, of course), and Sam has been talking non-stop about "KK" since we got back.

...

I've been working on my master bedroom re-do for over a year now (sad, I know), but just recently I've gotten the "umph" to really move forward with it.  My to-do list is still LONG, but I'm motivated and excited to get it finished up soon.  My latest obsession?  Creating a girly desk area for me to write, read my Bible, and keep our little family organized.  I'm ordering these two prints to go over it this week from my new favorite Emily Ley.  


(I might have also already ordered her Simplified Life binder and some other goodies for my future-desk too!)

...

Speaking of decorating, between last weekend's Ikea run and some VERY generous gifts from Land of Nod, Sam's nursery is in the process of being transformed into a "big boy" room.  #Itsabouttime.  I'm keeping a lot the same, but playing with the colors of Jeff's grandmother's quilt (shown below) and adding in fun shades of red and blue/teal too.  It's coming along slowly, but there will be a loose travel theme, and lots of fun details when it is finally finished.


...
This past weekend involved a lot of pizza-making, M&M-sorting, cupcake-baking, Olympics-watching, and fort-playing.  Sometimes I can't help but laugh at how much our life has changed in the last three years, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

 
...
Yesterday, Sam and I put together these simple little Valentine's for his classmates at preschool.  I wanted to stay away from candy (not that I don't love candy, but you never know how other people feel about it for their kids), and avoid spending tons of money and time on them while still looking like I have my ish together. ;)  These perfectly fit the bill!  The "I like how you roll" printable is free here (there is a cute girly version too) and the colorful bouncy-balls were a dollar each in the Target party section.  (P.S. Addy is, literally, obsessed with the balls.  Good thing I bought extras!)


 ...

And finally, a couple of you have asked how my Poppy is doing lately...  To be honest, it's really hard to give an update because his health and mood change so drastically every day.  He is officially in a nursing home now and needing pretty much constant care.  It is hard to see him in the stage, but the home is right next to my school so I'm able to see him almost every day during my lunch break, and we've had some sweet time together.  Aging is really pretty terrible, but I am more thankful than ever for the many many good years we have had with him and the huge role he has played in my life.  We have his pain pretty well managed - so he is comfortable - now, and his mind still seems to be mostly good, but I know he is getting tired of fighting.  Please continue to pray for comfort and peace for him and also for my mom and uncle as they continue to have to make tough decisions regarding his care, etc.



Ok, consider yourself officially updated!  Here's hoping for a blizzard so I can finally catch up on the other blog posts I want to write. :)

Happy Monday.  Hope it's a good week!


P.S. There will DEFINITELY be some Midweek Confessions up on Wednesday to make up for any amount of unintentional smugness in this post. Get yours ready and plan to join me!

Friday, February 7, 2014

This Week's Gems

One of you mentioned that I shouldn't feel obligated to blog every day or apologize when I don't on my reader survey a while back, and it has stuck with me.  We're busy.  You guys know.  We get it.  Lately, I've been trying to be really intentional about my time and not posting just because I "should", but only when I have something to say and time to say it.  BUT, unfortunately, as you might imagine, meeting both of those criteria at once is... a challenge. There is a lot "on the tip of my finger tips" (you like that?) that I want to write, but I just haven't been able to get the time and words to coincide this week.  I'm rambling.  Sorry. (And sorry for apologizing too.)

Hopefully I'll be back on track next week.  Until then, here are a few of my favorites from people that are actually writing this week...

"The 3 Words That Can Revolutionize Motherhood" by Kristen Welch at We Are That Family


"Motherhood Refines": a letter from The Tiny Twig



Ahhh this one HIT ME HARD - "Don't Say You'll Pray for Me" from Lysa TerKeurst.  SO good.



Also...

This is a genius idea for entertaining toddlers on cold/snowy days.  (Maybe I'm not the only mama in favor of LONG bath play times on days like those.)



I'm kind-of loving graphic t-shirts lately - especially this one from Loft - so cute for Valentine's Day.  Do you have any you love?  Where do you get them?  #NeverthoughtIdseetheday



I think I'm going to start reading this book this weekend.  I just can't wait any longer.


And last...

The Allume Conference announced their speakers for 2014 this week, and I'm super excited about Shauna Niequist in particular.  It's back in Greenville again this coming October and - as of right now - I'm planning to go!

I've also been thinking a lot about attending the She Speaks Conference in Concord, NC this summer.  I REALLY want to go, but the ticket price is *high.*  Does anyone know anything about this one? Is it worth it?


Oh! And one more thing...

There is one week left in the awesome Valentine's giveaway I'm participating in this month.  Go here to check out all the goodies up for grabs, meet some lovely new bloggers, and enter to win.  Don't miss it! :)


Happy Weekend!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Becoming Health-E: Month One

I might regret this later - talking about my weight loss on my blog that is.  But, the truth is, I've found a lot of encouragement and inspiration in following other people's journeys towards a healthier lifestyle and seeing their successes (and failures) along the way.  Plus, I function well on words of affirmation and accountability (#peoplepleaser), so putting this out there can only help my progress. Right? Let's hope.

Anyway, I'm keeping this short and sweet...
Here's a bullet point for each pound I lost in January:

1. My last Diet Coke was on December 31st.  I do not crave them like I used to, and I can fairly easily resist their allure now.  BUT, I still think about them and have to convince myself not to "cheat" almost every day. #addicted I AM still drinking about two cups of coffee every day, and guzzling LOTS of water.

2. I got a FitBit Flex on New Year's Day and have been wearing it to keep track of my steps/ calories burned ever since.  I am also using the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone which automatically connects to the FitBit.  My goal each day is to have a 1,000 calorie difference between the number of calories burned and the number of calories eaten.  (To be fair, most days I am usually closer to the 700 - 800 calorie range.)  So far, I am REALLY liking this method.  It has gotten to be a habit for me, and it is kind-of like a game every day.

3. At the beginning of the month, I was exercising four - five days a week pretty regularly.  After we got sick mid month, I have been a little less consistent with my workouts - probably getting them in more like two or three times each week. My workout of choice is a Zumba class (SO fun), but I also enjoy walking/jogging on the treadmill with my Kindle or a magazine.  So far, I haven't done anything really with weights, but I'm hoping to up my workouts a little this month with more interval training etc.  (Maybe Jillian Michael's Shred again.  Thoughts?)

4. Other than d-coke, I really haven't "cut out" anything entirely.  I have still let myself enjoy favorites like cookies, pizza, and Chickfila, BUT I am MUCH more aware of how much and how often I am eating these things.

5. For the first two weeks, I felt sluggish and maybe even more tired than usual.  (Also, grumpy.)  I can't say that I feel a huge difference in my energy levels now; but, I do think there is some subtle improvement.  For example, I'm not napping nearly as often (almost never), and I'm feeling a lot more motivated to get things done around the house etc. after work in the afternoons.

6. The biggest difference between this time and other times I have tried to lose weight, is that this feels A LOT more permanent.  I am trying to lose weight slowly and by making healthy decisions that will become a part of my LIFE - not just a phase.  Unlike times before, when I've had a bad day (and, trust me, there have been plenty), I don't feel like a total failure.  I tell myself: "This isn't about ten days in a row of being healthy, it's about ten years.  What's one day?" and get back on track.

7. A few people have said they can tell a small change in my face and - in general - I feel less bloated and like my clothes are a little less tight; but, for the most part, I can't really tell a big difference outwardly yet.  I'll admit, that is frustrating to me at times; but, I'm sticking with it.  I am trying to remind myself that this is about MY HEALTH and NOT my appearance.

8. While I am genuinely happy with my progress so far and proud of myself for my work this month, I still think it's been at about 75%... I could work harder and make better decisions in this process.  I am choosing to look at this past month as the BEGINNING and to up my efforts from this point forward.

9. I "weighed in" on Friday and then spent the weekend with my sister.  I didn't totally blow it, but between that and the Superbowl, I should probably just cross this last point off. ;)

So... There you have it.  An update on my progress so far.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Another Week, Another Set of Gems

Hi friends!  Happy Fried Food and Fatty Dips Superbowl Sunday!  

First up, if you missed it yesterday, I'm participating in a really fun Valentine's Giveaway with nine other bloggers.  We each picked a product we "love to love" and one lucky winner will get it ALL.  Check it out and enter here.

I hope you all have had a great weekend. Jeff had a guy's trip planned this weekend, so Sam and I headed north to spend some time with Aunt KK (my sister), and it has been so wonderful.  Sam has been completely spoiled, and I got to eat Mexican food, shop at Ikea and World Market, and spend Saturday night in my PJs reading tabloid magazines with my bff. (Did you know Taylor Swift's cat's name is Meredith Grey? How great is that?) It's been pretty much the best weekend.

Speaking of the best, here are some of my favorite blog posts and articles from this past week:


"4 Habits of Punctual People" at FastCompany.com
Obviously, I needed to read this.  #Imightbeinthe20percent


"The New Church Lady" from Pearls and Grace


This is beautiful.  THIS is the woman I want to be.


"Creating a Family Culture" on Catholic All Year
 
Kendra is fast becoming one of my favorite bloggers because, y'all, she has SEVEN kids and still makes dinner every night and wears cute clothes to church on Sunday, so she's pretty much an expert in the parenting department as far as I'm concerned.  This post meant a lot to me as I think about decisions Jeff and I will make for Sam and our family as he grows and begins to ask more questions etc.  We are entering the "why" stage already, and I want to have a "plan."  I really love this approach of creating and owning your own family culture and then STICKING TO IT because you are a family, and that is enough.


"Where All New Year's Resolutions Go to Die" by Kat Lee at The Art of Simple


Kat calls February the month where "where all new year's resolutions go to die" and, based on my past experiences, I have to agree with her.  BUT, not this year folks.  This post is the perfect blend of motivation and practical tips to help you carry your goals well beyond January!


"How I Lost 100 Pounds in 11 Months" from Livy Loves to Run


I only just recently started following Diana's blog, but I had seen her name (and picture) in the blog world for a while because of her awesome Etsy print shop.  This week, she hit her goal of losing ONE HUNDRED POUNDS after beginning to live a healthier lifestyle less than a year ago, and she has been a big inspiration to me (especially on Instagram) in my own healthy-living journey this past month.  This post just answers some frequently asked questions about her loss and how her life has changed in eleven months.


For my teacher friends (and parents with kids in schools), you must read "Share This With All the Schools."  Glennon nailed it. (Again.) Kind-of made me tear up a little.


"Let Your Husband Love You" on When at Home


This is a quick and easy read (that apparently stirred up quite a bit of controversy that I really don't understand) with a good message.  Even though I don't stay home with Sam all day every day, I could still relate to a lot of this and definitely benefited from this reminder.


Also...

I love this idea for a hostess gift from Cupcakes & Cashmere.

I'm looking forward to this movie this summer.

A pretty new desktop wallpaper for February.

I really want this for my bedroom (... on a canvas...for Valentines Day... from Jeff)

This is funny and oh so true (for m


And... I'd really like to partner with your small business as a sidebar sponsor for this place.  Check out options and buy for February here or email me (e@emyselfandi.com) for details.


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