Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meet Courtney - a Sweet Lil Bride to Be!

I'll give you ONE guess as to where I met this little gem of a gal... Instagram... you got it! It's the new place to meet new faces - if you aren't on board you are missing out! Anywho, if you didn't quite get it from the title {which you are all smarty pants and I know you got it!}, Courtney is getting hitched and I am so excited to follow along with her wedding planning adventures! Seriously, if I could quit my job and plan weddings for a living, I would do it in a heart beat! I love the details and the flowers and the dresses and the cakes and the food and most importantly the FUN! I hope you enjoy meeting Courtney - and take her advice - it's good stuff!!! 

I'm so excited that Lauran is letting me take over her blog today!! 
Isn't she the best?? She has such great style, a Handsome Husband, and a cutey pie puppy! I mean what's not to love about her??

I met Lauran on Instagram which is where I have met some incredible ladies lately and discovered some oh-so-fun blogs too! 

I'm Courtney and I write over at a lil blog called Tales of Lace & Glitter

 (That's one my puppies Ellsworth!) 

I started my blog right after I turned 30 *cough, cough* I'm 31 now and my blog is about to turn 1 year old! I write about my life: feeling like I need to grow, learning to take on grown-up responsibilities, trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, and just overall enjoying every minute I have with family & friends! I just got engaged in June and lately I've been spending my Wednesdays sharing the latest dish on my wedding details. 
 (This is us right after we got engaged)

Our wedding is planned for June 1, 2013 and so far the wedding planning process has been relatively painless...I have learned a few lessons along the way I thought I'd share with you: 

(1) EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE is going to have an opinion about what you should do. 
Even after you've decided on a detail and put down a deposit, they are still going to share their opinion with you. 
Sometimes you'll want the advice and others times you won't. Practice saying "Oh really? What I cool idea! I'll have to look into that. Thanks!" 
and move on... Don't say "Ugh that's a TERRIBLE idea!" 
I may or may not have learned that lesson the hard way... 

(2) Your fiance is not going to be into planning EVERY detail of your wedding like you are, and that's ok!
 Ask him his opinion, if he has one listen and try to be accommodating. If he doesn't have an opinion, don't get mad at him for not having an one. Not having an opinion over which formal China pattern you should pick does NOT mean he doesn't care... it just means he doesn't know about fine China. He'll have an opinion about the details he knows about I swear! 

(3) Pick one part of your wedding to spend the most one money on and stick to a budget on all the others! 
Ok...this piece of advice I cannot take all the credit for... I MAY have first read this in that Wedding Book Jessica Simpson put out right after she said her first set of "I do's"...Side Note: Didn't you just love her show Newlyweds?? I have a craving to watch it but sadly, in a fit of decluttering, I sold the DVDs on Amazon...
 "Till Death Do Us Part" she might not know about, but wedding planning she does! 
You could spend MILLIONS of dollars on a wedding *cough**Kim Kardashian**cough* but in the grand scheme of things we don't all have those budgets. So pick one part that's REALLY important to you, whether it's the flowers or music at the reception or your dress and overspend on that... the rest- try to stay in a reasonable budget! Trust me after you've got all the details nailed down and you write up when ALLLLL the payments are due- you'll wish you'd heeded this advice.

(3) Don't sweat the small stuff. 
This is the piece of advice I need to keep reminding myself of...  The details don't actually matter- it's the big picture you need to stay focused on. 
It doesn't matter if your bridal shower invites are EXACTLY what you would've chosen or if you don't have calligraphy on your Save the Date envelopes...What matters most is that at the end of this process you get to marry your best friend, the love of your life,  the man you just can't live without!


Thanks for reading! 

For more on my wedding planning or to hear about my journey of 'Sweating for the Wedding' or just read all my randomness be sure to hope over and check out my blog

You can also follow me on PINTEREST or over at Instagram: @Cookie1881


Courtney really took the words and advice right out of my mouth! It is humorous to me though, that we as brides and soon to be brides pretty much deal/dealt with the same issues during the wedding planning process! I'd like to look at it now as a type of "Rite of Passage" into becoming a wife! A lot of this advice can be applied to marriage too! It's a perfect training tool for life with your spouse and the new combining of families!! Make sure you head over to Courtney's neck of the woods and leave her some love!!! Happy Thursday my dears - Almost Friday!!! 

I am not booking for April guest poster/sponsors! If you are interested in being part of The Real Young Housewife of Southern VA family for the month of April, please e-mail me at Lauran.Huffman@gmail.com! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Four Favorites - Valentine's Day!

As much as I love having my normal go to blog posts throughout the week I've been wanting to mix things up for a bit to prevent myself and my readers from getting bored with my content! Last week I was asked to join in this week's Link Up with Fancy Things and Let It Be Beautiful and I am quite excited! Each Week these ladies host a Link Up showing four of their favorite items pertaining to a certain category! This week is Valentine's day and these are my Four Favorites! 


I am drooling over the rustic yet classic valentine decor! I love the simplistic romantic feel and the silhouettes are an added bonus! You can't go wrong with a classic pale pink nail polish! I own several shades of pale pinks; mattes, shimmers, sparkles, you name it, I probably have it! Something about pale pink screams girly and Essie supplies many many girly pink shades! My next manicure will most definitely consist of pale pink in honor of Valentine's Day! Kate Spade is one of my all time favorite classic designers! All of her details are simple, clean, and concise and can be worn for years to come. I considered her pieces an investment! These Karolina Bow Pumps are to die for! They can be perfectly paired with a black pencil skirt or ivory slacks and can be worn year round! Lastly,  what gal doesn't love a bouquet of pink peonies?! I wouldn't mind coming home to a bundle of these for lovely ole Heart Day! *hint hint hunnie* 

 

Happy Hump Day my loves! I will be enjoying the 70 degree weather today and gearing up for the end of the week and an eventful weekend! XoXo!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Celebrity List!

First thing is first, THANK-YOU, every single one of you, for your support, comments, and personal emails pertaining to yesterday's blog post! I really had no clue how common a fear like this was or that so many females really suffer from anxiety! It's nice to know I'm not actually losing my marbles as I thought!  I promise I will respond and reply to all of you!

So a few weeks ago I was reading my daily go to blogs as usual and came across this "My Celebrity List" post at Brooklyn State of Mind! I thought it was a fun idea and tucked it away for a rainy-day-when-in-need post! Considering I am home sick in bed today, I am definitely calling on the when-in-need post.

Like Brandi and her hubs, my hubby and I have a "celebrity list" as in, if the moons and stars ever aligned and we met a celebrity on our list, they showed us interest, and proposed a hook up, we could par-take and not suffer ramifications of those actions. Key word there being "could". As attractive as I find the men on my list, I take my marriage vows extremely seriously, and even if my hubby gave the go ahead, I don't think I would feel right about! For sake of getting all sentimental and serious this post is just a "what if" scenario, so that's what I'm going with!

Matt Bomer - Channing Tatum - Bradley Cooper

There should be no surprise that Matt is number one on this list! It's a shame he bats for the other team, but a girl can dream right?! Channing, I mean hello, he proved his skills in Magic Mike...enough said! Bradley Cooper just seems to be the boy next door, charming, funny, athletic and veeery good looking! 

Now, I only thought it would be fair to share my husbands list with y'all! I think it's safe to say he isn't biased to a particular hair color but he is a fan of drop dead gorgeous eyes! 

Mila Kunis - Emma Stone - Erin Andrews
Who's on your list?! Hope everyone is having a Terrific Tuesday! Make sure you visit tomorrow as I am not partaking in my standard What I'm Loving Wednesday post! Doing a little Link Up you wont want to miss! XoXo!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Legit Fear!

 I realize that Friday I hinted that I would explain why I had such a long annoyance of a week, however, when I sat down to write about it I couldn't pin point the problem. Instead I've decided I would share one of my deepest fears with you today. I think it's only normal for us to have fears, but is it normal to have those fears exist in your everyday living? No. I don't think it's normal to allow fears to inhibit you from living life daily. One thing I admire most about small children is they really seem to have NO FEAR! I want no more than to be able to live my life as so. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon!


You see, I seriously fear being raped and murdered. I don't laugh at this fear at all. It really is a legit fear I have. I lose sleep over it. I fear for my safety when I am home alone or out in public alone. I constantly think of ways to escape in my home if someone was to break in. I contemplate ways to scream if I am in public to catch someones attention. I think about how fast I could outrun someone and for how long I could keep running. When out alone I am constantly looking over my shoulder, especially if I pass only one other person {this happens most often when I am out walking and getting exercise}. Even in a parking garage at the mall I am on high alert and my mind races with ideas of what I would do if someone were to attack me!

This fear keeps me awake at night, even when my hubby and pup are sleeping next to me! Sometimes I'll hear a noise and then continue to hear odd noises, creaks, cracks, moans and groans. At times it'll take me hours to fall asleep! Other times after the hubby leaves for work at 3 a.m. {if I wake up when he leaves} I'll hear a noise and won't be able to fall back asleep! This doesn't happen every night but it happens at least a few times a month. Nothing has ever happened in our neighborhood to make me feel unsafe so I am really unsure why I am constantly in fear of it happening to me!

This is not a fear that has developed in recent years. I remember growing up in my parent's home and being terrified if I was there by myself. The house sits in the country, on seven acres of land, with a quarter of a mile drive way that winds into the woods. When I was younger and usually baby sitting my little sister or home alone I would close every blind in the house and usually barricade us upstairs in the playroom. I would literally run to the bathroom and turn ALL of the lights on in the house. When my sister was at the age where she was too young to run fast but too heavy to carry for a long distance I would create "get away plans" if someone were to break into our house. I would think of where I could possibly hide her so I could run for help and I would devise several different routes on how to get outside and to the nearest neighbors house. To this day I still get uneasy when I am outside in the dark at my mom's home.


I'm actually really embarrassed by this fear or at least talking about it to the public. I mean, I've never even really talked about it with my hubby! I suppose I think others would assume I am losing my marbles! I've also wondered if I should talk to a professional about this fear! I don't want to live my life scared and constantly looking over my shoulder or staring at the bedroom door shaking because I think someone is walking up my stairs {sounds completely nuts right?}! I don't even like showering at home alone because of this fear and if I do, I usually talk to Baby Reef to drown out the made up noises I think I hear.

I feel scared a lot. When the hubby is out of town, I usually stay up till the wee hours of the morning until I am so tired I know I'll completely pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow. I also keep the television on to distract me from any noises I may hear or think I may hear. I constantly double and triple check the door locks and window locks. I sleep with a baseball bat under the bed. When writing all of this out, I seriously feel like I may be losing it... just a bit! I'm not sure if it comes from watching too many news stories on raped and murdered woman or television specials on the same kinds of stories, but one thing is for sure, I usually DON'T watch programs like that. I avoid the news as much as possible but I can't avoid it totally, that's not possible!

I really do wonder if I should talk to my doctor about this. If maybe I need to be on some kind of anxiety medication, but I hate the sound of that! I hate the thought of being off my rocker! I know I can't be the only one with a legit fear like this. What are your mechanisms for coping?! Feel free to leave a comment about what you are terrified of and if it would make you feel better, leave it anonymously! If I can use this blog to help someone feel that they are not alone than I've done my job and if I can find ways to cope with my fear, well it's a win win situation!






Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday's Letters!

Boy am I happy to see today! I thought last week was a long week, but this week totally topped it! By golly I thought today would NEVER get here! It has been a rough week for me. I haven't been in the most stellar of moods and the weather has been far to cold for my liking. Side Note: I hate complaining about 32 degree weather when some of you readers think that is warm. Kind of like how I laughed last week when all of California was freezing at a nice 55 degrees! Are you kidding??! I had to sit back and tell myself that they just aren't used to those low temperatures just as I am not used to 20 and 30 degree temps for an extended amount of time! Anywho, I've been highly annoyed this week and have a feeling I will be posting about it on Monday. So if you are at all curious - stay tuned! As for today, I'm trying to stay positive and look toward the weekend - the blistery cold weekend! Joy!

Photobucket
Via

Dear Organizational and Get Things Done thoughts, Yes- I think up all these great plans to organize the house, purge all the unneeded crap, and clean, yet my mind can't seem to actually make my body do it! I usually think the weekend would be a great time for such projects and then the weekend arrives and I'm lazy as {insert 'f' word here}. My mind is crazy motivated but the rest of me? Not so much! I've made lists, I've filled in calendars, I've put reminders in my phone and yet still can't seem to get much done! It's enough to drive me bat shit crazy! I really do believe I will be working on motivation as a February goal. Dear Lush Fresh Homemade Cosmetics, I am beyond thrilled that we have your store in one of our local malls! Not that I am some huge advocate for using all natural handmade products, however I am becoming more conscious of what I put on my face, skin, and in my body! I already use the Oil Cleansing Method to clean my face but I felt something was lacking, like a mask and spot treatment. That's where you come in my dear Lush. With your Mask of Magnaminty and Grease Lightning cleansers, you have added more to my skin care routine! More cleanliness and clearness! All without harsh chemicals and ingredients! Dear Gym, I am finally motivated to come visit you twice a week and you thank me by not having my weight class last night. You thanked me even more by allowing the employees I spoke with to have NO clue about what was going on nor did they seem too eager to find out for me either! I am extremely disappointed that I woke up able to walk this morning and make it down the stairs easily {unlike last week}. Now I feel as though I didn't work out on my own very hard. Do you know how long it has taken for me to get to the point of actually coming to see you regularly and enjoying it?! 28 years! Don't ruin it for me now by skipping classes I actually come to take! Dear Marshalls off of Independence, You are the best dern Marshalls in my area! Seriously! I am so glad I was able to buy some new work out gear from you yesterday! Two pairs of yoga pants, two bright tank tops, and two neon sports bras! I, no doubt, will look like a human highlighter while rocking out in Zumba! I wore one ensemble last night and LOVED it! Knowing that I saved a few bucks on the Nike and Jockey gear rocks even more! Oh yea, and I appreciate that you had some killer pieces of clothing on display, yet I was strictly there for gym attire, therefore I could not partake in your fabulousness! Maybe next week, maybe next week. Dear Hubby and Puppy Child, Is is possible at all for Momma to have some room to sleep in our King size bed????? I might as well be sleeping on a two by four with the way y'all hog the bed! And don't even get me started on the covers! I understand it's cold outside but do y'all need to cocoon yourselves up in the blankets and leave me with a square inch of sheet? I don't even want to talk about when I try to nudge either one of you, you both are dead as door nails. Awesome. It makes me super comfortable knowing someone can move you and you not wake up. I guess if someone were to ever break into our home I'd have to protect us all since you both would sleep through it! Must be nice to sleep like a rock!

Hope you darlings {I told y'all I was going to use this word more!} are having a fantastic Friday so far! No big plans for us this weekend however I am looking forward to the snow that is supposed to give us an inch or two! Plenty for Baby Reef to experience his first snow! Definitely will be working on a few things I will be sharing with you all later and of course gathering that motivation to get some serious organizing and purging completed! I'm going to leave you with this quote I came across last night! The Lord must have known I needed some encouragement and support! More on that Monday!! XoXo!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

One Jewel Toned Momma - Meet Sarah!


Thursday has arrived and the cold weather too! Yesterday I don't think the temperatures rose above 35 degrees! I did head out at noon to take my lunch time power walk - bundled up with gloves and a hat to boot! You will greatly appreciate today's guest post as it may add some heat to these cold cold days! Sarah and I met on Instagram {I'm getting pretty famous at making IG friends these days}! We bonded over the fact that we both lived in Virginia and then later learned we were both bloggers! We've been following one another ever since! I hope y'all enjoy Sarah and her mouth watering retake on my recent post of Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Baked Stuffed Chicken! 

Sarah also just became a Stella & Dot Consultant! If you are interested in booking an on-line party be sure to contact her for more info! If you haven't seen their new Spring preview, you are missing out! Take a look below at a few new pieces!  

Visit Sarah's Stella & Dot Stylist Page

Now presenting Sarah and all her Hot Mess Mommie glory!


Hey Y’alL!
I’m Sarah and I blog over at Hott Mess Mommie! I’m so excited Lauran is having me today!

I’m a 20 something’s stay at home mama..soon to be heading back to work (SCARY)..to my almost 1 year old Oliver.

I spend most of my days, and nights, covered in snot and cheerios and I wouldn’t trade a second of it!

Beyond taking care of O, I loveeeeeeee crafting, cooking, interior design and hanging out with my girlfriends (when I get the chance).

I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes with y’all today to enjoy! Pre-apologizing for the butter content (HA) I know those New Years Resolutions are in full force ;) I hope you like it and stop over anytime and say HI! I love meeting new people in blog land and can’t wait to see all your pretty faces :)
This recipe has been floating around pinterest for awhile, but my mama first made it when I was in elementary school. So for that..we call it Mama Stone’s Jalapeno Chicken.

What you’ll need:
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
(1 for each person eating, or 2 if it’s for a man)
Tub of Phillidelphia Cream Cheese and Chives
Stick of Butter, melted.
Jar of sliced jalapenos
Package of Thick Sliced Bacon
Toothpicks

1. Preheat your oven to 375
2. Beat chicken with a mallet to tenderize, making it still look like a chicken breast (don’t go overboard) but it needs to be pretty flexible.
3. Dip chicken breast in melted butter.
4.Spread a generous amount of cream cheese inside each breast.
5. Place jalapenos on top of cream cheese
6. Roll up breast (this part gets kind of messy).
7. Take a piece of bacon and wrap around the chicken. I like to lay the bacon down and place the chicken in the center, then fold in each end of bacon while pulling tight!
8. Secure with tooth pick.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375 and ENJOY!

Thanks for having me Lauran, I hope to come back soon!


Sarah must have secretly known that this recipe has quickly become one of my favorites! I am excited to try this way of preparing and cooking it! I mean anything WRAPPED in bacon  has to be like heaven in your mouth! Would you not agree?! I hope you all head over and say hello to Sarah and get to know her a bit more. More so, I hope you all check out her Stella and Dot page! They have some gorgeous pieces to spruce up any wardrobe and I have no doubt Sarah would be more than willing to be your personal S&D stylist! Happy Thursday darlings! Stay warm! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Truth be told I really missed you all yesterday! I hope you were able to head over and check out the guest post and learn about some great spots to visit while in my neck of the woods! Now that is Wednesday you all know what it is on the agenda for today - WILW!



1. The Return of White Collar! Thank you Jesus! Enough said. I am so ecstatic that my Tuesday night dates with Matt Bomer have finally returned! Did any of you watch this?! Not going to be lie, but at the end of the episode when Neal becomes overwhelmed with emotions and starts to tear up, yea well I teared up too! Nothing worse than seeing a man cry!


2. Not having to cook dinner for two nights in a row! As much as I love whipping up meals in the kitchen, sometimes it is nice to come home and just relax! Gym nights are usually easy meals, but Monday we opted for left overs or whatever was quick. Last night, the hubby had an evening meeting at work and he gets the perk of having dinner provide. Me? I had a sandwich, which was perfectly fine with me!

3. Replacing picture frames to match our library/office decor. If you read regularly and/or follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been working on redecorating our home office. I want it to be somewhat masculine like a library but incorporate some feminine touches. Since I am going for a French decor theme with golds, browns, silvers and creams I decided to replace current framed photos with appropriate ornate frames! It's turning out to look really great and I can't wait to replace them all, move furniture around, find a large cream area rug and add a few more pieces to the room! If I was smart I would have taken some before photos but you can see from this photo that the large 16 x 20 frame are the types of frames I am replacing!

Yea, photo quality is crap... I really need to buy my new camera! 
4. One of my Christmas presents shipping out today! Yes, you read that correctly! The hubby ordered one of my most wanted gifts off of my list before Christmas, however he missed the cut off date to have it delivered for Christmas day. Totally fine in my book - I had plenty of other awesome gifts to open that morning! The order status for the last two weeks has read that it has been 'waiting to be shipped' so we've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Finally after enough waiting, we inquired with the company about the status and they informed us it is shipping out TODAY! I can't wait to show you all what it is!!!

5. Strongbow - England's Dry Cider! No I have never been to England but I do enjoy English beverages, including tea AND Strongbow! I am not a huge beer drinker. Actually I am not a beer drinker at all except for cider beers {which are actually considered 'Apple Wine'}, including WoodChuck, Strongbow, and BoldRock! Funny story though, my baby sister used to date a boy from England and he informed us a time ago that Strongbow was actually the Natural Light of English Beers! I don't know how accurate that is considering I have never been there but regardless I enjoy it! There is a nice six pack in the fridge as I type!


I'm hoping you all are having a stellar Wednesday! Baby Reef is at doggie daycare today, I'm going for my 2.5 mile lunch time powerwalk {in 32 degree weather...yuck}, and will be ending the two day cookless streak with a homecooked meal this evening! Oh yea and I'll throw some work in there somewhere too! Be sure to stop by tomorrow for my Sponsor Thursday and get to know a new friend!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visit Me!

Hello Hello Hello! I have a little surprise for y'all today! I am guest posting over at Hot Mess Mommie! So, head over and see what Southern VA has to offer its visitors!! If you've never been to the Southeastern part of Virginia you will definitely want to read this post and take notes on some great spots to check out!

I've also, finally, created a Facebook Page for The Real Housewife of Southern VA! Be sure to 'Like' it  to get blog updates via the Facebook world!

Happy Tuesday my darlings - and remember to be inspired today! XoXo!

Via

Monday, January 21, 2013

Teeny Tiny Obsession!

Call me crazy, I don't really care, but I may have a teeny tiny obsession with the Duchess of Cambridge! Oh you do too?! Fabulous! That means I'm not so nutty! Anywho, I'm always reading and searching the latest news on her and Prince William! The Daily Mail UK is a great source for all things royal! 

Kate is just a classic beauty. She has style and grace and, for crying out loud, she's a commoner who became a Princess {Cinderella story much?}. I am always obsessed with her shoes, her hats, and well really, her entire wardrobe! I think it's fantastic that she wears more "affordable" pieces of clothing AND wears them more than once! It gives us commoner's something to relate to!

Via

I was just recently {last week} introduced to this blog What Kate Wore and holy moly it's my new favorite read! If you are looking for a pair of shoes, a certain gown she wore, or even a necklace, this site is the site for you! It breaks down her ensembles and gives you the stores and links on where you can purchase the item! Many of the pieces sell out quickly and are no longer available but it gives you an idea of the designers and stores that she enjoys! They also give you similar options of the item!

The even better part is, if you can't actually purchase the item Princess Kate has worn, you can file it away for safe keeping and look for similar styles at your convenience! For instance I don't really want to spend $350 on a pair of nude patent leather heels, however, I've been on the lookout for ones that look like Kate's! The same goes for her clothing choices as well! In a way, this website is similar to that of Fashion Bloggers, showing off what they are wearing and where it came from! It's up to you to either buy that item or find something similar!

Via
Via

Via


I can't wait to keep up with this blog on a regular basis! Scoring some duds like the Princess would make me one happy lil commoner! Happy Monday love bugs!!! XoXo!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Letters!

Well, Well lookie here - Friday we meet again! I would welcome you with open arms if I hadn't spent all of yesterday thinking it was Friday! What a disappointment to wake up for work today! Regardless, I am glad you are here and that I was given another week to blog, work, work out, and live my life as a wife and puppy momma!

Photobucket
Via
Dear Fashion Bloggers, As much as I adore all of your fashion posts, can someone start posting career oriented fashion inspirations? I feel like much of the ensembles are great for weekends out, date nights on the town, and fun creative office jobs! However, I need some inspiration for corporate America! If anyone knows of some great fashion bloggers who specialize in appropriate attire for the corporate world let me know! Dear Snow, you are always such a disappointment in our area, except for two years ago when you came the day after Christmas and really gave us something to cheer about! This whole frozen slushy crap is for the birds! I'm not digging having to drive into work today! Lucky for you, I feel super duper safe in our Volvo! Dear Smoothie Diet, I have been experimenting with you for a little over two weeks now. You are proving to be really substantial for my morning breakfast! I've tried four recipes and the newest one is my favorite! Almond milk, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and almonds! It all makes for a nutty protein filled kind of morning! Dear Paper Organization, I need help with organizing bills and important forms! Granted I am in the process of ordering a file cabinet for our library/office but I would love a more creative way to file you all away accordingly and to keep all "To pay" bills and "Paid" bills organized. And before any of you say do online bill pay and paperless billing - NO, I refuse! Well, I take that back, some bills we do receive paperless and I pay them on-line, but others I still stroke out a check for each month! I am not a fan of automatic payments either! I don't like knowing if an emergency were to happen and we needed money to pay for something quick we may not be able to because something was take out of the account! Point blank I just feel more in control when we make the decisions of when we pay our bills! None-the-less I need some help organizing and filing it all. You would think I could do this easily being an Executive Assistant and all, but when it comes to my own crap all my expertise flies out the window ha! Dear Blogging Friends, Be on the lookout for a give away soon! I've almost reached 200 fans and in doing so I will be treating a lucky fan to some fun swag! Pass the word along! The quicker I get to 200 followers the quicker this give-away can get underway! Don't pass it too quickly though, I still have to come up with what I'm actually going to give away! While I am at it, let me ask all of you... would you rather win a gift card or win a Few of my Favorite Things??
Hope you lovelies are having a fun filled Friday - many of you with snow I am sure!! Any one get a paid day off from work because of it?! If so, you are one lucky duck! XoXo!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January's Third Sponsor Guest - Meet Kimberly!

Allow me to introduce my third sponsor for this month {how is it we are already into the third week of January?}!!! Kimberly and I became friends through Instagram! To be honest I have no idea who found who, but I am so glad, at that point of clicking the "follow" button, that one of us chose to friend someone new! I love this gals writing style and her insanely hilarious sense of humor! Her quick witted tid bits make me laugh out loud, literally! She is one drop dead gorgeous diva and when I say diva, I mean this military chick could probably kick your booty and then some, with her pearly white smile still beaming! Now get to meeting Kim, she is pretty freakin' fantastic! 

Thank you so much to Lauran for allowing me this opportunity, she's fabulous. We've gone from Instagram/GFC buddies to doing guest posts, *tear* it's been so magical. But I haven't even introduced myself... I'm Kim over at The Simplicity of Being Curious.  Top things that I'm best known for: I'm a military officer, I have a personality that has been compared to Leslie Knope's (Parks and Recreation), and I love to craft.

So much love, so much enthusiasm :)
 

Pinterest and Instagram are like bosom buddies to me.  Nevertheless, we all have those moments when Pinterest isn't quite as kind to our delicate, crafting egos or Instagram flat out encourages the green eyed monster in all of us.  Why yes I'm a model, my agency is Instagram ;)  Those moments when you're like WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

Source
I think we can all agree that Pinterest is one sneaky mom.

Don't get the reference? Watch this:


Pinterest can be a magical land of DIY or a nightmare.

You go there planning to make a holiday wreath that your neighbors will envy but then it turns into a Pinstrocity.  What is a pinstrocity?  A craft project that starts at your local craft store, with a twinkle in your eye and ends with you in a mental breakdown in your living room.  What? I can't Instagram this and I didn't even take pictures of the disaster for my blog!


This happened to me with the "money-saving tip" of using an insulation tube for pipes as a wreath instead of purchasing a regular foam wreath at Michael's or HobLob (my affectionate term for the store known as "Hobby Lobby").  It seemed brilliant, only spend a buck on something that normally is $7 or more.  Let's face it, you can't walk into any type of craft store without dropping a $20 bill.  It's easy...kind of like the same experience of walking into any Target, there's always something I need.  So saving some money here and there is always a good idea to me.

Well I didn't get the wreath, or the ruby slippers, or the sword in the stone...wait, wrong story.  The insulation tube got the best of me.  I'm a big fan of hot glue- it's a miracle adhesive.  You can't hot glue anything to it unless you have some type of barrier in between, aka duct tape.  This would cause an automatic dislike for this project, but it gets worse.  The type of dislike where you think, you're wearing sweatpants, you can't sit with us (Mean Girls, anyone?). So my once super adorable wreath now had scraps of duct tape holding it and styrofoam balls together.  It was like a 21st-birthday-hot-sloppy-mess and had sections missing from where hot glue hit it.  The kicker?  The duct tape that actually made it a round shape fell apart and then it was just a tube.

A limp, floppy tube.
Classy.

So the remainder of my adorable yarn snowball wreath laid on the top of the couch throughout the holidays.  I didn't even have enough creative spark to finish it.  Just looking at it was discouraging.  I told my husband that I plan to salvage the expensive styrofoam balls that have now been turned into yarn snowballs- here's to hoping.  

Isn't this great? Totally true, unless you burn the enchiladas...
Speaking of the holidays, you see these beautiful recipes on Pinterest and pin them in hopes that your Christmas dinner and sweet treats turn out to be just as delightful. I failed at every single batch of cookies I made for Christmas.  

Like epic fail

One set of my peanut butter kiss cookies were just a blackened sludgy mess, something from the likes of It Came From the Swamp.  No bueno. I don't even know if that's a real movie but I'm sure you can guess my reaction- sheer, adulterated horror.

Of course the solution is to take a cheese grater and scrape off the charred bottoms.  
Let's be serious- ain't nobody got time for that.

I go to Pinterest to get it right the first time, isn't that why we use the interwebs? ;)
That's just the DIY and baking aspects of Pinterest, there are products and outfits of the day, not to mention an entire search engine dedicated to weddings.  My vow renewals have been set and planned for awhile now and I just hope my flower girls are ready for two to three costume changes. I joke, I keed...sort of. 



Then there's Instagram, the social media device that has turned me into an iPhone camera aficionado.  I love it a little too much.  Post a picture of a book, I'm all in.  Of course every blogger and his or her mom has an account, so 200+ friends later, my Instagram feed is fully entertaining.


What makes me laugh about many of these someecards is that it's a way to laugh at ourselves.

Who is guilty of Instagramming a picture of their massive margarita or a juicy steak they've just prepared (probably with a marinade found on Pinterest)?

Raises hand

Our generation is a little ridiculous but immensely entertaining and I'm just enjoying the ride.  There will always be that one recipe where your apples turn to mush or a DIY organizational space that turns out far messier than when you started.  At the end of the day, if you can still laugh at yourself and give it another shot or just admit that this is just not your battle- it's all good.  Hey, at least you can tweet about. 
#owned
 I'd love to see y'all comment on my blog sometime.   

Sometimes I'm a little funny, a little crafty, or sometimes go buck wild.  

PeaceNBlessins

  Photobucket

 Kim must have secretly known about some of my Pinterest fails! I mean hello... more than half those photos are styled for magazines, websites, and professional blogs! There is NO WAY any of us measly ordinary people can pull off that stuff! My Potato Chowder soup SO DID NOT turn out like that Pinterest photo! It's great that we all live in this DIY craze right now, but it's refreshing to hear people like Kim admit that some of that crap is just for the birds! Somethings just need to be left to the pros, and by pros I mean the stores that sell them, to which I will go and purchase said stuff from! Be sure to pay Kim a visit and follow along with her fun-loving, Pinterest-crafting, military-wifey, puppy-momma life! She was a joy to share with all of you!!

If you are interested in Sponsoring/Guest Posting, e-mail me at Lauran.Huffman@gmail.com I am now booking for the month of April! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day my loves! The weather has been pretty dreary here the last few days and I'm hoping the sun will make an appearance by the end of this week! It's amazing how the sun can really lift your spirits and mood! Other than loving for the sun to shine brightly this week here is what else I'm loving!


1. Finally having the guts to publicly confess my disappointment in the lack of communication I have received from our wedding photographer! As much as I loved the talents of our photographer she has been a nightmare to work with after the event! It took 6 months just to get our photos! After finalizing what photos I wanted in our flush mount album {one of the biggest reasons we chose the package we purchased} I sent them to her so she could start the album. That was last April. I received an email in August from her stating it was ready for proofing and that she would send the link for my approval. She never sent the link. I waited and waited and waited. In October I started to contact her regularly about the album. Emails, phone calls {to which her voicemail was always full}, texts, facebook messages, EVEN posting a comment for her to contact me on one of her instagram photos! I received nothing in return. I felt the only way to grab her attention was to announce, via a facebook status and tagging her business in it, about her lack of communication! I have yet to receive any type of response from her, however I have had 5 of her clients contact me explaining that they are experiencing the same issues! No one had a clue about these issues though, because no one made them public. I don't like being ugly and ridiculing people, but being that my 2nd anniversary is in June, enough is enough. I want our album! I don't want to move forward with legal actions but I feel I have no choice! It's a shame such talent is going to waste with such terrible business practices!

2. Vanderpump Rules. Have any of you watched this yet? It seems full of drama and I'm not sure how I feel about Stassi and the rest of the cast! Very dramatic, maybe more so than the housewives, but I love watching Lisa in all her business running glory! I also love seeing her set these kiddos straight! I think it's nice that they come to Lisa for advice but I appreciate that she keeps the line between boss and boss momma very clear! I've found that when that line becomes blurred you can have respect issues and we can't have anyone disrespecting Lisa Vanderpump! No, darling, No!



3. Going to bed early. I am a night owl! I stay up late perusing blogs and shopping websites and social media sites as well as watching television and planning for the day, week, month, and year ahead {ha yes I plan for our future}. Then my alarm clock goes off the next morning and I want to punch myself in the face for staying up so blaming late! Sometimes I just have to cut off everything and head to bed... before 9! Oh glorious sleep how I love thee!

4. My 196 followers. I can't even believe I have gained this many readers and followers! It is extremely humbling that I have so many fans and I appreciate you all more than you will ever truly know! I am looking forward to gaining my 200th fan and hope to host a give-away in honor of reaching that great number! Stay on the lookout!

5. My guest poster for tomorrow. I can't wait for you all to meet Kimberly! She has a knockout smile and is one savvy military wifey, momma to a sweet furrbaby and a huge fan of reading {that alone is a girl after my own heart}! Be sure to stop by tomorrow and give her some love!!!

On a more personal note, I have to ask for prayers for a blogger sister of mine! Britt over at The Magnolia Pair lost her brother and two nephews in a horrible tragic accident on Sunday. If you want the details she has the link to an article of the accident on her blog but more-so please visit her and give her your support, love and encouragement! She and her family need it more than ever right now. If any of you would like to go in together and send flowers/plant and card to her and her family let me know and I can make the arrangements! 




Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Baked Stuffed Chicken from Skinnytaste!

Simply put, I love Skinnytaste! I have whipped up a few recipes from here and this one is definitely one of my favorites!!! It was easy to prepare and baked up quickly in the oven! Easy Peasy for a week night meal! Serve with sides of your choice {we opted for baked sweet potatoes and fresh steamed broccoli} and dinner is done!

I prepared the chicken for two people so I made modifications to accomadate our serving size!

Here is what you need for 4 servings:

2 slices of center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled {I actually used 3 pieces because we LOVE bacon in our home}
3 jalapenos, chopped {remove seeds for milder} {I used 1 jalapeno and no seeds}
3 oz 1/3 less fat free cream cheese, softened {I used 3 oz of fat free cream cheese, as I LOVE cheese}
4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar jack {Sargento} {I didn't measure out the cheese, just eyeballed it and I used the Harris Teeter brand shredded cheddar jack}
2 tbsp chopped scallions {I actually forgot to purchase scallions at the store, so I just chopped up an onion}
8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets, 3 oz. each {I had 2 chicken breast and cut them both in half, to make 4 pieces, and then pounded them thin with a meat tenderizer}
1/2 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs {I used plain breadcrumbs and mixed in Italian seasoning. I also used 1/4 cup instead of half}
1 1/2 juicy limes, juice of {I used 1/2 of a lime leftover from a meal earlier in the week}
1 tbsp olive oil {I eyeballed this!}
salt and fresh pepper
olive oil non-stick spray

Directions:

According to Gina, at Skinnytaste, Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. {I actually just lined tin foil on a baking sheet}.

Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeno and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.

Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out {though our cheese oozed out because I used a bit more than I should have}.

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, serve immediately. {I baked ours for 30 minutes, just because I am always overly cautious of cooking chicken and want to make sure it's completely done}.

Serve immediately!

This is what mine looked liked but you can check out more detailed photos of Gina's recipe here.

Don't judge my photo taking skills! I know they are lacking... a lot! ;)


The hubby and I both really enjoyed it and because I made four chicken pieces I had one left over for lunch the next day! It was just as good as the night before!

What are yall cooking for dinner tonight?!



Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Recap!

Whew! What a fantastic weekend we had! As much as I love lazy weekends where we literally stay in our jammies the entire weekend, I really enjoy accomplishing projects and being productive more! Being busy actually makes the weekend feel longer than when we waste it away doing nothing!

Friday evening was spent with just Baby Reef! The hubby was out of town for a Coach's Clinic which meant I got to watch more season one episodes of White Collar and snuggle with the pup! I did manage to clean up more Christmas stuff and straightened up our living area! Not an exciting evening to most but it was nice to come home from work and just relax with nothing to do!

Baby Reef hanging out with momma on the couch!
Saturday, I woke up at eight, which is so not the norm for Saturday, had my breakfast smoothie and put myself together for a morning of antiquing with my neighbor {we will call her "C"}! Before getting started, we headed to Starbucks and laughed with the drive thru worker at how completely inadequate we were at being professional Starbuck customers! We learned we don't know what size XL is {Trenta by the way} and I NEVER can pronounce Chai correctly! After getting our Starbucks fix for the month {since we aren't Starbucks junkies} we headed out to the stores I was familiar with only to find one closed, one overpriced, and one with a little old lady who followed us around the entire store literally talking our heads off! We booked it out of there when she was changing the RECORD on her record player! Sweet lady but I lost count after the 8th time she told us items were on sale and that her dear husband was in heaven!

While headed home we happened to randomly see another store that looked as though it had potential! We made a quick U-turn and headed in! Boy were we right! This store was a little gem and I'm quite upset I'm just finding it when, apparently, it's been there for the last 13 years! So many pretties to look at; jewelry, glassware, furniture, pictures, lamps, dressers, beds, and the list goes on and on and on! I scored a beautiful Duncan Phyfe round lamp table for our office/library that matched the rich mahogany furniture we already have in that room! Great price and great condition! "C" purchased the cutest coral colored vintage stud clip on earrings for only $2.50!! I seriously can't wait to pay this place another visit and find more pieces to compliment our home and my jewelry box!

My new accent table for the library/office!
The hubby came home from his conference in the early afternoon and considering the foggy gloomy weather we opted for a small afternoon nap! Who doesn't love those? Once we woke from that we decided to get ourselves together and head to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner! We hadn't been in a awhile and decided we needed to go somewhere with a 1,000 item menu list and cheesecakes that literally stick to my hips! After waiting 45 minutes for a table, browsing the menu wasn't too tedious. We tried a new app, their fresh made guacamole and I ended up ordering the Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp while the hubby ordered Fish Tacos! Both of our meals were scrumptious and we were proud of ourselves for trying something new! Of course we ended the evening with an order of cheesecakes - TO GO!

30th Anniversary Cheesecake! Yuuummmm!
After dinner we headed to HomeGoods since I wanted to look at area rugs and window treatments! That place is probably my favorite store on the planet! I could spend hours in there!! We had no luck with rugs but did find some window treatments and photo frames. The hubby also found a recliner but the price tag was a wee bit more than we were willing to spend for HomeGoods. Once we arrived home I immediately hung up the new curtains and HATED them, though I did leave them up thinking I may like them the next morning! No such luck, plus the hubby hated them too! Whew, glad he and I can agree on such things like home decor!

Curtains I had hanging before!

The linen curtains I just could not learn to love! And no the walls are not yellow! The light makes it seem that way though!
Yesterday morning, we headed to brunch with the hubby's grandmother, mom, stepdad, uncles, aunt and cousins! Always a great time and pretty great food too! I indulged in one too many scones - they were fantastic! After brunch I went and exchanged the window treatments and while at TJ Maxx I saw the same recliner chair that was at HomeGoods the night before! The only difference was this chair had a clearance sticker on it, with a price I would pay! I still had no idea where exactly it would go in the living room so I passed up the purchase.  I then headed to Lowe's to look for the curtains C had sent me a photo of earlier in the morning! Found them, bought them and I'm quite pleased with them! Once I arrived home, I told the hubby and C about the chair and how I passed up the deal! Somehow, C convinced us to go back and get the chair, so we did, along with a new lamp for the new table! C helped us move furniture around and figure out a good fit for certain pieces and I have to say I like it! After 3.5 years of having the same set up, it will take an adjustment, but I really like the different look! Not to mention our library/office is coming a long great! C also fed us some of the best chili I've ever had! It had just enough kick but the right amount of sugar to sweeten it up! It was a huge hit! I will definitely snag that recipe from her as soon as possible and I will be sharing!

New table with New lamp!

New Curtains! Just need holdbacks and we need to move the desk to another wall!

Hubby in his new recliner!
Needless to say we had a pretty eventful weekend, the majority of Christmas stuff got transferred to the attic, the hubby has a new "man" chair, and I finally decided on curtains for our office! I made a decorating decision! That's a huge deal so the weekend was definitely worth it!

Hope you all had equally fantastic weekends!!! Happy Monday!!!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday's Letters!

Has anyone else noticed this week was a bit slower than the usual or was it just me? It may have been all the Holidays off that spoiled me with three and four day work weeks. A girl can get used to that... and well... this girl did get used to that!

Photobucket
Via
Dear 1 hour weight session last night at the gym, Thank you for allowing me to wake up with jello for arms! I couldn't even lift my toothbrush to clean my pearly whites and I had a really difficult time slapping on my makeup! If anyone sees me today and notices I look like a clown, it's because I started crying while blending and gave up trying to raise my arms to finish my makeup application! Dear Hubby, when have I ever brought a basket of unfolded clean clothes upstairs and set them in the hallway? Never. So why would you assume the basket of rumpled up clothes in the hallway were clean? Thank you for making me rummage through my dresser trying to determine which clothes were dirty and thank you, my love, for making me laugh endlessly when you tried to blame it on me! Oh how I love you and your humor! Dear Weekend, I am really looking forward to you and the warmer temperatures you are bringing! I see organizing, cleaning, redecorating, antiquing, thrifting, and even possibly beach going with Baby Reef in the plans! Dear Brent Musberger, I don't believe you were out of line, what-so-ever, for accusing Katherine Webb of being BEAUTIFUL! What female wouldn't want to be referred to, on national television, as beautiful!? You were only stating the obvious and I am appalled at the backlash you have received for such statements! If Katherine has declined your apology and sees nothing wrong with what you stated, than the rest of the world needs to get over it! What is with the general public these days? Damned if you do, Damned if you don't! You can't even say something nice or compliment anyone anymore! Lastly, who cares if you said it while commenting the game, Notre Dame was having their behinds served up on a silver platter and your comment was more exciting than the umpteenth touchdown Alabama scored. Keep being a gentleman! It's definitely more becoming than the douches that complained about your comment! Dear Flash Sale Websites {Joss&Main, OneKingsLane, HauteLook, GroopDealz, etc.}, You make it really difficult to save money! Each day your little daily sale e-mails appear in my inbox AND they always contain something I'm looking for! Like Vintage French Decor, a Sideboard-Buffet, sexy kitten heels and the perfect accessory to complete ANY outfit. Not to mention all the little extras that I sit and drool over! Maybe if I wasn't having so many taxes taken out of my paycheck, I'd feel less guilty about buying all of these awesome finds!

All my loves, I hope you are having an extra fantastic Friday! I'll leave you with this photo I found yesterday of my man, Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder at the People's Choice Awards Wednesday night! Considering these two are rumored to be in the running for Christian Grey, which would you prefer!? Y'all already know where my heart resides.... Oh Mr. Bomer. And while I'm at it, did any of you by chance see the confirmation of the rating the movie will carry?! I'm going to have to have y'all research that for yourselves as typing it out makes me blush!

Via