The Fall Favorites Tag

First things first, no, I did not fall off the face of the earth. I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything… In a nutshell, I was blessed with a surge of freelance work, life has gotten a bit busy, I’ve gotten overwhelmed with feeling behind on my blogging, therefore, I’ve been procrastinating… But I decided to kickstart my blogging again with a tag I saw on Youtube from one of my favorite beauty vloggers, Jaclyn Hill.

So let’s get down to business and start a blog version of The Fall Favorites Tag!

Favorite Candle
2015-03-16 15.48.26I honestly have a tie between Leaves and Mahogany Teakwood, both from Bath & Body Works. Leaves has that crisp fall air and apple cider scent that just makes you see golden leaves, plaid, and want to go pick out pumpkins… While my husband says Mahogany Teakwood smells like “the mall” (which it does), it just puts me in the mood for all things fall! I just love both of them…

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Favorite Lip Color
For me, it has to be L’Oreal’s Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Unending Kiss. I tend to wear this color throughout the year, but it goes easily with everything in the fall months. It’s moisturizing, creamy, and a great natural color that gives color and definition without being overly bold.

Favorite Drink
2015-09-20 18.52.38-1My favorite fall drink has to be Starbuck’s Carmel Brûlée Latte for colder months, but it tends to come out closer to Christmas. So in the fall when I start drinking hot coffee drinks, I’ve made a substitute. I love getting a White Mocha Latte with half Caramel and half White Mocha. It’s not exactly like the Caramel Brûlée, but it’s just as sweet and cozy!

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 8.41.33 PMFavorite Blush
I can’t say that I switch up my blush too much… So for now, it’s NARS’ Orgasm. I got it from my husband in a Christmas gift bag from Sephora this past Christmas and it’s still the perfect shade for everyday wear. It has a slight shimmer, but it’s not overpowering. I love it!

2015-01-09 16.22.32Favorite Clothing Item
When the air starts getting chilly, I can’t wait to break out my comfy navy cardigan. I honestly don’t remember where I bought it from, I’ve had it for a few years… It’s a classic style and just a nice semi-chunky knit! It goes with just about everything and even though it looks big, it’s actually kind of slimming… I love pairing it with a v-neck t-shirt, jeans, and tall boots.

Favorite Fall Movie
For me, it’s not fall until I watch You’ve Got Mail. I know it’s not a seasonal or holiday movie, but it’s become a tradition. Plus, in the opening when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are talking about “bouquets of sharpened pencils” and scotch tape, it just makes me think of school supplies, falling leaves, and plaid! I absolutely love it! 384266_10151062452625938_1246938523_n
Another fall movie tradition is our Lord of the Rings marathon. We’ve had friends over to watch the movies back to back throughout the years – we even made our own lembas bread (shortbread wrapped in fake plant leaves from Hobby Lobby)! Watching the trilogy every year has been a tradition my husband and I have done since we first started dating…

Favorite Fall TV Show
There aren’t any fall tv series that I watch every year. We honestly don’t watch tv on the airing schedule, since most everything we watch is either on Netflix or Hulu. We always like watching The Office every fall and winter. It’s just a fun show to watch over and over again, and it never fails to make us laugh! We’ve decided (since discovering Parks & Recreation this year) that we’re going to watch The Office in the fall and Parks & Rec in the spring… 😉

Favorite Thanksgiving Food
2014-11-27 13.27.34Mashed potatoes! It’s not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. And my absolute favorite are my Granny’s Yukon Gold mashed potatoes! I don’t know what she does, my mom and I make mashed potatoes the same way she does (by the recipe), but hers are always sublime. Yum!

Favorite Halloween Costume
Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Halloween. It’s only been in the past few years of my adult life and working in creative departments at various jobs that I’ve dressed up for Halloween. I dressed up as Rogue from X-Men one year by putting a white streak in my hair and wearing long black gloves…

So what are your Fall Favorites? I’d love to know!

If you have not yet discovered the lovely Jaclyn Hill, I highly recommend you watch her videos. She is so fun to watch, she makes my day every time I watch her videos! Her tutorials are so good and inspiring; I discovered the value of contouring from her! Love her!

Also, if you enjoy tags like this, another of my favorite Youtubers did a version of this tag that’s really fun to watch. Check out Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly’s video!

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March & April Favorites!

It’s crazy how time flies! Since I totally missed my March Favorites (and I’m honestly cutting it close on April’s favorites), I decided to just combine them with April. So, buckle your seat belt, there’s a lot! 🙂 As always, these are just items I fell in love with and wanted to share. I’m not sponsored by any of these products…

Savings
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We decided to go ahead and answer “yes” when the Target cashier would ask if we “had a Target REDCard.” We applied for the debit card and I honestly was a little nervous the first time I used it, but after I got my receipt, I was pleasantly surprised! 5% off adds up quick and I really love how you can see how much you saved per trip, but also how much you’ve saved so far for the year! If you shop at Target as much as I do, it’s silly to not get a REDCard (debit that is…). You can stack the 5% savings with their Cartwheel app, getting $.05 off for every grocery bag you bring, coupons, and sales, so you can save quite a bit for every trip!

Products
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I had shattered my phone screen (again) on my iPhone 5, so we started comparing the price of upgrading to a new phone or just replacing the screen… 2015-03-24 17.18.27After some debating, we decided it would be a better deal in the long run upgrade. I am in love with my new iPhone 5s. I got the gold color, and found a cute white an gold case from the Dollar Spot at Target for $5! By the way, the Target Dollar Spot has been having quite a few cute phone accessories for cheap lately. Some are worth buying like the phone cases and arm bands, and then some are just cheap and not worth it, like the battery operated phone chargers and speakers… Just sayin’.

2015-03-27 19.52.44I finally got a Fitbit! And I love, love, love this little guy! I love it even more because I got it for a great deal by buying it from a friend of a friend. They decided that they wanted a different kind of Fitbit after having this one for a short time. I was able to buy it from them practically brand new for about half the retail price! Having my Fitbit has been more motivating to get moving in my day and really insightful to see how much sleep I actually get each night. I’m hoping to keep upping my activity since I have an easier way to track it. I’ve already asked for new bands for my birthday…

2015-03-16 15.48.26I’ve re-fallen in love with all my candles again as I’ve been trying to use them up around my house. My house feels cozy, I’m using up what I have (so I can eventually get new scents), and I’m gaining new glass canisters for storage after the candle is all used up!

2015-05-27 14.58.03I finally found a good pair of sunglasses! I tend to be pretty picky about my sunglasses, mostly because of how they impact my makeup during the day… I don’t like sunglasses leaving little marks on my nose or cheeks from settling in my makeup. With summer coming up, I needed to find something that would work! I found some cute shades at Target and they are light enough to just rest on the bridge of my nose and not leave any weird marks…

Beauty
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I rediscovered an old love. After using a variety of cream moisturizers and not quite finding one that offered everything my combination skin needs, I remembered using Garnier’s Moisture Rescue Refresh Gel Cream a while back. I bought a little jar of it and fell in love all over again. I forgot how much I loved this stuff! It gives my combination skin everything it needs to feel moisturized and comfortable all day. It’s not oily or greasy, but offers hydrating moisture all day. It’s light and helps my foundation glide on smoothy. I think I’ll stick with gel moisturizers over cream for a while!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.35.47 PMI’d been hunting for a blendable eyeshadow palette for a while. I’d tried Maybelline’s The Nudes  palette and a few other neutral quads, but nothing quite was the right color collection or powder formula. I heard a lot of buzz from the beauty bloggers I follow on YouTube about the L’Oreal’s Color Riche La Palettes. While at Ulta, I decided to go ahead and buy it, despite it’s kind of expensive (for drugstore) price tag. I got the Nude 1 palette, since it has more of a neutral color variety. The Nude 2 palette had more violet tones and not really what I would wear on a daily basis. The color pay off is some of the best in drugstore options I’ve found so far. The only color I’ve been disappointed with is the darkest brown. I like to use colors like this for liner, but the color didn’t show up as dark as I was expecting, so I still use one Maybelline quad color for my liner. Other than that one color, I’m in love! The shades blend beautifully and offer a wide range of look options from day to night!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.36.33 PMI found my holy grail of mascara! Maybelline’s Lash Sensation Mascara is by far the best mascara I’ve found thus far! I know that I mentioned Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes in an earlier post, but this Maybelline mascara is better than a dupe for Tarte! The price is just right ($8.99 compared to Tarte’s $21.00 a tube!), it offers length, volume, and impact, plus it holds the curl in my lashes all day! It does require an eye makeup remover to take off at the end of the day, but it comes off pretty easily with the remover. Any other mascara would have pretty big shoes to fill at this point!

Entertainment & Technology
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Since the Oscars had just aired…way back in March, eh hem… I discovered a really great documentary called And the Oscar Goes To… by TCM! I love movies and I love history, so this documentary was right up my alley. It went through the history of film and how the Oscars began. It’s pretty amazing to see how it’s changed and grown through the years! If you love film, I highly recommend it!

Over March and April, I discovered a few new favorite shows, which I promptly binge watched when I could, because they are just THAT entertaining! Younger is so fun to watch! I absolutely love Sutton Foster in everything I’ve seen her in. Her dead pan and whitty humor is reminiscent of classic film dialogue from Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant movies, but with the pacing and pop culture references of Gilmore Girls. The flavor of the show reminds me of a clean Sex in the City, with the girl bonding and city living, which makes total sense thanks to director Darren Star! My favorite thing about the show is the optimism of the main character as she’s rebuilding her life and choosing to throw age right out the window. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a go!

MV5BMTc3OTEyMTEyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDk4OTc0NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Another fantastic show is the Netflix original, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from the clever mind of Tina Fey. It’s totally wacky, colorful, and completely quotable. I adore Ellie Kemper from The Office. She has the same Amelia Bedelia character personality and there are so many other fantastic characters and cameos played by notable actors. The entire time I watched it, I kept saying, “oh that’s so and so from this show, and that show!” Both my husband and I were laughing out loud through the entire season and I’m really hoping that they decided to make more seasons! If you need a good dose of fun TV, you can binge watch the first season in a weekend. “Hashbrown, no filter…” 🙂

March brought us the Pretty Little Liars‘ season 5 finale, “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” Oh. My. Goodness! Holy Cow! Fellow PLL fans will know what I’m talking about! This had to be hands down, one of the most intense and best episode in this entire show, in my opinion! I couldn’t look away and there were so many times that I gasped out loud. I finally feel like there WILL be answers revealed and that it’s all building to the root of WHY all of this has been happening to the girls. I cannot wait for the season 6 premiere! It should be a good one. 😉

2015-04-06 23.09.11-1In April, the final season of Mad Men FINALLY came back…after a year! My husband and I are huge Mad Men fans and had been waiting and watching for when the last half of the season would air. I’ll give my final thoughts on the end of the final season in next month’s post, but it was so fun to have the show back in our weekend viewing.

While we painted our kitchen, we rediscovered our love for the Flight of the Conchords. We have both season 1 and 2 on DVD and just played episode after episode. We were cracking up the entire time we painted! Can you see a trend with the shows my hubby and I love, we love to laugh! 🙂 If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the Flight of the Conchords, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect show to watch if you need to just laugh!

Food
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I’ve been enjoying the deliciousness that is Brookside Dark Chocolate Crunchy Clusters. I found these at Target and had a Cartwheel deal for them. They look healthier than a bag of M&Ms because they have granola-like crunchiness and fruit gumminess covered in smooth dark chocolate. See what I did there? Granola…fruit…dark chocolate… Those are all healthy, right? Regardless, they’re so yummy and have taken up a regular spot in my grocery cart.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.44.54 PMIn other healthy pursuits, I’ve started drinking Special K’s Protein Shakes when I need a quick breakfast or want to satisfy a sweet tooth after a workout. They’re loaded with protein, but don’t taste like a protein shake! They’re smooth, cool, and just like iced coffee or a milkshake. I tend to get the coffee or chocolate flavors, but they have other flavors available too. The only downside is that I have to try to enjoy them before my hubby gets to them! He’s been on a pretty heavy protein kick with all of his workouts.

2015-04-21 22.39.57This last snack is far from healthy, but it’s so good! If you like those airy, sweet, crunchy cinnamon twists from Taco Bell, you’ll love Cheetos Sweetos! They’re a limited edition Cheeto product and they’re little puffs of sugary airy loveliness! I have to ration them out, otherwise I could eat an entire bag! And unlike my protein shakes, my hubby doesn’t like them. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but oh well, more for me! 😉

Miscellaneous
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In March, I got samples from my Spoonflower shop! If you haven’t discovered Spoonflower yet, it’s chock full of incredible art and inspiration! I’m excited to work on some new collections soon.  Right now I just have one small collection, but I have lots of ideas and just need to buckle down and get them out of my head and in my shop. For all my fellow creatives, take a look, enter a contest, and get inspired. I love entering their contests, they have great ideas to get your juices flowing.

What did you enjoy last month? What are you most excited to try?

Also, what kind of things do you like discovering on Favorites lists?

Status

Monthly Recap – April

I feel like I say this every month, but April was a crazy busy month. I don’t even know where the time went! A lot happened, but it just flew by… I was so busy, I realized that I didn’t even have time to post a monthly favorites for March! (Sorry…)
I’m linking up again with The Lady Okie‘s Project 12 on her blog. Check her out if you haven’t already!

30 for 30 Progress
I can actually cross 2 things off the list!
2015-04-27 19.42.12Pepper graduated from her Beginner Training Course…just barely. 😉 She’s definitely doing better than she was before. We’re still working on the loose leash walking and not jumping up on people, but she’s improved what little training we tried to do on our own. 2015-04-09 10.30.22She even learned a new trick, she loves to shake your hand now! We celebrated with a puppachino from Starbucks on the way home (her new favorite treat, if I come home with a frappachino now, she thinks it’s for her…)!

2015-04-17 09.27.44We also had a garage sale! This was my first time holding my own garage sale – EVER – and I was by myself for half of it too. We didn’t expect to make a fortune, but for what little we had to sell, we did pretty well. The weather was rainy too, so I was pleasantly surprised that we even did as well as we did! 2015-04-17 10.43.29Plus, I took all 3 boxes of books that didn’t sell to Half Price Books and made some cash back from that. While browsing in there I found the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD, so that was even a bonus!
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We painted our kitchen! So that’s another item almost off the list. 2015-04-14 12.57.31It feels so nice to have a different color in there! It’s amazing what color can do for the mood of a room! We also added hardware to all the cabinets and drawers. We’re getting closer to my dream kitchen! If nothing else, it feels fresher and more functional.

Books Read
What is wrong with me?! No progress whatsoever. I’m so behind. 😦

Fitness
PurseGoal-150508
I’ve now lost a total of 9 pounds! (Follow my progress here) I kind of plateau every now and then and this month was no exception. With all the crazy that went on, I’ve not been able to be as aggressive about my fitness as I’d like, but I still am logging my calories daily and working out in some form or fashion at least 5+ days a week. I still love my Fitbit and am earning cash through GymPact. All this, despite both my hubby and I getting the flu. We both felt miserable, but on the bright side, he got to stay home almost an entire work week!

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
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Like I mentioned above, we acquired the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld and we’ve been enjoying that during my hubby’s dinner breaks as our replacement for Friends. I had never watched the show growing up and had only seen a few reruns here and there, so it’s been fun to watch it together. My hubby’s family are seasoned Seinfeld fans and quote the show often.

Another favorite show started up this month for us: MadMen! 2015-04-06 23.09.11-1We are huge MadMen fans and are glued to the show when it’s on, in other words, it’s one of the few shows we watch without our checking our phones periodically. It’s like a time machine, you’re taken back to a different era, but the stories are so multi-layered, they’re applicable to many current topics too. I love the fashion, the ad designs, and the overall way the show is filmed. The show itself is art.

I’ve also gotten into watching Private Practice on Netflix, since I’ve finished all the available seasons and franchises of my guilty pleasure of The Real Housewives. Private Practice is a spinoff show from Grey’s Anatomy (another fave of mine!) and is just as dramatic. I’m usually watching it while I’m waiting for my husband to get off his shift, so when he walks in the door, he usually will stop – while holding all his gear and Pepper jumping all over him – and ask what’s going on or say something to the effect of “why do these people have such tragic/dramatic/crazy lives?!” I have to agree, but that’s also why I can’t stop watching!

And speaking of Grey’s Anatomy… If you’re a fan, you know what I’m referring to. THE Episode that made my Facebook feed blow up with spoilers was hard to watch. Especially since I had the spoilers, I was bracing for the main character to disappear at any moment. I had a feeling it was coming from the previous episode, but it was still not an easy one to watch… When is this show going to end, now that almost all the original characters are gone?! *It’s a TV show, Kellie, calm down…

Listened
I haven’t heard too much that stands out this past month, just car jammin’ and listening to my regular lineup of podcasts while I walk Pepper or work around the house… 🙂

Memorable Moments
I’m thinking of retitling this section to “Memorable Moments” from “Family Moments,” since there are other things outside of just Pepper and Jonathan that happen (believe it or not).
2015-04-02 12.58.45This month, Pepper turned 1! She’s still a puppy to me, but she’s gotten pretty big and is growing up (just a little) in her behavior. We gave her a giant rawhide bone to chew and I even made a “cake” out of treats and dog food for her. I’m so thankful that we adopted her! 2015-04-02 18.12.59She’s been such a blessing to both of us, but I especially am grateful to not be sitting up at night waiting for Jonathan all by myself anymore. It’s amazing how comforting a sleepy puppy can be. 😉 I highly recommend any LEOW ladies getting a family dog if you can.

2015-04-05 13.40.45We had a fun Easter Sunday with my family. Jonathan thankfully had the day off and his parents were able to come up and visit. We all went out to eat with my parents and sister for lunch. I absolutely love my in laws and am blessed that both of our families enjoy spending time together! I love the rare opportunities when we can all get together.

This month was a month that fit the adage “When it rains, it pours” to a tee!  2015-04-09 09.50.18-1We had been aggressively saving all during March with our spending freeze, which was good, because we ended up needing some of that savings for all of April’s craziness. Between taxes, hubby’s car breaking down, our fence blowing over with spring storms, vet bills from an ear infection that Pepper got, and other miscellaneous expenses, we felt like we were handing out money left and right. But the reassuring fact was that we could take care of everything and still keep our head above water. God provided during this month with extra refund checks, rebates, garage sale cash, and other little ways! 2015-04-24 17.01.38We’re learning to trust God to provide even more and learning that we can live on less. It’s caused us to talk through finances even more and keep planning ahead together…as much as we can. Plus, we’re learning new things, like how to repair a fence ourselves and installing cabinet hardware, which will help us be more prepared and knowledgeable in the future!

This Made My Day
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Despite all the crazy this month, I had several sweet moments with lunches, coffee dates, and phone calls with some special women in my life. I’ve also realized that I have always struggled to make friends, so it’s been a little of stretch for me to reach out for some of those relationships and maintain others, but it’s been so rich and rewarding to cultivate good friendships. I find myself leaving those conversations feeling so blessed, recharged, connected, encouraged, and like I can conquer whatever’s on my plate. You ladies are such a blessing to my soul. You challenge me, you encourage me, you keep me accountable, and you help me know that I’m not alone. For all of you that I had the pleasure of spending time with during April, thank you! You ladies are my superwomen!

2015-04-19 17.00.51Another special moment during April was the opportunity to go see one of my favorite films in theaters with my Granny, my Aunt, cousin, sister, and Mom! My Granny took us all out to see The Sound of Music (or as I affectionately referred to as “Doe-A-Deer-A-Female-Deer” as a kid) for a special limited showing. It was SO MUCH FUN to get to see it on the big screen and notice things I’d never seen before. I know the movie by heart and found myself noticing other details like the costume design and set detail, as well as realizing the historical context. When you grow up watching a film, certain things get cemented in your brain as one thing, but then you watch the movie as an adult, you realize all the things you missed as a kid or misunderstood (for example, when Maria sings “What’s so fearsome about that…” in the “I Have Confidence” song, I didn’t hear the words separated out as a kid, I thought “whatsafeesum” was one word…). After the movie, we all went out for a bite to eat and it was fun getting to visit together and hear stories from my Granny!

Monthly Moral
I’m learning that I can’t do everything and sometimes you will get a harsh reminder of that. I’m learning that I need to take time to rest. I’m learning that I need to give myself grace. I’m learning that I need to trust God and let go of trying to make everything happen in my time-table. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May?

Liebster Award Nominations!

liesbster-2015-NominationI was quite surprised the other day to see a lot of new traffic coming to my site. And even more surprised to find it coming from someone I hadn’t met yet. Come to find out, the lovely Rebecca Colours had nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much, Rebecca! Check out her blog here.
The Liebster Award is an award made for bloggers by bloggers, discovering new blogs. The award aims to put the spotlight on new bloggers and give them a chance to shine and get known here in the blogging world. The award comes with a few rules:

  1. Put the Liebster Award logo on your blog
  2. Thank and tag the blog who nominated you
  3. Answer their questions and come up with 10 new ones for your nominees
  4. Nominate 8 blogs (with less than 200 followers), let them know you’ve nominated them and link them in your post
  5. No tag-backs

I received the following questions from Rebecca. Here are my answers:

1.  What is your favorite thing about blogging? 
I love that I have a place to share thoughts, ideas, and creativity, along with a journal in a way to look back on. It’s a way to stay accountable and not let my goals or projects lose momentum.

2. What is your favorite saying/proverb/quote?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path.” —Proverbs 3:5-6

3. What is/are your biggest inspiration(s) that motivate you?
First, I would have to say, my mom is a huge inspiration and encouragement in my life. She’s one of my best friends and has been a mentor to me in many ways, but especially in my married life as I’m still learning to be a wife and *gasp* live with a guy! (<–This requires a gasp because I grew up with only a sister, no brothers, and I was home schooled…) She’s also been an incredible inspiration and motivation lately as she’s started her own business last year and that takes a lot of work, bravery, and dedication! Second, I would have to say that time motivates me. As I’ve mentioned before, I love to plan, but I also like to make the most of the time I have in the day, so time and the lack thereof gets me going in my day!

4. What are you really good at?
This may sound weird, but painting a room. I LOVE it! It’s instant gratification for me because I can see my progress immediately. I can paint an entire room without using a drop cloth or painters tape on baseboards or edges. I’m weird I know… I’m sure there are other things, but this was the first thing that came to mind.

5. What’s the key to success?
Hard work, perseverance—even when you feel like giving up, and having a goal to go after.

6. Is there anything new you’d like to learn?
There’s always something new to learn in life! This year, one of the things I’d like to learn is how to garden and mow my lawn. You can see more things on my 30 for 30 list here.

7. What’s your most important overall goal for 2015?
To accomplish my 30 for 30 list.

8. If you could write a brief message to your 13 year old self, what would you say?
Probably the only things I would tell myself is to learn to let go of trying to control everything a little earlier, stay active, exercise, and try more foods. I was a picky eater that preferred junk food,and now I’m paying for it. #FebruaryIsForFitness

9. Do you have any guilty pleasures and if so, what?
I’m the weirdo that loves to dip french fries in my chocolate milkshake and I love to watch reality tv, namely shows like The Real Housewives of Name-Any-City/Region, Dance Moms, Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, and just about any wedding show on TLC. Hi, my name is Kellie and I’m addicted to junk tv. 😦

10. State one word that would describe yourself.
Multi-faceted. 

Now I would like to nominate these lovely people! They all inspire me in their own unique way! Check out their blogs:
A Desert Girl
The Audrey Files
Bee Beauty
The Pastor’s Snarky Wife
Beside His Badge
The Adventures of Everygirl
News (Linzie Hunter)
The Elm Life

And here are your questions:
1. Why did you start your blog?
2. What is your favorite dessert?
3. What do you look forward to most about your favorite season?
4. What did you want to be when you grew up and how similar is it to what you do now?
5. What is your favorite book and why?
6. What do you do to help maintain balance in your life?
7. If you could go/live anywhere (real or mythical) where would you go?
8. What is one goal you would like to accomplish this year?
9. Coffee, tea, or something else?
10. What has been your most meaningful and/or useful life lesson, thus far?

I’d love to read your answers, so please be sure to tag me! 🙂

What’s On My Phone?

I’ve seen a few of these types of posts and I always find them helpful and interesting, plus I’m nosey…so I thought I’d share one of my own. These are just a few of the many apps I have on my phone, but they are the apps I use the most often and have found to be the most helpful in my day-to-day activities.

Type of phone: iPhone 5 (Sorry Android users…However, some of these apps are available on Google Play too…)

Apps:

Instagram-1Instagram – Free  |  Who doesn’t like looking at pictures? I’m such a visual person and I’ve found myself going to Instagram as my primary social media outlet these days. I’ve been a long time Facebook user, but it can be depressing and negative sometimes, plus it can be hard to keep up with the people you actual want to follow. Instagram is full of pictures and less chatter. I’m able to follow my family and friends and see what they’re up to, along with my favorite lifestyle bloggers, creative artists, designers, and brands I love. It’s not often that someone posts a depressing negative photo, so I find it to be a more uplifting and positive social media outlet to enjoy.  Plus, who doesn’t like looking at puppies all day? 😉 Follow me @peppersowl  {Instagram for Android Devices}

YouVersionYouVersion – Free  |  Since one of my goals this year has been to read the Bible everyday, I’ve been using YouVersion. You can read any passage of the Bible when YouVersion-1you want to or they have numerous plans to choose from that cover a range of topics. I’m going through the THE BIBLE in a Year plan. It has about three to four passages to read from every day with texts from the Old Testament, New Testament, and either a Psalm or a Proverb everyday. You can track your progress when using plans or you can look up different references of Scripture when you want to. It also offers a place to keep notes or even bookmark or highlight favorite verses. You can connect with friends for accountability or when you’re studying with a group. They have numerous translations to choose from with some audible versions, turning your Bible into an audiobook.   {YouVersion for Android Devices}

Podcasts – Free  |  I love listening to Podcasts-1podcasts when I’m driving in my car or cleaning around the house. I love learning new things, hearing people review things like movies and tv shows, or just talking on various current events or topics. There are tons of podcasts to subscribe to for free. A few of my favorites are Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Sawbones, Radiolab, and Serial (I know, I jumped on the bandwagon, but it’s so good…if you like mysteries and true crime. Now’s the time to listen if you haven’t already since season 1 is complete. I couldn’t stop once I started, I listened to the whole thing in two days!).  {Podcast Addict for Android Devices}

Starbucks – Free  |  I’m a coffee addict, so my Starbucks app is a MUST! It makes it easy to keep gift cards handy, or reload my coffee budget for the month (Yes, I have a coffee budget…otherwise it can get ridiculous!). You can pay with your phone, earn rewards toward free drinks and snacks. They also have free songs, apps, or ebooks available through the app.   {Starbucks for Android Devices}

Paperless-1Paperless – $2.99  |  I love making lists to help me keep track of everything and this app is my favorite list keeper! It allows you to make tons of lists that are however long you need them to be. I primarily use it as a reusable grocery and shopping list keeper. I can check off items, but they’re not deleted from the list, so when I need to buy something again, I don’t have to type it in every time. It also allows you to assign an icon to each list so you can find it quickly and know the the category for the list at a glance. You can also backup your lists to your dropbox and/or computer as well as sync between devices if you have an iPad. This app is worth the price!

Santa'sBag-1Santa's BagSanta’s Bag – Free  |  Another list app I love is Santa’s Bag. It’s a Christmas gift list app to help you keep track of your gift recipients, what gifts you’ve purchased, what’s left to buy, your budget, and how many days until Christmas. You can also create shopping lists for each store you go to, so you don’t forget any gifts you need to get. I’ve used this app for two years in a row and it’s helped keep me organized and on track when the holiday season gets really busy. Plus, when you’re done with a year, you can archive the list for the gifts you bought so you don’t accidentally give someone the same gift they may have gotten in the past… Upgrade to the Pro version for archiving feature. $2.99

Cartwheel-1Cartwheel – Free  |  I am a huge Target fan! I love shopping there with all the ways I can save through coupons and sales, but their Cartwheel app is the icing on the cake! With Cartwheel, you can create your own barcode like a reusable Target coupon that saves 5% to 50% off selected items (depending on each item’s expiration date). The cashier will scan your Cartwheel barcode at the register to apply the discounts. You can scan items in the store while you’re shopping to see if they have a Cartwheel offer or you can load up your Cartwheel as you plan your trip. The more you use the app, the more spaces you can unlock to add more offers to your Cartwheel barcode. You can stack the savings with coupons and your Target REDcard discount. Seriously, the savings add up, in just over a year’s time, I’ve unlocked 25 spaces and I’ve saved over $325!  {Cartwheel for Android Devices}

ibotta-1ibotta & SavingStar– Free  |  In addition to using the Cartwheel app and coupons, I also use rebate apps. ibotta and SavingStar are my top two favorites. I have SavingStar-1several other rebate apps, but I can explain how I coupon and use rebates in a future post… These two rebate apps offer savings on numerous name brand and some generic items. After you shop, you can submit your receipt to earn savings. Once you earn a minimum of $5 (SavingStar) or $10 (ibotta), you can cash out for gift cards or a cash deposit into your banking account via PayPal. You can combine the rebate offers with coupons and sales to get bigger savings! {ibotta & SavingStar for Android Devices}

QuakefeedQuakefeed – Free  |  You would think that living in Oklahoma, all we have to worry about is tornadoes in spring, but within the past few years we’ve been having earthquakes throughout the year. Thankfully we’ve not had any huge or destructive ones, but there have been a few that have made us wake up in the middle of the night from the bed shaking… Quakefeed shows you the epicenter of the quake and how far away the quake was from your location and the size of the quake. It’s pretty handy if you want to know what shook the couch. 😉

SoundHound – Free  |  You know when you hear that catchy song in a commercial or movie? SoundHound makes it easy to find out what song it is. With SoundHound, your phone can listen to the song and then it will search to match the sound. It will identify the song name and the artist and give you a link to the song in the iTunes store. I’ve found a lot of fun music this way!  {SoundHound for Android Devices}

MapMyWalk-1MapMyWalk – Free  |  Another goal I have this year is to get healthier. I’ve been using  MapMyWalk when I take Pepper for walks. It tracks your pace and distance along with other stats. MapMyWalk can also sync with other fitness apps and devices. You can also connect with friends to see their progress as you motivate each other. It makes walking my dog more gratifying when I know how many calories I’ve burned! 🙂 {MapMyWalk for Android Devices}

What apps do you use most on your phone? Tell me your favorites!

The Resolution We Kept

With it being January and everyone still making, talking about, or working on their resolutions, I thought I’d share one resolution that I made last year that actually stuck.

This time last year, I was working outside the home full time as a graphic designer for a large arts and crafts company, with an hour commute every morning and evening, 8:30-5:00, five days a week. My husband was going to school part time for his degree and working four 10-hour shifts a week as a police officer. Mind you, he works the evening shift, so he was getting home at 1:30am-ish every night and sleeping in until 10:00am, unless he had class at 8:00am. Our weekends didn’t match up, (mine was Saturday and Sunday, while his were Monday through Wednesday) so we were like ships passing in the night and hardly saw each other. We would mostly see each other asleep or spend a few hours together on each other’s weekends before the other would head out to work. We were both exhausted and it was wearing us thin. Our communication, schedules, and budget seemed all out of whack. We finally decided to do something about it.

We decided to make a point to go on a date once a month, preferably within the first week of the month, to sit down together and go over the upcoming weeks. We tried this for one month, then two, then six, and I’m proud to say that we were able to meet for eleven months last year! We tried to meet in December, but it was just a bit crazy with the holidays.

Now, it’s a date that we look forward to and thankfully is a little easier to schedule, now that I’m home full time. I’m now on his sleep schedule and we see each other a lot more now, but we still look forward to sitting down and making a point to discuss the upcoming month.

PlanningDateWhen we meet, we both bring our planners or calendars. I bring notes on our finances and a laptop. If there’s anything else either of us want to talk about with the other, we bring that too. We will usually go to a coffee shop or some place where we can get some lunch or dinner and stay for a while. We look over our schedules and note any events, appointments, meetings, holidays, birthdays, etc. that may be coming up. We talk through our budget and savings goals so that we both are on the same page with our finances. I am our bookkeeper and manage our bill pay, but it’s important to both be aware of how our money is being spent and agree on mutual goals.

CoffeeShopOur dates also allow us some time away from the house and distractions to really enable us to focus together and talk about what’s going on or what we want to do in the upcoming months. Even though I’m home full time now, there are still so many tasks both at home and with our schedules that we can get busy and caught up in. It’s nice to take a break, relax, and focus together. We still plan on having these monthly planning dates this year!

Since last year, a lot has changed and thankfully we are no longer ships in the night. But we still value making time to spend with one another and work through life together. Our dates have not only helped us get on the same page schedule-wise, but have helped our marriage stay strong. We’re not perfect by any means. This past year has brought a lot of change into our lives and has given us a few bumps in the road. However, by dedicating some time to talk and work together, we are able to take on the curves and bumps in the road a little easier.

What are your favorite things to plan with your spouse?