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Archive for the ‘Things I Love’ Category

As always, a few days late, but better late than never. Here are my 2010 and 2011 recaps if you care to check them out.

In 2012 Taylor and I :

Paid off his car early (the VW Jetta). Then, just a couple of weeks later, had a huge issue, where we brought the car in to the dealership to check out a problem with the door lock. They said it would be several hundred dollars to repair the lock, and we said, no thanks. Then later that same afternoon they called claiming that there was gasoline in the diesel engine (um, there’s no way in hell!!) and it would require major repairs (to the tune of at least $8,000 dollars, and you better contact your insurance company to get them involved.) After many talks with insurance and the car dealership and about 6 weeks of the car being in the shop, we paid our insurance deductible, turned in our rental car and traded that sucker in. So we also…

Bought a new car. A 2012 Toyota Camry SE.

Celebrated my 31st birthday, our 3rd anniversary, and Taylor’s 29th birthday.

We also did a lot of mentally preparing and budget planning for buying a house in 2013.  EEK!!

Taylor’s sister had a baby, so this year we became Aunt Andrea and Uncle Taylor! Here’s our sweet nephew from just a few days ago. He’s about 4.5 months old here.

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And I:

I didn’t cook as much as I’d like to throughout the year. This year was the first time I in my 31 years that I didn’t go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, so I cooked my First Solo Thanksgiving Meal for my in-laws. And for the first time ever, I also didn’t see my parents on Christmas day, so I cooked a ham dinner on Christmas. I didn’t take any pictures.

Visited

  • Las Vegas (March)
  • Washington DC/Arlington, VA(April)
  • St. Louis (July)
  • New Orleans (August & October)
  • New York City (September)
  • Dallas (October)

Read

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas in 2011 and I also joined Goodreads and set a goal of 30 books for the 2012 year. I didn’t make 30, but I did read 24 books, so not too shabby.

I enjoyed everything I finished, some more than others. I started Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, The Art of Fielding, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but didn’t finish. The only one I legitimately quit because I simply could not get into it was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. My favorite books were the John Green books (in order of my personal preference) The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines.

Here are all the books I read.

  1. The Hunger Games
  2. Mockingjay
  3. Catching Fire
  4. Divergent
  5. Paper Towns
  6. Girl Over the Edge
  7. Wife By Wednesday
  8. Water for Elephants
  9. Looking for Alaska
  10. Thirteen Reasons Why
  11. The Fault in Our Stars
  12. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  13. Juliet, Naked
  14. Fifty Shades of Grey
  15. Fifty Shades Darker
  16. Pretty Little Liars
  17. Flawless
  18. Perfect
  19. Unbelievable
  20. The Book Thief
  21. Gone Girl
  22. Flight
  23. An Abundance of Katherines
  24. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I am too lazy to link those books to another site and/or list their authors, but if you’re interested in knowing more about something and can’t find it, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

Watched

  • True Blood (Season 4)
  • The Tudors (Seasons 3 & 4)
  • Dexter (Season 6)
  • And plenty more miscellaneous episodes of Sister Wives, Family Guy, South Park, The New Girl, and Tosh.0

Listened to/Discovered MusicA few of these albums aren’t new, some are especially played out, but I loved them this year anyway. Saw Two Door Cinema Club at House of Blues in Houston in October.

  • Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
  • Fun – Some Nights
  • Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
  • The Lumineers – The Lumineers
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
  • The Black Keys – El Camino
  • Keane – Strangeland
  • O.A.R. – Rain or Shine

Did nice things – As a sort of informal resolution, I tried to do more  nice things this year. I kept track for myself, but don’t care to post the tally here. In general, I sent cards and care packages to friends and family who needed it, and I also did nice things for people I didn’t know. I really enjoyed it and I hope to continue this year.

How was your 2012?

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Actually yesterday was our 3rd anniversary. I didn’t plan a post in advance, and couldn’t post yesterday since we left home at 5:30am to drive an hour and a half to take one of our cars to the dealership. (Don’t ask, major service, hubby who doesn’t trust the NEW local dealership, blah, blah, whatever.) At least we got to see a beautiful sunrise.

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After the car was finished, we spent a glorious day in The Woodlands. We met up with my best friend, we ate pizza and had wine with lunch. We shopped for a little while before we could check in to our hotel. (If you ever need a place to stay, the SpringHill Suites in The Woodlands is very nice, and very affordable.)

Part of our (MY) motivation to go to The Woodlands for our anniversary was that the Trader Joe’s opened there last week. My dad’s happy anniversary message to us included a special message to Taylor that basically said “You’ve got it easy if for your anniversary all you have to do is take her to a grocery store.” So true. But Trader Joe’s was awesome, and I only bought like half of all the things. (We only brought a small-ish cooler, so I could had to force some restraint on myself.)

After storing all the goodies in our hotel fridge, we headed to PF Changs for dinner with my best friend, her little boy and her husband. We figured, we can have a quiet dinner alone any time, and we’d honestly enjoy spending the time with friends. When the fortune cookies came, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because my fortune said

;

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We spent the rest of the evening catching up on True Blood and watching various HBO miscellany at the hotel, before turning out the lights.

It was the perfect way to remember our wedding. Three years later, we still laugh together, a lot. This year, things are getting more serious with house buying talks, but we still try to keep things light. We hope we never lose the love and enjoyment we have for each other. I even love that our relationship typically looks a lot more like this

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Than this. Here’s to another wonderful year.

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So somehow last summer I missed posting this, so instead of a garden update from last year, I’m changing it to a comparison of this year vs last year, almost exactly to the day too.

Christmas cactus and unidentified succulent. 2011

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2012

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I really thought the Christmas cactus was a goner after last year but it is doing well.

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Tomatoes 2011.

The tomatoes mostly failed last year, except for one plant that produced about 4 tomatoes.

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Spinach. Didn’t last very long, not even long enough to make a proper salad. Not attempting this year.

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Cilantro 2011- died shortly after this was taken. No attempts this year.

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Jalapeno plant 2011. Got infested with some bugs and I didn’t want the infestation to spread to my other stuff so I threw it out. Didn’t buy another this year.

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2011. Grew basil from seed. Had way too much until it started to get that chemical-y smell and I tossed it all out. This year I bought a plant instead.

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Prayer plant 2011. I didn’t think it was going to make it but it rallied in the past year.

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2012

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Flapjack 2011. RIP.

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Chives 2011. Still kicking it this year.

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Lettuce 2011. Died shortly after. Like the spinach, barely enough to make a proper salad.

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A few weeks ago, a few of my friends posted about either their skin care regimen or their makeup staples. I love seeing what other people use so I though I’d share what I use regularly.

A little about my skin first. My skin is combination, so I have some oily and some dry spots. I break out, and have a little bit of acne scaring.

About 3 years ago, before I got married, I started getting facials on a pretty regular basis to try to help with the breakouts. Around that time, because I knew I couldn’t keep up with the expense of weekly facials long past the wedding, I started using Philosophy’s Purity Made simple and Hope in a Jar. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but I’ve tried other things that I really didn’t like as much. And Philosophy very frequently offers coupon codes for up to 40% your purchase, so I usually stock up with a coupon.

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I started using the When Hope is Not Enough serum. I like it well enough but don’t think it’s performing miracles on my skin. I may or may not purchase again when I run out.

When my face starts breaking out, or when I’m feeling oilier than usual, I use the Lush Grease Lightening. It’s got rosemary, tea tree oil, witch hazel, and some other good stuff to help control oiliness, and treat breakouts. It’s very soothing on the skin.

As for my makeup habits, I use a mixture of expensive products and drug store stuff. I should get in habit of wearing some concealer more frequently, but I generally just use the Garnier Anti Dark Circle Eye roller. It’s lightly tinted, so it does a good enough job at covering up some under eye darkness.

I love the Maybelline Pure Stay Powder Foundation. I don’t wear liquid foundation much these days, and this powder is awesome. It covers up redness and acne scars.

I’m in love with the Urban Decay Naked Palate. I usually just pick something quick to wear for work, but love that I can also play around with the various colors for a fancy eye.

I’ve been using the Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner for probably about 10 years now. (it’s hard to see in the picture on the black dresser) The liner is very smooth, and some people have asked me if I wear liquid liner, it looks that good. I also really like the little smudger on the bottom.

I used to use the Nars Orgasm blush but recently changed to the Benefit Bella Bamba blush. It’s a good amount of pink with a tiny bit of sparkle.

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I didn’t show any mascaras because I am always trying new ones, so I don’t have a particular favorite. Although I do recommend the Maybelline Great Lash Big or the Cover Girl Lash Blast. Right now I am working my way through the Sephora mascara sampler I got for Christmas and finding myself reaching for the Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay mascara more than some of the others.

So there you have it. My basic daily skin care regimen.

I’m always up for trying new stuff (and a good excuse for a visit to Ulta or Sephora) so let me know if you have any recommendations for me.

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I didn’t think I was going to write one of these, but then I finally looked back to see what I wrote last year, and thought I’d do it again. I kind of like having a little summary all in one place. Here’s 2010 if you’re interested.

This year Taylor and I :

Moved into a new apartment, and survived.
Celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.

Visited

  • New Orleans (March)
  • New York (May)

And I:

Completed a 2nd Warrior Dash, without barfing

Celebrated

  • New Year’s Day in New York City
  • My 30th birthday

Cooked – Not as much as I would have liked. Learned how to cook risotto.

Visited

  • Italy (July)
  • Austin (October)

Read

  • Room

Harry Potter Series

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow

Started but couldn’t finish

  • The Pioneer Woman, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
  • Chelsea Handler, Chelsea, Chelsea Bang Bang

Watched

  • True Blood (Seasons 3)
  • Lots of How I Met Your Mother &  Big Bang Theory
  • Tosh.0
  • The New Girl
  • Lots of Intervention, Addicted and Obsessed

Listened to/Discovered MusicAgain, not all new stuff, but I love all the same.

  • Matt & Kim – Cameras
  • Eric Hutchinson – Sounds Like This
  • Freelance Whales – Weathervanes
  • Discovery – Discovery LP
  • Ke$ha – Animal
  • Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song
  • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
  • O.A.R. – King

And talking about 2011 wouldn’t be complete with a special new category.

Developed Friendships

  • I became closer to friends I already had while planning our trip and traveling to Italy together.
  • I also met new friends at the Blathering. Some of them I think will be friends for a very long time.

Can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store!

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This is probably going to be one of the worst descriptions of a product I love, but I really think you’ll like it. Anyhow, this weekend I was shopping at Antropologie. While I don’t usually find clothes I just can’t live without, their fragrances and bath stuff usually manages to catch  my eye (or nose).

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When I travel for work, I occasionally get to stay at a nice hotel for conferences. So when I smelled this hand creme, it instantly reminded me of the fresh, non-offensive floral smell that nice hotels pump through the air vents. (Told you it was a terrible description.)

 But honestly, this stuff smells SO GOOD.

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It the scent is called Meyer Blooms and when I picked it up I thought it would smell like lemons, but it doesn’t. The Anthropologie site describes it as “a sweet mix of hyacinth, lily of the valley, vanilla and fresh Meyer lemons”. My nose isn’t really tuned to what all that means, but like I said before, it’s fresh, but floral. And definitely non-offensive. The scent lasts for hours, unlike most lotions. It’s rich and creamy, so you don’ t need to use too much. At $20 for the tube, it is a bit pricey, but definitely worth it. (But, considering that they sell also $200 dresses, you’ll actually come out cheap.)

So if you find yourself near Anthropologie soon, wander in and see what you think.

Also, I totally bought this myself. No one at Anthropologie knows me and most certainly, no one gives me free stuff.  

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This week has been very exhausting for me. I’ve lost two employees in the past two weeks, so I’ve been adjusting to that. (There are only 4 of us total so now I’m at half a staff.) I’ve hired some temporary help, but it’s still kind of exhausting to be doing basically everything. The jobs posted this week, so hopefully if all goes well, I can hire people by the middle of October, first of November by the latest.

So I’m happy that so far, today’s been a lazy day. We stayed up late last night after going to dinner with some friends and then going to the football game. So of course I ended up sleeping late too this morning. 

Crappiness at work means some crappiness in the home, so last week, I asked Taylor if we could each plan a date for this weekend. I planned Friday night after work…Hooters and go cart racing. This morning after I got up and got dressed, Taylor made us a picnic lunch and we went out to the riverfront and ate sandwiches and fed the (nasty) blackbirds the leftovers of our chips. It has been a great weekend, and I’ve still got the rest of the afternoon to enjoy alone, since Sunday’s are football days and Taylor goes to watch with his family.

So I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on some blogging for you…more Italy photos anyone? But in the mean time, I’ve thought of a few things I have really liked lately and wanted to share with you.

First. Buy this wine.

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99% of the time I’m a cheap wine drinker, going for bottles in the $4-7 range. But I bought this one at my local Wally World and it ended up being really great. It’s a Petite Sirah (in case you can’t squint enough to make out the words on my shitty iPod photo) and I paid about $11. So, while I consider it in the pricier range, it definitely doesn’t break the bank. And it tastes really good. I brought it to a girls night and everyone kept asking where I got it and was really impressed. They also have Merlot and Chardonnay, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Second. Buy this album.

I first heard Grouplove about a year ago when they opened for Two Door Cinema Club at a concert I went to. (I love TDCC too, but this isn’t about them.)The songs Grouplove sang were just so energizing and fun. And then while Two Door Cinema Club was performing, the female singer, Hannah come out into the audience and was standing right next to me. She smiled and didn’t run away immediately when I shouted over the music that I liked their songs. After that, I immediately downloaded their EP album (just named Grouplove) and listened to the 5 songs over and over. Then when I heard their album was coming out, I marked the date on my calendar and downloaded it right away. So enough rambling, so I’ll try to wrap it up.

I think their songs are really good. Some are fun and upbeat but some really draw you into the song with emotional connection.  And one of the EP album songs is on a Chevrolet commercial (Don’t Say Oh Well). Colours and Naked Kids are both great songs and are on both the EP and the new album. Although I was happy they included some songs from the EP, I’m also glad it’s not the same old stuff with just a few other new songs. 

So anyway, that’s what’s up in my life right now. What’s going on with you? Any music, wine or other recommendations you’ve got for me?

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