Thursday, February 28, 2013

tears. and makeup.

One of the girls I work with cracks me up talking about her small group (home group, community group, whatever you prefer to call it) sometimes. She doesn't like the one she's in this semester, and her main reason is that nobody cries. According to her, the quality of a (all-female, presumably) small group is measured by how frequent and abundant the tears are. After all, tears indicate people are being vulnerable, sharing, growing...all the things that make a good small group. If no one's crying, no one's growing, my friend says. 

I couldn't help but think of this last night at my own small group. The one where pretty much every single person was crying multiple times throughout the night. This must be a DAMN good small group. LOOK HOW MUCH WE CRY!!! It was a beautiful thing and it made my heart happy. We're reading and discussing this book 
 and it's really good. And tear-inducing, apparently. So anyway. If your small group needs to kick it up a notch, may I recommend this book? Or just join my group. Guaranteed greatness.

After group ended, one of my friends managed to convince me to go to Target with her to help her shop makeup. You can imagine how much convincing this took. I really hate shopping for makeup. Ha. Anyway, I must have done a good job because within 20 minutes she was begging for me to take her on a field trip to the nearest Sephora (an hour away) to show her how to really makeup shop. What can I say? I'm like that corner drug dealer your parents warned you about, only my drug is overpriced makeup and my trench coat is a cute orange purse.

Yesterday was a good day. This morning after dressing, I looked in the mirror and knew that if my dad saw me today he would say "Gig 'em!! Hooowah!!" (or however you spell out that noise that Aggie people make) I would feel weird posting outfit pictures two days in a row, so you'll just have to guess what I'm wearing. I'll give you a clue, though. It involves this super fab maroon dress I got on SUPER MEGA ULTRA CLEARANCE at Banana Republic a few weeks ago. Then I got to work and the first song that came on my Pandora station was Michael Buble's Save the Last Dance for Me and I love that song and I'm not gonna lie- I think it's going to be a great day today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WIWW: paying it forward ed.

Yesterday was a pretty craptastic day. But at least I was wearing a cute dress? That was pretty much the best part of the day (until the part at night where I caught up on all of the TV I was so behind on. Phew. That was a load off) (Also 9 hours of my Adele station on Pandora wasn't shabby). When we got home, I convinced Matt to take a picture or 4 before I changed into PJs for the rest of the night. At 6:00, because that's how I roll.

Dress: Gap Outlet / Boots: Rampage / Earrings & Necklace: Sam Moon

Speaking of Sam Moon...I only discovered this magical place (online only for those of us not living in TX) last Wednesday via WIWW. I'd placed my order by that afternoon and received the glorious shipment on Monday. I feel like my life has been changed for the better and that I needed to pay it forward by participating in my first-ever WIWW. So the moral of this story is this: sometimes it's worth it to click on the links people post to where they got things!

So the above three pictures are what I wore....Tuesday. Womp womp. But since it's all about what you're wearing on Wednesday, I went ahead and begged Matt to snap a few pictures before we left for work today. But it was too cold outside, so they're lame indoor pictures. Oh well. Also, my hair is not remotely fixed and actually is still wet, so...yeah. Obviously I have what it takes to be a fashion blogger.

Shirt: Old Navy / Pants & Metallic Flats: TJ Maxx / Earrings: Sam Moon / Necklace: Entourage

So there we go. Not my finest efforts at being a fashion blogger (that award goes to Fashion Week, of course), but it'll do for yet another gray and cold February day in Georgia. Hope you have a good one!

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and Tucker Up!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

another tuesday list

Whew. Howdy, yall. Long time no chat. It's been one of those weeks...and it's only Tuesday morning, how is this possible? Anyway. The only way to organize all of the extremely deep and important thoughts in my head is with a trusty ol' bullet-point list, so let's get on with it.

1. These words actually came out of my mouth last night: "We're not going to be able to go to the gym tomorrow...we are way too behind on TV." I know. People of the world with actual problems, please forgive me for mine. But seriously. I watched the whole entire Oscar ceremony Sunday night (more on that later) which meant I missed Walking Dead. Then last night we had a last-minute change of plans to hang out at the Gurleys' house (more on that later, too) where there is no now I've missed 2 hours of Bachelor. That's THREE HOURS of TV-catching-up to do, and also I'm having to avoid Twitter until I can do it, so...gotta get on that STAT. Sheesh. My life is so hard.

2. Speaking of the Oscars, I was pretty entertained. I'd seen 3 of the Best Picture nominees (that also earned quite a few other nominations/wins as well): Les Mis (DUHHHH), Life of Pi, and Beasts of the Southern Wild. So I enjoyed seeing all the clips/stars/nominations for those movies, and I liked seeing Les Mis and Life of Pi win so many awards. I was hoping to see lots of fashion faux pas (what's the plural of 'pas'? Faux paseseses, there we go.) to laugh at, but it seems like most people kept their fashion in line this year.

I particularly loved Jessica Chastain's dress and look. I thought she looked SO glamorous and classy.
Image Source

Her gorgeous skin, classy hair, perfect red lipstick...that DRESS...I mean, wow. Stunning. I had to compare everyone else to her for the rest of the night. I'm trying not to compare myself to her right now, actually.

3. I've been on another reading kick the last few days and here's the formula for Books I Want to Read Right Now: Woman who is being hunted/chased by bad guys and is probably in witness protection for some crime she witnessed years ago, living on the run, living a series of lies to protect her identity. Man who is probably a cop or FBI agent that takes an interest in her case (and her, of course, ultimately) and has to protect her from the encroaching danger. Love develops. The good guys get closer to catching the bad guys, but CAN HE KEEP HER SAFE?!? WILL SHE LEARN TO TRUST HIM??! Yall, this is pathetic. But it's SO GOOD. I've read at least 5 books that follow this exact formula in the last week or so and right now I'm reading one that doesn't follow The Formula and I'm totally disinterested in it. I mean, if there's no Russian mafia on your tail, I don't really care who you're falling in love with because falling in love is easy when no one's trying to kill you.

4. I planted my seeds on Sunday (in starter pots, to grow indoors til it's outside planting time) and diligently photographed every step and have loads of plans to make a very entertaining tutorial...but all of the pictures are still on the camera. And seeing as tonight is already booked up (too much TV, remember?), who knows when I'll get around to that. Hopefully before it's too late for all of you to start YOUR seeds.

5. Yesterday I almost had a heart attack. Seriously. Because my friend Mollyanne, who is 29 weeks pregnant, fell down the stairs and had to spend the day in the hospital being monitored...well, I was absorbing that okay, assuming she was in the ER...and then she told me she was in Labor and Delivery. OMG NO, YOU CANNOT BE IN L&D. I almost stroked out. Then she clarified that that's just where they stick you to monitor you and that she wasn't actually in labor. You have no idea the feeling of thankfulness that washes over you when you find out your friend ISN'T going into extremely premature labor. Wow. So we spent the evening over at their house hanging out with her 3-year-old so that her husband could be with her in the hospital, hence the No Bachelor Watching. The irony is that on Sunday we'd been discussing HER conundrum- they just cut their cable (and don't have an antennae or whatever yet) last week and so SHE was trying to figure out how/where to watch The Bachelor. Well, as it turned out, SHE got to watch it in the hospital, and I had to suffer the consequences of their hasty cable-cutting. Ha. (It's okay, I DVRd it, and I was still so overwhelmed with thankfulness that she wasn't hurt/having a baby that I really wasn't/am not upset at all. It's just funny.) Plus it gave me more time to read my formulaic books, so we're all good.

Possibly the funniest part of this whole situation is also Bachelor-related. Both of our husbands are also avid Bachelor-watchers (sorry for outing you, boys). So when I was texting with Jonathon, her husband, about helping them out, here are some of the messages we swapped: "If she's pulling a Tierra, she's doing a pretty convincing job." "Sooner or later the nurses will find out that she's not here for the right reasons." "Don't let them take her sparkle. NEVER LET THEM take her sparkle!"

6. Guess what. For work I have to become a NOTARY PUBLIC. I know. I know. I'm going to be like...a super huge deal. It's probably hard to imagine how important that public office actually is or what super important things I'll have to do or what power I'll be wielding...I know. I'm a little overwhelmed myself. I mean, I have to fill out like 3 pieces of paper AND pay $37 AND get "sworn in" by the Clerk of the Superior Court, so...basically I'm a Really Big Deal. And then I'll get a stamp and a seal. And that's really all I have to say about that.

I think I'm done blowing your mind for today. Have a good one!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

call me cathy

This morning started off not so unlike many other Saturdays. I woke up around 8:15 or so and laid in bed for awhile, catching up on social media on my phone, drifting in and out of sleep, and not waking Matt. As I lay there, I started hearing a banging sound, like someone knocking really loudly on a door. But it didn't sound like my door. But considering the houses in my neighborhood are fairly spaced out...whoever's door was getting banged on was really getting banged on. Lola wasn't barking, though, so I knew it wasn't ours, and I pretty much didn't think on it any further. A few minutes later I heard sirens. Those sound like they're really close, I thought. But then I didn't hear them any more, so I went back to my Facebooking. Then I heard more sirens. That's weird, why so many sirens? They sound so close. But again...they stopped, so I basically forgot about it. 

At 8:45 my phone alerted me with this Facebook message from my next-door neighbor:

Speaking of moving fast...
Matt and I were out of bed, semi-dressed, and sprinting to our front yard in about 30 seconds flat. We joined a group of our neighbors, cops, and firefighters standing in our front yard and saw this:

"OH! I didn't think yall were home," Ashley said as we joined them. "I figured if you were home you would have heard everything...??"

Oh no. We were home. And I heard it. I'm just actually that clueless. I mean, I figured if Lola wasn't barking, we were all good. Apparently she's not as useful as I had imagined... 

Of course the first thing I did was sprint to the firefighters and ask about the people that live there. Luckily, no one was home, so that was excellent news. They didn't have any way to contact the people that lived there, though. I actually did have the lady's number, so I went inside to get it and then they were like "yeah can you just go ahead and call her?" and I was like...yeah, THAT'S a phone call I'm just dying to make. "Oh hey, neighbor-I-barely-know...just wanted to let you know your house is burning down! Have a great one!" I did call, though, several times, but she never answered. I believe my first message was something like "ummm...Katie [not her real name, btw]...this is Erika...across the street?? Well...I'm not sure where you are, but I think you're not least I HOPE you're not home...because ummm...your house is on fire? And we think no one is home but um...yeah, so...just call me back if-WHEN!!- you get this message..."

So we spent a few hours standing out in the freezing cold semi-drizzle, rubbernecking and coughing from all the smoke. The fire was mostly in the back of the house, so we couldn't see many flames, just tons of smoke (and water from the hoses). We did see all the windows bust out and such, though. It was really sad...the firefighters opened their garage and I could see the kids' bikes and we were all like just let us run in and grab their bikes, okay??! They're going to lose everything, can we at least save a freakin bike??! They have 3 kids there, age 8-14ish...sweet kids, they're ALWAYS playing out in the yard and riding bikes. My kind of kids.

Because all of the emergency vehicles were blocking the street and there's only one way in and out of our neighborhood (not all that practical, actually?), we turned our front yard into an impromptu highway.

See all the cars making muddy ruts through my yard? Yep. Awesome. And there's Lola, still basically unimpressed by the whole thing. Apparently I've been totally misreading her her whole life. A squirrel three blocks away? MAJOR FREAK OUT. Someone walking a dog 200 yards away (when she's inside, looking through the window)? MAJOR FREAK OUT. Someone pulls up in our driveway or dares to knock on the door? MAJOR FREAK OUT. House on fire, 20 emergency vehicles parked IN YOUR FRONT YARD? Yawn.

The firefighters declared early on that it would be a 'total loss,' which is really sad, but I was so incredibly thankful that the family was didn't feel like nearly so much of a loss as it could have been. It would be horrible to lose all of your things, but luckily, stuff is replaceable. People are not, which is what I've learned the hard way in my personal history with house the fact that this one turned out differently was very, very good.

It felt strange to just move on with life after a morning spent watching someone else's fall apart, but that's what happened. I had plans to meet my friends Elizabeth and Laura in a town halfway between here and Atlanta (where they live) for lunch and hanging out, and there was no reason to cancel our date we'd planned over a month's not like all of my staring was actually helping the firefighters or anything. So I drove to L-ville and enjoyed a fabulous afternoon with some of my oldest (in length-of-friendship, not age) friends.
 We hit up an oyster bar for some tasty crabcakes & fish tacos first, then browsed at antique stores until hunger once again struck and forced us to spend a few hours in a bakery.

 Clearly, we were suffering there. Pay no attention to the fact that there are 5 cupcakes and 1 piece of cheesecake for 3 girls. Just believe that we each got one extra treat for someone at home. My cupcake was Salted Caramel Macchiato and it was basically freaking fantastic. I had no idea that after a few bites I was going to find some kind of espresso-chocolate cream stuff in the middle. HAPPY SURPRISE, yo. Also, they gave us these tiny silver spoons to eat with and we almost lost our minds with excitement about them. I know. Women. Who can understand them?

So we had a delightful afternoon laughing and eating and then I came back home to Matt, who'd been taking care of the rubbernecking monitoring in my absence. Basically the firefighters/investigators were all still there, doing their thing. Even up until about 7:00 tonight (at which point it was too dark to tell what was happening) they were periodically going in with their hoses and spraying stuff. Can fire burn that long? Sheesh. But now I'm worried that they're gone and what if there's still ashes inside that catch fire again and they're not there and no one notices and....and stop. I'm going to freak myself out if I keep following that train of thought.

Oh yeah, want to know how the firefighters even found out about the fire this morning? Because a cop just 'happened' to be driving through the neighborhood and noticed the smoke. He's the one that ran up to the door and started the banging that I heard all the way across the street. Thank you Jesus for cops that just 'happen' to decide to drive through sleepy neighborhoods on Saturday mornings...

And finally, for a funny-ish story to end things with. Ashley (neighbor) had been standing with some other neighbors that live catty-corner from us before we got out there. Now these neighbors have lived there for maybe a year or so, but we've never really met them. I mean, we wave or whatever, but we've never spoken. I know, it's sad, but whatever. So anyway. After Ashley messaged me and then I came outside, apparently this other neighbor girl (my age, roughly) noticed me coming out and said "Oh! Cathy's coming out!" And Ashley looks at her and is like "Cathy??...pretty sure her name is Erika." And the other girl was like "Oh. Yeah. We've never actually met her, so we just call her Cathy." I totally had to bust out laughing at that one. They NAMED ME Cathy??!! I just didn't know I looked like such an obvious Cathy, but apparently I do. So. It also made me feel happy to know I'm not the only person that just arbitrarily assigns names to people I don't know. And now I feel like I could probably be friends with that girl, since we have the Naming People thing in common. So...yeah. (For the record, if I were to choose a new name for if I went into Witness Protection or something...I would pick Madeleine. I've always thought I'd be a great Madeleine. Just FYI.) Weird day. But I'll take 'weird' over 'unspeakably tragic' any day, so...very thankful for that.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

coming clean

You have no idea how literal the title of this post is. Ha.

So last night Matt was hanging out with some dudes and I had the evening to myself at home. After finishing my book and an intense four minutes session of boxing, I decided that it'd be a great idea to take a nice relaxing bath.

Only my problem is-- sometimes, for me, baths aren't entirely relaxing. And I'll tell you why. It's the order of everything related to taking a bath. I feel like figuring out all of the details overwhelms me and stresses me out more than it's worth. I know, it sounds dumb. But it's a real (first-world) problem. Here're some of the issues I face:

1. I shower at night. So-regardless of taking a bath or not- by the time I go to bed, I must have washed my hair and face, etc., and be ready to go. This is a non-negotiable. I've been a nighttime-bather my whole life and I have no intention of ever waking up and doing it in the morning before work. So. Yes.

2. I have been led to believe (either by myself, or maybe my mom? or a magazine? who knows where this belief came from, but it's been there for a long time) that you should not wash your hair in the tub-water if there is bubble bath or bath salts or any other fun bath-supplements in the water. Something about those chemicals not being good for your hair. It seems like a legit concern to me. Ditto with submerging my face in that water. 

THEREFORE, as a result of Facts 1 & 2, you can understand my conundrum. They're sort of mutually exclusive. If I want to take a bubble bath, I can't wash my hair...meaning I must take a separate shower either before or after the bath. Both of these options are totally lame because if I take a shower BEFORE, then there's a shortage of hot water available for the actual bath, plus I get cold standing there waiting for the garden tub to fill up. If I take a shower AFTER, it basically undoes the relaxation of the bath, plus washes all the skin-softening-bubble bath-chemicals off my skin...I mean, by the time I'm out of the shower, it's like the bath never happened. 

So the third option (that I see) is to take a bath-product-free bath first and go ahead and wash my hair/face in the chemical-free water. This gets slight bonus points because I like going all the way underwater and pretending I'm a mermaid swishing my hair around. It gets points deducted, though, because with no bubbles or anything, you have to see the water turn slightly gray and icky and try to convince yourself that it's because of your shampoo and not because you're a really gross person. So then after the hair is washed, I let half of the water drain back out of the tub, while running the faucet to get the water hot again (for some reason, even though it probably hasn't been 10 minutes since piping hot water was coming out of the's back to ice cold and will take 5 minutes of running to heat up again. LAME). This means the tub is about half-full of coldish water, which makes for a very sad few minutes. Once the water warms up again, I plug the tub again and let the hot water fill it up while mixing in my bubble bath or whatever. I can then commence with the 'relaxation' portion of bathing that is the whole reason I started this ridiculous procedure anyway. However, by this point, half the time I'm bored/frustrated with the whole thing anyway and kinda ready to just be done. But I relax for a few minutes anyway because dangit, that's what the whole point was.

So last night while going through this whole admittedly ridiculous process, I was like I wonder how OTHER people do their bath routine? Because most of my routines in life...I'm confident that they're the right way. Maybe not for everyone, but at least for me- I know I'm doing it the right- and most efficient- way. But bathing? Definitely not. So I come to you, dear friends of the world wide web, asking that you bestow your experience and advice on me. What's the most efficient and relaxing way to bathe? What should I do? Is it actually wrong to wash your hair in bubble bath water? Have I been believing a lie my whole life?

As a reward for sharing your wisdom, I will share with you ONE thing I'm pretty sure about:


This Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment is pretty dang awesome when you have super itchy and dry skin like me. It won't win any points for smelling fruity or being bubbly, but for getting your constantly-itchy skin to calm the heck down? Major points. Worth dealing with the hassles of bathing for those few precious minutes of relief. So, there ya go. 

[PS. Ha- after re-reading this before I hit 'publish,' I realized that the last paragraph totally sounded like an advertisement or a 'sponsored post'. It's not. I have approximately 2918 bath products on the side of my tub, and this one just happens to be the best for itchy skin. No one asked me to say that. So...just FYI. :)]

So help me out, wise friends. Some of you seem to be veteran bath-takers. Bestow your wisdom on me and teach me your ways.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

million dollar stress reliever

Ugh. It's been a stressful few days. I just feel kind of down. And like I could sleep for a month. Or eat about 40 brownies and 2 gallons of ice cream. But in lieu of those things, I'm going to try to focus my stress-relieving efforts on something more...productive. And awesome. Check out the newest addition to our garage!

Please excuse the horrible pictures. It was dark-ish in the garage and the phone flash just wasn't up to the task, so I tried to 'lighten' the pictures on PicMonkey and now they just look weird. But you can see what's up, right? BOXING, baby. Do I have any idea what I'm doing? Heck no. Matt's all "I'm watching some YouTube tutorials to learn some technique..." and I'm like "Give me the dang gloves, I'll show you technique." Who needs YouTube or tutorials? I think punching stuff just comes naturally to me. With the occasional kick and primal scream thrown in for good measure? I was born for this. That punching bag didn't know what was coming to him.

As an added bonus, I'm pretty sure that neighbors/strangers who were driving by and witnessed my amazing acts of boxing are probably super intimidated now and will think twice before messing with me or our house...or letting their dogs poop in our yard and not scooping it. Seriously. I am not a force to be reckoned with. Don't even test me.

So that's that. Oh, today I was made aware of a delightful jewelry store known as Sam Moon and I think I'm going to go spend the balance of my life savings on their super cute and SUPER CHEAP jewelry. I'm serious- we're talking F21 prices here, folks! How have I never heard of this before?! I plan to make up for lost time. I'm going to be the best-accessorized boxer the world has ever seen. Just wait.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

let's go to morocco. NOW.

So I had this serious, for real blog planned for tonight. It's been rolling around my brain all day long. Big plans.

And then I had dinner.

And all of my thoughts left my head except for this one: OHMYGOSH THAT WAS THE BEST THING EVER, I MUST TELL EVERYONE I KNOW!!!! See, I'm a giver, right? When I eat something amazing, I can't bear to keep it to myself. I want you all to taste it too. So here we go. Get ready for tastiness. Well, the thought of it anyway. I mean, I do have leftovers, but I will stab anyone who comes to my house thinking they can try them. HA. I'm not that giving of a giver.

First, some back story. When I was in college, I studied Arabic for three semesters. FUN FACT, right?! True story. Don't ask why I was taking Arabic. I think I was just bored with life, and when I get bored with life, I default to dreaming about the Middle East. So anyway, after a few months of studying Arabic, I decided I wanted to go on a study abroad trip to Morocco. I was really pumped about it. But then...the program got cancelled. Something about 9/11, unrest in the Middle East...who knows. But the study abroad program was no more. And I was sad, but not devastated.

Now let me interrupt that boring story with this: If I had known what Moroccan food tasted like, I would have been way sadder. If food in Morocco tastes anything like this stew-- well, I don't know why anyone would ever leave. This is all I could think about tonight when I was eating dinner. I want to live in a place where this is all I eat ever. Ever. (Well, I would also like to eat bacon. This and bacon. I'm not sure if those things co-exist in the Middle East, but surely we can work something out...)

So! Don't let the picture above fool you into thinking this is some run-of-the-mill veggie soup. IT'S NOT. Take a closer look at the players:

I know. Raisins? Trust me on this one. It works.

So I got this recipe from my friend Courtney. I have no idea where she got it-- she mentioned it (with a picture) on Facebook one night last week and when I immediately expressed interest, she emailed me the recipe. I don't know where she got it. If I find out, I'll give credit where it's due-- I'm not trying to steal anyone's recipe and claim it's mine. I did not invent this stew. Whoever did should win some kind of prize, though. So since I don't have a handy-dandy link to share, I'm going to have to type out the whole recipe. I know, I'm a martyr.

Edit 2/20/13: Courtney told me that she got the recipe from the Happy Herbivore's meal plan. I could not find this particular recipe listed on her webpage (although she has tons of other amazing-looking recipes-- all vegan, many gluten-free and soy-free as well!) and have contacted her for permission to share the recipe here. If you like this recipe, be sure to go check out some of her others!

Moroccan Stew- vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free
-2 potatoes, cubed (we used regular, sweet would be great!)
-16 oz. carrots, cubed
-1 onion, diced
-30 oz. chickpeas (undrained)
-4 cups veggie broth 
-1/2 cup raisins
-2.5 tsp cumin
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-2-3 lemons (or 3-4 tsp lemon juice)
-10 oz frozen spinach

-line a large skillet/pot with a thin layer of broth and saute potatoes, carrots, and onions til onions are translucent (recipe said ~3 min...I did it for about 10)
-add chickpea liquid, veggie broth, raisins, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, salt & pepper. Stir to blend, then bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, simmer for 8 min.
-mix in 1 cup chickpeas and simmer 2-4 minutes or til potatoes and carrots are just tender
-mash remaining chickpeas with a fork, mix them in along with the lemon juice
-add spinach, more broth if desired (I didn't), and stir til heated through

Makes 4-6 servings.

And then eat, eat, eat, eat, eat. I looooved it. If you try it, I bet you will too. Have a great night!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

i hear the cries

Friday afternoon we decided to kick off the weekend with a stop by my favorite place on earth and spring/summer Second Home-- the Lowe's Garden Center. It's still a bit early in the year to begin planting outside, but I'm starting to get really antsy to get my hands in the dirt, so I figured a quick visit would maybe take the edge off a little. (Do I sound like a drug addict? Sometimes I feel like one.) Plus we wanted to get the supplies and seeds to start some of our veggies indoors. It's not too early for that-- it's the perfect time (ya know, if you're in Zone 7 like me...) (interestingly, did you know that a lot of groups have re-done the cold hardiness/heat zone maps (due to climate change) and dispute the long-held USDA map? They would have me being in Zone 8. Verrrry interesting...). OMG that was a lot of parenthesis. Sorry.

ANYWAY. So in my plant-and-seeds-induced euphoria, I excitedly Instagrammed a picture of my haul. And to my great surprise, guess what I almost immediately found piling into the Comments of that picture? CRIES FOR HELP.
Sorry for the awkward splicing of the photo...had to use 2 screen shots to capture all the Cries, and since the most advanced graphic design program I have on my home computer is PAINT...well, that's what you get.

 I hope you can read them all. People are desperate!! Literally begging for my help!! And if you know anything about me, it's that I'm a giver. When it comes to giving advice, that is. Especially when that advice is solicited. I'm sure you all recall my life-altering Plants 101 lessons from last summer. And I mean, that was basically unsolicited rambling. But now-- the people have spoken, and the people want to be gardeners! They want to be one with nature! Or maybe they just don't want their front bed to be the lamest one on the block- I respect that, too. So obviously my heart is THRILLED at the thought of planning some educational (BUT NOT BORING, because I would never be boring) flower-themed blogs for the near future. I really wanted to do it this weekend, what with starting my seeds and all. But theeennnnn the weather had to be all Old Man Winter and freezing cold and I love flowers but I'm not insane. I'm not potting seeds when it's 35 degrees with 35mph wind. And I'm not doing it in my kitchen either. So...soon. I'll let the anticipation build for a few more days, or until it's warm enough to be outside for 3o minutes without becoming miserable. In the meantime, feel free to pepper me with all of your burning gardening questions/thoughts/conundrums/things you want to know about. It makes me happy. Plus it gives me time to Google all the answers. What? I mean, I never claimed to be some kind of Legit Gardener. I just Google stuff and call my mom a lot.

So since it was too cold to garden, I did the next best thing: convinced Matt that we should go shopping at the outlet mall in Commerce. It was a highly successful day-- as I had suspected, the end of the clothing-season plus the President's Day sales equaled some mad crazy deals to be had. 

And then I was even MORE productive because when I came home, I realized that in order to make room for this...

...I needed to do some serious editing of the closet and get rid of stuff to free up some hangers. And buddy- I was on FIRE! Look at all these hangers I freed up! I swear, I tried to do this a few weeks ago and was only able to get rid of like...3 shirts.
That's 28 freed hangers, by the way. I counted. And I only went through my shirts and dresses! Didn't even make it over to the skirts and pants! I mean, no need to be an overachiever, right? This was more than enough hangers to hang up my new things. But the best part is that the two giant bags I filled with the clothes to get rid of? I'VE ALREADY DROPPED THEM OFF AT THE DONATION PLACE. Seriously, pat me on the back. My last "take to Goodwill" bag (which was on my 30 (days) before 30 list) was literally in my room for months, and I couldn't even drop it off when it was on my LIST! These bags? Less than 24 hours. What can I say, ladies? Sometimes I amaze even myself.

With that, I bid you adieu. Time for Walking Dead (and two more nights of The Bachelor this week??! Can I get a what-what??!) and nail-painting! Enjoy your day off tomorrow, those of you lucky ducks that get it. I'm not one of you, in case you couldn't sense my bitterness over the internets. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


So how was your Day of Love? Mine was pretty fantastic, filled with sugar-laden treats with a side of gluten. In other words: perfection. And that was just at work. Then we went to our small group and some friends from Bosnia brought homemade Bosnian food and DUDE it was good. Really good. Maybe my next vacation will be to Bosnia.

OH WAIT. But then we came home from group and booked our next vacation. And it's not to Bosnia. Not this time. The clear blue waters of the Caribbean harken to me and I must heed their cry. (I should seriously consider going into poetry, no?)

Is there a happier computer screen than one proclaiming that you've booked a vacation? I submit that there is not.

You see that down there at the bottom right? SIX nights, buddy. That's right. Last year we only stayed for five. This year, six. Bigger and better things. Interesting fact: Despite staying for an entire extra day/night, the cost of the package is less than $30 more than what we paid last year. Same resort, same airline, same everything. So now I feel like I'm really getting a great deal. Actually it's probably because we're flying on oddball weekdays or something explainable like that. Or it's because the Caribbean loves me. Either way.

Okay. Enough about my amazing vacation. The true question for today is this: What the heck is the Harlem shake and why are there suddenly a zillion different versions of it this week? What did I miss? I mean, if you Youtube it there are like all these different videos, but none of it really explains to me why it's suddenly blowing up everywhere lately? What tipped it? Why the strange costumes? Matt and I consulted Wikipedia and discovered that the original dance originated in 1981, which is great, but doesn't explain why I've never heard of it til 2013 and suddenly I've heard of it fifty times a day. So, if you care to enlighten a sister...then do it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

will you accept this rose?

 Happy Valentine's, yall! We're not big 'Valentine's' people (because let's face it, Matt buys me presents and does thoughtful things pretty much year round), but when I came home from hanging out with some ladies last night, Matt surprised me with roses, gifts, and a card.

Obviously the boy pays attention when The Bachelor is on, amiright??! I cracked up at this one. While I was reading the card (that started like this) and then finished and turned around to hug him, he was standing in the doorway holding a single rose and actually SAID "Erika, will you accept this rose?" HAHAHA. It was pretty classic. Of course I accepted, gave him a hug and a kiss, and then exclaimed some nonsense about this rose meaning everything and how excited I am about this journey we are on. It was pretty classic. Too bad there were no camera crews to capture it.

It's our EIGHTH Valentine's Day, technically. We started dating about 3 days before V-Day in 2006, so we didn't really count that first one (that woulda been awkward...), but I did find this picture of myself at work on that day.

And for the record, I still wear that sweater. It's timeless. Or I'm stuck in a rut. One of those.

For a better picture of what life was really like back in our early days of dating-hood, please enjoy this real-life moment someone captured shortly after we became official.
If that doesn't look like a couple bound to stand the test of time, I don't know what does. I'm pretty sure that's a face Matt got really used to seeing. Ha.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! (And in case you were wondering, Major Holidays such as this definitely call for a suspension of the Bird Food Diet. As if there were any doubt.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

eleven things you did not know

First of all, I would like to make a public request of the rain to PLEASE GO AWAY. Come again another day, like in the summer when I'm tired of spending an hour every night watering my plants. Come back that day. I'm over you today.
I'm over this being my uniform. Also, look at me boldly flaunting my non-Hunter rain boots. Uncharted blogger territory, I feel. These are more the fall 2009 Target collection. Very avant-garde, no?

Last night I came across a fun little questions game on Macey's blog. I wasn't necessarily out shopping for blog-fodder, but when something quality presented itself, who was I to say no? Since I found myself trying to answer all these questions in my head, I figured I may as well do it here, too.  

Without further adieu, here are eleven random questions. Enlighten yourself.

  1. What is your middle name?  Is it random, or a family name? Renee. I guess it's random...I've never heard any stories about where it came from, just that my parents liked it. I believe their second choice middle name was going to be Nicole. Erika Renee vs. Erika Nicole. I think they made the right choice. Plus, my grandmother has always called me Erika Nay (because that's apparently what I called myself when I was 2 or something) and I like that, so...Renee for the win.
  2. What is your favorite memory from childhood? I have a million awesome memories, but some of my favorites have to be the loooooong drives my family took every summer to visit our family in Texas. It was a thousand miles (one-way!) in the back of the van with my siblings, and we had the most ridiculous conversations/fights/wars...I could tell stories for days. Suffice it to say that being the oldest child of the predominant gender (3 siblings, 2 girls) is DEFINITELY the way to go. It was always either the oldest two versus the youngest, or girls against boys...and I was always in the winning camp. I don't know why Jake and Sarah never thought to gang up on ME...probably because I was awesome.
  3. If you had to eat the same 3 meals everyday for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Oh man. This is tough. Sorry Bird Food Diet, I think you're gonna get left out. Breakfast: waffles, bacon, fruit salad, bacon, cheese danish, and bacon. With coffee. Lunch: Pizza and salad, with those cheap chocolate-covered gas station donuts for dessert. Dinner: Chips & guac, tamales, tacos, refried beans, chimichangas, and cotton candy. Don't judge me, I really love food.
  4. What has been your proudest accomplishment? I really don't know...but I regularly pat myself on the back for not (yet) having kidnapped any babies or murdered any insensitive people.
  5. What are you most looking forward to in the year 2013? Going back to the Caribbean, duh.
  6. If you won the lottery, who is the first person you would call or text? Let's assume Matt already knows. Probably my dad, definitely via a phone call. I'm not much of a phone-talker, but winning the lottery calls for that personal touch!
  7. What is your favorite color, and do you have many items that you own in that color? I have struggled with this question my whole life. I really love, like...every color. I own the most things (clothes & decor, let's say) in blue, green, and mustard yellow, and gray.
  8. What is you favorite social media site? Probably the ol' classic Facebook. Unless blogs (all lumped together as one) can count. Then I'd pick blogs.
  9. If you had the opportunity to speak with your favorite celebrity, what would you tell them? "Hi." ??? This question would be better if I could think of a 'favorite celebrity' off the bat.
  10. What is your favorite book/movie/song of all time? THIS IS TORTURE. Book: East of Eden or Les Miserables, or maybe The Ragamuffin Gospel or Redeeming Love. Movie: Moulin Rouge, Love Actually, Life is Beautiful, Spanglish, Les Miserables, the Princess Bride...Song: I Dreamed a Dream (duh, Les Mis), A Case of You (Diana Krall), Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright version), How He Loves (John Mark McMillan)
  11. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would you choose? Someone in childbirth. Sounds dumb, but it gets really old NEVER being able to participate in the labor and delivery battle stories that I frequently find myself sitting through. It'd be nice to be able to do something other than nod and smile.
Well that was a party and a half, huh?! Thanks again to Macey for coming up with fun questions...if you're bored and so inspired, feel free to answer them yourself! Guaranteed to provide entertainment for you and me both!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

fat tuesday

 Don't worry, I have absolutely no Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday plans whatsoever. I just run out of creative ideas when it comes to naming blogs. Am I the only one? Sometimes they just come to me, and

So with the new job has come changing around our benefits. I know- exciting stuff. I'm not going to bore you with the details, but basically I'm joining Matt on his insurance now. This is not interesting in the least, until yesterday when we got this letter in the mail. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but I laughed for like ten minutes and referred to myself as only "Spouse B-----" for quite some time. I mean, who needs a first name when you could just be "Spouse B-----"? Exactly.

And my favorite part is that it's not like they don't know my name. First of all-- I USED to be on his plan, a few years ago. Evidently that doesn't count, because when I tried to enroll this time they acted like this was some unheard of situation and needed all of our documentation proving that I was a legit "spouse," which meant we had to dig out our marriage certificate and send it to them, and I'm you people not keep anything? We gave you all this a few years ago. Whatever. Just don't make me pay a fortune every time I go to the doctor and we'll be good.

OH YEAH! Now that I'm thinking about it...back when Matt first started working for this company (5.5 yrs ago) and I was on his benefits, we spent about 4 months trying to have me listed as a FEMALE. Trust me. It was awesome. They somehow had me as a male in all of their documentation. You wouldn't believe how many phone calls and birth certificates had to be sent out to prove that I was, in fact, a girl. I offered to walk in to HR and just prove it, get it over with once and for all, but apparently they weren't interested? Who knows. Silly companies. Apparently this company has a vendetta against me or something.

In other news, last night we made Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Avocados with Cilantro 'Sour Cream' for dinner. 
It was very interesting. I liked using the avocados as little 'boats' to put the stuff in, but let's be honest. They only looked like this for as long as it took me to take a picture with my phone. To actually eat it, you had to chop them all up. I mean, unless you didn't plan on eating the avocado, I guess. But who would waste two delicious avocados? A crazy person. Wanna know what the 'sour cream' was made out of? OK, this one made me feel a little bit fruity, when I start making my own vegan sour cream's made out of CASHEWS. And apple cider vinegar, and water, and cilantro, and a squirt of honey. I know, right. I felt like a tree hugger on that one. (Actually Matt made it, so he did) It's pretty good, though. It doesn't really taste like sour cream (duh, how could it?), but it was a good addition. Anyway. Yeah. Life with the Bird Food Diet is never boring...

Time for work. Later haters.

PS. Speaking of hate...TIERRA IS GONE!!! Buh-bye, CRAZY! #Bachelor

Monday, February 11, 2013

self-photo challenge

In lieu of other bloggy-inspiration today, I'm linking up with The Paper Mama for a little Self-Photo Challenge.

 Although the guidelines don't require that the picture be from the interest of keeping it real, mine is. So now you'll have something nice to compare my Fashion Week pictures to. As in, I don't actually 'dress up' (if those outfits are even 'dressing up' by your standards) every day. On days like today- rainy with flooding likely, muggy-ish, Monday-ish- well, sometimes I just don't care that much.

Hair in a messy braid, comfy shirt, skinny jeans, and boots. Actually, I'd been wearing my rain jacket, too (yes, indoors all day)...but thought I'd take it off for the picture. I'm fancy like that.

Please compare the me of today to the me of my fave semi-recent self-portrait (as a bridesmaid in Elizabeth's wedding).

Anyway. With the self-portrait challenge comes a few random let's go!


Obsessing over…
Not a whole lot, really. Thinking about vacation, wishing I had a kid...ya know, the usual.
Working on…
Quite a few projects, since I'm actually at work. {on my lunch break, for the record!}
Thinking about…
How inconvenient it is that Google Reader is all jacked up today. And then feeling ashamed that this qualifies as a 'problem' in my life. Ha. Oh ye privileged American...
Vacation, of COURSE!! And The Bachelor tonight. Let's be honest.
Listening to…
My Hillsong station on Pandora.
Just finished lunch, but today I've been snacking on dehydrated kiwi (could cross-reference this under 'obsessing over'). SO GOOD!
Please refer to 'Obsessing over'. Repeat hourly.
Well that was exciting. Unfortunately, my lunch hour's about up, so it's time to skedaddle (who says that anymore?) and do work-y things. 
Random thought from last night: The Walking Dead started back again after a 2-3 month hiatus. In the time since WD was last on, I've spent my TV time watching The Bachelor and other such light-hearted fare. That certainly did not prepare me for the drama of the un-dead I experienced last night. Yikes. Zombie gore drama versus girl drama? Both are special in their own magical ways.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

lazy day

It's a sunny, lazy, beautiful Saturday in Georgia. I feel semi-sorry for all of you buried under a zillion feet of snow up north...make that completely sorry if you've lost power or had any other sort of nasty drama piled on top of the snow. It's quite nice here, but Mattie's feeling a bit under the weather, so we're laying low today. We did, however, take a nice long walk around our neighborhood (during which Lola pooped THREE TIMES...I mean, where does she keep it all?? Sick) and stop by a yard sale. I was happy to score three books for a mere $1.50!

 I'm excited for some new reading material, although I'm slightly irritated it's not on my Kindle. Having to lug a book around? Ugh. First world problems, people. Also- I don't need anyone judging me for liking Jodi Picoult books. Ha. I realize it's not the epitome of literature. I'm okay with that. I can count on them to draw me in and make me cry, and sometimes that's just exactly what I need. So...there. Anyone read these other two? I feel like I've heard good things, although I can't say where I heard that.

Speaking of books I wish were on the Kindle...I've had this bad boy collecting dust on my nightstand for 3 weeks.
 Again: Heard great things, but HOLY CRAP it's heavy!! 850 pages and hardback?!? Majorly heavy and intimidating. If it were on Kindle, I wouldn't be so intimidated because I wouldn't know how long it was. And also it wouldn't break my arm to pick it up. I think this book sounds interesting, though, and I've really loved the Stephen King non-horror books I've read in the past, so I want to try it...just...haven't.

OK so remember last Saturday when I was all excited about filing our taxes and booking a vacation and I was like "hurry up Georgia and America and give me my dang refund so I can book a trip"?  Well apparently the government reads my blog and listens to me when I tell them to do stuff, cause our state refund was in my bank account on Thursday and the federal one today (although it's still 'pending''s as good as there). I mean-- HOLY COW! Taking into account that we filed late on a Saturday night and Sunday most likely all government places were closed...that's FAST, yo. So I would like to thank the United States and State of Georgia for doing something fast for once. I am most appreciative and very impressed. And also now I can BOOK MY VACATION!!!!

Well, since this is officially the Most Boring Blog Ever, I guess I'll sign off and get back to whatever HGTV or A&E (something about home flipping) marathon Matt has tuned into. Thrilling Saturday, people. Enjoy yours! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

unnecessary dresses

Yall. Last week's Fashion Week has turned me into some kind of monster. I have gone shopping like 87 times since then. Okay or maybe like 3, but I've thought about it a lot. I haven't had such enthusiasm for getting dressed in the morning in quite some time. I mean, combined with my also-new-but not-quite-as-new-found enthusiasm for my makeup...I'm gonna have to start waking up earlier. No bueno.

Today Diana convinced me to go shopping at a cute little shop downtown during lunch. She really had to twist my arm, let me tell ya. Something about 75% off dress racks, and the sun was shining and the weather was beautiful...yeah, I didn't take much convincing that a stroll to the 'fancy store district' (aka most of downtown Athens) should be in my near future. Trying on highly fashionable and unnecessary dresses was a fantastic way to spend the last 20 minutes of our lunch hour. It put me in such a great mood, in fact, that I decided to go on ahead and purchase one of the dresses. I mean, let's see. It's polka dotted, has one of those uber-trendy-and-ridiculous peplum ruffle thingies, is quite fitted, has a great neckline and adorable little cap sleeves...basically it will serve absolutely NO purpose in my life or my wardrobe, but I decided to get it anyway. That's what Christmas money is for, right? Also, it was ridiculously cheap. That doesn't hurt. I tried it on for Mattie when I got home. He approved, unsurprisingly. ("unsurprisingly" because a) he generally always approves of my shopping habits, and b)'s a fairly fitted dress and he IS a dude, ya know.)
Lola approves too!

I felt like the ridiculous and also unnecessary-in-my-life red snakeskin heels were the perfect touch. After arriving back at work and complaining to my other co-workers about how Diana dragged me out shopping and like forced me to buy this dress that I have nowhere to wear, many of them confessed to having similarly unused dresses in their own closets. At that point I had a stroke of genius and proposed that we schedule an Overdress for the Office day (originally I named it Inappropriate Dress day, but that has some...other...connotations), where we all wear our unnecessarily dressy/fancy/party-ish (but appropriate!) dresses on the same day! And then go out somewhere cutesy for lunch, and people will think we're all very fancy ladies! OK please forgive me for how ridiculously excited the thought of this makes me. I really like pretending I'm Fancy. So...hopefully we will have Overdress day soon. Otherwise I'll be having it alone. And that's not as much fun.

SPEAKING of fancy bout that two nights of the Bachelor this week? (Good transition? No? Sorry!) I'm so sorry, but I am 100% thrilled with my decision to watch the Bachelor this season, and it's tough to say whether I get more excited about the show itself or the social media surrounding it. I absolutely love watching Twitter while the show's on, reading all the blog recaps of the THRILLS my heart. Ridiculous but true. Anyway. I was participating in some of the Tweeting on Tuesday, and just this afternoon I noticed something very exciting on my Twitter:

DESIREE FAVORITED MY TWEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh. My. GOSH! I definitely squeeeeealed when I saw that. It's the REAL Des, too, ladies. I have been on Team Des since the first episode and I pretty much consider us to be BFF, so it's nice to know she apparently feels the same way. Also we are kind of twins, except for the part where she weighs like 2 pounds...but I mean, we both have brown hair and bangs? So, twins. Anyway. I was not even following her on Twitter (BFF fail, I know) (but I am now!), so I'm guessing she was just searching the #teamDes hashtag and saw me. SWOON. I don't care how it happened, I'm just glad it did. So in conclusion, I am basically a celebrity and as such, I will probably have plenty of opportunities to wear my trendy new dress. The End.