Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide - Unique & Handcrafted

I can't believe that Christmas is right around the corner! I'm just finishing up my shopping and figured I would give ya'll a couple ideas for unique gifts. I really don't like getting people gift cards or generic bath & body sets, so I really thought long and hard this year about what to get everyone. I also specifically tried to buy local, homemade, or handcrafted. I probably should have put this list out a few weeks ago, but it's the thought that counts. Right? Here we go...

(In no particular order)

01.) Customized Cereal - $11.99 a bag
This one might sound a little odd, but it's an inexpensive and customized gift that any cereal lover will adore. You get to choose all of the ingredients, from the granola base to a candy or fruit topping. Element Bars is the name of the company (click Customized Cereal to redirect to their website) and they also offer customized protein bars.
02) Artisan Baking & Dessert Salts - $18.00
This set would be perfect for the foodie in your life! These dessert salts/seasons will bring new life to your baked goods. Each type of salt comes with a description of what it would pair well with. I ordered this gift set for my aunt. It is from a seller on Etsy called Purpose Design. It looks like it's out of stock at the moment, but I'm sure it will be replenished soon.

03) Hand-Stamped Jewelery - $30-80
There are several sellers on Etsy who offer hand stamped jewelry  guitar picks, money clips, etc. The image below is from a seller named 3LittlePixiesShoppe. This particular necklace is $68.00 and you can customize what is inscribed. Maybe put the recipient's anniversary date, children's names, or nickname.

04) DIY Chai Tea Kit - ?
Here is another one from Purpose Design on Etsy. This is also out of stock (ugh sorry) but this list is just to give you some ideas. I'm sure you could find something similar from another seller on Etsy or possibly online somewhere. It'd make a great gift for any tea lover!

05) Gourmet Popcorn Seasoning - $15.00
My dad LOVES popcorn, so this is one of the things I bought him. This particular set comes with six flavors: apple pie, classic kettle corn, southern BBQ, dill pickle, vanilla chai, and big Texas ancho chili. Once again, it's from Purpose Design on Etsy! If they are sold out, do a search on Etsy for "popcorn seasonings" and I'm sure you'll find plenty of other sellers.

In Your Face Beauty Works on Etsy offers several mineral makeup gift sets. The one I got for my aunt was only $12.00. All of Suzy's makeup is natural, vegan, and gluten free. It's also waayyy cheaper than Bare Escentuals and you get a lot of product.

07) Hand-Poured Scented Candle - $19.95
I own my own candle shoppe, but it is currently on hiatus. Since candles are great holiday gifts, I thought I'd make a reccomendation of another place to purchase from! Sugarville Candles on Etsy makes beautiful and DELICIOUS looking candles! I have never personally ordered from her so I can't vogue for how good they smell, but she has several great reviews. It'd be worth checking out!

Welp, that's all of the suggestions I have for now. I hope at least one of these ideas has helped to inspire you! Leave a comment below and let me know what gift you'd love to receive this year!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence is Fat!

Ya'll know what I mean when I refer to Google autofill/auto complete, right? I have no idea if that is the correct name for it but its the only thing popping up in my head right now. If you don't, it is the feature on Google that finishes your thoughts. It will create suggestions for searches you might have as you are typing. I'm pretty sure the suggestions are based off of popular searches, so it can give you a little insight into what the general public is Googling!
Last night, I Googled "Jennifer Lawrence" because I saw the trailer for her new movie, The Silver Linings Playbook. The trailer sucks because it doesn't give you any sort of idea what the movie is actually about, but it caught my attention because of her. I think she is absolutely gorgeous in a non-traditional way that only makes her even MORE beautiful! I was so pleasantly surprised that she was the leading lady in The Hunger Games. She has a round face, a curvy body, and isn't a size zero...very atypical these days in Hollywood! According to what I read online, she is 5'7" and 137 lbs. That is the same height as me, and two pounds lighter than what I weighed during my freshman year in college. It's not far off from my current goal weight, in fact.

I typed in "Jennifer Lawrence is" and the first suggestion was "Jennifer Lawrence is fat." The second is "Jennifer Lawrence is ugly." I can't tell you how angry that made me! What is wrong with popular culture these days that in order to "beautiful", you have to have a surgically rearranged face and starve yourself to "perfection"? Its frustrating because body issues, body dysmorphic disorder, and the unrealistic expectations of the entertainment industry have been discussed for years! So why are we still dealing with these issues when it's almost 2013?

Seventeen magazine made a pledge not to Photoshop their models....but come on! The models they are hiring don't need Photoshop anyways...they need Taco Bell! Dove has it's "Real Beauty" campaign, which is amazing...but how come it hasn't caught on? Why am I still being bombarded by tanorexic women in every outlet of the media? It frustrates me but it also motivates me! I've known I wanted to be in advertising since I was in the eighth grade. The whole reason I got interested in the industry was because I want to change standards and create a more broad definition of beauty. I've been feeling a lack of motivation in school lately and that Google suggestion just reminded me of why I'm going to school in the first place! Funny how something so small can put things into perspective.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Update / Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

I'm sorry, I'm sorry...I'm awful at consistently blogging! But lucky for life is fairly boring so it won't be hard to get you up to speed. On September twenty-seventh, "J" and I celebrated three years together! It's a weird, contradictory feeling....I feel like our first date was not that long ago, but at the same time it seems like I've been with him forever. In honor of the special day, we took a weekend trip to San Antonio! This is a really big deal for us because we've lived in Texas for well over a year and had never visited any city besides Houston.

Me & "J" - Picture from Oct 2010

San Antonio was aahhhhh-mazing! To be honest, we only took our "trip" there because of SeaWorld; Neither one of us thought we would fall in love with the city. We immediately noticed that it was a much different place than bustling Houston. Everyone is so much friendlier, it has a much nicer "vibe", and is actually really pretty. Unlike the bayou city, San Antonio actually has hills :o :o which makes for really pretty scenery! SeaWorld was a lot of fun (I got to feed and pet a dolphin), our hotel was awesome, and visiting the River Walk was really neat. As soon as we got home, we started looking at apartments and homes in SA. I think we are honestly going to move there as soon as I graduate.

Diet wise...I'll be honest, I haven't been making strides. The only thing I've been doing is taking Alli and trying to be slightly more conscious about what I'm eating. I've lost a couple of pounds, but it's been verrrryyy slow and nothing to be excited over. However, my doctor put me on prednisone last week and warned me that it can increase appetite and bloating. Perfect! Also, I don't think it'd be a good idea to take Alli with prednisone because it could decrease absorption. Lastly, my arthritis has been pretty bad recently and I don't see me being able to comfortably work out in the near future. For all of these reasons, I decided to get really serious about finding a weight loss plan that will work for me.

My sister told me about an intermittent fasting plan called the 5:2 diet. To put it simply, you choose two days out of the week that you will fast. On your "fasting days", you can eat up to 500 calories for women or 600 calories for men. On the other five days of the week, you can eat as your normally would. Weight loss from this diet plan is typically 1-3 lbs per week. It seemed like a really do-able plan for me because it is flexible and doesn't feel as "permanent" as a normal diet. What I mean by that is that you don't have to look at a cookie and think "Oh my God...I'll never be able to eat that on this diet". Instead, you can think "I can have that cookie tomorrow." Because of this, you're a lot less likely to cheat. I don't want what I just said to be misunderstood, so let me add this are not supposed to binge on your regular days. Just eat your normal amount!

I've done one fasting day and one regular day so far. I ended up going over my calories slightly because I didn't plan appropriately. I ended up at 530 calories for the day. Although I was really disappointed in myself for going over, I was still insanely proud of myself that I could eat so little and still be fine. I've struggled to get down to 1200 calories a day for such a long time, so 530 calories is like a landslide victory!!! My next fast day is tomorrow and it should be a lot more successful since I've planned out exactly what to eat. Let me know if you guys are interested in this, and I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flat Iron + Makeup = Friends

I've had a really hard time making friends as an adult. I've lived in Houston for over a year now and haven't made a single friend! As a woman, that's really depressing! I miss having a best friend who I can talk to about anything, go shopping with, try new restaurants with, etc. When Magic Mike came to theaters, I fully realized how badly I need/want a female friend. The only person I know here is my boyfriend! Although he is my best friend and loves me dearly, there is no way in hell he would pay $8.00 (or anything for that matter) to watch me and other women drool over Channing Tatum.

It got me thinking...why haven't I been able to meet friends here? It's not for a lack of trying. I've started convos with classmates only to receive a look as if they were thinking "why is this chick talking to me?" I joined a church group for college aged kids, and I just didn't "click" with anybody. Maybe I am too picky? I seriously try not to be. I'm willing to hang out with anybody who is nice and personable. I jut rarely run into anyone that is since I don't have a lot of outlets for meeting people; just my school (which is a commuter school), work (which is AT my school), or my church (which is huge).

I'm starting to think that my lack of friends is because of my image. I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, my hair is always up in a pony tail, and I wear the bare minimum amount of makeup. Maybe this is my negative self image speaking, but I think a lot of women would rather be friends with "pretty girls". It may sound stupid, but I really think it is true! My theory was sort of proven last weekend when I came to work with my hair and makeup done. As soon as I stepped in the office, everyone noticed and made a big deal about it. There's nothing really atypical about that considering they've probably only seen me with my hair done a handful of times. However, I started to notice that I was being treated differently by the women in the office as well.

Two of the girls in the office were at the front, separated from the rest of the workers. I would consider them to be the popular girls of the office. They are well liked and get a lot of attention from the guys who walk past the window. They are always nice to me, but on Saturday...they were especially nice. They asked me to come up to the front and sit with them. This is going to sound stupid, but that's sort of equivalent to being asked to sit with the Plastic's (Mean Girls) at lunch. Total exaggeration (lmao) and that sounds ridiculous, but I don't really know how to get my point across without making a juvenile association like that. I have to assume that it was because I looked pretty that day, but hey....correlation is not necessarily causation.

I am going to try to put more of an effort into my looks, but not to find friends. I honestly don't want to be friends with somebody who only wants to be around me because I dress nice and look pretty. I just want to look good for my boyfriend. Well, sort of for myself. When we first started dating, I was skinny, always did my hair, and felt gorgeous. Three years later, we live together and I always look frumpy. I want to feel "sexy" again and get stared at by men when we go out like I used to! My boyfriend thinks I am beautiful, which is validation enough, but getting hit on or stared at just makes you feel good about yourself sometimes. Ya know?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

I feel like I've been in a whirlwind since school started last week. I went from having tons of free time to hardly having enough time to get an adequate amount of sleep! I have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays (in addition to two online classes) and I work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. I didn't expect or want to work this much during the school year but this is our busiest time of year and I am very much so needed.

Hopefully the following weeks will be a little less crazy than this one was. I unknowingly signed up for an 8-week course and the first four chapters, discussion board response, a four page analysis and summary paper, and an exam were all due by Thursday afternoon. I didn't even receive my textbook in the mail until Wednesday when I got home from work! I tried to ask my professor for an extension, but she simply said I should've ordered my textbook sooner...which I would have had I known it was an 8-week course! But whatever, I worked my ass off and got everything done.

I got a bit of a break on Friday after work. My boyfriend and I went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner and had a cupcake for dessert at Sprinkles! (Calories, ugh) Afterwards, we unsuccessfully tried to find me some khaki's for my game day uniform. I tried again the next morning before work. I don't know why its so hard to find a damn pair of khaki's in the Fall! I had the same problem last year. I finally had to settle for a pair that fit horribly wrong at Old Navy. I ran home, showered, and got to work at noon. By the way, I look like a total douche in my game day uniform! We have to wear a red polo and khaki pants. It's embarassing. Nine hours later, I clocked out and made my way home.

Sunday was an overall good day. I was so exhausted from the week that I slept too late to make it to church on time. I ended up streaming the service on my computer (gotta love technology). Afterwards, J and I ran some errands and got lunch. Then we went to Sugar Land with our dog Jelly so she could try out a dog park with a lake! It was a very cute dog park called Pawm Springs Bark Park! Pictures are below.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Free Web-Resources for College Students

I'm sorry for the delay in posts, ya'll. My boyfriend and I decided to take a quick trip home before school starts up again. It was amazing but went by way too quickly! I got to spend time with my family, J's family, and even welcome baby Eli into the world! I am now an auntie three times over :)

I will continue the "What I Wish I Knew in High School" at a later date if there's any interest. For now, I thought I'd make another list of web-resources...but this time for college students!

01) Chegg - Buying textbooks is one of the most expensive parts of being a college student. You pay $150 or more for a book, then sell it back at the end of the semester for only $20. That is highway robbery! How about renting your books instead? I got all of my textbooks for this semester from Chegg and only spent $160. Once the semester is over, send the books back with a pre-paid UPS label. It's that easy and it'll save you big money!

02) Easybib - Creating bibliographies is a pain in the ass! There are different rules for each type of resource and its almost impossible to memorize them all. Easybib makes bibs...well, easy. All you do is enter in some basic information about your resource and Easybib will format everything for you! It will even create a bibliography page and list all of your resources in alphabetical order.

03) Skip Class Calculator - Skipping class can be tempting after the first month, but is it a smart decision? The Skip Class Calculator will ask you a few questions about the class you want to skip and will determine if you can get away with missing a day or not! This calculator has convinced me to go to class quite a few times haha. It really helps you think it through logically!

04) Rate My Professors - I keep two things in mind when I am planning my class schedule: the time of the class and the teacher! Screening your teachers can truly make the difference between getting an A and getting an F, and that's what Rate My Professors is here for. You can read "reviews" of professors at your school to decide whether or not you would be successful in their class. Reviewers will often mention the class format, humor of the teacher, extra credit opportunities, and even if the teacher is a hot piece of ass!

I hope you enjoyed this list! Am I missing any websites that are awesome for college students?

Friday, August 17, 2012

What I Wish I Knew in High School (Part 1)

Have you ever heard the expression "another year older, another year wiser"? In high school, I thought this was just a cliche that old people used to make themselves feel superior. Just three years after graduating, I realize that although it may be cliche, it is the truth. I've had so many "aha!" moments and realized a lot of things I wish I had known when I was in high school. Since those four years were awful for me, I figured it was important to share what I've learned with any high schoolers who might read this. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and be inspired by my regrets or lack thereof.

01.) Popularity isn't everything. In fact, it's nothing. I was one of those girls who floated around in the middle of the spectrum. I wasn't a nerd. I wasn't popular. Therefore, I was kind of invisible to everyone except for my small group of friends. I hated that! I always hoped and prayed that one day the popular kids would invite me to one of their parties. I just wanted an opportunity to show them how fun I was and that I wasn't the same shy girl I was in middle school. That never happened, but I'm glad. Turns out that the popular kids were the ones who weren't fun to be around! They had to pop pills and get drunk just to have a good time. I would have missed out on so many amazing moments with my friends. Junk food filled sleepovers, prank calls, acting stupid, and laughing until our stomachs started to hurt. I'm glad I didn't grow up too fast!

02.) Just because you don't get asked on dates doesn't mean you're undesirable. In high school, I wouldn't have been able to pay a guy at my school to take me on a date!  Dances came and went, and I always had hope that this would be the time I was never was. I wanted a date to homecoming so badly that I finally decided to ask someone myself. He was my crush for two years: not that attractive or popular but he made me laugh and I really liked talking to him.  My crush, Nick, said "yes" and that had to have been the happiest day of my teenage life! I made sure I had the perfect dress, an adorable up do, and flawless makeup. We were supposed to meet at the dance and I nervously waited around the entrance for him to arrive. An hour later, I was still waiting and my heart began to sink. All of my friends reassured me and said "I'm sure he's just running late", but I knew at that point that Nick wasn't coming at all. I had never felt more undesirable, unwanted, and unattractive! Even an unpopular chubby kid didn't want to be my date! I slowly started to accept the fact that I wasn't going to have a high school sweetheart, a date to my senior prom, or probably ever be asked out on a date.

A month after graduation, I moved two hours away from my small home town to live on campus at my college. Immediately after moving in, I started to recieve male attention left and right (and not just from short stubby losers...normal, attractive guys!) I thought I had moved to some ass backwards town where ugly was beautiful, and beautiful was ugly but that wasn't the case at all! In fact, shortly after graduation, multiple guys from my high school sent me a message on Facebook and said "You are so gorgeous! What happened?" But nothing had happened! Their eyes had just finally opened. It took me a while to realize that there was never anything wrong with me, it was what was wrong with them. They were so busy chasing after what was considered beautiful at my high school (a preppy blonde haired, blue eyed Abercrombie wearing clone) that they didn't notice how great I was!  In the end, I'm glad it worked out how it did. A few months into college, I met the love of my life and we've been together for almost three years now.

To be continued.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Boyfriend is making me Fat!

My boyfriend, J, is a fat ass! Not literally...he's actually quite slender. Figuratively. He will eat or drink almost anything in his sight; day old soda that is flat, the leftover broth from my chicken noodle soup, an entire pack of fruit snacks a day, etc. His obsessive eating didn't really bother me until he started eating up all of my food. When we shop for groceries we buy mutual foods (things for meals), he'll pick out lots of snacks, and I'll pick out one snack. That snack, my snack, is sacred. I'll eat a few of my cookies the first day, and come back the second day to an empty container! Or even worse, find one cookie left....half eaten.

You shouldn't mess with a woman on a diet's snacks! You need to indulge every now and then when you're dieting. If you don't, you might give up and binge eat like you'll never see pizza again! Unfortunately, binging has been the result of my boyfriend's food stealing. I'll buy a snack on my day off when he is at work and compulsively eat it before he gets home. All of it. If I leave anything, he'll just finish it off and I'd never get to enjoy it again! Oh God, I sound so fat right now.

So yes, my boyfriend is making me fat haha. Not only that, he is also trying to kill me. I bought women's low calorie protein bars to use as a meal replacement for breakfast. I went to grab one and noticed there was already one on the counter, half eaten, still in the wrapper. Knowing that if he didn't finish it he probably didn't like it, I grabbed it and decided to finish it myself. As I'm eating it, I feel an ant crawl on my wrist. I flick it off. Then I feel another. And another. I take the wrapper off the protein bar and notice ants crawling all over the protein bar. I almost puked lol.

So moral of the story is....don't let your boyfriend eat your sacred snack foods. Or you will get fat and die from ant poisoning. Don't get fat and die from ant poisoning.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Top 5 Web-Resources for Small Business Owners

When I decided to start my own business last December, I had no idea where to begin! I didn't have a lot of money to invest and I didn't know any entrepreneurs to ask for advice. Despite my fears and reservations, I decided to jump in with both feet! I have since found a lot of resources that I'd like to share with other small business owners or anyone considering entrepreneurship.

01) Fiverr - Fiverr is a marketplace with products and services for just five bucks. A lot of the "gigs" are just for fun or humorous, but there are actually a lot of great business resources as well. You can get a logo made, purchase a video testimonial for your product, or get a SEO analysis of your website....all for $5!

02) Kick Starter - Kick Starter is a fabulous way to find funding for your new business! All you have to do is create a "project", explain your idea, set a funding goal, and create a deadline. You attract backers by offering incentives for pledging money towards your project. To protect both you and the backers, you will only receive the funding if your goal was reached by the deadline.

03) Square Up - Your business can be just as mobile as you are! Square Up is an app for your smart phone that helps you accept credit cards virtually anywhere! Once you sign up, they send you a free credit card scanner that plugs right in to your phone's headphone jack.  Once a payment is processed, Square takes 2.75% as a processing charge, and deposits the rest in your bank account. It couldn't get any simpler!

04) Vista Print - Business cards are an essential for any business owner! If you don't know how to design your own business cards and/or want to save money, Vista Print is the place to go! They have hundreds of business card templates you can customize to get a professional look. They offer 250 business cards for just $10, and that includes free shipping. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you can get even better deals if you watch for them.

05) - When I first started my business, I didn't want to pay for a domain name and hosting right away but I DID want to make sure I had an online presence. It was hard enough to find free hosting, let alone free hosting that offered a shopping cart option for my customers. I finally found what I was looking for from! You can set up a shopping cart on your free website through Paypal or Google Checkout. Also, making your site look professional is very simple thanks to their templates and drag and drop editing.

I hope this list helped! Feel free to add on to the list by leaving a comment below.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Subway Conspiracy Theory

Being on a diet sucks! "I'm really craving a salad," said nobody ever. Why can't salad and fish be the fattening foods and Ben & Jerry's, cheese fries, and cupcakes the healthy alternatives?  That is one diet I could definitely stick to! Actually...that's the diet I have been sticking to *blushes*. I'm working to change that, though. Eating those foods is the reason I went from 140 pounds to 172. Although I wouldn't consider myself "fat", I am not at a happy place with my body. Clothes don't fit me the way I'd like them to and I'm embarrassed to let my boyfriend touch or see my stomach. And that has got to change!

When I used to make plans to eat healthy, all I could think of are chicken breasts, cheerios, Jimmy John's, and chicken noodle soup. ((Oh and...I just figured out that Jimmy John's is really not a diet food. My sandwich there is over 600 calories alone! Jared must have been hired by the sandwich industry to deceive us all into thinking sammiches=weight loss. Very sneaky, Subway. Very sneaky.)) Anyways, after three days, my limited options of "diet foods" get boring so I go back to the unhealthy foods. There is only so much un-fried chicken a girl can take!

I finally realized that I need to go about dieting in my own way. I've decided to make small, slow changes to my diet so I don't just binge and I give up. My goal this week was to have a Smoothie King smoothie every weekday for lunch and only have one soda the entire week. I was able to successfully do this and I really didn't feel challenged by it at all until the weekend. That might not seem like much of a diet to some of you, but its a definite improvement for me. I was having 1-2 sodas a day and I usually ate Taco Bell or McDonalds for lunch. But hey, I'm a work in progress! Wish me luck!