Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's that time again...New Year's Resolutions

It's just about that time again...the time to make a list of all the things I want to change/start/finish/do in the new year.

I took a look back at the past two years.

In 2010, my only resolution was to visit the gym 100 times before buying any new clothes. The hope was that I would be saving money and losing weight, so that at the end of 100 gym visits, I would need new, smaller clothes. I definitely visited the gym more than 100 times in 2010. I also lost weight and needed smaller clothes. I suppose my resolution was a success.

This year, my resolution list was slightly longer. It included: paying off my credit cards, complete a 5k, build up savings account, continue weight loss though exercise and healthy food choices, read a book for fun, and increase young alumna participation in the Austin Kappa Alumnae Association. I did a check in August to see my progress, but let's see how I did overall:

Well... I paid off my credit cards and my car. Boom.

I also completed two 5k runs...the Diva Dash (which I am already signed up for in 2012) and the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.

My savings account DID have money in it... until Miss Bayla got very sick and my car required some work and new tires. But, the positive here is that I was able to use the savings I had built to tackle problems as they arose. I didn't have to worry about charging up credit cards or scraping by to pay for repairs. I had the money.

I did 'ok' with my goal of weight loss through exercise and eating right. I wouldn't say I'm happy with my current weight, but the Fall school semester was very trying, and unfortunately my time at the gym was cut short; however, I've been working with a personal trainer for several weeks now and she says my strength is increasing. I look forward to getting back to "me" in the coming year.

I read one book, other than school books. It's called, "The Five Love Languages." I highly recommend it to all my couple and married friends. It will change how you view your relationship with your significant other. And, if it's not too late, it might save it, too.

And as for Kappa, I have done my best. As Chair of Night Owls, I have hosted an even each month and have seen a variance in participation. Some months are better than others. The point though is that at Founders Day this year, I knew everyone (except one) at my table. I'd say that's a mission: accomplished.

So, on to 2012. I'm looking forward to 2012. I feel like it might be a benchmark year for me. Or, at least I hope it is.

I haven't decided on all my resolutions/goals yet. I'll start with these:

1. Move out of my parents' house. (Again.)
2. Complete Graduate School.
3. Travel to a new city, i.e. Chicago, Nashville, Baltimore, etc.
4. Make at least one recipe each month from the magazines I get in the mail or buy at the store.
5. Still thinking...

Friday, December 9, 2011

When it rains, it pours...

They say, “When it rains, it pours.”

I’m dealing with a few ‘challenges’ in life right now…yesterday I got an added bonus.

Yesterday, on my way to work, I noticed my car was shaking violently. The check engine light has been on and off over the past few weeks. I decided to turn around and head back towards a repair shop I normally go to. Well, I didn’t get far before my car was un-drivable. I pulled over, got out…and realized I was practically driving on my rim. My tire had blown out.

I called my mom, who said she’d swing by the repair shop and pick up someone to help us. As I hung up the phone, a gentleman pulled over and offered to help. I politely declined, telling him that help was on the way. He said, “Are you sure? I can do it no time…I have all the tools.” After I asked if he was certain, he backed up, hoped out, and got to work on my tire.

I called my mom to tell her not to come and that I would call her when I got back on the road.

He finished in less than five minutes. I thanked him and asked for his business card. He handed it to me and it reads, “Mobile Car Repair.” This was his job, but he didn’t ask for payment. He was doing his good deed for the day.

I called my mom to let her know I was on my way to the tire store. This is her side of the story:

Around 9:00 this morning Lauren called and was saying that her car was sounding really weird and it would hardly get up EMI Hill. I told her to turn around and slowly make her way back to Dennis’ Auto Repair. I told her I would come meet her there. She called me right back and said the noise she was hearing was that she was driving on her axle and that her tire was completely shred. I told her to pull over and I would be right there. By this time she had almost made it back to 1431 and Nameless Rd. So I got in my car and was trying to think who I could call to come help us change the tire. I am still sitting in my drive way at my office; my first call was to Dennis’ Auto Repair. I was going to see if Ronnie Kelso could come help us, but was told that he no longer worked there. So my next call was to Brother David. He said he had one of his mechanics on his way back from town and he would call him and see where he was. In the meantime, Lauren called me back and said, “Mom, never mind. I have someone who has stopped to help me.” So, I came back in to my office and continued to work, which was really out of character for me, because any other time I would have continued to go and check on her, but I didn’t.

I was sitting at my desk and all of the sudden I had this overwhelming feeling that I was not alone in my office and I heard a voice, my Mom’s voice, say to me, “She is going to be fine, I sent someone to help Lauren.” It was the most unbelievable feeling in the whole world and totally indescribable. I just started crying and I said, “Thank you, mommy.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain this to anyone, so I kept it to myself for a short time. Maybe 10 minutes passed and Lauren calls and she says it’s all done. She said out of nowhere a gentlemen drove up, a mobile auto repair guy. She didn’t even see which direction he came from, she just knew that someone appeared to help her change her tire. When she told me she didn’t even know where he came from, I knew right then and there--I knew exactly where he came from. Thank you Nanny, you are still watching out for your baby girl, Lauren.

As you can probably imagine, tears were streaming down my face as my mom told me the story. My whole life, Nanny told me that I would “never be able to get rid of her” because she planned to “haunt” me in the afterlife. It was more a joke than anything, but I knew that when she said she'd always be my guardian angel that she meant it.

My mom is right. I have no idea where the man came from…I don’t even know where he went. But I know that he was sent to me from my Nanny.

So, there you have it. During my rain storm, Nanny was my silver lining—my Guardian Angel.

Thanks, Nanny. We miss you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gobble, Gobble!

This year we spent Thanksgiving in Molino, FL with my aunt, uncle, and cousin.

My 'job' was the tables/decor.

 The glitter ornaments seen here were made using this tutorial.

I threw together this little wreath...

...but somehow it didn't make it home. (My aunt really liked it!)

A few from the beach...

 It was windy (duh!) and cold! I'm wearing shorts and my jacket!

 This little girl was a trooper! She did SO well on our 13+ hour car ride (each way), was an angel in Florida, and crashed when we got home.

Halloween Decor: Part Boo

I really invested in Halloween decor this year...

Table Runner, Kohl's
Candy Tea Light Candle Holders, Hobby Lobby 
Halloween Shadow Box, made just for me by a special lady!

"Boo" Tea light Holder, Hobby Lobby
Orange Candle Holders, Pier 1

 "Happy Halloween," Target

Thanks to those that made it to our Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party!

Also, in my spare time (ha!) I made this for my friend's birthday gift. I loved it so much, I plan to make myself one, too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Decoration: Apothecaries

I'll have to post more pictures later of Blake's place. I went all out for Halloween this year. Last night I put together these little gems. I have seen lots of holiday posts with apothecaries, and I've looked all over to get some of my own. I got this set of three from Sear's on sale for only $19.99! I couldn't believe it. I am so excited to use them again and again.

We're hosting a Pumpkin Carving Party tonight... look for more pictures soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kate Spade's Words of {Sparkly} Wisdom

I have a slight obsession with Kate Spade, that's no secret...
She is a Kappa sister and a fabulous designer.
I frequent her website, and her blog...
And the mention of a Flash Sale makes me giddy.

I came home last night to a package on my bed and it put a huge smile on my face. It was the latest of my KS online purchases. Inside was an adorable polka dotted travel bag and a to-die-for necklace that I ordered last week. One of my favorite parts of receiving new things from KS is that tucked inside each piece is a KS tag with a tiny saying. I never throw them away, because they are so cute and {heaven forbid} if I ever decided to sell them, it validates their authenticity. The tag in the purse I bought about two weeks ago said, "occasionally she dreams of italy. she dreams of cheese shops, persnickety fiats, and very fine leather goods." Sigh.

I found these online and I plan to use them someday in decorating my {future} home.

How could you not love KS?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Homecoming Mums

Some of my favorite memories of High School center around Friday night. Texas High School Football. Cheering on the sidelines. Some days I wish I was 15 again, starting my Freshman year with high hopes and big dreams.

LVHS Varsity Cheer, 2004

Those were the days...Thankfully, I have my sister to live through.

Here are the mums I made for her and two of her friends.

For Siri

For Lana 

For Fran 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photobooth Fun

This past Saturday we attended the wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Jeremy and Tiana Smith! It was tons of fun celebrating such a wonderful occasion with lots of our friends.

As if food, drinks, and dancing weren't entertaining enough, they had a photo booth! Have you ever been to an event where one was present? Was it not the 'funnest' thing ever?!

This first one is by far my favorite.

Gang's all here . . . 

Wait. Zoom in. Please check me out. Pretty sure I'm saying, "hey, don't knock my tiara off!" What's new?


This was my least favorite. Cute? Yes. Fun with props? NO.  
And, check out Blake's awesome "deer in the headlights" pose .

The Future Mrs . Casey and I.

Take two. Check out that first shot-- Mr. Casey is a l-u-c-k-y man ; ) 

Thanks to Magnolia Photo Booth Co. for the laughs!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Martha Geek-out

I'm about to geek out . . . prepare yourself .

I this post by Little Birdie Secrets yesterday that showed a craft projects using . . . wait for it . . .
The new line of MARTHA STEWART craft products by Plaid.

The paints come in 160 amazing colors and GET THIS: they work on indoor or outdoor projects and on ALL crafting surfaces.  Hold . The . Phone .

It gets better. The clouds opened up and the angels sang . . . Martha also came up with a genius way to turn EVERY paint in to SPRAY PAINT .

There are tons of pretty stencils & useful tools , too !

And , Plaid is offering a discount right now !

I know, I know . . . total nerd.

The One That Got Away

So, the other day I composed a post, then decided not to post it. I didn't want to 'jinx' it...Well, here it is:

Dare I post it? Dare I jinx it?!

I put a bid on a home. Whoa, whoa, whoa... you did WHAT?!

I wasn't {really} looking. It found me... and I fell in love. They say, "when you know, you know."

It's a DR Horton Garden Home. The Chadwick plan, to be exact...

1,496 square feet of Barbie's Lauren's Dream House perfection. It needs some work. {Hooray for DIY!}

I put the offer in on Friday evening, and I'm still waiting to hear. On pins and needles...mentally pacing.

It is with a heavy heart that I report... I did not get the house. I was heartbroken. I had seen it inside and out, several times, and I was already creating to-do and DIY lists. I was nervous but excited. It just wasn't in God's plan for me to have a house yet. It was in His plan, however, to show me that I can get a house. That I have good credit (thanks to my New Year's goals) and that I can get approved on my own. I'm a big girl, now!

So, the search will continue until I find another dream home.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Resolution Check-up

It's August, almost September... it's time to look back at what I planned to accomplish this year and see how far I've come. I'm not great at keeping resolutions. I mean, who is, right? But this was my list from my New Years post: "Pay off my credit card debt. ALL of it. One. Card. At. A. Time." Well, I am happy to report that I have paid off SIX of them. **Update: As of 8/26/11... I have paid off all but ONE credit card. That's right, you heard me...ONE!

And, I paid off the car I bought in 2006... early. You may be asking yourself, "self, why does Lauren even have 6 credit cards?" Well, I don't... I have TEN. Listen, putting myself through college AND having a social life was expensive, ok? Don't hate. Just learn from my mistakes. There were a few other goals I set for myself:

1. Complete another 5K. CHECK. I did the Diva Dash 5K.

2. Build up my savings account. CHECK. Even with paying off my debt I've been able to put money aside...thanks to my parents for letting me move back in...again.
3. Continue my weight loss plan by eating healthy, working out, and drinking more water. Eh, this one has been more difficult. School and work have kept me busier than I would like. I have cut out Dr.Pepper, except the one or two a weekend I allow myself to have. I drink water like a fish. I workout when I can...I'm trying.

4. Read a book or two...for fun. Nope. Not quite. Just reading for school keeps me tied up. I hope to read on my upcoming beach vacation. Perhaps, The Help? I hear it's good.  
5. Increase young alumni participation in the Austin Kappa Alumnae Association. CHECK-ish. Well, I'm on the Alumnae Board now. I'm in charge of the Night Owls, so I'd like to say I'm getting closer to this goal.

I think I have done pretty well so far. I guess I CAN finish resolutions. How have you done?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Team Bride" Tank Tops

This past Wed-Sat, I was in Sin City celebrating a Bachelor/Bachelorette party with The Future Caseys. We had a great time, but by day #4, everyone was ready to be home.

Before we went, I had the great idea of making matching shirts for the girls. I did some googling and came up with the idea to make "Team Bride" tanks.

Originally, I purchased some glitter iron-on transfer paper. It used my Cricut to cut out the letters and I was in love...

...until I went to peel the plastic off the front of the letters and the glitter came with it. I was furious.

So, Plan "B" was to iron no-sew backing on to fabric, then use the Cricut to cut out the letters. My first attempt was a huge FAIL. My mat wasn't sticky enough, my Cricut settings were off a little, and the letters would not cut out properly. I was just about to give up, but then I googled "cutting fabric with a Cricut" one more time.

I found a few great tips, recommended settings, and I was again renewed. On to Plan "C."

After a few trips to the fabric store, a new blade and sticky mat, and some hand-sewn flowers...


And, of course, the Bride-to-Be needed a personalized sash!

Congratulations to The Future Mr & Mrs. Casey! Can't wait to be a part of your special day.