Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lent 2016

With the Lenten season starting tomorrow, I wanted to share what I'm giving up this year.

I'm doing my traditional thing and giving up pop. I've really fallen off the wagon with this one lately and have been drinking far too much pop. I hope avoiding it for the next  6 weeks will help me get back to only drinking it occasionally.

I usually give up chocolate as well, but this year I decided to really challenge myself.  This year, I'm giving up all sweets. That's right, no cookies, no cake, no ice cream, no candy. I hoping this will help me eliminate a lot of needless sugar from my diet. I anticipate I'll be eating a lot of fruit to fill my sweet cravings.

M and I are also giving up eating out this year. We do make exceptions for if someone else wants to buy us a meal or if we use a gift card. Basically, we're trying to eliminate spending money on meals when we can eat at home.

Here's hoping that our Lenten sacrifices can help us develop new habits. 


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Answer Me This - The Last One


1. What's your favorite grocery store splurge? 

I'm not one to splurge at the grocery store. In fact, I only buy things that are on sale unless it's something we need right then because I somehow failed to stock up when it was on sale.

However, a few weeks ago, I picked up some Trader Joe's Cookie Butter, which was decidedly not on sale. It is so delicious, it was worth having to drive 2 hours for it.

2. How's your penmanship? 

I teach primary grades, so my printing, when I try, is darn near perfect. My everyday writing tends to be a mix of printing and some cursive and I've been told it's nice. My actual cursive is okay. It's legible, but my 3rd grade teacher would be disappointed in some of my letter formations.

My everyday writing

 3. Do you have a "Summer Bucket List?" 

 Our anniversary is in the summer, so we always try to celebrate with a trip, usually just a day trip to an area zoo. This year, we're heading to the Indianapolis Zoo.

I also usually go to our county fair at lease once, but this year I decided that it just wasn't worth driving out there and dealing with crowds just for some ice cream, however delicious it may be. Besides, we've got a busy week planned since the husband is on vacation and my summer day camp job is over.

4. What's the best thing on the radio right now? 

 Oh gosh, my summer commute is less than 5 minutes, so I don't listen to the radio much. I can however, sing all of the "Watch me whip" song thanks to our camp talent show act.

I fully admit that Taylor Swift has sucked me back in with her pop stuff and I do like Bad Blood.

Of course, I also like anything Kelly Clarkson puts out and I've been enjoying Maroon 5's stuff again.

5. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Ice cream! Especially the soft serve from the county fair.

We actually have several frozen yogurt places around here where you do your own toppings and then pay by the weight. I haven't been to any of them yet, so I'm not opposed to frozen yogurt.  I actually just prefer to go to the frozen custard place instead.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Answer Me This

1. At what temperature do you keep the thermostat set? Summer, winter, day, night? 

We just replaced the air conditioner a couple weeks ago and got a new programmable thermostat. So, during the summer, while we're out and at night, it's set at 78 and when we're home during the day/evening it's set to 75. Our bedroom never seems to cool down at night, so we also have a window unit in there that we use when we get too warm.

In winter, my husband is a heat miser, so I think we usually set it to 68 or so.

2. What is your favorite frozen beverage? 

Alcoholic - lime margaritas with salt on the rim
Nonalcoholic - Frozen Coke

3. Where do you keep your keys?

 This is an ongoing issue in our house. I'm actively trying to find a solution - preferably some sort of storage unit for our back door entry area.

I currently try to keep my keys in my purse, but I have a habit of setting them down and forgetting where they are.

4. Have you ever really been lost? 

I have a fear of getting lost, so I try not to go anywhere I'm not familiar with. Of course, now that I have a smartphone, there's less chance of being lost.

5. What is the last movie you saw in the theaters?

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies for my annual birthday movie. Looks like I'll probably pick the new Star Wars movie for my next birthday.

We don't get to the theater very often. We will definitely being going to see Spectre when it comes out later this year.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Answer Me This - 4th of July Edition

1. How did you celebrate the 4th of July? (Or, for you international types . . . Do anything fun this weekend?) 

On the actual 4th of July, we didn't do much. We stayed home and were anti-social. I made ribs in the crock pot and we watched the neighbors' fireworks through the window while trying to convince the cat that the world wasn't ending. 

Today, we are having  my in-laws over for a cookout.

2. Do you sunburn easily? 

Yes, but only above the waist. It takes forever for my legs to even get tan. Although, I did once burn my legs while sitting on the Florida beach and then the next day I had to wear pantyhose for job interviews. That was torture! 

3. Hot dogs. Yay or nay?

 Yay, but I would prefer a cheeseburger.

4. Have you ever personally set off fireworks?

 I am terrified of amateur fireworks, so I've only done sparklers.

5. Have you ever jumped off the high dive? 

No. I always have to work up the courage to even jump off a regular diving board, so there was no way I was going near the high dive. It was one of the bouncy ones, so it was extra scary.

6. Do you do anything weird in your sleep?

Oh boy, I do all kinds of things in my sleep. I apparently have conversations with my husband before he goes to work, but I never remember even waking up. He swears I was awake, but I'm not! I've gotten up and used the bathroom in my sleep. And several times, I've woken up wearing things that were hanging in my closet when I went to sleep. Apparently I got cold!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Answer Me This - Home Sweet Home Edition

How long have you lived in your current home?

5 years

When we bought it 5 years ago, I was sure that by now we would be looking for a new house, but I think we're hear to stay for probably another 5 years.

How do you find out about news and current events?

The Internet and social media. I see a lot of news updates through Facebook and Twitter. I do read the local newspaper on their website daily as well.

Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?

For a twenty - no. For a dollar - maybe? I rarely carry cash unless I'm going to the flea market or garage sales.

What's the craziest food you've ever eaten?

I'm a picky eater, so I've never eaten anything too adventurous.

Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.)

Only my wisdom teeth. I had the bottom ones cut out when I was 15 to prepare for braces. I had the top ones pulled out a couple years ago.

What's your favorite sport to watch on TV?

I like watching the Olympics. I'll watch whatever is airing on TV during the Olympics. 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Answer Me This is Back!

Yay! Kendra at Catholic All Year is doing Answer Me This again this summer. Looks like I'll actually be blogging once a week this summer. I've been terrible about updating, I know! I owe you all an update about the end of the school year in kindergarten and starting my summer camp job.

Let's look at this week's questions!

1. Any big plans for the summer?

I'm working summer camp for the 3rd year in a row, so I'm busy for the next 6 weeks. We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on Friday and we usually do a day trip to celebrate, but since camp started early this year, we're putting it off until the end of July. We're planning on going down to Indy to visit the zoo. They have koalas for the summer!

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I really don't remember believing anything strange. I had an active imagination, but I was also very practical as a kid, I guess.

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

I'm a ride wuss. I can't ride anything that goes upside down, too fast, or too high. But I can ride every thing at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. My favorite ride is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

4. What's on your summer reading list?

Anything I can get my hands on! Now that school is out, my schedule is lighter and I will have more time to read. I've got a lot books on request at the library and I'll read whatever pops up. I already read the Fug Girls' The Royal We and really enjoyed it.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

The only time I've fallen asleep in public is when I slept on the high speed train in France. I had to sleep because when I was awake, I felt extremely nauseous!

6. What is your favorite smell?

 I like floral scents. Lilac, because my grandparents had a giant bush in their yard and it always smelled so good when it bloomed. And peony because they are my favorite flowers and my wedding bouquet smelled so heavenly. I couldn't stop smelling it all day. Now the smell of peonies makes me think of our wedding day.

 photo _MG_0501.jpg
Photo by Amanda Fales Photography

I'm not sure yet if I'll do next week's questions - they're about fathers, and that's a bit of a touchy subject around here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Experience at the 2015 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale

Yesterday was my day to shop at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. I had so much fun, but now I'm sad that I have to wait a year for the next one!

I wanted to share with you a few notes about my experience and some pictures I took along the way. I shopped with my best friend Tricia and our moms. We are all veteran VBOS shoppers.

We arrived at the Coliseum about an hour before our 11:00 session. I'm still not sure what line we were in, to be honest. We were upstairs, so I assumed we were somewhere in line 2, but we got into the sale relatively quickly and it wasn't very crowded at all yet.

There was apparently some delay in getting people into the sale which resulted in Vera Bradley adding an extra 45 minutes to our session. They never announced this while I was on the sale floor, but I saw it on Twitter while I was shopping. They may have announced it towards the end of our scheduled time, but by then I was in the checkout area.

As I said, we got into the sale relatively quickly.  The line started moving right after 11:00 and we didn't stand still for long. I'd say we were in within 15 minutes of the sale starting. I was too excited to start shopping to look at my watch!

This year, I had grand plans to try to stay with mom while we shopped. So when we entered the sale, she and I headed for the Little Hipsters because she wanted one of those. I had also been thinking about getting one, but they didn't have any in Ribbons, so I decided not to get one.

There was one Little Hipster in Go Wild on the pile and I very stupidly did not grab it. Of course, later when I went back, it was gone. Always grab something you're interested in, even if you don't think you will buy it!

After picking out a Little Hipster for my mom, I headed for the Glennas and Emily Satchels which were in the same section. At this point, my mom wandered off, but no big deal, we had a meeting point set up.

I did find a Glenna and an Emily Satchel in Ribbons, so they both went into my bag to consider later. I then got distracted by various items in that area, like the baby stuff. I had to force myself to focus on what I was there for first and then I could browse. But there was so much stuff and so many great deals!

I found the Veras and got one for my mother-in-law and then looked for the Tumblers, which were gone, and the hair accessories. After I had the things I had come for, I wandered around looking at various other things and documenting prices for the price chart.

I also decided to go back and pick up a Little Hipster to consider. As I said, there weren't any in Ribbons or Flutterby and the Go Wild one was gone, so I ended up grabbing one in Flower Shower, which was the same pattern my mom picked out.

Eventually, we all met up at our meeting spot and started sorting our things and adding up our totals. I compared the Glenna and the Emily Satchel and ended up going with the Glenna again. While the Emily seems to have lots of room and I like that it's divided, ultimately I didn't like the shoulder strap. It felt shorter than the Glenna. Vera Bradley says it's a 1/2 inch difference, but apparently that makes all the difference to me!

We headed to the checkout probably somewhere after 1:00 and while the line was long, it moved quickly. We didn't really stand in one spot for long. I was attempting to update the price chart while in line, so that was an adventure!

Things I Liked This Year
  • Bonus Buys! I admit, I was a little skeptical this would be a good thing, but I liked it. Our session had quite a few Bonus Buys and one of them was the Vera, which I was getting for my mother-in-law. The Bonus Buys were marked with balloons and they frequently announced what they were throughout the sale.
  • Markdowns! Markdowns had already started on Thursday, and I was happy to see the silver balloons marking them. Sadly, it wasn't anything I wanted in my session, but I'm always happy to see markdowns.
  •  Things were actually where the map said they were. Last year, this was a problem, but this year was good. Although if something was sold out, there was usually another product in that spot, so that was a little confusing. 
  • Friendly workers! Once again, everybody I interacted with was super friendly.
  • Jewelry! This year the jewelry, readers, and sunglasses were located in a special area on the sales floor with plenty of workers to help. This is so much better than having them after the checkouts or located elsewhere. I was so happy to get the necklace I've been wanting since last year. 
  • Coupon! Vera Bradley printed a coupon for $30 off a $100 purchase at the Outlet Sale in a local newspaper. Thanks to Tricia's mom and dad we were able to get our hands on 4 copies. After doing my calculations, I was able to keep the Little Hipster I was considering because I basically got it for free thanks to the coupon. I LOVED that coupon! My mom didn't spend enough to use hers, so we gave it to the lady in the check out line behind us.
Things I Didn't Like This Year
  • Strollers! Look, it's crowded, it's chaotic, and it's hard to move around. The strollers do not make things any easier and I cannot imagine it's easy to maneuver with one. I'm just worried somebody is going to get hurt. I did see several ladies wearing their small children, which is great.
  • Sold out items. I know it's hard for Vera Bradley to predict what is going to sell out quickly, but it's really annoying to get excited about something on the map only to find out it's gone already. For example, pet items were on the map, but they were nowhere to be found during our session. I found where they were supposed to be, but there were only beach towels there. They need to put up a sign saying that the item is sold out. I know the map is trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that, but they couldn't have had much pet stuff if it was already gone, so maybe it didn't need to be on the map? I don't know. Better communication about sold out items is needed though.
  • No prices on the shopping guide again. Finding the right sign for products was sometimes tricky with the crowds and I always have a hard time remembering things. The price scanners were helpful, but with no prices on the guide, it meant that everybody wanted to use the scanners. You had to fight the crowd to get a chance to scan your item. I like being able to provide the price chart though and hopefully it was helpful to a lot of people this year.
Here's what I bought...

Glenna in Ribbons
Little Hipster in Flower Shower
Colorful Hair Clips in Ribbons and Flower Shower
Cleaning Cloth in Indigo Pop
Carpe Diem Necklace in Petal Paisley
Not pictured - Vera in Indigo Pop for my mother-in-law and another item I'm saving for mother's day.

What did I put back? I put back the Emily Satchel I had been considering as well as a Loop Keychain because $6 was more than I really wanted to pay for a keychain I really didn't need.

How did my wish list do? I did get the Glenna, Colorful Hair Clips, and necklace that I wanted. The Tumblers and Umbrellas were already sold out by my session. There were no large flip flops left either. I did see the Ruffle Cosmetics I like, but they didn't have any in red.

After shopping, we headed over to Jefferson Pointe to shop and check out the Vera Bradley store. Of course, I spotted items I'll be adding to my wish list for next year's sale.

We also discovered that Fort Wayne now has a Tim Horton's, so we checked it out and got doughnuts. They were delicious and we'll be adding a stop at Tim Horton's to our annual girls' day traditions.

Yum! Double Chocolate!
We had a great day of shopping and I can't wait for next year's sale!

Tricia and me
Have any questions about the Outlet Sale or Vera Bradley? Feel free to ask them in the comments or over on the Argyle Love Facebook page.

What did you get at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale?