Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Closing the Door to 2013

Not gunna lie, I'm glad to put 2013 behind me. It was, hands down, the roughest year I've ever had.

Saying goodbye to my sweet girl Lexie and my grandma a little over a month apart put me in a very dark place. This month also brought the heartache of losing my other grandmother.

I, of course, have had the excitement of getting engaged but, in truth, it has been a bit bittersweet not being able to share it with some very important people.

So, to make it short and sweet, as I close the door to 2013, I'll be looking forward to 2014 with excitement and hope for a better year, after all, this is the year I'll become a Mrs!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

National Adoption Day!!

Happy National Adoption Day!

As promised, today is the day that I'm going to share a bit about my adoption. I don't think there is one cookie cutter style of adoption but I definitely think that mine is even more-so different than most. It tends to get a little confusing, so try to keep up ;)

As the story goes, I was born to a mother who had given her first child, a sister I'm told, over to be adopted when she was born. I'm not sure if when she found out she was pregnant with me she had thought she had changed or felt more capable to be a mother but, she decided to keep me and... sadly, after about a year and a half, I was unfortunately seized by the state.

Lets rewind to before all of this happened. Apparently, when I was very young my birthmother had reached out to her Aunt Marilyn asking for a bit of help with this new baby. I'm told, she brought me over to her Aunt Marilyn's house, left a giant mess and even stole money from her aunt, she was obviously in a tough place. Marilyn had two grown boys of her own and had always wanted a daughter and I think that it was for this reason that she immediately felt a strong connection with this baby, AKA, me! Marilyn offered to watch me when need be, even having her youngest son and his new wife help watch me when they could.

Now back to when I basically became property of the state of California, Marilyn knew that wasn't an option. The state obviously prefers for a child in this position be cared for by family as opposed to becoming part of the system. Marilyn reached out to her new daughter-in-law with this crazy idea. "Why don't you two look after her?"

As I'm told, the decision was easy. Marilyn and her daughter-in-law went to pick me up from the home I had been staying. They said that it wasn't the best of environments so they chose to just leave all my belongings there and take me for my first shopping trip (to this day, I blame my love of shopping on this trip). I don't know if you've ever seen Curly Sue and the scene where she gets her "make over", but that is what I always picture when I picture that day.

So, as it turns out, Marilyn's son and daughter in law were Kevin and Sandy Maness. The people that I now call mom and dad. My mom tells the story that after the shopping day and getting me all clean and finding a place for all my new things, when my dad came home from work it was almost as if my mom had rescued a stray dog on the streets but instead of it being a puppy, it was a little baby girl with big brown eyes that my mom was asking "Can we keep her?"

Originally, the arrangement was meant to be temporary. Once my birth-mother was fit to, she would be given the ability to get me back. She was enlisted in classes and was diligently attending but in the end, she made the decision not to keep me. While, that can seem so disheartening and heartbreaking, it was a decision for a better life, for both of us.

So, stay with me here, my birth-mom's cousin is now my dad. My birth-mom's aunt Marilyn, then became my grandma. We always shared a special bond, my grandmother and I, and I don't know if it's because she played such an integral part in my adoption or if it would have always been like that, but I'm so glad things worked out the way they did.

Not long after my "adoption" (I use quotes because I wasn't legally adopted until I was like 6, it's quite a process) my parents got pregnant. That was the perfect way to explain to me my situation. I always tell people, I don't remember ever not knowing I was adopted and I know everyone does things differently but I feel its best to know. As my moms tummy would grow bigger and bigger she found a way to explain to me that I didn't grow in her tummy, I grew in someone else's. I really don't know how she explained it to a 2 year old but somehow she did and I'm so thankful for that.

Because my adoption is still in the family, my brother and I ended up looking somewhat alike, so much so, that most of the time when I would tell people that I was adopted and that my brother wasn't, they wouldn't believe me.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm so lucky that things worked out the way that they did. My birth-mom gave me the gift of a life that she couldn't give me and I am forever grateful. About a year and a half ago I got a tattoo that I had been wanting to get for years. In my own writing, in the shape of a heart, I wrote "One loved me enough to let me go, One loved me enough to call me her own."
Everyone has their own opinions about adoption and it still has a stigma to it and it still surprisingly seems to be somewhat taboo, but I feel that giving a child up for adoption is one of the most selfless decisions that I person, especially a mother, can make.

I visited my birth-mother not long after my adoption and that was the last time I saw her. It has always been in the back of my mind that one day I'd like to get in contact with her. I used to tell myself, "When I'm 18 I'll do it". Well, 18 came and went, almost 10 whole years ago now. Maybe I'll do it one day. Maybe I won't. My heart isn't pushing me one way or another, so we'll see where my road takes me.

Well, that was the somewhat condensed version of my adoption story. I'm always open to talk about my adoption or just adoption in general so please don't hesitate to contact me or ask me things about it.

Happy National Adoption Day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Founders AND Veterans Day!

Because of the holiday, I'm a day late but I wanted to wish a happy Founders Day to all my fellow Gamma Phi Beta's!

Gamma Phi Beta was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in New York making it 139 years old this year!

During an era when women were discouraged from attending college, four bold and courageous friends came together to form a women's society. They bonded together to face adversity and encourage one another's intellectual growth. Now, more than 135 years later, we celebrate the vision and dedication of those women for whom the word "sorority" was first coined - and all who have come since.

The mission of Gamma Phi Beta is "To inspire the highest type of womanhood". With the vision to build confident women of character who celebrate sisterhood and make a difference in the world around us.

Some of my closest friends are girls that I met while a collegiate member of Gamma Phi Beta and I still, to this day, meet more extraordinary women all the time who share the bonds of Gamma Phi Beta.

So, too all my sisters, around the globe.... Happy (belated) Founders Day!



Also, I could never truly put into words the appreciation that I have for our veterans, the men and woman who risk their lives for us to have the freedom that, most of us, as American's, tend to take for granted. Most of us know nothing BUT living in a country with freedom and that is because of the veterans who came long before. Words could never be a big enough thank you, but I say, wholeheartedly to all of the veterans out there, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your service to this country. Happy Veterans Day!


Monday, November 4, 2013

National Adoption Month

Happy November! And more importantly, Happy National Adoption Month!

Being adopted myself, adoption is something very near and dear to my heart. Ironically enough, my best friend Danica is adopted as well. Like most, our adoption stories are very different. I figured, in honor of National Adoption month I would spend the month sharing my adoption journey, so check back to learn about how adoption has changed my life.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Engaging

Well... it's happened... I've joined the ranks of the betrothed.

Saying I was surprised is an understatement, not that Sam and I haven't talked about it. It's actually probably the thing we talk about most, I just didn't know it was happening NOW (or October 6th, to be exact).

October is always a crazy busy month for me as I mentioned in this post. Not only is it the start of the snowball-turned-avalanche of the holiday season, it is also the month of a million birthdays for me. Ok so, maybe not an ACTUAL million, but it seems I must have a certain draw to Libra's because almost all of my favorite people are born within a four week window. Sam definitely used my preoccupation to his advantage and struck when I least expected it.

Sunday October 6th my roommate Stefana had a barbecue at our house to celebrate her birthday (which is on the 7th).
The 6th also happens to be my best friend Danica's birthday. We had made, what I thought to be tentative plans to do dinner (along with my mom) for Danica's birthday that evening. After Stefana's party died down my mom picked me up (not gunna lie, I had a few beers at the barbecue) and headed over to Frano's (where Sam works part time). Sam always works Sunday nights so we had, again, what I thought to be a very organic plan to go to Franco's simply because Sam was working and it was a Sunday night. Turns out Danica's birthday was just the distraction I needed to have NO IDEA what was about to happen.

We get to Franco's, Danica and her husband already there, we sat down and got started with some drinks, very normal. No one was acting funny. Eventually Sam begins telling the specials, again, very normal. He always has a funny tag line with each special, calling them things like "phenomenal" or "amazing" or, my personal favorite "life changing".

When he was about half way through telling us the specials I asked "What about the life changing one?". Apparently that was when Danica thought for SURE I knew what was going on but of course, I didn't. So he continues. He starts to stumble over his words a little, I figure he's just nervous because my mom is there and sometimes he gets a little nervous around my family. I found out later it was because the bus-boy was there lighting the camera and the bus-girl came over and was putting bread on the table and he didn't want to do it with them there.

And then he said it... "And now for the life changing one", he got on a knee, opened a box and started saying things that, to this day, I don't have any recollection of, as I just kept saying "Is this happening!? Is this happening?!". I looked over to my mom and she says "This is happening". I notice Danica's husband has had his phone out this whole time, then someone says "I think he needs an answer". I say "yes", Sam goes to put the ring on, he was shaking so badly. I give him a kiss and the whole restaurant began to applaud.

The moment was not at all what I expected. I didn't cry. I was so in shock. I couldn't believe that everyone knew and I had NO IDEA. They began adding tables to ours as friends and family start trickling in the door giving congratulations. I was so overwhelmed I didn't even know what to do with myself.


Thank you to everyone who made it so special and, most of all, surprising! Love you all! Let the wedding planning begin!

Here's the video that Danica's husband captured immidately following Sam proposing. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Forget Molds

I recently came across a blog post by Jessica at Today Was Meaningful that really resonated with me. While she's speaking on behalf of a twenty five year old and I'm twenty seven I found myself nodding and agreeing with the entire post. I felt almost like I had written it, that some of the words were my exact feelings. So, this is for all my fellow twenty-somethings who maybe aren't exactly where society tells them they should be...

"Because I'm a Twentysomething"
when i was thirteen, i couldn’t wait to be eighteen.  i thought i’d know it all by then- have all the answers and that prized freedom. and when i was sixteen, i planned to be married by age twenty-three with two kids. i’ll always smile to myself when i think about how time changes things. and when i turned twenty four i made a list of as many goals as i had in years. by my 25th birthday, i’d accomplished them all.
and a funny thing happens about the time you turn twenty.five. people start asking about marriage and kids and houses. and you begin to worry about savings, retirement, and health insurance.  you start spending your money on plates.pots.new tires. short term sacrifices for long term gains, right? and sometimes you start to compare your 25 years with everyone else’s. you wonder if you’re on the right track because it’s different from all the people you’re surrounded by. you start going to your friends’ weddings and buying baby gifts for second birthdays.  and suddenly you realize you’re at the exact age that seemed so far away just five years ago.
i’ve always liked including myself in the 20.something. category.  growing up, but not quite grown up. you’re an adult, but still recognize that you’re part kid. i’ve enjoyed the navigating of adulthood and all of my new first time experiences. a new job. my first ‘grown-up’ paycheck. growth. being old enough to rent a car. but it seems like the older i’ve gotten, the more aware i’ve become of my short-lived stay in the ‘twenties’ and the pressure to fit the mold of all of the rest of the twentyfivers.
i’ve started to think about how easy it is to become controlled by our age. and the expectation of what your age signifies to everyone else. how old you should be by the time you graduate.buy your first house. get married. have kids. start your retirement. suddenly it seems like there are all these benchmarks to meet, even when they don’t match the goals you are trying to reach.
forget molds.
because as easy it is to forget, you’re free to do what you want with your life. the problem is, that can be quite the responsibility, to live your life the way you want to, rather than they way you are expected to. especially if that means taking a big jump. and especially when that jump may feel like a free fall.  maybe quit your first job and go back to school if that feels right. get married or don’t. maybe you drop out of school or chop off your hair. maybe you change your mind. end  a relationship that no longer serves you. become a different person.maybe you move away or move back home. or maybe you’re scared to do these things because it’s uncomfortable and unexpected. maybe it’s because you don’t know if everything would fall into place or you’re scared what that would mean if it did.
and when you’re in your twenties, i hope you buy a plane ticket to paris. i hope you get lost wandering all of the streets. i hope you travel the world and read lots of new books.  i hope you have interesting conversations over warm cups of tea.  i hope you drink out of mason jars while dancing barefoot in the grass. i hope you have a water fight in central park. set goals and change them. quit your day job. i hope you don’t do any of these things or that you do them all.write a book. change your mind. start new friendships and let go of the ones that you need to. say goodbye to all of the things that have kept you stagnant and vow to keep moving forward.
i hope your fifties mean going back to school or starting yoga. i hope your forties include falling in love with someone new- a friend, child, or partner.  i hope you stay up all night laughing with your friends. and when you’re thirty, learn something new. i hope your life is one of wisdom and youth, adventure and old age- no matter what year it was that you were born.
but what i really mean to say is that I hope you aren’t held back because of a number. and that you don’t rush into things because it feels like time is slipping by. i hope you do what’s right for you.   hold on. slow down. and breathe in. your age is your age. but more importantly, your life is your life. don’t change your journey so that it matches someone elses. we need to walk different paths so the whole world can be explored. revel in the differences. and enjoy where you are.
here. right here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

All Dogs go to Heaven.

Like most red blooded human beings, I'm a dog lover. 
I've been known to slow down while driving just to get a better look at a dog on a walk. 
My dog Beamer eats better than I do and nothing, I mean NOTHING makes me tear up more than a sweet dog video. 


That being said, I've done a couple of blog posts here and here discussing my love of dogs and the heartbreak of losing a four legged friend. Comedienne Sarah Silverman recently lost her beloved dog Duck. If you're a fan of hers you know how much she loved that little guy. 

Duck was rescued from a shelter by Sarah and two weeks ago she had to say goodbye to her constant companion of 14 years. She wrote this touching farewell note to Duck on her WhoSay page: 


"Duck 'Doug' Silverman came into my life about 14 years ago. He was picked up by the State running through South Central with no collar, tags or chip. Nobody claimed or adopted him so a no-kill shelter took him in. That’s where I found him — at that shelter, in Van Nuys. Since then we have slept most every night together (and many lazy afternoons.) When we first met, the vet approximated his age at 5½ so I’d say he was about 19 as of yesterday, September 3, 2013. 


He was a happy dog, though serene. And stoic. And he loved love. 


Over the past few years he became blind, deaf, and arthritic. But with a great vet, good meds, and a first rate seeing-eye person named me, he truly seemed comfortable. 


Recently, however, he stopped eating or drinking. He was skin and bones and so weak. I couldn’t figure out this hunger strike. Duck had never been political before. And then, over the weekend, I knew. It was time to let him go. 


My boyfriend Kyle flew in late last night and took the day off from work to be with us. We laid in bed and massaged his tiny body, as we love to do – hearing his little "I'm in heaven" breaths. The doctor came and Kyle, my sister, Laura and I laid on the bed. I held him close – in our usual spoon position and stroked him. I told him how loved he was, and thanked him for giving me such happiness and for his unwavering companionship and love. 


The doctor gave him a shot and he fell asleep, and then another that was basically an overdose of sleeping meds. I held him and kissed him and whispered to him well passed his passing. I picked him up and his body was limp – you don’t think about the head – it just falls. I held him so tight. And then finally, when his body lost its heat, and I could sense the doctor thinking about the imminent rush hour traffic, I handed him over. 


14 years. 
My longest relationship. 
My only experience of maternal love. 
My constant companion. 
My best friend. 
Duck."

Comedy Central even posted this on their Tumblr
RIP Duck. Give Lexie a big kiss for me. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waves of Change

Last night a couple girl friends and myself went to what was formerly known as Cirivello's Sports Stop. I hadn't been since I was a kid but have fond memories of end of the season sports team parties and more importantly, my first ever win from a claw machine! Sadly, rumor has it that the lease was up on the building and the landlord unexpectedly leased it to a new tenant leaving Cirivello's no option but to close their doors after decades of being a Long Beach staple. 

The doors re-opened last week with a new name, The Station. 
It's sad to see the old Cirivello's sign covered up and it's heartbreaking to know that it wasn't handled as best it could be but it didn't stop my friends and I from having a fun night. 
Hopefully Cirivello's finds a way to find a new place to call home but until then, The Station seems like a fun place to get a drink with some friends. They're still working out kinks in the menu and are looking forward to having a grand opening soon. Until then, I wanted to share this article that I found discussing the closing of not just Cirivello's but two other of Long Beach's favorites as well. 

LONG BEACH LOSES THREE LONG-TIME FAVORITES
June 1, 2013
By: John Grossi

"This week, for varying reasons, three East Long Beach businesses closed their doors.  For thousands of locals growing up playing baseball (and other sports) in the East Long Beach/Lakewood area, Cirivello’s Sports Stop, D&D Sporting Goods, and Lakewood Batting Cages were more than just buildings on the street; they were icons.  And for good reason.  For over 25 years these businesses and the families that owned them, have been an integral part of the journey for one of the greatest baseball towns and family communities in the country.

When Sean Burrough’s led his team to back to back championships in the Little League World Series back in ’92 and ’93, there was no question about where to hold the viewing parties during the game, or for that matter, the end of year celebration when the wide-eyed kids got back from Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  Cirivello’s was the go-to place for pizza, drinks, arcade, and post-game chatter for youth soccer, baseball, and basketball all over the city.  

Owner Angelo Picarelli created a family environment that had a heavy impact on many, like me, who look back with nothing but positive memories from our youth. How many of us took the walk over from Heartwell Park after a hard-fought baseball game or soccer match, only to embark on the more important conquest of who could win the most tickets in the game room?  Two years ago, when Angelo decided to retire, it was a no brainer for Matt Paige and Danny Harris, two local guys who grew up themselves playing football and baseball in East Long Beach, to purchase the business and continue on the Cirivello’s tradition for their own families, and for all of us.  Cirivello’s seemed like a place that needed to be in Long Beach forever…

In one of our recent issues for LB908 we sat down with the 2012 Pony League World Champions.  A gritty, good-natured group of guys who now carry the torches in the Millikan and Wilson baseball programs.  These kids, like many from our area before them, have experienced great success on the diamond.  However, I can guarantee you some of their favorite baseball moments, like all of ours, occurred outside the field.  It’s those moments of anticipation that we remember most, when Winter is turning to Spring, baseball season is two weeks away, and our dads take us to D&D to take a peak at the brand new EXO bat that just came out, or to buy a sleeve of fresh, new, shiny, white baseballs, or to replace our little league socks and rubber cleats for Pony league’s stirrups and metal spikes.

I remember when I first wanted to become a catcher as a nine year old, and my parents took me to D&D for some gear.  I don’t remember exactly who helped me, but we can be sure it was either one of the owners, Dianne or Luanne, or one of their daughters, or granddaughters.  The two families that owned D&D for so many years, never left the shop, and always greeted you with a smile.  I was ushered into the special catcher’s gear room, and was fitted for my personal gear, helmet and all.  I remember spending the next 3 days with that gear glued to my body.  I walked all around the house and the neighborhood learning to “become one with the gear.”  I told my parents that when Paul Lo Duca (then catcher for the Dodgers) chased after a foul ball it was like he didn’t even feel his gear.  That memory started at D&D Sporting Goods…

Finally, even though the Lakewood Batting Cages were not technically in Long Beach, they too will go out of business with the forever status as a Long Beach icon.  How about the six Long Beach major leaguers we profiled in our latest magazine?  You can bet that Aaron Hicks, James MacDonald, the D’Arnaud brothers, Mike Carp, and Chase Utley all took their first hacks in those cages.  

Those were the best practices, when the little league coach called you on a night you didn’t actually have field time and said “we’re going to the cages”—a two hour break from homework and a chance to play homerun derby with your friends over the fake fence within the cage.  Or how about the last round of the night when the coach would step in the cage and hit monster long balls to the amazement of you and your teammates. Long time owners, the Tyler family, provided a simple business, 1 token, 12 pitches, but those tokens churned out hundreds of college athletes, dozens of major leaguers, and thousands of baseball lovers in the 908’ zone.

It’s a bit of a sad day.  Three businesses that we grew up with and thought would be here forever are gone now.  It was an absolute pleasure knowing the great people that owned them and poured their blood, sweat, tears, and time into them, so that people like me and you could grow up in a positive youth baseball and family environment.  

This is also a great opportunity to remember why we love to support local businesses so much.  I don’t know about others, but I don’t have these same memories from shopping at Sports Chalet or eating at Pizza Hut.  There was something special about the people that helped you and took your order at Cirivello’s, Lakewood Batting Cages, and D&D.  There is also something very special about the hundreds of small businesses that still remain, working hard every day to make sure our East Long Beach memories continue to grow."


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tunes Tuesday

Lately I've been back on a Lily Allen kick. And for those of you who don't know, long before Taylor Swift had the song "22" that is now the Diet Coke anthem, Lily Allen had one of her own.

It's a little bit darker than Taylor Swifts version...

But I love them both. It's funny because 22 was definitely one of my best years and, judging by these songs, I'm not alone. What about you? Did you love being 22?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Flea Market Monday!!

If you know me, or happen to read my "50 Facts About Me" post, you'd know that I love thrift stores and flea markets. I love making something old new again. I love giving life back to something that has been forgotten about or transforming something into something completely different.

The third Sunday of every month is the Long Beach Antique Market. I try to go every month. (Side note, the first time I went, I saw Tori Spelling there!) It's something fun and relatively inexpensive (tickets are $6). It's fun to just walk around, even just to people watch (because if there's one thing the freaks flock to, its a flea market, let me tell ya). I definitely recommend getting there early because it's true what they say, the good stuff goes early (and the heat gets to be sometimes unbearable).

This week all I picked up was these two glasses (which I think I'm going to showcase on my bar). They have adorable orange and gold polka dots all over them. It was $10 for the set. I probably could have got them for less but "haggling" is definitely not on my list of strengths.

Aside from that, I had a pretty nice mellow weekend. I watched that movie World War Z and would DEFINITELY recommend it, even if you're not a zombie fan. (After all, Brad Pitt is in it, do I really need to convince you?)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Summertime Sangria

It's clear with pumpkin spice EVERYTHING all around us that summer is almost behind us.
I decided to use that as an excuse to make a fun summertime sangria.

For my ChristmAugust party lots of people showed with with bottles of wine, one in particular, a Moscato. If you've never had Moscato, it's a sweeter white wine. I used to drink it when I was new to drinking wine, but now it sort of makes me cringe. I decided it would be perfect to use in a sangria though. So I scoured pinterest for a yummy (and easy) sangria recipe and I found a peach sangria recipe.
The recipe called for:
1 bottle of Moscato
1 cup of peach vodka
2/3 cup peach nectar (the recipe had Kern's but of course my store was out of peach so I went with Jumex)
1 orange (cut up)
1 peach (cut up)
Some pineapple (I just bought it pre-cut)
A few Strawberries (cut up)

Mix all your ingredients together, stir, and let it sit overnight for the best flavor.

I WILL say the Moscato, true to form, turned out a bit overpowering in the sangria and using a different white wine would probably be better BUT I basically used the Moscato just to get rid of it. Haha. Sangria is fun to make and even MORE fun to drink with friends. So get out there and make some summertime sangria of your own before summer is over!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I decided to dedicate this "Throwback Thursday" to my mentor, my inspiration, my late grandmother. 
A woman that I am lucky to have known. 
I never did grow into those eyes...
Hadn't quite mastered the art of smiling on cue. But look at my grandma.
She always had the most fabulous clothes. 
And the most fabulous glasses. 
All smiles on Christmas morning.
My brother always called her "Yah-ma"
Halloween
Easter
Meeting baby McKenzie
Sweet glasses Shea...
High School Graduation
A day at the races with the girls.
My grandma LOVED the horse races. Even used to have horses IN them!
Family
Thanksgiving at the country club. She could work a pant suite like no one else.
And in RED no less!
I had my 21st birthday in Las Vegas and my grandparents came and celebrated with me!
How cool is that??
I have so many wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.


Miss you every day grandma. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Current "Beauty" Favs

I say "beauty" favs in quotes because I don't want to be misleading and insinuate that it will be a post full of fun make up, because it's definitely not. A few of the products are even kind of odd-ball but, nonetheless, here are the products I've currently been loving.
1// Not gunna lie, ever since I was a kid I've had issues with eczema and psoriasis. When I was a kid I had to put a medicated ointment on my hands before bed and wear socks on them. How sad is that. I pretty much grew out of it but I still find my scalp to be dry at times. I don't know if you've ever used T-Gel or T-Sal shampoo but it smells gross. I know it can be kind of embarrassing buying a "dandruff" shampoo or conditioner but head and shoulders has really stepped up their game. The product itself is good quality (although I still use my salon brand shampoo) and the fragrances like my favorite, green apple, are great. AND it controls flakes! 
2// I like to use this Burts Bee's citrus facial scrub about once a week. It's a great exfoliant and leaves your skin feeling SO nice and soft. HOWEVER... I don't know if its just me but... I HATE the smell. I literally hold my breath when I use is. A bit extreme I know but that shows you how good the product actually is that I'm still willing to use it, despite the smell. Haha. 
3// We spend so much time damaging our hair with washes and blow dryers, flat irons and curing irons. I decided to show my hair some love and start using a heat protectant and I've noticed less breakage since using it!
4// I'm so fickle when it comes to hairspray. First and foremost I have to like the smell. Then, it has to have a good hold but not look sticky or hard. I've been trying different hairsprays, never buying the same one twice, for as long as I can remember but this Tresemme one is my new regular hairspray. I really like it and who knows, maybe i'll even buy it twice! Haha. 
5// This one is a bit of a splurge but I'm currently loving my Nars duo with Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer. 
6// I'm a mascara junkie. I can never get enough and I'm always looking for the next best one. I have found that, surprisingly, drugstore brands tend to be just as good, if not better, than the high end products. My latest lash love is Falsies by Maybelline. 
7// In the summertime (and winter for that matter) my lips tend to get dry. I recently bought some Carmex lip balm (recommended by my boyfriend actually) and I have started to put in on before bed every night and have noticed a significant difference in the dryness of my lips. 

So that was my somewhat random list of products I've currently been loving. What products have you had on repeat lately?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ten Tunes Tuesday

Thought I'd share some of the music (old and new) that I've had on repeat lately...

Elephant by Tame Impala

Stuck on You by Meiko

Royals by Lorde

I Need Your Love by Calvin Harris Feat Ellie Goulding

Mountain Song by Of Monsters and Men

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight preformed by Birdy

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

Everybody Talks by Neon Trees

Bumblebee by Rachel Brown

The Show by Lenka


Monday, September 9, 2013

Drumroll Please...

First of all, can I start by saying how BLOWN AWAY I am that over five HUNDRED people entered this giveaway! Guess I'm not alone with my love of Target haha. Thank you to all of you who entered and I wish that ALL of you could win (but I DEFINITELY don't have enough money for that haha). So, without further adieu... the winner iiiiiiiiis....
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Mary-Kate! Can't wait to see what you buy with your gift card! I know first hand how fast $100 can go at Target!

Again, thank you to EVERYONE who entered. This giveaway was SO fun to host and I hope to be doing another real soon so check back!

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 6, 2013

50 Facts About Me

I've had this blog, as I mentioned the other day, over four years now. I've been more active in the last couple weeks than I have been probably any other time in the life of the blog. I've often thought about doing a 50 facts about me post but, honestly, it seemed kind of like a lot of work and I didn't know if I could come up with 50 interesting things. I already have a list of "facts about me" on my about me page. But, the other night I had my laptop on my lap, a glass of wine in my hand and a full DVR and I managed to get one done! Hopefully, no matter how well you know me, you'll be able to learn something new.

1. I'm adopted.
2. I have one younger brother.
3. I tend to be sentimental, to a fault. I've often said, I feel like I'm one tragic event away from becoming a hoarder (please don't judge me. haha)
4. I often sing-talk. I basically turn my words into a song without even realizing it most of the time.
5. Crafting is my happy place.
6. I have a somewhat irrational fear of spiders.
7. When I was little, I was in a carpet commercial on cable.
8. I hate odd numbers. So much so that the volume is always on an even number and when I pump gas both the gallons and the dollar amount have to end in an even number.
9. Despite my hatred for for odd numbers, 9 is my favorite number. I know, I'm a conundrum.
10. Before getting LASIK, I couldn't even see my alarm clock without my glasses or contacts in.
11. I LOVE sleeping in.
12. I've never broken any bones.
13. My birthday is January 13th.
14. I love pickles, but only spears and whole pickles, not the little slices.
15. I've had fifteen teeth pulled. (4 when I was six, 7 when i was eleven (including some adult teeth) and lastly, my four wisdom teeth several years ago.
16. Growing up, I had a Rottweiler named Sasha. I loved her so much and when she went to doggy heaven I cried myself to sleep for two weeks.
17. My first job was hosting at Red Robin.
18. I am insanely observant.
19. I hate doing laundry. Well, I don't hate doing it as much as I hate folding and hanging everything up.
20. I LOVE cereal.
21. I'm a planner by nature. I like for everything to be planned and organized.
22. Twenty two is my favorite number to write.
23. I hate board games. Correction... I hate losing, THEREFORE I don't play board games. Haha.
24. I make toffee every Christmas.
25. The greatest day of my life was a day I spent exploring a rain-forest, jumping into a fresh water spring, sipping tea and having boomerang lessons from an aborigine in Australia.
26. I love new clothes. As a kid, for my birthday, instead of going to a theme park or having a birthday party, my mom, my grandma and me would spend the day shopping.
27. I love thrift stores and flea markets.
28. I'm a purse girl. I've had a purse on my shoulder since about the time I could walk.
29. "Hook" is, and always has been, my favorite movie.
30. I hate being hot.
31. I get socially anxious and would consider myself an introvert.
32. Growing up my grandpa flew his own plane and despite riding in that tiny plane no problem as a kid, I get super anxious when I fly.
33. I can be pretty stubborn.
34. Growing up I loved watching old episodes of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
35. Poppies are my favorite flower, but I don't really like getting flowers because it always breaks my heart when they die.
36. I have had three cars. (My first car was a silver Jetta. My 2nd car was a a BMW convertible. And my current car is a Hyundai Tuscon.)
37. My first concert was Hal Ketchum with my family.
38. I went to private Christian school until college.
39. My girl crushes are Jennifer Love Hewitt, Isla Fischer and Natalie Portman.
40. I love cheese.
41. I have a birthmark above my right knee.
42. Growing up, between the ages of 2 and when I moved out, my parents had three homes, all within about a one mile radius.
43. I've always wanted to sing the national anthem at a professional sporting event.
44. I took sign language classes as a kid and would still like to pursue that further.
45. My first real sewing project was sewing my own scrunchies as a kid on my moms old beat up machine.
46. I wish so badly that I was able to draw.
47. I can drink most any guy under the table.
48. Growing up I hated having red hair.
49. My role model is my late grandma, Marilyn Lucille.
50. I prefer dogs over cats.

Well, there you have it, some things you might have known about me and some you might not have.

Don't forget, there's still plenty of time to enter my $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway! Entering is easy, just click the link for more details.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Get the Look! (For Less)

As hard to believe as it is (because it's been hot as ever here in So Cal), fall is right around the corner and you know what that means... Fall fashion! It's undeniable, every girl loves fall. We love wearing boots, we love scarfs and leggings and, not to mention, with fall comes the promise that the thought of "bikini season" is behind us.

Unfortunately, I've yet to win the lottery, become a trophy wife or marry a wealthy prince so, to put it bluntly, bitch be on a budget. So, I decided to put together a budget conscious fall wish-list... enjoy!

Booties: Splurge // Steal

Plaid Bag: Splurge // Steal

Scarf: Splurge // Steal

Wallet: Splurge // Steal

Hat: Splurge // Steal 

Don't forget, there are still FOUR days left in my $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway! And remember, a "share" is worth TWO entries and can be done once every day so keep 'em coming! Good Luck!