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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pinspired


I got this great idea from Pinterest to put little snacks in used up coffee creamer bottles.  So, I actually remembered to save the bottle (Go Me!), rinse it out (Cheer for me again, I never actually DO these things) and one morning this week, I poured Michael some trail mix into the bottle.

I thought it was such a perfect idea, because since he doesn't have use of his fingers, he can be a little messy with snacks. Note: Brokaw loves when Michael does anything in the kitchen.  Often, if I leave Michael a snack out that he can get to easily, it's in a Red Solo Cup.  No offense, Toby Keith, but I just don't like the way those things look, and the snacks don't stay fresh!  That doesn't bother Michael, of course, but it just doesn't fit well with my OCD.

So.  I was all happy that I actually lived out something I saw on Pinterest.  I left the bottle of trail mix out for M, feeling very proud of myself.

I got home from work.  M thanked me for the trail mix.  And then told me he dropped the bottle, and Brokaw ate it.

Oops.
Oh well.
It was fun and resourceful while it lasted.  And we do have one more bottle of coffee creamer in the fridge that I will do this with again.

Saturday Morning Post: Am I Boring Now?


Happy Saturday to all of you out there!
It's nice and quiet in our little apartment, even though it's technically not really that early any more.  I have been sleeping in later and later - I think it's because I'm exercising, and sleeping better.

Do you feel like this blog has been a little boring lately?  Because, honestly, I do.  I feel like the real connections are made over the posts where we are pouring our broken hearts out, or lifting the veil and showing what this "life with a disability" or "having a paralyzed husband" is like.

And you know what?
It's been just fine lately.
No major drama.
And that's a GOOD thing.

But, I feel a little boring.  So, thanks for hanging here with us, I do NOT hope for drama, but I am praying for creative ways to tell our story without having/creating it.

::Note: Brokaw just grabbed one of Michael's shoes off the floor.  Better go get that. ::

Okay, I'm back.

More about my life lately: I am not reading the Hunger Games, or seeing the movie, and I did not buy a lottery ticket.  I'm so not cool.

I've just been cooking...


Driving in horrible DC traffic...


Working... (okay, so interviews with Presidential candidates are NOT boring for ME, but they might be for you!)


Also NOT boring for me, but probably to you... we got a new kitchen floor this week and I LOVE it.


So, there you go. I'm feeling very not cool and boring, but very, very HAPPY.  Life is good.


Even if it is boring.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How To Save at Starbucks


It is no secret that I go to Starbucks (a.k.a STBX) kind of a lot.  It is something I enjoy.  It is something I need most days.  I can understand how the casual observer of my life may think I have a problem, and that I am spending a fortune of money (and calories) at Starbucks, but I'm not!

Like most things in life, you can have what you want and not get out of control with it, as long as you have a system.

1.  Get a Starbucks Gold Card
The next time someone gives you a gift card to Starbucks (or just buy yourself one!) go to starbucks.com and register it.  When your gift card balance runs out, add more value to it, and use this card every time you go to Starbucks.  Before you know it, you will earn "gold" status, and Starbucks will send you your Gold Card with your name on it in the mail.  Every time you buy a drink with your Gold Card, they track it, and your 16th drink is always free.

Here's how I save money with this: Every time I go to Starbucks, I get just a regular little tall coffee (I always get bold because I prefer my coffee STRONG), which costs about $2.00.  Every drink you buy, you earn a star. After you earn 15 stars, you will get a postcard in the mail for your free 16th drink.  I always use this postcard to buy a Venti Latte or something else that if I bought it, it would cost $4.00 plus.  I almost never order something like that out of pocket.

2.  Take Your Own Travel Mug
On Earth Day, you can get a free cup of coffee if you bring in your own tumbler, which is awesome.  But, get used to bringing it yourself, and you will save an extra 10 cents every time.  That may not sound like a lot, but if you go often, it pays off.  For me, I think of it as every 20th visit to Starbucks, I'm getting  a free cup of coffee.

3.  Take Your Empty Bag of Starbucks Coffee in to the Store
Look at the bag of Starbucks Coffee that you bought at the grocery store closely, most bags will say somewhere that they are good for one free tall coffee.  That's true! All you have to do is hand the empty bag to the cashier, and you will get a free cup of coffee.  A little tip: If you are doing tip number 2 and bringing in your own mug and it just so happens to be bigger than a "tall," chances are your Barista will fill it up, thus hooking you up.

4.  Be Very Open About Your Love of Starbucks
I do this without even trying, and people notice.  Last Christmas, I think I got a grand total of $60.00 in Starbucks gift cards from friends and family, because they know I love it, so it's always the perfect gift for me.  Make sure, if and when you do get a new gift card that you register that card online, then transfer it to the balance of your original card, so you can use that balance toward earning your gold card.  If you have a gold card, transfer the balance of the gift card to your gold card so you an use it to reap rewards.

5.  Don't Buy Food at Starbucks
I'm not going to lie, this is hard because they design the line to form right in front of that dreaded baked goods case.  But, if you buy a muffin every time you get coffee you will not only be poor, you will be huge and poor.  Same principle applies if you get a Venti Mocha every time you go to Starbucks.  Once you have a gold card, every now and then you will get a coupon for a free food item, those are a nice little treat.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Five Questions

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This weekend was one of those times that left me asking myself several questions.

1.  Why do I ever complain about living here?


2.  Why don't we hang out with Jessi and Brendan more?


3.  What's wrong with three dates in one week?


4.  Why don't I take time to get my craft on?


5.  Why are cheesy biscuits so d**mn good?


I do believe I need more of these 5 things in my life.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Up Early, Some Thoughts


I woke up early today just for fun.  Call me crazy, but I just love a quiet early morning, alone. But you already knew that.

This afternoon, Michael is going to meet me in town and after work, we're going to go see the Cherry Blossoms down at the Tidal Basin.  I love doing this. It's so beautiful, so full of life, and so romantic.

We didn't get to do this last Spring, because of the bum wheelchair, but we are back!  It's going to be really warm, too, like in the 80s! No idea what I'm going to wear.

Some other randomness for you this Friday morning.

I've been trying to lose some weight.
Every now and then, I have this same 20 pounds that likes to come and visit, then leaves again. Well, guess where I am now. That's right, hosting the 20.  I've been watching what I eat and working out for two weeks, and I haven't really *lost* anything yet, but I can notice my body starting to change, and there are a couple of inches gone from my waist - which had grown, ick! That was the weirdest weight gain, ever.  Maybe it's because I'm in my 30s now? I always gain weight in my butt and thighs (they are big when I am not!) and in my arms, but that mess on my tummy was not cool!  

I signed up for a Fitness Challenge in the building where I work, and they are going to give a fitness prize pack to people who lose the most weight (percentage) per category.  So, the short, fat girls better watch out, because I am kinda competitive (wink, wink) and this thing is ON.

I took these pictures from a really long walk I took last week. It was the perfect morning.  I walked from work, down and around the White House complex, to Starbucks, and back to work to shower and get ready for the day.  The sun was coming up, and preparations were underway for the State Arrival Ceremony for British Prime Minister David Cameron.  I could sense the anticipation with every turn I made.  It was really neat. Plus, I saw my neighbor, who is a soldier, lining his guys up for the ceremony. That made me feel like, for a second, that I live in a small town.  I liked it. 

I also like any sort of finish line that ends with a Grande Bold.

One more random thought, Pinterest.  I know, y'all have been addicted over there for months, right? I've been there for some time, but hadn't really gotten sucked in, until last night.  I made some real boards.  I allowed myself to pretend a little. And, it was fun.  I'm going to try to not get full-on addicted.  We'll see.
You can find my Pinterest link over there on the right hand side of your screen.

Now, time for a Happy Friday.  Let's go.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dates, Cupcakes, a Book, and an Old Friend


About 13 years ago (oy!) I was a little baby broadcast news intern at WSLS in Roanoke.  Tamara Durika Johnson was an evening news producer, and she was nice enough to let me write horrible :15 second readers and :30 second VOs for her newscast.  Then, she moved onto a bigger market, and I got hired for my very first job!  So, I have always been thankful for her.

I hadn't seen her since like 2000 or 2001, but recently we've been back in touch over the last year or so thanks to Facebook!

In addition to being an intern-friendly producer, Tamara is an amazing author!  You have to read her book, "31 Dates in 31 Days."  It's the real-life story of Tamara going on 31 dates in 31 days, and spending only $31.00 on each date.  It's more than a dating book, though.  Tamara brings you along on her journey of self discovery, and trust me - you will laugh - and cry - right along with her, and probably learn a little about yourself too. Buy it. Read it. Love it.

It was so neat to see her the other day after so long.  She treated us to a cupcake from Buzz Bakery (yum!) and since I have the Kindle version of her book, she autographed a bookmark for me. :)


Michael and I both enjoyed talking with her and her husband, Evan.  It was great to meet him, after reading about him in the book!

After the book signing/meet and greet, we were inspired to go on a little date night of our own!
Michael and I walked across the street and ate at Rustico for the first time, and wow!


It was the best, most unique dining experience we've had in a while! My swordfish was A.MAZING.


My date was pretty delicious, too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thank God for Our "Normal"

Michael.  Last night.  Ready to be tossed in bed.

Over the last week, I've prayed some really heavy prayers for people.
A friend had twins, then almost died, and is now home with them, thank the Lord.
A wounded warrior I follow online is in his last days.  My heart breaks for his family.
A friend's brother, and father of four died, unexpectedly.
Another friend's sister is facing a potentially devastating diagnosis.
It hurts my heart.  All of this sickness, and pain, and anxiety.

And it makes me so profoundly grateful for the 'normal' in our life.
There is a lot about our life that isn't really 'normal,' in the conventional sense of the word.
But we have our own normal.  And the thought of that world being shaken up, like my friends have faced over the last week, keeps me on my knees.

I don't want to miss a thing.  Because, you just never know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Friend Ann

Last weekend was so great.
I saw my friend, Ann.
My best friend, actually.
Ann lives in Thailand.  Which is awesome because she has a happy life where she gets to do really important work, and is right in the middle of God's will.  And which also sucks, because it's been a year and a half since I've seen her, and Skype and Facebook are fine and all, but there is nothing like spending time with your best girlfriend.


Would you believe last weekend my best friend met my husband for the first time?  It felt so strange.  Because it kind of feels like Michael and I have been married forever.  But it's only been 2.5 years (as previously discussed) and Ann has been in Thailand for 3 years.

There were desperate ploys to bring her home for our wedding, but it just wasn't possible. And Michael and I had our little internet romance, then our long distance dating thing going on, and Ann and I lived in different cities anyway, so they didn't actually meet face-to-face until last weekend.

It felt like we all went way back, though.  Which I think is a good thing.

After dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, Ann spent the night at our place, then we road tripped it to Roanoke.  Roanoke is a special place for both Ann and me.  We were roommates there about 10 YEARS AGO, WHAT? while I had my first job out of college, and Ann had her second job out of college.

I was a different girl then.  I didn't cook. Didn't clean.  Wasn't responsible with my money.  But I had great clothes! Haha. And a cat.  Looking back, I was definitely not the best roommate, but somehow, we became best friends anyway.  We hooked up with another friend and spent the day going all around - to lunch, to the school where Ann used to teach, to get ice cream, to the movies (we saw "The Vow"), to dinner, then we spent the night with a family that is like family to both of us, and we stayed up until 4:00am talking!!  

The next day, we were both exhausted, but refreshed at the same time.  Well, I guess I technically speak for myself, but I think Ann felt the same way. 


Here we are with Ann's Aunt Joyce.  True story: I saw Ann in Myrtle Beach a year and a half ago. Then, she gave me some gifts to give to Joyce.  Um... well, I gave them to Joyce outside of the Cheesecake Factory.

Mission accomplished.

If your best friend lives in the same town, or state, or time zone, or country as you, I'm jealous of you.  Just so you know.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two And A Half Years

2.5.
Today, we have been married exactly two and a half years.
We like to celebrate the little things.
Why not?

In fact, Michael is better than I am at remembering our "Monthaversary."
He texted me this morning, "U know what today is?"

In some ways, it feels like 2.5 years have FLOWN by.
In other ways, it feels like we've been married forever.
I'm sure a lot of married couples feel that way.

I'm no math whiz, but 2.5 is 10% of 25, no?
So, look at that!
We are still new at this... but we are getting the hang of it!

2.5 is a good place.
We've found our groove.
We can communicate (generally), we are best friends, we dream together, and are looking forward to so much together.

I woke up in Ohio this morning, and now I'm in DC, to cover Super Tuesday tonight. By the time I get home it will technically be tomorrow.
So, Babe, Happy 2.5!
I love you so much.
I'm so glad we took that chance, that long distance relationships do work, and that you moved here from Texas and now I can see you every time I come home.
It's my favorite thing about coming home.
Can't wait to be in your arms tonight.

Cheers.