Thursday, March 28, 2013

If the Shoe Fits

I finally got to wear my red German shoes that I bought back in December. I have lived in boots since December (as evidenced by my not-Pacific-Islander-tan-looking skin below), but the weekend warmed up, and I finally took my red kicks out for a spin. I love them! Now I need a tan.

I also gave Meg's Hunter wellies a new home. The ten-day weather forecast says that I might put them to good use as early as this weekend, but I'll keep my excitement at bay since we all know how reliable the weather report is, especially more than 24 hours out.

My brain and eyes are longing for the weekend! My second term of grad school is coming to a close, and my new classes begin next Monday. But before Monday rolls around, I just want to enjoy my weekend. Sleep, QT with Sir Husband and the kitties, lunch with Whitney, make sweet potato chips, watch a good movie at home, sleep some more, and ride my bike. And if I have a reason to wear my new wellies, even better!

But before all that, it's time to conquer Thursday! Over and out.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Out with the Old

Purging my closet and home of things that were once coveted and now neglected is akin to a nice, hot shower after ten days without one. I should know. Every time I go through my Goodwill collection process at home, I swear I'll buy less! And save money! And release myself of material things! And save the planet! And be like No Impact Man!

And then I laugh, because I know me. I know that I assign sentimental value to everything that comes into my possession which makes shedding myself of things so difficult. Compared to my husband, I have a lot of stuff. With where life has taken him and how many times he has moved, he has become quite skilled minimizing his personal belongings.

It's a process, but I'm becoming better at being mindful of what I buy and why... I think.

It may not look like much, but life got lighter on Sunday when I donated this stuff to Goodwill.

16 tops
9 pairs of shorts/pants
6 dresses
2 pairs of jeans
3 bags
6 pairs of shoes
16 pieces of jewelry
1 jacket
3 belts
A box filled with hair accessories
Seasonal home decor
Miscellaneous odds and ends

On one hand, this was a lesson in materialism. On the other, I supported my community by helping to create jobs at Goodwill. I'll let you take a wild guess at which explanation helps me sleep at night.

To confirm, we did not donate Boone to Goodwill.

Are you a regular Goodwill donor? Or thrifter?
"Thrift Shop," anyone?  ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Say I Am Excited is an Understatement

Photo by Ken Walton

NOTE: That is my excited face. I feel compelled to clarify that while, yes, these pictures were taken during a work photo shoot, they were test shots for lighting. I am not trying to scare prospective clients away from our website.

Yesterday, I spoke with my sister on the phone.

Baby Mac is healthy, active, and growing like a weed.

I booked my flights for San Diego in June to meet Baby Mac and see my family.

Thanks to a sale at Southwest Airlines, my flights only cost $277.

I'll be there for six whole days!

June can't come soon enough.

I decided to practice my funny faces for my nephew. 
Don't worry, kid. There's plenty more where that came from. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Letterpress Love

It's safe to say that one of my love languages is stationery.

I love a good stamp or letterpress design with old time flair. It comes in phases. Hours bookmarking links to my favorite designs consume me, yet I never make a purchase. I window/internet shop, and then the obsession passes for awhile, but it always finds its way back to me!

Well, you know how you sometimes accidentally stalk someone on Facebook? You know the drill. A beautiful wedding photo shows up in your news feed, so you click on it. One of the bridesmaids is a long ago friend who introduced you to your college boyfriend eons ago. She looks fantastic, and you wonder what she's up to in Seattle now, so you click on her name. And guess what? She started her own letterpress printing company, and she produces some killer work!

Man, I fell in love with letterpress all over again. Why did I never pursue cool artsy things like letterpress printing? (Cue realization that I'm a boring square)

I've spent the better part of the last week searching online for letterpress stationary. I've been obsessed with since my friend Melissa started using them for everything under the sun (Christmas cards, baby announcements, thank you cards, etc.) three years ago.

People, I know I already got married, but if we renewed our vows, I'd be ordering one of these beauties:

My heart and my eyes are bursting. (I'm tellin' ya. Love language!) I have heavy stationary lust for Minted's letterpress designs!

** All images from

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Talk About Picture Poses

A lot of people make fun of the duck face and ponder its existence. Why do people think it's sexy? I've done it in photos to be funny, but I'm embarrassed that I've ever done it at all! But guess what? I still laugh my head off when I see other people do it.

Probably because I'm secretly judging them -- ignoring the fact that I've made many a stupid pose choice and patting myself on the back for being so much better than them. Oh, come on! I know I'm not the only one. To this day, I'm guilty of the hand-on-hip pose and the American Girl Pose.

Also, I'm all about world peace and the peace sign. However, I am not a fan of the "sexy peace sign" pose a la Lindsay Lohan. Gag. Or the "duck face + peace sign."

My friends are quite cheeky and will do what it takes to give me a laugh! I'd like to thank them for sharing these gems and giving me permission to compile them in one place.

Ashley @ 5ohWifey

One of my close buds, Jasmine @ Curlicue, and Ryan @ Bus Rants

Chelsea @ Taste and See
(Not the duck face, but it was her "signature pose" that she can't explain now.
I think she looks so cute!)

(She also can't explain her go-to "fish/kissy face"!)

Michelle @ MichMash (two pieces of evidence!) and Jenn @ A Traveling Wife
To be fair, I think Jenn's peace sign is totally appropriate while running a 5K, 
and she's pretty, so I'll keep the photo there. :)

My BFF, my cousin, and my buddy.
Names have been omitted to protect the innocent guilty. ;)

Morals of the story:
1.) No matter how attractive you are, the duck face never looks good.
2.) The duck face is universally lame. (Those photos hail from the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.)
3.) The "duck face + peace sign" is super lame.

Getting these photos by tweet, text, and Facebook photo tag had me laughing all afternoon yesterday. Thanks, guys!

Next time, I'm going to tell everyone that throwing $100 bills at me makes me laugh.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Distance Education and How I Survive It

You may not know this, but my MBA program is a distance program. I spent a lot of time researching accredited MBA distance programs, because a) I didn't want to get my MBA unless it was credible and recognized (of course!), and b) I still needed to work full-time. Making special arrangements to leave work early on class days and fight traffic to the nearest program I liked (which was an hour away) was not an option.

Distance education wasn't popular when I was an undergrad, so I didn't really understand how it worked. Also, I am a visual learner, and I love classroom settings, so I was slightly apprehensive when I applied to this program. Holding myself accountable would take on new meaning if I didn't have class meetings to attend. Doing distance education is much more suited to self-directed learners, but I don't think it is exclusively for them. Like many other things in school like standardized tests or chemistry, it may just take extra work, especially at the graduate level.

I eased in by taking one class last term, and now I'm doing two per term for the rest of the program (two years). In a nutshell, here are:

My Tips for Surviving Distance Education

1.) As you start each class, carefully review the syllabus and get to know the class format. Even though all my classes are conducted through BlackBoard, my professors use different forums and have different expectations for contributions and deadlines.

2.) Create a study schedule that fits your life. Block school time out of your schedule as if you have to attend lecture. Make the schedule fit your life, so you can still do things you enjoy like going to the gym, yoga classes, church, etc. Mondays through Thursdays are my heavy study days so that I don't fall behind on discussions and group work. (Yes, there is still group work in distance education. It's a special kind of beast!)

3.) Perfect the art of undivided attention. Refrain from internet surfing! And playing with your pets! If you live with others, make it known when you're studying so they know to wait an hour before showing you "the most hilarious Harlem Shake video ever."

4.) Set specific goals for each study session. There is a lot of work every week, and every Monday the list looks overwhelming. Before you get started each night, set a goal. It could be as small as "finish reading these 40 pages" or as big as "make the outline for my final paper."

5.) Rent your books when you can. Hello, savings! I have rented from Campus Book Rentals for 1/3 of the price. I can highlight and write in the book, shipping is free both ways, and I have the option of buying the book at the end of the term if I want to keep it.

6.) Back up your files. For anyone who has ever accidentally deleted an entire paper, you know how important it is to consistently click "Save." Similarly, it would behoove you to back up your files regularly!

7.) Create a study space... or not. You can see my study space in the photo above. The desk is uncluttered (most of the time), I have a candle to cozy it up, and that part of the house is relatively quiet. It's a great little spot to have, but sometimes I study at the dining table, in bed, on the couch, or at Starbucks. Some people prefer to have one designated study space as a physical anchor of sorts, but changing it up can be a good idea too.

Have you considered distance education?
Do you have any questions? 
I'm still a newbie, but I'm happy to help if I can!

And although most wouldn't advocate this, I'm going to say it anyway. Sometimes, you just have to take the night off and not study at all. I mean, let's be real, people. :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Am a New Woman!

After ten days, our camping-at-home adventure has ended!

We have a stove and an oven.
We have a dryer.
We have heat (now that the 39-degree nights are over, of course).
We have full electricity.
We have hot water.

After ten days of washcloth-bathing, I took a hot shower yesterday. Steamy bliss filled the room (da-dum-bum!), I lathered and rinsed my hair like a boss, and all was right with the world. Afterward, I flung the glass shower door open, looked at Mr. TBS, and announced,

"I am a new woman!"

Truer words had never been spoken. Today is going to be a very good day. I hope your weekend was equally exhilarating.

UPDATE: I'm giggling to myself, because I realize that I could have also said "I'm a nude woman!" The fact that I find this so funny right now just proves that I'm deliriously tired. Hello, Monday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Color Me Emerald

Dress: c/o eShakti // Shoes: ALDO // Clutch: NY & Co. // Sweater (below): Macy's //
Earrings: Francesca's Collection // Cuff: gifted // White stone bracelet: Neon & Nude by Jenna //
Necklace & Sunglasses: Target

Five things about the color emerald and me: 

1.) Emerald is Pantone's Color of the 2013.

2.) If I didn't have a sapphire wedding ring, my second choice would be an emerald.

3.) I have no idea what this blog's name would be if I had an emerald wedding ring.

4.) I didn't have any emerald in my wardrobe before eShakti sent me their Trellis Pleat Knit Dress, and my wallet fears that they started a domino effect. I love the color, especially with mustard yellow. (This should put me in good standing as a woman who married into Green Bay Packer fanship.) I loved my first eShakti dress, and the love affair continues. This is a comfy weekend dress, but the bodice design adds a bit of flair and dresses it up. Oh, and I love a dress with pockets! I selected an alternative dress length and submitted my personal measurements, and the dress is perfectly me! I should try to convince them to put "Size Lindsay" or "Size Awesome" on the tag of my next dress.

5.) Use the discount code TRLBYSPPHR84 at and get $25 off. Code expires 3/25/2013.

** eShakti sent this dress to me to review. All opinions are my own. As you can see, this dress is freakin' awesome.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Camping at Home

This weekend was quite an adventure... if being without all things that require heat sounds like an adventure! At 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the electricity in our place went haywire, scared the bejeebers out of us, and then left us with dismal power. Our house is working off of about 50% of the wattage we need! We have to manually open and close the garage door, and things like a fan run at half speed. The biggest obstacle is that anything that requires heat can't be supported. No heater, no stove, no oven, and no hot water. No hot water!

We are using our neighbor's immersion water heater to fill a large pot with water which we then use in the shower with a cup and a washcloth. I probably look ridiculous when I wash my hair too. I turn on the cold shower, stand at the edge of the shower steam, and then do a half back bend to rinse only my hair and keep my body as dry as possible. Talk about attractive. Reason #107 why flexibility is important.

Wish us luck on our at-home camping trip. We hope it will be over by Thursday, but there are no guarantees. Yikes. Be careful what you wish for. My husband and I want to live off the grid, but we would like to be able to plan for it first. I like camping, but I do not like camping at home.

Y'all, giving yourself a sponge bath sucks a whole freakin' lot. It's cold even with hot water! To the people of the world who have had fantasies of a sexy nurse giving you a sponge bath, sponge baths suck. Sorry. I'm just the messenger.

Friday, March 8, 2013

You've Been Heard! (Follow-Up to "Maiden Name" Post)

Your responses to last week's "Can I Take My Maiden Name Back?" post are, in a word, awesome. When you put something out there that defies tradition and the norm and then proceed to solicit feedback, there is no telling what will come back to you. Fortunately for me, all of you laced your comments with tact. Thank you! Here is a brief overview:

* * * * * * * * * *

8 of you were/are excited to take your husband's last name

6 of you never questioned taking your husband's last name

6 of you felt/feel conflicted about changing your last name

7 of you kept/plan to keep your maiden mane

1 of you hyphenated your last name

1 of you has never thought about it

3 of you made your maiden name your middle name

3 of you didn't express your opinion but said "Do whatever works for you!"

* * * * * * * * * *

Although there is a wide range of views, I sensed that most people agree that the only "right" way is for each couple to do what is "right" for them, and that makes me happy. I did get a few questions, too, so I thought I'd answer all here:

You're this far into your marriage, so why does it matter now?
1.) It matters to me. I'm very close with my family.
2.) My husband has no ties to his biological father and is indifferent about carrying on the name.
3.) See answer to next question.

Would the headache be worth it?
My cousin's family of five changed their last name to my maiden name in honor of the family, and they are so happy they made the switch. Additionally, my best friend's mom took back her maiden name years after having children. I think that if it is important to the person, the headache is worth it.

Did you consider making your maiden name your middle name?
I didn't want to part with my middle name either, because I'm named after my mom, so my maiden name is a second middle name. (Evidently, I just like complicating things.) Second middle names/initials are not permitted on IDs and credit cards, so it doesn't much matter.

Did you consider hyphenating your name?
We wouldn't want to hyphenate our names, but we've joked about splicing our names! I think one version is really beautiful and the other is silly. If you've Skyped with me, you know the silly one. :)

All in all, thank you for every comment, message, and tweet about this! I love that blogging gives me the opportunity to engage in conversation with so many people, alike and different. Just remember: We're all different, so it only makes sense that our marriages will look different. Celebrate that!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I've Gone Coconuts for Desert Essence

** Desert Essence has no idea who I am. 
I have not been compensated for this post. This review is legit, y'all! **

I'm always on the hunt for the next magical beauty product. Aren't we all? For roughly the last year and a half, I have been gradually making my life more eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and health-conscious. The most difficult part of this process has been finding "clean" beauty products. Those are the products that go directly onto my skin, so you better believe I want to find some alternatives. But... those alternatives need to work too!

I've had some "green" disappointments, but it makes finding good products that much more exciting. After reading online product comparisons, chatting up Whole Foods employees, and checking out product reviews, I bought Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner six months ago. Not only did I love them, but I bought more of their coconut line. I am an official convert!

Also, I know that people fear the "V" word, but it is worth noting here. These products are not tested on animals. (I really wish American would get on board with Europe's ban on animal testing.) And these products are vegan! <-- There. I said it. Double-win in my book.

I now buy these products for about 40% off through Vitacost. (Full disclosure: This is a referral link. If you sign up, you get $10 off your first purchase, and I get $10 toward my next Vitacost purchase. I'm all about the double-wins in today's post, guys!)

Ready for the Desert Essence product reviews?

Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner: I absolutely love the shampoos from LUSH, but I get the exact same results for half the price. Plus, these products are easier to work into my thick, frizzy hair.

Coconut Body Wash: I just got this body wash this week, and I love it! It would be best used with a washcloth or a loofah. It is silky smooth, and it leaves my sensitive skin clean without leaving that dry, skidding feeling. (Does that makes sense?)

Coconut Hand & Body Lotion: A vegan lotion that works and lasts?! Oh, yes, my friends! It exists! I am a lotion fiend, and I'm so happy with this product. It moisturizes my dry skin without feeling greasy. There is nothing worse than putting clothes on when you feel slick from lotion! My husband loathes the greasiness of lotions, but guess what? He has no problem putting this one on his winter-kissed hands.

The one catch is that the scent is a bit more piƱa colada than coconut. I love it, but it's something for others to keep in mind.

Coconut Hair Defrizzer and Heat Protector: I need to be better about using this. I always forget in my morning stupor before straightening my hair. My hair is really coarse and frizzy, and this definitely helps. It comes out in a really fine mist which distributes more evenly and prevents the overuse and heaviness that I have to be cautious about with other shine/defrizzer products.

The one catch is that you really need to use this in an open space. Since the mist is so fine, it lingers in the air a bit longer. I once made the mistake of taking a deep breath after spraying, and that did not feel good.

Thoroughly Clean Face Wash with Eco Harvest Tea Tree Oil and Sea Kelp (Not currently listed on the DE website, so this is a Vitacost link): This is a really gentle face wash. I don't sensitive skin with no acne or heavy oils, and it works wonderfully for me. I'll see how it holds up against Houston's humidity and heat which will be kicking up within the next month.

* * * * * * * * * *

Give them a try. Let's me know if you have questions. I love talking about green products that I love. Just ask Gesci who picked my brain about my Crystal Deodorant review!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why People Who Are Type A Should Never Design Tattoos

I used to love tattoos. (I still like them to some extent.) I've gone with friends to hang out while they get tattoos. It’s fun to watch, but I am not a tattoo kind of gal myself.

Over the weekend, I had a dream that I got a tattoo, but I couldn't remember how I got it. You can imagine the terror I felt when I realized I had a tattoo on my back. Scratch that. On my entire back. And it was the most ridiculously ugly tattoo there ever was. Even in my dreams, my mind couldn't come up with a better design.

I frantically thought about how I could hide it until I had laser removal which would have taken 50 sessions, I'm sure.  

This is what it looked like: 

A Visual - Why People Who Are Type A Should Never Design Tattoos

This is why people who are Type A should never design tattoos.

Also, in the words of Emily from The Devil Wears Prada: “I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.” But who needs the stomach flu when you can get food poisoning instead? Oh, joy! If there is anything worse than a person with food poisoning, it’s two people with food poisoning. It's been a less than glamorous Monday in this house.

Hello, goal weight! Winking smile

Friday, March 1, 2013

Can I Take My Maiden Name Back?

I took my husband's last name when we got married, but can I take my maiden name back?

The families I grew up around followed the traditional practice of the woman taking the man's last name, and those women seemed happy to do so. I never suspected that I wouldn't follow suit.

Before you start casting stones and raving about how I've betrayed my husband, you should know that he doesn't care what my last name is. In fact, for years he offered to take my last name. We talked about it again recently, though no decisions about changing last names have been made.

At the beginning of our relationship, we had 3,000 miles between us. As inconvenient as it was, our communication thrived because of it. Because we took a total leap of faith to start a relationship that way, we talked about what relationships meant to us and what we wanted ours to be. Relationships look different for every couple, because each couple builds their love in whatever way fits them best. Although it seems like such a minor detail, we agreed that I should keep my last name if that was what I wanted. I love my maiden name, I am incredibly close with my family, and I don't think keeping my maiden name means I love or respect him any less.

Despite all our discussions, I took his name. We planned our wedding with little time, and in that time, I wondered: Am I doing it just to be different? Will this complicate things later? Will people hound me with questions about it? Did he really mean it when he said he'd take my last name? We were juggling so many things at the time, so we never had the final talk about it.

I think marriage is about a mutual commitment, learning together, and having independent lives that run parallel and bring out the best in each other. Having the same last name isn't a requirement for marital "success." Women keep their last names for sentimental, professional, and feminist reasons. Or as seems to be the case for Gaby at This Little Port, it was normal for her family.

But sometimes I forget that many men don't feel as relaxed about the issue as my husband or THESE seven male celebrities. At the end of the day, the "right" choice is whatever works for you and your love. Although my opinion can't be swayed, I'm curious to know what you guys think.

Which camp do you fall under? 
Opposed? Agreed? Apathetic?
For yourself or for all women?

P.S. If I wanted to pull the Feminist card, I would rant about the fact that it is more difficult and more expensive ($400!) for men to change their names, but I'm not going to do that today. :)

**UPDATE: Based on a few comments I've received, I'm not sure that it was clear that in our recent discussions, I decided that I would only take my maiden name back if he also took my last name. We would still have the same last name. (I'm not sure if that makes a difference or if it makes it less complicated for others.)