Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer Days (and a Giveaway!)

Tank top, belt: Target
Shorts: American Eagle (circa 2004 - no joke)
Sunglasses, wrap (LC Lauren Conrad Collection), sandals: Kohl's
Hair clip (Enchanting Copper Rose design): c/o Lilla Rose

Can we talk about how amazing Knoxville's weather is compared to Houston's weather? Good God almighty! The day we left San Diego two years ago, we boarded a plane wrapped in 73-degree sunshine, and three hours later, Houston gave us a grand initiation of 103 degrees with strangling humidity. This weather is a sweet reward after Houston beat us down for two years. The air is more forgiving, and 90 is considered blazing hot. While most in the blog world seem to be pining for fall, I'm enjoying the end of these summer days.

Helping me tame some frizz and keep this long mane under control is that pretty Lilla Rose flexi clip you see up there which was sent to me by Katrina Burbank, an independent Lilla Rose consultant. Easy (and quick) to use, lovely designs, and does the job well. I was sold! I love my long hair, but it is rarely styled. I flat iron it or curl it, but it's always hangin' down like spaghetti. I've been rockin' the flexi clip for two weeks, because I instantly feel more put together.

Don't know much about Lilla Rose flexi clips? Here you go:

Sign up to access the store.

Sizing & Styling Videos 
It is very important to watch the sizing video.
You may exchange your clip for the correct size for free within 90 days.
I have thick, coarse hair, and I am wearing an XS for a half-up 'do.


Katrina is giving away two Lilla Rose certificates, redeemable for a flexi clip of the winner's choice, valued up to $16 each! Get those entries in! Good luck!

NOTE: Giveaway open to U.S. residents who are new to Lilla Rose.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lindsay Lately

I thoroughly enjoyed my last week at home. I know I haven't blogged as often since we moved to Knoxville, but I'm getting back on the wagon, now that I'll have a regular routine again. A bit of life lately:

1.) Cream cheese croissants. So bad yet so good.

2.) Thrifting. Do it. Whoever first said that one man's junk is another man's treasure was so, so right.

3.) Unfortunately, the $1,900 price tag on this beautiful piano kept me from taking it home.

4.) I'd like to build a house on this pretty little piece of land. New favorite hobbies include all things home-related: HGTV, looking at homes for sale, browsing Pinterest for kitchen designs, driving by lots for sale (preferably with a mountain view), and discussing home ideas with my husband on repeat.

5.) We found good Mexican eats to add to our list of neighborhood restaurants!

6.) Boone wants to do a boudoir photo shoot. My mommy heart practically shattered. They grow up so fast... ;)

7.) Yesterday was my first (great!) day at my new job, and it was my nephew's first day of "school!" 'Twas a big day for the family.

I'm out of the loop. What's new with you?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Housewife Days Are Over (For Now)!

Job Offer Day Lunch
Preemptive celebratory lunch, unbeknownst to us.

It has been an eventful and exciting week over here! So much happened in so little time, so I spent this weekend doing nothing but lazing about the house, watching movies and HGTV, and spending way too much time in a thrift shop I stumbled upon. In a way, this weekend was my last hurrah of housewifery.

I seriously pursued job hunting about one week after we arrived in Knoxville. Since I milked every last minute of my last job, I put off any serious thought of getting a new job. My final month in Houston revolved around work, school, house hunting, and packing – of course. Job hunting is exhausting, exciting, time-consuming, frustrating, and boring (as there is a lot of waiting and hoping).

This job hunt was particularly challenging, because I had a very specific job for which I was striving. I have wanted to work in long term care (skilled nursing facility, assisted living, retirement home, etc.) for about a year, and I have been reminded many times that it is a difficult field to break into… but I am not so easily deterred! Once I ventured into the depths of internet job postings, I had accepted that I would need to fight my way to get a front desk position just to get my foot in the door. I am new to the field, and I have no connections in Knoxville. (People, never underestimate the importance of networking in life.)

Additionally, job hunting requires marketing yourself, and that can be difficult! On one hand, you’re expected to present your best self and pump your own tires. On the other, you need to remain humble and genuine. Having a successful interview is a skill that requires preparation. Even when I am confident that I am a strong candidate for a job, I remember that interviews are about more than just skills and accomplishments; interviews are about connection, fit, and mutual benefit.

To top it all off, this job hunt was challenging, because news alert: Being a housewife is so not my jam. Hear me out before you get all judgey-pants on me. There is a lot to say about partners who establish and manage the home. People who feel passionately about doing that definitely turn a house into a home which is a huge contribution to a family of any size. Partners who are afforded the opportunity to be a stay-at-home parent are such a gift to their children. Over the last month, I have learned that I am not interested in staying home at this stage in my life and career. I feel like I still have so much to give! I feel like I am just beginning my “what I want to be when I grow up” path. I feel like my personal successes bring so much good to my marriage, and I want to continue that.

** Also, I know I have watched one too many episodes of “The Hills.” Am I 23 again?!

Despite the stress and challenges of job hunting, I am so excited to tell you that I landed my current dream job! Next Monday, I start my new position as a sales manager for a wonderful assisted living community. I cannot wait to get started! I am still in awe about how this job offer unfolded. More on that later.

Here’s to my last week as a housewife (for now)!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom's Birthday
Mom, you make grandmotherhood, motherhood, and aging look so fabulous!

Knowing that I always have you on my side makes life so much sweeter. Thank you for always protecting our family with the fierce heart of a lioness and encouraging us with the spark and energy of a thousand storms. You are a visionary, and you have taught me that there are no limits to breaking the mold, creating your own path, and using your talents in ways that you couldn’t have imagined twenty-five years ago. You will always be my favorite flight attendant, hair accessory designer, youth theatre organizer, PTA president/committee chair, librarian (with the most creative Harry Potter den!), international tour guide, and of course, mom.

I love you so much! Happy birthday, Mom!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Surprise Visitor

Wasp Sting 02
All right. It’s time to tell you about the surprise visitor that showed up on Monday. Unfortunately, it was a tiny visitor that was sneaky and unwelcome. If you look at the photo (of the inside of a light fixture) above closely, you’ll see it trying to hide. That, my friends, is a wasp.

I should warn you now that the original title of this post was “A Surprise Visitor… Up My Dress,” but I quickly recognized the sexual innuendo, and obviously, I am no aspiring E. L. James. With a title like that, you can probably guess what happened.

After I took photos in my favorite dress, I walked back into my house. I had just run errands, so I spent a few minutes organizing things in the office and compiling everything I needed for the DMV later in the week. I walked to my bedroom to change into some comfy sweats. Boone was curled up on the bed, so I snuggled him a bit and kissed him on the head. As I walked toward our closet, there was a stabbing pain on the back of my right leg.

In crisis situations, the mind works at the speed of light. You have never seen someone rip her clothes off so quickly! I stood there in my skivvies – body frozen, eyes darting around the room, and ears perked. Oh, the expletives were spilling from my lips! Boone and Amelie were soon in the doorway with their attention to the ceiling, so I knew the culprit was winged. I grabbed a mirror to get a better look at the back of my leg and ran my fingernail over the wound site to remove the stinger, but I couldn’t find one.

Wasp Sting 01
I turned to our trusty bite & sting kit, and boy, did it help! The extractor was pulling venom out immediately. The pain would return intermittently like miniature electric shocks while I texted my husband with declarations that a bee stung me. No, wait! A wasp! I saw it fly into the light fixture. I was armed with Tupperware (to attempt a catch-and-release) and one of my husband’s shoes (to kill it if I started to flip out in the process of catching it). I readied myself for battle with thick socks, sweat pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, and jeans wrapped around my neck. I wanted a thick layer around my neck!

Wasp Sting 03

Wasp Sting 04

I laid on the floor with my sweatpants around my knees, the extractor sucking the sweet life out of my skin, and my leg elevated. I waited for my attacker to show itself again, but it never did. It seemed to have chosen the light fixture as its grave. I secured a plastic bag over the fixture with yarn to trap it.

What started out as a bad sting morphed into an insufferable migraine and mild nausea for the rest of the night. I assumed I wasn’t allergic since I had no trouble breathing and my skin wasn’t overtaken by hives, so I committed myself to bed.

The sting was nothing more than an itch 48 hours later, but I have learned how hazardous outdoor photo shoots in the country can be. I am almost positive that the wasp clung to my dress when I was outside, and then the stowaway stung me when I grabbed my dress to pull it over my head. ”Case of the Mondays” doesn’t even begin to explain that mess.

Are these dangers kept secret among fashion bloggers, or did I just get lucky? ;)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Special Dress That Got Me on the Band Wagon

Maxi Dress 01 Sunglasses
Maxi Dress 02 Salt Water Sandals
Maxi Dress 03 Walking
Maxi Dress 04
Dress & belt: Kohl’s
Sunglasses & necklace: Target
Sandals: Salt Water via Mod Cloth

I’m more than a little late for the maxi dress band wagon. Too much fabric swallows me whole, many maxis look like muumuus, and a dress without a definitive waist makes me look like a kid playing dress up in mommy’s clothes. With so many deterrents, it would take a special maxi dress to lure me in: floor-length, belted, and fun fabric. What do you know? That special dress walked out of Kohl’s with me for just $24.99.

I wore it once in San Diego, and then I started to wonder if I’d ever wear it again. S (Oooooh! Look! I used Mr. TBS’ first initial.) and I are pretty casual, and we rarely get dressed up. But here is the truth about dresses: They’re the easiest outfits to pick and wear. I would wear dresses every day of the year, if I had the bank account to support that kind of habit. If I happen to look nicer than “casual,” so be it.

And that’s what I did on Monday. I wore my maxi dress… to go to the bank, FedEx, and the grocery store. I felt equally comfortable and fabulous. I accept that I looked very “San Diego” in this very non-beachy small town. (If I’m being really honest, I’ll tell you that it’s not the dress that makes me stand out. I am an Asian/Pacific Islander in Knoxville. Last week, a stranger at the grocery store asked me, “What are you?” A human being. But that’s a conversation for another time!) I love this dress.

What you don’t see in these photos is the surprise visitor that showed up afterward. More on that next time!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Have you ever lost loved ones?
Were they wise with years with time to say farewell?
Were they fighting an uphill battle of illness?
Were they too young to die?

Do you ever get signs from them?

Last week, I got a Facebook message from Matt’s mom. She shared a post she wrote about a sign she received from her son.

Okay, so check this out. I am selling our van, and I put it on Craigslist at midnight on Sunday. By 9:00 a.m., I got a buyer. This first caller said his name was Matt. Hmmm. Then he and his wife came to buy the van. Hold on, everyone. This get better. Her name was the same as Matt’s girlfriend. My husband said if that was not a sign from Matt, he doesn’t know what is. And then when they came to pick up the van, he looked just like Matt from the back. WOW.

I got goose bumps! Matt and I have common names, but the chance that this couple would contact Matt’s mom and that the guy would resemble Matt is not a coincidence. I believe in signs like this. Although I don’t talk about them, I get them too. A smell. A nickname he had for me. A catch phrase he would say. A song. A person. I’ve actually met someone that was every bit of Matt, down to his speech patterns.

Whether or not anyone else believes they are signs from Matt doesn’t matter to me. I guess that’s why I don’t talk about them. I just smile to myself and feel… good. Sometimes, it’s a little sad, because I wonder what he would have been like at age 20, 25, or 30, but mostly, I just feel loved. For as much as I keep those signs to myself, I love hearing about signs that others get. Especially today, the anniversary of his death, I love being reminded of how much other people loved him too.

The sign he gave his mom is really cool! I love stories like that.

So today, I raise a glass to you, Matt. We didn’t get to know you at ages 20, 25, or 30, but you are eternally a teenager. Eternally the sweet kid. Eternally a prankster. Eternally leaving a bread crumb trail of “I love you,” as you always did.

We love you, too, dude. Keep those signs comin’. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thoughts on Grad School, Pt. 2

1.) Try to spread out the courses that you know will make your head swim – unlike my fall term: Information Technology and Financial Reporting & Analysis.

2.) I’ll admit that every time I get my final grades, I want to put them on the fridge.

3.) Every once in awhile a student comes around that just makes you look good. You know the student I'm talking about. She’ll cite Wikipedia as a source, or he’ll say something that makes it glaringly obvious that he didn’t read the full text. To those students: Thanks for making the rest of us look so good. Also, get out of the program.

4.) Sometimes I wish my husband would act surprised that I get A’s in my classes. He smiles and says, “Of course, you did.” I’m over here thinking, Give me a high five or something. Get excited! At the same time, it’s nice that he has so much faith in me.

5.) I’ve come to realize that every single class will involve a group project.

6.) I think working in corporate social responsibility would be an awesome job.

7.) Things I love about school: Learning, case studies, discussions.

8.) Things I could do without: Writing papers, the inevitable “lazy group member.”

9.) I just remembered that I need to get a new library card, now that I’ve moved. (Writes “Get library card” on to-do list under “Get TN drivers license”)

10.) I wish I could go to school full-time and pound out the rest of this program. At the same time, it’s nice to have work and school to balance each other out. Well, I’m not doing either right now, but soon again! For now, my homework looks like this:

Current Homework

* * * * * * * * * *

A reader recently shared a neat interactive guide called The Great Grad School Debate. I wouldn’t consider it the decision-maker for school, but who doesn’t love an adult “Choose your own adventure” activity? :) Check it out if you've ever considered grad school.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Country Calf Buster

Exercise. It has taken form in some unique and entertaining trends over the years.
Buns of Steel
Thigh Master
Tae Bo
Billy’s Boot Camp
Shake Weight
Wii Fit
Cross Fit

Some were lasting, some not so much. Well, folks. You heard it here first. The newest work-out craze:

Country Calf Buster

Basically, you move in to a house with about an acre of grass that you maintain with a push mower, because $2,000 is a lot of money to spend on a riding mower for a property that you’re renting.

BOOM. You heard it here first!

On a more serious note, I have another interview today, and it’s for a job/company that I’m pretty pumped about. Please send good vibes! Happy Friday, y’all!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shared Experiences

Shared Experiences 03
I’ve been thinking a lot about how much our lives have changed in a very short period of time and how our life today is nothing like we could have imagined. I know everyone says that, but our marriage has truly been an adventure that no one could have predicted!

Each time we’ve moved, Mr. TBS has always remarked that he is so glad that the cats have each other. I like to think that we’re fluent in Meow, but spoiler alert: We’re not. When Tolly passed away, we adopted Boone soon after, because we didn’t want Amelie to be lonely. They warmed up to each other quickly, but they were never as affectionate as sibling kitties (like Lauren’s Milo and Otis). However, we’ve noticed that with each big event in our household, they’ve grown closer.

Packing and moving to a new house.
Watching wild animals roam outside the kitchen windows.
Being without power or A/C.
Visiting the vet.
Boone’s emergency vet visits.
Packing again.
** Choosing to squeeze into one carrier in the back seat for a 16-hour drive.
Discovering how fun it is to chase each other on hard wood floors.

From their point of view, there are a lot of unexplained, UFO-like things that have happened around them. Of course, they know they’re safe with us, but there is still the unknown. It’s like your best friend telling you to do something without saying why, and when you hesitate, she just says, “Trust me.” You think “okay” but still hope nothing embarrassing or bad happens, you know? Through these leaps of faith, the cats have become noticeably closer, and that makes us so happy.

And really, our marriage is different too. How could it not be? Our relationship is one big, shared experience. We speak the same sarcastic language. We’ve taken leaps of faith together. We’ve moved four times. We’ve laughed at and with each other. Ten years from now, these shared experiences will be memories, inside jokes, and lessons. Even when the unexpected strikes, we always come out on the other side. I guess that makes us a pretty kick-ass team.

** Also, I am grateful that one shared experience we can both do without is cuddling in bed. We have a California king-sized bed for a reason. Space, please! (And the award for most romantic wife goes to...)