Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just a Little Different

My mother gave me a bracelet last time I saw her. I believe she said one of her friends either made it or gave it to her. She said it was just a bit too much for her. I adore the color blue and am always looking for fun new jewelry, so I took it.

Today I wore it for the first time. It's a chunky statement piece and kind of unique.  I was absently staring at it during work today and noticed an odd bead on it. I looked closer to see if it was what I thought.

Yup. It's a fist. A beaded fist on my bracelet. Not something you see every day. Hm.

I think I'm going to go with the notion that it's there to give me encouragement. A tiny fist bump whenever I need it!

Does your mother give you weird things? Please say yes. :) 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Be Grateful

Do you ever look at your house and see it through different eyes?  Living in the midst of it, I get used to how everything looks and expect it to look that way.  But sometimes, just every once in a while, I see it how I think other people might see it. 

Sometimes I figure they think its cute and quaint (read: small), but sometimes I see they must be looking at the mess and all the things wrong with it.

I see the the weeds that have sprung up all over the yard.  I see the porch full of things that just need to be put away.  I see the crowded house full of stuff and the kitchen that looks like it's in the middle of a remodel (but isn't).  Suddenly, the "mess" that I've lived with for weeks becomes apparent to me and I'm embarrassed that my house doesn't look put together and perfectly spotless like a show house.

Sometimes I see these thing and suddenly I'm not content with this piece of my life anymore.  I'm depressed that my house isn't showroom quality and my yard isn't perfect.

And then I remember to just be grateful.

The yard full of weeds is still more full of grass and some really beautiful plants.  The porch is my favorite place to sit and watch the hummingbirds and to sip my coffee.  The house full of 'mess' is a major blessing.  I have things! So many people do not have a roof over their head or a closet overflowing with colorful clothes or an old couch to curl up on and read a book.  And those showroom houses?  Do people actually live in them?  Are there cats who cuddle up on the recliner and guys who walk trapse dirt and grass in because they just finished mowing and want to put food on the grill for dinner?  I'm lucky!  My house is lived in and it is full of life!

Sure, my life isn't perfect and neither is my house.  But it is mine and it is full of wonderful things, including memories and above all love.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How it happened...

How We Got Engaged

On the sunset...

It's true. It's cliche. But it really did happen that way.

Scott and Rachel were in Gulf Shores, Alabama for a family vacation with the Probsts. Their beach house was mere feet from the ocean. They went parasailing, deep sea fishing, and lounged in the surf and sun for hours on end. On the evening of May 24th, everyone dressed in white shirts and khaki bottoms for family photos on the beach. After taking various group shots, the group decided to move closer to water. It was suggested that each couple take turns walking down the beach and someone would take a photo of them from behind.

Scott and Rachel started walking away from everyone to get their photo taken. When one of the family yelled they got it, Rachel turned around to return to the group. Scott grabbed her hand and she turned around to find him on one knee asking if she would marry him.

She replied, "You said you weren't going to do this on vacation!"

He snickered and asked again. She said yes.

They hope to live happily ever after!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Story of Us

*This was actually written for my wedding website last spring, but I liked it and want to share it again!
About Rachel

Rachel was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She attended Abraham Lincoln High School (Go Lynx!) and participated in band, flags, tennis, swimming and yearbook. As the time came to figure out where to go for college, she declared she wanted to go somewhere far enough away she "couldn't go home every weekend, but could easily make the drive if she wanted." After narrowing it down, she chose Bradley University inPeoria, Illinois. After testing out many majors, she settled with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and one in Communication: Advertising. With full intentions on moving to Colorado after she graduated, Rachel inevitably accepted a job in Peoria, and "just never left."

In 2007, Rachel bought a house in Creve Coeur, IL. It was a small house that needed a lot of cosmetic changes, but Rachel was excited to get to work. Five years later, there is still work to be done (but isn't there always!), but she has made it into a comfortable home. She lives there with her fluffy, white dog Ellie and chubby cat Teeka.

Rachel is currently working at Belcan Engineering, where she is the Recruiting and HR Administrator. She assist the recruiters with - oh heck, she keeps the place running by planning, organizing and knowing who is where, when.

Some of Rachel's favorite things include cake, chocolate, a good glass of red wine, quiet Sunday mornings, reading, shopping, laughing with friends and rearranging rooms (she wanted to be an Interior Designer for thislong).

About Scott

Scott was born and raised in Teutopolis, Illinois. He attended Teutopolis High School (Go Wooden Shoes!) and participated in band, track & field and cross country. Scott followed in the footsteps of his father and went south to Southern Illinois University inCarbondale, Illinois. He started out with the intention to go into medicine, but somewhere along the way he could not ignore his true calling, and switched over to Television. With a personality like Scott's, it is surprising to find that he does not like to be in front of the camera, but rather the one in charge of the camera! Less than one week after graduating, Scott took a job in Peoria, Illinois and settled in with his good friend Josie on a quiet little street on the east bluff.

Scott currently works at WMBD 31, where he is a Photojournalist. He travels across the viewing area, capturing the news with his camera. He has done stories on everything from the latest homicide to feel good stories about good Samaritans to local sports coverage. He always has a good story to tell when he gets home from work (though sometimes he leaves out the gory details)!

Some of Scott's favorite things include reading, running, bacon, eating meat, eating other foods, telling stories, a good glass of whiskey, watching Da Bears, laughing with friends and family, and being the center of attention - well...maybe not...but he is one of the loudest people you'll meet!

How We Met

Once upon a time...

For the last 21 years in Peoria, the Peoria Jaycees have held Beerfest. This immense event lasts for two days and features hundreds of beers from all over the world for visitors to taste. You can only imagine how may volunteers it takes to put that event on! (This year's event is April 19 & 20 and is going to be AWESOME if you might happen to be in the area.)

Rachel became a member of the Peoria Jaycees after meeting some new friends at an event and telling them she wanted to get involved and meet new people. They sucked her happily into their world and she started attending/volunteering for various events. When Beerfest came up, she offered her assistance as a ticket seller and spent an evening meeting new people.

Scott got involved with the Peoria Jaycees after his coworker Mary asked him if he'd like to join them in St Patrick's Day parade. He hit it off with everyone there (in spite of knocking someone's tooth out - by accident!) and soon was participating in various activities. When Beerfest rolled around, he was more than excited to offer his help and ended up working security for the event.

But Scott and Rachel didn't meet that night at Beerfest...or at least don't recall. A few weeks later, the Beerfest committee threw a Volunteer Appreciation party for anyone who helped. Rachel showed up with her friends and Scott with his. Still being new to the group, Rachel strolled around mingling with the few she knew. She had met Mary on various occasions, so stopped to say hello. Soon other people were joining in on the conversation and wouldn't you know it, Scott was one of them. Mary casually introduced them and everyone continued chatting. (Side note...even though the party was for "Beerfest" and alcohol was served, neither Rachel nor Scott consumed that fateful evening.)

After some time, Scott said he had to leave...he had a date that night. The group teased Scott about "who this girl was" and "where he was taking her." He didn't have a plan yet, he said. After a short time, he said his goodbyes and left.

About 20 minutes later Scott returned. She had ditched him, so he came back to the party.

He and Rachel continued talking in the same circle of people. They both laughed a lot that night. As the volunteer party was winding down, a group decided to go to "The Basketcase," a local karaoke bar. Scott said he was meeting his friends from work there and Rachel and her group of friends decided to tag along. The group of them had a good time at the bar, drinking, singing and making fun of people. Finally it was time to go. They all piled out around the same time and said goodbye and everyone parted ways.

The next morning Scott began calling around for Rachel's number. He called Mary, who called Steph, who told Nadine, who called Val......Word got back to Rachel that "someone" was asking for her number and she got a little nervous and excited. She hoped it was Scott who wanted that number.

Finally, two days later, Scott called Rachel and since then, they have not gone more than 24 hours without talking.

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's a Cute Shoe Kind of Week

Sometimes getting dressed is overwhelming to me.

Have I mentioned I am not a morning person?   

I try to figure out what I'm going to wear the night before, but it doesn't always happen. And sometimes I'll decide on something at night and in the morning I look at it and am disgusted with it. I know. I have issues.

On Monday morning I was staring at my closet trying to decide what to wear and declared that choosing pants AND a shirt was too much, so I went for the easy option: a dress.  I love me a dress.  It is one simple piece and I don't have to think too hard. I picked out a comfortable and cute dress and decided that I needed to wear my nude heels with it.

Side note here: I work in a very casual office.  Half the staff wears khaki pants and the other half jeans.  Usually, I follow suit and wear casual pants and ballet flats.  So when I wear a dress, even a casual maxi, I stand out a bit. 

But I decided I would dress up.  Plus I had to perform our orientation for new hires on Monday, so I wanted to put on a good front for myself and the company.

Then on Tuesday I decided I would wear my new salmon blazer.  I love the color!  And then I thought, I'm gonna wear my new pretty heels!  And at that point, I declared that it would be shoe week! Everyday this week, I would wear a fun pair of shoes that have gotten lost in the depths of my closet and the recesses of the basement (where my overstock is stored). I love a good bargain shoe and have a stack of amazing heels that I have paid less then $20 each for.  Most of the time, they stay in their box, hidden away since I've stuck with mainly flats. But not this week!  This week, they will be front and center of what I wear!

Monday: Classic Nude Heels
Found the receipt in the box...they were $20.99!

Tuesday: Coral Cute Outs
Got these this winter on clearance.  The receipt said $10.99!

Wednesday: Sassy Pink Sparkles
I got these the day before my wedding with another pair.  I couldn't decide which to wear down the aisle.  I chose the others...they were a blue/teal ballet flat. But this pair was only $15!

Thursday: Strappy Leather Sandals
I can't remember when I bought these but I remember LOVING them.  They made me feel sassy!  

Friday: Sunny Sparkles
I also bought these thinking they might be good wedding shoes, but they did not go with the dress at all!  But they were clearance shoes so I couldn't return them, so I decided to just wear them!

Ohhh, I love shoes!  Because I went digging through the shoes I don't wear often and brought them all into my room, it currently looks like Macy's shoe department after a busy Saturday sale.  Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Be Positive


Nope, I take that back.

You should always surround yourself with positivity.  Sure, it isn't easy, but do your best.  

Over the last few years I have really come to understand that removing the negative people from your life and surrounding yourself with positive people can really make a difference. I'm not sure if I just didn't notice when I was younger, or I just wasn't friends with Negative Nancy then, but something in the last few years has caught my attention. I'm not saying that I can only be around people who are happy all the time, but people with a positive outlook makes a difference!  I realized that being around unhappy people started making me unhappy.  If they're putting everyone else down, they're probably putting me down too!  Their crabbiness rubbed off on me. 


It is exhausting: being cranky and crabby.  I always feel like once I start going down that path, it is so easy to just keep going that way. Getting out of that funk and finding the positive takes some work, but man, I realized it is so worth it! It starts with getting away from the people who keep you down and finding people who have that positive attitude. Their attitude starts to rub off and you start feeling better pretty quickly.  And when you feel better, you find more things that make you happy, which improves your mood. 

See above.  

 Surrounding myself with a good group of friends and coworkers though has helped me become a better person.  Not just to others, but to myself.  I feel better and I do better.  

There's no magic spell to do it, you just have to find those people who make you feel good and make you happy and gravitate toward them.  Spend more time with them and less time with people who leave you feeling empty. Need to find more? Try finding a volunteer group; their members are usually focused more on helping then putting people down.  Whoever it is, just remember, surround yourself with people who make you happy as it will make you happy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Best Day Ever

Did you know yesterday was National Ice Cream Day?  I could have sworn there was one earlier in the year, but apparently not...apparently I made the other one up.  Can you blame me?  But seriously, it was National Ice Cream Day!  I made the husband take me out for some...really had to twist his arm too! 
What I didn't tell him was that I had actually purchased some Klondike bars earlier in the day! Ha!  But they are sitting comfortably in our freezer, waiting for me to come home and devour them!
I am an ice cream freak.  Especially when it gets warm outside.  I would be happy to eat it every day.  And then I start thinking of all the calories and fat and bad stuff.  On those days I buy sherbert or lemon ice.  Seriously. I'm addicted.


Off the shelf: Ben & Jerry's Phish Food
Oh my goodness! The chocolate ice cream is amazing, the swirls of caramel and marshmallow add dimension and the chocolate fish make for a delightful crunch! I'm drooling just thinking about it!

Best Fast Food Ice Cream: Culver's Chocolate Frozen Custard
I know, it's not really ice cream, but its darn close!  Oh, the smooth texture of their frozen custard is amazing.  I know they have a million flavors, but I like to keep it simple with the chocolate base and a scoop of crushed Heath on top.  Mmmmm.

Sherbert/Sorbet: Kroger's Private Selection Pomegranate Acai & Blueberry Sorbetto
I am not a fan of super sweet stuff. I really like this Sorbet because it is cold and delicious and has just the right amount of sweetness.  If you like sweeter stuff, their Strawberry flavor is pretty good too.  It's about half the price and half the calories and still satisfies my cold craving in the summer, so I try to have a carton or two in the fridge during this time of year!

I'm pretty lucky that I live in a town that apparently really likes ice cream too!  There are a ton of local places that have delicious options!  If you want a creamy and yummy homemade flavor, check out the Spotted Cow!  If you want a large serving mixed with a variety of treats, check out the Ice Cream Shack (it may be in the ghetto, but as long as you go during the day, you're fine!)! Theo's and Emo's are great neighborhood shacks where you can't go wrong with a twist dip cone!  Emack & Bolio's opened a new location near my work and I have yet to visit...need to fix that!  In addition, there is this fantastic little Mexican ice creamery Las Delicias that has unique flavors and fresh made ice cream bars in all sorts of flavors!

Mmmm!  All this writing about ice cream has made me hungry!  I'm going to have to eat some now.  Would it be wrong to stop and get some on the way home when I have Klondike bars in the freezer?