Thursday, October 25, 2012

#21 a kick A*** recipe for a dinner dish, appetizer, and dessert

Every 20something single gal (actually, every MARRIED gal too) should have a declicious tried and true recipe she can rely on when cooking dinner, bringing an appetizer to a party (or tailgate) and a delicious dessert recipe.

Truth is, every 20something gal should probably know more than 3 recipes, but lets stick with knowing and mastering 3 classics first.  I don't fault single ladies (or even married ladies with no children) for not knowing too much in the kitchen. We work. We get home late. and cooking for one or two people is hard y'all.  So its easy to start cooking chicken breasts, lean cuisines, and making sandwiches. On a fancy night, spaghetti. Which is FINE AND DANDY most nights....

But, then what do you do when its your turn to host supper club? Or several dates in to a relationship, you want to cook for your MR? Or someone asks you to bring a cake to a baby shower?

Pick a few recipes and figure them out.  They don't have to be fancy, but they shouldn't be slice and bake cookies either.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Invite friends over and make a recipe. No one likes eating the same recipe 4 times in a row, so this will cut down on leftovers.

2. Make a dessert that you want to try or perfect, then take the rest of the cake to work.

3. Do a potluck with friends.  We have done a couple saturday brunches and all tried breakfast recipes.

4. Cut recipes in half.

5. Look for recipes with 5-10 ingredients. Enough to be tasty and not "out of a box" tasting but not too many to be overwhelming and expensive.

6. Realize that its ok if you're not Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray. But a few classic "go to"recipes" is a must at our age. 

7. Pinterest. Seriously, you can learn to cook from Pinterest Recipes!

My top 3 go to recipes??
1. Chili
2. Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
3. Cheese Straws

None are super complicated. None have more than 5-10 ingrediants.  All are well liked. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Words

I did not have time this morning for a proper blog post, so instead I leave you with some quotes. (I will catch up on my "Contentment in Singleness" series and my "31 things every 20something single gal should have" series....promise

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cheap Date #2: Mississippi State Fair

A couple weeks ago, the Mississippi State fair was in town.  It's not far from my neighborhood (2-3 miles) so Dave and I decided to make a fun date night out of the trip.  We were trying to follow the "cheap date" guidelines --$25 dollars or less (and we were barely over, so I am including it in the cheap date series!)  The fair is cash only (atm's on site) so we pooled the cash we had to head to the fair.

We went to the fair on a monday night so it wouldn't be super crowded.  It was a great time to go, plus it was really chilly which felt perfect for a fair visit!  I cooked us spaghetti and then we headed to the fair.  We parked a few blocks away so we could park for free, plus it was such a pretty view of all the lights when you walk down the hill to the fair!

Dave and me in front of the Ferris Wheel

Tickets to get in were five dollars a piece.  We then went immediately to the petting zoo.  We spent 1.00 on feed and fed the animals.

Next, we walked up and down the strip to see all the interesting food choices, games, side shows and rides.  It's always fun to stroll and hold hands!  I spent 75 cents seeing the smallest woman alive.  I thought she would be babydoll small but she wasn't. She was small, but I've seen smaller people on TLC specials.

Next we picked two rides each and bought tickets.  We chose to ride the ferris wheel and the skilift that goes across the fair.  (neither of us cared to ride the fast rides!)  The rides cost 7.50 per person for enough tickets to ride both, so 15 dollars total.

The Ski Lift

While riding the Ferris Wheel

After our rides, we decided to get free biscuits from the Kroger booth (I think it was the Jitney Jungle booth when I was a kid, but Jitney sold their stores)  They hand out free hot homemade biscuits with syrup squeezed inside them.  Delicious.  Traditional Fair food for NO MONEY.

Good Ole Southern Boy eating Biscuits

After one last look at the lights, I picked up one last treat - an icee for my sister.  We dropped it off at her place (a couple miles away) and we went home, watched our DVR'd "How I Met Your Mother" and "Partners" and curled up with some cocoa.

If we were to go again, I might only do one ride and use the remaining money to try some naughty fair food like fried oreos :) But because we ate dinner already, homemade biscuits were enough!

Date Location: MS State Fair
Total cost: $26.75 (10 tickets, 15 rides, 1 food for animals, .75 smallest lady on earth)
Rating: 9 (loved a fun night under the lights with my fav guy; for the record, also love a fun night at the fair with a group of friends!)

#20 A nice piece of jewelry

Essentially, every 20something girl should have a nice piece of jewelry, whether it is a lovely Yurman bracelet that she wears almost daily or a right hand ring.  Lovely jewelry is not just for those who were engagement and wedding bands and are given jewelry on anniversaries and birthdays and Christmases.

Save and buy your own jewelry.  We aren't talking about 2 Carot diamond pendants, but a nice set of pear earrings or an emerald ring is classic and dresses up both work and play outfits.  You can mix nice jewelry in with knockoffs, but if you have a decent job and places to go, invest in something small that makes you feel like a million bucks. 

I am in no way suggesting that you blow all your money on fancy gems, but just because your left hand doesn't sport a big diamond doesn't mean you don't deserve a little bling.

My suggestion: a set of pearl earrings, a pear neclace, or a yurman bracelet.

I probably only have 2-3 nice pieces of jewelry, but if I never get married, I plan on purchasing a piece every few years.  There is no reason to end up single and fifty, wearing Target jewelry because I waited for a man to buy it from me.

(1) Check out (jewelry tv) -- you can actually find good deals here. I'ev ordered a ring from there before.

(2) Mix in a Yurman with fakes until you can afford a few yurmans (this is what I am currently doing!)

(3)  a pearl ring will give you the most bang for your buck. You can find a decent one for under 200 and its class enough to wear to job interviews but glitzy enough to wear to a cocktail party

(4) If you are not a jewelry person, don't invest tons in jewelry, but have the few key pieces you can wear for years -- pearls, a nice ring, diamond stud earrings, etc.

Monday, October 22, 2012

#19: Non-marriage based goals.


I'm not going to lie.  Two of my biggest goals in life is to be a wife and mother.  However, clearly, I can't control these goals....well maybe I could adopt or have a child on my own.  And I certainly have tried to do what I can in the dating/relationship department.  BUT I learned early on that relational aspects of life don't happen on your timeline sometime.

I see so many single girls (encouraged by married folks and the church) make marriage and babies their only goals.  And I agree with making it a goal and doing all the things necessary to get there -- dating, improving your appearance, widening your social circles.  But, at the end of the day, it will happen when the Lord wants it to happen, even if you do everything right.

And, you know where that leaves you?? feeling like a failure.  You feel rejected for not being "picked" and like a failure for not meeting your "goals".

You have got to have other goals. Want to get a masters? Run a marathon? Go to greece? DO THESE THINGS.


I ran my first half marathon simply because I felt like I needed to achieve something. I hated my job.  I was new in town and only had a few friends (which both improved within the year)  I was barely dating (this also improved within the year, although I didn't meet mr right or anything like that!)  I needed a goal and I needed to feel like I actually accomplished something.  I needed control over something....and deciding to run a half marathon was something I could work for and control.  I could achieve that.  I liked having certainty.

So, pick some goals.  Do some of the things that singleness allows you the time to do.  Or, do some of those things you are waiting on marriage for: buying a house, investing, etc.

Friday, October 19, 2012

#18: a HEALTH and BEAUTY routine

#18: Every TwentySomething Single gal should have a health and beauty routine.

You don't have to have everything figured out yet....married or single.  You are in your twenties and your body will change.  Appearance -wise and health-wise.

You shouldn't be eating solely pizza and wings still. Either it will catch up with you weight-wise or it already has.  Or if not, its affecting you, just not your waistline.

In the past 5 years, I got the flu twice, mono so severe I was hospitalized, and a staff infection requiring hopsitalization. Ask me how often I got sick in high school and college....rarely.  I can't remember anything that severe, just stomach bugs and colds and viruses.  Our body is a little older and adjusting to working.  And honestly, the older you get, the more dangerous high fevers can be.

So, get in the habit of getting your flu shot.  Buy lotion for your face.  Start thinking about a facecare system, wrinkle cream, all that good stuff. For heaven's sake, wear sunscreen.

Do you take birth control? Do you plan on taking it when you get married? Maybe its time to start thinking about and figuring that out now (I have a friend who started right before she got married and spent most of her engagement sick before she realized that it was the BC making her sick, so it would be good to learn that now)

Do something that I have been horrible about (curse of being a DR's daughter and relying on him) - find dr's you like and trust.  Get yearly checkups.

Invest in good makeup.  And if you need it, quality hair or skin products.

Establish it now while you are in your prime -- late 20s and early 30s are when many women look their best (age hasn't caught up completely and they don't look like kids anymore!)  Once you have a housefull of munchkins, figuring out what eyecream works best will seem secondary.  Take advantage of singleness and do it now...

And seriously, people, get your flu shot (I am getting mine next wednesday)

Dave's Birthday and Recipe

Yesterday, my favorite guy turned 28!   Yesterday's post was sappy and told you how good he is to me and how much I adore him (all true).  Today I will just tell y'all about our fun evening out and share a recipe!

As I said yesterday, I snuck over to his house at 5 am and out a balloon, card and sweet treats in his car for his day at school.  Yesterday evening, Dave came over and I gave him his real birthday gift, a Keurig and some K-cups. (He will be the coolest cat in studio with his own personal coffee maker)

The birthday boy wanted to go out for wings for his birthday (Who am I dating??? I would have selected Walkers or Parlor Market or Bravo's -- this kid chooses wings??)  Actually, I had intended to take him out for steaks. Buffello Wild Wings started as a joke.  We tried to get BWW when watching the Auburn game a few weeks ago and it was a 90 minute wait, so we met our friends elsewhere instead.  Dave was dissapointed and I said, dont worry you can pick wings for your birthday dinner! (BWW is on the other side of town so thats why we never go, I'm not a mean gf that won't ever go ha, its just a 20+ minute drive in a direction we rarely go!)

And so that's how we ended up at BWW. And he loves wings so it was perfect. We invited his bff, Cole and Cole's wife Whitney to join us.  I had planned on making him a fancy cake and even looked up pinterest recipes but he requested Better Than Sex cake...which is basic and from a box but he loves it.  I did add a twist though...The topping is usually Butterfinger, I put reeses cups. (oh yeah, I'm so original.... :) !!)

 My Sweet Birthday Boy

Cole, Whitney, Dave, Me

With his "Better than Sex" Cake


1 Box of Devils Food Cake
1 container of Cool Whip (8 ounces)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 bottle of caramel syrup
a whole bunch of whatever candy you choose to use: heath bar, snickers, butterfinger, reeses, etc

1. Cook cake, poke holes in the top of the cake
2. mix caramel syrup and condensed milk and cover cake (note: more is better because it seeps into cake, I don't think I poured enough)
3. spread cool whip
4. place chopped up pieces of candy on top
5. Store in the fridge!

Despite being a box cake with whip cream topping, the cake is quite tasty. Never underestimate the deliciousness of 4 layers of unhealthiness!  My one complain is that the cake is cooked in a 9x13 pan so it doesn't present well.  Good thing, the birthday boy didn't care.

We then ended the night by curling up and watching Scandal (season 1) on netflix.  We recently found this show and its amazing. Go check it out.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

*So Blessed*

Although I am by no means secretive about my relationship, I try not to go on and on about Dave every post because I find that with relationships and children, people are usually happy for you but don't want to hear about it nonstop. A little is good, a lot is, well, annoying.

But, bear with me today because it's Dave's 28th  birthday so I must talk a bit about how great he is.

TODAY I AM THANKFUL FOR DAVE.  I truly think that significant other's and children's birthdays are almost more fun than your own...if you think about it, because Dave was born 28 years ago, my life is so much better. So, I love his birthday and the blessing he is in my life and others' lives !!

Dave is seriously one of the most gracious people I know.  He doesn't judge too easilly.  He understands and he is willing to lend a helping hand if someone needs help moving or building a shed, etc. He is one of those "manly man" type of guys, not super emotional (thank goodness, I have dated the overly emotional types before, and well, quite frankly, I want to be the one who gets to be girly and emotional!) - which is why seeing him be tender and sweet with his niece is so touching.  Likewise, when he is so concerned about caring for me, It means the world to me because I know thats not a side of him that everyone gets.

He is one of the hardest workers I know, fiercely loyal, and extremely passionate about what he believes and likes.  He is good to me, taking time  to do  the things I want, like working til midnight last night because he took a couple hours off to go the relationship series at church with me. :)

Most of all, Dave brings out better in me.  I'm such a girl, I gossip way too much, and I don't think I knew that til I dated Dave and now I catch myself all the time and am trying to do it less.  I'm more gracious and learning to be more flexible (I like plans and schedules!)  I'm less black and white and more open minded.  I appreciate things that I never did before.  Although we are a lot alike in many of the important ways -- strong belief system, importance placed on faith and family, we are also a lot different.  I see now why opposites attract, because it causes them to sharpen eachother.  Dave is definitely sharpening me.

And most importantly, Dave is just so fun. We have fun together.  My friend Chris told me that he's never seen me this happy...and its true, and I think most of that comes down to the fact that I am dating my best friend.  It's pretty easy to be happy (despite fights and tough times) when you genuinely have fun with the other person...because lets face it, life is rarely kisses and long heart talks, etc.  Its mostly running errrands and cooking dinner and going to the movies.  I can go to the grocery store with Dave and feel like we had a great date.  Having fun is key in a relationship, and Dave is fun!!

Anyways, I am lucky to be the girl he chose to be with.  Praying that his 28th year is the best yet!! (It includes graduation so thats for sure a big plus!) I've planned a fun day for him that I will tell yall about tomorrow, starting with a balloon, note and happy snuck into his car this morning (I knew where his spare key was kept!) 

SIDENOTE: Yankees, a "happy" is a southern term for a small gift....example: mom would go on vacation and bring us a "happy" home.  You might drop off some Christmas cookies by your neighbor's house...or a "happy".  You're welcome for your southern lesson.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cheap Date #1: Always say yes to Free Tickets

A few weeks ago, Dave and I went to "Zoo Party' to raise money for the local zoo.  That was not our original plan, but last minute, my sweet friend WC offered us two free tickets and we decided to take him up on the offer.

So two 50 dollar tickets for free....which included alcohol and food from local restaurants and dancing.  The event was fun -- I think it would have been a lot more fun if it wasn't on a weeknight because I would not have been so tired and we could have enjoyed the wine, beer and martini bar more.  But, the weather was nice and we enjoyed hanging out with WC and seeing other friends.  I used to go to more charity functions, but truth is, its pricy for two of us to go so I only go to a few events now.

While we were there, WC and Dave bought cigars.  I even had a puff.  Here are some pictures from the night....

My cute date

My Other cute date (for part of the night) and the supplier of our tickets

The plus of not paying for tickets is none of us felt like we had to get our money's worth.  WC left early and and we followed soonafter. We left early enough to go home, curl up and watch a couple episodes of tv on of both worlds: a night out and a night in.  If offered any more free tickets soon, I will for sure take advantage.

Date: Zoo Party, TV night
Location: Highland Village, Dave's house
Cost: $8 (cigar)
Fun on scale of 1 to 10: 7 (the event was only okay due to it being a weeknight, but it was free and the company was good!)

SO....say yes next time someone offers you a ticket to some event that may not be your usual scene. You might have fun :)

#16: Savings and #17 Budget

#16 & 17: Every single 20something should have savings and a budget.

This shouldn't be an area I am talking about because I am not super responsible in this area.  I don't have tons of savings. But I recently buckled down to start a decent budget, pay off any remaining nonschool debt (hello hospital bills and visa) and get some good savings established.  I don't go spend tons of money, but I am not always good about budgeting.  I stop spending if I don't have anything to spend, but thats not wise, I should have more saved up.  I spent over half my twenties in school which didn't give me a leg up on the financial planning and savings track....its hard to budget or save when you have very just learn to live off of that!

The good news is I can get ahead now and go into my 30s with some money put away and a good Budget.  Based on my little knowledge, here are my tips.

1. Don't get overwhelmed. Do things one step at a time.  You don't have to do everything recommended all at once! Do what works for you (IE a theory might be good but it may not work for you) Baby steps and small improvements.

2.  Write it down.  If I make a plan for what I need to pay in bills, groceries, etc, I tend to stick closely to it.

3. CASH.  I am still trying to get in this habbit, but using cash is a good idea for groceries, gas, clothes, etc.  Kindof like the Dave Ramsey method except forget the multiple envelope plan.  Just say I have x amount a week for groceries, eating out, gas, etc.  If I use it all on eating out, I cant buy groceries, etc.

4. Eat in more.  I have been doing this and saving money.  Also, use coupons, I saved 1/4 of my grocery bill a few weeks ago.  I am not an extreme couponer, but printing coupons out on my lunch break is totally worth an extra 25 dollars in savings!

5.  Splurge.  AKA, don't deprive yourself in order to have tons of savings.  Well, deprive yourself some, but what I mean is, don't think you can never have dinner out or a new pair of jeans.  Just like a super strict diet, you will easilly fall off that wagon.

6. Allow for emergencies.  Know that every now and again, you will need new tires or have to go to the doctor. I am awful at planning for that.  Also, you will have months where you have to buy a million birthday, wedding, etc gifts and get your hair cut and oil changed.  Some expenses aren't monthly, plan for those too.

7.  Read books, take a class.  Right now, Dave and I are taking an investing class.  I have no "financial skills" and thats okay, it helps to read and learn about it. Also talk to people who know. 

8. RELAX. Short of bankruptcy or 200,000 in debt, few things in your twenties can't be recovered from. I wish I had started saving more money earlier, but the truth is if I start now, I can still save a good amount.  Same with debt, if you are in debt or if you have school loans, you can pay this off.  Also, if you invested and yoru stocks dropped with the market, you're young and it has time to rebound.  (In investing class, we learned that there is a certain amount of riskyness allowed for younger investers because they have more time) The good news is that you aren't doomed.

9. automatic deposits and online bills -- serious this makes life so much easier.

10. Small savings tricks.  Dave and I have recently used coupons for restaurants (yes im that person).  Or, I want to start a workout jar where I put a dollar in every time I work out.  I won't miss a dollar and that money can be used for little extras like pedis or a new top every now and then.

As I said, I'm no expert, but atleast I've started getting together a financial plan.  Every 20something single gal should know a little about finances.  I suggest starting with Suze Orman's The Money Book for theYoung, Fabulous and Broke.  She lays out basics pretty well and she's a little more realistic than Dave Ramsey.

Monday, October 15, 2012

#13-15: You should have serving pieces, a full sized bed, and a few of the items on your registry

#13: Every Single 20something gal needsa few attractive serving pieces. 

I learned this lesson as wedding/baby shower season started.  I would make lovely dishes then have to transfer them to a married friend's dishes when I arrived.  Why? Because she had registered for lovely pottery and serving pieces and I had not done that yet.  I soon realized I would have to buy a few serving pieces.

To be honest, this is something I am still working on.  But I do think nothing screams "college kid" like showing up to a shower, family holiday, etc with a tasty treat on a paper plate.  Some events call for grownup pieces.  And, although I am not married, I still am a grownup.

I only have a couple nice serving pieces.... I am still working on this area.  I borrow my moms and friends pieces a lot, but if I don't get married in the next couple years, I hope I have splurged and purchased a few platters and bowls. I love to be a hostess and actually, I am pretty good at it (I attribute half of that to my southern roots and half to genetics, my mom is quite the hostess!) So, its imporant to present well. 

  • Check store when they have sales
  • sometimes you can find "Christmas" pieces that aren't really christmas-y on sale after christmas.  I once bought china (not serving pieces but I should have bought the matching platters!) that was Christmas leafs (aka gold leafs so totally acceptable yearround)
  • outlets (pottery barn, williams sanoma, china outlets)
  • Or, just save up and splurge on a nice platter at a pottery store...truth is, you can make do with just a few pieces so why not invest in quality.
  • BUY a fairly neutral color so you can use it at all types of events and parties.  Sure fun red platters is fun for a fiesta or frilly girly stuff is fun for a wedding shower, but get basics now and invest in the fun stuff later.

#14: Every Single 20something should invest in a full size bed....or monnogrammed towels..or a larger TV...or a mixer.

Actually, this is optional... but my point is, don't abstain from buying a grownup bed because you have no one to share it with yet.  Then it becomes a nightly reminder that you don't have a spouse.  You're an adult.  You have an adult sized body. Sure you could sleep in a twin bed forever, but there is no harm in have a full/queen to yourself.

Insert this rule for whatever piece of furniture, etc you refuse to buy yourself until you are married.  IE, will you not invest in a nice tv because that one from college with the vhs attached still works?  You'll buy a tv when you get married and yall buy a place? Quit being silly. Get a nice TV now...or a larger bed...

#15: Every Single 20something should have a few of the items she thought she would get when she gets married.

I want monnogramed towels - not the kind I had in college that said "KATY" but the ones that say my proper monnogram (kBc), but I have waited -- because what if I get married and get some as gifts or what if I have to replace all my towels because they are monnogramed? Silly, I know, you are probably thinking BUY SOME D*MN TOWELS :) and I should!!  I also know friends who are waiting to buy a mixer or nicer pots...but they are waiting, because what will they register for when they get married if   Certainly don't buy these things if you don't need them, but if you cook a lot and it doesn't look like marriage is happening in the next year, go ahead and buy a mixer!! Its silly to think you have to wait!

(NOTE: I think this "I'll wait til I register" excuse is mostly a southern thing"  - but it just reiterates the concept some people believe - life only starts when you get married...(a) not true and (b) if my life doesn't start til then, then I will quit being responsible for wedding and baby showers! Afterall, my life hasn't started so I am at home with my cats watching Friends reruns!!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

#'s 10-12: Celebrations, Traditions, Holiday Decorations/Food

I think sometimes what single gals long for the most regarding marriage and family is for just the everyday celebration of good times (and mourning of bad times - which is why I previously encouraged making a good set of friends!!)

What are some of your happiest memories as a child? What are the memories you want to create for your one day husband and children? Most likely some of these memories fall into the categories of family traditions, holidays, parents celebrating report cards and scored soccer goals and school plays.  (Anyone else in Jackson used to go swensons after recitals for ice cream?? my family did!)

So my suggestion, create traditions and celebrations NOW.  Best case scenerio, your single years (and your friends' single years) are more enjoyable and you build memories and establish some fun traditions for your oneday family. Worst case scenerio: if you don't get married, you don't get married -- BUTthat doesn't mean you can't enjoy halloween or Christmas or celebrate a raise with a nice dinner out.

10. Every single 20something gal needs to celebrate life achievements.

One of my favorite quotes on marriage is from a movie I haven't even seen -- Shall we Dance? (hmm, looking that up on Netflix soon)  I saw the quote years ago and it says:

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

SO TRUE. We all need that. And as singles, thats often what we miss.  We are always encouraged to be good friends for eachother, be there in the rough times...and thats so true.  I've spent nights in the hospital with friends and brought meals when sick and mourned breakups, etc.  But we also need to celebrate our own accomplishments and those of others.   I'm so blessed to have that with my friends. We celebrate birthdays, promotions, raises, new men, etc.  My friends showed up for my first half marathon to cheer me on.  We also celebrate holidays (which I will talk about later).  

So, celebrate your life -- there is plenty that is good.  I think the emphasis is on marriage and babies so we go to showers and weddings and make meals.  But celebrate your accomplishments too-- with friends or by yourself.  Lost 10 pounds? Buy a new skirt!  Raise? How about a fancy meal out of a bottle of wine with pals.  ALSO, married ladies and mammas, remember how often your single friends celebrate your life and make an effort to celebrate theirs.  :) It will mean the world to them, I promise.  

11. Every single 20something gal needs some traditions.  

What did your family do? Tuesday Taco night? Sunday evening movie? Certain cakes or cocoa recipes at Christmas??  Halloween inspired cookies?  Extend some of those traditions to your life -- and feel free to invite others to join!!  

Or, make your own traditions.  For instance, my friends and I have started the tradition of wine nights every now and then.  We have specific holiday parties every year.   

Personally, in law school, I let myself have a time of reading for fun before bed or watching a fav tv show.  I always decorated pumpkins, even if I did it alone (a tradition my family didn't have!)  I have also started celebrating advent (minus the candles although maybe I will start that this year)  

Dave and I have started traditions too -- early church and lunch on sundays, five dollar movies, etc.

  Start some traditions.  Even if they are just for you.  Single life often feels chaotic...fewer family obligations, but sometimes consistancy is comforting.  Create some in your own life. 

 12. Every 20something single gal should invest in some holiday decorations.  

The tendency is to think: no one will enjoy that wreath but me and my few visitors.  I'll buy a tree when I get married.  It's like we feel the need to put off the things we enjoy until we are married or have babies!  Why not enjoy a tree now? Or buy some pumpkins?   

Holidays are not only for Families.  They are for singles.  They are for friends.  They are for extended families. Without a husband and baby, you can still enjoy dressing up and candy on Halloween, fireworks on the 4th, the Savior's birth at Christmas and thankfulness at Thanksgiving. 

 Decorations encourage us to appreciate the season, to find festive enjoyable moments even when times are tough.  I don't care how hard life is and how lonely you are, a Christmas tree full of lights makes you smile.  It makes you feel like you have hope and something to celebrate.  And it reminds you that you, alone, without anyone else, still can enjoy beautiful decorations....not to mention, decorating often causes us to celebrate the holiday.

 Decorating a tree puts me in the Christmas spirit which then forces me to get over my hard times and celebrate my Savior's births.  Buying pumpkins and mums makes me thankful and start listing my blessings!  

Sure, maybe your one bedroom apartment doesn't need a tree fit for Southern Living magazine.  Maybe you won't have as many decorations as you one day will.  But even a small tree will help you celebrate and enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I am reading Wednesday 10-10-2012

Here are some lovely articles you should all check out:

1. I love this article about the best relationships not always having the best didn't meet on new years when your eyes caught his at a party? thats okay.  I will do a whole post on this article one day because I can so relate.  My first love was a very sweet story -- we were eachother's first kiss, first i love you, and we were getting married so we would have been the "only" in all these categories...but it ended horribly.  In fact, most of my really 'sweet beginnings' have not gone well.  Dave and I don't have a precious story (though there are precious moments and details) but we are currently going strong.  SO, I really related to this article.

The author stated: "Because it’s boring to say that things don’t work out like they do in the movies. Everyone knows that. Even 21-year-olds. But it’s hard to resist a great story. If we had lasted, we would have had one hell of a story."

But then again, love is about more than a great story right??
2. This article is about pain after sorrow (specifically miscairrage) I don't know this specific pain, although I've known pain.  I thought I'd pass it along.
3. This whole series on Sanctification is amazing so far and I can't wait to read the next installment.  Here is Sanctification through Singleness  and Sanctification through broken bodies. 

4. This article is on avoiding desperation in dating...because being too desperate never leads anywhere good.  Although i'd argue that a little neediness is good -- recognizing you need companionship and need grace when dating motivates you to give people chances.  Ironically, I find that most people I know aren't desperate (thankfully), but they are too picky.  I know many girls who want to date and talk about how others pass on men, but then they pass on men too.  No need to be desperate and settle but also no need to expect a prince.  However, if your value rests on a boy/girl's approval,  if you are dating someone you feel you need to change for or feel is leading you away from Jesus, read this article.  There has to be a middle ground between desperation and rediculous standards.  I know we are ALL trying to find it.

Hotty Toddy: a saturday in the grove

I think I took too much on blogwise.  I still have to finish my Contentment in Singleness series, start telling yall cheap date ideas (or cheap girls nights!!), stupid stuff people say to singles series, and finish up this month's series on stuff every "20something single gal should have"   Whew, thats a lot, are you still with me??  The good news is I won't run out of blog topics for a few weeks :)

But, first, let me finish telling you about this weekend.  I introduced my fav guy to one of my fav places.  Dave had been to Oxford before, but never tailgated in the grove.   So, I showed him the grove saturday.  Sadly, it was rainy and cold and we lost :( (the worst type of loss, the last few minutes of the game loss)  I hope to take him back on a different weekend, but it probably won't be until next season.  Despite the rain, we had fun.  I hope he got to see some of the reasons I like the grove and Ole Miss so much :)

Pictures from the tailgate.   You can tell that it started raining by my runny makeup and wet wavy hair :(  But we started out pretty cute :)  Despite the cold weather, I wore a dress (with tights and boots). 

SIDENOTE: For those of you who don't know, the grove is famous for "dressing up for gamedays"  Dresses, jewelry, etc.  It has gotten more relaxed since I was a child.  And now that jeans are less casual -- skinny jeans, fancy shirts, black jeans, boots, etc are allowed later in the season.  I'm not 21 and trying to impress anyone so although I'll never wear a tshirt to the game, I do wear black pants and jeans and I almost never wear heels (although this weekend I did!)  I love the dressing up, but I do like that the dresscode has relaxed some for those cold weather days. (and of course, there are those who dress down and don't get caught up in the traditions and they are always welcome in Oxford as well!! One of my good friends at Ole Miss was from a different state and never bought into dressing up and he fit right it)

My cute gameday date and me

My handsome brother (senior at Ole Miss)

My two favorite men - Jack and Dave

After we got rained on!

These are our neighbors and my "other family"

Last year, Jack met this dude (who dresses up as Col. Reb).  Of course Jack doesn't remember so we reintroduced them.  Jack wasn't so sure....

In Oxford, we have the walk of Champions (kindof like Tiger Walk at Auburn) where the players walk through the grove and you cheer for them and give them high fives and the band plays....  The very end of the Walk is called "Whiskey Ally"  Its technicaly not in the grove but is the walkway by buildings between the grove and the stadium.  Its a lot easier to get a place there because you can just show up a few minutes before the walk as opposed to 30+ minutes on the Walk.  Dad and took Dave to Whiskey Ally.

the grove
Col Reb (sadly, he is not our official mascot but he lives on!)

I had a couple other cute pics but they won't upload properly ;(  All in all, it was a fun, exhausting weekend.  Reunion, game, then a busy sunday catching up.  I kindof want to stay at home this weekend but I will be back in Oxford cheering for my very down Auburn Tigers.  Have to stick by them in tough times!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

#7, #8, #9: A strong community, a set of beliefs, and a few good/bad date stories!

Clearly I am a few days behind...back to my series of what every single 20something gal should have...

#7 Every 20 something single gal needs a solid group of friends.

Your twenties is your time to find lifelong friends.  These may include your high school and college friends, and it will likely also include new people you meet in this stage of life.  What I love about my twenties is that all of my friends aren't like me.  Growing up, I had a few different friends, but mainly you met people from your same activities.  In college, the same is true - I met people through sorority life and student government and RUF (bible study).  Some diversity, but a lot of my friends were a lot like me.  Maybe its because we all change so much and start having different interests and careers, but it feels like my friends are a lot different than me (and a lot like me all at the same time)

I have friends who are artsy, sciency, single, married, likes to cook, sing, run, etc.  I'm friends with former prom queens and former class nerds.  I'm friends with people from my same hometown and "outsiders"  And, as I said, most of my friends are smart convited attractive fun people, so we really all have a lot in common, BUT at the same time, it seems I have a variety of friends and I love it.  This isn't high school with obsession over popularity and "coolness" -- I encourage you to befriend people who are different than you as well as those who are similar!

Also, in your twenties, when single, your friends serve as family.  They come to the hospital when you are sick, they take you out to dinner for promotions, they encourage you to try new things, they celebrate holidays with you, they sit next to you at church.  They fill in for the family you used to live with and stand in for the husband and children you don't have yet.  So pick friends who support you and you can support as well.  I hope my friends and I remain this way as we get married and have babies (and some have remained this way)  I hope we continue to be  there for eachother like we were during our single years.

#8 Every 20something single should have a good grasp of what she believes.

Seriously, figure it out now. Know what you believe about faith, love, childrearing, etc.  Nothing is set in stone.  You can strongly believe you want 6 kids and that can change.  But, I think whats helped Dave and I in dating is we both knew what we wanted in life.  Thats not saying we will have it all together, but we could see the red flags (Oh, she doesnt want kids and I want ten? move on.  Oh, he's an athiest? move on.  He wants to live greenly and I think thats dumb? Can we work that out or not?)

On top of helping in dating, it also helps solidify your adulthood.  I think some people are age assume you don't have to make big decisions until you're married and having babies.  Not true.  Decisions I make now can affect my future and as an adult, I need to have an idea what I believe.

I know where I stand on religion, politics, marriage and children.  I know a general idea of how I want to raise kids.  I know what my dealbreakers are in dating.  I know how I feel (on a base level) about the environment, city v. country living, where I want to live, where I am willing to move to, financial goals, etc.

Will these change? yes. Whether I get married or stay single, my view will change.  But, atleast they can change because to change, you have to start somewhere.  And with goals and beliefs, you have an idea of who you are and what you think.

#9 Every 20something single girl should have a few funny dating stories.

And, by this, I mean, by your late 20s, you should have some funny stories and some sweet ones. You will probably have a few regrets --dating someone you shouldn't have, passing on someone you shouldn't have.  But, most importantly, you will have learned lessons.

Hopefully, you will have good stories because you took chances  - you gave men chances who weren't "gorgeous", your type, bigtime professionals, perfectly preppy, wealthy, etc (whatever your weakness is).  Maybe you gave online dating a shot or said yes to some blind dates/set ups.  Maybe you gave a guy a second chance.

And hopefully, you will have good stories from these dates -- stories of meeting nice guys in ways you didn't expect, funny date stories with guys that weren't meant to be, happy memories of getting to know nice men that weren't your husband but were still worthwhile people.  Maybe you will learn lessons about what you think you want not being what you need -- or maybe you will learn that certain aspects of the man you marry are exactly what you needed.

I do think that an extra 5-10 years of dating does cause you a little more pain, but also a little more growth because you know heartache, second chances, forgiveness, and surprises better than others.  So I hope that by the time I am 30, I can say I'm glad I met X or Y because they taught me this.  I also know some good girls night stories start out with "The worst date I ever went on was...."

Monday, October 8, 2012

10 Year Reunion

This weekend was my 10 year HS reunion. Crazy that I'm that old right? I like to think that I don't look 28 -- haha but some days I do :(

Dave was a sweetie to go with me.  I enjoyed showing him off, and I'm glad he saw where I went to high school (even if it was only for 2 years)

I had mixed feelings about my HS reunion.  I moved in the middle of high school and spent only 2 years at BHS.  I certainly wasn't an outcast and had friends, but I always felt like I wasn't "one of them" because they had grown up together.  It would have been better if we had moved before high school started.  Also, I didn't know everyone in my class... at the point I moved, I was in AP and Honors classes so I knew the kids in those classes only (and a few others)  I did meet others through debate, soccer, school plays, etc.

Anyways, no one was mean to me or anything but I don't feel a strong connection to my high school.  I have one really close friend I still keep in touch with, but she is not in my class.   My other friends and I meet up over the holidays most years.  However, I don't live far it seemed like I had no excuse not to go.

And you know what? I am really glad I went.  As I said, I don't dislike my classmates and I wish I knew them better.  I had a great time seeing some people (although we had a small turnout-- I'd guess probably 30-40 came to atleast one event --out of our class of 180ish, but I hear your 10 year reunion is usually small)  I was happy to see that many people were doing well with jobs, family, etc. I don't see myself as a Brookhaven girl because I spent most of my life growing up in Jackson, but I probably would have liked being a brookhaven gal.  Sometimes life just works out the way it does.  I moved in high school, it happens.

Dave and I only went to the friday events because we were heading to Oxford on Saturday so I missed the family picnic and a little get together with just my friends.

BHS puts on a really great homecoming show where the students doe dance and music numbers from each year -42, 52, 62, 72, 82, 92, 02, 12.  We then went to the ballgame and a party at my friend's house.

Dave and I before the BHS homecoming show

Some of my class outside the school

 throwing the two (yep, cheesy)

at the ballgame

at the party at Marcee's house

My class and our dates/spouses

My class (as I said, not a huge turnout)

I enjoyed seeing everyone.  I also enjoy not being 18.  Everyone seemed more sure of themselves and less into 'trying to impress' .  As I said, I didn't have an awful HS experience, but moving was tough.  I love my life now.  I love my friends, my boyfriend, my family, being out of school, my church, etc.  And I was really happy to see that everyone else is happier too.  We looked good with a few more years on us :)  I love being 28.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day #6: A quality handbag

Eventually, you probably need a brown, black and maybe even tan handbag.  Not a "charming charlies" find, but a good quality handbag.  Pick your most common neutral and start with that.

SIDENOTE: There is nothing wrong with a few trendy bags, BUT EVERY SASSY SINGLE 20someting NEEDS a good quality (most likely leather) handbag.

This does not have to be a designer bag, although quality designer bags can be found at a discount.  This does need to be from a good quality line (NINE WEST or HIGHER on the quality scale).  I truly think you could wear a 30 dollar outfit and wear nice shoes and a pricier bag and people think your entire outfit is worth way more than it is.  So splurge on a nice bag and it makes the value of almost every single outfit go up.

Some  current options:

  • In our family, we ask for big ticket items like purses or tory burch shoes for Christmas.  Its a mix between practical and fun.
  • If you want a TORY or KATE SPADE, get on their email list. They are always having sale. My current Kate Spade was a few hundres dollars marked down to a little over 100 last year.
  • After Christmas sales....TORY usually has items on sale plus 20-25% off those items after Christmas
  • Check out TJ MAX, MARSHALLS, etc. My roomate is great at finding quality leather bags (Michael Kors, Ninewest, Cole Hann) for a fraction of the price there. I have only once found a bag there, you have to be willing to look.
  • Nice leather purses that cost 400/500 dollars: Nine West, Cole Hann, Michael Kors ( you can find these for 75-200)
  • buy a basic color first before a fun color.  Red/yellow/blue purses are fun but only after you have the basics -- PLUS the trendy purses can be cheaper purses.