Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve!

Hey y'all,

I will be back to blogging tomorrow but I wanted to go ahead and wish you a happy new year's eve! Here is to another year gone that was filled with love, happiness, life-lessons, tears, joy, laughter and so much more and here's to planning a wonderful new year!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hey y'all,

I interrupt my break to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope you are able to spend time with friends and loved ones and celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ's birth.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We Have a Winner....

Hi y'all,

So for those of you in the Triangle area that entered to win a free week of Unlimited classes at OrangeTheory Fitness the winner is....


Congrats Brandi! I am sending you an email with more information!

Also, I am going to be taking a planned blogger break until the new year. I have been feeling lackluster about my blog space so I am going to take some time to celebrate the holidays with my family and plan out my blog for next year! I hope you all understand!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Hey y'all,

This post is going to be a bit long but it has really weighed on my heart that I had yet to finish the 30 days of thanks series I began in November. It was a great time of reflection on the big and little things that one should be thankful for daily. Here is the rest of the list and in case you missed a post from the series I included them too.

1. Faith
19. health

21. a warm coat especially on freezing days. I think it is often taken for granted that we have coats, gloves, and hats when it gets cold outside but as winter approaches and it is below freezing in the morning I am thankful for warm clothing and protection from the cold.

22. a love of reading. Yes I have a BA in English but my mom instilled in us at a young age a love of reading. We used to take weekly trips to the library and even now I will block off a good hour to spend in the library reading covers and selecting the books I take with me. I am probably not going to make my goal of 113 books but it's still possible to make it to 100. I currently have read 85 books with 19 days left to go! 

23. holiday potlucks. I love spending time with friends and family and who doesn't love a potluck. I so far have attended a Thanksgiving potluck at work and one with friends (plus thanksgiving) and have a Holiday potluck on Monday. I love getting together with people over a nice meal and just sharing time and thoughts.

24. jHl, my twin. One of my best friends from high school, and one of my close friends today is known as my twin. Yep, we call each other that. I mean Jessica & Jessie is pretty close for names and she is just one day older than me. We were in so many classes together and whenever we meet for coffee it is like we are the same person. I love being able to vent to her and just laughing over stupid things. This past Thanksgiving we were able to meet up for lunch and the movie the Book Thief and I enjoyed spending that time together. I only wish she lived closer to me :(

25. Disney. I mean, if you met 5 year old me you would understand how Disney is such a big part of my childhood and my family. When we were growing up we were not allowed to watch much TV and watching a Disney movie on VHS was a treat. My entire family is big into musicals and Disney is the best thing for us since we know all the songs and have spent many a road trip with the Best of Disney soundtrack in the car. We are kind of crazy when we play Disney Scene-It since we are all really competitive and I might have seen all of the last Disney movies to come out in the theaters but if I am a kid at heart I don't think it's a bad thing. 

26. my over-sized comforter. I love my comforter from Kate Spade. I have a Full sized bed and it being a Full-Queen it is nice and over-sized and fluffy. It's the greatest and I kind of hate leaving my bed every morning....

27. my siblings (including the cats). I have a very eclectic family and I love them all. I can't wait to see my older siblings for Christmas and to get to spend time with them since I haven't seen them a whole lot this year. Plus, you all know that my baby sister, kDi and I are close and she will be home as well, not to mention cuddling with Max and Lily.

28. clean drinking water. We made Turkey hands of what we are thankful for in my office and someone put drinking water and it made me think. We often do not even think about how clean our water is compared to other countries. I mean I even filter my tap water in a Brita but most people do not even have that luxury.

29. my planner. I am such a planner by nature and who isn't thankful for something that keeps them sane. Without my planner I have no idea what is going on.

30. Lunch Loser Tuesdays. My work friends are the greatest. Between a book club, going on shopping adventures called pantervention, and weekly lunches deemed "lunch loser tuesdays" I love coming to work and knowing that there are great people there to support and encourage me.

What have you been thankful for lately?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Holiday Affair {OOTD}

Hi y'all,

With only two weeks until Christmas Eve, it is officially Holiday Party season! Whether you are getting dressed up for a family affair, work party, date night, or a night out with the girls I am always a fan of the little black dress and this one is work appropriate and under $30 so I wear it constantly! Here is a quick holiday look I put together:

Old Navy Dress (on sale)/Vestique Necklace (green color on sale)/Target Heels/bracelets: Kate Spade & Groopdealz (similar)/ Anne Klein watch (similar)/Kate Spade clutch (similar)/ Target Pearl Ring (similar)/Monogram Ring Gift (similar)

What is your go-to holiday look?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Sayings {December 8}

Hey y'all,

As usual here is some inspiration to jumpstart your week!


And I am now obsessed with this song from the new Disney movie, Frozen:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Club Friday, On Saturday

Hey y'all,

While I doubt I am going to make my original goal to read 113 books this year I was bit by the reading bug recently and have been able to finish quite a few books! I can't remember the last time I did a book update so here are the books I read in November!

One Lucky Vampire. I love the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands and this book was suprising that it did not involve the family directly but I am glad that some minor characters we had been introduced to in the past finally have some backgrounds and stories. I really enjoyed the book, as I do all of Sand's writings and can't wait for the next book in the series as usual.
Luck be a vampire tonight . . .
When Nicole Phillips agreed to hire a housekeeper, she pictured someone a little frumpy and almost certainly female. Instead, she gets gorgeous, unmistakably male Jake Colson. The man is proving indispensable in the kitchen—and everywhere else. Except Jake might not be a mortal man at all.\
. . . and every night
Who wouldn't want to be a tall, dark, powerful vampire? Jake, for one. He's barely had time to adjust to his new state before he's roped into a family favor. Still, secretly playing bodyguard to sweet, sexy Nicole is turning out to be the wildest ride of his life. First he'll put a stop to whoever's targeting her. Then he'll prove that this kind of love, and luck, happens only once in an eternity.

I have been generously given a lot of book copies by Netgalley recently and I have enjoyed the following:

In Pursuit of a Princess. I enjoyed the mystery of who was causing all the problems with the Princess. The book is by Love Inspired Suspense but I think it was mainly a suspense story with the romance taking a back burner.
Princess Lara Kincade returned home to New Orleans to continue her late husband's humanitarian work. She also hopes to force his killer out of hiding. But a priceless painting has put her plans and life at risk. Embroiled in a deadly art scandal, Lara must depend on handsome photojournalist Gabriel Murdock to help her expose a murderer. Gabriel's determination to keep her safe has softened her heart to love's possibilities again. Somewhere among his photos lies the identity of the murderer, but can they uncover the killer before this heist turns deadly?

Colton by Blood. While actually the second book of the Coltons of Wyoming series I really enjoyed this Harlequin Romantic Suspense. While there was a lot of the story between Dr Levi and Kate in regards to flirting, the mystery of who was causing all the accidents and the murder that must have occurred in the first novel.
An unsolved murder haunts those who live and work at Dead River Ranch. When called to care for the ailing Colton patriarch, Dr. Levi Colton must face the father who never claimed him. He's not looking for distraction, but he finds it in Kate McCord, the irresistible pastry chef. Beneath her sweet smile are scars from her own tragedy and a determination for justice. 
As a wildfire forces them together with an unknown killer, Levi and Kate must confront an attraction that flares hotter than flames. They edge closer to the truth, discovering that the secret that links their pasts could lead them straight into the killer's trap.

Conveniently His Princess. Book two in the Married by Royal Decree book is a quick book about misconceptions and discovering the meaning of home and family. 

Only one thing stands between Aram Nazaryan and the high-powered position he craves: the proper wife. Although this billionaire would do anything to return to Zohayd, the desert kingdom he considers home, marrying Princess Kanza Aal Ajmaan is too high a price to pay. Or so he thinks—until he meets Kanza…and she turns his world upside down. 
After claiming Kanza as his princess, everything falls into place. But then she learns the truth. She may have married for love, but his vows are tainted by ambition. Will doubt, betrayal and mistrust end this too-convenient union?

Pawn. The Blackcoat Rebellion #1. Ok y'all, I am obsessed. I began this book since I loved Aimee Carter's Goddess series but this book was so engulfing. I started it Wednesday this week and finished last night before the movies since I had to know what was going to happen next. While it is another dystopian teen novel it had so many twists and turns and while there is a bit of a love triangle the focus was more on a girl and a family running the country.
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 
If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 
There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

The Marquess Who Loved Me. Muses of Mayfair #3. This was an interesting romance story about two former lovers and all the anger, revenge, longing, etc. that comes from being separated over ten years due to their families. It reminded me a bit of Jane Austen's Persuasion of the two lovers whose familes keep them apart and the need to punish oneself in the interim and the thought of coming back together and not really knowing the person that is their former love today. I liked it but I wasn't in love with the story.

A not-so-merry widow…
The widowed Marchioness of Folkestone is notorious for her parties, her art collection, and her utter disregard for the rules. But Ellie Claiborne knows her destruction is near. The new marquess is her first lover – the man whose sculpted body and sardonic grin haunt her every time she picks up her paintbrush. If he ever returns to claim his inheritance, her heart won’t survive seeing him again.
A man determined to destroy her...
Nicholas Claiborne hasn’t stepped foot in England since watching Ellie marry his cousin. He has no use for the gorgeous, heartless girl who betrayed him, or the title she abandoned him for. But when his business in India turns deadly, Nick must return to London to uncover a murderer – and take revenge on the woman he couldn’t force himself to forget.
A love they can’t escape…
Nick hates Ellie’s transformation from sweet debutante to jaded seductress. Ellie despises him for leaving her behind. Still, the sparks between them reignite the passion that should have been their destiny. As their demands of each other turn darker and a potential killer closes in, they must decide whether to guard the fragile remnants of their hearts — or find a way to fall in love all over again.

What have you been reading?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fit Friday Giveaway!

Hey y'all,

So now that I am back on the health kick I wanted to share the fitness bug. With the holidays approaching, I know some of you might have felt like you overindulged on Thanksgiving. Well, I was recently contacted my Orangetheory Fitness and what better way to kick start that new years resolution than by winning a free week at a gym!

Enter Orangetheory Fitness which uses Interval Training, Indoor Rowing and Weight Training Blocks to create a whole workout!

  Orangetheory Fitness, the energizing group interval fitness concept that’s sweeping the nation, is making its first introduction in North Carolina with a studio in Morrisville opening in January. The new studio will be in the popular Park West Village Shopping Center, where a pre-sale location is already open to help introduce people to the new concept and, most importantly, allow members to lock in founders' rates. The pre-sale location is located right next to PetSmart in the Park West Village Shopping Center. To learn more, visit Facebook.com/OrangeTheoryMorrisville or call (919) 883-9469.

Now for all my Triangle readers, Orangetheory has been very generous and has offered one reader a whole week free at their new location in Morrisville and I'm sorry for my readers outside the area check out all of the other locations of Orangetheory here!

Good Luck to Everyone!

*While I have not personally tried Orangetheory Fitness I was contacted through Bolt PR and was given this prize for my readers. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Falling into Fall, or Getting Ready For Winter...

Hey y'all,

Back in December I signed up for the Falling into Fall Swap and while our reveal was supposed to be mid-October, it was the craziest time for me and my swap partner at our jobs. So we sent our swap gifts a little late and due to some mail issues I just got my package this week! Sarah decided with her late-ness to turn my package into a Get Ready for Winter box.

This is all I received....
All wrapped up

I got a snowman kitchen towel, beautiful purple scarf, Ghirardelli chocolate, gloves, ear warmer/headband, and a sparkly tumbler.

I took the tumbler to work the other day and got a tons of compliments on it!

Look at the bows! Sarah really picked out everything that we perfect to my style!

Thank you to all the hosts for the Swap! And thanks again, Sarah!

Now I am ready for Christmas packages!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WILW {December 4}

Hey y'all,

This week I'm loving....

Christmas decor. Tonight after work I am going to grab the old Christmas decor out of storage and begin to make my place look festive. I mean, Polka Dot, the elf needs to visit and make sure I am being good for Santa's list....

getting back into a routine. As much as I love being home for the holidays a few days off can throw off the rest of the week. Last week I didn't do too much exercising and might have indulged a lot so it will be an interesting meeting with my health coach this week but I am back to eating right, a normal sleep schedule and I just started the She Sweats 12 Week Transformation from heandsheeatclean!

emeals. If you haven't heard of emeals they are a online meal plan service that you can select the kind of meals you would prefer and they make recipes and grocery lists for all of your meals that week. You begin by telling them your eating style, family size and some are specific to your favorite grocery store! There are over 12 different plans from slow cooker, paleoeating clean, vegetarian, portion control or gluten free to name a few. You can even switch between plans once a month. They are currently on sale right now with the code CYBER and on Groupon too! I love to cook but the whole planning, looking up recipes, etc can be daunting and this takes the guess work out of it for a little more than $3 a month!

my elf name. yes my office is silly and since it is Christmas time we might have looked up our elf names. I'm Flirty TwinkleToes and if you want to look up & list your elf name below in the comments that would be FANTASTIC!

Christmas movies. I have been watching a lot of Christmas movies lately. I mean, who doesn't love ABC Family's 25 days of Christmas. While I enjoy the claymation movies lately I find myself on Hulu or Netflix checking out the Christmas movie selection and I found Holiday Engagement, A Princess for Christmas and Hallmark always has A Boyfriend for Christmas on. 

Jimmy Fallon+ Rahshida Jones & Carrie Underwood. If you have not seen this song get ready for a wonderful parody involving Thanksgiving and Black Friday. "I'm Up All Night to Get Turkey" and "I don't care, I stuffed it" are pretty great. So for your enjoyment:

So this seems to be a post all about the Holidays and & Healthiness so I am off to go work out!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Shenanigans

Hey y'all,

I am an awful blogger and I am so sad that I got too busy to finish the 30 days of thanks posts I was doing. I might end up writing out the rest of the 30 days of thanks posts since I still thought of something each day and have a post-it of thanks. Anywhoo, last week, work was kind of crazy so I figured we could start on Tuesday night for my Thanksgiving Shenanigans re-cap.

Tuesday night after work I finally added things to my walls! I have been living in this apartment since August but let a friend borrow my tools and finally got them back Monday night. 
 My hallway of Old Wells.

After finally getting my room to look like someone actually lives here, I had to get started cleaning and packing. So of course I turned on Pride & Prejudice (2005) and tried to prevent myself from overpacking.

Wednesday morning it was off to the office for a meeting all morning, yep the day before Thanksgiving when the students were home I was busy from 9am-12pm and then after lunch it was non-stop until I left. I was kind of sad we didn't get to go home early like last year but I had so much work to do so it was a-okay.
OOTD for work and driving home!
Jeans/Flats/Cardigan/Pearl Ring: Target
Scarf: Lilly Pulitzer
Watch: Anne Klein
After a nice long drive (which the rain held out for) it was time for pizza, kitten cuddles, and hanging out with the family. 

Thursday morning it was time to get up and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving's day parade as tradition goes. During the parade I was able to fit in a workout and begin getting ready for the day of eating. After making green bean casserole, my Dad making smoked turkey, stuffing, and my mom making pies we headed off to my best friend's house.
 Daddy and Mr. M carving the turkeys before dinner.
 Finally my bestie and I got a photo together! It has been years since we actually took pictures together. Whoops.

After dinner and dessert we played some board games and then seven hours later we made it back home to hang out and I ended up watching a Christmas movie on Hulu while my family watched Monster's University. 

Friday meant yummy scrabbled eggs and bacon while we hung around the house and waited for my dad to get back from Raleigh so we could all go see Catching Fire. Yes, that is right, I saw Catching Fire three times in just over a week. Well, we did get approval to watch Catching Fire and headed to the theater after stopping by Barnes and Nobles so my baby sister and Dad could get Nook HDs for Christmas since they were on sale. My family enjoyed Catching Fire and we spent the rest of the night eating leftovers and yet again I watched a Christmas movie while my family watched some weird TV show from BBC America.

Saturday started with kitten cuddles, I mean who can resist this face:
 After my mom made Peach French toast it was time to go meet one of my best friends from High School, jHl, aka my twin. We planned to go see the new Disney movie Frozen but the theater and online had different times listed so we ended up going to see the Book Thief. I have yet to read the book but the movie was very interesting. We ran out to lunch and were able to catch up again. It is so great to see both of the girls I am still close with from high school in one weekend. That evening it was time for church and my favorite local restaurant. The night ended with some SYTTD, Christmas movies on Hallmark channel (do you see a pattern?) and left over desserts from Thanksgiving.

Sunday it was hard to get up and get going. My Mom and I headed to  the laundromat to wash my comforter since it needs an oversized washer. The laundromat was an adventure and I am glad my Mom was there too. After an hour there, it was a big lunch at home of Mac and Cheese with Ham, packing and driving back to my apartment. The rest of Sunday was spent unpacking, running to the grocery store and setting up the tree while the roomie, rHm was working. To say I am excited for Christmas is an understatement. 

I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by great friends, family and food!

Sami's Shenanigans
Happy Holidays, y'all!