Friday, March 25, 2011

Long time no see...

So first of all, I'd like to start off with an apology for being MIA lately. It has been a weird week for me, and I can't even begin to explain it. It was spring break this week at the University of Arkansas...and I really kinda planned on not having a "spring break," because...well, I'm a grad student. We don't (and really shouldn't) get much of one. But some unexpected things hit me this week, and unfortunately I did not get a lot of work done in my lab :( I do have a few things to share though...some accomplishments, I guess you could say :)

One really productive and exciting thing I did this week was completely detail my car. I just bought my car in's nothing fancy, but the price was right, it gets excellent gas mileage (which was nice before, now I don't know what I would do WITHOUT my little 31 mpg car!), and my favorite's a standard :) I just can't help very first car I drove when I turned 16 had a manual transmission, and I just love them. Anyways...I digress.

When I first bought the car I went all out and cleaned it inside and out like you would not believe. But since then, I have not done much to keep the appearance up (I've done plenty maintenance-wise, just got really lazy in the winter with cleaning it and keeping it washed). Plus I had been traveling quite a bit, and things just tend to get out of control a bit when I do. So I finally decided it was time for a spring cleaning overhaul. I spent an entire day almost cleaning it out, vacuuming it, hand-detailing it, and got it spiffed up with Armor All. The Silver Bullet is sparkling! :) Somehow though, I managed to find some gum in the carpet under the passenger seat. Really?! BUT, that leads me to something else I would really like to bring up!

I just entered to win a giveaway for some Shaklee products from First Comes Love Blog, and I've heard really good things about these products. They are apparently really effective, but also very safe (no harsh chemicals) and green. I am really hoping I get a chance to try some of them out for free! One of the uses is to get gum out of appropriate! :) 

I better get started on my next topic of conversation, or this post is going to end up being a mile long...

I have another dog!

I know what you're thinking...and trust me I'm thinking it too: I need another Pit Bull like I need a hole in my head. BUT, a fellow grad student texted me last night while I was out to dinner with a friend, and said that she was told there was a Pit Bull at the Johnson Police Department (Johnson is a little community just north of where I live) and they had been keeping him for 2 weeks and couldn't find his owners, so they were planning on putting him down tomorrow (now today obviously...). Well, let's face it, I have a soft place in my heart for Pit Bulls! I have two of my own, one of my sisters has one, and the other one just recently had to put hers down at 5 years old because of a heart tumor :( Now don't get me wrong...I am very cautious, to say the least, about Pit Bulls that are not young. There is a lot of crap, AND I DO MEAN CRAP, that goes around about the Pit Bull breed being these evil, vicious creatures...while I do not believe for a second that any of them are that way just by nature, I am not in denial about the fact that it just takes ONE bad owner to create a mean animal. All that to say, I was a little skeptical at first...both for my own safety, and the safety of my two 4-legged children. But I thought I had to give it a shot...

I got a phone number to call to see about getting the dog so he wouldn't have to be euthanized. I called it a few times last night...straight to voicemail (he was off-duty, so his phone was off). I left a message with my name and number in hopes that they would hold out long enough to at least let me see the dog. After dinner, I found out where the dog was being kept and went and saw him...he is HUGE, but he is a big baby. SO sweet, you wouldn't believe it. There was a little Bassett Hound puppy in the kennel next to him, and Cortney and I contemplated stealing them both...HA! Then our survival/stay out of jail instincts got the better of us, and we decided that was a bad idea. We were driving around and we spotted a Johnson police what do we do?! DUH, we follow him for about a mile and a half until he finally pulls into a parking lot. I run up to his car and motion for him to roll down the window...he looks at me like I'm a crazy person, but he complies. He didn't know many details about the dogs, but said he would leave a note for them in the morning so they wouldn't put him down.

I go home, go to bed, and have these horrifying nightmares of how this dog is going to come to my house and rip my dogs to shreds....then I get a 0730 wake-up call from the guy I left the message for...yikes! I decided to ignore my nightly visions, and grabbed a leash and went to get the dog...

He is just the happiest big guy I've ever seen! He was so excited when I got there and they let him out of that little dog pen. He jumped right in the back of my car and laid down in the back seat, and we went straight to the vet. Two reason for this: 1) Obviously I wanted to make sure he was healthy, current on all his shots, heartworm free (that's an expensive fix..), and figure out his weight and approximate age. 2) I knew there would be other dogs in the waiting room, and I really wanted to see how he reacted to them before I brought him home to my loves! haha. Turns out, he is just a big sweetheart. He was licking on one of the other dogs in the waiting room...not the slightest bit agressive. WHEW!

$121 dollars later...he is one healthy boy! He is brindle and white, neutered, weighs 87 lbs (that's more than TWICE the size of my female by the way...haha), is about 6 years old, no heartworms, and is now current on all his vaccinations...including his flu shot! (I think it's weird that they make you give your dog a flu shot...I don't even get a flu shot every year...but whatever!) The only minor thing was that he does have some hookworms, but I got a prescription for him and those should be taken care of in about 2-3 days! I brought him home, introduced him to my dogs, gave him a bath, and he is just as happy as he could possibly be.

Here's my disclaimer...

I cannot keep him forever :( I am only serving as a foster parent until I can find him a permanent, loving home. I just could not stand the idea of this innocent boy being put down for no reason at all. I honestly don't get it...he is absolutely perfect: super sweet, friendly, gentle, gets along great with my other two dogs (honestly, he's more well-behaved than they are...and that's saying something!). He sits, shakes, lays down, and appears to be house-broken. He walks well on a leash, was a champ in the bathtub, and is an excellent car-rider! 

As I said, I just cannot keep him. I have to move to California for 3 months this summer for an internship, and have had a hard enough time finding a place that would let me take TWO Pit Bulls...there is absolutely no way I can take THREE. I would really like to find him a good home, so please let me know if you or anyone you know might be interested! :) He is such a good dog and it kills me to think I will have to put him down myself if I can't find someone who wants him :(

I have yet to come up with what to call him, because I don't want to name him knowing that I'm hoping someone else will take him in and give him a permanent name, so I've just been calling him "Big Dog" haha :)

How could you not love that face?! :)

Sleepy boy...awww :)
I already love him. I just want him to have a good, healthy and happy remainder of his life with someone who adores him and can take care of him :) Please help!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 26 - Finally!

I meant to post this over the weekend and completely forgot...but here is Day 26:
My week - in great detail

I kept notes all week last week so I wouldn't forget anything...haha. So lucky you, you get to read about it! As I mentioned a couple posts back, I spent the weekend in Little Rock with the Boyfriend's family and got to spend some time with my good friend, Linnea! I had driven down there on Friday night to pick up a lawn mower from Boyfriend's dad and stepmom, Jennifer, and also to bring Boyfriend's truck home to live with me while he is gone...So here goes!

Sunday – Got a 7:30 wake up call to Boyfriend accidentally calling me. Awesome :D Went back to sleep for a bit. Got a text from Jennifer saying the lawn mower wouldn't start, but Gary would try to get one of them working and they’d bring it up to me. Boo. Slept a little bit longer, got up and around, packed my stuff and hit the road around noon. Stopped at Arby’s in Russellville for lunch. Made it home around 3:00…took a random trip to Rogers because of a misunderstanding. haha. Stopped for a Sunday newspaper. Went home. Took 30 minute nap. Louie’s date with Wendy. Watched some recorded TV, while cutting out coupons…got all teared up in the first 30 seconds of Army Wives. Cortney got home, talked for a bit. (My friend Cortney is staying with me for 2 weeks while she does her clinicals for OT school!) Skyped with Boyfriend. Bed.

Monday – Woke up at 6am when Cortney got in the shower. FAIL. Got up and around. Organized my coupons and made a grocery list and menu for the week. Boyfriend called and asked me to do him a favor. Went to the Treasurer’s office and paid bill. Went to Bell and started yeast experiment for my Lab 3 kids I TA for. Volunteer hours – helped with wig and prosthesis (I volunteer for 2 hours every Monday at the Cancer Support Home in town, which is a non-profit organization to help people coping with cancer, as well as survivors). Ate leftovers for lunch. Wrote a little bit for my Day 25 blog post.  Back to campus for Lab 3. Stopped on the way home for grocery shopping. Unloaded groceries.  Bought some Almay base…I've never used base before because I really never needed it...but hey, let's face it, I'm getting older :/ Did make up just to see how I liked it. Rearranged/cleaned the garage to prepare for potential hail/wind storm. Got both vehicles in there! Made spaghetti for dinner. Watched some recorded TV. Talked with Cort briefly when she got home, then Skyped with Boyfriend. Finished Day 25 blog post. Finished the rest of my show. Bedtime.

Picture to prove my success in getting both of our vehicles in the garage! :)
Tuesday – Woke up early as usual. Took a shower and got around. Cleaned the kitchen from the night before when I forgot to put away the :( Ate breakfast and did dishes. Went to campus. Read some journal articles. Started lab 3 experiment. Ate packed lunch. Read more journal articles. Babysat in Lab 3. Went home. Caught up on my recorded TV for the day. I watched the new series Coming Home, which just started coming on right after Army Wives…cried like a baby and decided this deployment stuff is going to be so much harder when we have kids! (Sundays are my new official "cry-fest" nights! Went to dinner with Cortney at Buffalo Wild Wings for 50 cent wing night, talked about life…of course I only like the boneless ones, so the 50 cents didn’t apply to me… Went home, cleaned out a box of CRAP that Boyfriend left in the office that was mostly trash/recyclables. It was late and I didn’t feel like dealing with the computer/Skype, so Boyfriend and I talked on the phone before bed. Sleepytime.

Wednesday – Actually slept in a little bit…and by sleeping in I mean I woke up at like 7:15, which was still before my alarm was set…but hey, it wasn't 6am. Got around, ate breakfast, packed my lunch. Called Mitsubishi so I could see about getting my car in to get the check engine light diagnosed, AGAIN. They were jerks, but I made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. Drove to campus. Called my stepdad to asked him for advice about my car because, let’s face it, I’m a female and dealerships/mechanics think I’m retarded. Called Mitsubishi again to ask them about the 120K mile service they recommended and discussed it with Boyfriend…we decided it was not worth the money. On to the library to get crackin’ on my paper! Worked on paper, ate lunch, worked on paper some more…found out from my sister who found out from my brother-in-law that my dad is moving back to Oklahoma. Got an email saying my first publication as a first author is officially published online...awesome! Also heard from my future roommate for my internship this summer in Ridgecrest…I officially have a place to live that will let me bring my dogs! Finally gave up on the paper and went home and made Tuna Helper for dinner. Watched recorded TV, including American Idol. Talked to Boyfriend on Skype and went to bed!

Thursday – Got up and around, worked on my paper for about an hour, then had to go to Seminar. After that I went to my office and ate lunch. Took my car to Mitsubishi that afternoon and dropped it off to have the check engine light checked out and the oil changed. Walked down a few blocks and went to Big Lots and just looked around for a while. They called me and said my car was ready, so I walked back to pick it up. Come to find out, Bullet is perfectly healthy…his owner is just retarded. Apparently I didn’t tighten my gas cap all the way? So the car was registering a fuel leak, which is why the light came back on. After I got my car back, I went across the street to Hobby Lobby to pick up some baby shower invitations for my friend Linnea, whom I am throwing a shower for on April 2nd! Went back to school and worked on my paper some MORE. Had a sushi dinner date with my friend Christie and we stayed at the restaurant for about 2 hours…it was so nice to catch up! Went home and watched some recorded TV. Boyfriend had gone with his friend so his friend could get his tattoo touched up, so he was busy until pretty late. I got pretty tired early, so I didn’t feel like Skyping…but we did talk on the phone before bed :)

Friday – Got up and around, went to the library and worked on my paper all day AGAIN. Finally around 1:30 I finished my draft! I emailed it to my boss, and was SO ecstatic to have that off my shoulders! Went to my office and ate my lunch I packed, then I started making a shopping list for Lowe’s for things I need to buy to get started on my next project. Talked to my boss for a few minutes to make sure I was on the right track, then called it a day early. I went to Target and Kohl’s to look around a bit, where I may or may not have bought Boyfriend a present ;) Got stuck in rush hour traffic on my way home :/ But then I got home and packed my things to go to Claremore. I drove to my sister’s house and cuddled with her precious Dotti for a bit. Dotti is my sister’s Pit Bull and she is about 5 ½ years old, and Cassie just found out about a week and a half ago that Dotti has a tumor on her heart the size of a baseball :( She is not in a lot of pain, but she has not been eating for almost 3 weeks and is very weak. Cassie will have to put her down very soon, so please keep her in your prayers. Dotti is such a sweet breaks my heart :( Talked to Boyfriend on the phone for a while waiting on Cassie to get home from Wal-Mart. She just bought a new house and is completely remodeling it…so I helped her work on the floors for a bit while we talked a bit and then we went to bed.

Here is Miss Dotti
Kisses from Dotti...I love her :)
Saturday – Woke up around 7:00, got up and got dressed in my bright green T-shirt and my tall St. Patty’s Day socks. My sister and I drove to Tulsa and met up with one of her friends to run the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Tulsa. Made it through in 31:25…so not my best time, but not bad for my first 5K of the season :) Went back to Cassie’s house…found a dress to borrow from her (good thing I lost all that weight…my sister is little!) and helped hang sheetrock in her bedroom closet and scraped glue (from linoleum she pulled up) off the wood floor in the hallway. Took a shower and got ready for the wedding. Packed my things and put my bag in the car. Unloaded the kitchen chairs into Cassie’s garage for mom to come get (Boyfriend has a set of kitchen chairs he is obviously using, and my mom has a table with no perfect!). Went to my cousin’s wedding and reception, then pretty much my entire family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, mom sisters, niece and nephew, and some cousins) went to eat at a little BBQ joint in the middle of nowhere…I think we probably made their quota for the day! ;) Headed back to Arkansas…stopped for gas on the way home and gave the Silver Bullet a bath. Got home and chatted with Cortney for a bit, then talked to Boyfriend on Skype for like 3 hours…which was awesome :D Finally went to bed at like 1:00am…so needless to say, I lost more than just the one hour of sleep! But it was worth it :)

Well there you have week in probably far more detail than you could possibly care to know! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Skipping a day!

So since the work is still in progress to keep track of my entire week in detail for Day 26 of my 30 Day Blog Journal, which I plan on posting tomorrow after this week has come to a close, I figured I better keep things rolling and go for Day 27 
My worst habit -
 This picture pretty much sums it all up in its truest form. I am a HORRIBLE procrastinator. And to top that off, I can generally make myself sound like I'm being really productive when, in reality, I'm not. I always say that I work better under pressure, which is generally true, but still...gosh, I'm awful about this. 

Here is an example: I have been "working" on my proposal since January. My proposal is this dreadful document, approximately 15 pages long, that is basically a huge summary of your research. It includes a a brief overview or abstract over what you plan to do and what the significance of it is, a background of things that have already been done over your topic, a whole lot of details of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, and then a conclusion/summary of sorts basically trying to prove that your research is the coolest thing ever invented and will bring all these huge benefits to society.  Once this document is prepared, I will submit it to my doctoral committee of about 5 or so people, and then prepare a presentation that I will have to give to them, basically defending what I've written and basically begging them to give me the go-ahead so that I can continue my research and ultimately finish my PhD.  For some reason, I find this intimidating...

 My advisor asked me to, "for the next couple of weeks" (mind you, this was like the 2nd week of school...), write approximately 4 pages over just the background information and get the draft to him so he can look over it and make sure I'm headed in the right direction. I created all kinds of excuses for myself (not really that I gave to him...just that I used for myself mentally) really started off that I was a little bit overwhelmed and really wasn't sure where to start...but then it turned into things like SNOW (because gee, when I'm stuck in the house with absolutely NOTHING to do because I can't get out my driveway, why would that be a logical time to work on my paper?) I convinced myself that was a good excuse because I needed to be able to access the library website from campus to get journal articles and I needed to be able to print them. In actuality, there is an off-campus log-in I can use to access the library website for journal articles, and really, I could read them from my computer screen and take notes on a piece of paper. I also got to use the "my boyfriend's deploying and I need to spend time with him" excuse...which I'd actually say is quite valid, and I'd use that one all over again. But I definitely took advantage of the fact that there was only a short time before he left that I got to spend with him, and I was not about to "waste" it working on my paper. 

I could go on...I am a champion of excuses...dishes, laundry, cleaning in general...organizing my entire house so I could take pictures for my blog? haha yep...did that one too. But ultimately, I am under a deadline to graduate and I NEED to get this proposal done. And the crazy part is...once I actually defend my proposal, I get paid an extra $3000/'d think that would provide some kind of motivation!

But anyways...after weeks dang near 2 months of putting it off, I finally got frustrated enough with myself that I put the pressure on....finally got my background draft done yesterday! It actually ended up being more like 6 pages, because I ended up having a lot more information than I realized.  I might have to edit that later...but still it's done (well, at least that part is). 

It's funny sad to me that I procrastinate so bad. I feel so much better having accomplished whatever it is when I'm finished, and when I do procrastinate, I really just feel like CRAP about myself and feel so lazy and sloth-like. Sometimes it is just so hard for me to find the motivation to make it happen. It's also really weird, because when it comes to matters other than reading/writing and stuff like that, I can be SO productive, and very determined to get whatever I want. 

Needless to say, I really need to overcome this habit before it is time to write my dissertation, which is a WAY HUGER document that includes pretty much everything my proposal does and so. much. more! That's where I will put everything I have ever done since I've been in grad school, and basically is my opportunity to prove to my committee and ultimately the entire world that I am actually deserving of the title "Dr. Woods"...or well, by then it will be more like "Dr. Merriman" ;)

What is your advice to overcoming procrastination and being disciplined to get things accomplished in a timely manner? I am open to ideas and suggestions! :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 25!

So first, I have to say "Thank you!" to my awesome friend, Missy, for making me this brand new blog design! Isn't it pretty? :) You can check out her blog here.

Now for the continuation of my 30 Day Blog is Day 25 for your enjoyment! The topic is: Your day, in great detail.

Since Day 26 is going to be my WEEK in great detail, I'm actually going to do that at the end of the week this week...starting yesterday. Which means for my DAY, I'm going to give you an overview of my day on Saturday as accurately as I can remember! :)

I had gone down to Little Rock for the weekend to pick up my soldier's truck and bring it home so that it could live with me while he is here we are - Saturday morning in Little Rock:
12:00-01:00 - Sitting on the couch with my future Mom-in-law and her friend, Cori, talking into the wee hours of the morning. We were just visiting, and talking about her new boyfriend and of course my soldier, and a few other "girl" type things to talk about! We had a good time...but WHEW, was I ready for bed....
01:00-01:15am - Luckily I had already changed into my comfy yoga pants and sweatshirt right after dinner, so all I had to do was take my contacts out, brush my teeth and hit the sack! 
01:15-07:30(ish)am - Snoozing away! 
07:30(ish)am - I don't know how to sleep in anymore...I wake up with the sun. It's not even fair...but it's the truth. So I woke up at 7:30, mad that I woke up so early with no doggies to come wake me up...
07:30-08:15 (or so) - I laid in boyfriend's bed at his momma's house, wide awake for no reason at all, when I had clearly not had enough sleep. So what do I do when everybody else (and by everybody I mean his mom and her dog) is still asleep? Well, my phone has been running really slow, so I've been slowly trying to delete my plethora of text messages to clear out some of the memory. I do really well going through and deleting them most the time from most people. But since Walter and I text so much throughout the day, they add up, and it is SO tasking to go through and delete them. My phone is awesome (sucks) because it saves text messages in conversations, but it will only let you delete them one by one, or all at once. The problem with one by one: obvious, but it takes forever. The problem with option two: When there are 3000+ text messages in a conversation, my phone freezes before it actually deletes them. Not to mention, some of them are just so dang cute because my boyfriend is the best boyfriend ever, that I wouldn't want to delete them ALL anyways! here I am, wide awake way too early, and deleting text messages.
08:15-09:45 - Fortunately, I got bored with that and got tired enough to roll over and go back to sleep!
09:45-10:30 - I woke up again and decided it was time to actually get up and out of bed. I went to the restroom (I always do when I first wake up...always). Then I got my iPad and headed into the living room. I am also almost always hungry right when I wake I went into the kitchen and found some powdered donuts and took a couple to the couch with me. I turned on the TV, flipped through the guide, and for some reason decided to watch Selena on TBS. I think it was the only thing on. But since I am a multi-tasker, I also was messing around on my iPad. Balanced my checkbook and looked at how I was doing with my budget for this month on my Pocket Money app (which I LOVE). Then I started looking at random pictures online...

I found this picture first on Facebook through a friend of a friend. The girl is a photographer and had posted this picture that she found at and was talking about how she wanted to do a photo shoot like this sometime.  I fell in love with this picture and started trying to find pictures similar to this...

Here is another one I found that I like...minus the tattoos:
I found this picture here.
So...I'm in love. And I decided I really wanted to convince my soldier to take some pictures like this with me :)

Anyways...on with the day...
10:30-Noonish - Kelli (Walt's mom) had gotten out of bed and joined me in the living room for a bit. We talked for a little while and I told her about an idea of something I wanted to do for Walter ('s a secret...I can't post it on here in case he reads it, but I'm pretty excited about it and Kelli thought it was a good idea too! :) Anyways, I also showed her these pictures I found and asked her if she thought Walter would comply with my plan...haha. His little sister is only 14, but she takes really good I asked Kelli if she thought Elizabeth would want to do a photo shoot like this for us! In the meantime, future Mom-in-law was getting ready to go run some errands and pick Elizabeth up from a friend's house...
Noonish-13:15 - She went on her merry way and I got up and started getting around and then texted my friend Linnea to see if she wanted to meet up. She is having a baby girl and is due May 12th, and I am planning on throwing her a baby shower in early I offered to go with her to set up her baby registry!
13:15-13:30 - Drove to Linnea's apartment to pick her up!
13:30-16:00 - I was really hungry at this point, and low on gas in Boyfriend's after I picked her up, I went and filled up his already had a quarter of a tank in it, and it took me $53 to fill that thing up! I HATE gas prices by the way. Then we went to Subway to eat lunch. I was a goober and accidentally picked up Lays BBQ chips with my sandwich instead of Baked Lays BBQ...I opened the bag before I even realized it...but Linnea was so sweet and offered to trade me! (I really don't like regular Lays potato chips of any flavor...they are so greasy) After lunch we went to Target and got her registered! We found some really cute things, and I am so excited to get to purchase some of the items for her and baby Amelia! :) 
16:00-18:00 - As we left Target, we stopped at Starbucks because we were feeling sleeping from our long day of baby shopping...and they were out of BOTH white mocha AND chai...WHAT THE BEEP? we drove down the street and went to a different Starbucks. We had been planning on going to Winter Jam, which is a concert featuring quite a few Christian bands, for a few weeks before. We left Starbucks and got stuck in a HORRIBLE traffic jam. What should've been a 10 minute drive took 45 minutes. So we finally get to the Verizon Arena, and I drop Linnea off near the entrance so her pregnant self doesn't have to walk so far, and I take off to find a parking spot.
18:00-18:30 - So unfortunately you can't buy tickets to Winter Jam in advance...only at the door. So literally, RIGHT after I drop Linnea off, something catches my notice: There are an awfully lot of people walking AWAY from the arena. My intuition tells me they are sold out. BUT Linnea had forgotten her phone at her apartment, so I couldn't call her. So I decided I better find a parking spot quick and go find her. I drive at least 5 blocks or so down the road and found the only free place I could find that wouldn't tow me...and started my mission to find her. Once I got up near the entrance, she was easy to spot, so we headed about a block away to Burger King so she could wait in the warmth while I went to get the truck.
18:30-18:45 - I picked her up and we decided the evening wasn't killed, so we went back to her apartment to get her phone and stuff, and then went back to Boyfriend's mom's house to hang out. 
18:45-21:00 - Both future Mom-in-law and Sister-in-law were home, but shortly after we got there, future Mom-in-law got a phone call from her me and the girls decided we were hungry and went to Taco Bell/KFC to pick up some grub. We took it back to the house and ordered Burlesque on Pay Per View. I watched it up until about the last 30 minutes or so, then it was time to Skype with Boyfriend :)
21:00-22:00 - I had already seen the movie before, so I excused myself and went back to the bedroom so we could talk before he went to bed. I showed Boyfriend the pictures I found, and he agreed to them! :) He also gave me some fantastic/slightly bad news...he gets to come home on leave one more time before he deploys! He gets to come home April 7th-10th and spend the weekend with me :) I say slightly bad news because the 9th was originally when I was supposed to be hosting Linnea's baby shower in my part of the state. And Walter told me he wanted to come to Fayetteville instead of Little Rock...which I was happy about, but I knew his mom would be disappointed, which made me sad :( But he assured me it was what he wanted, so I told him I would tell them the fantastic/slightly bad news.
22:00-22:30 - I went into the living room and told them. Linnea is just a wonderful person, and agreed to changing the date of her shower to the weekend before, no problem. His mom was disappointed at first, but still very supportive and insisted that he go to Fayetteville because she knew it was important for us to get to spend some quality time together before he goes. She and Elizabeth are going to come up one night just to see him though :)
22:30-23:00 - I took Linnea home and then drove back to future Mom-in-law's house. I called Boyfriend on the way home and we talked a little while after I made it back to the house. His mom had called him, so they had already discussed everything about the weekend he'll be on everything seemed to be in order.
23:00-24:00 - I had started looking at plane tickets...of course! And to fly into the Northwest Arkansas airport, it was a bit I started doing some digging. I found him a ticket for about $150 less into Tulsa, so we talked about it and I went ahead and booked it for him! :D :D :D I am absolutely so took me forever to get to sleep that night! 

So there was my day on Saturday! I will be back in the arms of the love of my life 1 month from today! :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

30 Day Blog Journal - Day 24!

I'm pretty excited about the topic for today because I don't think I have actually taken any pictures of my house since we moved in September 25th! But I went nuts today and took a bunch for your enjoyment :)

Day 24 - Where I Live!

So unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the outside when it was still daylight, but I live in a duplex right outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  I sometimes feel kinda weird in the big ol' house all to myself, but honestly it was the only place that I could find that wasn't outrageously expensive that would let me have my two Pit Bulls... we are!

View when you walk in the front door

Living Room - view from the dining room
View from the other corner of the living room :)
 Yes we have a coffee table for TV stand...and that bookshelf on the far left wall has all my alphabetized DVDs on it! Don't judge :)
As you can see, I have a GIANT couch! I love it. I got it at a place called Sam's Furniture in Springdale, Arkansas, which is a place that has really nice stuff but for cheaper prices than you'd typically expect from a furniture store! The ottoman I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and I love it too because the top opens up and it has room for storage. That is where I keep extra throw blankets (I get cold easily!) and all the remotes :)
The back wall above the couch.
 This picture says "Real love stories never have endings"...I think it is precious. I bought it and the sconces from Celebrating Home, which is a company kind of like Home Interiors, but a little less expensive. My mom actually sells their stuff. They were having a sale and those sconces were only like $9.95 or something! I got the candles at Dollar General.

Above the bookshelf in the living room.
The two frames hanging on the wall are all pictures of me and my soldier :) I love those six pictures, because there is one from the night we met, and just about every season: summer at the lake, a Razorback football game in the fall, Halloween, and winter when it got cold and we were inside :) I edited those pictures with Picnik on Facebook and I love the way they turned out!

The back patio, right outside the living room back sliding glass door.
 I bought the patio table and chairs off of Craigslist for $50, and the chair cushions on sale at Wal-Mart in September, so after summer. I think they were like half off :) We bought the grill in mid-late fall when all the stuff out in the garden center was on sale. I am so glad Spring is finally here and I get to start using all of this more!

Kitchen and Dining Room
Dining Room
 So I have to interject a little story about my table...I LOVE my table. I bought it at Furniture Factory Outlet for a discounted price. I knew I wanted a tall table, but I also wanted a rectangle one...not square. Tall tables that aren't square are hard to come by apparently. So I actually talked the salesman into making my dreams come true :) I found this rectangle table with short legs, and a huge square tall I asked him how bad he wanted to make a sale? I convinced him that he wanted to give me the rectangle table top, legs from the tall table...and to top it all off...these chairs were actually with a smaller pub table across the room. But I liked them better than what was originally with the huge pub table, so I asked him if I could switch chairs out too :) Three different dining room sets later, I got EXACTLY what I wanted...all for under $500. This is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the entire house.
Oh, and the palm tree picture behind the table is also from Celebrating Home :)

Other side of the kitchen
Nook and wine rack above the sink
 The picture above the sink is also from Celebrating Home. It says "Never trust a skinny cook!" I love it :)

The back wall of the kitchen, above the laundry room door.
This is yet another piece of wall art from Celebrating Home. It is probably my favorite sign :)

From the living room, down the hallway.
 Okay, so I couldn't help myself. My thermostat is way off. I bought this little 4 dollar digital thermometer at Wal-Mart...the one in my hand reads the indoor temperature, and there is another piece that you can put outside and it will tell you the outdoor temperature, but I just put it in my bedroom because I thought it always felt colder in there. I was right. 
I am cheap, so I don't turn my heat on in the winter (or the air on in the summer) until I absolutely can't stand it anymore. I had taken a shower and gone to bed with my hair wet one day, when my boyfriend walked in the room in the middle of my nap and saw me shivering in my sleep. The thermostat had said like 70 or so, which is why I didn't turn the heat on because I thought, geeze, 70 should be comfortable. After that I bought this thermometer so I could see what my temperature was really set for. My thermostat is apparently not calibrated, but it still works, I just have to remember that it's usually off by 7-10 degrees!

Down the hallway, first door on the left = hall/guest bathroom
I wanted to do a "beachy" theme.
More bathroom...obviously.
  I got the two wall hangings as a gift, but they were from Target. I am currently on the lookout for a new, cute fabric shower curtain that has reds/turquoise blues/oranges/yellows...something along that nature, that's not too busy and overwhelming, but would look good with a beach theme. Let me know if you know of anything that might fit that description! :)

Second door on the right = Guest Bedroom
 I am currently in progress for making this one a little cuter. I have something to hang on the wall that I painted myself and used to have in my bedroom, but it does not go well with black. I just ordered a new comforter set for this room that is brown microsuede. When I get it finished, I'll add new pictures :)

The guest bedroom is also my music room :)
 My dad and step-mom bought me this digital piano for Christmas my freshman year of college. It is fantastic :) My sister bought me the music notes that are hanging on the wall...I think they are so cute! :) 

Second door on the left = Master Bedroom = MY ROOM :)
Two of my favorite things in this room are 1) my bed, obviously. and 2) those blackout curtains! I don't sleep in very well because I wake up with the those curtains are a Godsend! However, I feel like it is a little depressing in here with all the black, so I've been looking for a cute duvet cover that has some black and red and maybe some turquoise blue in it to brighten it up a bit. I haven't had much luck yet...but if/when I find one, I'll post new pictures of that too!

View from the back corner.
The cube shelf my awesome boyfriend put together for me right before he left for training :)
 Can you tell I am a fan of red?! haha. I bought this shelf at Target, as well as the red and cream boxes. I love pictures, so it was a perfect happy medium for storage AND display space!

My closet. Can we say OCD?? :)
Master Bath
Again, looking for a cuter shower curtain so it's not so BLACK everywhere.
I have had problems hunting for duvet covers and shower curtains...because I don't want something super girly, but if it's not flowery, it seems like it's always too....geometric. Not my favorite. At least not for an object that is going to stand out in a room. I'm going to keep hunting though!

My red shelf!
I also bought this from Celebrating Home on sale for like $9.95. I love it too! I have a ton of random bathroom crap that I used to have spread out all over the counter in a cluttery fashion. This shelf is perfect because all my necessities fit on it and it helps me keep them organized :)

I also have a "first door on the right"'s the office/Boyfriend's "man cave." But right now it is my scary, messy room where everything gets thrown, and it is so disorganized that I can barely handle going in there (seriously...the only time I do is when I need to put/get something in/from the file cabinet...the ONE organized thing about that room! haha) But I have some good ideas for in my spare time I'm going to start trying to put that room together, and once I do, pictures are sure to follow! :)

I have had fun with this one. I am loving having my own place without stupid roommates to deal with...and getting to do things I want with it. I am not the best at decorating, so it is definitely a learning process for me and I'm sure it will take me a long time to be able to a) figure out what I like and want to add to it, and b) be able to afford! I am trying to find cute ways to decorate, but at the same time trying to find bargains and get things for a good deal! I want to keep getting better at making my house feel like "home," no matter where we end up that the government takes us :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Catching up some more! Days 21-23

I'm sitting here waiting on my fantastic boyfriend to finish eating dinner so we can Skype, so I figured this would be a good time to catch up a little more with my 30 Day Blog Journal :)

Day 21 - a recipe

I am still a work in progress when it comes to my cooking skills. There are some things that I can cook really well, so I typically stick with those faithful few and cook them over and over. I wish I was better about it, but I rarely get creative in the kitchen.  This is something I happened to throw together one night on my own, with no recipe to go off of, and I LOVE it! It is fast, simple and overall pretty healthy :)

What you'll need:

*Spinach leaves - enough for what you would typically eat in a salad for a meal, not just a side dish (you could also use iceberg or romaine lettuce, I just prefer spinach lettuce because it has a higher nutritional value)
*2 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (I typically buy the frozen ones that come in a big ziplock back because they are convenient for me and last forever)
*Balsamic vinegar
*1 apple (Gala or Fuji are my favorites, and I think their flavor goes best with this recipe)
*Walnuts - chopped or halves
*Raspberry vinaigrette dressing (Strawberry vinaigrette would also work...and I buy fat free)

First, thaw out your chicken tenderloins (if necessary). You could also just use one chicken breast. I use the chicken tenderloins because they thaw out faster, cook faster, and they work perfectly for me because I am typically making dinner just for one these days! I do this by putting hot tap water in a bowl big enough for the pieces to fit in. It usually only takes 5-10 minutes for them to defrost all the way. Once they are thawed, pour out the water and add balsamic vinegar. It doesn't take much...I usually just use enough to where the chicken is coated thoroughly on both sides and there is a little bit in the bottom of the bowl.
Marinate for about 5 minutes.  I know that most recipes will tell you that you need to marinate something for anywhere from 6-24 hours...but I promise, I have a Master's degree in chemical engineering, and with the size of those chickens, the majority of the mass transfer is going to take place in the first 5 minutes. (Just a tip: when things do say to marinate for 6 hours, 30 minutes to an hour is actually plenty for the FLAVOR, especially for chicken. But when you are marinating steaks, leaving it in overnight might not be a bad idea for the tenderness factor. If you are marinating for more than 5-10 minutes, be sure to put your meat in a sealed container (like tupperware or ziplock bags) and place it in the fridge).

Anyways...I digress. I cook my chicken on my George Foreman grill, so while it is marinating I plug in the Foreman and let it heat up. The balsamic vinegar gives the chicken a lot of flavor, but I sometimes sprinkle it with a little bit of seasoning before it goes on the grill.  I really like Weber Grill Creations - Zesty Lemon Seasoning for seafood & chicken.  Once the grill is ready, I grill the chicken on both takes no time at all for the tenders to cook all the way through! I am cautious about chicken though, so I always cut through it with a knife to make sure it's done. While it is cooking, rinse the lettuce and drain. Cut up the apple into little cube-like pieces...I usually just use half of one apple and it is plenty. Once the chicken is done, cut it into small, bite-size pieces.

Spread the lettuce over a plate, spread the chicken, apple pieces and walnuts over the bed of lettuce, and add vinaigrette dressing to your liking.

The finished product!
It is a very quick and easy meal, and it tastes really good too! Perfect for those evenings where you don't really feel like cooking, or when you just don't have a lot of time to cook a big meal :)

Day 22 - a website I just love this website. If you want some mindless entertainment just by looking through random videos and photos, this is a good place to find it :)

Here is a random photo to give you an idea...they are so stupid and silly that it makes me laugh :)

Wildlife Photography Fail

Day 23 -a youtube video

So one of my grad school friends sent me this about a month or so ago...and I laughed so hard. It probably won't be nearly as funny to most people reading this, but sometimes us grad student lab rats feel exactly like this! :)

Well that's it for now...until next time...hope you have a great day!

Your friendly neighborhood rocket scientist ;)