Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Commit 30: January

Around the beginning of the year Instagram in all of it's brilliance showed me "sponsored" posts which included all manners of planners/organization for the new year. How they know the things to target you for is still beyond me, and makes me think Big Brother lives in iPhones. One of them I actually clicked to the page, it was the "they-emailed-and-wish-for-me-to-not-use-their-name/hashtag-in-my-social-media" planner. (This is so weird to me, I tag/link, and there is no affiliation/return to me, but hey, it's your biz.) Anyway, the design of the planner and it's contents were focused on making monthly commitments and keeping them. Anyone can do anything for 30 days right?! 

So, I'm incorporating 30 day commitments into my 2017. 

And, in January I did 31 days of NO SHOPPING. 


Disclaimer in case you read here regularly: Yes, I got new shoes for walking my dog, however I bought some in December that didn't fit right when I got them home, so the ones I got were an exchange. 

Know what? 

It wasn't that hard. 

Even when I got emails of "entire boutique 40% off" and all matters of free shipping and various other promotions.  

No shopping. 

And, probably what I would have bought on sale would be what I end up thinking later on "I didn't really need that.". 

I did however see a few cute things... 

This dress at Target. I saw it before the holidays, but never could find in my size. It went on clearance too, but didn't find before end of year. I didn't even go to Target in January. 


But that dress is cute, right?  I need a medium. :) 

Another post I saw via Instagram and round-ups of Valentine's Day picks was this sweatshirt. It's not even a question.  But, Wildfox, what is it about your sweatshirts that makes them $114?!?! This is crazy.  Also, I would like it to have a blue heart for the little Auggie dog.  
I do love my dog. But, I have a super cute dog tank a dear friend bought me.

Know what? 
I don't need 2 dog related shirts.  

Such a grown up decision. I know.

But, these.

These might find their way to my closet. This site has so many belled pants, I love flare pants and jeans. It is not a secret. They have sequin bells and velvet bells and so many others and they are 35.5" inseam.  But, I will have to do more fit research.

This is my type of Valentine. 

So, that was my Commit for January.
No shopping. 

Now for February.  
Stay tuned for the end of month reveal. 

What would you commit to for 30 days?  
I have several things I have thought of, but would love to hear some other ideas. 

Spoiler Alert: October will be #write31days. 
Yes, I'm already thinking about a topic. 

It's good discipline in all aspects of life.

Stay in touch...
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Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017. Every day. (01.22.17)

I love taking pictures, the every day, the mundane, the big, the fun, the celebrating, even the hard. Images I want to remember.  So, this year, I'm documenting my everyday. A photo a day for my FB/IG and then writing the stories of each on my blog weekly.

So, welcome to 2017!

Sunday was a little reminiscent of the theatre production I was in my freshman year of high school...Oklahoma "where the wind comes sweeping through the plains". I don't remember a day in recent years that the wind has had gusts like it did on Sunday. But, the sky was beautiful!  #nofilter

Reading. Reading. Reading. Had a book to finish up for Monday night, which I did on Sunday and then Monday was reading for class Tuesday. But, we still made it out for a daily walk, which makes for a happy dog. Also, there was plenty of fetch thrown in while sitting with a book in my lap. Thankfully I got my reading done before the meeting I had Monday night, so it wasn't a late night finishing up.

Snapped a quick pic for what I wore blog post after work, and Auggie has zero patience after work for anything other than getting into workout wear and lacing up my shoes for a walk with him. If you want to read more on what I wore, click here.

Home night. All the things. My list was long of what to get done/catch up on at home. I worked on blogs, paid some bills, ironed clothes, folded laundry, walked 3 miles with Auggie, sent Polished emails, did a few things for Rodeo committee. Just a regular catch up night, which was much needed. I never even turned the tv on or a playlist. In the midst of a hectic schedule, the nights I'm home like this I cherish the silence. Of course mixed in is a squeak toy on the regular, and several rounds of fetch.
{01.25.17 - Bonus}
All was well and put away before I went to bed. Days like this give me a sense of accomplishment and energy to tackle the rest of the week. #domestic

Last week I mentioned being downtown for work, and the memories it brings back from my days of E&Y. Well, this week I happened to be at a meeting in the same building, and got to chat with my former co-workers from 13 (!!) years ago for a few minutes, which was such a treat! I've always been a keep in touch person, so I love social media for the in betweens of getting to see people face to face for what sometimes becomes years. And, then you walk back into your old offices and it's like you were just there last week.

I attended a Polished Leadership Summit this weekend that started off with an outdoor farm to table dinner. The table was set with lettered place cards, menus and swag; we had introductions which were affirmations of each attendee and laughs over fun Dundie awards. Polished is still in the planning/launch stage for Houston, but meeting the teams who have gone before us is definitely wind in my sails for our Houston chapter.
{01.27.17 - Bonus}
Corey McEntyre was our dinner Chef. He shared such a great story of how he and his wife came to Waco, starting a food truck (Milo Biscuit Company, which you can find at the Silos, and I'm sad we couldn't get to for breakfast), pop up dinner parties and future plans for a restaurant this year. I love stories and hearing the testimony of his passion coupled with their faith and the opportunities ahead for him and his wife was such a treat, along with the delicious dinner they served.

After a day of teaching, reflection, leadership training, sharing, fundraising and budgets, we headed outside to the Magnolia Silos before going our separate ways home. Left to right...a Houston chapter teammate, me and Kat, the Executive Director of Polished. 
{01.27-28.17 - Bonus}
In the midst of a very full schedule lately, having a couple of hours and a drive down a 2 lane highway was a welcomed slow down by myself, with only the road and the radio. It is often hard to find silence in seasons that are full of events and commitments. I have always loved a solo road trip, and cherish that time to think, process, plan and often pray.
Here's hoping you have some quiet in the midst of the every day. Maybe it's a few minutes of silence at home or maybe you'll steal a few minutes away in the car by yourself. Take a moment and exhale, then inhale the silence, and enjoy the break for just a few minutes, or maybe longer if you have the chance. 

See you next week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Link Up: What's Up Wednesday

I haven't done one of these link ups in a while, so today I'm linking up and sharing what's up! :) 

I made the easiest Chicken Parmesan on Sunday, and had it as leftover too. Shared the recipe, click here, and definitely recommend this one! 

My Facebook the last few days has had memories of this time last year, as I was getting ready to move, and several "last" things I did before the move, like driving through Shipley's with Barney. Never knew that would really be the last of things and he would be so sick and gone so soon. Next week (Feb 2) marks one year since he had to be put down, and I'm especially grateful for nearly 10 years with him, and for my new dog, Auggie, who brings lots of joy to my house over these last 7 months. 

I still have my winter bedding out, and I really do love it!  I put away the truck pillow, but other than that, have left it on my bed and likely will through February.

Work + MBA + Rodeo Houston + Plexus + Polished + Church
Blogging + Lettering + Reading + Daily Walks
Family + Friends
just life. and, it's good.

Honestly, nothing major going on/coming up. So, that is a huge praise! 

I got a Mac in the fall, and I still have to work on how to do things on it. Also, most days after work find me working on one of the tasks above, so lots of tabs are open, excel and word docs too. Yesterday I had to google how to print a document showing track changes, whew.  #homework I'm also in the process of designing my website, and moving from Blogger to my own site. 

Polished. A new organization expanding to Houston, designed to connect young working women, encourage their careers and faith.  It still gives me pause to say "I'm the Local Director of Polished" as this is a ministry opportunity I have long prayed for. If you're young working woman in Dallas, North Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin or Houston, look them up and get connected! 

Since school is back in session, so long to fun reading and hello to textbook and article reading. I did just recently finish Where'd You Go Bernadette and The Undoing of Saint Silvanus. Both were excellent! 2016 book review is here.
I don't watch too much TV, though did catch several Hallmark movies over the holiday break, but according to my DVR I need to have a binge session of This is Us and Fixer Upper. If you'd like to join in, come on over! Also, for the first time since season 2, I'm not watching The Bachelor. It's just too much this season for my taste. Maybe I will join in as Nick gets closer to the final few, but for now, from the recaps I've read I definitely don't think I'm missing anything. 

In my car, pretty much XM 63 or XM56. I did just see that one of my long time favorites, Little Big Town has a new album coming out which I will definitely be listening to soon. I've also listened to a few podcasts lately {click here for more} and I listen to Spotify at home a lot too. 


Headed out of town for a Polished leadership retreat. Super excited that soon Houston will be on this map! 

I am presenting again at a conference next month, talking about bringing industry partners into classrooms for career exposure and applied learning. 
Also, Rodeo Houston is just over the horizon as well! Committee fundraiser, meetings, last bit of planning, BBQ cookoff and it will officially be here!

This year I started a new blog/photo series; 2017. Every day. I'm taking pics every day, posting them and writing the stories every week. This will be fun to look back on through the years! 

As mentioned, I'm not watching this season, but favorites were for sure Sean Lowe, Ben Higgi and though he wasn't quite ready to commit or find love and maybe a couple of other issues, I liked Brad Womack, maybe it was also because he's a Texas guy....

So, that's what's up! 

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Monday, January 23, 2017

What I Wore...and plan to wear

The weather lately in Texas has been typical for "winter"....high 70's and sunny, mixed with 30's, wind and a few days of rain! Needless to say, there hasn't been much of the 30s, so I haven't worn too many cardigans + scarves this year, which is typically my uniform. 

I picked up this top in Las Vegas while shopping the NFR Cowboy Christmas. Since I'm tall (5'9"), I don't typically find tops like this that are long enough sleeves for me, so I was happy to find this one! The bell sleeves are fun and lattice neckline gives it a little extra detail. It's a perfect work top with a scarf added or fun for evenings out showing off the lattice.  Of course, flare jeans, because #flaresaremyfavorite. And, even when they weren't in style, they are the best fit for my frame.   
Also when I was in Vegas I saw these pants on several Instagram pages I follow and particularly one girl who's tall, maybe even taller than me, so I knew the inseam would be long. I don't typically order pants online from boutiques because I never can tell the fit and super slim pants don't fit me. But, after asking several questions and figuring out these were 37" inseam I went for it and can't wait to wear them out!  Of course this pic was at home as soon as I got them in the mail, had to try them on, but they are going to be really cute for couple of events coming up. Stay tuned for full outfit.  I got them from Wildbleu, and ordered a small. You can find Wildbleu online (www.shopwildbleu.com) and on Instagram (@wildbleu). Also, my Mom text me about this pic "those pants are crazy", haha!! Best ever! #iliveontheedge #alsodriveuntilgaslightcomeson
Somewhere during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales I picked up a couple of new t-shirts at a great discount. I've had my eye on them for quite some time,but always hesitated until a good sale came up! #bargainshopper #canIgetanamen  This T is from Royer's Pie Haven (www.royerspiehaven.com or Insta @royerspiehaven) and was fun for a rodeo meeting paired with Cactus duster from Dusty Diamonds (www.dustydiamondsboutique.com or Insta @dustydiamondsboutique). Sidenote: typing "duster" takes me back to the mid-90's when black heavy canvas dusters were "in" for the western/cowboy/kickers crowd. My necklace is from Accessorize in Style, a boutique I've often mentioned (www.accessorizeinstyle.com or Insta @accessorize_instyle). I love white jeans year round, and since it's been in the 70's or nearly 80, feels like white jeans are appropriate anyway! Snapped this pic when I walked back in the door at 11pm, because I meant to on the way out and forgot. #nolipstick #flathair #bedtime
Sequins!! I love that sequins are in right now! How fun is this maxi skirt. Also, if you look for sequin skirts on Instagram, you'll see them with everything from graphic t's to dressed up tops. Perfectly unexpected. Like the stripe pants, I had to try this on right from the mailbox and little Auggie was (not) patiently waiting for me to change into clothes more appropriate for his walk. I got hilarious comments on this pic via both Facebook and Instagram regarding pairing it with flannel. I can't wait to wear this for couple of upcoming events too! I got this from the Rollin J (www.therollinj.com or Insta @therollinj) after searching several and talking with shop owners to determine length/measurements. Most of these skirts are high waisted, which can make fit tricky. I actually ended up ordering a large, and it sits perfectly on my hips and is plenty long. I love shopping small because you really get lots of help from owners! 
Remember WAY back when I got this vest? {click here} And, it was hanging on my closet door with jeans and I thought that would be cute when the weather finally cooled off? Well, finally got to wear it on a jeans Friday! Turns out this entire outfit is from Old Navy; button up, vest and flare jeans. Also, the button up is, of course, tall size; but if you want a longer tunic length or even dress that is maybe a little more work appropriate, I recommend ordering a tall. Cognac heels are Jessica Simpson and style is Claudette

Here's another one of the T's I picked up from Royer's Pie Haven. I could wear this every day. Especially lately, seems like the world is trying to steal our joy!  #nottodaysatan  These jeans are Calvin Klein, which are I believe my first ever Calvins, but they are a great fit for booties and I picked them up at Marshall's.  Also, these booties, (closer pic below and wearing them in white jeans pic above) are from Marshall's. They are by Splendid and if you've read here in the summer, my long favorite wedges are Splendid and I'm equally loving these suede wedge boots for winter. Another pic snapped at the end of the day, because I forgot before I left.
I still haven't gotten back to taking pics daily of my work wear, though some of you have asked, which - thank you!! So, here's a what I wore to work pic. Easy black dress that is short sleeve, perfect year round dress, with flats, wedges, tights, booties and boots. Paired with oversize cardigan and the suede booties. I love black + camel together, and especially the little bit of trim on these boots. I snapped this after work, and Auggie, again, not so patiently waiting for me to quit taking pics and get on clothes to take him on a walk.
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Easiest Chicken Parmesan Ever!

Towards the end of the year I set a goal to cook through all the meat in my freezer by the end of the year. Then, the holidays, travel, events, etc., and I wasn't home very much to cook and have leftovers, so I didn't make my end of year goal. However, I'm still working on it! And, getting close to the end.

But, the chicken. Sometimes with chicken I feel a little like Bubba Gump; grilled chicken, fried chicken, chicken spaghetti, chicken and rice...maybe you too?  So, I had some left over spaghetti sauce I needed to use and chicken thawed and decided to throw it all together.

This is so simple. I have no measurements, but you know the quantity that feeds you, or your family, in spaghetti noodles and chicken, so it's easy to make just what you need.

Easiest Chicken Parmesan Ever

Thawed Chicken breast or tenders
Flour + seasonings or Italian Bread Crumbs
Spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti Sauce (I'm a Prego girl) 
Cheese (Mozzarella or Parmesan, or both)
  1. Pre-heat your oven, 350 or 400 or 425, doesn't really matter. 
  2. Bring water to a boil and cook spaghetti
  3. Skillet fry chicken.  I cut large chicken breast into strips like tenders, basted with egg, dusted with flour and topped with Italian seasoning.  Pan fried them in olive oil for just a few minutes until done, flipping half way through. 
  4. Grease a Pyrex that will hold the amount you've cooked. 
  5. Layer 1) spaghetti 2) chicken 3) pour spaghetti sauce over top 4) top with cheese(s) 
  6. Put in the oven for a few minutes - just enough to melt the cheese and heat up the sauce, 15 minutes or so should do. 
Serve it up and enjoy!  

I'm no professional photographer, and I wanted to try this after I made it, to make sure it was edible (#truestory) but here's what it looks like in real life and it is yummy!! 

Also an easy meal if you have littles who like to cook with you, and/or bigs that you're teaching to cook! Several friends commented they were going to have their kids help out! 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

2017. Every day. (01.15.17)

I love taking pictures, the every day, the mundane, the big, the fun, the celebrating, even the hard. Images I want to remember.  So, this year, I'm documenting my everyday. A photo a day for my FB/IG and then writing the stories of each on my blog weekly.

So, welcome to 2017!

After last week, I felt like I had burned the candle at both ends, it was good to be home for most of the weekend. I received this candle for Christmas (it's a volcano scent) and had it burning most of the day on Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evening. I love candles but don't light them too often for fear of leaving the house with a candle lit. I love being home in my house and the weekend was perfect recharge for me. Also, Chuy's is one of my fav places (that I haven't been to in way too long) and I received this little coaster/trivet for Christmas too and have it out in my kitchen, though on a different stand after this pic was taken. 
Monday was a work holiday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I loved being at home for a leisurely morning. I'm currently working through Beth Moore's Entrusted study which has been really good, and especially at a slower pace with coffee. Lest you think this is a Hallmark-esque moment of serenity, Auggie yaked up something gross shortly after I took this and so I had to stop and clean that up. #goodthinghescute #reallife
Back to school! The holiday break is officially officially over and MBA classes started back up this week. I do really like my professor and this semester will fly even faster than the last one and I will be half way through!  But, until then...all the reading. 
The 1st Houston flood of 2017, which fortunately passed quickly and rain expected for following day didn't end up coming through so thankfully there was minimal damage around the city this time. I finally got to break in my new rain booties I picked up over the holiday break! I have been looking for rain boots for, not even kidding, 2 years. I'm a true 8.5, and the 9's are too big/wide and 8's too small. I found these at Target, had never seen them before and they fit perfect!
{01.18.17 - Bonus}
I was dressed and ready to walk out the door, remote in hand to turn off the tv when the announcer called a 2 hour rain delay for our district.  I was out of my work clothes and into my onesie within about 10 seconds and 30 seconds later had a cup of coffee brewing to enjoy during the delay.
I had a work meeting downtown Thursday afternoon and snapped this sitting at a light. I don't often have to go downtown but when I do I always have such great memories of the years I worked downtown at Ernst and Young. I had great co-workers, rode the commuter bus, walked miles and miles in tunnels and on city blocks, and loved every bit of it.
Friday I was down south for a work meeting at Ellington Field. I've lived in Houston for nearly 19 years and never been to Ellington! I know there is an air show there every year, which people rave about, though I've never been. Our conference meeting room looked out on the runway where planes were taking off and landing the entire two hours were were there. #distracted
My church hosted a retreat for women who serve in leadership for various programs we have at church for women. I love sitting by a fireplace, and Saturday morning I spent about 3 hours in this spot. I guess as much as last week should have been plates of food every day this week was lots of coffee cups. Truth is I don't drink coffee every day and prefer to have it when I can savor and enjoy it, so the fact that happened 3 mornings this week was a sweet blessing! 
{01.21.17 - Bonus}
My church does a really great job of giving back to leaders who are serving and Friday night we had the best gathering of dreams and affirmation of women speaking truth to us of our character and hearts. I had a very hard year last year of harsh words spoken to and about me, and that is still a bit raw for me. The friends in the room are ones who have prayed diligently for me, spoken truth over lies and encouraged me. Vulnerability is one of the hardest things to be in life, and always "having it together" will definitely wear you out and cause you to miss great opportunities. So, these types of things make me super teary in the best way, and I will never take for granted being in community like this, because it doesn't happen every where. I posted this on Instagram...
If you never live your life with vulnerability in community amongst people who know real you, esteem you, speak truth to you, believe in you, ask hard questions and dream alongside you, you are really missing one of the greatest gifts to living this life. So grateful for the community that is mine in this race we are living.

See ya next week!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lettering Lately

Safe to say starting back to school on my MBA took priority in the fall semester, but I did do some lettering. Here's a few of the signs I did this fall, and I am still taking orders, just a limited number per month. As always, for more information on lettering, click here: {Lettering}.

I painted these classroom rules for a teacher friend who was moving into a brand new school and decorating a new classroom.  These rules certainly go beyond the classroom, hopefully they are ones we all abide by daily too! 
One of my college besties is a teacher, and I painted a name sign for her room. I love seeing where a canvas/sign ends up, and this is such a fun book display in her classroom!
I've painted this sign before, but had another order from a co-worker for Christmas. All of my signs are free-hand, so fun to see two of the same and how they turn out differently.

A friend messaged me she was re-doing her daughter's room and wanted to have a canvas for her walls. I love to know where words will end up and can't help but think when I am painting about the eyes who will see this every day and my hope for her is she will always believe she can!
One of my besties re-did a guest bathroom in a very modern meets fixer-upper theme with white subway tile and dark navy paint. I painted this canvas to go on the navy wall and used the paint she used for her walls so it would match.
This is one of my favorite Christmas decoration signs, which was an order for a family this year. #istillbelieve
How cute is little Hazel Kate? Her mama was celebrating her birthday and bought the flamingo canvas as part of her party decor, and I lettered her name. This canvas is a party keepsake she will have in her room. Side note: I get nervous when painting that I will misspell something, and as I was sitting at their table lettering + talking I asked her Mom how to spell Hazel at least 5 times. ha! 

Let me know if you're looking for lettered art for your walls, as party decorations or anything in between!  I love words and painting them for your life.
Featuring my trusty assistant, Auggie.