What You Can Expect (Here) in 2017

December 27, 2016

I know this is all out of order; here I am talking about 2017 when I haven't written anything that sums up 2016 yet.  The thing is, 2016 was complicated.  I haven't exactly finished my thoughts there yet.  We had some sad events, like the passing of John's grandma, and the world is in turmoil on so many levels, and yes I count Alan Thicke and George Michael in that.  People are very ready to put 2016 behind them.  But I didn't completely hate this past year because we had so many good things happen too.  Not the least of which being buying and moving into our house and John starting his dream job with the Chicago fire department.  Those are major happy life events that cannot be ignored, no matter how badly everyone else feels about how their years went.  So, I think my thoughts on 2016 post is going to get pushed back yet again.

In the meantime, I do know what you can expect from me in 2017.  Not that I can predict the future or anything, but I can pretty reasonably predict my own behavior since I'm a creature of habit and have been extremely predictable since I was 2.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

December 20, 2016

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the 'net
Bloggers were stirring, they're not done just yet.
The stockings were hung with monogrammed flair,
In hopes that all of Sephora rests inside there.

Target decor adorned all the beds,
While slouchy white beanies sat on their heads;
Add Starbucks in red cups, and berry red lips,
The perfect selfie is ready, just like a script.

The fake rug is out (since white space is better),
If only the dog would sit still in his sweater.
Set up the twinkle lights and tie on a bow,
Instagram husband is ready, now on with the show!

"Should we pose by the window?  Can you see the snow?
Or in front of a fire?  It has a nice glow.
Let's take one outside, it's not all that cold,
In front of the wreath, spray painted in gold.

It matches the dress, after all, it's the season.
But if you can't see the shoes, there isn't a reason.
How about the nails?  Can you see all the glitter?
Take a good close up, it's better for Twitter."

Yes, blogging takes effort, but hardly a lot;
Only 89 tries for that one perfect shot.
With filters applied and hashtags just perfect,
The likes and the comments make it all worth it.

Zoomed in a bit, and brightened a ton,
They upload the photo, pleased it's finally done.
But they tell all their fans, while still merry and bright,

Stephanie out, Merry Christmas!  See you next week.

P.S. 2015, if you missed it.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

On the First Day of Winter

December 16, 2016

On the first day of winter ... I gave myself 10 new seasonal goals.  Okay that's a lie, it's not exactly the first day of winter, but we're getting there.  Its actually next Wednesday, the 21st, if you're curious.  However, the link up with Steph and Sara is today, so today is when I shall post.  They host a goals link up at the start of each season, in case you're new to this.  Join in any time and make your seasonal goals!  Gives you 3 months to work on them, way better than monthly goals if you ask me.

So let's check in on how I did on fall and what I'm planning for winter.

Doggie Gift Bags for the Holidays

December 12, 2016

As usual, I have as many dogs as people to get gifts for this Christmas.  And I don't just mean Hawkeye 12 times over, as much as she would like that to be the case.  But I never leave dogs out of the holidays - they're family!!  This year, I decided to get gifts for my parents' dogs, Joey and Brody, John's parents' dog, Thor, and his sister's dog, Penny.  Hawkeye is probably the biggest dog out of all of them so I knew a perfect gift would be homemade little doggie goody bags, and they turned out adorable if I do say so myself.

Three on Thursday

December 8, 2016

Welcome back to three on Thursday.  In case you don't have any idea what this is, you can read past posts here, but it's just a quick listing of my top 3 loves at the moment.  Top 3 anything, really, from candles, to beer, to tv shows, to a new app you have to try.  There are no rules, usually, although this week I kept them all Christmas themed.  One week into December and I'm in full on Christmas mode, I tell you.  Halloween may be my favorite holiday, but the Christmas/New Year season is a close second.  I love all the lights and decorations, even the music.  (Although I did hear 12 Days of Christmas set to Toto's 'Rains Down in Africa' while out shopping and that was a wtf moment for me.  No thanks.)  This season is certainly keeping me busy though, however much I may enjoy the activities.  Even when I try to simplify my life and my holidays, this one is a tough one to pare down.  So rather than tell you about more things to add to your Christmas list (I think I did that enough last week, making everyone want their own robot vacuum), I have a couple of recommendations that don't involve buying a darn thing.

1. Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt Date Night.  I think this is the cutest thing ever, plus it's a totally free and fun way to enjoy the holiday decorations.  John and I are going to do a version of it tomorrow with our friends, because we're heading to Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  (Which is free, Chicagoans, and they serve alcohol.  And all the indoor exhibits are open so you don't freeze.)


I'm super competitive.  I plan on winning.

Three on Thursday

December 1, 2016

This post may contain affiliate links.

Well this post is going up slightly later in the day than usual.  Want to know why? Because for the first 4.5 hours of my day, I was 100% certain that it was Wednesday.  So that was a nice surprise, getting to the office and being reminded that I need to get my picks in for tonight's football game and set my fantasy line up.  The weekend is closer than I imagined!  Anyway, welcome back to three on Thursday.  In case you don't have any idea what this is, you can read past posts here, but it's just a quick listing of my top 3 loves at the moment.  Top 3 anything, really, from candles, to beer, to tv shows, to a new app you have to try.  There are no rules, so here we go.

1. Robot Vacuums Vacuuming has been my most hated task since I started having my own apartment with carpet when I was a junior in college (my parents never had carpet and floor is way easier to clean!)  I've been asking for a robot vacuum every single birthday and Christmas since I turned 21 - since I've always had a Dyson and then a Miele, I never felt that I could fork out my own money for a robot vacuum.  It only took 11 years but John got me one for my birthday 2 weeks ago and I. Am. Obsessed.  His name is Ferdinand and he's my new best friend, after Hawkeye of course.  I have no idea why the Roomba brand ones are $400+ more than this little guy, but whatever it is I clearly don't need because my Ferdi works great.
2. Gift wrap at Marshalls.  I don't have a picture of everything I got, but you can see a little bit of the gold wrapped gifts here.  The bags are from the Target dollar spot.  But Marshalls is amazing for wrapping paper and ribbons!  I don't always have luck finding things in the Marshalls by me, as far as home decor or clothes, yet the Christmas section is never a let down.  Of course, I try to shop for wrapping paper after Christmas when it's all dirt cheap, but if I run out of my own supply and need to pick up options before the holidays, Marshalls is where to go.  It's so inexpensive and the wrapping paper is good quality.  I hate super thin paper that rips when you try to fold it over box corners, drives me nuts.  So if you need options right now, stop there first!

3. Home Alone themed clothes on Etsy.  If you don't think you need a sweatshirt that says 'Merry Christmas ya filthy animal' or 'Buzz, your girlfriend, woof!' ... you're wrong.  I mean, you can find quotes from any holiday movie you like on Etsy, but Home Alone has always been my favorite.  I have a firefighter version of the first one, they run small so size up 1 or 2 sizes, but they're so soft and cozy!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

Ways to Stay Productive and Focused on Busy Days

November 28, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyWayToVeg #CollectiveBias

Is anyone else totally struggling with the fact that it's pitch black outside by 5:15 p.m.?!  I love winter, but the lack of sunlight is hard to deal with for sure.  With the hours of actual daylight getting shorter, I always find my energy levels draining throughout the day, earlier than they do in the summer.  As I mentioned before, I wake up at 4:30 a.m. every day to get John off to work and then I do chores around the house until I leave for work at a law firm downtown at 7:15 a.m. and I work until 5 p.m.  I have to stay motivated and productive if I don't want to crash midday so I do everything I can to stay energized and healthy.  Here's my top 5 strategies for getting through my busy days:

My Year Round Capsule Wardrobe

November 22, 2016

I've posted about my wardrobe before, specifically about how few pieces I have, but I've never given an overview of exactly how many and how I wear them.  I figured I would show why it's so easy for me to get dressed in the morning now that I've limited my options so much.  As someone who wore a uniform to school most of her life, I've never enjoyed buying clothes or picking out outfits.  Since I can't have a personal stylist come dress me each day, creating a year round very condensed capsule wardrobe was definitely the way to go.

Holy Grail Products: An Update

November 18, 2016

Do you have a holy grail makeup or skin care product that you'd never give up?  How about one in each category?  Because that's my goal.  I hate wasting money, so one of my goals on my 101 in 1001 list was to find my 'holy grail' status products in each makeup category as well as for skin care and hair care.  Personally, when I find something I really enjoy, I stick with it and don't feel the need to buy more things to try, thus saving me money.  Eyebrow pomade, for example.  I found one I love and now I never look at eyebrow products when I'm in a store.  Foundation, however, is something I keep trying and buying in the hopes that something better is out there.  It's been quite a process trying to figure it out and I'm still working on it.  But I thought it was about time for an update, and see if you have any recommendations for me in the remaining categories!

5 Things I Do At Night To Make Mornings Easier

November 16, 2016

I have never in my life been a morning person.  Like, I wouldn't even get up on Christmas morning (I'm an only child, not like everything wasn't for me anyway!), my mom had to drag me out of bed.  I didn't wake up early to watch cartoons, I got to school at the last minute, and when I started college I made sure to schedule all afternoon classes.  In fact, the only times I would actually get up early were to tailgate.  Mornings just weren't my thing.  Until this year.  Because now, and for the past 6 months, I get up at 4:30 a.m.  Yes, you read that right.  4:30 a.m.  It's when my alarm goes off and I'm out of bed at 4:31 - there's still a tiny struggle, I admit.  But there's no time for snoozing when I have to get up, let the dog out, make John breakfast, make his lunch while he eats breakfast, and help him get out the door just before 5:00 so he makes it to work on time.

Three on Thursday

November 10, 2016

This post may contain affiliate links.

Back to Thursday, back to business as usual.  Let me be clear, this blog is business as usual.  Life is most certainly not.  But I don't talk politics on this blog, I did vote (I'm super embarrassed for anyone who proudly 'doesn't vote'), I didn't vote for Trump or Clinton, and so many other bloggers have posted many thoughts on the topic, eloquently enough that I don't feel the need to personally add to that narrative.  And although I do post about the times I get nervous in real life and emotional meltdowns over my hair, the serious(ish) posts are few and far between and instead you come to this blog for lightheartedness, simplicity, and a tiny bit of organization in a chaotic world (at least I hope you do), and that's what we're doing today.

So welcome back to a post of my weekly (and all time) top three favorites that I think you should do, try, or buy.  If you've missed any prior weeks and want to catch up, just check here.  

The Thing I'm Most Terrified Of (and Proud Of)

November 1, 2016

November 1st.  It brings the end of Halloween season (my favorite holiday) but it also brings my birthday month, so I usually get into celebration mode about now.  Might as well celebrate the entire month, right?  Treat yo self.  This particular November 1st is entirely different though - it brings the halfway point of John's 6 months in the fire academy.  This morning he took the national EMT test and he's officially done with that side of things.  Tomorrow he moves over to the 'fire side' where they break you down with massive amounts of PT, but also teach you the things you'll be doing the rest of your life, like, you know, running into burning buildings.  This is, on a not totally unrelated note, also the time I begin to freak out.

But let's back up a minute, in case you're totally confused.  I mentioned awhile back that John had officially started at the training academy for the Chicago Fire Department.  I might as well answer a few questions here about how that came to be, since he formerly worked for a union as a pipe insulator.  While he can go back to being a pipe insulator after his 9 month probationary period with the fire department, he knew it was never a full time career, so he had been taking police and fire tests for a few years, all around the north side of Chicago - but of course always hoping actual Chicago would open up soon.  A couple of years ago, it did.  Here's how the hiring process works: anyone can register and show up for the test.  It's just a basic knowledge test, think SAT but arguably easier.  Thousands and thousands show up for this.  20,000 in fact, back in December of 2014.  Once you pass (and let's be clear, almost everyone does.  2,000 failed out of 20,000) your name is added to a list, in random lottery order.  You get a letter telling you what your number is, so you can get a feel if it might be coming soon or if you need to find other employment - like the guys who got numbers like 10,872 or 17,102.  This is the first hiring Chicago has done for firefighters in many years.  For various political, financial, and legal reasons they were still calling guys off the last list, which was from 2006.  So John took that test in December and they started dolling out numbers in the spring of 2015.  From there, they called (I believe) 1 class in 2015, another early this year and then, as you know, John started in August.

Because John's number?  299.  Out of 18,000.  If that isn't a sign that he's supposed to be doing this, I don't know what is.  This is his dream job so we were very excited to get that letter.  It's also how we knew Chicago was the only option when house hunting, because city employees must have a Chicago address.  There were quite a few steps involved in getting from the test to the academy, like passing a background check and 'candidate physical ability test,' which took a few months, but he passed everything and waited for the call to start, which he got in late July (they're not big on notice.)  Since he's started, he's been learning EMT things, because firefighters are required to know how to perform basic life support until the paramedics arrive.

And now that's over.  No more tests and homework and books and studying, the things I've been familiar with all my life; now onto physical exhaustion and learning to squash basic human survival instincts to run into fires and save people you don't know.  You can probably tell that I don't understand the mentality behind this at all - if it's not an animal in danger, there's no way I'd jump in and save anyone from anything.  My flight or fight reflex is firmly in the flight camp (unless I'm drinking, then I'm feisty AF #letsbehonest.)

I may not understand it, but I'm still very, very proud of him.  The whole sexy firefighter thing aside, he is so good at this job.  He has no fears about this, he's at the top of the class in all the physical challenges, he's spending ride along days at firehouses getting tours from the chiefs - he's impressing a lot of people and should have his pick of houses after graduation (if he's top of the class, he can pick whatever house in Chicago he wants to go to.  He's determined to be #1 and I very much think he will be.)  I'm proud of how hard he's working and how easily it's coming to him.  I'm proud of how much he wants it and how he's willing to do whatever it takes.  And mostly, I'm very proud to be dating someone who will risk his life to save others, because that's a special kind of brave.

Regardless, I'm definitely starting to panic a bit now.  It gets more real as the training gets more intense, and I'll probably panic even more once graduation day comes in February and he actually starts working at a firehouse.  John is, of course, totally loving every minute of it and cracking jokes about how it'll be so easy to cremate him when he dies because he'll probably be halfway burnt to a crisp in a fire anyway, which, as you can imagine, is exactly 0.0% humorous at the moment.  (If you laughed, I'd normally applaud your morbid sense of humor but not right now, damnit.)

So that's my life currently - a daily mental battle between so proud I could burst and so terrified I could cry.

Also, he has to be clean shaven at all times because otherwise the mask won't properly seal.  So he looks 12 and keeps getting carded.  At least that part is funny.

As a side note to anyone who found this post because they were searching for details about the Chicago fire hiring process or what happens in the academy etc etc, please feel free to e-mail me.  I know lots of things now.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

Routine for Your Healthiest Smile (DIY Toothpaste Recipe)

October 24, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BrushingEvolvedBBB #CollectiveBias

Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Sonic Electric Toothbrush 

I think we all know how important healthy teeth are, so let's talk for a minute about how to get there.  A healthy smile is going to start with your toothbrush.  I've switched to using the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Sonic Electric Toothbrush.  I've always known electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes when it comes to dental health, and if you're going to get an electric toothbrush, you might as well get the best, right?  I picked mine up at Bed, Bath & Beyond, it's the in personal care section with other bath products like loofahs and pedicure kits. 

5 Things I Do Well

October 18, 2016

Two weeks ago I posted about the things that I'm not so great at, because this is real life and you can't be good at everything.  But I also think you should embrace and celebrate the things you are great at - give yourself a break once in awhile!  Since I'm normally my own harshest critic, I decided to flip the switch and tell you some things I think I do really well.  Besides decluttering and organizing, of course.

Giving Compliments.  I work on the 36th floor and not a single elevator ride goes by without me complimenting the other person in the elevator with me (unless I'm in the elevator alone, of course.)  It's habit at this point, and a good one I think.  I tell women I like something about their outfit, about their hair, their nails, pretty much anything.  I also do this any time I think it.  I have no filter about a lot of things, but this one is a plus.  If I think someone has a great purse or their perfume smells nice, I tell them.  Once Tara and I were walking to the liquor store in our sweats and we passed a girl coming out of her house to her cab, all dolled up, heels and everything.  She looked so nice and I told her so.  I hope that gave her confidence for her date or wherever she was heading.  Regardless, I can always tell by the look on people's face that they appreciate it and it takes me no effort at all.  Try it some time.

Details.  When it comes to anything, really, I'm a details person versus big picture person.  I think if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right the first time.  So when I clean, I'll get floss or a toothbrush out to get the edges of the bathroom sink faucet.  When I host a party, everything from the kitchen towels to the food to the silverware matches the theme.  When I pack for vacation, I write out an itinerary and exactly what I plan on wearing every minute of the day so I don't over-pack.  I enjoy getting the details right, and I'm good at it.

Applying False Eyelashes.  To myself and to other people, I am great at applying falsies.  I mean, if they're halfsies, I could get them on in a minute, and that includes 30 seconds of glue drying time.  Full length falsies I can do in probably 2 minutes.  It's a skill, I like to think.

Inbox Zero.  I loathe e-mails.  I use unroll.me (which is free) to get subscriptions under control and then I make sure that my blog, personal, and work e-mail accounts are at 0 before I leave the office at 5.  (Then I don't check e-mail again until the morning.  Another thing I do extremely well - unplugging.  I honestly don't know why I waste money on a smart phone.)

Responding to Blog Comments.  I make note that I probably won't respond to comments on posts that go up while I'm on vacation, but since I rarely take vacation, I respond to 99% of comments people leave.  If you took the time to read my posts and leave a comment, the very least I can do is acknowledge that in some way.  Unless you're getting hundreds of comments on your post, I don't know an acceptable reason not to respond.  Sometimes I won't even hit publish because I know I won't have time to respond to comments at that point, so I hold the post for when I have more time, it's that important to me.  Except for the one last week, because I can't quite bring myself to respond to those yet, but I did read and appreciate them all.

So toot your own horn and tell me - what do you do well?

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

Rebounding From a Rough Weekend

October 12, 2016

Posting is tough this week.  I generally keep the content light and fluffy around here and the more serious and sad things stay offline.  But it's been hard to get the two posts published that I have scheduled (my capsule wardrobe and our house to home tour video) because it's just not a happy time right now.

John's grandma passed away on Friday afternoon, so it was all around a very long, sad weekend.  She was a very loved woman, hundreds of people came to the wake and the church was full for Monday's funeral.  To be honest, I'm not good at being sad.  I'm a generally pretty unemotional person - not much of a crier, but I don't get overly excited either.  Just very even keel.  But I'm sad about grandma.  I liked her a lot, she was hilarious and kind.  And I'm really sad for John, because out of 14 grand kids, it's no secret among anyone that John had the best relationship with her.  He's trying to be strong because grandma was 89 and in pain, so she's in a better place, but if he cries, I cry.  It very much makes me not want to work on the blog.  Or be online at all, to be honest.

Here's hoping next week is better.  Maybe I'll even get my capsule wardrobe post up by Friday!  #dreams

Three on Thursday

October 6, 2016

This post may contain affiliate links.

Hey look at that, a three on Thursday.  On an actual Thursday.  Certainly been awhile since I managed that one.  In case you don't have any idea what this is, or forgot, I don't blame you and you can read past posts here, but it's just a quick listing of my top 3 loves at the moment.  Top 3 anything, really, from candles, to beer, to tv shows, to a new app you have to try.  There are no rules, though I usually do tie them into the season.  Speaking of which - I may not always have my shit together, guys, but the one thing I can always manage to do is get the Halloween decor up on October 1.  Halloween is my favorite holiday; I think I'd start putting decor up in August if the neighbors wouldn't complain.  But I certainly never fail to get it up on October 1.  It's not all done because I do want to decorate the inside more for our Halloween party, but the outside is looking fantastic.  I've started posting photos on Instagram and I think I'll end up doing a video tour when it's all finished inside too.  Apparently my minimalism does not apply to Halloween decor.

1. Target Throw Blankets.  I keep blankets on my couch year round, let's be honest, but fall always reminds me to pull out seasonally appropriate throws.  Since we have a new couch in our living room upstairs and no blankets to go on it, I knew wanted something that would be cozy and in a fabric and pattern that would work well with fall and potentially into Christmas (because my minimalism certainly does apply to the idea of having a blanket for every month, that's crazy talk.)  I went straight to Target with the intention of getting the same one that I have in grey in the basement, because it's massive and so soft and warm, but then the plaid print one caught my eye and I'm obsessed with it.  Insert a hashtag about being basic here, or whatever.  But I don't care, it's perfect, and for only $30 I definitely felt the need to share it, thus the basis of me getting my act together for a 3 on Thursday post.  It's super soft and warm without being too heavy (I was weirdly concerned about a blanket looking too 'chunky' because the couch has a slimline feel to it - I think I'm going crazy), not itchy, it looks fantastic against the grey couch and against the dark wood, I washed it when Hawkeye ate her moist food dinner on it and it held up great, it's just a lot of good things.  Plus Target throws are apparently on sale until the end of today, I found out when I went looking for the link - an extra 10% off with the code HOMESALE.  There's winning all around happening here.

2. Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale.  It tastes like fall, there's really nothing else I can tell you.  It's glorious.  It's not overpowering on any of the flavors, so you don't feel like you're just drinking horchata - you can tell you're drinking beer.  It just has lovely hints of cinnamon and the sweet caramel-ness of horchata.  Without the burn of drinking Rumchata, because I'm strictly a beer girl.  If you've never had horchata, this will remind you of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  It's pretty light and not really sweet so I could easily do 2 or 3, but probably not an entire 6 pack in a row.  So if you're decorating for Halloween soon or handing out candy to trick or treaters, this would be a fun drink to pair with that.

3. This post from Kari.  If you're a Halloween junkie like we are, you need this - she made calendars, which she's continually updating, that list when every single Halloween related movie will be on television.  From family friendly to truly spooky, she has everything.  If you just think about how much time that would take someone, there's no way you can't appreciate what she did.  Kari, we are forever in your debt.

I hope you're in the fall spirit as much as I am or it's about to be a long 3 months for you.  Happy Thursday!

But I'm Pretty Good at Drinkin Beer

September 28, 2016

This post brought to you by laziness and listening to Billy Currington on repeat.  And by the fact that today, September 28, is National Drink a Beer Day!  Who's celebrating with me?

Before we get started on drinking beers today, let me tell you about all the things I do not excel at:

I've never finished an entire mascara before (a) getting bored or (b) it drying out beyond saving.  I HAVE finished chapsticks, which I think a lot of people can't say, but never a darn mascara.

I get easily distracted so if I'm working on a task I don't really care about, it'll likely never get done because I'll find 10,000 other things to work on.

Since Summer is Actually Ending Now

September 16, 2016

It's that time again, seasonal goals time.  You know, since the season of summer is actually ending in a couple of days - not when everyone acts like it did on September 1.  Anyway.  Back when it was spring I was dreading the goals recap post because I did so terribly.  I mean, I subsequently felt better reading other people's posts because everyone did terrible in the spring, but still.  I hate not meeting the goals I set for myself.  Important or not in the grand scheme of things, they're still things I wanted to accomplish so I get mad when I don't do it.  Because it's generally no one's fault but my own.  Summer goals, however, was a totally different story - thank goodness.

Life According to Steph

My Meal Planning Process

September 14, 2016

When I first mentioned what my schedule and routine is like lately, I said that I could do a separate post on my meal planning process if that seemed interesting.  And I got feedback that people actually wanted to hear about this so here we are.  Man, sometimes my posts just get out of control.  Maybe that's why I've been a lazy blogger lately and the posts have been fewer and further between - every topic I want to blog about ends up being so damn long!  This is particularly detailed but I didn't want to leave anything out, so if you're still curious how I go about meal planning, read on:

Do I Need a 2017 Planner?

September 12, 2016

That particular question has been on my mind lately.  Usually, by this point, I've already picked out exactly what I want for the next year.  Possibly even ordered it already.  This is the time for new year planners, after all.  The rush to get academic year planners is over, so now it's time for the new year ones.  Since I'm many years removed from school (I graduated law school in 2010 and have no intentions of going back to school for anything ever again), I like to get the planners that run January - December.  And although I have my top pick in mind if I were going to get one for 2017, the fact remains that I haven't ordered it yet because I don't think I need it.  Say what now? Yep, you heard me.

Routines Make Me Happy

September 8, 2016

I very much live by my routine.  I'll throw it off sometimes, like when I go to a mid-week dinner with a friend, but in generally I believe that my routine makes my life easier and everyone happier.  I'm able to get a lot done in a day!  So here's my lineup.  It's just what works for me, right now at least.  Oh and I feel like I need to start out by saying - don't let the time frame fool you.  I may wake up at 4:30 a.m., but I go to sleep at 8 p.m.  I get my 8 hours, trust me.

Alaskan Cruise on the Norwegian Pearl 2016

September 6, 2016

This post is incredibly freaking long.  I didn't feel like splitting it up, because you either want to know about it and you'll read the whole thing anyway, or you don't and you'll skip the whole thing.  So what's the point of making two posts, right?  In case you missed it, during the first week of August, I went on an Alaskan cruise with my parents on the Norwegian Pearl.  I loved every minute of it.  If you've been thinking that it's on your bucket list, I highly encourage you to do it.

I listed it out by itinerary, hopefully that's helpful.

On Blogging and Life

September 1, 2016

The amount of times I post in a month always ebbs and flows, and right now we're definitely in 'ebbs' mode.  A lot of bloggers feel that way during summer and I'm thinking I'll move over the slump as we head into fall too, but mostly because I'm a winter person.  If you look at my archives since I've been blogging regularly (2013), I always post heavier in fall and winter and then it trickles through spring and summer.  You'd think it was because I was outside doing more things and away from the computer but no, it's just that I hate spring and summer and have no motivation to do anything, let alone post.  I loathe being hot, it's the worst feeling.  I thrive in winter so it makes sense that I post more often then.  And I tolerate fall because it has Halloween, my favorite holiday, and it gets me to winter.  Hashtag I need to move to Alaska but John and Hawkeye don't want to join me.  Also I feel like I'm less busy at work during the holiday season, because people don't get divorced during the holidays.  Leaves me more time to blog.

My 3 Least Favorite Bars in Chicago

August 31, 2016

You know you have it - the one place that's a hard no when someone suggests it on a Saturday night.  Generally, I'm a bar lover.  Dive bars being my favorite, naturally.  But even if it isn't a total dive with no crowd and a crack machine, I can tolerate a lot - heck, my best friend used to drag me clubbing and I survived (RIP Republic, you weren't so bad.)  I'll even willingly go to a lot of other bars that regularly make 'Chicago's worst bars' lists, like John Barleycorn, Carols, and Mothers.  I happen to love Mothers.  But there's a couple that get a resounding no from me, every time (and see, I have photos of myself at each place besides #2, I'm not basing this on nothing):

Deuces and Diamonds.  A lot of places in Wrigleyville can be douchey, because it's where frat boys and overgrown frat boys hang out.  But Deuces is the lead float in the douche bar parade, which is really saying something in this neighborhood.  If you actually choose to go here, I probably hate you and we have nothing in common.  It's the Clark street capital of salmon colored shorts, popped colors, entitlement, and sunglasses at night.  It's one long 'My New Haircut' video.  (Which is hilarious to watch online for 3 minutes, but not in reality for 3 hours.)  The fact that their outdoor area has a chlorinated mini fountain they encourage you to wade in?  I just can't.

(Hopefully you've seen enough photos of me to know when my smile is fake.  Like here.)

Playing Catch Up

August 10, 2016

Nothing like the end of a vacation to bring the real world crashing down on your head.  Well no, it's not that dramatic.  I'm just still playing catch up on my entire life since getting back from Alaska, and of course the blog takes last place.  Whoops!  Thanks for reading and commenting while I was gone, I promise to respond to comments even though it'll be 2 weeks late; I just didn't feel like responding from my phone the couple of times I got reception.  Can you blame me?

Surprisingly, work was the easiest to catch up on - I hardly had anything piled up waiting and only 42 messages in my e-mail inbox, which was way under what I had mentally estimated.  Home is harder.  Since I just packed a little carry on, I'm already unpacked and all the laundry (mine and John's) is done; that was easy.  Cleaning the actual house is proving to be tougher.  I was gone for a full 10 days and I generally clean on the weekends and do a quick clean up of one area each week day.  That's not to say that John never helps - the outside area is his domain and he did mow the yard.  However, he started his new job last Monday, August 1, so he didn't have time to do anything around the house.  And then over the weekend he got sick (and is still sick.)  Basically means it's like 2 weeks worth of vacuuming up crumbs and dog hair that I need to attend to.

Luckily, Tara is coming into town on Friday.  While most of you are thinking 'ah why have company when you just got back,' let me just explain how (a) nothing pressures you to get the cleaning done like impending guests and (b) it's Market Days and we never miss Market Days.  So the house will be perfectly clean by tomorrow night and then I'll feel much more settled since cleaning is currently 80% of my to do list.  Which means next week, I can get back to blog things, si?

In the meantime, here's some housekeeping things that I need your input on:

(1) I plan on having a full recap of the Alaskan cruise next week.  Generally just going to share some photos and a couple of details and tips but if there's anything specific that you're wondering about, ask me and I'll be sure to address it!

(2) Just for fun (even though I'm definitely already a minimalist) I'm doing the Rachel Aust 60 Day Minimalism Challenge, since it addresses so many more areas than 'get rid of physical stuff.'  Betsy and I are starting on Monday, though I don't plan on having any posts about it (she might, I don't know.)  I'm mainly mentioning it because I'll be posting some photos of my progress to Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag.  If you want to start it with us let me know.  Always fun to have people in the same boat, cheering each other on.

(3) John's job!  I mentioned in previous posts that I didn't want to share until it was solid, but now he has officially started and I feel like it's okay to talk about - he is training at the fire academy and in 6 months (hence the 6 month pay cut I talked about), he'll be a real life Chicago firefighter.  Yes, like the show Chicago Fire except I've never watched it and never will, just like I won't watch any other fire related TV shows and movies.  So that is the big news!  It's his dream job so we're very excited.  I'm still in the excited phase, I probably won't move on to 'constantly nervous' until he's assigned to a firehouse and actually starts working.  Anything you want to hear about related to this?  How he got the job, what the whole process is, how we handle the scheduling (24 hours 'on', meaning at the firehouse, 48 hours off)?  I'm still learning as we go but if you're interested, I'm happy to share what I've got so far.

And that's it for now.  See you next week!

10 Things That Feel Like Home

August 2, 2016

As you're reading this, I am on my Alaskan cruise!  Today, we're in Juneau, which I hope means I get some cell service for picture posting.  Regardless, I didn't want to leave you this week without any posts.  Even though a small room on a cruise ship will never really be 'home' for a week, I recognize that there are ways I could make it feel like home.  I couldn't get every one of these into my carry on suitcase, but in general, when I'm away or even when I'm home but feeling sad, these are the top 10 things that are my greatest comforts.

(People and pets make a house a home, that's for sure.  If we were including those, my biggest comforts would be Hawkeye and John.  And my parents.  But short of that.)

1. Snowy Bear.  In case you haven't yet read that post from my archives.  I have never been without Snowy.  As of the writing of this post, I'm not sure if Snowy is coming on the cruise. He has never been to Alaska so I think he has to come, but I am doing just a carry on so he has to fit.  Comfortably.  Never squish the bear.

Alaskan Cruise In a Carry On - Toiletries and 1 Quart Bag

July 18, 2016

This post may contain affiliate links.

Is anyone else as intrigued as I am by what other people bring in their toiletry bags and luggage when going on vacation?  No, just me?  Well in case you like to creep as much as I do, I decided to do a couple of posts on what I'm bringing on my 9 day cruise to Alaska.  I am only bringing a carry on rolling suitcase and a tote size purse, making it subject to the size and weight restrictions as well as the 1 quart bag for liquids rule.

An Overly Detailed Bathroom Tour

July 14, 2016

I absolutely love YouTube video and blog posts on what products people use and what they keep in their bathroom.  I don't think that's weird at all.  Or maybe it's just me and I'm strange?  Well in the event that it's not just me, I decided to share a closer look at what's in my bathroom, including my shower, drawers, and under the sink, plus how I organize it all.

An Update To 'My Epically Decluttered Wardrobe'

July 13, 2016

Back in October of 2014, so almost 2 years ago, I wrote my first post on decluttering my wardrobe.  As you can see in that post, I kept 198 items after getting rid of 66 things.  Which I thought was pretty bad ass, since that number included shoes, jewelry, winter hats, everything.  I mean, think about your space - if you have 20 necklaces, 15 pairs of shoes, 5 pairs of jeans, 20 pieces of underwear, you can see how quickly it might add up!  

To me, 198 was a damn good number; I had purged a lot.  And now my closet looks like this:

Goal Setting Tip of the Month: Try 'Tiny Habits'

July 11, 2016

This month's goal setting tip is all about embracing the idea of creating tiny habits.  A Tiny Habit is something you do once a day that takes less than 30 seconds and requires little effort.  It's important to anchor the desired behavior to a "trigger."  For example, remembering your vitamins.  Your tiny habit might be "After I pour my coffee, I will open my vitamin container."  The natural progression is that you'll then take the vitamins, but it's all about that first tiny step, anchored to something specific that you do every day (pour coffee.)


Fall Film Challenge 2016

July 8, 2016

"What? It's not fall yet!"  No, it's not, we're solidly still in the summer season, don't worry.  But Jenn has already put out her categories for her fall film challenge and I needed to get a start on picking my movies.  I participated last year and checked every movie off my list, and ended up loving ones I thought I would hate.  Plus I won a prize (Redbox gift card!) so that always makes it more fun.  There's more prizes this year so if you're thinking of joining in, that's great incentive.  You can head over to Jenn's blog post for all the rules, but mainly it's that the challenge begins on September 1, giving you plenty of time to get your picks in.  I really hope you'll join in.

Three on Thursday

July 7, 2016

Welcome back to Three on Thursday, a post of my weekly (and all time) top three favorites that I think you should do, try, or buy. 

1. Schofferhofer Grapefruit Beer.  I love grapefruit anything, and I love how many grapefruit beer options there are.  This one is slightly harder to find than other brands, but it's worth it.  This one is the best!  They have a locator on their site which is pretty accurate, so you can find both bars and stores that carry it.  It's the perfect summer drink.

29 Things About John For His 29th Birthday

July 5, 2016

Mostly here on this blog, we talk about me.  Which is fine - I'm an only child; 'me' is my favorite topic of conversation.  But today isn't about me, for once.  I figured I mention John but you probably don't know much about him, so I'm bringing you 29 facts to get to know him better.

Shopping Ban. With Intensity This Time.

June 30, 2016

If you saw my last goals post, you might have noticed that one of my summer goals was to work out some sort of shopping ban or spending freeze challenge for myself.  I've done many versions of these with varying degrees of success, but I've always done particularly well with one month long spending freezes, during which I buy nothing but groceries (and I pay my regular bills of course.)  These have always been a great way to save money and really analyze spending in certain areas - I tend to put the restrictions on myself after a month of particularly high spending in a non-essential category, like eating out or clothes shopping.

And while I have no doubt that they work in the short term, I don't think I've done any that have had long term results.  There hasn't been one 'month of no spending' that has successfully trained me to always spend less in a non-essential category.  To be honest, the only things that have made me spend less in the long run have been (1) the KonMari method; (2) minimalism in general; (3) buying a Keurig (I rarely set foot in coffee shops now without a gift card, whereas I used to go every single day.)

After reading Keira's post (and after being a long time follower of Cait Flanders), I decided now might be a good time to start in on a full time, as long as possible shopping ban.  Like Keira, what I value and what I am currently spending my money on don't always line up.  Cait is about to finish 2 years of being on a shopping ban.  I'd just like to make it through the Christmas season!  But a full year would be fantastic.

A shopping ban is, essentially, just what it sounds like - a ban on (unnecessary) shopping.  Personally, I'd love for it to also mean 'stop paying my bills' but I suppose my utility companies would frown upon that.  Party poopers.  So I'll just be cutting out the things I don't deem essential.

Here are some specific things I'm banning:
- Clothes, Shoes, Accessories.  Easy.  I don't even like buying clothes or shoes, my mom generally does it for me still!
- Makeup.  This will be hard, as I'm still on the hunt for my holy grail products, as mentioned in my 101 in 1001 list.  I'll buy something if I legitimately run out, but when's the last time that happened?!
- Books and E-Books.  And any other entertainment I can download for a price, like episodes of shows off of Amazon or iTunes.  (Except Netflix is allowed.)
- Coffee.  I'm really good about this already, but it should be included anyway.
- Eating Out/Ordering In.  I can't ban this completely, it's not possible.  But I am banning it 'unless there's a good reason' and good reasons only include birthdays or occasional meet-ups with friends I haven't seen in awhile.  This category in general is my biggest vice and my biggest spending trap.  Any advice would be appreciated!
- Candles.  Specifically, Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.  It's on here, no going back now.  Not going to stop me from reminding John when a good sale is happening or sending links of my favorite scents to my friends and family when they say 'I have no idea what to get you for Christmas!'  But I am not buying any candles myself.  
- Planners, Notebooks, Pens, Anything Related.  Basically I need to stay out of the office supply store. 
- Household Items.  We got a lot of stuff and while I admit we need 'decor' things (though I loathe decor, what's up with the bare walls hate?  I like my paint color.), I think we can stand to wait and figure out exactly what we might need.

Things I'm not banning include:
- Groceries.  Of course.  And under groceries I include things like toilet paper and toiletries, but I already only buy these things when they run out, so I'm not in danger of buying 12 body lotions to hoard.  And beer is groceries.  I'm not cutting out beer.  I already only drink PBR, not like I'm spending a lot here anyway (for reference, it's $12 for a 30 pack.)
- Gifts.  Not that I buy for that many people come Christmas time, but I do Christmas shop!  Shopping for birthdays and other events (my little cousin is getting married) will also be deemed 'acceptable.'
- Pet Stuffs.  Princess is spoiled, that will continue to be the case.  She gets good food and lots of treats. 
- Getting My Hair Done.  I cannot and will not box dye my hair.
- Things Within Reason on my 101 List.  I don't consider 'buy all the makeup to find a holy grail' to be within reason when I already have a pile of things to test.  But the treadmill would be legit, as would concert tickets or the price of getting out to Brookfield Zoo or a haunted house.
- Hosting Duties.  I'm hosting Halloween and I'll buy whatever I need for the party.
- Visiting Tara in Iowa City.  It's already planned so I'm definitely going!
- Cabs (When It's Late.)  I don't take cabs as much as I used to, because it's just not feasible any more where we live to take cabs to and from work, like I did from my apartments when I was feeling lazy.  I'd just sit in traffic for an hour.  The only cabs I usually currently take are when I'm heading home when it's late, which I'll continue to do because safety first.

Something else I'm also doing at the same time that's worth noting - the one in, one out rule.  This is a goal that's specifically outlined on my 101 list - don't acquire anything new without discarding something in it's place for one year.  Notice I specifically said 'acquire' and not 'buy.'  Remember I said how my mom loves buying me clothes still?  (She's a shopping fiend.)  This means that not only am I not buying anything for 1 year, I'm also getting rid of something if she, or anyone else, gets me something.  Mom buys a new top?  I have to get rid of an old one.  For clothes this won't be hard for me, since I like to keep my wardrobe extremely small.  But in other categories it might be tough! What if I get 10 candles for Christmas?  (Oh I can dream!)  Then I'd have to get rid of 10 things in my house.  Not necessarily the same item, but 10 items come in, then 10 items must leave.  For one full year.  It's the best way to avoid the clutter creep, particularly in this new house where everyone wants to buy me things.  I would say the exception to this is patio furniture.  It's on our list and we have nothing out there, so I don't feel the need to get rid of anything when it comes in.

Why, Stephanie?  Why?!?  Why the hell not?  Sounds like fun to me.  Maybe I have a weird definition of fun but you also probably think it's fun to go to the beach, which to me sounds like torture.  I want to do it.  I want to have even less things, I want to save as much money as possible to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible.

A good reason for doing this now though, specifically, is because John is starting a new job.  I can't say exactly what it is yet, because I don't want to jinx it and it's his dream job, but he starts in the middle of this month.  It will be an immediate pay cut.  The training is 6 months and then for 6 months after that he cannot work any other jobs on the side. (If you guess what it is, I will confirm.  Some of you already know!)  Although his pay goes up after the 6 month training and continues to go up every 6 months or so for 2 more years, it's still 1 full year without being able to work his construction job.  I feel like there's no better time to institute a shopping ban, because he'll already be on board!  Maybe not by choice, but I'll take what I can get when I live with someone whose 72 t-shirts prove he is decidedly not a minimalist.

Starting on a Friday is a bit strange to me, since I'm a Monday start kind of girl, but I figure with the July 1 date it would be easy to remember.  I have a cute little Spend Well budgeting system that I'll be using to track every single thing I spend money on.  I don't know that I'll be posting monthly updates on this, because I'm hoping there's not that much to post!  I will update a ton on Twitter and Instagram though, and I'll make some blog posts when I feel like it's necessary.

Have you ever done a spending freeze or shopping ban?  Did you have any success?

Brand New House Tour

June 28, 2016

Yes, HOUSE TOUR.  It's here, it's here!  I've only been promising a house tour for like a month but now it's finally time!  Are you ready?

The First 20 Done Off My 101 in 1001 List

June 27, 2016

Since my second 101 in 1001 list started in December of 2015, I have had yet to mention it again on the blog, even though I have been working on it.  I just crossed off the first 20 goals so I thought this was as good a time as any to post the first update.  I'm pretty much on pace - if you do that math on 101 goals 1001 days, it's about 3 goals per month.  Which means I should be at 21 but close enough!  I'll be checking off red, white, and blue jello shots this weekend anyway.  If you want to see the full list again, check here.  For just the update, keep reading:

Three on Thursday

June 23, 2016

welcome back to three on thursday, a post of my weekly (and all time) top three favorites.  

1. matt's cookies.  these damn things.  you have never had a softer, more lovely chocolate chip cookie in your life.  they are so good and addicting.  they're made here outside of chicago so I don't know how far they reach into stores across the country, but you can order them off the website if they aren't in your local grocery store.  they are worth every extra sit up you have to do, i tell you.  magic cookies.  have you had them?

Pet Tip of the Month: Hot Asphalt Awareness and Summer Safety

June 18, 2016

every responsible dog owner knows not to leave their dog locked in a hot car, but that's not the only summer time danger to your furry best friend.  did you know what when it's 77 degrees out, the asphalt, in the sun, is 125 degrees?  wouldn't be so fun to walk on that with no shoes, huh?  so don't make your dog do it.  

just remember this - hold the back of your hand against the asphalt for 10 seconds and see if it hurts. if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for you dog and his sensitive paws.  talk him for a walk on the grass instead.

enjoy your summer!  safely.

The LOL that Was Spring Goals

June 17, 2016

spring goals update in a quick summary: lol.

okay here's the long version of that update - remember i was all 'seasonal goals? yeah 3 months, i gots this, goalz'?  hahahaha i was hilarious.

"1. write and publish more posts.  ...  so in the next 3 months let's say... at least 40 posts."  i feel like this was the most hilarious fail of all, 40?  what was i thinking?!  would you like to know how many i actually posted?  go ahead and check in the sidebar - 19.  yup.

"2. get all things donated!"  not a fail at all, i donated tons.  the salvation army came and got furniture, clothes, kitchen stuff, just bags and bags of goodies.  it was awesome to get all that out before the moving process, it made things so much easier.  i actually have a small box going now for more donations, because i got all new towels and downsized a couple more things.  luckily the salvation army has a drop off literally on the other side of the fence behind our alley.

"3. pack and move!  lease is up at the end of april." done, of course!  since we're in our new house and all.  i actually did this twice because (including pet sitting time) i was at my parents for about a month before things were finally ready with the house.

"4. on a related note, take photos/video of all of that packing ^^^."  haha looking back, that was just adorable.  as if i'd really have time to photograph things while packing and moving?  no, no.  i'm just not that dedicated.  lots of you saw my updates on instagram when i decluttered and also right before i called salvation army for pick up.

"5. go to a street fest.  they get started end of may, so i should be able to make at least one before mid june."  i actually did get to this one, but just barely.  there were two before the one i actually attended that i usually attend each year, but i just didn't make them this year.  so we finally ended up going to maifest 2 or 3 weekends ago because it's all things german which john loves and it's close to our house.

so i really did accomplish 3 out of 5.  percentage-wise that looks okay, except for the fact that the two i didn't do were the hardest ones.  whoops.  okay summer.  summer will be better, si?

Life According to Steph1. have blog day with betsy and check off all 10 items on my to do list.  we have this scheduled for next saturday, so blog day will definitely happen.  we do this at least once a year but usually twice, either in person or virtually, where we get together and push each other to get tons of blog related things done in one day.  like post writing, social media, blog design, really anything.  i made a 10 item checklist and i will complete it.

2. get patio furniture.  this will depend on when this particular season ends according to the link up but assuming that i have all of august, i'd like to get patio furniture.  we currently have just the grill out there so i'd like to get a table and chairs set, which will all go on sale in august.

3. start a shopping ban/spending freeze.  i don't have all the details figured out yet, but perhaps a month long one?  perhaps just specific categories?  i plan on figuring this out and posting about it.

4. make red, white, and blue jello shots for the 4th.  not only is it on my 101 in 1001 list, i just really want to do it.  i keep saying i will but never do.  and come on, i made 1000 one new year's eve, how hard can say, 50, layered shots be?

5. enjoy my alaskan cruise!  well judging how spring goals went, i have to have at least one that i can check off, right?  we go the first week of august and i can't wait.

linking up with steph and sara.

Beauties & Beaus at Hydrate, Because You Should Go Now More Than Ever

June 16, 2016

with naysha lopez, from ru paul's drag race!

chicago natives, chicago visitors, let me introduce you to something that you absolutely need to put on your bucket list.  the beauties & beaus show at hydrate bar and nightclub.

okay yes, the champagne is definitely why you should book the ladies vip package or girl's night out package.  because that table is glorious.  but it's so much more than that.

let's start at the beginning.  i was invited to attend the show and naturally picked a weekend when tara was in town.  and of course invited monica, because you can never have too many chicago bloggers at a show like this.  the show is held at hydrate, which i've been going to since i was 21, and i distinctly remember it at market days when my best friend sarah and i stumbled upon it the summer after high school (which, according to their website, was right when they first opened.)  because it was hot and hydrate had misters and waterfalls coming down from the open windows and i thought that was awesome.  been going ever since.  after i turned 21... yeah, totally.

the show is described on their website as this: "Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, girls’ night out or just wanna have some fun this weekend, head on over to Hydrate for an evening you won’t soon forget! Beauties & Beaus combines Chicago’s hottest male dancers with its best female impersonators to create an interactive show that keeps the crowd on its feet all night long! Don’t be surprised if you end up on stage, with the crowd cheering for YOU!"  true.  hence why tara is up on stage dancing with the regular show host, mz. ruff n stuff.

can we talk about those 6 inch heels, good lord.  how do you dance in that?  i have like 3 inch-ers and i want to die.

can you spot tara and i?  in our flats?

the show is great from beginning to end.  the host, as well as naysha lopez and mimi marks, performed songs from whitney to adele with costumes to match.  it was like a giant sing along in there, constantly pulling guests up on stage.  and of course having the male dancers is just a bonus that makes it like you're front row for magic mike.  i can't remember the name of the dancer who would come by our table, but he got a lot of our dollars, i tell ya.

i'll let the following photos speak for themselves.  this is from the final song performed, where our friend vince went up on stage and naysha and mz. ruff n stuff performed 'the boy is mine' (brandy and monica 90s jam!) and fought over him.  our entire table was practically in tears.

his face, though.

mimi marks!  please, give me a lesson in fake eyelashes.


you need to go.  you will have so much fun, i promise you won't stop laughing and cheering the entire time you're there.  and go on stage if you have the chance, especially if it's a special event for you.  there may or may not be free drinks involved.  can't argue with that.  you can reserve a table for just $10 a ticket, which is a steal.  and they have packages that include champagne, photos, vip seating, even belvedere bottle service for just $20 and $35 a piece.  what on earth are you waiting for?

and why i titled this post 'now more than ever'?  because it's one tiny way to show your support and stop being scared.  there's zero percent chance of what happened in orlando stopping me from hanging out in boystown with my gay friends and going to hydrate and seeing fun shows, and it particularly won't stop me from seeing beauties & beaus again later this summer.  i don't negotiate with terrorists.

if your religion tells you that hating someone or denying someone the same rights that you have based on their gender or sexual orientation is okay, you need a new religion.

buy your tickets, bring your dollar bills, send me an e-mail if you're going and i'll be there with you. and specifically, monica and i want to do this again this summer with some more blogger friends, so let me know if you want to be included on e-mails about that!


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