Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tights and Shorts; A Love Affair.

How did I function last winter without colored tights?? I'm discovering so many fun ways to wear them this year, including with this pair of pleather shorts I scored on Black Friday for $12.

These shorts are really high quality for being pleather--even up close I can't tell they aren't real leather. I paired them with cabernet colored tights, a navy tee, my long grandpa sweater and leopard flats. Perfect for running errands or lunch with the girls. The hubs is still warming up to new fashion trends, including colored tights and leather shorts, so it might be awhile before I wear something like this for a date night haha. How does your significant other react to more "daring" fashion?

I work in a creative environment, so I'm totally going to rock tights and shorts at work. I'll just switch the flats out for dainty heels and lose the grandpa sweater. Something like this pic below.

This is probably one of those looks that you either totally love or totally hate, which is ok with me. What do you think of the tights and shorts trend? Would you rock this look at the office? Have a great Wednesday, friends!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Asian-Inspired Menu, At Home!

Sometimes I just feel like a good old fashioned Chinese buffet, don't you? Who doesn't love corn nuggets and crab rangoon?? When you're craving take-out but can't get-out, here's an option for a night at home. (that's healthier, too!)

Main Course: Asian Pork Tenderloin with Rice

I bought a pork tenderloin that comes already seasoned with pepper and garlic. I simply sliced the loin and threw it in the skillet, marinating it in low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, curry powder and some ground ginger. Cook until meat is no longer pink.

My handy little sauces and spices.

I added a bag of broccoli florets, which is one of my favorite veggies for stir-fry because the little trees absorb so much flavor. I let everything simmer for a few minutes and then I added a bag of steam and serve white rice. I love these bags of rice because they're the perfect amount for two people and only take about 4 minutes to cook in the microwave!

Side Dish: Poststickers w/Ginger Dipping Sauce

These Poststickers can be tricky to cook. The package has a few different recommended cooking instructions, but I like to do  my own thing :)

Tai Pei brand chicken potstickers from Wal-Mart. Postickers in the pot during the boiling phase.

I first boil the potstickers in water for about 10 minutes, or until they start to float. This heats up the meat on the inside of the potstickers. I then drain the water and transfer the potstickers to a skillet with a dash of EVOO. I brown the potstickers a bit on each side, tossing them in the skillet frequently so they don't stick. For the ginger dipping sauce, mix a few dashes of ground ginger with soy sauce and wasabi.

You're now ready to eat!

Oh, and you like my bangs???

This is my "hurry up and take the picture already" face.
Have a good Tuesday, friends!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Top 10 Lovely Things.

Hey ya'll! Hope everyone had a lazy and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Taking a break from the Internet and spending time with my family was just what the doctor ordered, aka my hubs :)

I'm at a place in life where I'm running low on advice to give--so I fee the Sanity Saving Monday Tips needs to be suspended for awhile. We're going to try something new, called Monday Top 10. These will be 10 things that I'm loving in life right now, or that I'm thankful for! What do you think? Sound good to you?!

Monday Top 10: Lovely Things.

10. Christmas Decorating----even in the garage house!

And the stockings were hung, on the garage door with care.

Add a little Christmas Cheer to the bedroom with classic white lights on the bed frame.

9. Discovering a new, (and wildly affordable!) universally loved wine; Venta Morales Tempranillo. This Spanish red table wine is fruity and bold, perfect for Holiday guests! My favorite wine shop Primo Vino sells this wine by the case, and bottle price is only $6.99!! Wowza!!

8. Minnetonka moccasins are back in style! I've had my pair of "house slippers" for about five years, but now I'm busting them out in public. What do you think of the moccasin style?

Moccasins in the office....yes please!

7/6. Saving money on manicures by painting my nails myself, and my sparkly "coffee coozie" to make my spirits bright.

Nails in Essie's "Lady Like" and coffee coozie from Starbucks, $3.99.

5. My new bangs! Pics to come!

4. Cyber Monday deals: Gap/Banana are offering 30% off today, and J.Crew is offering 25% off! Know of any other great deals out there?

3. Our wood burning stove = eco-friendly heat and super cozy!

2. This song by Mumford and Sons.

1. Being reminded to "consider it joy whenever you face trials and tribulations, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

This week, if you're going through a rough time, know that God uses all things for His good--no matter what the outcome. xoxo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Welp, the biggest shopping day of the year is almost here! Do you plan to do some shopping? I honestly have NEVER BEEN SHOPPING ON BLACK FRIDAY BEFORE! Crazy, huh? I don't care for crowds, so I've avoided shopping Black Friday in the past. This year we're getting my mom a special Christmas gift (of the flat screen, electronic variety) so I know there will be some great deals out there that I need to take advantage of. I won't be there when they open, but I'll probably go Friday morning around 7am. Here's where I'm shopping:

1. Best Buy<<<<------That link will take you to preview ads for the Cape Girardeau store. Lots of TV's and Blue Ray players on sale!

2. Kohls. I've been eyeing this pair of leather shorts for awhile now. Kohls is also offering $15.00 in Kohls Cash for every $50.00 spent, which is more than they've ever offered! I also hope to find a fedora hat like Jessica's  for way cheap too!

3. American Eagle. This is where I usually buy Daniel's brother's presents. Starting TODAY and through Saturday, everything in the store will be 40% off! Why get lost in the crowds Friday when I can go today? I'll be picking up some comfy undies for Daniel's stocking, and maybe this tunic sweater in black for myself :)

4. JC Penney will also have some sweet deals this weekend. I like to buy shirts for my Dad here!

Also, don't forget about Small Business Saturday on the 26th! I'll be shopping at Renaissance downtown for special Christmas ornaments and of course Annie Laurie's Antiques where there's a sequined pillow with my name on it and tons of other great gifts for friends.

It'll be cold Friday, better bundle up!

I'll be in warm boots, some comfy stretch jeans, plaid and a cozy scarf. My leather jacket is light enough to throw into my purse when I'm running from store to store. See that little guy giving the thumbs up? He won't be shopping with me. Can't get anything done with that crazy kid. Bless his heart.
Remember to take it easy tomorrow my friends. Spend time with your loved ones and love on each other. That's what matters most! xoxo,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Twenty Something's Guide to Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Hey friends! I'm excited that Thursday is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! I haven't quite made it to the stage in life where the entire Thanksgiving meal is up to me. In my family that comes with grandbabies! So until then I'm concentrating on mastering my side dish recipes for optimum enjoyment. This year I'm in charge of the pumpkin pies, and an appetizer or dip. I have decided to go with one classic pumpkin pie, one pumpkin-pecan pie, and a spinach and artichoke dip served with pita chips. All of these recipes are found from various sources, including good old Martha and on the back of the pumpkin can! What are you in charge of cooking this year?

Classic Pumpkin Pie

1 cans of Libby's Pumpkin Puree (and actually, this entire recipe is on the back of the can!)
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie seasoning (or a few dashes of ground nutmeg, Cinnamon and salt)
2 eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
1 unbaked deep dish pie crust. I use Pilsbury Brand.

1. Mix everything together except the evaporated milk (and the pie crust, duh!). Slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Pour mixture into pie shell.
2. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for a bit, and serve with whipped cream topping. Enjoy my friends!

Me and my "test pie." Everyone loved it so much we were just digging into it with spoons haha!

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

1 cans of Libby's Pumpkin Puree (and actually, this entire recipe is on the back of the can!)
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie seasoning (or a few dashes of ground nutmeg, Cinnamon and salt)
2 eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
1 unbaked deep dish pie crust. I use Pilsbury Brand

3/4 cup Brown sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1. Make the pumpkin pie just like above!
2. Make the topping: In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in butter with your hands until mixture is crumbly. Add the pecan halves and mix to combine.
3. When your ready to reduce the heat to 350 (15 minutes after the pie has been baking at 450) remove the pie and add the pecan topping. bake until pie is finished and topping is dark golden brown. Enjoy!

Ok, for those of you who aren't into pumpkin pie, aka the crazies; here's my recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Not to brag, but friends who have tried this dip say it's awesome, and I have to agree!

Leslie's Spinach and Artichoke Dip

2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
few dashes of pepper
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 blocks of cream cheese
1 pkg of frozen chopped spinach (thawed, drained and squeezed dry)
Tortilla Chips for serving, or Pita Chips

1. Preheat Oven to 350.
2. Combine all of the ingredients except 1/2 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Spoon mixture into 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the mixture.
3. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with the chips and enjoy!

I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Life Lessons from the Road

Driving appx 2600 miles from Seattle WA and back home to MO, I learned a few things.

Lesson 1: When you have a 30 minute layover before your next flight, you need to run, not walk.

Lesson 2: Seattle is cold and rainy, but very hip and relaxed.

Fish Market in downtown Seattle.

Lesson 3: Cape G needs a landmark, like Seattle's Gum Wall.

Daniel and I at the Fish Market, in front of a giant, disgusting wall of 30 years worth of chewed gum.

Lesson 4: Best dinner of the trip, eating oysters and watching cable TV in our hotel room in Squim, Washington :)

Daniel looking out onto the Discovery Bay in Squim, WA.

My first view of the mountains in Squim, WA.
Lesson 5: Do. Not. Panic. When you're driving through the mountains and it's snowing and all the road signs say "Chain Tires Here." Worrying about the roads doesn't make the snow stop. And actually, the snowy mountains are beautiful.

Snowy Mountain Drive.
Lesson 6: Ruby the Subaru can and will hit 30mpg on the highway...yeah baby!

Lesson 7: Bison Rib-eye Steak = Absolutely THE best steak in the world. Don't be surprised if I serve buffalo and my next supper gathering.

Holding the glorious Bison Menu.

Lesson 8: Yes, Montana is cold in November. Taking your coat off for an outfit photo should last no more than 1 minute before frost bite sets in.

Dinner attire in Montana requires tough boots and a Southwestern style belt.
Lesson 9: Always stop for National Landmarks, such as Mt. Rushmore and the "real" General Lee.

Lesson 10: Spending time alone with your husband is essential to a happy, healthy marriage. Coming home and seeing your son after time apart is equally amazing.

Want to see more pics from the road? Check my facebook later today!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Blogger: Robyn 11/18

Hello friends! I'd like to introduce to you Robyn, our guest blogger for today. Robyn is a new friend of mine and is truly one of the most sincere, kind-hearted people I have ever met. She's the type of girl who goes out of her way to do something for someone else--on a daily basis! Robyn works at my church Cape Bible Chapel as the Communications Coordinator. Welcome Robyn!

Oh Gosh, Wow that was some introduction. Thanks hon, I will try very hard to live up to it.

When Leslie asked me to do her guest blog I had a slight tinge of panic. You see, I’m no writer. I tend to type how I talk, I tend to talk how I think, and I tend to think in a pattern that resembles a major highway whose contractor was on crack.  

Then she said it would be her FASHION FRIDAY EDITION. At this point hyperventilation was starting to kick in. As you can see from the picture above; ponytails and blue jeans are my usual M.O. Leslie is one of the most fashion savvy people I know. I can’t think of a time when she didn’t look fabulous.

However, like any red blooded American girl I do like to doll up occasionally. So you will not be seeing my t-shirt collection, or how many ponytail bands you can spot in my home in a 5ft area. Instead you will see one of my most favorite new (to me) dresses I have found.

TA DA!!!! Groovy huh?!
I found this dress at The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Rummage Sale. I think I got it for probably less than one dollar. So happy!!! When I first spotted it I couldn’t decide if I loved it or hated it. It had long sleeves that had puffs at the top, but when I tried it on it fit perfectly. So I brought it home and removed the sleeves. I had a thick black belt from another dress that I used to cut the dress in half and kind of give your eyes a bit of a focal point since the pattern is so busy. I have my hair in an up-do to make the look dressier. I like how the V in the dress’ neck and having my hair up makes my neck look. I added some gold hoop earrings for a bit of sparkle. I have been wearing my black boots with this dress since my other favorite pair of black pumps died a few months back, RIP. But I have recently bought a replacement pair.

Since the weather is getting colder I have been playing around with some new looks for my dress since it is made of polyester and has a long skirt I’m hoping with the right sweater it can be a multi-season dress.

I hope you have liked this edition of Fashion Friday. If not, have no fear, Leslie will be back next week. So I will sign off and say thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a blessed day!

p.s. Here are my “Ode to Leslie” cheetah print wedges. They are so much more fun than plain black shoes. Thanks Leslie for having faith in me, for your lovely spirit, and for your great fashion sense.

Safe Journey

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest Blogger: Emily W. 11/17

I'm so blessed to have today's Guest Blogger! Emily Williams is not only the co-founder of SEMO Bloggers, she is also the person who helped make what Life Told By Leslie is today. She designs blogs on the side, and works as a graphic designer in for a company by day. Emily and I have become really close this past year because we have so much in common. We're both bloggers and young moms, we both work full time and go to school, and we both have "side jobs" haha! Emily is outgoing, smart, talented, and loving. She's an inspiration to me and I love this gal! Visit Emily on her Blog and say hello!

Hey everyone! Sorry this is posted so late in the afternoon! I am so happy to be able to have the opportunity to share with you all my recent splurge. I recently bought myself a year subscription to BirchBox! What is BirchBox? Well let me just tell you if you are anything like me, it will seriously save you LOTS of money when it comes to beauty products. I am a beauty product fanatic! I love getting new fingernail polish, new eye makeup, new hair products, new lotion, THE WORKS! I think it spurs from when I was little and watching my Grandma B put her makeup on before church. I loved watching her put on her lipstick and eye makeup. It seriously fascinated me. Anyway, back to BirchBox. Every month you get this cute little box sent right to your door step FULL of sample beauty products. This is perfect for any girl on a budget because it lets you try high end beauty products without having to spend the big bucks to get it. I hate getting a full size lip gloss and take it home to find out I absolutely hate it. It is such a bummer. Well, this month happened to by my first month and lucky for me it had NEW lip gloss in it! I'm so happy to be able to share my first Box Opening with you all! Here is what the neat little box looked like!

I had no idea what to expect but I knew it was going to be good either way!
Here is what I got in my BirchBox this month. 

kate spade new york twirl parfume

This stuff seriously smells delicious! I can only use one spritz at a time though. It lasts a LONG time and it's smell is really strong. In a good way! BirchBox's description: kate spade new york’s charming designs are meant to be playful, feminine, and joyful — the same goes for the brand’s signature scent. Attention-getting without being overpowering, Twirl is an incredibly versatile fragrance. The fruity floral is as suitable for the office as it is for a cocktail party. And just like everything else in the kate spade new york universe, Twirl makes you feel instantly more pulled together and ladylike.

jouer lip enhancer lip gloss

I am in love with this lip gloss. It goes on super smooth and it does give you a little plump without the tingle/burn that the other lip plumpers have. It's a clear gloss so it goes on over any color without smudges or smears. It so popular right now that on BirchBox's website they have it completely back ordered. People are seriously going nuts over this gloss! BirchBox's description: When we discovered Jouer, this miraculous balm is the first product we fell in love with - and our affair is going strong. It’s no surprise that we always have a tube of this on hand: it’s deeply moisturizing, smells amazing, and delivers the prettiest hint of sheer pink color. The best part? It minimizes the appearance of fine lines and boosts your lips naturally without that annoying tingly sensation found in so many other plumpers.

thymes body lotion in both eucalyptus and rose

The rose lotion smells heavenly and it goes on super silky. The eucalyptus has more of an old lady smell to it but it's definitely a good on the go lotion to throw in your bag if need be. I live for body lotion. I put it on all the time because 1) I have super dry skin in the winter and 2) most of my friends growing up were African American and they taught me the importance of not having ashy elbows or knees. BirchBox's description: This rich, fragrant lotion is the equivalent of a silk body glove. Packed with shea butter, antioxidant-rich vitamin E, and nourishing botanical extracts, we love layering this on over clean skin for long-lasting moisture. Beyond just how great it makes us feel, we’re also fanatical about the memorable scents, which literally linger for hours.  

zoya gems nail polish in twila

Don't you just love this color?! I'm usually really bad about painting my nails because I'm not patient enough to let them dry before I do anything and they always wind up getting smudges. This nail polish dries super fast which is great for me. BirchBox's description: Get festive with this fun nail polish, part of Zoya’s Gems and Jewels holiday 2011 collection. The sheer glitter glazes can be worn alone or layered over other shades to make your nails really pop.  Twila is an ocean blue.


Alex and Isabelle classic hair tie

I have to be honest here and say that I seriously almost threw this thing away because I thought it was a bow that fell off of something. Once I actually picked it back up and played with it (and read the card that came with the package that describes everything) I realized it's a really cute/cool hair tie! It was kind of tied funny when I first got it so I untied it and retied it in a square knot. Here is what BirchBox had to say about it: We’ve never met a hair accessory we didn’t like, but these colorful elastics really steal the show. They make for snag-free ponytails and buns that stay put all day. And since we can’t choose our favorite color, we love how they come in assorted bundles of six. 

I hope you all have enjoyed my first BirchBox Opening! If you have any questions about BirchBox or any of the other features that come with it please feel free to message me on my blog!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Blogger: Katie 11/16

Hey guys. Hope your week is going well! Today's guest blogger is none other than one of my oldest and dearest friends, Katie. Kate and I have been through it all. From cross country road trips to sharing a shower (haha long story!), we were roommates in college and have since stayed close friends. Even though Katie now lives in St.Louis, when we get together it's like we haven't even been apart at all. She's dependable, trustworthy, loving and faithful--which means she'll make a good wife to her fiance Tom! They're getting married October 2012 and I can't wait to celebrate with them! Katie also has a Blog and it is actually the VERY FIRST BLOG I EVER READ! She's awesome and an inspiration to me! Love you Kate, Welcome!

Roommates Rach, Me, and Katie in Colorado 2007.
Well, thanks, Leslie, for the sweet intro. When Leslie asked me to blog I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to write. You see, my blog is, for the most part, just a daily scrapbook. I try and share the photos and stories from my daily life. I usually don't write anything too motivating or inspiring. My blog is me, straight up, and what's going on in my life with my people. Then I realized, that is exactly what I should write about. The value of people.

I am a 28 year old girl who longs for adventure. I grew up in St. Louis. My parents have lived in the same house for 37 years and, therefore, I have lived in the same house my whole life. When I went off to college I considered schools from Virginia to Indiana to Tennessee and many schools in between. I ended up in Southeast Missouri less than two hours from home. I made some great friends there, but I still wanted to fill that desire for adventure that I had in me. Throughout college I traveled to visit friends who were at college around the country and friends who were studying abroad. I love cultures and I longed to see the world. I worked at a camp in Alabama one summer and Michigan another. In the summer of 2007 I traveled to Zambia, Africa on a mission trip to work with orphans. I just couldn't stay in one place. My real desire was to travel the world and fulfill my desire for adventure. In the spring of 2008 I quit my job as a teacher and lacrosse coach and decided I would finally move to Colorado, my favorite place in the United States. My apartment lease was signed and deposit was paid. I had my moving truck rented. Then, two weeks before my move date I was offered a full time job as a college lacrosse coach. I cancelled my move and became the new head women's lacrosse coach at Missouri Baptist University. 

Not to be overly wordy, but all of that was background. I was devastated I wasn't moving. I decided I must be crazy. My dream was to live in Colorado and I decided not to follow that dream. At the time I was not sure it was the best decision. However, in my first year staying in St. Louis my dad had open heart surgery, two of my sisters had a baby, two of my siblings got married and I met my fiance. If I learned nothing else I learned that God has a plan for my life. I cannot imagine my life in Colorado away from all of this activity and all of these people. Since then I have had two more nephews born. If you look at my blog you can see that it's all about my people. My fiance and I still long to move to Colorado but I simply cannot imagine being away from the people I love who are in or near St. Louis. 

If you ask me, that's what life comes down to: relationships. What's most important is to love and be loved. My blog shows it and hopefully my life shows it. What genuinely matters is others. Caring for others and spending time with others. This is a sweet rendition of a sweet song that really captures that message:

Life truly is about others. Home is really where those we love are. It's cheesy, but it's true. My goal in life is to love others well and to be "at home" with those I love. I have a need and desire for adventure. But through life I have learned that all the adventure in the world cannot compare to watching my nieces and nephews grow, spending time with my sisters, hugging my fiance, helping my parents when they need it and hanging with friends. My life will not be complete if I earn more money, have the best car or the biggest house, if I move to Colorado and live the dream or if I coach a winning team and win many accolades. My life will be complete if those who are important to me say that I have loved them well. I sure hope they do. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Blogger: Aaron 11/15

Hey Friends! I'd like to introduce you to my best guy-friend, Aaron. Aaron and Daniel met through business. Little did they know that they'd soon be neighbors and building a lifelong friendship. Aaron and his wife Julie are building a house right across the "woods" from where we're building our new house! Aaron is a hard working, sweet-hearted person who cares for others more than himself. He's a great listener and friend. I'm so thankful he's in Daniel's life and mine. Welcome, Aaron!

Aaron (left) and Daniel at the Pumpkin Patch this fall.
Thank you Leslie. Julie and I feel the same way about you guys and I appreciate the kind words and the opportunity to share something on your blog. 

Hello Everyone. I have not blogged in a long time and when Leslie asked if I would be a guest blogger on her site I was happy to do it. Although eager to share something that could be of interest to her blog followers, I have racked my brain the last few days for words to put on paper (well on the computer screen). There are many things I could have chosen but I figured I would go with something I know pretty well and hope that it can help with making hard choices for the future of the security of your family. I'm sure the last sentence got your attention. Well I hope it did. I'm not going to post my resume here but if you want to ask me off line why I am qualified to speak on this subject then I will be happy to share. I will be talking about what you can do to beef up the security of your home and protection of your family. These are not by any means the only things you can do to enhance your home's security but I have chosen several things that you can do to help in this endeavor. Let me take a moment to explain what I consider home security is and the thought process of personal security.

Think of home security like layers of an onion. The outer perimeter is somewhat hardened and scaly and has many layers before you get to the actual edible onion layers. This is your outer perimeter not very imaginative huh.

 Peal off the outer layer and next you have the edible part of the onion. Its the most intense in smell and juice. When you cut into it the onion odor hurts your eyes. This is the inside of your home. Its sensitive to disruption from others and when broken into, it leaves a sense of vulnerability and violation. Next is the center of the onion which is the seed that it grew from. The seed that turned it into an onion. This is you and your family and it is what you're trying to protect and grow the protection around. Have you ever heard of the phrase "Strive to make yourself a hard target and not a soft target". This is what we are trying to do here, make you and your home a hard target. If you've never heard of that then take it literally like a hard target (harder to get to, like with more layers on an onion) and a soft target is easy to prey on (soft target would be like a marshmallow which has no layers at all, its the same make up throughout). I hope I was able to explain that with some clarity. My wife tells me I ramble a lot and go over the same stuff so hopefully it makes sense. So enough of that let's get to the first layer. 

There are 3 things you can do to beef up the perimeter security of your home. Well actually there are tons of things and security upgrades and equipment you can purchase for your home. I will just be covering 3 of those. In my opinion the first thing and by far the cheapest way to make your home and family a hard target is to have a security sign somewhere in your yard usually near the driveway or side walk. Brinks, Hacket, ADT, whomever. Also, security company stickers help if you put those on your main entrance doors. A lot of people don't like those but I have one on two windows where people can see them when they walk up. Even if you may not have a security system if the person considering breaking into your home sees a security sign they will more likely not choose your home. I'm not saying that they may not see it and break in anyway but then you have to have other means of security in place.

The second hard target action would be to add motion sensor lights that you can install near your driveway, near the front door, near the backdoor, and the sidewalk. Yes, you may have animals and they may set off but this may also deter the would-be-thief who was walking up your driveway to break in or just help your neighbor spot them and identify them. You can buy a decent motion sensor light from Lowe's for under $30.  
Motion Sensor Lights at Lowe's

The third way and most expensive you can do to make yourself a hard target is to have a security system installed. It costs more to install a security system in an existing home but cheaper when you are building a home.  It is relatively cheap to run the wiring when building.  Before they close up the walls and it can already be in place if you ever decide down the road that you want a security system.  If you ever sell the house it's just one more bonus for the buyers if they are looking for a house with a security system. You don't have to install the wall panels or anything, just the wiring.  The wiring will be in place when you are ready to install the walls mounts.

For my house and my family's security I love the fact that when an door leading to the outside is opened, my security alarm chimes and lets me know when and what door has been opened. Yes, when we have many guest and its' chiming all the time it get really annoying so I turn down the chime for those occasions.  You can also install security cameras on the home if you're having issues with vandals or thieves stealing things from outside or breaking into out-buildings.  For those situations a good security camera would be the way to go with a endless recording device located inside the home so you can use this as evidence of the break in. Most security cameras will go undetected when put in the right areas and when detected it's too late for the person caught to do anything about it. As far as my home and the doors leading to the outside I love just knowing when exacly a door has been opended.

Those, my friends of our mutual friend, are some of the ways you can make your home and family a bit safer while at home or away from your home. I've heard the question, "Why go through all that because if someone wants to break in to your home, they are going to anyway?" Well that is partly true, but I always come back with, "Why not do these small things and deter the ones that really don't want a confrontation with the home owners or the law." The marjority of break ins are executed while the home owner is away but there are those times when a person comes into the home with intent of harm but that is another subject that we can cover at a later date if you guys will have me back and Leslie would like to have me back to her blog.

I hope this helps you start thinking of your homes security and just more alert if anything. My intent is not to make anyone paronoid but prepared and set yourself up to be a hard target and not a soft target.

Thanks for having me and I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Blogger: Emmy- Can You Hear Me Now?

Hi Friends! I'd like to introduce you to today's Guest Blogger, Emmy. Em and I met through River City Player's Community Theatre. She played "Naomi Farkle" in Faith County! Since the play we have become close friends and are growing closer all the time. Our favorite hang-out place is Starbucks, where the barista's get worried when we don't come by weekly! When she's not busy with her full time job as a Youth Minister at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Emily is also a seasoned blogger on her site, Love Woke Me Up This Morning. She is also on Twitter and Facebook! Stalk away Facebook Friends! :) Welcome, Emmy!

Em and I before Faith County!

On Sunday mornings I teach two Sunday School classes. When you are a church worker - things like that happen. My second class is for elementary school age children, and we're only just starting with this class so it's pretty small right now. I have two girls who come pretty regularly and both are in third grade. Considering that I work mainly with teenagers, having to teach two third grade girls scared me a bit. I don't know what to do with kids under the age of eleven. But as time has gone on, I've really come to love teaching these two girls.

Yesterday, we were talking about waiting on God's timing and how we need to wait for God to work things out in his own way and to reveal his way to us. Naturally, one of the girls asked me "How do you know if God is talking to you?"

This question always stumps me. Other than actually trying to describe fully God's love for us - this question is one of the toughest I find answering. 

For the two little girls I talked about how if we get to know God (examples: reading our Bibles, praying, worshiping, etc.) then we'll be able to hear his voice more accurately. Even though it's not really an audible voice. You just... know he's talking to you. I also shared that God talks to us through friends and family, music, books, the Bible, and through other things as well. Thankfully, the girls accepted that answer and we moved on.

But I can't help but wonder, is that really how it goes? The more we read our Bibles, worship, and pray, the better we'll hear God's voice? It makes sense. But I can't help but think about people in the Bible who may or may not have done these things and still heard him.

Like Abraham. He actually was an idol worshiper when God called him - and they didn't have the scriptures then - so I'm pretty sure he didn't hear God's voice because he prayed all the time.

Or Moses. Was he always a faithful follower and therefore able to accurately hear God's voice? Granted - having a burning bush right in front of you helps.
What about Elijah? He was a faithful man, but the Bible says he heard God in the sound of a gentle whisper. I don't know about you, but I have bad hearing sometimes and whispers are hard to catch.

Yet, I know it happens. I know that God speaks to us all of the time. It may not be an audible voice (even if that's what we want), but he still speaks to us. Sometimes for me it's in silence, something my heart I think is telling me, through holy communion, through my friends and family, through books, through music...

So I ask you all, how do you personally know when God is talking to you? What ways does he speak to you? If someone were to ask you about how God communicates, how would you answer?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An OOB Sale and Meet My Guest Bloggers!

*My little vacation is approaching! I can't wait to spend some quality alone time with Daniel. I don't think I'll do much shopping on our trip, (because we're going to be staying in some pretty remote places! I'm excited!) so I've been doing a little browsing (and admittedly buying) before I leave.

A store that I have just recently started to shop at is now going Out Of Business! (or OOB as we say in the wine industry) The Talbots located here in Cape is closing! They are a higher-end women's clothing boutique and I usually can't afford things in there, but I do own a pair of skinny leg cordoroys that I just happened to score there on a sale. I talked with the store manager (she's gutted that their closing, naturally) and she says as of now they're going to be open until mid January. Since they just announced they're closing, right now EVERYTHING in the store, including new merchandise, is marked 25% off. The manager said that in the coming weeks and closer to Christmas items will be up to 90% off!! I browsed a bit yesterday and found my skinny legged cords on sale, making them around $40 right now, a real steal!

Look at all the beautiful colors! I have the rust color there on the left, but I'm kind of wanting that dark green color in the middle--cute for Christmas pictures don't you think?? These cords don't fit like granny pants either, they're a mid-rise style with a slim leg. I love my pair!

Talbots also has some genuine leather ballet flats on sale....look at these cuties!

These are marked down to $40 as well. So if you're looking for some deals, might want to check Talbots before everything's gone!

I also want to announce who will be guest blogging for me while I'm on vacation! These five friends who have agreed to blog for me are all wonderful people that I just know you're going to love. They all come from different backgrounds and most of them don't even know each other, so it will be neat to see how it all comes together!

Here's what you can expect while I'm gone:

Monday: Emmy, friend from RCP and fellow blogger

Tuesday: Aaron,(Yes, a dude! Can't wait to read this!) neighor and good buddy

Wednesday: Kate,college roomy and long-time close friend

Thursday: Emily W.,SEMO Bloggers Co-Founder, close friend

Friday: Robyn, fairly new friend from church

I can't wait to hear from all of them! Hopefully they will be posting updates to my Facebook wall, but rememeber you can always access my site by going to instead of just through links on Facebook.

Tomorrow I'll show you a sneak peak inside my suitcase and hopefully a little goodbye video from John!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Black Dress Pants: Part 2

Last week we talked a little bit about my love/hate relationship with black dress pants. I feel like they're a necessity to every working woman's wardrobe, but I also think they can be a bit on the boring side. You've seen how I styled the slim leg black dress pants, but here's how I wear my trouser fit dress pants. These are a straight leg style that are universally flattering on everyone! I've had this pair from NY & Co for over 2 years now.

I wear a low heel or wedge with these pants. You never want them to drag the ground, that looks sloppy. I think the key in making these pants look a bit more modern is adding funky accessories like a contrasting belt. I'm mixing black and brown (which is TOTALLY ok to do!) and wearing a tan colored belt with my top slightly tucked in at my belly button, but out everywhere else.

I need to do a count on how many pairs of leopard shoes I have. Can you have too many? Probably not. These babies actually have been with me since the beginning of my fashionable self, which is freshman year of college. So 7 years now! You don't want to know what kinds of stuff I wore in high school. We're talking t-shirts and dreadlocks. Seriously, I had dreadlocks! Maybe when I'm 60 or so I'll get some little dreadies again....can't you see it? I'll be the hippest g-ma around.

My chambray top worked hard in my wardrobe this year, and it's ready to take on winter with a cardigan or a cable knit sweater. This is my "Navajo Warrior" sweater as I like to call it. I'm hoping that on our drive through Wyoming I can join an Indian tribe or at least do a couple warrior dances around a fire pit.

Tell me, how do you like to "funk up" your black dress pants?

Have a good Wednesday, Friends!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's all the fur about?

I might be a tad obsessed. With a vest. Obsessed with a vest.

I know I usually talk about food on Tuesdays, but I haven't really cooked anything this week, nor do I plan to. My hubs is away and so that means mostly salads for me and chicken nuggets for John. On paper plates. In front of the TV. Yes, we're taking it easy this week. I'm not stressing about my upcoming trip, work stuff, school stuff, or any other "stuff" that could come up. Just playing board games and building Lego towers with my little guy. Life is good.

If you had your heart set on a recipe, I'm sorry. But I will tell you the ABSOLUTE BEST CHEESE EVER is Provel Cheese, especially the Imo's Brand. It's very popular in St. Louis (where Imo's Pizza originated) and not only is amazing on pizza but also salads as well! This cheese will be on my salad tonight! It's available at Schnucks in Cape.

Even though I'm not going out much this week, I have been sporting my furry vest to the office and to outside meetings. The weather has been simply amazing lately, but I still need an extra layer to keep the wind chill out.

What's all the fur/fuss about anyway? :) I'm just taking it easy and being myself this week. Getting things accomplished and relaxing at the same time.

How's your week going? Are you taking time to relax and take care of yourself?

Here's a little challenge for you: Today, even if it's only for 10 minutes; don't do anything. Take a break, put your feet up, and breathe. Thank the Lord for this 65 degree weather, and be blessed. And eat some provel cheese. Trust me you'll love it!