Friendship is Everything

I LOVE having friendships that immediately pick up where they were left off. Friendships that don't have to have constant attention and nurturing, but are still as strong as ever, no matter how long it's been since the last phone call or visit. I also love family relationships that are friendships too. Friday night I had the joy of celebrating my cousin-in-law's 22nd birthday at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
Isn't she beautiful? I tell her I'm going to submit her to Top Model all the time!

My brother-in-law's girlfriend came too. She doesn't need that title though because she is much more than that. I can't even begin to tell you how our friendship has grown in the past couple of years.
That cute face is the one who stayed up ALL night the weekend before our wedding helping me punch holes, tie ribbons and finish our wedding programs. Couldn't have done it without her!!

After dinner we saw Joyful Noise which was AWESOME. A gospel-version of Glee I would say… We laughed, we cried, it was great! I love a good musical.
Group shot! Told you she should be on top model, right?!
Last night I also got to catch up with an old friend of mine. We both got married last May and sadly hadn't gotten together since! Our dinner lasted for almost 3.5 hours-- we just had so much to catch up on, but it was like we hadn't skipped a beat. Man I missed that girl! I am so thankful for our friendship.

She's truly someone who would do anything for me in a heartbeat. We made a vow last night to NOT let 8 months go by before we get together again!! She also sells Premier jewelry, have you guys ever been to or hosted one of those parties? I'm hoping to host one next month because let's be honest-- who doesn't want to have all their family and friends over and get free stuff?!

One last note--- Officially 100 days until our vacation!! :) I'm already excited!

Fill in the Blank Friday

I'm probably committing some horrible blogging crime by only posting twice this week --and both of them being link-ups. Oops... I just love participating in the S&A with Megan and then this morning I found FITBF with Lauren and just had to join her link-up as well! Today she is asking all about traveling which just so happens to be one of my favorite things to do! :)

1. My favorite place I've ever traveled to is Mexico, I can't wait to go back!

2. Ireland is somewhere I've love to go someday. (fingers crossed!)

3. I pass time on a plane by reading and/or listening to my iPod & not thinking about crashing.

4. My three must-haves when I travel are: a notebook/pen, camera and lots of snacks!

5. My favorite travel companion is My husband, of course! And maybe a stuffed animal named Chip... I will not confirm or deny that.

6. The craziest thing that's ever happened to me while traveling is: I haven't traveled that much but having to sprint through one of the largest airports to make our connecting flight was pretty intense on our honeymoon. It was only the 2nd time I'd flown, and my husband had never even been in a terminal so we were newbie's to flying. Somehow we made it just in time!

7. The most exotic food I've tried while traveling is: Ha, NOTHING! I'm super non-adventurous when it comes to food.

8. If I could live anywhere else I'd live in: Tough call, but maybe Arizona. It's sooo beautiful and I LOVE the hot-hot-hot weather without the humidity!

9. I have been to 22 states in the U.S. 

Hope everyone is having a HAPPY FRIDAY! Go check out Lauren's blog and linkup with her today if you get the chance to! :)

Sometimes & Always with Megan!!

Linking up today with the FABULOUS Megan. Be sure to read her blog & all the other's who linked up today! :)

Sometimes: I hate that hubby leaves for work 2 hours before I have to wake up.
Always: I enjoy sprawling out and taking up the entire bed after he leaves ;)

Sometimes: I want to chop my hair into a super-short bob & bangs
Always:  I can’t bring myself to do it because I want looong long hair for once in my life!

Sometimes: I decide to quit drinking Mt Dew. Cold Turkey.
Always:  The withdrawal headaches are way too bad and I claim I’m “cutting back”

Sometimes: I over think situations and over complicate them
Always:  I remember that life is too short for worry!!

Sometimes: I actually wear cute outfits on the weekends that I’m proud of putting together
Always: I forget to take pictures and have no actual proof of this ;)

Sometimes: I feel restless, like I need a new venture in life
Always: I craft, scrapbook, take photographs, write and read to keep my creative juices flowing

Sometimes: I want to plan a big party or event
Always:  I want to plan a big party or event!!!

Sometimes: I am overwhelmed by the huge, awesome blogging community
Always: I am excited about the fact that somehow I’m making myself a part of it!!

A Lazy Weekend & A Happy Monday

This weekend was FANTASTIC! Since my job has slowed down a bit, I'm finally getting used to actually having free time on the weekends and NOT having to think about work at all :)

I also had a very big prayer request answered over the weekend which just couldn't have come at a better time. God is so good!!!

Not a lot to say about the weekend other than hubby and I got to spend it together doing whatever we please with no time limitations, places to be, etc. It. Was. Great.

We started a 'tropical' puzzle on super-cold Saturday and brainstormed more about vacations! (P.S. Thank you ALL for your suggestions-- you may have made it harder for us to decide ;))

We played Wii games :)
I'm clearly STOKED for this picture... J is not.
We put up twinkle lights for a fun movie-marathon in the basement.
And we ended it on Sunday with Pizza and Football-- what could be better?

So happy MONDAY to all. Monday's are what you make out of 'em :)

He Asked... I Said Yes! {Football Field Proposal}

It was August 27, 2010 and Jared had called me around lunchtime to say he was going to bring me lunch at work. He typically doesn't have to go in on Fridays, so he was free. I'd been telling him for months that he needed to stop in one day to see my office and so that I could show him around. Well, today was the day!

I gave my boss a head's up that he was coming in around 1 with lunch. My boss suggested I show him around since things were slow that Friday afternoon. Jared gets there with Chipotle (amazing!) and we chat and eat for awhile. Everything seems normal to me!

We finish lunch and get ready to head out. My boss pops his head in and tosses Jared a football that had been on his desk all week. "Take this down on the field with you and get some rep's in if you want. It's a game-used football!" he had said. My boss knew that Jared was a huge fan, so I figured he was trying to make this really cool for him.

I was excited! I thought I was showing Jared around and just making his day! I showed him the locker room, the weight room and then we headed out onto the field on that BEAUTIFUL afternoon.
football field proposal
football field proposal
We were laughing, taking pictures and tossing the ball around-- again, I thought I was just MAKING his day by getting him onto the field.
football field proposal

football field proposal
Then, I realized this WAS technically still my lunch break and thought we should probably head back. I didn't want to abuse the privilege.
football field proposal

football field proposal
Jared kept saying things like "Oh, your boss is cool he doesn't mind." And "Let's just toss a few more times at midfield." He had originally thought he'd propose on the 50yd line, but was starting to panic. He didn't want to give anything away-- but he'd already cleared it with my boss, security, the field maintenance people etc. We had all the time in the world; I just didn't know that.
football field proposal
Luckily, he said my name and I stopped walking, turned around and saw him on one knee. You can tell from the picture I was totally caught off guard! Usually Jared can't keep a secret because he's so excited! I thought for sure I'd see this day coming! He asked me to marry him and of course I said YES!!!! Possibly right after a, "Are you serious?! Is that real!?"
football field proposal
I had to get a good look at that rock!! ;)
football field proposal
Still holding the football...
football field proposal

football field proposal
Touchdown celebration!! (And me still holding the dang football!)
We took this picture on my cell phone to send to friends and family with the news! It's about this time I was reallly regretting that I'd woken up super late that morning and threw my gross hair into a bun. Please excuse that disgusting part of all the pictures!
football field proposal
First picture as an engaged couple!! I was so excited! And (even though I looked awful) I was so happy Jared thought to have one of my coworkers sneak around and get all the pictures of the actual proposal. He knows how much I love pictures and I'm SO grateful for all of these!
football field proposal

football field proposal
Yep, he's mine! :)
We finally made it back into my office and everyone was there to congratulate us. My boss and Jared had apparently been emailing back and forth about this for a few weeks, planning all the details! My boss also gave me the rest of the day off which was so nice! We'd had plans to go to the Cincinnati Reds game next door, so this way we had time to go out for a celebratory dinner beforehand!

The day and night couldn't have been more perfect. The Reds beat the Cubs and there was a great fireworks show afterwards.

Oh, yeah! And we got to keep the game-used football so we decided to sign it that night after we got home. It now sits on our mantle :)

Hope you enjoyed the story! I never get tired of seeing the pictures and telling the story.
Stay tuned for another Wedding Wednesday next week!!

Winter Weekend

I do NOT love winter. I actually would be okay if I never saw snow again, and if it never dipped below 40 degrees. Ever.

I think my hatred for winter is actually about having to be out and about in the snowy, icy weather and worrying about the road conditions on my commute to work. Luckily, our offices closed this past Friday and don't open again until Tuesday. So I'm enjoying an extraaaa-long weekend and definitely soaking it all in.

So when Friday morning I slept in a little bit, and woke up to see this...
I actually wasn't too upset because I knew I could stay in my cozy home ALL DAY!!!

And I definitely did. I had loads of laundry going and we boxed up a few last Christmas decorations that we hadn't gotten around to yet (oops!) And then I spent the majority of my day with these:
Curled up with a good book, an afghan my momma made, slippers and even a heating pad to stay extra toasty. Seriously, the PERFECT Friday off!

J and I also enjoyed a fun date night at Outback Steakhouse. Through a Twitter promo, we had a $25 voucher PLUS a coupon for a free Bloomin' Onion to use so we barely spent a dime and enjoyed a great time. If you are on Twitter- I HIGHLY recommend following Outback. Of any company I follow, the things they do for their customers, the promotions, the attentiveness to problems--- it's unreal!!

Another good read on a COOL story about Outback is here at my friend Dave's blog! Check it out if you have time and want to read about how they spoiled a loyal customer on his 40th birthday this past year. Again- HUGE props to Outback! :) 

So between time off, free Outback, plus time for Zumba class, reading, football and a baby shower for a cousin-- It's been a great weekend!

Enough about my weekend. What did you all do? Is anyone's favorite team still in the playoffs???

Where it All Began

This is going to be one of my longer posts and includes lotsss of pictures- I'll warn you now. I've been wanting to write the story of how Jared and I meant for awhile now- so here goes :)

March-April 2007
Through a friend of a friend of a friend (you know how college is!) I had acquired a fleece Bengals zip-up and had been wearing it around our college campus, not thinking anything of it. It had been left at our apartment, no one seemed to know who's it was, and I loved the Bengals, so I wore it! Everyone shared clothes in college anyway, so I wasn't too concerned about who's it might actually be.

One late night when we had nothing better to do, a friend and I were Facebook stalking/browsing, whatever you want to call it. Her friend Jared had recently commented on a picture of hers, and I asked who it was. She pulled up his profile and Whew, he was cuuuuute! And I let my friend know I thought that. She laughed and then said, "Actually, he's from your hometown area and loves the Bengals too!" I immediately said, "Wow, well I'm going to date him." She cracked up, but I was serious. I know, I'm a creep.

Suddenly, my friend has a lightbulb moment. Apparently, the fleece I'd been wearing, was JARED'S!!! She had seen him a few nights before and he mentioned that "I think one of your friends might have it. I saw some girl you hang out with wearing one that looked just like it," but she hadn't put 2 and 2 together until now.

I was mortified and told my friend she had to return it first thing tomorrow and to apologize because I had no idea who's it was. Come to find out-- I was going to be returning it myself. At our college, we had weekly chapels which everyone attended, and apparently he had been sitting two rows behind our group of friends all semester. Super.

It turned out not to be a big deal at all, my friend and I returned the fleece together, and I explained how it had been left in our apartment. Jared joked that it looks like I had taken good care of his favorite jacket so he wouldn't be mad at me. Did I mention how cute he was?!?!

We became friends due to our mutual friend who helped solve the Missing Fleece Mystery-- and hung out with the same big group of friends a few times throughout the rest of the semester. We even had our first picture taken together at a friend's house during game night. An up-your-noses and not flattering picture.
Nothing came of our friendship as Spring semester came to an end. We'd had a lot of fun getting to know each other, and like I said- lots of fun group hangouts. I definitely liked him, but we'd only known each other for a couple months.

That summer, we exchanged a couple casual Facebook messages, and he called once to see if I wanted to join a group going to an amusement park (I had to work and couldn't go) but still nothing more.

Came back to school in the fall. Groups hung out for Jared's birthday, for a gift exchange, for the Christmas-themed basketball game.
What a cute elf, huh? ;)

Fast Forward to JANUARY of 2008
We finally admitted we had more-than-friends feelings and hung out constantly. I wasn't ready to take the "official" jump yet, but we might as well have been.
Guitar hero and the notorious Bengals fleece I stole!

We attended his cousin's wedding together and I got to meet his entire extended family. It was actually cool since we weren't even a couple yet, but I got to see how close he and his brothers and other family were. Other than a few comments from younger cousins that night (Them-How long have you been dating Jared? Me- Uhh, we aren't?) we had a lot of fun!

February 28, 2008 We made it official :)

We love a good theme party!!!

In 2008 we had a museum membership (NERD ALERT!)

We saw my sister get married

And ran our first 5k together!
Halloween 2009

Celebrating 2 years together in 2010
On a fun date after I moved closer and got my own apartment!

And there you have it. The story of how we met and some pictures from our dating :)
Next Up: Engagement, August 2010

Blog Award!

Thanks to Brittney (the only time I've seen someone spell it this way other than my sister- yay!) over at Diary of a Southern Brunette for nominating me for for the award! It was a fun surprise, as I have just started my blog and I'm still finding my way! Be sure to check out her adorable blog as well! :)

This award is for bloggers who have less than 200 followers and are newer to the world of blogging and have an AWESOME blog that needs a little noticing!!

Here is how to participate in this nomination/award giving fun!

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded/nominated you
3. Copy and paste the blog award to your blog 
4. Reveal your top 5 blog picks!!
5. Drop by your top 5 picks and let them know you chose them by commenting on their blog!

And here are my 5 picks! It was tough- as there are tons of newbie blogs out there that I love :)

Steph at The Sweet Life is approaching 200 followers, but isn't there quite yet! She is one of my favorite blogs to follow! She's a West-Coaster who works in sports and is engaged to her high school sweetheart!

Allison at Just a Carolina Girl loves football as much as me, but also loves pink and can shop with the rest of them!

Definitely check out Katie at His Diamond and Mine --The story behind her blog title was enough for me to get hooked! Very cool!

Stop by Lauren's Sweet Nothings and you'll be sure to see some gorgeous photos, learn some tasty new recipes-- plus she is sick right now and would appreciate some extra blog love! ;)

Last, visit Andrea at Keeping Up With The Sonneks --They had a gorgeous beach wedding, and are now proud parents to a pretty lil baby girl!

On a TOTALLY unrelated note-- How in the world is it still only Tuesday?! ;)

Staying on Track

So we're now over a week in to the new year of 2012. Have you kept up with any resolutions? Started making any of those new goals happen? I think I'll try to follow up on my "12 in 12" list at the first(ish) of every month on here-- to keep me accountable and hopefully encourage others to go after their goals as well!!

So far in 8 days I've:

1. Written 3 blog posts (including this one!)
2. Haven't done an official weigh-in yet, but I've worked out 5 of the last 8 days.
3. Read 1 book and started a 2nd
4. Put most of my Christmas bonus into a savings account- not to be touched
5. Had an awesome opportunity to be there for a friend today

On #5- I had an old friend from college call me today and spill her guts. She attended my wedding last May, and we've texted and Facebooked a handful of times since, but we live a few hours apart and don't stay in touch regularly. I was happy she felt comfortable enough to call and let me be there for her today. She's going through a rough patch and it felt so good to be able to just love her and be a friend to her, even if from a distance.

So, I ask you. How are you heading towards you 2012 resolutions and goals? It's not too early or too late to start achieving great things this year.

Couponing success!!

Today I had some of my best couponing success to date and I just had to share!

I'm definitely not an 'extreme' couponer, nor do I stock up on items simply because I can get them dirt-cheap. My couponing is pretty focused on items that:
1. Don't expire/go bad
2. Everyone NEEDS, but hates spending $$ on, and 
3. I can actually store in our hall closet/bathroom/pantry. No stockpiles in garages here!!!
Definitely NOT my garage! ;)
So I mainly go after toilet paper, paper towels, tissues,shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, etc. I always use coupons for groceries too, but those deals are never as 'extreme' as my focus items.

Since I started, my first goal was just to save 15% on a grocery bill.
BAM! I did it! And I was HOOKED.
I surpassed my next goals of saving 20, 30 and 35% on grocery bills and do that regularyly. Next up is a 40% total savings that I'm working towards! I've saved roughly 50-60% in stores like CVS with other items, but the grocery bill goal is always the most fun!

Let's break down my deals today!
First stop: Kroger grocery store.
Picked up (4) 12-packs of Charmin TP
On sale for $5.99 each.
I had (4) $2.00 off Charmin product manufacturer coupons
So make those $3.99 each.
The TP qualified for the Buy 4 Get $4 instantly back Kroger Event.
So it was like getting each one for $2.99
Meaning about .25 cents a roll!!!
My total (after taxes) was $12.73 and would have been $25.52
50% total savings!!!!

2nd stop: CVS pharmacy
Picked up 1 box Tampax pearl
On sale for $3.99
Had a $2 off manufacturer coupon
Paid $1.99!!
Picked up (2) full-size bottles of Pantene shampoo
On sale for $3.33 each
I had a $3 off two Pantene manufacturer coupon
So I got 2 full size shampoo's for a total of $3.66
My total (after taxes) was $6.01 and would have been $11.34
47% total savings!!!

Hopefully I didn't lose anyone, and hopefully my math was right on the total savings! ;) Just happy I got to use quite a few of my January coupons before the expired at the end of next week!
Anyone else coupon? Trying to start? I'd love to hear your strategies as well!

My First Link Up!

I've followed Megan's blog for about 6 months now and LOVE it, but I've never joined in any link up's until now! :) I figured this was a fun way to meet some other new bloggers and also share a little bit more about myself.

Sometimes: I feel like I cannot get enough sleep during football/work season. Ever.
Always: I am thankful for a job that I love.

Sometimes: I want to look for new jobs in a warm,tropical location
Always: I know I'd miss my family and friends SO much.

Sometimes: I want to wake up early and try new things with my hair.
Always: I end up straightening it because I don't like how other things turn out.

Sometimes: I want a free day to not move from my couch and catch up on all my DVR
Always: I make time for movies and forget half the TV shows

Sometimes: I feel like the only one of our friends who isn't having a baby/has a baby already
Always: I remember that we're not ready yet-- and thats ok! :)

Sometimes: I find it hard to think of what to write about on my blog
Always: I slack on the blog (Hopefully not in 2012-- one of my goals!)