Love, Fun and Football: September 2013

Sep 30, 2013

September Favorites

What better way to start a Monday that you aren't excited about than with posting about your favorite things the month has brought you? Good timing, Ashley(ps- excuse the craptastic quality of these photos-- we're having 'real' camera issues today!)

-Friendships. My circle of close girlfriends might be small, and we might be spread out all over the country, but I cherish every moment I do get to spend with these ladies. Whether it's a weekend visit, a Skype conversation or just a ridiculous 4 minute phone call, I am thankful for it all. You all know who you are! :)

-Fall decorations! We finally got out fall stuff up over the weekend and our house just feels so cozy now. The amazing candles, the scarecrow wreath, mantle decor... I'm loving it!

-Our church. I am blessed by the message I get every single week there, and now that our church recently started a Saturday night service, I don't have to miss as often due to work. Yay!

-Working out with Jared. We joined a gym and aren't looking back. I am loving that we're working on our fitness goals together and I think we've really killed it this week with our workouts. I'm looking forward to the transformations that are hopefully soon to come!
Be ready for lots of sweaty Instagram pictures ;)
-Making time for date nights. We've put ourselves on such a strict budget that I think sometimes we forget it IS okay to go out and spend a little money doing something fun together. Dinner overlooking a lake? Yes, please!

-And on that note? Planning vacations in an affordable manner too. We love to have something on the calendar to look forward to and often you can find amazing deals if you book well in advance and do your research... here's to hoping a couple AWESOME 2014 vacations are in store for us :)



Sep 28, 2013

Stealth Mode + Free Sample {Sponsored}


So I work in a world of men, if you haven't picked up on that yet. It's not uncommon for a woman working in the world of sports to feel a little outnumbered at times- or most of the time. Sure, there are plenty of women in our building, but in my department? I work with three men. In pretty close quarters. Oh, and the kicker? We have a shared bathroom. Let me paint draw you guys a picture.
Lovely, right?? Let's just talk about how awkward it can be once a month, going stealth mode, carrying the goods- if you know what I mean. Right past all the male coworkers, the potential customers at our windows and that conference table which almost always has someone eating lunch or working on something at it.
Well awkward just got a lot easier. Enter U by Kotex! I recently had the opportunity to try out the U by Kotex Click Tampons and they are awesome. It starts very compact, making it easy to hold in the palm of your hand without telling the world where you're headed.
Then, it can go to full-sized protection with just one 'click' and you're good to go. It's perfect to carry in a small clutch or to put a spare in your pocket, too. And I can't help it, but I'm a sucker for cool packing and these come in four fun wrappers- in case showing them off IS your thing ;)
And don't think that just because they are small they won't offer enough protection. Definitely not the case! You'll feel comfortable and worry-free using their products. See for yourself by trying a free sample here .

Be sure to check out U by Kotex on Facebook and Twitter for more information! 

I wrote this review while participating in a content series through Clever Girls Collective on behalf of U by Kotex, and received products to facilitate my post and compensation for my time to participate.

Sep 27, 2013

Finally a Friday!

Today is one of those rare Friday's during football season that actually counts as a Friday for me. Today marks 13 days of work in a row so you bet I'm going to live it up this weekend with TWO whole days off in a row! We have been SO busy, I feel like I haven't seen my husband at all! I don't know about you all, but it seems like the only time Jared and I seem to bicker is when we haven't gotten to spend much time together. Lots of quality time with Jared is the only thing on the agenda for the next two days. Well, that and watching lots of football, but that's a given ;) 

Linking up with some pretty ladies over here and here today for 5 on Friday/High 5 for Friday!

{1} Fall is actually here now! Despite Ohio's 80 degree weather today and tomorrow, we've been having lots of cool nights with the windows open and one of our trees turned orange practically overnight. I had to hurry and snap some pictures before all the leaves fell- I feel like that happens earlier and earlier every year!

{2} This delicious smelling candle we were given as a gift. It's so tempting to go drop a fortune on candles every time the seasons change, so I'm thankful for this yummy scent in our house right now.

{3} Having less than a month until I get to go visit some family in their new city, see their new house AND snuggle an adorable baby the entire time I'm there. The countdown has begun!

{4} A bathroom I actually enjoy getting ready in! Last month Jared and I installed a new vanity/sink and have finally put the finishing touches on our mini "master" bath and I'm so happy with the changes. I'm totally slacking on pictures, but eventually I'll share the before/after!

{5} Getting fit! As painful as this first week has been, I'm glad I'm finally taking control of my weight and my health. I've been making horrible choices in terms of food for far too long. Jared and I even took 'before' pictures this week (barf!) and I can't wait to have an 'after' picture I can be proud of. Thank you everyone for your encouragement and recommendations and tips on yesterday's post. Ya'll rock!!

Sep 26, 2013

Sweat is in the Air

I seriously had knots in my stomach. I was nervous. My palms were even sweating! Luckily, I had Jared with me telling me this was no big deal and that there was absolutely nothing at all to be worried about. We stepped inside and into the bright lights. The smell of sweat and dedication was in the air. No turning back now.

You guys, I did it. I joined a gym. For the first time in my adult life, I have an actual gym membership that I plan to utilize as much as possible. Jared and I joined a cheap $10/month gym and I think it's just what I needed for that push of motivation. Sure, some people can just run on their own, do workout DVDs, etc.... but for me? I really think being a part of a gym is going to be what helps me get my lifestyle on track.
We've worked out two days in a row.... and I can't even describe to you how sore I am. I haven't lifted weights since probably college (hello, 5+ years ago) and even then I didn't know what I was doing. Jared was super patient with me with the machines I didn't quite understand and when I was feeling intimidated by giant, sweaty dudes lurking near us. I've never been hit by a bus, but I imagine this might be what it feels like. If someone could have seen me trying to lift a blow-dryer this morning, they could have laughed out loud. My jello arms and chest gave up on that pretty quickly ;)

I'm turning to the blog world more and more for fitness motivation! Maybe you're one of those people that doesn't like to see work-outs and Polar watches on Instagram, but not me. I need to see other people who care about fitness and who are dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle! 
  • People like Becky who loves to run and cheered for me when I signed up for my first-ever half marathon. 
  • People like Katie and Kelly who love to cook yummy, healthy meals.
  • Elle who describes herself as 'former fatty turned fitness fanatic' 
  • Or Amanda who is a dedicated runner and always posts great tips for us newbies like this one
The list goes on and on! There IS motivation out there and I want your help finding it too. Who are your favorite blogs/Instagram accounts for fitness and healthy food motivation? Also, if anyone has a blog on how not to cry while lifting your hands to answer a phone- let me know ;) This chick is hurting today.... in the best way possible.

Sep 25, 2013

My Husband is a DJ

Hey, there's no rules in the Blogging Book of Law that say I have to talk about my weekend on a Monday right?? If there is- don't let me know, because I'm talking about my weekend on a Wednesday and I think it'll work just fine!

It's probably taken me until this morning to even regroup from the past weekend. Between working every day since last Monday, my in-laws coming in town, a family wedding that Jared DJed and two HUGE Cincinnati Bengals wins in the past week? It's been a whirlwind to say the least. My life is crazy sometimes, and I'm trying to just embrace the crazy. That's sortof become my motto: Embrace the Crazy. :)
Every once in awhile we dress up!
Going down the aisle a single lady /// Coming back a married woman!
It was a really sweet, simple and personal wedding- my favorite kind :) Tara and Craig (the bride and groom) are a match made in heaven- they were so cute together all night long. They did a really fun first dance- which I just knew would happen; Tara LOVES to dance. I wish I'd gotten more pictures of the lovebirds but I was too busy on the dance floor myself most of the night. Since the DJing brothers only got a couple chances to bust a move, Kayla was my dance partner of choice ;)

And FYI- Jared rocked his first ever DJ gig. So many people complimented him and came up to me asking how much he would charge, etc. Of course I wasn't surprised one bit- Jared is always the life of the party :) 

In other news? You may have seen on Instagram I got to meet the adorable Jill, owner of Sugar Love Boutique as she is a new and now diehard Bengals fan ;) She's a fashionable boutique owner who also loves football... I mean, is there a better combination?

So now that's is midweek and I finally told you what I did last weekend- I'm looking forward to THIS coming weekend. For once? Jared and I have ZERO PLANS. ZERO. And I'm refusing to make any. After 13 days straight at the office, I'm going to need some serious relaxationnnnn.

What does the rest of your week look like? :) Happy Wednesday!

Sep 24, 2013

Sallie & Perkins - FAQ



Where did the names Sallie & Perkins come from?
We thought this was self-explanatory, but I guess if you aren't drowning in the same student loans we are- this might have went over your head, so let us clarify. Sallie is short for Sallie Mae, one of our largest, most hated student loans. And Perkins of course = Federal Perkins Loan, another one of our "favorites" ;)

How much money do ya'll make?
We try to be pretty transparent around here and keep things real, especially when we are encouraging others to get out of debt, but we aren't comfortable divulging our exact income. What I will tell you, is that we both have 'average-paying jobs' I know, I know- still vague. But I just want to make it clear, we aren't rolling in the dough and easily putting down that extra money each month. It's always a challenge, always a sacrifice!

How much debt did you start out with?
Who knows?! Ouch-- bad answer for some people trying to take charge of their debt, right?! Honestly, we don't know what that total debt number was back when we got married in May 2011. If we had to guess, I would probably say around $60,000? I know we started 2013 with debt totaling $49,000 and we are currently down to about $37,000 (Not including our September payments, yet!). Lots of progress, but still a long way to go.

How in the world do you have THAT MUCH student loan debt?
We both went to a small, private Christian university that came with a hefty price tag. Even with some scholarship money and both us working before and during college, it wasn't affordable at ALL. Sallie also got her Master's degree from an awesome, but pricey college. YAY eduction, OUCH debt!

Perkins, you're obviously a symbol of fashion and coolness, where do you shop?
Good question, simple answer: Gsquared.  Game Swap and Gabriel Brothers. Sure, in Game swap you may have to weave in an out of a group of adolescents in a Magic the Gathering tourney, but you will be stumbling upon awesome deals! I personally just scored Mario Brothers Smash Brothers for like, 5 bucks. 
Gabriel Brothers is pure second-rate clothing awesomeness! All their pants are easily hike-able up to a minimum of 10 inches above the waist and 50% cheaper then typical department stores!

What's your favorite date to go on without spending a ton of cash?
Sallie: Saturday morning matinee's at our local theater. The cheapest movies are shown in the 10 AM hour, we bring our dollar store snacks in and generally have the theater to ourselves- win, win! :)
Perkins:  Frolf (frisbee golf) in our local park, dollar store snacks for dinner, Boggle or Battleship, Mario Cart Racing, dance party, movie (Star Wars, obviously.) then bed ;)

Sallie- how do you perfect that side pony tail? Video tutorial coming soon?!
I'm glad you guys asked- the side pony is something that I've perfected over the past few years and you can too! Day-old hair is good, two-day old is best! Follow these easy 4 steps for an updated version of the side-pony for that special occasion!

What's the first thing you all will do/buy when you're out of debt?
After a 24-hour dance party and probably a hot date night out on the town, we'll regroup and honestly? Start making extra mortgage payments. We see our house as an investment and not necessarily a 'debt' but we do look forward to building up our equity and having a plan for our NEXT house. Oh… and probably plan a vacation ASAP!

Any other questions for Sallie and/or Perkins?! Be sure to leave your comments to be included in a future post of the debt-slashing couple!

Sep 20, 2013

WORTHY OF A CELEBRATION

Yeah, yeah… you're all jumping for joy and partying because it's Friday. But today is most certainly not a Friday for me. My long-time readers know that football season gets a little weird around here. There will be stretches of time where I work 13-days straight (like right now) and other times when I'm the only one in the world working on a national holiday.

So I could grumble and feel like today is a Monday, because everyone hates Mondays. OR, I could look at every day as a Friday and just set out to have a good attitude. I mean, seriously- how often do you have a GOOD Monday or a BAD Friday?! It's all about your attitude and how you approach the day. So although my eyes are bloodshot and I will be functioning on little to no sleep at the family wedding I'm attending tomorrow night, I'm still going to choose to look at the positive side of things.

I have a job! A job with lots of perks that are easy to forget, but definitely should not be overlooked. 

I have a house! A house that might be filthy and strewn with dirty laundry, but a house that we own and make memories in every single day.

I have an incredible husband! A husband that might forget to replace the toilet paper every once in awhile, but an incredible man who treats me like a queen and I get to spend my forever with.

I have an awesome family! A crazy family that is never going to be perfect, but a family that loves me more than I can fathom.

I have great friends! Friends I might not see that often enough, and friends I miss constantly, but incredible friends that I know would drop everything for me in a time of need.

I have a healthy body! A body that might need a few more workouts, but a body that takes me places and carries me through this amazing life day after day after day.

It's all about perspective, friends. Live every day like it's that Friday you've been anticipating all week. EVERY day is worth living and every day is worthy of a celebration!

Sep 19, 2013

THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME

  • Lists are my favorite. Scratch that, you guys know that by now, I'm sure.
  • I am allergic to ev-er-y-thing.... yet I still look at puppies and beg Jared for one weekly.
  • I don't eat Chinese food. Mexican food all day!
  • I listen to a LOT of different music. I don't think I can pick just one favorite genre.
  • Speaking of music, it's kindof my lifelong dream to see Celine Dion live in concert. Don't judge me.
  • I was Class President in high school and loved it a weird amount.
  • Rarely are my nails paints and when they are? It likely took me 3 hours to paint them.
  • I guzzle water like a camel.... like 2 or more liters a day!
  • I've been at my job for 4+ years now with no intentions of leaving it.
  • Easter is my favorite holiday.
  • Dance parties are a regular part of my life.
  • I don't really like chocolate all that much, but anything with the peanut butter/chocolate combo is good in my book.
  • My entire family is crazy and fun and I LOVE THEM so much :)

Sep 18, 2013

WHEN YOUR TANK IS EMPTY

I believe this blog of mine has been slacking lately. Between the start up of football season and the whole trying-not-to-spend-money thing, sometimes I feel like my creativity is just non-existent! Like yesterday? I was legitimately working harder at keeping my eyes open at the office than actually working. That'll happen when you get home from work after midnight and have to be right back at it in the morning. I think I'm still recovering from Monday night's WIN against the Steelers. Hashtag I love football season.

Too often I haven't wanted to sit down at my blog. I haven't wanted to take pictures or write or read anything blog related. And I haven't liked that feeling at all. "Where is my creativity?!" I continually ask myself. Sometimes when I don't allow time for other creative outlets, I feel like my tank is just on empty. Like it's just sitting there, begging me to get out and DO something to get those ideas swirling around again.

So what do I do to get the juices flowing?

I think cooking is a form of creativity. I love trying new recipes and trying to tweak them to Jared and I's liking. There is something so incredibly therapeutic to me about just chopping and prepping meals... I swear, I get some of my best thinking done while I cook!
Reading is something I'm obsessed with, but yet never seem to make enough time for. I miss the days of summer break where I'd make weekly trips to the library and finish off 2-3 books in a week's time. Even though it's just not feasible for me to read that often right now, I know I need to make time for it. Reading good writing, in turn helps your own writing! And it doesn't always have to be a book- great ideas jump off the pages of magazines all the time for me, too! I'd challenge you to even pick up a type of magazine you wouldn't normally read.... inspiration may strike when you least expect it!
Writing something other than my blog is another way to come up with ideas. Whether it's just pounding out a quick paragraph in my novel, writing a couple thank-you notes or 'just saying hi' notes, or even making lists. Oh, do I love a good list! I don't go anywhere without lots of paper and pens because you never know when an idea will strike. I'm guilty of waking up at 3am and jotting down an idea for a blog post or a character in my book.
And you can never go wrong with a yummy-scented candle, a good Pandora station picked out and exploring other people's blogs. Sometimes Pinterest can get a little overwhelming when you're trying to think of ideas, so often if I find a new blog I like via Pinterest, I just stick with that blog for awhile. Really dig deep into the archives of a blog you enjoy or admire and see where they've been, what they've done. It's less chaotic if you don't just Pin all night long from 100s of different sources :)

So even though life is chaotic this time of year for me, I'm vowing to make more time for the creative things I love. 
What do you do when your creative tank is empty?

Sep 16, 2013

Friendship

This weekend was one of the best I've had in a long time. My dear friend Amanda came to stay with me and it was just the girl time I needed! She and I hadn't seen each other in well over a year so most of the weekend was spent talking, talking, talking. It was the perfect combination of a lazy weekend + a best friend :) I'm pretty sure we stayed up later than I have in months both nights she was at my house. I took her to my favorite local Mexican place, we shopped some great bargains, explored Jungle Jim's and watched lots and lots of football.

And you know what else is awesome? I didn't whip my camera out but one time to get an 'updated' shot of the two of us. I left it tucked away and just truly enjoyed my time with my friend. Amanda is one of those friends that it doesn't matter how long it had been since we'd last hung out- I'd trust her with my life. She is genuine and amazing and I'm blessed to have her as my friend. Now I'm just working on getting her on board with starting a blog.... :)

And in other news? This post is just short and sweet today since I'm a semi-nervous wreck about the game going on tonight. Bengals vs. Steelers. MNF. 8:40. You don't want to miss it. WHODEY!

Sep 13, 2013

Football Friday - Food Edition!

Happy Football Friday!! I'm SO excited about having one of my best friends from college come stay with me ALL weekend long. I can't even remember the last time Amanda and I got to hang out, so that definitely means it's been entirely too long.

What football match-up are you all looking forward to this weekend? The Buckeyes will be playing Cali tomorrow night and then the Bengals home opener isn't until Monday night against the Steelers. Whew, bring it on Pittsburgh!!! It's a good thing Amanda, who is FROM Pittsburgh, is leaving Sunday.... I told her I won't allow any terrible towels in my house. ;)
My last visit to Amanda's resulted in many pictures like this.
Love, Fun & Fotball
I'm also excited to be bringing you all another addition of the link-up Erin, Tiffany and I got started last month. And today? It's all about the football food. Oh, the food! The reasons I gain weight every football season. I LOVE good snacks for the game and always love getting new recipes to try out as well. 

Below you will find my go-to dip for football season as well as a few favorites from some of my lovely sponsors! I highly recommend doubling or even tripling my Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip when making for a crowd, as you and your friends literally will NOT be able to stop eating it. So simple, yet so addicting. Enjoy these and be sure to comment or link-up with your favorite football foods!

Jackie: Blog // Twitter
Leslie: Blog // Twitter

 Ashley: Blog // Twitter

 Jess: Blog // Twitter


So now that you all are set for snacking this weekend- what else is on your must-make list for the big game? Links and recipes are appreciated! Be sure to check out all the other gals linking up for Football Friday too! :) 

Sep 12, 2013

A Song for Dad

Happy Birthday to the man who took us to DisneyWorld as kids, even though he hates crowds. And vacations to new places year after year after year, I'm sure costing him a fortune!

To the man who coached my middle school basketball team to undefeated seasons....but still finally "let" me cheer when high school rolled around and we realized that's where my athletic talent was hidden.

To the man who supported our family and worked so hard, all the time, so that my mom could stay home with us while my sister and I were young.

To the man who passed on his baby-blues to me.... thanks, by the way :)

To the man who gave me the wedding of my dreams, and loves Jared as his own son.

To the man who is so musically talented it's ridiculous! I'm positive that I got my weird habit of making up songs about anything and everything because of my Dad. Whether it's about going on vacation, our favorite sports team or just something funny that was happening- my dad had a song for it in the blink of an eye. I remember as kids always saying, "Okay, Dad, play....." and we'd name any random song in the world, and I swear he'd be playing it in a matter of minutes. THAT is talent right there.

So since most of his songs were made up, I can't exactly share them with you but there were still a few regulars we'd always request or hear him jamming away to on the piano. And in honor of his birthday (And Helene's link up) this song's for you, Dad:


Love you, Dad!!!

Helene in Between

Sep 10, 2013

Misconceptions

When people find out I work for an NFL team, I hear quite a few of the same responses time and time again. So many of their responses or questions are based on misconceptions people have on working in sports. I thought maybe I'd clarify a few of those things today :)

Misconception #1: "So cool! Do you hang out with the players all the time?!"
False. Yes, I see players and do interact with them occasionally at events or just in passing, but that's about the extent of it. I'm much more likely to run into the coaches and chat with them in the mail room than I am to be hanging with NFL athletes. Although, I do have a good story or two about interactions with some of the team.

Misconception #2: "How did you land this job? Who did you know?"
I will say- sports careers are TOUGH to get and often people only get them because they know someone. That is certainly not the only way to get a job in sports and not the way I got my job. I networked, utilized LinkedIn to make numerous connections and sought out the person I wanted to work for on my own when there wasn't even an open position available. Often jobs aren't posted in the sports world so you have to go after the employer yourself.
Misconception #3: "Holy cow, you must make so much money!!!"
No, just....no. Is their potential if you're a standout employee and work your way up? Absolutely. But you will start at the bottom of the totem pole and go from there. Many people intern for free for years in hopes of landing a job with a team and still don't. It's a tough career to break into, but definitely worth it if you can suck it up for awhile.
Misconception #4: "Awesome- so you get to go to all the games for free?!"
Well, technically, yes, I'm at every game. But I'm working- people! I typically get to our stadium a minimum of FIVE HOURS before kickoff and work through almost the end of the game. Like I said, it's not always glamorous, but if you love the sport, it is worth it even on the long days. Plus, Jared gets to reap the benefits of my job and enjoy the games- so there's that, I guess ;)

Do you have any misconceptions about working in sports? What about misconceptions that people have about YOUR job that just drive you crazy? I'd love to hear your comments!

PS-- Football Friday will be back this week, check here for details!

Sep 9, 2013

Football-Filled Weekend

I'll go ahead and get this out there now. Yes, my Bengals lost yesterday and yes it took me the rest of the day to recover from it. As crappy as it is to come out and lose your first game of the season, the Bengals looked good -there is no denying that. Dalton and Green…. ALL DAY, EVERY GAME, please and thank you! Now let's get those turnovers and tempers under control and prep for next week's MNF game vs. Pittsburgh.

Whew. Didn't know if I could get through that first paragraph without a couple of shed tears ;) Luckily, this weekend we did get to see a winning football game, in person, too! Jared and I were given tickets to the Ohio State/San Diego State game this past Saturday and we were thrilled to see our first ever Buckeyes game together!
We got to campus super early to explore and take in all the festivities. For those of us who didn't go to a big state school, it's pretty cool to walk around and see all the athletic facilities, museums, statues, etc! We started our day by a stop in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The lobby highlights all the team's success and tradition over the years.
We got to check out the rings, watch highlights of the team's history on a MEGA-screen with surround sound and in those sweet helmet chairs/couches. I will definitely take a few of those in orange and black if someone can let me know where to pick them up…. and if I can get them on a Sallie/Perkins budget or not.

After a little more exploring and lunch (complete with a Brutus the Buckeye appearance!) it was time for the game and Ohio Stadium did NOT disappoint. That place is massive and we had great seats in the endzone.
Since I took a thousand pictures I'll let them do the rest of the talking today :)
I have to say, although the NFL will always be my number one love, there is nothing like college game day live and in person! The stadium just seemed so much more under control and EXCITED about each and every play. Not wasted out of their minds, picking fights with people sitting near them and barely standing on their own. I'm sure that goes on to some degree, but I didn't see it at all. So college football fans- ya'll stay classy, I like it!

Was your weekend football filled with victories or losses? Happy Monday- cheers to a week that is sure to be chaotic, but fun :)

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