The Monday Struggle

Sometimes I struggle with my Monday posts. I'm pretty predictable, in that I generally write about my weekend and what I was up to. But the struggle is in not just listing out what I did step by step, hour by hour. It takes talent to condense three days of happenings into one concise post that'll give readers a glimpse into my life, without boring them with the details only I care about. So here goes my best shot at it! Let me know how I did ;)

Don't ask me why, but Friday felt like a rough day at work for me. Maybe I was anticipating the weekend entirely too much, or just fed up from a long week, but the drive home felt like an eternity. Traffic was heavy, my brain was going a zillion miles a minute and I just couldn't wait to get home to Jared. Well that boy made coming home extra sweet because he surprised me with "just because" flowers and a fun dinner ready for us. It was all I needed to forget any worries I had and just enjoy a night in together.
sunflower arrangement

Saturday we had a family boating day as an (early) celebration for my in-law's 35th wedding anniversary. All of us headed out for a fun day at the lake early in the morning, praying the rain clouds away the best we could. 
on a boat

Our morning had a few showers, but it made for a few funny moments on the boats so we really couldn't complain. Luckily the rain was short-lived and for the rest of the afternoon we had plenty of sunshine, lots of tubing and more food than I should admit to eating. Hey, you work up an appetite being lazy on a boat all day, right?!
What a stud ;)
lake tubing
lake tubing
lake tubing wipeout
Probably my favorite picture from the day--- haha! Wipeout!

The guys

The gals
It's seriously hard to believe how fast June blew by me. I mentioned last week that I've really felt like I've focused on some goals and dreams this month, so perhaps that's why time is moving so rapidly. When you're making progress on things no matter how small- it makes the days flash by you and you've just gotta' hang on for the ride. Sunday night's sunset was just a happy reminder of the fun that's been had this month. June, you were good.
midwest sunset

I'm looking forward to a lot of awesome things in July… so bring it on :)

Celebrating Little Things

I got to meet Classy Steph yesterday and grab dinner with her after work! She was in town for work and we had a few hours to inhale some mexican food together. After all, we've only been talking about our shared love for Mexican Food and DisneyWorld for years now. It felt totally natural to finally sit down in person with each other. Blogging rocks in that way. In no time at all TWO and a HALF HOURS had passed and our conversation was still going strong. Plus? Steph brought me a first-edition Harry Potter book so I could finally read the series and become like the rest of the human race ;) Also, I'm pretty confident our server was hoping we'd become her BFF... what can I say? We are a couple of fun gals! That is definitely something worth celebrating.

I'm also celebrating:
…good health! I don't ever want to take this life and this body for granted. We only get one!

... casual Fridays FINALLY becoming a real thing at my office. Only took me about five years to convince the boss, but we can now wear jeans on Fridays, woot!!!

... Jared being able to work overtime consistently again. Those few extra hours each week really add up on a paycheck. Sallie & Perkins are happy campers.

... a fun-filled day of boating with family tomorrow (fingers crossed for good weather!) I haven't been boating since last July in Arkansas so it's long overdue and I'm really looking forward to it.

... Putting a new nail polish on your toes and it actually going over 2 weeks without chipping! It's a miracle! Don't worry, I'll spare you a photo of my feet ;)

... Organizing photos and videos on your computer and coming across the video your friend made you for your wedding day because we were both devastated she couldn't be there. Love you, Amanda!!
Throwback! Us on our 25th bday :)
Celebrate the little things people, they add up to the big things and mean the most!
Linking up over HERE today.

In The Groove

June has been MY month so far. As busy as it's been, and as fast as the hours go by, I've been hanging on by a thread and rocking it along the way. Do you ever just get in those moods where you want to accomplish everything you've ever thought about accomplishing? I feel like the past few weeks have been that way for me. I've exercised, I've eaten well overall (not perfect, of course!), I've kept up with stuff around the house, I've worked on design projects, I've made time to read AND time to write in my novel. It's like something has come over me. Something that's saying, "Erin. Quit wishing for things in life and start doing them! You're the one in charge of your success!"
I think it's so easy to make our lists, our daily to-do lists, our 30 before 30 lists, our bucket lists… and then let them fizzle out. Too often I think we make goals, and then put those goals up on a shelf, out of reach. We think okay, those are my goals, I'll get there one day. But yet we go about our day-to-day life, not doing ANYTHING to pursue those goals and dreams. I'm guilty of it too. Sometimes I think of my ultimate goals in life and I think, "Okay- hopefully I've reached those in the next ten years. Or at least in my lifetime."

But why wait? Why not just assume I can go after things NOW? I'm not too young, or too old. I'm not too busy. Ohhh, never use the term too busy when you're thinking about what you want to do with your life. If it's important to you, if it's all you can think about, if it's the only thing you want to do when you wake up? You have time for it.

I'm feeling the motivation today, and I've set a realistic timeline for some of the big things in life I'm currently going after. So go on. Grab those goals off the shelf, or perhaps you've even put them all the way up in the attic. Dust them off, take a deep breath and go after them. You're the only one holding yourself back.

It's a Good Day When...

...You get to Skype with your 14-month-old niece.

... A customer is actually complimentary on the phone instead of yelling at you.

... Dinner is in the crockpot waiting on you.

...You somehow peeled yourself out of bed to get to the gym before work.

... A new baby is born into the family!

... The scale tells you a happy number.... finally.

... Bloggers get together to network and chat and bring big ideas together!

... You get something free.

… People sign up for Swagbucks using your referral link.

... Someone repins something you actually created/wrote.

... Jared says "I bought you some candy" :)

... The creativity is flowing and you crank out a few thousand words in your book.

... You link up with some faves and a list totally counts as a blog post for the day!

Go link up with Brittany and Lisa :) Tell me what makes YOU have a good day.
=It's A Good Day Linkup

Taking Stock

Making : Lists, upon lists upon lists. Always. Every day. I'm crazy and I know it.

Cooking : Lots of vegetables. Experimenting with different combinations and different seasonings.

Drinking : Water, water, water! Boring to some, but I cannot get enough.

Reading: Remember by Karen Kingsbury and The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Yes- simultaneously.

Wanting: The rest of our debt to disappear!

Looking: For more ways to make side income. I'm determined!

Playing: With my hair... and daydreaming about chopping it all off. 

Deciding: Where Jared and I should go on vacation. In 2015.

Wishing: Time could speed up... just a little bit.

Enjoying: The obsession Jared and I have with puzzles, especially of late. We're going to frame some soon.

Waiting: For my sister to get in town! :)

Liking: The fresh, summer produce. It just tastes the best this time of year.

Wondering: How long it's actually going to take me to finish writing my book.

Loving: The warm days, and that the sun doesn't go down until after nine.

Pondering: My next career move.

Considering: Moving to Florida ;) Not really, I just miss the beach and ocean. Hiii, Punta Cana!

Watching: Desperate Housewives. It's a guilty pleasure, I can't help it.

Hoping: You all will leave me a zillion comments... because I enjoy them way too much.

Marveling: At some of the phenomenal work by Hoffer Photography. They are such unique photographers.

Needing: A massage... gosh, that sounds good right about now!

Smelling: Honeysuckle BBW candle. So fresh and light.

Wearing: A new favorite item from Sugar Love Boutique.

Following: The World Cup. At least, I'm trying to. This is the only time I "care" about soccer.

Noticing: That none of my shorts fit. They are too big or too small, none are just right.

Knowing: That this weekend is going to be a fun one!

Thinking: About all the things I'd love to buy but won't/can't.

Feeling: A little lonely... I wish all friends and family lived in the same area.

Admiring: How hard my husband works... he is my rock.

Sorting: Through thousands of photos on my computer. Photobook progress is being made!

Buying: ^ Hopefully my 2012 photobook soon(ish)

Getting: Excited for the 4th of July weekend festivities!

Bookmarking: This cute shop on Etsy. I just won a giveaway thanks to my cousin-in-law and they have the cutest stuff! All the sales go to help fund their adoption.

Disliking: Doing laundry. Which is why I'm forever behind on it!

Opening: Emails and responding to them ninja-fast. I wonder if I can put that on a resume??

Giggling: At this. More than once.

Feeling: Excited and hopeful :)

Saturday, you were perfect.

Saturday's weather couldn't have been more perfect for Jared and I's free day together. It was nice to wake up early and get our groceries and errands done well in advance of lunch time. We stocked stuffed our fridge with fresh produce and we're hoping to try a 2 or 3 day juice cleanse this week. That makes me hungry just to think about, but I'll be sure to update you all on how it actually goes down.
jungle jim grocery

grocery veggies produce
After a productive morning we decided to hit up the frisbee golf course again near us. I'm terrible, but now that we've started going a little more, I'm improving A TINY bit. It's always fun, and it's awesome that we can walk over to the course since it's in the back of our neighborhood. Sidenote- I look weird in hats.
frisbee golf
We were feeling especially adventurous that day, so Jared brought along his backpack and after an intense round of frolf, we decided to walk to our local library. We've walked to the library before and knew it was only a little over a mile walk from our house so we didn't think anything of it. Until we were well past the mile-mark and realized we weren't even close to the library yet. We didn't really take into consideration the location of the frolf course to the library… we were only thinking about where our house was.

Needless to say, I think Jared and I ended up walking about 5 miles on Saturday. Although it was unintentional, we had a blast. It was so sunny and nice out, and it felt good to be out doing something active and fun together. It's summer after all and we have to soak up these gorgeous weekend days when we get 'em!

The rest of our weekend consisted of a cheap dinner out, church, a baby shower and catching up with some family. Another weekend gone in the blink of an eye somehow. If only summer felt like summers as a teen. Sure, I had a job back then, but one with weird hours and all kinds of flexibility. I could rearrange my schedule just about any time I wanted to spend a beautiful day in a friend's pool. If only real-life jobs were like that, I'd never want summer to end. But since this 9 to 5 gig isn't changing anytime soon… please, let every Saturday be like this one!
Mingle 240

Runners Tell All: My Favorite Running Memory

I might just get used to this writing on a weekend type of thing. It's kinda nice, really. Less blogs to read today, so that means EVERYONE wants to read mine, right? Wrong. Definitely wrong, and totally kidding. I just love Amanda's series "Runners Tell All" and I've met so many gals who run by linking up each month! Some are marathon runners, some are just starting out at 5ks, and that is what is so cool. We still all have running in common!
This week's topic was Favorite/Proudest Running Memory. I think you can tell I'm still a newbie runner because most of my posts still find a way to say, "HEY! I did a half marathon in May!" But when that's the only 1/2 you've done, what else could I possibly be more proud of? 

Since the half is the obvious, easiest answer- I figured I'd stray away from that and talk about a different favorite running memory. My very first 5k. It was the summer of 2009 and Jared had convinced me to do one with him. I was terrified, which seems silly to be me now. I was in decent shape, ran here and there and goodness, it was only 3.1 miles, how tough could it be?
The answer to that question is pretty tough. It was a SUPER hilly 3.1 miles. I'm serious- I don't think a single part of the course was on flat land except for the starting line. I was sore midway through the run already- but I still loved it. The race day itself was pretty exciting. That was the day I realized how awesome the running community really was. I wasn't fast by any means, but everyone cheered everyone on, spectators waved to us, and breakfast afterwards?! Okay- I love running from here on out!

It was a 4th of July race, and there were some veterans along the course waving flags and blowing whistles. Their support meant the most. I wanted to stop and go hug them all, but decided that might have been a bit weird. Jared and I took out our iPods and quickly yelled, "Thank You" and just the smiles they gave us back were enough.
End of story? Run one race. Instantly become part of a huge, incredible community of people.

TGIF… no really, TG, TG, TG!

I really try not to be one of those people who constantly wishes away the weeks and just waits for the weekend. Key phrase, I try not to be. But this week was one that couldn't get over fast enough. The hours at my job felt like double, even triple some days. So I welcome you Friday, and your friends Saturday and Sunday too. I have missed you like a 90s kid misses her Tamagotchi. Sidenote- I found my old one at my parent's house last weekend. I truly might buy a battery for it... ya know, just to see if it works.

Summer is such an easy time to get caught up in fun and plans, and while I definitely love the swimming, the BBQs and the parties that seem to amp-up in the hot months? I need downtime with my man! Jared and I are looking forward to a fun weekend of whatever we darn well feel like doing! A nice mental vacation will be welcomed over the next couple of days. And because I try to find the positive, even in yucky weeks like this one, I wanted to link up with my girl Amanda for my Faves from this week!
Blog friends. Hi, Kristin! There is a lot I could say here about how awesome this gal is, but to avoid all the cliches I probably want to say... just know that I consider you a real friend, not just one of those 'weird internet people I met' ;) Thanks for always motivating me, inspiring me and for just getting me.

Gym time. Hitting the weights with Jared is becoming one of my favorite things to do! Most of the time I don't actually feel like lifting weights until we're actually there, but I'm getting better about that, too. I love having my own personal trainer (Jared) cheering me on, pushing me until my body feels like jell-o and celebrating every time I reach a milestone at the gym. Also? Still in love with my new shoes. 
nike running shoe

Saturday posts. I randomly posted about a few money-saving/making websites this past Saturday and the response was awesome! I just assumed no one read blogs on the weekends, but by pageviews and the amount of you who signed up using my referral links (thank you!) apparently there are some of you out there! I liked it so much I've got something planned for tomorrow, too.

Fun partnerships. Jill, the owner of Sugar Love Boutique, has become a friend of mine. We can share a love for clothes AND the Bengals. It's a beautiful friendship and I actually got to meet her in person last fall in Cincinnati. I'm excited about a fun giveaway I'm partnering with Jill on-- stay tuned next week! 
sugar love boutique
Meeting my personal goals. I know we've still got 10 days left in June, but I must pat myself on the back. I've really made a lot of progress on all my monthly goals so far, and it feels good. I just feel like I'm in a groove this month and it's a good feeling to have!

What is everyone else happy about today? Any big weekends plans I should be jealous of? ;)

So It Begins

This week has scared me a little bit already. Scared me, but also excited me at the same time. You see, the Spurs locked up their championship by completely whooping up on the Heat Sunday night, bringing the oh-so-long NBA season to a close. And while I do love the amazing talent of professional basketball and a summer filled with professional baseball and ballpark hotdogs, the tide is already changing for me at this point. There's only one sport in my life now so I'll need the others to kindly step aside.
baseball basketball nba
Goodbye basketball and baseball. See you after the Super Bowl.

You see, football season starts for me tonight. I have my first after-hours event of the season and it will only pick up from here. One minute I'm jumping for joy at the promise of football season. I get caught up in the excitement of new guys on the team, a great schedule and just hoping that this is the year we get that playoff win we want so badly. But within seconds, those thoughts also get flooded with stress and anxiety over what the coming months will bring. The extra hours, the hectic schedules, the drunken fans I hold so dear deal with each week.
football cincinnati bengals

It's true what they say… You don't work in the sports world for the money or the glamour or the perks (Unless you're the actual athlete we're talking about). You work in sports for the love of the game. For the excitement of what each new season holds. So it begins now. If anyone needs me, I'll be watching the clock. Counting down until my guy's first game on August 7th. 49 days and counting.

PS- realized I could link up with Sarah today! ;)
Venus Trapped in Mars

Ohio Bloggers are the best!

It amazes me how many local bloggers there seem to be in my area. Our little Cincinnati area is exploding with bloggers as is, I've met more than a dozen of them! So this weekend I had a chance to come together with any and all Ohio bloggers and I'm so glad I made the drive to Columbus to do so. I won't lie… Saturday I was laying on the bed, dressed to go, but still had yet to do my hair and makeup and a little part of me was thinking of backing out. I think it was totally out of laziness and it being too hot to flat-iron my hair, but I'm glad I got over that and went. Even if my half curled/half straightened hair suffered from my last-minute choices. I met some of the sweetest girls ever, girls that I've been reading along with for months, even years! Plus I got to meet some brand new faces!

Kayla and I trekked up to Columbus together and found the meet-up, despite us both being directionally challenged ;) Shane and Holly were the sweetest of hosts, organizing the event, having fun questionnaires for us to fill out and some prizes for a few lucky gals (hint-hint, me!) I was entirely too excited to meet Holly, and I love that we both screamed equally as loud when we spotted each other.

Margaret //  Katie  // Kayla // Vanessa
And don't let this picture below fool you… It was YOURS TRULY who parked it by that table of food for most of the event. I couldn't get enough of that cheesy dip and bread. Or the s'mores bars. Goodness, bloggers know how to do things right!! Especially us Ohio gals!
It's amazing the friends you make all from opening up and writing whatever crap comes to mind. Blogging has truly introduced me to some amazing ladies. Some that I've "known" for years, others than show up at events like these and I get a chance to talk to for the very first time! There is a group picture floating around somewhere, and I can't wait to see. To see all of us Ohio ladies… all from completely different walks of life, different careers, ages, stages in life- but we can all come together over blogging, of ALL things! :) So thanks, blogging for contributing to my social life and for forcing me to meet people I might not otherwise have met.

Make Money, Save Money

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite money-saving websites. Since the desire to be completely debt-free is always at the front of my mind, any way I can save a couple bucks, or make a couple bucks is worth it to me. In full disclosure, many of the links below are my referral links- so if you sign up through them there may be rewards/points/etc for me! The referral option through most of these sites I'll list is a great thing though, if you sign up you help me. Then when your friends sign up, they help you, etc. Let's share the earnings!

Paid ViewPoint -This is the site I've been using the longest. Just take basic surveys, usually just one a day, and the money will add up. Don't get discouraged when you're only making a few pennies here and there at first. The longer you take surveys, the more your payouts go up and the more survey opportunities you'll get. If a 2-minute survey gets you ten cents, why not do it? Overtime you can cash out, which I've done dozens of times and have gotten hundreds of dollars for doing next to nothing!
Paid Viewpoint

Ebates -If you're going to do ANY online shopping, start here. They have over 1,700 online stores so chances are, the place you want to buy from is on here. Just start at, search for your store, and then click through their site to get to the one you want to shop from. Each store offers a different % back, so everytime you shop, you get money put back into your Ebates account. They pay out quarterly, so it's a nice little "bonus" a few times a year.

DealSpotr -Again, online shoppers! After you've went through Ebates, be sure to check out DealSpots for even MORE savings. Coupon codes, promotions-- you name it, you're going to find it here. ALL the top stores are listed and it makes is so much easier to know what the best deal out there is. Also- they offer free custom
DealSpotr coupons
widgets, so you can even create one to put on the side of your blog and it'll match. Then, you're always reminded of the best deal, no matter what!

SwagBucks -Possibly the greatest thing I've ever discovered ;) Sign up, take surveys, watch videos, play games, complete tasks... all kinds of opportunities to score 'swagbucks' which can then be redeemed for all sorts of gift cards. My goal is to be able to have a larrrrrge Amazon giftcard by the time this fall rolls around and do most of my Christmas shopping "free" that way. Again, don't be discouraged if it takes awhile to build up, it's well worth it!

What are you waiting for? Go make some money & save some too!!

Happies 2.0

I was looking around for blogging inspiration and decided to take a timehop and see what I was writing about exactly one year ago. I think sometimes it's easy to forget what we all as bloggers put into words day after day, year after year, so it was nice to look back. Fortunately, it was a cool post. I wrote a list of things currently making me happy and you know what? The 365-day-old post still made me happy today. So I thought I'd do a "happies" 2.0 today.

Coming home from a long day to find the smallest of surprises from my husband. He was able to get a weird light fixture in our lower level to finally work and it's probably sad how excited that made me!

New kitchen gadgets. Hello, Pampered Chef party. I didn't go overboard like I'd love to, but just a couple new things for my kitchen are enough to lift my spirits and inspire my cooking.

Getting an email from an old college friend I haven't caught up with in awhile. 

Going through old pictures and laughing at what babies we used to look like. Hello, 2009!
wedding couple

The smell of lilac when I walk out the door in the morning.

Remembering I still have a couple giftcards from my birthday to use. Holla!
gift cards

Our city's annual "trash" day. This weekend we can put anything we want at the curb and they'll pick it up. Goodbye old, broken tube TV and bathroom sink!

Solving a problem at work and being recognized for a good idea.

Disney movies and how they have the ability to just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside no matter your age, no matter your mood, no matter what.
Frozen Disney Olaf

When Jared and I's paychecks end up being deposited on the same days. It only happens maybe 1/3 of the time, so it's fun to feel "rich" for about a day before we pay bills.

A hilarious snapchat from a friend.

The free songs on iTunes that come out weekly. Sometimes they're awesome, sometimes not so much. But you know how I feel about free things. #tightwad

Blogging. Bloggers. Blates. Giant blates, like the one I'll be going to tomorrow. All Ohio bloggers are welcome- if you need details, just ask! I'm excited to meet so many great ladies this weekend.

Freshly washed sheets. Ahhh, there is no better feeling.

Baby animals at the zoo. Thank you, Kayla, for sharing this baby flamingo picture with me!
baby flamingo

Trying a new recipe and it turning out even better than you thought it would be.

Sweet cards in the mail "just because" someone was thinking of you.

Sore muscles after a really good workout.

What's making you happy today? Take the time to think of all the good that's out there-
 I promise you'll have a better day :)