Monday, December 30, 2013

Visiting Steph

Today, I went to Virginia to visit my friend Steph who was home for the holidays.  It was only fair since she came to my place last year.  The face-to-face interaction was very nice and it was great to finally meet her boyfriend that she's been dating for about 3 years.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Loreal Infallible Eyeshadows

Per NouveauCheap's blog on the CVS winter clearance sale, I went to CVS today and noticed that there were several Loreal Infallible eyeshadows on clearance.  The blog post said that they were going to be 50% off, which was already a great deal, but when the lady rang them up, they were discounted at 75%!  Even though they had stickers on the other side that said 50% off.

Bah ha, whoo hoo!

I had my eye on Amber Rush because many of the YouTube makeup ladies recommended it, but I found the other colors just as pretty.  I would never purchase these at $8.49, but they are totally worth a try at $2.12. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tinsel Manicure

This is the manicure that I've been sporting the past few days: two coats of Ulta's nail polish in Envy with 2 coats of Nicole by OPI's Stars at Night.  It's festive because the glitter resembles tinsel, but I ended up returning this one and the other one that I bought last week on clearance.  Maybe I've been around too many food safety folks at work, but the tinsel started looking like multiplying bacteria or lice.  As for the other glitter polish, the glitter flakes began to peel off from the red polish.  It was so weird.  Sorry, CVS, I wanted my $4 back.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The only real productive thing that I did today was do this puzzle that Julie got me for Christmas.  Ahh, the holidays! :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve!

I went over to my parents' house for dinner with some last remaining presents in tow with the pumpkin cheesecake that I made last night.  To conserve time and energy, my parents' ordered a take out dinner from Boston Market, complete with ham, turkey, mashed sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, and stuffing.  That way, no one would be slaving away at dinner.  My cousin Emily brought flan for everyone to share too.

The presents that I received this year can be summed up by saying "practical and smelly."  As requested, I got a few Bath and Body Works products to make the house and car smell nice.  I also got some postage stamps because I send a lot of fun snail mail (this also came in handy since postage is going up 3 cents early next year).  Julie gave me a puzzle that I'll work on tomorrow.  RJ got some heavy duty string as a chew toy.  I got a Target gift card and Christmas money that I can spend on after Christmas sales.  To round this out, I got a set of hoop earrings to replace the ones that I lost back in October.

Hope the blogosphere is having a great holiday! :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

New Office Digs!

Whoa, baby!  The day has arrived!  Teleworking full-time has officially ended, and today was my first day back in the new office.  I kinda had an idea of what to expect, but I was blown away by how nice everything looked.

First, you need to have a key card to even get off on our floor now because there is no lobby door.  The elevator doors open and you're on our floor.  The new mosaic glass tile that surrounded our elevator doors was very pretty.  Some of my coworkers were already there when I got to the office and were unpacking all their belongings from the orange crates.  For reference, here's what my old space looked like.  All the directors get a hard walled office and those were all on the perimeter of the floor.  The rest of us got these cubicles.  I was surprised as to how low the cubicle walls were.  If you don't angle the computer monitors, you'd be looking at your neighbor's face all day long.  That could be a little awkward.

You can definitely hear every conversation going on, so we'll have to learn how to use our inside voices and some of us (not me) will have to learn how to use their headsets so we don't hear conference calls going on all the time.

One new addition to the new space that I could really get used to is our new coffee machine.  Not a Keurig.  It's like a soda machine (big and fancy and tall and silver), but with coffee drinks instead.  I went to visit the Human Resources lady to say hi and chat since I haven't seen her at spin class recently and I told her about the coffee machine.  A few months ago, they gave this machine a test run at the office and everyone was thrilled (and caffeinated).  I tried the cappuccino and thought it was really bitter.  I don't remember it being that bitter before since I had some during the test run.  I then realized after throwing it out and getting the vanilla cappuccino, that's the one that I got before.  The HR lady was like "Coffee machine?  What are you talking about?  Are you talking about a Keurig?" Um, pish, no.  What planet have you been living on?!  How have you not heard of this awesome machine?  "Tina, show me!"  She loves coffee and was mentioning how much money she spends at Starbucks.  I taught her how to use it and she was in complete awe.  "Do I have to pay?"  Nooo, it's free!  "This tastes pretty good for free coffee!"

Yep.  Well said.
Julie came over earlier to supervise me making pumpkin cheesecake for tomorrow night's dinner. We watched a lot of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Crazy December Weather

I had a wacky dream last night that I had a basement in my townhouse.  That totally came from left field because I totally don't have one.  In my sleepy fog this morning, I thought it was hailing outside, but really it was because the rain was coming down so hard.  The weather funkiness continued as it reached 70-something degrees outside today.  Hello, it's December!  Totally not normal for winter around here.

I decided to skip out on spin class this morning because of the rain and opted to do a load of laundry and make some cookies for the office tomorrow (we're moving back to the office tomorrow, which means no more full-time teleworking).  I went to the gym afterwards and also made a pitstop at Ulta to get some heat protectant for my hair.  I made a batch of sweet potatoes in the oven when I got home and was a bum for the rest of the day.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shopping and Card-Filled Day

I had some Ulta coupons to use up, so I went over there to see what good deals I could score.  I bought an Urban Decay Dangerous palette on clearance for $16 (original price is $36) and a new curling wand, which was already on sale, but I got an extra $4 off using the coupon.  Not too bad.  I might do some more damage when I'm at the office next Monday.  It's tough to pass up these good holiday deals and coupons.  I'm been really loving my Naked palette and now I understand why all the YouTube makeup gurus rave about this brand.
I went to Marshalls nearby and came out with an ELF brush and 2 packages of Studio Calico wood veneers (hexagon and flags...the flags were on clearance for $1).  I was eying some of their pretty wrapping paper, but I figured I could get it for a lower price after Christmas.

I went by New York and Company, but make a quick exit because there was a little kid having a total meltdown in the store and the mom wasn't doing anything about it.  :\

After coming home from shopping, I got crafty.  Human Resources contacted me this past week, asking me if I could help them by making some cards for Employee Appreciation Week 2014.  Well, of course!  I spent some time making some samples.  I like the top two ones most, but when I showed them to my family earlier tonight, Julie said that she liked the top one most but thought that the embossing looked too girly (and these cards are supposed to be gender neutral).  We'll see how my crafty mojo feels tomorrow.
Julie and I went with my parents to Pacci's Trattoria to celebrate my parents' 32th wedding anniversary.  Julie told me to meet them at the restaurant at 5.  I forgot she had said that and set my nap alarm for 5 PM.  When it went off, I replayed the conversation in my head and I realized that I was going to be late!  Oops.  I threw on some more appropriate clothes and headed out.  Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't too far away from my place.  We had salad, mussels, calamari, calzone, shrimp scampi, gnocci, and finished everything off with limoncello shortcake.  This was my first time going there, but everyone else had said good things about it. Oh, yes.  They were totally right.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Operation: Christmas Tree

Julie and I decided to record a time lapse video of us setting up the Christmas tree. This was the final product.  Tee hee.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

CVS Beauty Winter 2013 Clearance

Was not as good at the Spring one, in my opinion.  Or maybe I've just gotten picky about what I like.

I went to CVS on my way home from the post office to check out what they had on clearance.  I came out with 2 bottles of glitter nail polish.  I wouldn't wear these by themselves, but as a top coat to colored nail polish.  Even though the sticker said 50% off, I really got them for 75% off.  I had $2 in ExtraBucks to spend, so I basically got one of these for free!  Woot! 

This is two coats of Ulta's nail polish in Ruby Slipper with 2 coats of Nicole by OPI's Heavenly Angel.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


At the "office": I thought this week was going to be a piece of cake since all my meetings for December are over.  WRONG!  Now it's the mad dash to get all my stuff done before winter break starts next Tuesday.  I did a lot of writing today: finished a draft of the minutes from my committee meeting, finished a draft of my newsletter, finished a draft of an article for my organization's quarterly publication, and updated several websites.

Recipe #10 of 2013: WHEW.  Towards the end of the day, I was needing a break.  I decided to try out a flan recipe since I had all the ingredients at home.  It was delicious.  I think next time I'm going to dial back on the sugar and the vanilla.  Not too bad for a first try.  I gave away about half to my parents and Julie so that I wouldn't be stuck eating it all by myself.

I promptly went to spin class tonight to assuage my guilt.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Boots and Jeans!

My brown riding boots came today!  Of course, I had to take a picture...even though the lighting is not so good.  I'm glad that I got the wide calf.  The regular calf size for boots for me either a) cut off my circulation or b) I can't even zip up!  I'm thankful for a little breathing room.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Coconut Oil the Miracle Product?

Ever since that hairdresser a few months back told me that she thought my hair was thinning in the back, I have been super paranoid about my hair.  My scalp hasn't been happy with me.  I wonder if it's the weather that has made it so dry.  I also feel that more hair than usual is falling out in the shower when I shampoo.  EEK!  My mom also mentioned a few times that my hair has looked dull (I don't know if this is true or it's just her eyesight playing tricks on her).  Anyway, after reading a few beauty blogs and YouTube, I decided to use coconut oil on my hair tonight (it was on sale at the grocery store...clearly, the universe was on my side) as a mask to see if it proves to be the miracle product that everyone says.  My hair does feel very soft and looks shiny, but I'm not sure if it's just in my head or it's for real.  Perhaps it'll take more than 1 time to see a noticeable change.  I also used the Freeman clay mask and trimmed my bangs.  It was definitely a spa-ish night.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sesame Oil Chicken

I made it to spin class this morning...the first one in a few weeks (ugh...feeling so guilty!).  I gave Janice and Nancy thank you cards and 6 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies each as a gesture of appreciation. "Aw, you know you know have to do it."  Yeah, I know, but I wanted to.

Afterwards, I went to Petsmart (had a coupon for cat food) and Target (hot chocolate mix and all-purpose flour were on sale!).  I also stopped by GoodWill for the first time in weeks too, but didn't find anything good there.  I was on my way to my parents' house when my mom called to inform me that my aunt dropped by with sesame oil chicken, something that I haven't had in a long time, and for me to stop by if I wanted some.  Perfect timing because I was already on my way over there!
The afternoon was spent doing 2 loads of laundry and writing out some more holiday cards.  Pretty productive for a Sunday!

Oh, P.S. Congrats to my friend, Laura, who gave birth to twin boys today :)

P.P.S. I took a personality test that my friend had linked on Facebook. It categorized me as a Good-Natured Realist.
As a Good-natured Realist you are one of the introverted personality types. Consequently, you don’t appreciate too much commotion around you so you can devote yourself to your task with sufficient intensity and concentration. You can work very well alone and while being immersed in a task, you don’t appreciate to be continuously interrupted or disturbed.
Nevertheless, your need for harmony and your adaptability make you a good team worker if necessary. Therefore, you are relatively flexible when choosing your working environment, and have the ability to decide which setting you prefer. A profession that gives you the feeling that you are doing something for other people is important to you. Good-natured Realists are very caring people and enjoy taking care of others. Despite your introverted personality and because you are a feeler- type, it is easy for you to put yourself in the place of others and sense their needs.

You are most comfortable in a one-on-one situation; you are less enthusiastic about delivering speeches to major groups. At any rate, when choosing your profession, make sure to surround yourself with people who share your personal ideals and convictions, and on whom you can count to work with you. Too many obstacles to your caring for and supporting others make you unhappy.
For you, it is important to depend on a clear and structured workflow. You need time to prepare yourself for new demands, possibly acquire new competencies, and finish one task after the other. As a matter of fact, you are less opposed to routine work than many other personality types. To a certain extent, you don’t mind dealing with them. In your workday, some diversions should naturally be available, but juggling three balls at the same time isn’t something you enjoy doing because you would be concerned that the quality of your work would suffer. That would be a nightmare for your perfectionist expectations of yourself and your accomplishments.
 Yep, that's pretty much me.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shopping Luck at the Mall

There was some snow/sleet/rain in the forecast today, so I zipped over to the mall to tackle some Christmas shopping done before the precipitation was scheduled to fall.  I went to Target first to get some Keurig coffee cups and tea for Christmas presents.  Time to buy stuff for myself.  I revisited my desire to get a pair of skinny jeans and riding boots as a reward for finsihing the 30-Day Shred the second time around.  Armed with a coupon I went to DSW shoes to get some riding boots.  I didn't find any that I liked that were in my size.  I went to New York and Company and found a pair that fit perfectly for me.  I was so excited about this because the first time I looked a few months ago, they ran out of my size and length.  This time around, I found a pair and they were also 50% off!  I like that they have a little stretch in them.  On my way home, I decided to try another DSW.  This time I found a pair of riding boots that were my size, but they looked a little scuffed up from other people trying them on.  I decided to buy them online since they had free shipping and I had a $10 off coupon.  Success! I'll have to take a complete outfit picture once they arrive in the mail.

This evening was spent making some more reindeer holiday cards to send out next week.  Meg, Robyn and I had planned to go see ZooLights, but the weather was not cooperating and we were feeling lazy anyway.
I also had a desire for some cookies so I whipped up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  This came at a good time because I could give several away to Janice and Nancy the spin instructors, tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ulta Order and Office Meeting #1

I got my Ulta order tonight and the Groupon order that I bought as a shared present with my sister for my cousin came in a day earlier (that's always nice).  I bit the bullet and bought the Urban Decay Naked palette (the first one) and a Jane black eyeliner.  I'm always on the lookout for a black eyeliner with awesome staying power; my current favorite is Maybelline MasterDrama by Eyestudio in Midnight Master, as recommended by Emily Noel.  This Jane one was recommended by Samantha Schuerman, and since they were running a promotion of 40% off Jane products, I figured it'd be worth a try.  I also got a free makeup bag with lots of samples since my purchase was over $40 (mine was missing 2 of the samples that were in the photo though).  I understand that these items were free, but come on, a part of customer service is following through. said that they were going to also give me some perfume samples, but really, that turned out to be those paper promotional samples that you get in the inserts, not those little bottles.  Lame.  Oh well.  At least they got the stuff that I paid money for correct and nothing was damaged, but I'm going to think twice before buying from them online.  It might be just easier to go to the store instead.
Today is Meeting 1 of 2 this week.  It was our annual Program Review, where each department sits down with the Executive Director and we present on all the things that we are working on and will be working on.  I just wanted to get it over with so I could focus on my in-person committee meeting (full day Thursday, half day Friday).  My boss reminded me "Talk slower."  I will be so glad that meeting is over.  It'll be all downhill between Friday and the New Year.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Office Closure

So, I got a 2-hour delay yesterday and an office closure today.  Yay!  The snow was falling pretty quickly this morning.  While it wouldn't have affected my commute (since I'm still teleworking), the snowstorm hit right at rush-hour, so to be safe, many schools were, as well as the federal goverment.
When I woke up, I baked some pumpkin chocolate chip pound cake to use up the little bit of milk I had left in the refrigerator.
And then lots of time on the couch with RJ.

Monday, December 9, 2013

CoverGirl Nail Polish in Forever Frosted

Delayed Opening: The snow/ice from yesterday prompted a 2-hour delay today.  Do I still get a 2-hour delay even though I'm working from home?  I decided a 1-hour delay was enough and more would have made me feel a twinge of guilt. 

Nail Polish: CoverGirl's nail polish in Midnight Magic lasted almost a whole week with only minimal wear on the tips.  My next color that I wanted to try was CoverGirl's nail polish in Forever Frosted.  This is a very similar color to OPI's Sweetheart.  I feel like the CG version is less streaky though.  I had to do 3 coats to get to this color payoff, but I think it's pretty and feminine.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snowy Day

We had a little bit of snow and ice today, so I was cooped up in the house doing domestic things like vacuuming, wrapping Christmas presents, and writing out Christmas cards to send out tomorrow.  RJ took an afternoon nap with me.  He's pretty much an energy efficient electric blanket.

During a commercial break on Real Housewives of Atlanta, I went outside to check the sidewalk situation.  Oh man, it was quite icy!  I spent about 15 minutes hacking away at the ice.  My next door neighbor probably heard my shovel cracking the ice and came outside to do the same.  He was nice to help salt my area.  I need to go pick up some to prepare myself for the rest of the season!  It'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow with regards to work.  We follow OPM policy, but most of us are already teleworking, so does that mean I have to work anyway? :P

2013 Holiday Craft Show #2

Today was my last craft fair of the season/year.  It didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped (my 2012 fair went better).  I was able to make up my table fee and make a little extra enough to cover lunch.  I'm not sure what was the reason behind the lack of customers, but it was so slow that I left around 2:30 PM, a half hour earlier than the 3 PM closing time.  I didn't think that it was worth waiting around.  I packed up my stuff and went to visit my cousins that were in the area.  Spending some one-on-one time with them was important to me because I didn't get to chat with them that much during the Thanksgiving dinner.

Julie came over for dinner (pizza) and we watched a few episodes of Modern Family.  She was having a crafty day herself...addressing holiday cards that she digitally drew and printed out and making a canvas photo holder.  Hers looks a lot better than mine, but that's because she made it as a gift for someone.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fall-To Layout #270

Card: Here's my take on Fall-To Layout #270. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to use this new fox stamp.  I love it!  He's so cute! :)
Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Blackbird, Warm Red
Stamps: Studio G (sentiment),  Craftsmart (fox)
Paper: American Crafts- Merrymint, My Mind's Eye- Countdown to Christmas
Punch: EK Success Postage Stamp border punch
Baker's Twine: We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy Fancy Floss in Candy Stripe

Song of the day: "Burn" - Ellie Goulding

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Focus Groups in ATL

The focus groups today went very smoothly. 

Well, at least my responsibility of getting people to the focus group facility.

One of the participants from the morning group shook my hand.  "So nice to meet you.  Thank you for all your emails.  You're so organized!"  Wow, it was nice to start the morning off with a compliment!

The purpose of the focus group was to get their feedback on a set of recommendations that CDC put out and how/if they were using the document at all.  The first session of people weren't really thrilled about the document because they would have liked to have the opportunity to review it before it was published, but they were not given that chance.  So they were already kinda disgruntled about it.  Other feedback that we got was that the document was similar to stuff that they read before, so it wasn't anything awe-inspiring.  They are also recommendations, so they aren't something that people have to follow.  The laboratories already have regulations they have to follow, so it makes sense that they'd pay attention to those first.  I was afraid that the day was going to be two sessions of people bashing the document, but the facilitator was able to steer the conversation in a way that we got some good information out of the participants.

My minor snag of the day was when I had to pick up the afternoon session's participants.  My boss drove me back to the hotel.  I noticed a group of people with suitcases.  I walked over and asked if they were waiting for transportation to the focus group.  Yep.  I counted 7 people, but I was expecting 8.  I asked the hotel if the remaining person had checked out.  She had, but was no where in sight!  I ended up putting everyone on the shuttle and stayed back to wait for this person.  I later found out that this lady found her own transportation to the focus group site.  UGH, why didn't you let me know?!  Grr...

At the end of the afternoon focus group, this same lady asked a CDC person, "Are you expecting?" And the woman replied, "No, I'm just fat."  Wow, that was sufficiently awkward.

The trip back to DC was the opposite of the trip getting there.  The focus group facility arranged for taxis to pick us up at the facility.  As I was corralling everyone into the taxis, one of the guys reached out to shake my hand.  "It was nice to meet you...thank you for taking care of everything."  It was like he was saying goodbye.  "Oh, you're welcome, but I'm leaving with you guys.  I gotta go home too!"  We got to the airport in record time and I was at the gate about an hour early.  I contemplated getting on an earlier flight, but that would have cost me $50.  Ick, no thanks.  I'll sit and wait.

I got home around 9:00 PM, which wasn't bad at all.  Mission accomplished. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Travel Agony to Atlanta order update: My order was outside my door this morning. So weird.

Getting to ATL: The morning started off with good luck: I probably got the last parking spot at the Metro station and I didn't have to wait around a lot for my train to get me to the airport.  The drama started when I was waiting around for my flight.

I noticed that at the 30 minutes prior to departure, no announcements were being made about boarding.  Then I saw the delayed notification on the jumbo screens.  Ok, no problem.  Candy Crush and Twitter kept me occupied, no biggie.  When the delayed time came along, we still weren't boarding.  I was sitting around people that were going to Ft. Myer, Florida.

"Folks going to Ft. Myer, your flight is now leaving at 6 PM."  They had been waiting since 9 or 9:30.  Yikes, that stinks.  Wouldn't want to be them, I thought.

"Folks going to Atlanta, your flight has been cancelled." WHAT?!!!

I texted my boss to let her know to not wait for me.  She was flying in from Denver and we were going to meet in the Atlanta airport and drive over to the hotel together.  Ok, now my dilemma was to figure out if I was going to stand in line at the gate's customer service counter or go back to the counter outside of security.  I chose the latter since the former was getting very long.  So instead of flying out at 12:40, I was able to get booked on a 4:24 PM flight.

Oh, the adventure didn't stop there.

4:24 PM rolls around.  No boarding announcement.  Jumbo screen says "Delayed, 5:10 PM."  Ok, fine.  We board, and...proceeded to sit on the plane for a very long time.  There are some people are the front of the plane milling around.  What's going on?  Why aren't we leaving?  The customer service guy comes over.  Uh oh.   He tells the lady on the other side of the aisle that she has to leave the plane.  Apparently, he was premature in giving standby people seats.  One of the "real" passengers checked in and so she got a seat and bumped off the lady that was already sitting down.  Ugh, that totally sucks.  Finally, at 5:45 PM, we leave (I left the house at 9:30 AM...)

I finally got to Atlanta around 7:30 PM and made a bee-line for Chik-fil-a.  Ah, much better.  The taxi ride smooth (but really rainy) and my hotel room was nice.  I was even able to watch part of NCIS and NCIS:LA.

At least I got to my destination in one piece and I can go to my meeting tomorrow.


Monday, December 2, 2013

CoverGirl Nail Polish in Midnight Magic and Flop

I bought this nail polish yesterday on Friday and once the indigo nail polish that I was wearing before started to chip, I HAD to try this one out pronto!  I think you could get by with 2 coats, but I did 3 to make sure I got the full effect.  The picture makes it look purple, but it's really a dark sparkly grey.  Love it!  Perfect for someone that likes dark colors, but isn't wanting to be emo by going with black.
I ordered some items from over the weekend and they were supposed to be delivered today.  The tracking said that they item was delivered, but when I looked near my door, nothing was there.  It was so strange.  The shipper was identified as LaserShip, and they've gotten very poor reviews over the years.  Amazon responded to my tweet on Twitter and said that sometimes items show up as delivered even though they are in transit.  Well, how helpful is that?! :P

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fall-To Layout #269

Card: Here's my take on Fall-To Layout #269. I dug out some adhesive borders that I bought on clearance a few years ago.  I definitely had to use some glossy accents to make sure that they stuck against the glittered patterned paper.  I used some snowflakes to cover up some glue spots that my fingers left behind.  I thought they went with the icicle theme...
Card Specs:
Embossing powder: Stampendous! in white
Embossing ink: VersaMark
Stamps: Hero Arts- Swirl Christmas (sentiment)
Paper: My Mind's Eye- Countdown to Christmas
Other: Martha Stewart- Adhesive Borders

After not working since Tuesday, tomorrow's going to be rough. :(