Friends

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and only just hit me tonight to post about it. It’s funny too, because I’ve already done a post about family and what it means to me, but not friends. Not really, anyway. You would think that would be the logical next step, but we all know, or if you don’t know… if you stick around you’ll soon find out, I’m not always the person to take the most logical next step. It keeps things interesting. I tend to get very sidetracked, and for that I do apologize.

I was once someone who could just not go a day without being with my friends. I had a humongous group of people that I called my close friends, and sure, that is what we were. Then I had several people who were so close that I didn’t have to call before stopping by, their house was my house, I had a drawer in at least one of these houses for when I needed a place to crash, and this is something that happened on a regular basis. I was away and with friends more than I was at home and with family.

One of my friends, my very very best friend at the time, and I had this routine of talking on the phone as much as possible, going everywhere together… no literally, he would come to my house and pick me up and we’d go everywhere together. Luckily we only lived a few miles apart. Then we also had this system of putting notes in each others mailboxes or under the windshield wiper of our cars. We went to different schools so it made it a little harder to just pass notes. Yeah, so what if we were big ole goobs. It was nice at the time. Whatever.

My point to all this reminiscing is that I find it funny how all that seems to just disappear as we get older. Now, I know that it’s not the case for some, but it certainly has been for me. At least until recently. I have been getting together with some friends on a semi-regular basis and I’ve been loving every second of it. I know that with being an adult comes responsibility and those responsibilities come first. It’s not like I can just put off my homework like I did before and go watch movies at a friends house. Or decide to stay there instead of going home to my husband and furbabies. Don’t get me wrong here, I love my hubbykins and my furbabies, there are just times when I wonder what ever happened to that side of me, the side that had to be surrounded by friends.

I fully understand that there are reasons behind the not being able to go and do all the time. Money, responsibility, work, etc. But what about the having people over.. or just meeting for lunch on a regular basis, or something.. anything. I think it’s sad how life can just take over and won’t allow for things like that to happen as often as we’d like or even as often as we need them too.

Maybe with a little more effort and a little more planning things will become easier for us. One of these days!

XoxoX
Jess

When I make big money…

How I’ve been feeling lately

I’m not going to go into all the reasons why I haven’t been able to post here for a while. I am gonna say, though, that I’ve missed it so freakin’ much.

Now that that’s out of the way…

Money.

Everyone has issues with it, right? Somehow that never helps when you feel you are drowning in debt. Just when you think you have things figured out a little bit, it hits you all over again. Tidal waves crashing down on you and washing you out to the debt sea. It’s not anything to mess with.

I like to say that I’m fairly decent at budgeting and keeping up with our bills. While he was deployed I even focused all of my energy on a plan that I came up with to get us totally out of debt, minus student loans. Well, the student loans on his part have been taken care of. Which is a great thing. Mine finally caught up with me. They are being handled as they should be, but I feel like I can’t stop obsessing over income and bills and what we spend our money on. I go through it on paper, with a calculator, in my head, scratch paper… everywhere I can think of because I can’t stop thinking about it. Budget, budget, budget!

I need to take some sort of financial planning class and I know there are some out there. I honestly don’t know why this is weighing so heavy on me this time. It was almost nothing to take care of his, a breeze even. But right now, it’s about all I can take.

Oh the dreams I have for our future for when I make the big money. Debt paid off is priority obviously. But that’s not a fun dream. A fun dream would be road trips galore, shopping till I literally am bursting at the closet(s), fix up my truck like I want it, get him a new vehicle, get us a boat… oh the fun times we will have.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Until that day comes though, back to working these numbers I go.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and I’m hoping to have my blogging voice back at least a little bit after this. We shall see.

XoxoX
Jess

My First Carabox!

This journey was soooo much fun! I got to get to know two amazing women over the past month and then send a package, worth $15 or more, to one while the other sent one to me. So many amazing and talented bloggers participate in this and I see why! I can’t wait for next months theme! This month, the theme was ‘Regional’ and I had a blast shopping for and thinking of the perfect things to put in the box to send to Becca. You can check her out at her blog Beginning with Becca . Go to her, follow her, she’s addicted to Instagram and loves to write. She’s a really sweet girl and I hope that we can stay in touch even after this is all over.

I got my box from Kyetra in the mail the day before yesterday and I’m so so sorry it took me so long to post about it. I wanted to as soon as I got it because I was just THAT excited! Anyway, you can find her at Sweet Tea & Lollipops . Do the same for her, go to her, follow her and get to know her and her love of reading! It’s awesome reading about her life and the books that she posts about. She’s pretty coolio…. (the 90s called and they want their lingo back). 

Finally, I have to give a shout out to Kaitlyn at Wifessionals for the awesome idea and all that she does to organize the Carabox swap! Must give credit where credit is due, and she certainly deserves it.

On to the reveal!

My box was incredible. Have I said that already?

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She really put so much thought into this and as you see here, even sent me detailed note cards of what the contents of my box were and a postcard! I. Love. Postcards!

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This might have been my favorite part, if I absolutely had to choose. Because really, it was all great. But she even sent a little treat for my two furkids (the pups) and apologized to jasmine for not getting her anything. That was too adorable.

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Like I said, she really put thought into it. I got a coffee mug to fit perfectly into my quirky collection, some sugar scrub (made by her!), some local honey, soap, and tanning lotion.

I had so much fun unwrapping everything and was as excited as if it were Christmas morning.

Thank you again, Kyetra! I love it all so much!!

Ttfn y’all.
XoxoX
Jess

What makes me happy?

Yesterday’s challenge was to list ten things that make me happy. First off, I want to say that I would obviously include family, friends, and fun. I am one lucky girl to have these things and they be a good force in my life. I want to reach to other maybe not so obvious things, but not without recognition of those very important things that do make me oh so very happy.

1. A clean and organized home. I may not be the best at getting things started, and honestly with us knowing that we will be moving soon, there are very few projects that I want to get started other than getting rid of almost everything so that we have less to move. But the house… it will be SO ORGANIZED.

2. Road Trips. Oh my, road trips.. spontaneous, planned, last minute, whatever the case may be, I love them! The possibilities are endless when I set out on the road and just decide to drive. Who knows where, and honestly, I don’t care. There are times where I just need to go. So, I go.

3. Spring/Summer really seems to boost my mood. I’m not sure if I would call it seasonal depression or not, but if that’s not it, I don’t know what to call it. I just know that during the colder months, I have more difficulty staying upbeat and focusing on the positive things. Not that I let it get me down all that much, but it just takes more work to stay focused and positive. But that comes with a little help from my friends and family. Those that understand and stick by me while I go through it really helps.

4. Nail Polish. I know this seems small and maybe not very important, but the color of my nails can sometimes match what mood I’m in, and that makes me happy.

5. The beach. This is totally separate from spring/summer because I love the beach any time of the year. Everything about it calls to me.

6. A fresh haircut. I love mixing it up a little and trying new styles, nothing too drastic though I’d love to try a bit of off the wall color at some point. A new style and color done by my amazing stylist and friend always makes me happy that I got it done and happy that I got to see her. Win win.

7. My truck. This ties into road trips, spring/summer, and several other things that make me happy. I love just getting in it and driving, blasting music loudly and singing at the top of my lungs without a care in the world. But this truck is something that took a lot of planning and adult type things before we got it. It was our first major purchase and it’s my baby! My Big Red.

8. To be quite honest, the internet. I have a slight addiction to it, while it’s gotten better, it’s still there. I love games and social networking and all sorts of interweb goodies. Blogging has just recently been added to one of my top favorites as well as keeping up with everyone else’s blog. Not only do I have everything on my computer, It’s all right at my fingertips on my phone and kindle. Yep, such an internet junkie.

9. Harry Potter and other obsessions. Mostly Harry Potter though.

10. Last but not at all the least, MUSIC. I have no idea if I didn’t have music to get me through each and every day, each and every feeling and each and every happy and sad moment in my life. It’s therapy for me in a way that actual therapy doesn’t work. Lucky for me, I have a great friend who is ALL ABOUT the music and he puts together mixes and posts them for free download on his website. He actually just put a new one up the other day that is incredible. I like to think of it as his way of blogging. He speaks through music and I find it fascinating. But then of course that could just be me reading too much into things like I sometimes  often times do. Shameless plug of my very dear friend and his amazing tunes.

So there you have it. Ten of the things that make me happy. I’d like to continue with this list one day, make it to twenty, and then thirty, and so on. I think we should always try to think of things that make us happy and what we are thankful for more often than we do. Helps keep a positive spin on a crazy life in a scary but beautiful world.

XoxoX
Jess

NOLA for my birthday, baby! oh how I miss you.

The hubster and I took off like the wind and went to New Orleans for a long vacation weekend/happy birthday to me trip! It saddens my heart to be posting about this now because that just means that it’s over and I would much rather still be living it. Needless to say, the weekend was completely and totally incredible. In the nearly seven years that we have been married, nearly 8 together, we weren’t able to go on an actual honeymoon or anything. We also really didn’t have the chance to go out of town just to go, it was always for visiting family. Don’t get me wrong tho, I love visiting family but this… this was a nice trip where we could just be us and do what we wanted to do without having to try to fit in seeing everyone. This time we ran around trying to fit in seeing and doing everything we could possibly do! I mean, it is New Orleans, there is so much to do there!

Jackson Square just might be my favorite place on earth

 

The city life just amazes me. There is so much art, history, culture and can we just stop and talk about the delicious food for a minute? I knew that it would be difficult to be in New Orleans and stick to my vegetarian diet. I cheated just for the weekend and ate seafood, ONLY seafood, no land critters. Although there was this little hole in the wall place where we had lunch one day called Back to the Garden and they had THE BEST vegetarian tacos I think I’ve ever had. Great food and great prices. Definitely will be returning there when we go back and it is absolutely recommended!

look at these! a full plate of 2 tacos!

of course we had to go to Cafe du Monde for the au lait and beignets.

So, enough about the food, which did I mention how delicious it all was? Yes? Okay. I think this weekend was the best weekend we have had in quite some time. It was not just because we were in New Orleans, but we were able to get away from all the routine and stress of home and work and just remember how much fun we have together and how much we love each other. That trip allowed me to see my man in a different light, one similar to when I first saw him and fell in love. I stand behind taking trips together, so you can get a breather from life and it’s hardships, 100%. All the things we got to do, see, and experience will never be forgotten and we plan to make it a regular spring time trip even!

meet Blanche! the mule that pulled our carriage. Gorgeous, right?

We went on a carriage ride around the French Quarter, he got to see the World War 2 Museum, which I tried so desperately to show interest in but just couldn’t – bad wifey, I know, brought back our childhood amusement by going to the aquarium, and of course shopping. Shopping, shopping… shopping! All the things I bought for me and for souvenirs for family and friends… I was in love! What is even better about it all? We were still under our budget for this trip. Yeah, once we got home and the reality of bills hit again, we totaled everything up and were surprised to see how well we did financially! Just goes to show that it isn’t impossible to splurge every now and then and still be responsible about it.

Needless to say, it was a great birthday, a wonderful vacation, and a much needed breather for both of us.

me and my honey before our big day out in the city ❤

What does family mean to me?

This topic was suggested to me by a dear friend, someone I consider family, and I am so glad it was. This is something I have been wanting to touch on for a while now and I think it’s about time that it happened.

We have all heard that blood is thicker than water. We’ve also heard that family isn’t just blood, it’s who we pick and who stays with us through the good, the bad and the ugly. There are all sorts of saying out there about family. But what side do I take? What do I think about family and what exactly does it mean to me?

I have to start with throwing out that blood is thicker than water bit. While I do agree that some blood is thicker than water, not all of it is. I have aunts, uncles, cousins who I rarely talk to and who would not come running if I need any kind of assistance, yet there are people that I am not related to at all who would drop everything to do whatever they could to help. That is family means to me. When you want to see someone you love succeed and not ever fail, even if it means a little assistance from you every so often, always be as happy as possible and be right there with them sharing in that happiness, and especially making sure that they know they are loved and protected, in a sense, by you, to me that is the ideal version of family.

Now, I know that this may differ between individuals because others have extremely close families. Of course there are those who belong to families that have their brothers, sisters, cousins, et al. as best friends. While I love my family, there is a clear divide between family and friends in my life. Except for my sister, she’s an exception to that rule for me because no matter how much we fight, argue, or she wants to kill me… the fact of the matter is, she never does. I’m still alive and it must be because she loves me so.

My sister and I may not always be on the best of terms but when something happens and I really need her, those terms somehow disappear and she’s there for me no matter what. Once things are settled they may go back to being on not so good terms again, but again, that’s what family does. They drop whatever they are doing or holding on to to help in any way they can. As stated earlier, I fully believe that it does not apply to just family by blood either. Another good example I have is my brother, but not so brother, Derrick. He’s my brother in every sense of the word except blood. My father figure married his grandmother, who was raising him, and so we were together a lot growing up. Granted, he’s 7 years younger than me, so he’s my little brother. We had family dinners at my father figures house, I would go to his place in the city during the week to watch him while his granny worked and just to spend time with them and then my father figure and I would go back home. It was easy to do since he lived right next door and he was great friends with my Mama. If anyone asks me who he is to me tho, I tell them that he’s my brother. There is a lot more to the story than that of course, but that is just much easier to say.

Basically, after this entire post, what it boils down to is that what I think family means to me is that they will lift you up when you need it, hold your hand if you need that, kick you in the butt to get you in gear when you need that too, and especially, always, never let you forget how much you are loved, unconditionally. My furbabies are a perfect example of this, really. It’s a beautiful thing to have a good family, and an even better thing to find your own family in this world and hold them close, even if they are far away.

XoxoX
Jess

As Thursday comes to a close…

I, of course, leave you with a thought-provoking post! Is pampering really good for the soul? Does it actually boost our self esteem or make us more confident? For right now, and without much research, I’m going to say absolutely it does! I just got back from one of the best vacations I have ever been on and I don’t think it could have started out any better. I worked the midnight till 8 AM shift, which technically I didn’t get off till like 9:30 because the next person didn’t come in and someone else had to cover. I had an appointment set up with my amazing cosmetologist friend to have a birthday mani/pedi from my Mama. Oh. My. Word. That was so super relaxing and refreshing and that was just for my hands and feet! About a month before that I had my hair cut and a massage that I got for Valentine’s Day from the hubby. I have been allowing myself, maybe a little too much, to buy new clothes and shoes and accessories…cough.scarves.cough… My attitude and mood has been through the roof lately. I have had a shit storm of troubles blasted my way but we have handled them the best way we know how and kept our heads up through it all. I still think it has something to do with the weather warming up.

I have even decided to start making my own sugar scrubs, which I’m excited about. I have the recipe that they use at The Body Shop, which is where my friend works. She wasn’t really supposed to give it to me, but ya know… we’re tight like that. I think a small project at home will be good for me. But I am known for taking on too much too fast. I already am wanting to make bracelets similar to the one I got in New Orleans because it seems fairly easy to do but still lets me be creative and artsy fartsy.

So, a little splurging and pampering of yourself every so often is not a bad thing. You can afford it, you can make things work and ends will still meet in the end. Take that small vacation, buy that cute outfit or pair of shoes or all of the above even! Learning to love life and live it has been a difficult thing for me. It’s not all about balancing and budgeting and saving. Granted, those are all very important things that still need to be done, but as long as you’re smart about it, a splurge every so often will be just fine. Trust me, I did it again today. I bought another plant for outside on our balcony. I’m really taking a liking to sitting outside with my flowers and reading, writing and drinking coffee. Basically I’m waiting till it’s time for me to be lakeside or poolside doing these things. That will really send my mood sky high. Everyone will be singing “she’s so hiiiiiigh high above me”.

XoxoX
Jess

P.S. I will be posting so many more things in the coming days. I have so much to get out of my head and down here… just so little time to do it!