Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sometimes, its the small things

Last week, like most day's, I was up well before the sun, and ready to work out. I walked out the door, and was "warming up" which means I walk to the end of my street before I start running.

Mornings are my favorite time of day. Its dark, its quiet, and it holds the promise of a new day. A day for fun, laughter, love. For me, the best day's begin early with me sweating profusely. I love working out hard, and coming back to the house a sweaty mess. It makes me feel like I earned my shower. I like to know that most mornings, I will see the same few souls gutting out mile after mile. Training and pushing themselves for whatever goal that lies ahead.

There is a man that I've noticed in the mornings. He is not a runner. He is not athletic. But, every morning, he is up, taking a slow stroll up and down our street. Each morning, he stops in front of the homes that subscribe to the newspaper. He picks the paper up from the sidewalk, and drops it on their door step. Then, he slowly walk away and makes his way again down the street.

I've seen him do this many times, but for some reason, last week, it really struck me. It is such a small act of kindness, of courteousness, of love. It costs him nothing. It gains him nothing. Yet, every morning, he is out on the street doing this.

Maybe its because there is so many terrible things going on in the world right now. Maybe its because everyday we hear about people hurting or killing one another. I see images of parents and children being forced from their homes and running for their lives in the desert a half a world away. I see unarmed kids being shot. I see rioting and looting. Or, worst of all, seeing a reporter being brutally killed, with the video flying all over the internet. There is so much anger, so much hate, so much darkness.

But, once in a while, you see something kind. Something loving. No matter how small, no matter how little, it helps. I had so much trouble sleeping last night as the images of what I have seen raced through my head. Its so easy to forget there is good in the world.

This week, I want to be a blessing. There is only one way I know how to defeat darkness, and that is with love. Light will always over come darkness.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday everyone!

Its that time of the week to lay it all out there, confess all the stuff we have done wrong this week.

1.I used the phrase "If I die" this week. If I die? Seriously? Who do I think I am, Edward Cullen? I am about 95% sure that one day I will pass away.

2.I quoted Michael Scott from The Office in a meeting of all men. And no one knew the quote.  We are finishing up a construction job, and in a room of all men, and me (wearing a pink shirt no less). One guy said, "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am not superstitious, but" and then he knocked on the table. In true Michael Scott form, I said "I'm not superstitious, I'm a little stitious." No one knew the quote, then I had to explain it, then I had to explain The Office, and I just ended up looking dumb, not unlike Michael Scott.

3. I strained my hamstring trying to show off at the gym. At my gym, not a lot of women use the free weights, its mostly guys. And, the guys always give women odd looks. So I decided to do some Roman Dead Lifts with a really heavy weight. I got thru 3 then my hammy locked up and cramped. I had to put the weight down and hobble out of the gym and foam roll at my house.

4. I quoted Michael Scott again to the IT guy. Again, he didn't get it. He was working on my computer and could not figure out what was happening. He said, "Allison, what the heck did you do?" I replied "When the deposed king of Nigeria emails you directly asking you for money, you send it to him." The IT guy froze, and said, "Are you serious? Please tell me you didn't really send money, thats a scam." I had to ensure him that I was totally kidding, and again, explain The Office and the quote from the show.  Maybe its time to stop quoting Michael Scott in the work place.

That's it friends.

Fess up!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Money Monday: Ashamed of Success

A few weeks ago, some clients and I were waiting for a meeting to start, and we sat around a conference table chatting. Looking around the table, it was easy to assume who made the most money and who made the least.

During our small talk, the subject of vacations came up. Some in the group shared about their road trip to the mountains, others shared their experiences with staycations, while another meekly explained that he had been on a European tour for 3 weeks earlier in the summer. Right after he shared, he changed the subject, and steered the conversation in another direction.

Later, as I was processing the meeting, I had to wonder, was he ashamed of his trip? Clearly, he dropped quite a bit of money. Why was he so hesitant to talk about it?

While it is not always fair, it is human nature to rank each other. Tallest to shortest. Most beautiful to least. Wealthiest to poorest. It was easy to see that as the owner of a very successful company, he had enjoyed a high level of financial success. He worked hard, and has been rewarded, handsomely.

It seems to me, that for those who have excelled and found success in this economic climate, many seem to be ashamed of their wealth. Is it humility? Is it meekness?  Is it out of respect for others who have not fared as well, or worked as hard?

In this economic climate, especially among the younger white collar workers, it seems as if there is a trend to hide their successes, and play up their liabilities.  Its almost like because many American's have struggled since 2008, that those who have made gains must have been ill gotten, or just lucky.

Tell Me: Are you ashamed of your success? Have you seen this trend too?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Confessions

Howdy ho y'all. Its Friday, thank goodness.

Y'all, these last 2 weeks have been some of the roughest I've had in my professional career. When I went on vacation, everything at work was 100% zipped up tight. It was as close to perfect as my office has ever been. Without getting into details, there was an accident (we are not at fault, but have to deal with the aftermath) that is resulting in an insurance claim that is nearly half a million dollars.

That's enough serious talk. Its Friday, that means its confession day. Let's do this.

1. P and I laid in bed and watched our neighbors from our window. We were creepin'. Our neighbors are a bit different, and this past weekend they were working in their yard. We could not figure out what they were doing, so we laid in bed and watched them. P kept telling me to be still and not move the curtains they wouldn't notice us watching. I asked if we should get the binoculars to get a better view.

2.I took my bra off in the car while driving. It is approximately 1000 degrees here in Texas right now. One day, I was sweating profusely, so when I got in the car to go home, I took off my bra in the parking garage.

3. I had a wet t-shirt contest at work. No seriously, I did. I was wearing a white shirt, and I went to take a drink of water, and somehow missed my mouth. My entire 32 oz cup of water ended up on my shirt. That was at 9:22 AM. I had a meeting at 10:00, so I threw on a sweater (again in 1000 degree weather) and rushed to Target and bought the first top I saw and a new bra.

4. I sexted. Sexting is the most hilarious word to me, and I've always wanted to do it. So I did. I don't think I am very good at it though. But, its hot, cheesy, and gooey, which if I understand sexting correctly thats what it should be. See the text below between me and the hubs.
Sexting. Its not that fun. I know the contact say's JV. I have about 86 nicknames for my husband and JV is one of them. I think P sauce is his favorite though.

All right y'all, its your turn. Fess up!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Money Monday: Food, Groceries, and Couponing

According the the Wall Street Journal, overall food prices will increase 2.5%-3.5% in 2014. The cost of beef products will rise 5.5%, fruits and vegetables 2-3%, and cereal and bakery goods will rise 1.5%.

In addition to rising food costs, studies are showing that salary's are stagnant at best, and in some cases even falling. Couple rising cost of living, and lower "real" salaries, it is harder and harder to make ends meet for the average family.

For budget conscious families like us, we knew we needed to find a way to stretch our money because we don't rely on credit cards to bridge the gap between income and expenses. For us, we found that couponing has become a vital practice to stay on budget each month.

I started couponing several years ago, and like any new endeavor, I was not very good. I was not efficient, I was not saving much money, and it didn't seem like it was worth the effort. But, after several rounds of refining my methods, I have been able to streamline my system. Each week, it takes me just under and hour to clip, cut, print, and organize my shopping for the week.

As for the actual shopping, in a normal shopping experience, I can usually get in and out of store within 20 minutes.

Through this practice, we have been able to build a small stockpile of toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, Health and Beauty aid, food and more. If we did not coupon, it would be difficult for us to stay on budget each month. On average, I can save 30-40% each time I shop. So far this year, I have saved $579.00. 

In addition to couponing at the grocery store, we have also become more accustomed to couponing to supplement our entertainment and social lives. Before eating out, we will search for deals at our favorite restaurants, or search for savings before shopping for clothes or furniture.

Coupons have become part of our lifestyle and I don't see us discontinuing our practice in the future. For us, it simply makes financial sense.

Tell Me:  What are some ways that you save money on your day to day expenses?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seattle to Portland

Hey gang! I hope everyone has had an amazing week. P and I have been on vacation, and its been amazing. We flew to Seattle, and hung out in the city for a few days, then drove down to Greenwood, Washington to a ranch that has no cell service or wifi. Finally, we drove into Portland, Oregon for a few days. At first, I was not sure how I was going to feel about it, but after a few day with no phone calls, no text, no email, and no social media, it was actually amazing.

We were gone for a little over a week, but, I can honestly tell you that it was the best vacation I have ever been on. Getting away, disconnecting, being around family and friends, and being in the mountains, gave me a lot of time to think, pray, and contemplate. I actually feel stronger emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. My heart is full and my head is clear.

Some of the highlights: Meeting my bloggy bff Denise. Laughing a lot. Staying up until 2. Star gazing. Inside jokes. Swimming in a freezing river. Trail running. Hiking. Sleeping late. Eating amazing food.

I feel that for the first time in a long time, I have something to say, and I am ready to share.

For now, while we unwind, unpack, and get reacquainted with the real world, I leave you with some photos from the trip.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Sometimes life takes you to places that you never expect.
Sometimes in life, you bump into someone who becomes a life long friends.
Sometimes in life, you meet those people because of a little blog on a big Internet.

Friendship is a funny thing. It ebbs, it flows, and it changes. Relationships that you held so tightly to in one phase of life slowly drifted away. Other times, people come into your life unexpectedly and stick around for years and decades.

The Internet has changed friendship. People from different walks of life, who under different circumstances would never have met, are suddenly thrust together. Friendships are formed through comments, through emails, through social media platforms.

And occasionally, some of those Internet friendships transform themselves into something more, they become real life friendships. Friendships forged over years of communication through a screen.

But on that rare occasion that you find a friend amongst all those voices on the web that is honest, true, and real, you hope and pray that one day you will get to meet.

That happened to me last night. I got to meet my very first Internet friend.

My husband and I are in Seattle, WA this week on vacation. It just so happens that one of my oldest and dearest bloggy friends lives 20 minutes outside of Seattle.

We met for dinner at an amazing restaurant called Odd Fellows. We spent several hours eating good food, laughing, talking, and getting to know each other beyond the screen.

Thats us. Meet Denise--she is the one on the left. I'm the one in the pink on the right, obviously.
My mom is probably freaking out because I met someone in real life that I met on line. Denise's mom was worried too. 
If you have not had a chance to read her blog, go there now! She is always posting about life in the PNW, her family, her dog, her amazing cooking, and best of all, her photo's. Magazine worthy pics!

Denise, thank you for the years of friendship, and to many many more!

Tell Me: Anyone else met friends in real life that you have met online?