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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Muffins, cheesecake, new friends...oh my!

This thing came in the mail, after much anticipation and waiting...and you'd have thought I was a 7 year old on Christmas morning.
MY NEW LENS ARRIVED (last week, which you guys already knew about...woops)

Anyway, I'm slightly obsessed with it. So I wanted a reason to use it last night...
soo what does any normal blogger girl do?


Does it still count as baking when its Krusteaz "just add water" pre-made batter??

All you suzy homemakers, get off that high horse...nobody is too good for cheap, and convenient desserts.

You literally just add 1/2 cup of water to this, shake it like a polaroid, and pour into a muffin pan.
Pretty baking cups encouraged.

After14 minutes of anticipation...voilaaaa!

Seriously, too? These were like a dollar. Sooo, hop on that train ASAP, friends.

Back to my normal blogging routine.
Sunday, Caleb and I photographed some family friends at a nearby Nature Center. We seriously had a blast, I mean how adorable are they?

We had way too much fun...and it was really great seeing Caleb get into it as well. He's really loving it!
Hope everyone has a great Wednesday. I know I will! A coworker brought me Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory since DUH yesterday was National Cheesecake Day.

Hellooo 2010. When my full time job was working on that tan!
Also the fact that we are having dinner with our wedding photographers tonight at a fun pizza place downtown! They are some seriously fun, cool (and mega talented) people, and we're lucky to call them new friends! 

Happy hump day, friends!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sweet tea fixes everything.

Sometimes Mondays aren't meant for recaps...why don't we ever let Tuesday have a turn? So, that is what I'm you are, Tuesday.

Friday evening we spent with our youth group at a camp out...playing capture the flag in the dark, running around in the woods, making s'mores, singing songs around the fire, you know.. camp-y things.

The night was winding down, and all of a sudden someone handed Caleb a guitar.
Is it just me, or when your already hot husband picks up a guitar, he gets even hotter?

The next morning, we had a scheduled photo shoot to help out Caleb's oldest brother, Cole, at a tournament he was running. We were there basically all day, so it was definitely an exhausting day...but it was good to help out. 

I mentioned in yesterday's post I had a bit of a rough night Saturday, so imagine my delight when Caleb tells me we're going to Chickfila (we took it from our grocery fund, hehe) so  I can have some sweet tea... my fav!

After, we grabbed some Redboxes and literally did something we haven't done in forever....
Oh, and ate popcorn...lots of popcorn.

It was so nice, just the two of plan or anything. Just relaxing. It was exactly what I needed.

Sunday was busy, but awesome. We had to lead children's church in the morning...came home, had a quick lunch...met up with a family for a scheduled photo-shoot we had. Then we were able to go home, catch a re-run of New Girl...and head back out to help with our youth group.
We have so much fun with those kids..I'm so lucky I get to be a part of their lives!

So yes, another busy weekend...but it was awesome. As usual.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Your flaws are awesome.

Hiii Monday, you came all too early this time. My weekend was JAM stinking packed...and I kind of loved it. It was a fun, but emotional weekend. Saturday evening was a bit rough for me. I won't go into details, it just felt like life got a little overwhelming.

Which brings me into my post today... life isn't perfect, and I sure as heck am not either.
It kind of took me my entire life to realize I just had to embrace the things I saw/see wrong with myself.
When I was in middle school, I used to cry  to my mom because I thought I was fat, I didn't have "bony wrists" and thin faces like all my friends...even when I was a whopping 97 pounds. None of the boys noticed me, and I felt like the ugly duckling of my friends.

There were plenty of things that I absolutely hated about myself when I looked in the mirror. Silly things I'm sure not many other people noticed, that I just would've done anything at the time to change! It's sad really...that I couldn't just focus on the things that I did like about myself (as short as that list was).

As I've grown older, I've kind of learned to love (or at least, embrace) the things I once couldn't stand.

Yep, another wedding-day sneak peek for ya ;)
The list of things I didn't like about myself used to far outweigh the good.
I hated that I had to wear braces.
I hated that I also (yes, at the same time) had to wear glasses.
I didn't like my nose...
...or my right ear (its a little pointy)
I didn't like that I had short pinkies...(still do).
...and big knuckles.
That my eyes weren't bold enough, that my hair was just plain...
& I realllyy hated that my ankles weren't quite as skinny as the girls in the magazines.
Fast forward about 9 years. I'm finally learning to be happier with who I am.

I've learned that its not all about your appearance, but your intentions and how you treat people. It's also about treating others the way you've always wanted to be treated. It's about knowing when to do the right thing. It's about being generous even when its hard.

Funny side story...
Caleb insisted that I please choose a hairstyle that showed my ears on our wedding day...and I told him no freaking way. Well guess what I ended up doing?? A tight french twist...ears and all. I chose to rock those bad boys because you know what? My stupid pointy ear doesn't define me... its my attitude that counts.

I am slowly learning to love the things that make me, me.
my boxy chin that I got from my Dad,
the freckles that the summer sun gives me...
my green eyes that Caleb just adores,
my thinner than paper lips I got from my Nanny.
and so much more.

I still struggle with my appearance every now and then, especially my skin.
Then I just remember how good I really have it. I have a home, an amazing husband, food, clothes on my back, a big bed and warm showers every single day.

Life really is grand.
Remember, you are beautiful...and there is no one who can do you, better than you.

What flaws are you learning to embrace?

Friday, July 26, 2013


Ohhh Friday...we meet again. How about next week you get here a little quicker, yeah?

I had a pretty dandy week (and since I never posted about last weekend...I'll include some of that, too!) Last night, Caleb and I celebrated two months of marriage (with a free meal at Applebees, thanks to a friend for the gift card!), we bot could not believe how quickly time has flown. We want to be sure we are ALWAYS soaking in every moment. That is why I'm so thankful for this blog...I'm able to look back on small details I probably would've otherwise forgotten.

So what was so awesome about my week?

1. Hanging out with my sistaaa while our husbands played in their works softball tournament.

Oh heeeyyy stud.
Hi twinssss. ;) loving the high shoulders, Jared!
2. Celebrating Lyndsie's 22nd this week with a low key evening at her place, and of course...sweet tea! She even got me a yellow straw!

3. Reenacting one of our favorite scene from The Princess Diaries also on Lyndsie's birthday. Call us immature, but this was a freaking blast. It took a lot of work (and it probably deserves its own post with results), but was so worth it.

4. After lots of research, Caleb and I decided it was time I got a new lens for my camera, finallyyy (and yes we budget for it, but we went with a used one to save cash)!! So, we found one on eBay at a good price, took the plunge and ordered it. Imagine my disappointment when it comes in and its BROKEN. Straight up broken. You can even tell the lens is crooked! Needless to say my little heart was broken.

Not for long though, Caleb to the rescue...
I left the room, and just started folding laundry to take my mind off of it because I was so frustrated! Then he walked in and asked me "who's the best husband in the world?" well obviously, it was him. He went ahead and ordered me another one...and said the guy agreed to get it here before Friday. So imagine my excitement when I came home from work last night and saw THIS bad boy on my camera. 
Happy dance time!

5. Last but certainly not least... getting our wedding pictures back. I am still, SO amazed at our photographers. Can't wait to do a full recap on the day for you guys.

So tell me, what was great about your week?

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crazy ways to save a buck!

By now (and if you've met the besties Sallie & Perkins) you know Caleb and I are trying to get out of debt as FAST as we can. Aside from him working overtime where he can, and me booking extra photography gigs where I can...there ARE other ways to save money.

So I decided to come up with a list of crazy things that Caleb and I do to save money! Remember...when you have that "Gazelle intensity", who cares if people think you're weird?
Weird is good.

Among many other things, Caleb!

- Sometimes (this is slightly embarrassing), I'll cut open the bottom of the toothpaste tubes to get the last out of it. Same with my foundation...this usually adds a couple weeks onto the life of my products!

-Caleb's cousin works at a local pizza shop, and he's allowing Caleb to deliver pizzas on the side for a few throw extra cash towards debt at a rapid pace.

-Entering giveaways. Typically on blogs, I love those. I recently won an adorable necklace off of my girl Ashley's blog! My favorite kinds of giveaways are the gift card/cash that way my man & I get FREE date nights instead of having to cut into our own budget. I also sign up from websites like Woman Freebies, that have sweepstakes almost daily, and tons of free stuff to win!

-Downgrading our cell phone minutes/data plan, read about that here! We saved over $40/month!

-"If you're not using it, unplug it" ... get CRAZY with this. Phone done charging? Unplug it and leave it right under the outlet. Done with the toaster? Unplug that, too. You don't have to get AS crazy as I do (even Caleb thinks I take it a little too far), but hey, its kind of fun.

-My crazy husband likes to keep the temperature on 68-69 ALL summer which didn't make me very happy when Duke delivered our energy bill. So I try to keep it around 71 now! The higher the temp, the cheaper your bill.

-Manufacturers coupons, those are AHH-mazing. Typically each one saves you about $1.50+...and that stuff really adds up.

-Kroger has "Freebie Fridays" (thanks to a college friend for this tidbit! Heey Sierrah!), and if you sync your Kroger Plus Card online, they let you upload freebies on the can walk in, grab your stuff, check out and walk right out with FREE stuff. Last week was $6 shampoo/conditioner! This week its toothpaste!

-Take advantage of social media, follow companies on Twitter and talk about their products or things you love. I recently talked about the long weekend trip we were taking to Arkansas, and Gillette sent me a new razor with TWO replacement bars to go with it... (a value of over $13!)

-Shop out of season. You can get things for up to 70% off sometimes! Caleb and I joke that we should start celebrating holidays the week after they really take place, so we get a better deal.

So there you have it, just a few tips I can give you to lower your monthly expenses and KILL DEBT faster!!

Remember, imagine what you can do with your money (and the kind of wealth you can build!) when you have NO DEBT PAYMENTS!!!

What would you do with all that extra cash??

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A birthday wish!

My girl Lyndsie (bff's since 7th grade!) has a BIRTHDAY today!
So I thought, why not make my entire post today about her?

We met back in 7th grade, when she moved to my school district. One of my close friends invited her to the lunch table...and well, we clicked immediately and I invited her to my upcoming 13th birthday party.

Hot ones, weren't we?
We would talk about shopping, our AIM screen names, and Xanga profiles...oh, and what we'd do next with our hair. Clearly we couldn't be honest with each other about the middle part/straight bang thing we had goin' on. Ohhh, the awkward stages of teen years.

I'd visit her church occasionally, going to youth group hangouts, where she introduced me to who would be my husband years later (kudos Lynds!)! A trillion sleepovers, buckets of marshmallow fluff, and too much girl talk later...we had one of the greatest friendships ever.

As we grew older, we became even closer. Leaving middle school and becoming big freshman together.
It seemed that along with sophomore year became a better sense of style/hairdo's... thankfully.
Then junior year came...and we were practically sisters. Our mom's basically each had 2 daughters. Life was grand.

We took vacations together...

Salsa danced together...

& then became college roommates!

80's bowling night, don't worry I had some fun leg warmers on!
We celebrated almost every birthday together...

and I even asked her to stand by my side on my big day.

Long story short! This girl is amazing. She is one of the greatest people I've ever met, has a heart for God, and is one of the most hilarious, ridiculous, awesome ladies I know.

Life wouldn't be the same without you, Lynds.
Happy birthday! So excited to celebrate with you and your family tonight.

If you're reading this Lynds, I hope you have the BEST birthday to date. You have SO much potential in life, and I KNOW you will change the world. Thanks for always being the best!

Here is to the next 22 years (and then 22 more!) of making fun memories together. Love you!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sneak peek!

I really couldn't contain my excitement at work, Friday. If you follow me on instagram or twitter you'd know why!

How I didn't sneak a peek while stuck at my desk all day, is truly beyond me. I seriously couldn't wait to get home, sit with my husband and marvel at our pictures...& that is EXACTLY what we did.

Only  because I can't NOT show you guys a is a quick sneak peek.

I hope its not stupid of me to be this amazed with our photographers. Our day truly couldn't have been captured better.

I'll be back tomorrow with my weekend recap, but this was the only thing truly on my mind this morning!

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday, freebies, fun!

Hiiiiiiiii again Friday. I've missed you!

You all know I love free stuff. Erin and I were just talking yesterday about how free things literally make our heart skip a beat. When I get a free sample in the mail, my heart does its own little happy dance.
So imagine my excitement when Chick Fil A tells me I can reserve a FREE breakfast entree this week? I get one for me and my man on Saturday morning and BAM... free breakfast date.

As most of you know by now, Caleb and I are actively trying to pay off debt...if you didn't know that, read this post first. 

So as you would imagine, we're doing all we can to cut our expenses down from an already low figure monthly. When we got married, Caleb talked me into leaving Verizon (best service ever), and switching to Cincinnati Bell to save $$..and it did....but last night, we spent about an hour at T-Mobile, trying to see if we could get an even better deal than we already have at Cincinnati Bell for our monthly cell phone bill.

 Turned out it wasn't going to be as easy as we thought.

So we got home, our heads hung low in defeat...
until we had the bright idea to LOOK at our monthly statement online. See if WE could lower our bill at all. Ever done that, friends?
We wanted to actually see how much of this "unlimited* data package" (*not-so-unlimited) we were even using. Long story short -- we weren't using anywhere NEAR our "allowance". We also had a ridiculous amount of minutes left! Together, we weren't even close to hitting 1/4 of our minutes allowed, and the month is almost over!

So, we looked at different options online and took our package down to 200 "peak minutes" each...which means from 6am-9pm I get 200 minutes for the month, any other hour of the day is free to talk as much as my big mouth can...

and instead of having "unlimited data", we gave ourselves 5G's each. You see, with Cincinnati Bell, if you're connected to wifi (which we have in our house, and at work) doesn't count against your data plan.

Moral of the story -- we saved $45 a MONTH on our wireless bill. That is an extra $540 a YEAR we can put towards debt! So worth it. So friends, take a good look at your bills. You may be paying for a lot more than you're getting.


Yes, I used two ecards in my post today...and no pictures. #bloggerfail

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Motivation; continued.

Since my motivational post last week, I am proud of say I've lost some weight! 2.5 pounds to be exact!

So while I was at my grandparents for dinner the other night, I decided to slip on my old Prom dress from when I was 17. "This is going to be a nightmare", I said to my Nanny (grandma). She laughed as she tried zipping it up... with a little muscle and tugging, it ZIPPED.
Guys, fit!
I about cried. Is that weird?!

mmm, cell phone quality pictures.
So she made me walk down the stairs in it like I did on prom night...and take a picture where I did before. I mean yeah, it was a bit snug...but I'm counting it!

My "7 week challenge" goal was only to lose a few pounds and exercise a few times a week (you know, get back in the swing of things instead of joining the huge statistic of newlyweds who spend their evenings in front of a TV -- runonsentencemuch?).

The whole exercise part? I've failed miserably. Unless you count editing wedding pictures (no, not mine!) as exercise, cause I've been doing a WHOLE lot of that. The first part to fixing something is admitting you've made a mistake. So here...

Phew, there. Glad that's out on the table.
Part two? Doing something about it.

So, tonight after work...I am sitting down with Caleb and we're going to meal plan for the following week. We've already spent our "grocery fund" envelope so we'll be able to plan ahead with what's already in our house. Beause remember, when there is no money left in the envelope, you DON'T SPEND ANYMORE. 

He and I are also going to come up with an achievable running goal for 3 to 4 times a week.

Also, even when I slip up and treat myself so a sweet snack, I am still logging it in My Fitness Pal, which makes me happy, and like I'm being held accountable.

Another small goal? To start getting up and working out a bit after Caleb leaves for work. See, he gets up for work at 5:15AM... not exactly my time of day. HOWEVER... I have noticed the few times in life (okay, one time...) that I've gotten up before the sun...I felt more energized and ready to tackle my day. What's even better? I can come home and spend time with my husband after a long day, instead of losing another hour with him.

So, watch out 6:00 AM runners, I'm coming for you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The year is halfway over!

...and if you're anything like seems like Christmas sneaks up on you.

Now that Caleb and I are married, and we've been budgeting every paycheck (month by month)...there is something we have to add to our savings.
Our Christmas fund.

Don't get me wrong...we won't be going anywhere near as crazy as we have in the past years...we have to be a little less giving... but don't worry, we make up for that in creativity. If you ask me, getting creative with gifts is so much fun. I think it adds a little something that money just can't.

I know its hard to think about Christmas when in most states right now, it doesn't feel like summer. It feels more like our skin is on fire every day the clock hits 10AM. Which I like to call, blazing...BUT...can you imagine for a moment, not having to CHARGE your Christmas presents on a high interest rate credit card!? Or even worry about forking out all the money at once.

What if you just saved a simple $50 a month (if you work full time...that's just an easy $25/paycheck!)?! You would have an easy $300 to spoil your favorite people. If you're on a tight budget like Caleb and I...that will easily MORE than cover all of our gifts for everyone...just remember, you have to channel your inner creativity as well.

If you ask me...creative, "from the heart" gifts, are my favorite.
Like the time I made Caleb a personalized coupon book this past Valentines Day.

& like the night he asked me to be his girlfriend and we made corny tee shirts for each other...
or like the time I literally made an entire day-long Scavenger Hunt for Caleb that sent him traveling ALL around Cincinnati to meet me at the Aquarium. never gets old. 

So, friends...start saving! ;) Christmas will be here quicker than you think. Remember...its NOT about the gifts...its truly about spending time together and remembering all of your blessings. I just truly love giving! It's the coolest feeling. Can't wait to pay off our debt, build wealth, and then be able to do some random acts of kindness for complete strangers and all of our best friends.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekends go too fast.

Real talk? This weekend I got a BIT off track on the healthy eating.
BUT NOT HORRIBLY off track. So yay for small accomplishments...I think?

Friday night was a ladies night, with my sistaaa and now-cousin, Natalie. It was a blast and LONG overdue. We definitely talked like middle school girls and then watched Katy Perry's movie...and then when it was over, we jammed out to her entire last CD, and then we swore we'd see her again next time she's in town. Remember, Erin got me tickets for my 20th birthday and our lives have been forever changed since?!

Saturday was amazing. We got to sleep in, and then spend quite a few hours at the pool. Erin and Jared came over and enjoyed it with us... and I definitely got some sun, mostly thanks to my sweet sweet friend Kaitlyn for sending me this tube of gold.

Do yourself a favor and buy it NOW.
After lounging poolside...Caleb and I cleaned up for our youth group event that night.
The backwards progressive dinner!

We started out at one house...and had dessert first (sadly, I hardly touched mine...trying to be good!)

but seriously...that thing would've put me in a food coma.
Second house, we moved onto the main course. I had a hot dog and some mac n cheese...woops. & lastly, we went to the last house and enjoyed appetizers. Which are my FAV...but I was really good, guys.

I hate wasting food, but I only ate a few french fries!!
 I promise. I even logged everything in on My Fitness Pal! I know, I still didn't eat WELL...but I had moderation! Which I think is so important in any meal plan.

It was pretty late when we got back home, and we straight crashed.

Sunday was fun. It's our month to lead worship/games with the K-5 kids at we obviously had a blast with them. After church though, we brought my brother back home with us and he got to spend some brotherly time with Caleb. It was sweet.

All the while, I edited a TON more pictures from the wedding I shot last month (post on that to come!), and was very productive. Then, we went back to church and had a blast with the youth group for our Sunday night get together. It's so fun seeing these kids grow in their relationships with Christ. I'm so blessed to witness it!

How was YOUR weekend?

Sami's Shenanigans