Thursday, January 31, 2013

Things I {don't} Love + Giveaway

Yay! We are just one day away from Friday! Also. Today is the last day of January! I'm beyond done with this month! 

Today, I'm doing a new (to me) linkup with one of my fellow button swappers! So let's get started! 








Things I don't love... 
  • Getting in my very first car accident... 
  • Having my car broken into for the very first time (only days after my car was taken out of the collision center)... and all they stole was a makeup bag. Full of ELF products!!! 
  • Getting rear ended not even a week after my car was broken into... 
  • Grandma Houck passed away this month... sweetest little lady I've ever met (besides my own Momma)
  • Having major anxiety sometimes
  • Having to give up extra activities that I am involved in because of my anxiety
  • Not having a post written by me during the month of January
  • Not being able to give my swap partners as much attention as I wanted. 

I had planned on telling you all about my swap partners, some new friends and some oldies... but for now see the questions below that I asked, and they answered.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 
Rebecca - Let Them Eat Cake: I would live somewhere completely tropical like FIGI. I could spend my life living on a sandy beach day after day with crystal clear waters, and a golden brown tan. Figi seems to be paradise and that's where I want to be
Vicki - My Vickilicious Life: Hmmm ... I love, love, love NYC ... I really cannot imagine myself ever living anywhere else.  BUT I think it would be amazing to live somewhere with a milder climate ... Like somewhere that is forever fall/spring weather ... Not too cold, not too hot! :)
Nikki - My Life My Way: If I could live anywhere in the world I would live in the USA only I would move out west. I love America and we as Americans take it for granted. Now don't get me wrong I love to travel and explore the world but there is so much right here in our grasp and I personally want to soak it all in. I would move to Arizona, Texas, Cali, or Washington State in a heart beat if I could! 
Kenya - Life with Giggles: Somewhere in the southern US. I am CONVINCED I was a southern belle in a past life. I talk with a southern accent and have no idea how or why. But everyone is always asking me if I am from the south. Ha! 


What is one book everyone should read?
Melissa - Lulu and Sweet Pea: One book I think everyone should read is Harry Potter! (it's actually 7 books, but you have to start somewhere) They are really well written and even adults can enjoy them. My all time favorite series!


...and NOW a lovely giveaway from these two ladies!!! 
Here's the catch: You only have 24hrs to enter! So hurry and spread the word! 

Let Them Eat Cake






a Rafflecopter giveaway





Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vox Culture - Winding Road: My Immigration Story (Part 3)

Happy Wednesday, friends! 
Tomorrow is the last day of January and let's just say I am seriously over January. I'm hoping February is a better month and the rest of this year is a breeze to get through. 
There has been a lot on my mind this month, and a lot of anxiety. I'm letting go of some of my extra activities, and after letting go of just a couple small ones I am already feeling better! 
I plan on blogging a little tomorrow, recapping how my past month has been. Don't expect a happy happy joy joy post, but at the same time it isn't going to make you want to fall off a cliff. 

Here is Viktor with his final post for the month on his immigration story. 
I hope you have enjoyed having him around!


With no luck in the job hunt up in Washington, D.C., and feeling that I needed a new start, I decided to head for Texas and look for a Political Science Master’s Degree program that was still taking applicants in December (in order to begin in January). I ended up signing up with the University of Texas at San Antonio, where I received my renewed F-1 student visa.

During my last semester at UTSA, I would begin to look for job opportunities again, but having been worn out from all the moving in a short period of time, I began focusing on offers within Texas. In addition, another major reason for my decision to stick around in Texas had to do with my parents’ immigration battle.


My parents on their wedding day.

After a total of nearly thirteen years, they were still unable to obtain a Green Card, and to make matters worse, after the application for their Green Card had been denied originally in 2009 (which led to a further appeal of the decision), the INS had sent them a letter in the earlier part of 2012, asking for additional evidence to appeal the decision. The reason for the 2009 denial and 2012 letter from the INS was because, our now former lawyer (who was fired just a few years before from the law firm we are using) had made a mistake when sending the application for my father to the INS in 2007. In the simplest terms possible, the mistake was in regards to listing my father’s education on the application at a higher level than what it really was. The INS, being an institution that only sees the black and the white, and really does not use much actual thought for anything else, saw this mistake as an attempt of being “dishonest” in the application and stated that based on the job description and education requirements given by our previous lawyer, that my father was “not qualified” for a job in the field that he has been in for about 35 years, and who is one of the most respected and sought after individuals in the global shipping community.



Pictures of my father, during his younger years sailing on the ship.

However, despite using certain “connections” through acquaintances in an attempt to write letters and intervene, and the law firm admitting that it was in fact their mistake and providing further proof required by the government, we have yet to hear back from the INS as to what the final verdict will be. All our lawyers however have said that the worst is to be expected, and therefore my parents, with the full support of my father’s company’s headquarters in Germany, have already made arrangements to leave the U.S. for a minimum of 12 months, during which they will be in Hamburg, Germany. While they were supposed to hear from the INS in December, they have not as of yet, but the latest the verdict would come in is expected at the end of February 2013. If our fears are confirmed they would leave the country soon after, and make a comeback in about 15 months under what is called the L visa… which we were told MUCH later by the same law firm that we had used all this time that, had we applied for the L visa, specially for someone in my father’s position, the process may have gone much quicker and smoother.


Recent picture of my folks.

Expecting this outcome, I began making preparations to move from San Antonio to Houston for what I thought would be a brief period. Balancing the thought of maybe leaving the U.S. as well and taking one of several offers in Europe, around the same time, a friend of mine who had then been working with a communications company up in Dallas told me of a position that had become available that he thought I’d be a great fit for. Little behold, just as I began typing in the communications company’s name online, the search option pulled up the name of a different organization that had a similar name to the communications company up in Dallas. This one though was called Vox Culture Houston. Thinking that is was somehow affiliated with the communications company (which turned out to be that it was not); I decided to check it out and was immediately hooked by what I saw. The rest, as it is said, is history, and I am where I am today. What happens next only tomorrow will tell.


Helping present at a Vox Culture event.

As I stated in the very first blog posting, if I could sum up my experience in the U.S. so far in one word, I do not believe it would be one that would be appropriate from a professional stance. However, when I look back at the last thirteen (going on fourteen) years of my life, where I’ve been and where I am now… I have found that my overall experience with the immigration system has played a key part in the making of who I am today. The challenges that I face (together with my family) are still there, and will likely remain as such for the foreseeable future… and while there have been bumps along my path where I’ve felt lost and broken, having found this unplanned and unexpected path that I’m currently on has given my soul a sense of resurrection. Doing the work that I do now has given me a sense of definition and completion, while giving me the optimism to believe that something better lies ahead. More importantly, I believe, it has given me the will and the energy to stand up and fight for what I believe is right, and try to live my life by my own rules and choices as best possible, while giving a voice to a side of an issue many are unaware of. What I am most grateful for however, is that when I look at the overall experience… I realize that I have become more aware of who I am and what I stand for.

In order for brevity, I will end this chapter of my story with a poem by William Ernest Henley, Invictus, that over the years I’ve found both inspiration in (the poem as well as the poet himself), and which I have felt best captures this winding road, my immigration story.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years,
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


****

Introduction to My Immigration Story | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


If you would like to learn more about Vox Culture and see how it has connected the Houston community to social causes in creative ways, "Like" their FaceBook page. A sponsor will donate $1 to the organization's Vision Fund for every fan.  




Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vox Culture - Winding Road: My Immigration Story (Part 2)

Good day friends!

Life has been quite hectic lately.
I have a Type A personality and plan plan plan. Right now, I feel completely disorganized which puts me in a grumpy mood.
Oh well, I'm fixing that ...and think I over booked myself for this weekends commitments. Argh!

I announced on Instagram and Twitter that the mister and I are starting a blog together. If you're interested in following our married journey together go over there.
Currently, we only have our About Us section complete but our first post is coming soon!

The Houck Diaries




Are you enjoying these blog posts from Viktor? I know I am!
He's back for part 2 of his immigration story.


My immigration story would reach a new level of complication following the events of September 11, 2001. With the perpetrators of 9/11 having been able to obtain visa’s for the United States, many politicians deemed it necessary to add further scrutiny, more background checks, and additional requirements in order to obtain a Green Card. In the process this would lead to a backlog in the immigration system as well as prolong the waiting period for applicants.

In the first three to four years following the events of 9/11, as many immigrants (especially those of darker skin, from the Middle East, or those of Muslim of Sikh belief may) may attest to, it was near impossible to get pulled over by a police officer without being asked “where are you from?” or “are you Arab?” or be selected for greater scrutiny in security checks at airports, or even museums for that matter. While the majority of people I knew, or those who were around me, were still welcoming and friendly towards me as a foreigner, it was a hard not to take note of moments such as getting randomly pulled out of line at a airport security checkpoint, made to take off your shirt behind make-shift cubicles used for “privacy” while standing next to other folks that look “similar” to you, and get questioned and searched. After a few years however, the tensions and these types of situations, would begin to decrease.


Dressed up for my highschool senior prom... something my folks used to joke about as being another step to becoming more "Americanized".

The changes and extension in the Green Card application process also led to some individuals trying to take advantage of immigrant workers. For example, when my father wanted to depart from New Orleans for Houston, to take a job at a German shipping company’s office in Houston, his now former boss threatened to use "legal action", in the hopes that it would scare him into wanting to stay in New Orleans and work at the same company. While in her case it did not work, there have been other situations where immigrants have chosen to remain where they are working, even if they are unhappy, out of fear of any repercussions by their employers.

Now living in Baton Rouge and going to Louisiana State University, I began to face new challenges in my immigration status. My status as a foreign student at LSU was complicated. Given that I was a resident of Louisiana and I had come into the U.S. as a minor with an H-4 visa, I did not have to apply for an F-1 visa (one of the main types of visa’s given to foreign students). Had I been arriving from outside of the U.S. and just starting to apply for university, then I would be required to have applied for an F-1 visa.


Third from the right: With some of my teammates back in the day, when I was on the LSU Rugby team.

However, what our lawyer in Houston had failed to tell us was that, by the age of 21, no matter if I held residency within Louisiana and had been legally inside the U.S. with an H-4 visa, I would also have to apply for an F-1 visa to stay in status legally (as an adult child, you cannot be dependent on an H-1B visa holder). It was not until we asked the lawyer, only a few months before I turned 21 did she bother to say, “oh, you didn’t know?” and when asking for what would be some other solutions to the situation in case if the application did not go through or was too late… “just get  married, it’ll make it easier.” To avoid repercussions with the INS and to be able to complete my studies successfully, I changed my status from the H-4 visa to the F-1 student visa.

Furthermore, I also had to face certain challenges as an immigrant in the career path that I chose. As a political science major at LSU, it was a goal of mine to work within the U.S. intelligence community or the State Department. While I knew certain opportunities, like being the president of the United States, were out of question; other jobs, where logically speaking you would think they would value someone of multinational origins and multilingual skills were also out of reach. To make matters worse, I would not realize this until my senior year in college. Luckily though, I had found out about the think-tank world.


At the NATO Allied Command Transformation Base during a visit to gather research for work.

With the potential of a job opportunity in Washington, D.C., based off a project I was working on, with one of the most respected think-tanks in the world, I also applied for what is called the Optional Practical Training status in the hopes that if the project went well, the company would support me with an H-1B. The OPT is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months are permitted by the USCIS to work for at most one year on a student visa – for which you are given a work card. While the project I had been working on was developing smoothly, the recent global recession had dried up the funds necessary to complete the project, and the company had quickly realigned its priorities. This left me in limbo for a period, and disillusioned, given the political atmosphere in D.C. at that time.


At an art exhibit event at the Croatian embassy in D.C..

While I continued to use what was left on the time period of my OPT to do some miscellaneous tasks at this company, I began job hunting in the hopes of finding another company or organization willing to support me with an H-1B. The best opportunity that I had gotten was through one of my then-boss’ connections. The interview went great and the gentleman had even said that I was a “shoo-in” for the position. However, talking over the phone the next day with the gentleman, when I mentioned the support I needed for an H-1B, he kindly let me know that they would not be able to do so “due to the strains and time consumption, and other aspects of the process,” and from there wished me farewell and all the best. The feeling that I remember most after having gotten that phone call was that, in some cases, I was being looked more in terms of who I am rather than what I have to offer. Feeling out of luck, I decided it was time for a change...
 
********
Wow. So rough. I can't even imagine! I know in educational and career path I have felt confused at times. I even felt like I wouldn't be able to do what I truly wanted to do, but the only thing standing in my way, was me.  I can't wait for part 3 next week!

Introduction to My Immigration Story | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
 

If you would like to learn more about Vox Culture and see how it has connected the Houston community to social causes in creative ways, "Like" their FaceBook page. A sponsor will donate $1 to the organization's Vision Fund for every fan. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vox Culture - Winding Road: My Immigration Story (Part I)

Hello Loves!
Did you catch the Mini Project reveal yesterday? Head over and take a peek! 

I hope you're ready for Part 1 of Viktor's immigration story! If you missed the introduction to this series be sure to go here.

Let's get started and welcome Viktor back to the blog: 

Unlike many immigration stories many of us hear on the news, this one has a number of twists and turns and involves plenty of aspects that cannot be painted in a black and white picture. Whatever your conceptions about immigration may be, I’ll start off by saying that this blog is not intended to pick and choose sides in the immigration debate, but to open your eyes to an aspect of it that many do not realize exists and is sometimes oversimplified by the government, the media, or the general public.

I am Viktor Kopic, Vox Culture’s Research & Development Coordinator. This is my story.


My story begins where I was born, in what used to be the former Yugoslavia, and is now seven different republics. When I have mentioned to many people that my family and I left Yugoslavia during the summer of 1991, as it was beginning to disintegrate and envelope itself into a protracted and bloody war, most have had a preconceived notion that we were refugees instead of immigrants. Despite departing during the beginning of a civil war, we were in fact immigrants, given that my family and I left the country out of our own will without being forced, and primarily due to my father’s promotion with a Yugoslav (later Croatian) company. As the area between the Croatian capital, Zagreb, and my hometown of Rijeka had become unsafe for traveling (due to the beginning of unrest), we departed by car, through Slovenia (which months earlier had also declared independence from the Yugoslav republic, and still had road blocks erected throughout the 10 mile border separating Croatia from Italy) and into Trieste, Italy. From there we flew to Frankfurt, Germany to what would be my home for just about eight years, Caracas, Venezuela.

On a stroll with my father along the harbor by downtown Rijeka, Croatia (then-Yugoslavia).

We would then move from Venezuela following the election of President Hugo Chavez, as the situation in the country slowly began to deteriorate. This move would lead us to finally coming to the United States, with our first stop being Annapolis, Maryland. This is where the story about my family’s ordeal begins.

Flying in a four-seater plane we rented; by the Angel Falls (the tallest waterfall in the world) in Venezuela.

During a trip on the Orinoco River, in Venezuela.

After officially obtaining a job with an American shipping company (an industry my father is specialized in) in Annapolis, my parents decided that they wanted to begin the process for obtaining a Green Card. A Green Card is a visa status that indicates an individual(s) hold permanent resident status within the United States. It is the first step prior to applying for U.S. citizenship, which is if the individual(s) chooses to do so. There are varying forms of Green Cards including: Green Card through Family; Green Card through Job; Green Card through Refugee or Asylum Status; and other more specialized Green Card status’. The Green Card through Family applied to my mother and me, given that I was still a minor and my mother was not working, and the Green Card through Job applied to my father. The visa status given to my mother and I is better known as the H-4 Visa (or visa that is handed to direct family members, such as the spouse and children under 21 years of age, who accompanies an H-1B holder) and my father’s given visa status is better known as the H-1B Visa.


By definition, an H-1B status, “allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations… The regulations define a specialty occupation as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, biotechnology, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum (with the exception of fashion models, who must be of distinguished merit and ability).”
The way the process worked was, if the H-1B holder got approved for a Green Card (after the 2-3 year process) the direct family would get a Green Card together with that individual. However, due to pre-existing financial troubles with this U.S. company and a bitter feud over a military contract with a Canadian company, which also involved the Canadian government, and ended with the Royal Canadian Navy storming the U.S. company’s ship in international waters just outside of Canada (and the Russian captain of the ship sending out an emergency call saying that he was being boarded by “pirates”), we all soon left Annapolis for New Orleans, Louisiana.

AP photo of the Royal Canadian Navy boarding the GTS Katie.

While my father would begin working in New Orleans for another U.S.-based shipping company following our short-lived stay of one and a half years in Annapolis, we would also experience our first bump on the road in terms of the U.S. immigration process. While it used to take only 2-3 years to complete the Green Card application, what our new lawyer in New Orleans would explain to us is that, when an H1-B holder leaves the former sponsoring company to begin working at a new sponsoring company, the entire process starts all over again. In the years to come though, rather than getting any easier, our immigration story would continue to get even more complicated…

********

Introduction to My Immigration Story | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

If you would like to learn more about Vox Culture and see how it has connected the Houston community to social causes in creative ways, "Like" their FaceBook page. A sponsor will donate $1 to the organization's Vision Fund for every fan.




Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mini Project REVEAL

Good Morning!!!
Y'all I am beyond exhausted!
Redbull + me = besties.
But life is good. I hope to update you soon. I know that one of my goals for this year was to blog and document more, but sometimes you just need to live in the moment. =)
Today. It's about fashion. In December I was a part of The Messy Project. Today, I'm a part of the very first round of The MINI Project!
What is The MINI Project Celia?!?!?!
Oh well, I am glad you asked!
The MINI Project focuses on accessories.
Anything from tights, headbands, scarfs, sunglasses, gloves, hats, shoes...
You'd be amazed how much a simple addition of an accessory can change an outfit.


Messy Mini Project










 
The Deal

1 Accessory

4 Girls

4 Different Styles

1 Major Blog Day
 

The January Accessory: Scarf







I decided to go with a work appropriate outfit. I actually plan on wearing this outfit next week when I have a lunch meeting. I think the scarf brings color, and a little girly touch to a professional outfit.

Here is what I paired with my scarf:
Victoria Secret Button Down
Old Navy Spaghetti Strap
Black Professional Pants
Birds on a Branch Necklace from Eloping Designs 

Now, visit my partners!!!

Michael @ Crazy, Tragic Almost Magic
Brandi @ Brooklyn State of Mind
and the Queen Bee herself
Kelly @ Messy.Dirty.Hair

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vox Culture: Winding Road: My Own Immigration Story

In 2013 I will be more involved with Vox Culture and I am so excited! Do you remember when I told you about them here?

I admit, I grew up really sheltered. It has/had its perks, but I don't want to walk around with blinders on. I want to know what is going on around me, and if I can, I want to help. I learned last year about farming, and I learned about the human trafficking problem in Houston. The first trimester this year the focus is on Immigration. I usually hear immigration on TV or the radio and immediately change the channel. I know its going to turn into some type of political debate and I don't feel like watching people argue when I could be watching Criminal Minds, baking, or trying some type of craft project that will turn into a failure.

This month Viktor Kopic from Vox Culture will join this little blog of mine and tell his immigration story. I hope to learn something from his story, and I hope that you will too.

Please give a warm welcome to Viktor and lets get started:


Over the month on January, I will be posting a three-part series of weekly blogs meant to introduce the audience to the issue our first trimester of 2013 will be focusing on, immigration. The series of blogs are a personal glimpse to my story as an immigrant to the United States, which some of you reading this might share as well. While there are many reasons why I took the time to write this series of blogs, none of them have anything to do with looking for self pity and are not intended for pushing any sort of political agenda.

If anything, this series of blogs is to raise awareness amongst you all of how the issue of immigration is not black and white, as many of us are led to believe… there’s a large grey area that most do not know about and I and my family are just one of the many of existing cases that are affected by this large grey clout. The process of applying for a legal status, citizenship, and the like, within the U.S. does not just involve a sheet of paper or a stamp saying whether you have been approved or denied. It is a long and tedious process involving lawyers, numerous documents, and potentially large expenses, that can take years to complete and can have serious hurdles and effects on individuals and entire families. The issue of immigration has long been held hostage by political bickering and while certain efforts have been made to reform and tackle the issue, immigration has remained a taboo subject in what is ironically a nation mostly MADE of immigrants.

If I were to give my main reason as to why I wrote these blogs it's because I wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone of the human side of this topic, which in a period of ideological divisions, many people have either forgotten about or chosen to ignore. While certain points and views will become clearer once the upcoming blogs are posted on the Vox website and on Facebook, the following should be seen as a summary of what to expect, hear more of, as well as my general opinion of the overall immigrant experience from my eyes.
         
  


If I could sum up my experience in the U.S. so far in one word, I do not believe it would be one that would be appropriate from a professional stance. While many immigrants do go through the process without any problems and are able to live their lives normally, I would have to say that I have not had that luxury. While I do consider myself fortunate in so many other ways (having food, shelter, etc), when it comes to aspects such as having the freedom to choose where you want to work and what you want to pursue, the freedom to fly and go where you want without facing the possibility of being detained and questioned, or the ability to just be yourself without having to pose the question “Am I allowed to do this? Or will I be breaking the law?” are just some of the things I have had to endure or live without.

 

Docked at a port and learning "how to sweep", during my days sailing on the ship with my father. 

In big part, because of the existing immigration system (and also thanks to what were supposed to be “excellent” lawyers), I’ve not been back “home” in just over a decade nor have been able to leave the country for nearly the last five years. The reason that I put “home” in quotes is because in fact, while I was born in Croatia, my entire life I’ve spent travelling and living abroad; on top of the fact that I have now literally lived over half of my life in the United States.

  
With my mother in the water during some beach-time in Croatia, then-Yugoslavia.

The only home I have really ever known has been my family. In what is supposed to be the “land of the free” I have found myself imprisoned within these borders with my fate, and that of my family, out of our hands and out of our control. While it might not be a “big deal” to some, I’ve missed one of my cousin’s weddings and haven’t had the chance to get acquainted with many other of my relatives (given that the last time I’ve really hung out with any of them I was a child).

 

With some of my cousins in Mauritius, I'm on the top step.

The most personal however has always been not being able to attend my grandfather’s funeral. Had I left the U.S. and tried to come back with my current status, I would likely be questioned, be treated as a suspect, been seen as violating my status, and likely be officially kicked out; because again, the system only sees the world in black and white.


(Top Right) Sitting on my grandfather's lap during my 1 year old birthday celebration, having my first sip of beer... a tradition going back generations in my family. (Bottom Right) Among the last pictures of my grandfather and grandmother together, before he passed away. 

In sum, the current system and the issues of immigration that have come up for me have put numerous road blocks in my life, taken away golden opportunities, slowed down other aspects I once had planned, destroyed friendships and relationships, and has also been a tool for others to use against me for their own professional advantage. While by this point you are probably thinking that the upcoming blogs will be “Debbie Downer”-ish as it gets, I’d say you’re probably right, but it is a picture of the reality many others such as my family face in this country.

Despite this, while I may have lost many things along the way, I have gained so much more as well – such as appreciating everyday life and the individuals I meet along the way. In many ways, while in the short term I may have been weakened before, I feel stronger and more determined now more than ever, because at the end of the day I have learned that these bumps are exactly what they are… bumps; but it is a bump worth knowing about and asking questions of how to fix it. The U.S. immigration system can be fixed; it just takes the will, determination and the power of voice to do so.


































**
I haven't known Viktor very long, but I didn't have a clue that he was an immigrant. I'm looking forward to hearing more about his story! 

Are you an immigrant? Do you have a similar experience to Viktor? Please feel free to comment and ask any questions that you may have for Viktor. 

Introduction to My Immigration Story | Part 1 | Part 2 (Coming Jan. 23rd ) | Part 3 (Coming January 30th)

Do not, under any circumstances start a political war on this blog - your comment will be deleted.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The unSimply Life V.4

Question. Do you like these little updates with photos that I post? I'm trying to decide if I like them... Hmmm.

Anywhoodle. Here are some mini updates on my life.
 
Row 1 (L-R)
  • I've become obsessed with Gingerbread hot chocolate.
  • Our kitty, Angel, loves his furdad so much. 
  • Some days, a Red Bull is needed! 
  • We bought all new Calphalon cookware with wedding money. 
 Row 2 (L-R)
  • You can buy cats all kinds of new toys, but usually a big box will do. 
  • Our company put on their annual Pool Tournament and we all had a blast. 
  • I can not tell you how much I love to cook!
  • Playing in the leaves with the inlaws dog makes me want to buy our next house like, tomorrow so we can get a rescue German Shepherd. 
Row 3 (L-R)
  • Sporting my #FitFluential gear while running, lifting, working. 
  • Homemade Avacado Cheeseburger. If I could I think I would eat this every day! (Recipe soon) 
  • Eyelashes. I had a bad habit not so long ago of picking at my eyelashes. They became so thin. It is nice to see them starting to fill out again! 
  • Sometimes Fridays are my Starbucks days! 
Row 4 (L-R)
  • The Mister bought me my first ever Coach purse! 
  • We renovated our closet doubling our clothing space while opening up the closet making it less cluttered. 
  • Most mornings I wake up to kitties in my face! 
  • Baking is a love of mine. I love baking my family's Cheesecakes. =)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year, friends! 

Yesterday we had big plans to celebrate my birthday and the new year at a local winery. Mykie has been sick so we decided to stay in. We rang in the New Year watching a Criminal Minds marathon. Party animals right here! I'm kinda glad we didn't go out, the weather here was disgusting AND they cancelled the fireworks for my hometown because of the fog. 


 During our stay in I was also able to think about this little blog of mine. I busted my blogging planner back out and I feel it is going to be a great way to keep myself on track. And to be sure I'm promoting my swapping partners that are over there ---> Be sure to click all their pretty buttons! Mkay? =)

This morning, well nearly afternoon I started my day out with some Starbucks and then realized my balance is super low. =( Feel free to send me some egift cards. You know, to show me how much you love me. ;)



Remember how part of my goals for 2013 is to document our lives more? Going through our 2012 photos I realized how little of photos I took. I want to make sure that I have tons of moments for our children to look back on. I want to have stuff to pass on to them. You don't realize how important little things like this are until you don't have them...

So, today is January 1 and the lovely Fat Mum Slim is still going strong with her Photo A Day challenge for all of us!!! I'm so thankful for this. Visit her blog post here for all the details! 

Hope you all have a GREAT New Year. They say how you spend today reflects the rest of your year... I don't know how true that is, but I'm glad I'll be spending my day with my husband, the furkids, and my parents. 

If you would like a custom blog planner of your own contact Carly from Texas Love Birds. Tell her I sent ya! :)