A Full Life

Oh hey Strangers. It feels like eternity since I showed my face around here, which is probably a good thing in all honesty because I have been a real nut case these past few weeks and there is no telling what could have come out. Suffice it to say my life is as full as it has ever been, and that is really saying something.

Since you haven’t heard from me in a while, here is a small life update so you can see what the heck I’ve been up to lately.

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My cousin got married which meant I danced my face off with my fiance and family. I hear there is some video evidence of me eating a cheeseburger (ew) at midnight on a trolley afterward…God bless the iPhone. Sike. It was a great time though.

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I threw a bridal shower at House of White for my future sister-in-law. The space had no tables to sit at, and I wasn’t about to pay to rent tables, so obviously I borrowed them from work. I drove around with those tables taking up my entire car for at least 3 days. Awesome. The shower its self was beautiful and I can’t wait to share more photos of it with you! But that post will be much more time consuming so you’ll have to wait, sorry.

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I’ve done a lot of pool lounging too. Sorry I’m not sorry for that one.

godparents

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My first godson, Griffin was born! How cute is the way my bestie asked the fiance and I? He is literally the most perfect, beautiful, tiny baby I have ever seen. But I may be biased because I love him to the moon and back already. Actually, can we get this day over with already so I can go see them? Thanks.

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We closed on and got possession of our house! After the shower, this has been the biggest free-time time-suck. But she is sparkling clean, completely painted, and ready for me to move in this coming weekend. I can wait to show you more of the house but um, house photography is HARD so I can’t say it will be pretty.

Next up is moving, cheer camp, and throwing a bachelorette party in Louisville not this weekend, but the next! So much fun, so little time to blog.

Hope you all are well! I miss you all so much.

Barely Made It

Oh hey guys. Look who finally showed her face. My life is a complete whirlwind right now (sorry I’m not sorry if you are tired of hearing that) and I’m really trying to be present in the moment to soak it all up. I’m loving it, but it does make blogging regularly more difficult. We are heading out of town this weekend to kick off our crazy wedding season (Oh, just kidding we went to one last weekend. But they didn’t serve alcohol sooo…does it count?) and I can not WAIT. My family is a freaking blast (toot toot) and I am ready to paaar-TAY. Name that movie.

Now that I have rambled enough that you all know it’s really me back here, let’s get to it. Here are a few things that I have been loving this week.

1. This shirt from IWYP by Whitney Ellen (Click here to order)iwyp

By now you must know how deep my love for Whitney is. If you don’t know this it’s safe to say this is the first time you have read a post this blog. Anyways, my girl has an awesome t-shirt line with a new design every month. If you have been waiting for the right one to come along, this is your month. This is literally the softest, most comfortable shirt I have ever put on my body. Bonus, it’s funny, duh. I like to be real contradictive (which they are telling me is not a word, but it’s Friday I’ll do what I want) and wear this tank while I’m actually doing cardio. Boom.

So by now you are surely thinking you need to order one, and you better get on it because these babies are limited edition and orders close Monday night.

…Please don’t make me explain why I am doing an awkward cheer pose in this picture because I really don’t know. My arms look best in this one, sue me.

2. Quality time with some of my favorite people

zoodayTheir mom calls it “babysitting” but going on adventures with these four people is 100% fun in my book. Have I mentioned I like kids more than I like most adults?

P.S. There was a huge sign saying “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS” just outside the frame of this picture. I’m a great rule-enforcer. Their mom would be so proud.

3. True Blood
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Yeah, so True Blood is another reason I’ve been MIA this week. The fiance and I are obsessed but I’m cheap and won’t pay for HBO so we have to wait for it to come out on DVD. But watching it on DVD means you can binge and watch it all in one week. I almost gave up on True Blood after Season Five but this season was much MUCH better.

4. Starting my day with Bikini Yoga from Tone It Up
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I’ve been trying to get back in the habit of, oh I don’t know, getting out of my bed when my alarm goes off. Revolutionary, I know. Grabbing my computer, phone, or book has become my norm but then my bed sucks me in and I stay there long after I should. I’ve been trying to ease myself into a morning workout routine by doing this 20 minute yoga flow every day this week. It’s definitely more of a work out than a stretch.

5. Lusting over this necklace from Kendra Scott
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Shanna wears this necklace constantly, and I’ve decided I need one immediately. Now if someone would send me an extra $100 so I could afford it, that would be greatly appreciated. Cash or Pay Pal preferred.

Just kidding. If someone gave me an extra $100 right now I’d use it on paint for the house I’m currently purchasing. Because WHY IS PAINT SO EXPENSIVE?

That’s about enough I think. If you’ve ever been just DYING to visit Northern Indiana make sure to follow me on Instagram this weekend!

Meet At The BarreTHE GOOD LIFE BLOG
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Summer Bucket List

I think you all know by now how much I love a good list. Especially when said list challenges me to do more, live more and be more intentional with my time. I feel like this is even more important as I approach what shall be referred to as “the busiest, most wonderful summer of my life” from this point forward. So for that reason and for the reason that one of my most favorite bloggers of all time made this a link up, today I’m sharing with you my Summer Bucket List. Some of these things are already planned but I am going to find time to fit the other smaller stuff into my schedule. I will, I will, I WILL.

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Finish a 10k training program once and for all…I’ve lost count on what number attempt this is. Five? Eight?

Get married, move into our house…and make that house our home. So ready for this one. SO. READY.

Throw a kick ass shower and bachelorette party for my bestie/roomie/future sister-in-law.

Create an outdoor space that I love…much like this one if I’m lucky. I can not wait to be sitting on our patio, drink and book in hand.
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image found here.

Go to one of the three awesome farmer’s markets in my town at least twice a month.

Meet Griffin…can not wait to love on this little man. Five more weeks!!

Go on my first blate with Meg, Melissa, Amanda, Kay and Caroline

Go to as many baseball games as possible…because it is where the fiance is the most happy.
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Make tons of memories with my family, old friends and new friends at the 118435 weddings we will attend…ok four.

Spend every moment of sunny free time by the pool.

Do an outfit post once a week on this here blog…I’ve got some great outfits but almost zero motivation to take photos of myself.

Drink all the margaritas…this was a FROZEN STRAWBERITA at Busch Stadium. God bless St Louis.
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Get to know my new cheerleaders and have a blast at our cheer camp.

Read…like a lot.

Finally get around to some of these DIYS…now that I have a whole house to fill I have all the reasons to stop putting them off.

Let’s end on a sappy one because why not…soak up all the memories (and take more pictures!!) of “the busiest, most wonderful summer of my life.”

 

My Favorite Books of All Time

 

alltimeI’ve been a book girl all my life. If I were to really sit down and calculate how many doll hairs I have spent on books in my life, I’m pretty sure I would see a number close to the mortgage I just took out on our house. In middle school/high school I would stay home “sick” from school and read all day long instead of watching TV or catching up on sleep. Call me a nerd or whatever but I love reading and will read just about anything as long as it is not overly sad. Don’t even attempt to suggest I read The Fault in Our Stars or anything by Jodi Picoult because it’s going to happen. I made the mistake of reading My Sister’s Keeper over vacation one year and it was the most depressing vacation of my life. I’m very sensitive to other people’s pain and it effects me A LOT. Which my fiance informed me last night was basically stupid because “these people aren’t real.” He’s so sweet. Also, can we talk about that book everyone was reading (A Child Called It maybe?) which was a memoir about this guys abusive childhood? I mean…call me selfish but that is not what I want to be thinking about before I go to bed. Heartbreaking.

Anyhoo, on top of being a book girl, I am more specifically a series girl. So today I’m going to share with you my a few of my favorite books series of all time. I have read each of these at least three times from start to finish. So…take what you want from that about my amount of free time and how it is spent and judge away.

1. The Harry Potter Series

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In my shallow humble opinion, there are two kind of Harry Potter fans. Movie fans (like the fiance) and book fans who have had their heart and soul invested in this young boy’s life since 1997. For those of you who are mathematically challenged (me) and don’t have a calculator around like I do, that is 17 years. Almost two-thirds of my life. I have read this series from start to finish at least 4 times and just started at book one again last week. #noshame

2. The Shopaholic Series

sophiekinsella_confessionsofashopaholic_small1Another British author, obviously. (<– That’s a gem of a post if you are newer here BTW). If you are even a remote fan of “chick lit” you have to give this series a try. It’s very shallow to be honest, but as I mentioned before shallow is how I like my entertainment. This series is literally about a girl who is running away from her credit card debt, then luckily marries a rich guy but it is LOL funny. The next installment is coming out in October and I about peed my pants with excitement when I got the alert from Amazon. P.S. Sophie Kinsella is by far my favorite author and she has a bunch of non-series books that are mostly all great.

3. The Bride Quartet Series

bride-quartet-by-nora-robertsIf you would have told me three years ago I would be reading and ahem, love books by Nora Roberts, I would have said “you cray” but guys I really love this series. It’s about four friends who all run a different aspect of this wedding planning business and how they each fall in love.  I really thought Nora Roberts wrote books for people my grandma’s age but that is so wrong. I have really liked several series from her, this one is above and beyond my favorite. I thought I would want to read this series again as I was planning my own wedding but it turns out that I am really sick of talking about weddings in my free time, so maybe next year.

4. The Gossip Girl Series

GOSSIP-GIRL-BOOKS-books-to-read-1432949-640-333I actually lived and breathed for this series when I was in high school. I kid you not I think I had a count down in my agenda book a few times for GG book releases. So obviously, saying I was obsessed would be the understatement of the century. I’d read them again right now if I wouldn’t have sold them while in a desperate money situation in college. TAKE ME AWAY FROM MY BORING INDIANA TOWN GOSSIP GIRL. TAKE ME AWAY. The show was way different from the books, BTW.

Do you guys have any series that you love? I’d love to hear about them!

It Doesn’t Define Me

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I really love that quote. I stumbled upon it a few months ago (on Pinterest, surely) and as soon as I saw it I thought “Yes. DVF gets me. I always knew I liked her” and I shared it on various social media platforms immediately. Another prime example of someone saying something in two sentences that it will take me a whole blog to get across.

My whole life I have struggled with the fact that I have never really had a career goal that to defined myself by. I have worked since I was 14 years old, many years with multiple jobs so I think you would be wrong to assume I’m lazy or unmotivated. I my humble opinion, I think that this is a very sad place that we have come to in our society; expecting people to make their career their number one life goal. Don’t get me wrong, if you passionately love being a doctor (or whatever) and you have known since age 8 that that is what you were called to do with your life, more power to you. But the idea that every one should define themselves that way seems asinine to me because in other situation, any logical human knows that we all have different lifestyles and beliefs and that’s completely ok.

I can count on one hand the people I know who have figured out exactly what they want to “do” for the rest of their lives. Most of us are just out here trying to keep our heads above water praying that we find a job that pays the bills (any maybe a little more) but also doesn’t make us want to curse excessively on the daily. I completely fall into this category and freely admit it, which causes A LOT of people to judge me. Outwardly.

I am not (usually) ashamed to say that I have no major career goals. I have never defined myself by my job, but I do try every day to be the best employee, fiance, sister, daughter, and friend that I can possibly be. That is how I want to be defined; by the person that I am and how I treat people, not what I do to pay my mortgage. Because you know, I have one of those now :)

No doubt some of you out there have to feel frustrated in the same way, so maybe when we are all getting to know each other we can start with something besides “what do you do for a living?” Because that is easily the lamest ice breaker ever, people. I’d rather know we can talk about anything else on earth before I want to talk about how you pay your bills. Like maybe the Real Housewives of Where Ever, duh. I could talk about them all day, erryday.

 

 

I’m Baaaack – But The Last Two Weeks Are a Blur

Well, it’s been over two weeks since I showed my face in this little place of mine. Turns out combining your birthday week with the two busiest work weeks of your year, throwing in cheer try outs and oh, I don’t know purchasing your first home will leave you with little time for blogging. Whowouldathought.

To be fair, I’ve done a lot of actual living the last few weeks as well. So to ease back into things today I thought I’d give you a quick list of everything I have done or accomplished over the last few weeks. Just to give you a small, deeper peek into my crazy life. (Obviously, there are no pictures because I am the worst lifestyle blogger, ever.)

  • Worked. A lot. Like coordinated 26 field trips a lot. Like wrote a business plan and proposal for the land our business sits on a lot. Like attended countless meetings about said proposal. Not to mention all of my regular duties that keep the place running smoothly from day to day. I’m telling you, it was nuts and I’m extremely glad both of those things are just about over.
  • Turned 26. That’s right, that happened and most of you forgot, so thanks. Except I probably never told you, so I guess I should let you off the hook. Anyways, being an almost-married 26 year old from a divorced family, means your birthday is essentially a week-long event which is fine, obviously.
  • Worked through endless amounts of house drama. I only call it drama because I am, in fact, dramatic. It’s been pretty normal stuff like inspections, inspection negotiations with the current owners, filling out and giving endless amounts of paperwork to our mortgage lender (seriously DOES IT EVER END), and figuring out our homeowner’s insurance. It’s been a little overwhelming to say the least, but it will all be worth it in the end, duh.
  • Had cheer try outs for the middle school team I coach. Right around 50 girls came for two days of clinics and a day of try outs. So much fun but again, a lot of work.
  • Did lots of actually fun stuff. Items include: Planning a bridal shower, had an anniversary party for my wonderful Grandfather who has been practicing architecture in our town for 50 years, watched my little brothers play baseball, went to my favorite wine festival of the entire year, watched my littlest sister graduate from the 8th grade, attended my bestie’s baby shower, met a fabulous friend for drinks and some blog colab talk and probably about 50 other fun things I’ve already forgotten.

So see, it hasn’t been all work and no play. However, saying that I needed this three day weekend is about as obvious as saying I needed a Limarita every night the last two weeks.

Now, on to the interesting stuff. Have you all checked out my pretty friend Amanda from Marry Mint? Oh sorry, not only is she pretty but she is hilarious. Pretty, hilarious, with a beautiful daughter and a husband who says silly things she then makes fun of on her blog. THAT, my friends, I can totally appreciate. Between sharing her love for all things beautiful with her wish lists, encouraging us to set weekly goals with her Hopes & Plans link-up, she shares her journey with cancer in a really relate able way. Seriously, go show her some love! You will not be disappointed.

Marry Mint Collage

Friday Things – Purchases Edition

I’m pretty sure this was the fastest week of my life. Buying a house is stressful and wonderful and THERE IS JUST SO MUCH TO DO. Pray for me, because I don’t think I will have any friends left by the time I am a homeowner if I continue on the anxiety ridden path I was lost on yesterday.

Two classic Rachel things happen when I am stressed out. Those things are eating and shopping. Please also pray that I might be able to fit in my wedding dress when it arrives next month, and that we will still have money in the bank by the time we write the check for our down payment. Since I am far too ashamed to actually admit everything I put in my mouth hole, I thought I wold share with you five purchases I made this week.

1. Brooks Glycerin 11
I have needed new running shoes since in the beginning of winter. I limped through with a pair my mom bought for herself and didn’t like after a few wears, but it was time for a pair fitted to match my foot/run. So excited to get in these babies this weekend.  
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2. Tassel Bracelet from StyleThisLife Etsy Shop
Love this girl’s stuff, especially these tassel bracelets. You can get a million different colors of tassels and change them based on your outfit.
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3. This Romper and These Wedges from Forever 21.
I’ve been looking for black wedges for a while and had to spend $50 to get free shipping. Whatever.

Forever Collage

4. Stitch Fix Top
I came home to my fourth Stitch Fix last night. I was a little disappointed with everything else in the box, but as soon as I saw the pattern on this top I new I was to be mine.stitch fix top

5. This Rachel Roy Tank and This Bar III Swim Suit Cover Up
It was Friends and Family with the fiance’s additional employee discount. Sue me. For real though I’m obsessed with these and spotty-patterns in general, obviously.
all the patterns

Like I said, send help. Luckily, it’s supposed to rain and storm all weekend so I doubt I will want to leave the house at all. But I guess I did make most of these purchases online so…

 

Skinny French Onion Dip + popchips

This post is sponsored by popchips but all opinions are my own. I made this recipe on Easter and served it with veggies and popchips. I’ll give you one guess as to which was gone first. Click here for a coupon $.55 off your next bag.frenchoniondipheader

Even though my last recipe post was a sweet snack, salty is really what does it for me. I discovered this recipe last summer when I was planning the food for a bachelorette party I was throwing, and while I really liked it,  I thought the sourness of the Greek yogurt (AKA what makes it “skinny”) was overpowering. I’ve made it a few times since then and found some tweaks that make it juuust right.

Disclaimer: This is not a simple, throw it together at the last minute the morning of your party recipe. You really have to be a dedicated (also know as a snob) chip dip connoisseur to really appreciate the time put into this dip. But I’m telling you, IT’S WORTH IT.

Here’s what you need:

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  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 12 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (plus a little extra)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Here’s what you do with it:
1. Chop your onions into bite sized pieces. Use the fact that onions produce tears to cover up the fact you are actually crying because you just turned down 1/2 price Chipotle. 
2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add beef broth, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and 1/4 of the garlic powder to the skillet. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. This is where it gets thick quick, but don’t give up, you can do this. Cook the onions for about 30-40 minutes over medium heat until they are brown and super soft. They will basically go from this…to this.

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That brown-ness is deliciousness, amen.

3. While the onions cool. Combine the yogurt, cream cheese, remaining garlic powder and about a tablespoon (6 “shakes” if that’s more your thing) Worcestershire sauce. Once the onions are cool, fold them in to this mixture.
4. Leave it in the fridge over night and let all those yummy flavors combine and co-mingle.

popchips

These babies are the real star of the show today. Obviously, since we are eating “skinny” dip, we need a healthier chip option to make it worth our while. popchips are literally slices of potatoes that are “popped” with heat and pressure. No frying or baking at all. Plus, they have tons of flavors (salt and vinegar being my personal favorite) if you need a little something extra. popchips really are delicious and give me everything I ever need, want and love in a regular chip. Like I said, I made this dip on Easter (before they contacted me) and grabbed some popchips as an after thought of my veggies. Let’s just say, one bag was not enough for my family and I’ve been hooked ever since.

To celebrate popchips’ new bags with 15% more chips (at no extra cost what?!), they are giving away a $250 date night and a months supply of popchips to SIX people every week for the next few weeks. One winner will win a $500 date night! You can’t win if you don’t enter so make sure do to that here. When you enter, you automatically get a $.55 coupon to use on your next bag of popchips.

I Bought a House While I Was On My Period

Maybe “agreed to buy a house on my period” would be more accurate because well, no money has been given yet. Also by “I” I mean “we.” Details, details.

But yes, we did it! Yesterday we accepted an offer on a home we fell absolutely in love with over the weekend. Obviously we still have a long way to go with inspections and everything else, but it’s crazy to think that we will be probably be homeowners within the next sixty days.

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This is my first time at the home-buying rodeo but let me offer you just a tiny amount of advice here: Don’t house hunt while you are on your period. If you have been looking for several months (like us) just take the weekend off. Because, if you are as lucky of a human as I am, you will fall in love with a house that meets all your realistic hopes and dreams that weekend and then you will have to immediately begin the home buying process in order to not lose said house to another buyer. As mentioned yesterday, this process is already naturally filled with high and low moments so just trust me on this one, DO NOT add in the hormonal stress to your body by being on your period. If you are so silly as to not heed my advice the next 72 hours of your life will look something like this…

Sunday

“Ugh, I’m tired from working until 3 AM last night. Do I really have to do this today?”

“Gosh, what a beautiful day for house hunting!”

Walks in the front door of house. “Wow, this has every single thing we have said we could (realistically) want in a house plus a mudroom. I’m a 25 year old blogger. Obviously, I’m dying for a mudroom!”

“This house is too good to be true. I’m never this lucky.”

“No fiance, I don’t think we should make an offer. It’s at the very top end of our budget for goodness sake and I think we should head right to the nearest Mexican restaurant and spend all of our money on chips and queso.”

Goes back to house with fiance’s mom and sister. “Fiance, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR I NEED THIS HOUSE AND I NEED IT NOW.”

“Ok, let’s go make an offer. We can always back out if it comes to a point we aren’t comfortable with.”

“WE LOSE HOW MUCH MONEY IF THIS COMES TO A POINT WE AREN’T COMFORTABLE WITH?!”

As I’m signing the offer papers. “What are we doing? We were just looking around. We still have so much time before the wedding! Every single weekend of our summer is booked! We don’t have time to move! We have no furniture! We have to pay for the wedding! WHAT DID I JUST DO?”

“If this is what’s meant to be, it will be. If not, it won’t and we will find something else.”

“If they don’t tell me this house is mine soon I will die of anxiety.”

“I knew it was good to be true. I’m never this lucky”

Monday

“Alright. We expected them to counter. Here is our counter-counter offer. we adore this house and it shall be ours.”

“If this is what’s meant to be, it will be. If not, it won’t and we will find something else.”

“They don’t want to respond? Well I don’t want their stupid house any more!”

“Why aren’t they responding? Did someone else put an offer on it? Why are we arguing over measly amounts of money when we are spending so much?”

“Give me all the margaritas. I need to drown my sorrows.”

“No for real though, WHY AREN’T THEY RESPONDING? I can not go on without this house in my life. Moreover, why isn’t the fiance responding to my texts? He can’t die on me now. I CAN NOT AFFORD THIS HOUSE ON MY OWN.”

“My fiance is dead and someone else bought the house of my dreams. What a crap day.”

“I knew this was too good to be true. I’m never this lucky.”

Tuesday

“So now you want to answer! You aren’t going to budge at all really, huh? What a freaking jerk. They know how much we love this house and are trying to take us for all we are worth!”

“Ok, we’ll buy it.”

“ALL THE EXCITEMENT AND WONDER AND FEELINGS OF BEING THE MOST BLESSED PEOPLE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.”

Our Realtor adds 7492314 things to my to do list. (Let us remember how out of control it already was yesterday.) “Seriously, what did I just do to myself.”

“This is still too good to be true. I’m never this lucky.”

To be fair, I really am a basket case like this when I’m not on my period. The dramatics and emotions are just amplified tenfold. In all seriousness there are still times of doubt, anxiety and peace but mostly just feelings of gratefulness. I am so grateful and blessed by what has been happening in our live’s the last few months that I feel like it’s going to slip away and turn to crap any day now. But for now, I will focus on rejoicing in these happy times that make the last hard, seven years fade into the background.

 

Blue and White

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I wore this outfit this weekend while we did some house hunting. House hunting is also why this post (any probably many more over the next few months) is going to be short and sweet. House hunting quite possibly could be the most emotionally draining thing I have ever done. Your emotions are up when you find the “perfect” house, then they crash with disappointment. Then they are up and down again while you wait some more, and don’t even get me started on the “Holy crap. This feels like a bigger commitment than marriage right now” feelings. Please note that I have had 5 years to get used to the idea of the fiance, so maybe I’ll feel completely ready to buy a house in 5 years? Fingers crossed.

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I’m going to be 26 in nine days. Can someone tell me when adulthood formally kicks in? I always thought being an adult meant having your shit together, but today I wrote out separate to do lists for four different areas of my life (work, blog, cheer, wedding) and realized I do not in fact have ANY aspect of my life under control. This is a hard realization for a control freak, friends. Send help.

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Is this thing still on? Bless you if you have made it this far. My final ramble: I can’t believe I’m putting pictures of myself wearing shorts out there like this. My thighs are definitely my biggest problem area and biggest body insecurity. I can keep my stomach pretty flat, or get it that way within a week by eating well, but my thighs never seem to go away! Granted, I make a pretty minimal effort to watch what I eat and don’t see my margarita habit going any where any time soon. Still, flaunting your flaws is about the most uncomfortable thing, ever.

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Earrings // Kate Spade
Top // Single Thread Boutique
Necklace // Francesca’s
Shorts // Old Navy (On Sale!)
Wedges // Charlotte Russe