Totally Truthful Thursday

// Cory and I are always looking for ways to save money. We love saving money. After reviewing our budget for 2015, we realized we could get by with cutting out cable and simply paying for Netflix and Hulu [plus another thing that I can’t remember the name of, but it’ll allow Cory to watch football. Awesome.] Edit to add: It’s called Sling TV!

Anyway, we’ll be saving about $100 each month. Hell yes. That said, it means we’re getting rid of our DVR. [Cue: heart palpitations.] While I can watch all my trashy shows on Hulu or Netflix, we’ll be losing our recording of our House Hunters episode! It used to be available online, but now it’s not, and I’m kind of sad.

HH

 

// Not that my life completely revolves around television (just in the winter) but have you seen TransparentIt’s such an honest, heartbreaking, comical show and my only complaints are that they episodes are 30 minutes long and the second season probably won’t be available until I have a toddler.

// I had a realization the other day: some people eat the tip of the banana. I, certainly, am not one of them. Oh, gross. No, no, no.

// I’ve reached the stage in pregnancy where I believe Mother Nature is preparing me for sleepless nights. I kid you not when I say I’m up every 60 to 90 minutes to pee. I cried the other night (morning) around 2:30am because I was just so fucking tired. You know that feeling, right?

tweet

// Do you ever spend way too much time looking at [read: critiquing] yourself in front of the mirror? Like, you get your face right up to the mirror, closer than it would ever be with any human being, and fret about what you see? It’s not healthy, but it happens.

// My fingers are swelling, so I took off my claddagh ring and my wedding rings. I’ve worn that claddagh every day of my life since fifth grade, and I never take off my wedding rings. Thus, I feel totally naked.

// I’m implementing this “novel” idea of asking for what I want. Like, no mind games or passive aggressive bull shit. Straight up saying: I want X. and seeing where it gets me. [So far, so good.]

 // Honestly, I can’t wait for it to be Friday at 5pm. I am so over this week.

5 Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

I don’t consider myself to be a subject matter expert on anything. I’m constantly making mistakes, learning from them, and attempting to figure things out. I tend to shy away from spouting out advice unless it’s specifically requested, (although I’m certain my younger brother would disagree with this) but there are some topics I really enjoy talking about.

Marriage (or relationships in general) is one of them.

I’ve said it before, but I think the cornerstone of any successful relationship is communication, hands down. Here are the 5 conversations I think you should be having before you get married.

conversations

Religion

  • Is it important to both of you? Only one of you?
  • What are your expectations of the role religion will play in your marriage?
  • How will religion play a role in the lives of your future children?
    • I knew a couple who broke off their engagement because come to find out, she wanted to raise her kids Catholic, and he was adamantly against that. I didn’t think it was possible to make it that far in a relationship without having that conversation, but I was dead wrong. It happens all the time. 

Finances

When you marry someone, you marry their debt.

  • Do either of you have debt?
    • How much? And what from? (i.e. student loans vs. frivolous credit card usage)
  • What are your credit scores?
  • What are your savings expectations as a couple?
    • (Please have savings expectations.) 
  • Will you merge bank accounts? (If so, when?)
  • Who will handle paying the bills?
    • What will each of your paychecks cover? (This may change over time due to promotions, job changes, etc., but you need to know where you’re at now.)

I know this is, like, the most unromantic topic to discuss, but you’re kidding yourself if you think your relationship will survive on love alone. Once the honeymoon ends, you’re left with a bill.

Kids 

  • Do you want them?

      Yes to kids? (part b)

  • What kind of parent do you want to be?
  • Are there parenting styles you absolutely agree or disagree with? (i.e. spanking)
  • If you have kids, who will stay home with them?
    • Plans change! Opinions change! That’s so okay. But you don’t want your burning desire to be a stay-at-home-mom or your husband’s expectation that you both always work outside the home to come as a surprise, you know what I mean?

Surprises in your relationship that come in the form of presents are great! Surprises in your relationship that come in the form of expectations are not so great.

Conflict

Everyone handles arguments differently, and it’s important to have the conversation about handling conflict when you’re not in conflict. If one of you tends to internalize and one of you needs to talk about everysinglefeeling, learn how to compromise.

Knowing Your Partner’s Love Language

I can’t stress how important it is to know your partner’s love language.

Even if you think it’s ‘psycho-bable mumbo jumbo’ I can assure you that your relationship will improve if you take the time to read this book. We own it, we read it, and we implement it. It’s amazing.

What are some of your ‘must-have’ conversations? 

How to Build Custom Closet Shelves (Nursery Edition!)

This weekend we finished one of the last “major” projects in the nursery: THE CLOSET.

custom closet shelves

For a good-sized house, our closets totally suck (except for the closets in our bedroom. Those are awesome.) The other bedroom closets are just small and inconvenient for storage. We jam-pack the closets in our spare bedrooms now, but that won’t fly once there’s a baby in the house.

We obviously weren’t going to make the nursery closet any larger, so we had to get creative to come up with extra storage space. After hours of hard work (mostly from Cory) I can say I am very pleased with the results!

before vs after

In case any of you are dealing with a similar first world struggle of small closets, I wanted to share a quick tutorial on how we added more space.

Step 1: Find Your Baskets 

All the measurements for the shelving were based around the baskets we found. The wicker baskets are from Target (exact: here) and the canvas ones are from Lowe’s (exact: here.)

Step 2: Gut the Closet

For us, this meant taking out the obnoxious wire shelf.

Step 3: Tape + Paint

We taped the trim molding on the floor, then used a roller to paint the walls, including the ceiling. We only needed one coat of paint, and the color we used is Creamsicle from Valspar (quart size.)

Step 4: Cut + Paint Plywood 

paint boards

 

Step 4a: The Cuts

  • The cut of the bottom shelf is the full depth of the closet.
  • The cuts of cubbies for the smaller baskets are obviously based on the size of the baskets you choose; but, they’re held together with wood glue and Brad nails.
  • Cut 1 inch ledger boards (used to attach the top shelf to the wall) 1 inch shorter than the length of the shelf.
  • The cut of the top shelf is half the depth of the closet.

cuts

Step 5: Hang the Clothing Rod

We bought our clothing rod from Lowe’s, but I don’t recall the exact type. You can buy something like this at a hardware store or Target.

Voila! There you have it: custom shelving for a pesky, small closet. We’re looking forward to filling the baskets with all things baby in just a few short weeks!!

Cyber Bullying: Why I Won’t Post Pictures of My Kid

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while now. But, I figure it needs to be addressed sometime, because people will ask.

Over the last few years, this blog has exposed me to some cyber bullying. It’s been in the form of nasty threads posted about me on “Get Off My Internets,” hateful comments on the blog, and hurtful emails from complete strangers. It’s weird and uncomfortable to talk about, but hey, it’s a reality.

I’d by lying if I said I have ice water running through my veins and these things never get to me, because they totally have. Honestly, the things people write are just flat out mean, and I’m way sensitive.

I know it seems harmless because these comments are posted by usernames and avitars, but behind those things are real people typing the most hateful words about other real people. 

Maybe they don’t consider me to be a real person because they’ve never met me. Maybe when they pick apart my appearance, my marriage, my intelligence, and my life, they don’t think I’m a real person who has real feelings.

I truly believe that the majority of those people wouldn’t ever dream of saying those kinds of words to my face. 

This is not a “woe is me” post, because I know I’ve willingly opened myself up to this kind of bullying. The unfortunate truth is that if you put yourself out there, someone will be readily available to pick you apart. While I don’t condone their hateful approach, they have every right to say whatever they want.

Which is why I won’t be posting any identifying pictures of our baby on this blog or related social media outlets. 

Cory and I made this decision before we were even expecting. And while safety concerns and maintaining privacy are major factors that contributed to this decision, so is cyber bullying. 

This upcoming generation will be prime candidates to experience online bullying, and I just don’t want to expose my child to it before they even have a choice (or at least before we can even have the “what’s okay to put on the internet” conversation.)

Because if you don’t think those cyber bullies who write about bloggers don’t write about their children, you are sorely mistaken. I can handle people saying mean things about me, but I can’t handle people saying mean things about my kid (or anyone’s kid, for that matter.)

I admit, it kind of feels like letting the bad guys win, and I hate that, because there are so many good guys who read this blog. But it is what it is. I give those guys enough material on my own. I gotta draw the line somewhere ;)

——————-

Disclaimer: So many of my blog friends and “real life” friends choose to post pictures of their children on the internet, and I applaud them! The great thing is that we all get to make our own decisions. I am in no way judging anyone who posts pictures of their kids on the internet. This is simply the choice that works best for me. 

 

A Day in The Life

5:45am – Cory’s alarm goes off. He’s going for a run. I’m going back to sleep.

5:45 – 6:57am – Get up to pee for the 800th time since going to bed last night, get back in bed, toss and turn.

6:58 – 6:59am – Finally get comfortable.

7:00am – Alarm goes off.

7:03am – Roll out of bed looking like a straight up ~*~goddess~*~

morning

7:03 – 7:30am – Shower [attempt to shave my legs, ha.], do hair and make-up, start to resemble a human.

hair spray

7:30 – 7:50am – Enjoy my daily cup of orange juice [pulp free, because I’m not gross], publish blog post, and respond to the day’s first batch work emails. I can already tell it’s going to be a busy one. “Busy” in the sense that I’ll be on the phone all day, not “busy” like traveling or doing trainings.

7:50am – Penny is drooling on my shoulder as I sit at the kitchen table, which reminds me that I should probably feed her. We have a “feeding ritual” with Penny; she’s not allowed in the kitchen while we serve her food. She sits and waits until we say “enjoy!”

penny breakfast

7:50ish – 9:30ish – Work, work, work. Work has been so busy lately. My officemate is onsite with a client this morning, so I stick around the house a little later than normal and continue to take calls and answer emails from my kitchen.

9:30ish – Get ready to leave for the office. Grab my lunchbox from the fridge, fill my water bottle. I walk into the living room and scold Penny. She knows she’s not allowed on the furniture, but she’s feeling a little sassy this morning, and I don’t appreciate it.

bad penny

I take Penny out one more time. I put her in her crate and start singing that damn Sarah McLachlan song.

crate

10am – 12:45pm – Seriously, the time flies. Work, work, work. Eat some snacks. Feel like I’m juggling 10 situations at once. Experience moments of deep depression each time I’m reminded that it’s only Tuesday. 

12:45pm – Leave the office and head to my doctor’s appointment. The fact that my appointments with my OB are now every two weeks makes me feel like I’m in the home stretch.

1:15pm – Meet Cory in the parking lot at the doctor’s office. Berate him for stopping to get himself lunch without offering to get me anything. He lets me have half of his pickle, so I shut up. I make a mental note to go buy some pickles.

1:20pm – Get called back by the nurse for the whole “weight check, blood pressure check, urine sample” routine.

1:20ish – 1:30ish – Wait for the doctor and provide gallons of laughs by making numerous inappropriate jokes. Cory says something that reminds me I’m writing this post, so I have him take a picture of me. I grumble over the fact that I look like Buddha, Cory grumbles over the fact that I never like the pictures he takes.

buddha

1:30ish – See the doctor. She asks me how things are going. Asks me if I’m experiencing any “leaking body parts.” I feel horrified.

1:40ish – Head home, call my mom on the way, duh.

2:00ish – 5:15pm – Free Penny from her crate, take her out. She’s really exhausted from all the napping she’d done so far, so she heads upstairs to nap until dinner. I head to my desk to finish out the workday. I take a picture to document it, and I realize I’m horribly messy. Shout out to all you clean-desk-havers out there.

desk

5:15 – 5:45pm – Make calls to my brother and my mom while I start dinner. I was so ravenous and all I wanted was spaghetti. Cory thinks spaghetti is the most boring dinner ever, but man, it was all I wanted.

6:00pm – 6:30pm – Cory gets home from work, we eat dinner and catch up on our days. Sitting down to dinner as a family [or couple, I guess] is really important to me; the dinner table is a ‘no phone zone’ and it’s a place for connection and conversation.

6:30 – 7:15pm – We clean up the kitchen after dinner and Cory wrestles with Penny while I lay on the couch like a beached whale.

7:15pm – The beached whale phase mildly subsides and we head to Sweet Frog. I’ve had Sweet Frog on my mind for a few days, so I finally decide it’s time to go. I can’t believe I haven’t “craved” this during my pregnancy, but it’s really only the second or third time I’ve had it since July.

sf

7:40 – 9:30pm – We’re really boring during the week. After dinner + dessert, we just hang out, but kind of do our own things. I write this blog post, Facebook stalk, and Pin recipes, workouts and makeup tutorials I’ll never end up trying.

9:30pm – Realize it’s an ‘acceptable’ time to go to bed!

And that, my friends, is a day in life of yours truly. 

What time do you have to get up for work in the morning?

What It’s Like Owning a Great Dane

This past June, I wrote a post about the eight things you need to consider before owning a Great Dane. Penny was still a wittle baby puppy, and I feel like I’ve learned so much more about her since then.

what its like

Oh my God, I cannot even explain to you how big of a diva this dog has become. She doesn’t like being cold or getting wet [so, the winter is fun for everyone] yet she won’t pee or poop if she’s wearing her coat.

Yes, I bought my dog a coat. I thought this would quell her inner-diva, but it just made me an enabler.

coat

Penny eats 8 cups of food every day. What goes in must come out, my friends. Picking up the shit of a Great Dane is no small task. [She gives zero fucks, by the way.]

penny1Owning a Great Dane forces you to think about how you decorate your house. A cute coffee table decorated with adorable knick knacks from Home Goods? Not in our house. Rooms void of drool rags? Nope, not here. Never having ice cubes strewn about your kitchen floor? Not a reality. 

penny3

Great Danes are so fun. It’s true that they really have no idea how huge they are. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen your fair share of Penny attempting to finagle her way into tight spaces. It’s also a riot when she interacts with kids and other dogs, because she thinks she’s the size of a beagle. Even the strongest “social cues” don’t click with Penny. Take Lulu’s face for example:

penny4

They crave attention and interaction, so you could never own a Great Dane with the idea of it being an “out door” dog. Before I got pregnant and couldn’t smell all the things, Penny was allowed in our bed. She’s now only allowed on one couch upstairs, and it’s undoubtedly her favorite room in the house.

penny2

Even the less-than-glamourous parts of owning a Great Dane aren’t enough to make me not want to own five more. Honestly, if Cory would agree to it, I would bring one home tonight. I’m all like “think of all the love and cuddles!!” and he’s like, “think of all the spending $150 on dog food each month.” Oh, yeah. That.

But seriously, we’ve found “our breed” and I can’t imagine this family without a Great Dane in it.

Do you have a favorite dog breed?

Reader Survey: The Feedback

Okay, can I just say thanks to the few hundred of you that took the time to take my reader survey? I literally sat at my computer on Sunday afternoon and read through every single response, took notes, laughed out loud, and felt so appreciative [of both the “you go, girl!” responses and the respectful constructive feedback responses.] I loved it all! I’m genuinely thankful.

After looking back at my notes, here’s the overall consensus:

Topics: More of/Less of

I was pleasantly surprised that the randomness of my post topics doesn’t annoy you. I get self-conscious because I’ve never really had a “niche.” I’m not a fashion blogger, a fitness blogger, a mommy blogger, a DIY blogger, etc. I’m just a blogger who writes about stuff. I’ve always wanted this blog to feel like a friendship. Meaning, in friendships, you don’t just talk about one topic, you talk about tons of different things. So, I appreciate that we’re on the same page with that one. 

more

I got tons of feedback about what you’d like to see more of, and that was so fun. Penny is apparently very popular. I won’t tell her this, of course, as she’s already the biggest diva I know.

Video blogs were also a very common request. Which I find to be terrifying, by the way, as I think my videos are painful to watch. I mean, does anyone really like seeing themselves and hearing the own voice?!

Overall, the pregnancy posts have been well received, but other people said they don’t relate to them. While the majority of you left comments about being excited to follow my journey into motherhood, I did see comments voicing concern about this turning into a “mommy blog.”

As I mentioned above, I don’t ever see The Lunchbox Diaries turning into a niche blog where I write about one thing. As I do write about pregnancy now, I will most likely write about parenting at some points, but I’d gouge out my own eyes if that’s all I ever wrote about. Not gonna happen. 

[I also got one comment about using “less F bombs” and I have a sneaking suspicion this was my grandmother.]

Sponsored Posts

Wow. You guys are so awesome. While everyone was pretty honest about sponsored posts not being their favorite thing ever [which as a blog reader myself, I totally get] you guys really voiced your understanding that they’re a nature of the beast.

spon

I got some “make those dolla dolla bills, girlfrand” comments, which I totally appreciated. I got some “I just skip them or don’t come read your blog that day” comments, which I appreciated just as much.

Overall, you were all extremely supportive and understanding. I can assure you that I never want The Lunchbox Diaries to seem like a running infomercial, which is why I’m selective and intentional with the sponsored posts I write.

WHY do you read this blog?

I’m not really a hugger, but I wanted to hug each and every one of you who took the time to answer this question. Like I would do in a counseling session, I asked it because I wanted to see where you are as a reader. Not that this is anything like a counseling session, but I think you know what I mean. The why is important to me. What do you want to get out of this? What are your expectations? Why are you here?

Overwhelmingly, the answer is simple: you find me relatable, funny, and unapologetically honest. Those were the three phrases that kept appearing, and I wanted to totally fist pump because that’s exactly what I’m trying to get across.

responses

I got a lot of “I think we could be friends in real life” and I totally agree. I think we could be, too. Like I mentioned at the top of this post – I’ve always strived to make this blog feel like a friendship, so I’m glad it’s working.

I also literally laughed out loud at this person’s comment, who I think summed it up pretty well:

“Sometimes you make me laugh, and sometimes you make me realize I’m not the only paranoid nut job out there.” 

Yes. That’s the point. We all need to laugh, and we all need to realize that we’re not the only paranoid nut job out there. No one’s perfect, so let’s not try to pretend that we are.

Again, I’m so thankful your time and I’m looking forward putting your feedback to good use and making 2015 a fun year on The Lunchbox Diaries. Thanks for being here!

15 Juices + Smoothies to Try in 2015

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I am a super fan of goal setting. I’ll admit that there is something fresh and exciting about a new year that makes me want to set goals about being a better person, doing more exciting things, making more money, etc.

But then come mid-February I normally realize that I’m pretty okay with being average, I’m not ever going to be an adrenaline seeker, and I work in the mental health field, for Christ’s sake.

So rather than setting myself up to fail, I decided that one of my foci for 2015 would be to try new things. Whether that’s trying new smoothies or trying to raise a small human – I’m in.

One new thing to try? Pairing with Foodie.com. I’m working with Foodie this month and I created my first collection: 15 Smoothies and Juices to Try in 2015.  Look at all those gorgeous drinks. Seriously, they look almost too pretty too consume.

Check out 15 Juices and Smoothies to Make in 2015

by Colleen Whitney Nichols at Foodie.com


 

They all look scrumptious and I’m pretty confident I can make all of them without totally screwing up. Will I be able to take pretty pictures of said smoothies and juices without totally screwing up? Come on, I said I’m trying new things this year, not performing miracles.

Are you into smoothies and juicing? If there’s a recipe I should know about, please share!

Full disclosure – This post was created in partnership with Mode Media and Foodie. You know the drill: all opinions and confessions of being a resolutions slacker are my own. I appreciate your support!

Friday Favorites #3

Praise the Good Lord above, it’s Friday! I feel like this week inched by for some reason. Anyway, let’s keep this train going and kick off another round of Friday Favorites.

Friday Favorites #3

GARNIER SKIN RENEW MIRACLE SKIN PERFECTOR BB CREAM //  I don’t think you can tell in photos or video, but I am super fair skinned, yet my nose and chin are super red. A winning combination. It’s normally quite difficult for me to find a foundation or the like that’s pale enough to match my skin, but cover my redness. When my friend Whitney bought this shade by accident [it’s too light for her] and asked me if I wanted to try it, I figured it’d be worth a shot. 

What I like about this BB Cream compared to the other ones that I’ve tried, is that this actually has decent coverage to it, and it’s not too dark! I’ve felt confident wearing this as my “every day” coverage. It’s a keeper in my book!

bb

THE FAT JEWISH // If you don’t follow this guy on Instagram, you are sorely missing out. He’s a fucking riot and I normally laugh out loud at each and every photo he posts. You’re welcome.

the fat jew

THE DISTRICT // Our friend Bobby is a super talented graphic designer and he’s opened up a neat little Etsy shop. If the name doesn’t give it away, most of his current prints are related to Washington, DC, but he’s starting to do more customizable prints.

bobby

Do you have a favorite Etsy shop?  

I’ve only purchased a few things off Etsy before, but I’m always looking for cute shops. We’re specifically looking for cute typography print for the nursery at the moment!

 

Totally Truthful Thursday

1. I’m a firmly believe that someone who casually “drops by” does not get the privilege/mirage of a clean house. I love when a friend just wants to come over and say hey, but if that’s the case, I refuse to apologize for the crumbs on the counter and the dishes in the sink. I clean on Saturdays. Take it or leave it.

2. Cory and Bobby made tacos this past weekend, and they made so much food that we’ve been eating some form of tacos for dinner every night since Saturday. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d turn my nose up at a taco, but it’s here, friends. It’s been here since Tuesday.

tacos

3. Because I’m not getting sick anymore, it’s impossible for me to justify eating like shit, but oh my God, all I want to do is eat Papa John’s and french fries. And then dessert. In reality, I’m eating healthy, and it’s just not satisfying. There, I said it.

4. I think the difficulty level of capturing a unicorn is on par with finding the perfect shade of foundation/concealer/BB Cream/blush/lipstick/everything that’s supposed to make me look prettier.

5. I feel wrong for saying it, but I don’t watch The Bachelor. I know I’m like, thee only one, so if you do watch the show, it’s imperative that you read this blog. I don’t even watch the show and I legit laugh out loud reading these posts. Thank me later.

6. Not long ago, I was laying in bed scrolling through Instagram and I dropped my phone on my face. I was pretty concerned it was going to leave a mark.

7. If you’re a mom or a mom-to-be, read THIS post. It made me feel all the emotions, and I cannot guarantee that you won’t ugly cry.

8. I believe that my dog can understand English. Meaning, I’ll often speak to her in full sentences with the belief that she knows exactly what I’m saying. Like,“If you make me go outside in this freezing weather one more time without actually shitting, I’m going to be very mad at you.” 

 penny

9. I really want you to read my post about why I’m doing a reader survey. Then I want you to take the reader survey. Then I’ll love you forever and ever.

1o. I don’t have a tenth truth for the week, but I wouldn’t even dream of ending a list with nine items.