Haaaave mercy.

This is a short phone post strictly here to say...I don't care what uncle Jesse says, Chobani is the BEST Greek yogurt around. 

Head. Under. Water.

Before you start reading this post let me just put out this disclaimer. WARNING: extremely self indulgent, whine-fest ahead. Do not read if you do not possess empathy or a good sense of humor or at the very least a forgiving personality. (I'd hate to lose you permanently, you see.)

I am fully aware of the fact that my life is cush compared to that of a lot of other folks. However, even those who are truly blessed (I fall somewhere in between) have their days where it seems life is just dumping on them. If the 4 of you who read my blog have read my earlier posts you will know I am in the market to buy a home. WOW, what a process this is.

Short history: I lost my mother two and a half years ago at the age of 22. I had, and still have, A LOT to learn. She was my teacher and I did as most 20 year olds do and did not pay enough attention. Then *poof* like that--she is gone. Heart-stopping, heart-breaking, mind-numbing. I was still on the "Mom,  will you make me a dentist appointment" plan. Suddenly, I had to learn to take care of myself. Insurance, bills, buying a car (horrible experience), dealing with a wrecked car the first time on my own, moving, setting up a 401K, moving again, holidays (have never been and will never be the same), and taking care of my father. All of these things have been hard as hell, but I have triumphed...mostly...

Enter buying my first home. All of the things listed above I would gladly do again alone if she could just come back and help me with this. My father tries to help, but he hasn't bought property in over 30 years. Things are different. I have friends and the parents of friends who offer their help but I don't want it. I want the one person who can not be here. So I set off to do this thing alone. I know once the process is complete and I am drinking my first cup of coffee in my new home I will look out at my beautiful view and feel her presence. She has been with me the whole time. And that is why I feel at peace going through this hellacious process alone. No daddy's down payment, no husband to help split the responsibilities of getting paperwork together, no Ty Pennington yelling "MOVE THAT BUS" to reveal to me a new home. Nope, just me, well and my lovely Realtor.

The point here is, I feel as if I am drowning in a sea of W2's, tax returns, bank statements and lists. I am drowning in judgement from the bank as they pour over my bank accounts. It is slightly humiliating and certainly humbling. Believe me, if and when this process ends favorably for me I will be living in this bad boy for a long time to come.

If you too are embarking on this journey here are my words of advice as of now:

1. If the property is for sale by owner, I still recommend a Realtor. Shop around. There are some good "Buyer's Agents" out there and they will work to ensure that you get your best deal. It allows you to avoid the awkward "negotiation phase" and if you're anything like me and hate confrontation, this is nice. Also, she knows the process. At the very least, do your research on the process. This probably won't be an issue as most homes will be for sale by a realtor.

2. Financing. Do your research. I decided to use a Credit Union that I already have my vehicles financed through. This is nice because they know your history and you have already built a rapport with them. My loan officer sent me this article by Forbes. It is at the very least interesting. It is about building the perfect loan file.

3. Be prepared. They are going to want your bank statement. This means all pages. Even your debits. For me this is embarrassing. I eat a lot of fast food and shop a lot. There may be one or two overdrafts due to poor management. In short, my bank statements do not paint me in a flattering light. I am not naive to this. I fought like hell to avoid it. In the end, they will need them. Be ready. Also, W2's and tax returns, these are not things I keep on hand. Luckily my CPA has been wonderful and emailed me copies of everything I needed.

4. Lastly, be honest. Anything you put on an application is subject to verification. If you say you make $150,000 a year, they will want proof. If you say you have $10,000 in your bank account, they will want proof. Lying will only harm you. It is better to be honest and tell them "I've got $5,000 in the bank" and that you're on a strict savings plan and will be happy to put up a down payment. Maybe you don't have the money in the bank right now. There is no harm in that. Life is all about the liquid. "ITS MY MONEY, AND I NEED IT NOW."

I hope this is helpful to someone. A little more cut and dry and in layman's terms. At the very least I will look back one day and laugh at how much I stressed myself out over this process.

Wish me luck, I certainly need the good juju.

Thank you for listening.

Hair Worship

It is no secret Blake Lively has amazing hair. Personally, I think she seems kind of like a snot...or maybe I am just jealous she landed Ryan Reynolds and don't EVEN get me started on how envious I am of her role in Savages...

I have always been blonde, with the exception of the 3 times I tried to be a brunette--all of which lasted less than a month. Hello hair damage.

Here are some looks I have been coveting as of late, most of which are from Ms. Lively...no I refuse to call her Mrs. Reynolds. 

Stop with it. How gorgeous is this look. 

Braids. Nuff said.

I really CAN NOT pull off the ombre. I have tried and failed but I can still covet, yes? PS: I do LOVE the color of these ends as a possible all over color.

Blake can work an updo. Threw in this cute little messy one on Kristen too because this is me ohhh lets say 5 out of 7 days. Do not care for Kristen's brassy & gold tones though. 

Aaaannnnd, I hate her.

Weekend Shenanigans Link Up

Linking up through Sami.

Well, it is Monday. Another weekend gone too soon. Let me start by saying Monday has already started off as a horrible hair day. Anyone else ever have those days where your pony tail just won't lay flat, like the ends are just screaming to be put back to bed. Experiencing that in all it's glory as we speak. I did not blog this week so I decided I would do this weekend link up. Hope to meet some new friends along the way.

My weekend consisted mostly of one thing. DOG PARK. We went Friday after work, Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon.

Friday: I worked, went to the dog park with Gemma, and had a marathon watching Orange is the New Black, the Netflix series. I LOVED it. It is a little graphic so if you're sensitive I do not recommend it, however if you do not get offended easily then please watch on. Such a good series. Can't wait for Spring when Season 2 comes out, along with Season 4 of Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.

Saturday: I got up around 9 (felt so nice) and had my coffee and watched some TV. Took Gemma to the dog park and we played for well over and hour where I picked up a lovely shoulder sunburn. There were about 25 dogs there and she LOVED it. My dog is incredibly sociable. Saturday night we went to a place called The Bar (clever and confusing all in one, i.e. "Where are y'all going tonight?" "The bar." "Ok, great but which one?" "THE Bar"---you get it---everyone here knows where you are referring to but when I was new in town this threw me for a loop.) We drank too many beers and WAY TOO MANY shots. Then got home and I killed a Big Mac and fries..oops. In my defense I was trying to win a mil on the McDonalds monopoly game. All I won was a stomach ache and 1000 calories.

Sunday: HOLY HANGOVER. Slept till noon. Went to Texas Roadhouse and had some yummy mashed potatoes that helped clear up said hangover. Then I went shopping and got some pretty cute stuff. Awesome maxi from Francesca's, some bras and this amazing Cowboys jersey from Victorias Secret. This thing is so comfy. After shopping it was more dog park then some takeout Jason's Deli, True Blood, and off to bed.

All in all it was a relaxing weekend, but I still got to see some of my friends and blow some dough. My favorite activities.

Friday Five Link Up

Linking up with The Good LifeA. Liz AdventuresCarolina Charm. & Hello! Happiness.

ONE: These scent packs from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. My favorite fragrance is Summer Romance. Depending on the location there are different scents but this one is amazing. Very refreshing. I have them everywhere. Car, bathroom, by my bed, in the couch cushions, in my drawers...

TWO: More scent...I swear I don't stink I just LOVE a good candle...enter: Watermelon Lemonade (how GOOD does that sound as a drink...*makes note to find one on Pinterest*) candles from Bath and Body Works. I love these. I bought 6 of them. I will probably buy 6 more soon as I am sure they are only a seasonal purchase and I need them year round.

THREE: Biotin. I am almost finished with my first bottle but some friends of mine with amazing and long hair have credited this bad boy as the key. I am giving it a try, along with limited washings and even more limited heat exposure.

FOUR: Say it with me y'all. Sweet. Tea. I love me some sweet tea. I can be found with a glass of it whenever possible. However, sugar is sugar and those calories can add up fast. I got into Red Diamond made with Splenda (hello ZERO calories) about a year ago and now I buy it by the gallon. It is usually gone in two days time. If the store I am at does not carry the Splenda kind I go for the regular unsweetened and use my own Splenda.

FIVE: I have been pinning the hell out of this website. One Kings Lane. Obsessed with all of the amazing home goods. Some of it is wildly overpriced but there are some great ideas. Not to mention COLOR everywhere. I love color.

One of my favorite items from the website. Love the color and chevron pattern. Would be cute in a living room as a stand out piece. 

That's all for this week! Have a wonderful weekend. 

Wine Down

Yesterday was Wednesday aka the GREATEST day ever because it is "Wine Down Wednesday". A friend of mine and I used to go share a half price bottle(s) of Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio at Carino's. Well for some reason she decided to up and move and leave me here. Anyway, I joined up with another friend for a few beers and got convinced to go to a "wine tasting party". Now I'm one of these people who thinks "wine tasting?, I prefer wine drinking". But I tagged along anyway because, as I said earlier this week I am on a budget...and well this is free.

We show up at the hostess's house and it is kind of like a Scentsy party or a Mary Kay party. Six bottles of wine set up, some cheese, crackers, and strawberries, and a few bottles of water. We sit around and chat a bit, and I am certain I scared some of the older party guests with my tales of being paid $50 by an  older gentleman at the airport because he enjoyed my company...that is another story for another time though. After I regaled the guests with my outrageous stories then party finally commenced. We were given a little speech by the woman who sells the products and then were sent to gather a plate with the food--a little bit of everything--and return to our seats. You are given a sheet to fill out your notes on each wine you sample. She started out with some history of the company and then did her first pour. My only complaint is that you only get an ounce of wine...WHAT?!

First up was a Semi-Seco Sparkling. We learned that Champagne can only be called Champagne if the grapes are grown in that region of France. Everything else is "Sparkling Wine". I feel like I already knew this useless piece of knowledge.

*Side note: We learned that there are categories of wine drinkers, based on your tastes, i.e. Sweet, Ultra Sensitive, Sensitive, and Tolerant--no this doesn't refer to your love life, though if it did I would say "tolerant" fits my life. Bottom line: I like all wine. Riesling to Port and everywhere in between.

Back to the Sparkling...it was enjoyable. But again, I enjoy all wine. Next up was a wine called Symphony, it was a white and again enjoyable. Enter Moscato. These are not my favorite wines, I prefer a red or a Pinot Grigio if I am drinking white. One glass of sweet wine is plenty.

One of my favorites was called "Goddess". First of all--LOVE the name, secondly it was yummy. Plus it is a red. SCORE. I would buy this wine.

We tried a table red which is a cheap ($14) bottle that is used for every day use. It was perfectly fine for cooking and just relaxing. We did a Cab Sav which I throughly enjoyed and then one more red blend. Well after all of this my friend Cheryl and I decided "What the hell...lets host our own party!" You get something like 7 bottles of wine, PLUS it is just a fun night with friends. We signed ourselves up to jointly host two parties, one on a Tuesday--more reserved crowd-- and one on a Saturday--this will be a party.

Stay tuned to hear about how those go. If you are interested in any of this for yourself check out Wine Shop at Home.  They are out of Napa and the wine is good--trust me, I'm a doctor.

Travel Liter and More Often--Part 1.

I have done a small amount of traveling in my 25 years, but I do not mean to downplay my experiences. The few trips I have made have been more than I could ask for. This post is inspired by this post I read on Buzzfeed.

In a nutshell here are some of the trips I have made. This list is comprised only of trips I have made as an adult.

CALIFORNIA: Southern California. I do not have any photos of this trip and I will not go into much detail of it for personal reasons but I will say this:

It was my first time EVER to fly...at 20 years old.
San Diego is HUGE.
Temecula, CA has a vineyard that has one of my favorite wines. Find it here. It is good. It is worth buying.
SoCal is beautiful and the weather is very pleasant in November.

I am going to Los Angeles at the beginning of September and am hoping for better results on this trip. Stay tuned.

NEVADA: Las Vegas. This was my second trip to Vegas, first as an "adult". My and my two best friends went for my 21st birthday, and honestly I do not believe I have ever, nor will ever have, a better birthday. We stayed at the MGM Grand which was perfectly fine for what we were after. The amount of time we spent in the room was limited mostly to the bathroom anyway. This trip was special. Three best friends, on their first real big trip alone, very little money, and it was one of the best of my life. Funny story: our flight home got cancelled due to ice on the plane's wings...in june...so we ended up stranded in our connecting point of Denver for the night. It was a first and it was stressful but it was an adventure.

I will leave you with some pics:

My favorite cake...strawberry with cream cheese icing. 

Airport--we were excited.

My first LEGAL slots.

I miss that "21 year old body", and those amazing shoes from Forever 21. They have been retired.

We snaged a limo and between the 5 of us it was relatively cheap. We road around for an hour and he dropped us off at The Palms.

Check out this drunken montage...this was at GhostBar. Amazing view and we had a blast.

I LOVE this picture of my BFF Jacky. She looks like a movie star. (She is wastey face.)

Big margaritas and a perverted M&M.


My second trip to Vegas was different. We had more money and we were a little more tired. Four years makes a huge difference in your ability to stay out all night. We did a lot of shopping, a lot of eating, and even spent an afternoon in the spa of our hotel--which was Vdara in the new City Center. I felt kind of sick the entire trip--no not a hangover--so it was kind of a bummer. Our room was amazing and had a HUGE tub. 

Excited about our room and view! 

Diet Coke. Much different than those margaritas. 

We went for New Years Eve and the fireworks were pretty cool.

But I did not feel good. Boo.

I have decided I won't be in a rush to go back to Vegas. I think I am past it. If I go back I will plan better. I will plan to see a show or two, some spa treatments, and more shopping and eating. That sounds like my kind of trip. 

This concludes Part 1 of my travels. There is plenty more to come, stay tuned. I don't know about you, but I love reading about people's travels. I find it very entertaining.

Thanks for reading.

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Monday Madness

What a hoaky title, I know. Monday always seems to be associated with negativity but it doesn't necessarily have to be bad. Here's whats going down today in my world:

ONE: I visited the Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta for my 3 week eyebrow check up. I love going to them for brow waxing. They really take their time and do all the fixins'...unlike a certain other place, which I won't bad mouth *cough cough nail salons cough*.
I'd post a picture of them but that just seems creepy. Just know, they do a good job.

TWO: Evol Bowls. You can buy them at natural foods stores. They are Gluten free which I know is a plus for some folks. But above all they're just damn good, and much more filling than those Lean Cuisine things. My favorite is the Teriyaki Chicken, and I just throw on a little extra Soy Sauce.

I will be trying this new one next. I am obsessed with Mac N Cheese.

THREE: I've discovered my dog has either dandruff or just dry skin. Either way a trip to PetsMart is in order to take care of this. She's black so it is extremely noticeable, I don't want the other kids at the playground to make fun of her. 

FOUR: Budget. This word I do not use often. As you may have seen in a prior post, I am looking to buy a house, which means...SAVE SAVE SAVE. I have limited myself to $300 a week...and this includes gassing up my not so fuel efficient SUV. I've already spent $42 on purple conditioner and an eyebrow wax at Ulta...not off to a good start. Not to mention I need dog food and doggie Head N Shoulders. Back to the days of Ramen and Big K brand cola...or the Albertson's equivalent since there is not a Kroger near by. This will be a challenge as I have become quite accustomed to spoiling myself. 

FIVE: I bought this dress this weekend and LOVE it. Goal is to wear it this week. Probably Wednesday for half price wine night at Carino's. Hey...half price...that helps with the budgeting right? Yeah I agree...I like you.

I got mine at a local boutique called Belladona in Tyler, Texas but I believe I took the last one because they're sold out. Click the photos to be directed to their website. They have some cute stuff and you can shop online. 

The "this dress" link above will take you to Red Dress Boutique, they've restocked it in some other colors. The closest being a coral. Really cute maxi.

Well y'all that is about all I've got for today. 

She Pulled Out That Moonshine...Tasted Like An Apple Pie

Currently waiting on one of my best friends to get ready to go to a little gathering at a friends house so I figured what better way to spend my time than doing a post?! I'm bringing a bottle of the Apple Pie Moonshine my roommate and I made about a month or so ago.

Let me tell ya it is really good, and boy does it sneak up on you. A little goes a long way. The great thing about this recipe is that it makes 3 gallons--A LOT. We used old liquor bottles to store ours, rather than Mason jars.

As you can see it made a lot, and all for a relatively good price...about $40 depending on the brand of ingredients you use.

So simple and easy to remember:

1 bottle of 190 proof (750 ml) clear grain alcohol...aka Everclear
1 gallon of Spiced Apple Cider--this was hard to find for some reason but eventually we located it
1 gallon of Apple Juice
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of regular sugar
Cinnamon Sticks

Put all ingredients--except the alcohol and cinnamon sticks--into a big stock pot (remember this is 3 gallons) and bring to a boil. 
Once boiled remove mixture from heat and let it cool to room temperature--takes a little while. 
When it is cooled add in your alcohol and stir up, then you're ready to poor it in the bottles or jars. We used a funnel we got in the automotive section at Wal*Mart. 
Place a few cinnamon sticks in the bottom of each bottle or jar and store away in a dark cool place for as long as you can...the longer the better.

**Note: I drank so of it about 3 weeks after we made it and it was VERY strong. This has now been sitting a little over a month so I am hoping it is a little mellowed. 

Funny story: While we were shopping for the ingredients I did not read carefully or else my mind just played a trick on me but anyway I thought it said Apple Cider VINEGAR. That was WRONG. We poured in it the pot and immediately knew something wasn't right. Who the hell would drink this?! Needless to say we had to go back to the store...and all was then well.

Recipe courtesy of Tasty Kitchen

Enjoy! It's always a hit. 


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