Thursday, September 29, 2011

My First Day!

Hi all!

I had a great first day of work. Things went smoothly (even though of course there were a few first day glitches) and overall I have nothing terribly exciting to report.

As always, starting a new job has its challenges. Learning a slew of new things--especially in regards to new technology--can be overwhelming at first, and being new and unfamiliar with things never feels good, but it's all worth it in the end (even if you finally have to ask where the bathroom is at 4:42). Soon enough I won't be new anymore and my daily routine will feel regular. I do look forward to those times! The last 6 months have brought about more change than I ever thought I could handle, and it feels good to know that things are finally calming down.

I've mentioned before that my office has a very casual dress code. I was pretty pleased with my 'first day' outfit, all (except shoes/accessories) courtesy of Gap.

 I fully intend to make this thumbs up thing a lifelong signature.

While I was gone, I missed hanging out with Jack and Charlotte. I'm sure they cried all day.
NOT. They probably just snuggled on the couch.
I hope you're all having a great week! We have some fun activities planned for this weekend, so check back later on for deets!

-Kinsey

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nails part 2: The Perfect Manicure

Happy Wednesday!

Today we're talking about more nail polish! So again guys, you can back out now.

I'm always comparing notes with people about how to get a manicure to last. I stopped getting pro manicures a long time ago, mostly because they're expensive and I was always disappointed if I chipped my nails soon afterward. Over the years and through a compilation of different tips and tricks, I've come up with some techniques of my own to get my polish to stick. Here's my method:


Before you start, make sure to turn off any nearby fans. Air blowing on your nails can cause bubbling. You also never want to blow on your nails (with a fan or your mouth).
1. Start by trimming your nails to the desired length. I always cut mine short because they tend to peel and catch on things otherwise. It also makes it easier to type and text:] I've read that dark colors look better on shorter nails, so that's what I go with.

2. File your nails into whatever shape suits you. The most universally flattering is said to be the 'squoval' or the square oval. You're supposed to only file your nails in one direction (instead of back and forth) but I won't lie and say that I take the time to do that.

3. Rub a liberal amount of cuticle remover into your cuticles (I use Sally Hansen Problem Cuticle Remover). Wait a minute or two, then gently push your cuticles back with an orange wood stick. You should never cut your cuticles--only push them back. I've gotten into a bad habit of cutting mine, but I'm trying to stop!

4. Brush some almond oil onto each nail (mine is Beauty Secret from Sally's. It's less than $2). Rub it in a little, then gently buff each nail. First buff the middle part of the nail, then pull the skin over on the right side of your nail and repeat with the left side, as shown below.

5. At this point, it's time to moisturize. Rub the lotion of your choosing into your nails and cuticles very well.  

6. Before painting, remove any moisture from your nails using a cotton ball dipped in white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. This is very important! If there's moisture on your nails, the polish won't bond to them properly and you may experience (the dreaded) bubbling.

7. Apply a thin and even coat of your base coat. I use ridge filler (also Beauty Secret from Sally's for less than $2) because I've discovered that the smoother the nail surface, the better the polish will stick. You should always use base coat. It helps protect your nails so that they don't yellow, and it makes your polish stay on longer. In my opinion, if you don't use base coat you should expect your polish to chip in less than a day.

8. Now apply one thin and even coat of the color you chose, using the technique below (I used Glitzerland by OPI). It's really important that you wait for the first coat of polish to dry for at least a few minutes before adding a second. This helps prevent smearing and generally allows the polish to harden better. After 5ish minutes, add a second coat.
 -In between coats, wrap the polish for better coverage, as shown below (go here for more info on this technique). This is optional, but helps your manicure last.
9. Wait for the second coat to dry for at least 3 minutes before adding a top coat. I'm using Seche Vite as a top coat, but I've had good luck with OPI top coats as well. The top coat is just as important as the base coat. It gives your nails a shiny protective coating, and it seals in the color.

10. Wait 1 more minutes before applying the quick dry (I use L'Oreal Pro Manicure Quick Dry). I always add quick dry just to make sure that my nails are completely dry, but you can skip this step if you want.

11. I know it's tough to resist picking at your polish at this point. You'll probably have some excess around the edges, but LEAVE IT. Trust me. Wait at least an hour or two and wash your hands well. Use a nail scrubby if you have one, if not just rub around each nail well with soap to loosen the polish. 

12.Then moisturize again. Rub the lotion in around your cuticles and tips, concentrating on areas with excess polish. 

13. Next, use your orange wood stick to gently go around each nail and peel off the excess polish. The water and moisturizer will have loosen it substantially, making it way easier to remove. I've found that if I don't wait, I end up messing up my nails by accidentally picking off polish that I don't intend to.

And BAM! You're done and your nails look awesome. I know this sounds like a lot of steps, but once you get into the routine, the whole process takes less than 45 minutes (minus the removal of excess polish part. That usually just happens over the course of the next few hours). 

Later this week I'll be updating about my first day of work, so check back for that:]

-Kinsey

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nails part 1: Fall Colors

Hey there!

Since this might be my last time-consuming weekday post for a while, I decided I might as well talk about something I'm passionate about: nail polish! (Note: Guys, you might just want to leave now because this is a post entirely dedicated to nails).

As I prepare for my first day of work tomorrow, one of my biggest decisions is (as always) what color to paint my nails. I joke that I cared more about my nail color than my wedding dress...but in a way I'm kind of not joking [I decided on Italian Love Affair by OPI, for those of you interested]. I'm pretty sure everyone knows that I'm not very 'girly' in most ways. I don't do much shopping, I hate fixing my hair, I rarely wear make up, and I definitely don't enjoy musicals. BUT, I care a lot about my nails. I'm not exactly sure what to tie that back to, but I think it stems from my love of color in general. 

So, as I was pondering what color to wear for my work debut, I decided it would be fun to do a Fall polish post. Fall is one of my favorite seasons as far as nail color goes, and things are finally cooling off enough around here to make wearing darker nail hues justifiable.

I think that in some ways, a manicure--or lack thereof--really says a lot about a person. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying that if you don't paint your nails you come across as lazy or boyish or whatever. I know that schedules are hectic, some jobs don't allow polish, and that some people think that painting your nails is a waste of time and money. I will say, though, that regardless of gender, there's no excuse for having jank, untrimmed, dirty nails 24/7. Because that's just gross. I just think the color & length of your nails can give some indication as to what you enjoy or what type of personality/lifestyle you have.

Maybe that's why I take the decision of color so seriously. For example, you wouldn't want to show up for your first day at a new job with your fingernails painted blue. I mean, I love me some blue polish. Really I do. But blue nails have more of a young, fun, carefree connotation than a professional one. I should go ahead and admit right here that I know I read more into nail color than most people might. But I'm still going to carefully consider what my boss would think if I wore bright red to my first day at the office, even though he's a guy and will most likely not notice my nails.

I recently posted a picture of my nail polish collection on twitter to compare notes with some of my best girl friends (who also happen to absolutely love nail polish).

I know this might make you think that I have a problem. Mostly my dad, who is probably like "holy hell what have I done." But in my defense, I've been given a lot of these polishes as gifts and some of them are 3+ years old. I've bought almost all the OPI (which is my favorite brand, obviously) on sale, buy two get one at Ulta. I own like 2 purses, one small bag of makeup, and not that many shoes. Basically I'm just making excuses so that you won't think I'm terrible. CAN'T A GIRL HAVE HER POLISH? I think so. Anywho, this picture isn't even completely current as I've trashed a couple of the older/least used colors (at my mother's insistence) and I've of course acquired a few more:D

Without further ado, colors that I think are perfect for Fall (Note: As far as naming the colors goes, you can tell by the bottle if a color is OPI so I typically didn't list that. If I know what collection a color is from, I listed the collection name in parenthesis. Obviously I don't know most of them, but whatever).

Reds and Pinks
While you might not necessarily think of pink as a fall color, its warmer tones can definitely be Fall/Winter appropriate. Right now I really love colors with gold undertones (like Cozu-melted in the Sun, which is probably my current favorite pink).

Purples
Of this group, my favorite is definitely Russian Navy. It has an iridescence and depth of color that's very hard to describe and photograph, but in person it's really neat. The color falls somewhere between blue and purple, but I think it has more purple tones. Vixen is also a really unique color. It's sort of a burgundy wine (the only one I have). Very sultry I'd say.

Browns
I think any color of brown is absolutely perfect for fall. My favorite of these three is definitely the taupe. I was never a fan of taupe until I got You Don't Know Jacques, and I use it all the time now because it's a great neutral. Espresso Your Style is another example of a color with gold undertones, which are very flattering on pale skin like mine.

Greys and Blacks

Out of this group, my favorite is definitely Grey #4. Wouldn't you know, it was the cheapest (on sale at Urban for around $2). It's a classic grey with a little hint of blue--it's also very neutral so it's perfect for work. Suzi Skis is a trademark OPI color. It's really dark and smokey. I'm into that, but it would be a pretty bold choice for someone who isn't used to wearing dark colors. Black Shatter is meant to go on top of other (lighter) colors, which I think would be very appropriate for Fall/Winter.

Blues
Like I said, I love blue polish. I read that Cuckoo for this Color is one of the most popular colors for this Fall. I actually have it on my toes right now. It's very unique, and I would consider it a 'more mature' blue. Pure Ice is one of my favorites too, but it's definitely a very bold true blue. I don't know if I'll ever feel good about wearing it to work, but it's a great toe color.
 Green
As I was selecting the colors for this post, I realized that I only have one green! That's pretty shocking, I know. This was one of my first dark colors to own, and I really like it. I've read that military green is the biggest color for Fall. For whatever reason, I didn't buy one on my last polish run, so that's on the to-buy list.

Gold
I'm obviously on a gold kick right now. This is my newest and probably current favorite color, Glitzerland. I got it a couple of weeks ago, and I used it on my nails soon after. It lasted for 8+ days. I've decided that it's the perfect color for my first day of work. It's neutral yet sparkly, lasts forever, and sets the fall vibe. An all around winner!   

I have a post scheduled for tomorrow about how I make my polish last. I hope you like it!

-Kinsey

Monday, September 26, 2011

Somebody's got a case of the Mondays...

Or maybe he's just sad because it's still hot-ish.


I hope you all had a great weekend! Thomas and I had lots of 'last weekend before my real job starts' fun. On Friday we hit up Piedmont Park with Jack so he could play with some dog friends. The weather was beautiful and I collected lots of cute mini-leaves in pretty Fall colors!


Afterwards we stopped by Walmart, where we saw these ridiculous Sesame Street sweatshirts. I just HAD to show you. Because they're not for kids. They're for grown men.

Then on Saturday, we headed up to Norcross so I could show Thomas all the great shopping. Not that he cares about shopping, but it was fun anyway. We ate a quick/cheap lunch at Jason's Deli, and then we basically walked around looking at expensive stuff that we kind of wanted but could never buy, for example, this chicken.
I actually took this picture because it reminded me of the chicken post by The Bloggess--not because I wanted to buy the metal chicken. Her blog is hilarious (although always sarcastic and usually inappropriate. Don't say I didn't warn you) and I literally lol almost every time I read it. Mostly at the chicken post though.

Thomas' favorite place we 'shopped' was Williams-Sonoma. Of course, it is WAY above our price range. Also, we have more kitchen stuff than probably any other newlywed couple in the history of ever. We laugh because looking back at our registry, we mostly registered for exclusively kitchen stuff. We didn't really consider anything for any other room besides bathroom towels/rugs and some new sheets, and at the end we got basically 85% kitchen related items. This is obviously awesome because now we have a tricked out kitchen (and we do spend lots of time there). Someday we'll be living in a house with enough storage for all our kitchen equipment, and I know our current tiny kitchen will make us appreciate it that much more.

Thomas has kind of a thing about knives. Like, no matter how many knives he has it will NEVER be enough. Pocket knives, kitchen knives, knives for cutting different things. But hey...we all have our thing (I think it's pretty clear by this point that mine is nail polish). Personally, I'm always tempted by kitschy little things, like this cute strawberry huller.
I think it's mostly because all things strawberry related (storage containers and the like) are made to look like cute little strawberries. This is obviously a good marketing tactic, because I'm always tempted. I do resist though, because I know from experience that things like strawberry hullers are rarely/never used and just clutter up the utensil drawer. It was also $8. Oh, practicality.

We spent the afternoon at Norcross perusing the stores, walking in and out of places we rarely go but would love to shop. We pretended we belonged in JCrew (wish), but it was pretty clear that we didn't because all their sweaters are $98. We also went into Homegoods for the first time. It's part of the Marshalls/TJMaxx family, but instead of clothes, it's entirely stocked with stuff for your house--decor, kitchen stuff, bedding, etc. We were already tired by this point in the day, but I'm sure we'll be back sometime when the need arises. Also, we came home to this:
Weird.

On Sunday, we woke up late, drank some coffee (yes, I'm officially kind of a coffee drinker now) and watched some Weeds. We're getting super into Weeds now that we're done/caught up with LOST, Dexter, Nip/Tuck, and True Blood. It's always fun to have a show to look forward to, and we're liking the easy to watch but very interesting nature of Weeds so far. 

It was a nice surprise when Mari and Holly called us to have brunch yesterday morning. We tried out a great little restaurant that we hadn't been to yet, Home Grown. The atmosphere was kind of young/hipster, and the food was really tasty, but for me the biggest and best surprise was that the prices were really reasonable. Like, $6-$9 for an entree. I know this might sound high to some of you, but for brunch in the ATL, that's super cheap. 

I broke one of my own rules and had breakfast after 10. For some reason my body clock won't usually let me eat anything but lunch around then, but yesterday I was feeling some breakfast food. It was a great choice! I had the basic breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and cheese grits. As a fairly new grit-eater, I was all about these cheesy delights.

Thomas settled on lunch and got one of his favorite meals, the fried baloney sandwich with a fried egg on top and a side of collard greens. He gave rave reviews, but did say he wished there was a little more baloney.

We also tried one of Holly's chili cheese slaw dogs, and it was absolutely amazing. We'll definitely be back for those. 

After lunch, Mari and Holly took us out for ice cream! Obviously we had a great Sunday. There was a Scoutmob for a cool local place called Morelli's. They're famous for their salted caramel ice cream, which has become a really popular dessert flavor. Thomas got the salted caramel, and I stuck with my old favorite, coffee (I've gotten coffee ice cream since loooong before I drank coffee. Because I'm weird like that). Both flavors were great, but the salted caramel was ridiculously full of flavor. The caramel was suuuper buttery and the salt topped it off really nicely. It was really really rich, so we were glad we just got a kids scoop.

Overall we had a great weekend, and I'm really looking forward to starting work this week! I'm equally excited about the beginning of Fall weather, which I know is coming soon.


THINK FALL THOUGHTS.
-T, K, J, & C

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I got 99 problems but a job ain't one.

It's official: I start my new job next Wednesday! I'm super excited and a little nervous for this huge transition. I'll be going from sitting at home 5+ days a week, to working 9-6 Monday through Friday. These are definitely exciting times, and I look forward to seeing how it feels to be a 'real' grownup.

As Thomas and I planned to make the move to Atlanta, we felt a lot of pressure to prove ourselves. I say 'we', but what I really mean is 'me'. Or I. Whatever. I've always felt a major need to achieve. Even without anyone pushing me, I have some sort of invisible force (an internal one) urging me to be the best. This obviously didn't apply to sports, just school and stuff. 

All throughout my senior year at Texas Tech, tons of people told me that I might as well stay in school because the job market was so rough--there was NO way I would get a job as a new graduate. Even though these comments were fairly discouraging, I had no choice but to stick with my plan of graduating in three years. I have to admit, even though I heard countless stories of recent graduates who couldn't find work, I never imagined that it would be hard for me to find a job. I think this naive attitude came from a combination of my young age and the fact that I was from a relatively 'small' town, both of which made me feel like I knew enough people/things that I'd surely be ok.

After the move, our network shrank immensely. We only knew a handful of people here, as compared to the number of friends and family we had both growing up in Lubbock. From friends, to family, to school connections--our network there was HUGE compared to the 10 acquaintances we had here.

Our lack of connections and familiarity with the area was really discouraging after a while. It felt like we would never meet people. After a particularly bad week, I started to think, "how can you meet people if you don't have a job and (for financial reasons) can't leave the house?" Admittedly I'm a very impatient person--I know it had technically been only 3 months--but things felt like they were moving really slowly and it became harder and harder to avoid feeling discouraged.

Thankfully, the connections we have here are great ones. Mari and Holly have both been amazingly helpful on the job search, and they both diligently followed lots of leads for Thomas and me anywhere they could. They also introduced us to their friends and family here, which was the biggest help of all. Meeting new people is always fun and encouraging, and even if they didn't know of a job for us right then, it was great to talk to someone outside of each other (or Jack and Charlotte). My dad also reached out to a contact he had here from work, and he and his family were very sweet and encouraging.

I've considered doing a 'tips for getting a job' post, but as a very recently unemployed person myself, I know that every article on this topic says basically the same thing: network, build a custom resume, follow up with companies after applying, etc. I'll be honest with you; I think lots of those recommendations are great...but they only work to a point. The job search has changed exponentially over the last 10 years, and literally every single application I filled out on my job hunt was online. Most of the time there was no contact number, no e-mail resource, and no way to get in touch with a real person at the company. The whole process is very impersonal, and it gets really discouraging to put in one online application after another and to rarely receive even an automated e-mail in response. Ultimately I felt like most of the time, my resume was skimmed for less than 3 seconds if at all.

Over the last 3 months, I've formed the opinion that you never know who or what will lead to a job. This leads to my one real tip: Follow every single lead you get like it'll be "the one." Even if it seems like it'll go nowhere, it's worth the effort. I've decided that the best way to demonstrate this point is by showing you exactly what my job search looked like, with the hope that someone else in my situation will read this and find it helpful or at least relatable.

Early 2010: Realize that Thomas and I are definitely going to get married. Now it's just a question of when and where. I know that this comes with a commitment to move to Atlanta (at least for a while), and we start talking about that issue on an almost daily basis.

November 2010: Start e-mailing Mari and Holly; picking their brains about what neighborhood would be good for us and when/how to begin the job search.

November 18, 2010: Get engaged! Woo! Now we're for sure that this whole marriage/moving thing is on (by that I mean that everyone else finally believes that Thomas really is going to marry me, making the last 6 months of me talking about it seem a little less crazy).

January 2011: Really start talking to Mari and Holly about finding work in Atlanta. Determine that we should start applying around a month or two before we're planning to move, giving ourselves time to hopefully find a job before moving (looking back, this was a very unrealistic expectation).

March 2011: Make the trek to the ATL over Spring Break. Make lots of connections at Turner and other post-production houses, and even visit the studio Thomas is interning with now to meet some people. Even though I fought it originally, the trip was very worthwhile and generally makes me feel better about moving here. Around this time we also start working with Mari and Holly to re-write both of our resumes in a way that would be more appealing to potential employers.  We also start planning the official move.

May 14, 2011: Graduate college! Feel super glad that I'll [hopefully never] have to attend a class again! I have a phone interview around this time with a company in Atlanta, and even set up an in-person interview for after the move.

May 29, 2011: Get married! Finally all the wedding planning came to a halt and we could focus on job/moving stuff. We continue to look for any job that either of us qualifies for and apply for those few positions (it's clear now that no employer would probably look twice at our resumes since we lived across the country at the time).

June 18, 2011: Pack up a U-Haul truck with all of our earthly possessions and make the long drive to our new home. For a week, we repainted, repaired, decorated, and moved in.

June 20, 2011: My first job interview! Things go well and I kind of feel like it might work out. I was still a little unsure of whether the position would pay enough, but I was hoping the offer would come through.

Late June/early July 2011: Because I haven't heard back from the interview, I continue to apply for other positions. At this point my Bookmarks tab is full of 'jobs' related sites: Turner, Southwest Airlines, Emory, Oglethorpe, and Georgia Tech Universities, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, The Westin, and lots of others. I check each of these sites once every day or so, applying for any job I think I'm qualified for. I never hear back from 5 out of those, and if I do get an e-mail it's just to let me know that the position has been filled.

July 13, 2011: After 3 weeks of complete silence (and lots of worry) about my interview, I receive an automated e-mail letting me know that another candidate was selected. At this point it wasn't a surprise, but it was definitely a disappointment.

Mid-July 2011: Thanks to our friend/landlady Jeanie, I made a connection at The Westin. My contact (Jeanie's son) was SUPER helpful, and he did everything he could to help in my search. I applied for a position in HR. Things moved slowly and seemed like they might work out at times, but ultimately another candidate was selected.

Late July 2011: Start to feel really cooped up in our house, and get even more discouraged. After going back and forth for a while, I finally decided to apply for a part time job as a teller at Wells Fargo. To this day, I've never heard back. That was definitely a downer.

August 2011: Continue to meet people and make connections, but the longer I went without a job, the more I worried that I wouldn't get one. I read numerous articles about how companies don't like to hire the unemployed and continued to realize that I'm no exception. They don't know me as a hard worker with lots of motivation and drive--to them I'm just a kid fresh out of college with no 'real' work experience to speak of. I sent off e-mails with my resume to any connections I got wind of, but rarely got a response. At any given time, I had 2-4 leads I was chasing. It was never completely hopeless, but it was depressing some days.

September 5, 2011: Get an e-mail from Jeanie about a possible connection. I e-mailed him my resume, but since I'd been through this so many times before, I honestly didn't think much of it. In fact, I didn't even remember to tell Thomas about the situation, because I was so used to these things not going anywhere.

September 7, 2011: While doing a routine junk e-mail check, I discovered a message from Jeanie's connection. I was pretty surprised, but I moved it over to my inbox to read it. [THANK GOODNESS I check my junk mail. There's another tip for you]. The message detailed a position at a small IT company, had a link to their website, and asked if I could come in for an interview later that week if I was interested. Obviously I said "YES!"

September 9, 2011: My first interview. Things go well and I leave feeling great. I was asked to come in for a second interview the next week. I try not to get my hopes up over the weekend, but obviously that's kind of hard when you haven't had so much as a call back in over 2 months.

September 12, 2011: My second interview (with the CEO). I was nervous, and the interview was very quick. I left feeling unsure and like I probably didn't get the job. Basically beat myself up for two straight days and feel like I'm going to have to start over.

September 13, 2011: I got a call from the person hiring for the position letting me know that he and the CEO were very impressed with me and that they thought I would be a great fit for their company. He asked that I think about it and respond early the next week. It worked out perfectly because that meant I got to spend the week with my mom while she was here.

Yesterday, September 21, 2011: I was officially offered the job. The angels sang and Jack and Charlotte danced in a circle with me. Sort of.

My first day on the job is next Wednesday, September 28, 2011. Meaning that I went from discouraged and jobless to gainfully employed in 23 days. That's absolutely mindblowing to me, and honestly it still feels surreal. 

I know I might come across as impatient since 3 months isn't really that long. I've heard lots of stories about people being unemployed for 6 months to a year before finding a job, and I know that I'm really lucky. I know that I had a lot of help (for which I'm eternally grateful). But I also know that to me, it doesn't just feel like I've been job hunting since May--this has been a huge worry and daily concern since last January and even before.

It's important for me to point out that it was a huge commitment for us to come here together--young, newlywed, and jobless to make this HUGE leap into being real grownups. I can't tell you how many talks have been had (between us, our parents, and our friends) about these decisions and changes. I can't put a number on the amount of tears shed (by us me and others) or the sleepless nights we've experienced. Also, the amount of (unsolicited, but often good) advice we've gotten about moving/jobs/marriage/etc. is in the millions ;] But I am proud to say that we worked for what we've got, and we're extremely happy with it!

We've obviously learned a ton over the course of this adventure. The adventure isn't even over--it's really barely started--but this was a huge goal for me and for us together. I've finally got my first 'grownup job' and I'm so thankful to everyone that's helped me get there! Whether it was through an encouraging message or comment, just thinking of me, or actually helping me make the connection that got me THE job, I appreciate it so much and I want to pay it forward as soon as I can. And finally: Thomas, you're the best husband ever for listening to me cry, worry, complain, and freak out over the last year. I couldn't ask for a better friend or life companion.

This post became a lot more grand and emotional than I originally intended. I actually kind of feel like I just accepted an Emmy or something. Nonetheless, these are my real thoughts and feelings, and a big taste of what's been going on (inside and out) for the last year or so. I hope someone reads about my experience and feels encouraged, because I know exactly how it feels to be jobless and scared. Good luck out there job hunters! And I promise that someone, somewhere will want you!

-Kinsey

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recapping Mom Week: The Food

Hi thar,

As I mentioned yesterday, we did lots of eating over the last week while my mom was here. Apparently I forgot to take pictures at some of the restaurants, but here's what I did photograph.

We made these chocolate chip cookies on my mom's second night here. They were delish!

After the Zoo on Friday, we ate at The Varsity. They really do say "what'll ya have!" really fast.

My mom and I shared the slaw dog combo and some onion rings. So tasty! Thomas had a chili cheese slaw dog, and he gave a great report on its deliciousness.

On Monday we had lunch at The Brickery. Thomas and I had dinner there with a Scoutmob a few weeks back, and it was just as tasty this time.  My mom and I shared a Caesar Burger (because they're ridiculously huge) and Thomas got his own. Because he's a boy.

Then, yesterday, my mom and I tried out the West Egg Cafe before she headed home. This is a turkey bacon gouda sandwich. How could that be bad?!

She got a fried green tomato sandwich. Yum! We'll definitely go back there.

We also dined at Nuevo Laredo on Saturday before the game with Mari and Holly. It's one of Atlanta's famously delicious Mexican restaurants, but I failed as a blogger and didn't get any pictures:[

On another note, today I was officially offered the job! I'll be signing paperwork soon, and after that I'll be able to talk in detail about it on da blog. For now, I can tell you that I'll be working as a client service specialist at a small IT company. I'm super excited and I think it will be a great fit for me. As always, I'll keep you updated.

Also, for those of you wondering (probably no one) my hand is ok after yesterday's tragic fan incident. It's still a little bruised and lumpy, but I can still type and text with it so it's obviously fine!

Here's a picture of cowboy Jack from last Halloween. I entered it in a costume contest yesterday, and I couldn't help but share the cuteness again!

-T, K, J, & C

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recapping Mom Week: The Shopping

Hey there everyone,

I dropped my mom off at the airport a couple of hours ago:[ Instead of moping around (which is what I feel like doing) I decided to start recapping her visit! We basically did two things the whole time she was here: shopped and ate. Both of which I happen to like a lot! Today I'll be showing you the shopping portion of her visit, and tomorrow will feature all the delicious food we've eaten over the last week. Well, most of it.

Since I got the job call around 20 minutes before my mom got here, we had lots of motivation (and good reason) to shop. We explored lots of different areas while she was here, but we spent the majority of our time at Perimeter Mall and in Norcross. There's also lots of great outdoor shopping in Atlanta, so we did some of that too. I know I haven't given you details on the where/when/what of what I'll be doing, but they are coming. For this post, all you need to know is that the place I'll be working has a casual atmosphere, and I am allowed to wear jeans. I'm going for a casual yet dressy yet professional/cute/fun/awesome/me vibe. GOT IT?! Thought so.

In preparation for this post, I was in the process of photographing my outfits (because I know some of you care about clothes and whatnot). I decided to lay out the clothes on the front room floor--which is clean, I promise--and stand on a chair to shoot them from above. While photographing the first outfit, I was exploring angles and decided to try one above my head. This was a mistake. As soon as I stuck my arm up (camera in hand and all), I heard a LOUD crack and felt pain shoot through my hand/arm. Turns out the front room fan is lower than I thought, and my hand was right in its path of fury. The fan still sounds weird like 45 minutes later, and my hand is actually really hurting as I type this. Haha. It'll probably turn out to be nothing, but it makes a funny story that I injured my hand with a fan while taking pictures of my new clothes. I think.

 
I know this injury might not look substantial, but I'm telling you, it hurts.

On a completely different note, there is currently another child outside my window shooting a gun. Yes, it is a play gun, but whatever. This one is a girl, and she has the same haircut I did as a kid, and I feel kind of bad for her. She keeps her gun in her sock when she's not shooting it, so that's kind of awesome.

Anyway, back to the shopping. Last Wednesday, my mom and I hit up Perimeter Mall for the first time. We were walking around just looking at stuff, and we decided check out Gap. I stopped shopping at Gap in junior high because it started looking too old for me. Now that I'm older, it fits my style much more, and we ended up spending forever there. The employees were super helpful, one guy named Drew in particular. It was almost like having a personal stylist. Here's some of the stuff I got (all photos courtesy of the Gap website).

I started off by choosing some nice, dark wash jeans. Gap just so happens to sell ankle length jeans for petite people like myself. It's exciting to finally own a pair of pants that I don't have to get hemmed.


Then we moved on to tops. I'm sad to say that my 4 favorite purchases weren't featured on the Gap website anymore (because almost everything I bought was on sale), so I can't show you some of the shirts I got. Ah well, I tried!

This is one of my favorites. I got this in dark green and dark purple, and it'll be great to wear under my cute jackets and whatnot. It's simple, but I like it.

I wore this today under a cardigan, and it's very flattering and comfy. It looks great under things for Fall/Winter, but also on its own. I thought the color would make me look gross, but it didn't.

Of course, camis are always a great staple. I got this one in white and grey, and it has a little tulle trim for some nice detail.

I'm pleased to report that this isn't very glittery in person. It's super sheer, so I'll be wearing a cami under it, but it's easy to dress up or down. It's also really comfy. BONUS.

This is something I'd never ever see myself buying, but it looks great on. It's a unique color, but I think it's perfect for fall. It was also on sale for like $18, and I do love a good blazer.

On Friday, we headed up to Norcross to do some shopping, and we ended up staying all day once we saw how great the area was. We started at Charming Charlie (I'd never been before, but it's basically just a huge store full of clothes and accessories categorized by color) and had hit up DSW, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, and James Avery by the end of the day.

I was looking mostly for a square scarf at Charming Charlie, and this one was perfect. I actually got the key necklace at Forever 21 during a different mall trip, but whateva.

It was pretty important that I find some new (more grown up) shoes while my mom was here. I'm super tempted to wear flats every single day, but I hate getting dressed and looking in my closet, only to realize I don't have any cute dressy shoes to wear. While we were in Norcross, we headed over to DSW where I got two pairs of shoes (using $15 in coupons and a giftcard) for less than $55!

These are some solid, basic low heels. They're not something I would wear regularly (because to this point I've been walking around a college campus) but I think they'll work really well in a work setting.

These were my more risky choice. I love the bows, the color, and basically everything about them. I think they're perfect for fall and will look good with a jean, a legging, or a dress. Obviously, I love them. Even though they aren't my 'normal' style, I'm recreating myself starting with these bad boys;]

As yet another aside, my mom and I convinced Thomas to go back to Perimeter Mall with us yesterday to do some returns and exchanges. When we pulled into our parking spot, we heard a small/weird explosion sound and were like "huh." Then we looked at the white Camry next to us, and quickly deduced that Thomas had run over a perfectly positioned [full] Diet Coke can, causing it to explode and spray Coke alllll over someone's nice clean car. We quickly parked somewhere else--across the aisle--to avoid being noticed or something (that doesn't make much sense now that I think about it) and I snapped this sneaky photo of the car in question.
So if you're in Atlanta and you're reading this and your car was mysteriously sprayed with Diet Coke at Perimeter Mall yesterday...that was us. And we're sorry But we couldn't help it and it wasn't our fault!

ANYWAY. It's been getting cooler and more Fall like lately, and I'm excited to report that today was the first day of boot weather! I looove wearing my boots, and I've missed it over the summer. Here's the outfit I wore today:

So now you know about my (growing up) wardrobe. Tomorrow I'll be recapping all the great dining we've experienced over the last week, and giving you more details on my job situation!

-T, K, J & C

Monday, September 19, 2011

Now we can say we've seen Styx.

Monday Funday!

This weekend we had lots of fun with doing stuff with my mom. The biggest highlight was definitely Saturday's Braves game/Styx concert combo. I never thought I'd be invited to a baseball game and Styx concert on the same night, but it just so happens that Mari and Holly are awesome and got us free tickets to sit in a box!

The weather was absolutely perfect, and we were in the shade the whole game. It was a great day to sit outside and watch some baseball!
Here was our view from the box.

Of course, we had to take a photo of the two of us. The picture itself wasn't great, but the photobomb made it pretty spectacular.

This was the view on the other side of the box--the pretty Atlanta skyline!

I have a confession to make: I'm a HUGE fan of people watching. I'm also not a huge fan of sports--which isn't a secret at all--but I still like to go to baseball games and such for the atmosphere (and the people watching). There just so happened to be a suuuuper drunk guy next to us, which made for some great entertainment. I couldn't resist taking a video (or 5) of him. Here's the best one.

video

After this lovely dance spectacular, the people behind him decided that he would be good at taking their picture. They were holding up a big sign that said something like "happy 60th grandpa" and I guess he looked like a good candidate for the job.

The game was pretty short--the Braves won, by the way--and after the game, this guy came out to mow the field before Styx could be wheeled out (no pun intended. They're pretty old). My dad joked that he was some random guy who snuck onto the field with his own mower, just to get some clippings.


We posed for some pictures while we waited.



After a few minutes of field prep, it was time for the show. Styx was literally wheeled out (on a stage duh) and the show began.

My favorite member, Tommy Shaw, was recently on the show Flipping Out.

 
The box we were in was kind of behind where the stage was positioned, so we moved down to the lower level so we could hear better. 

I actually recorded an entire song for my dad, so take a listen if you're into that sort of thing.

This character, wearing a shirt that said "Get Drunk or Die," was also fun to people-watch.

Styx played for about an hour, and the whole show was great!

We had lots of other adventures over the week that my mom was here, but I'm waiting to post about them all later in the week!

I know you've been wondering where we stand on the cat toilet training front, and I have good and bad news. We were on track slowly decreasing the amount of litter in the bowl, and we got down to just a handful of litter (that's the good). We decided to move on to the next step, which was adding a little water to the bowl, and Charlotte rebelled (that's the bad). I wish I didn't have to tell you this, but I swore I'd be honest about the whole process. Charlotte pooped in our magazine holder. So that sucks bad. Thankfully, there were magazines in the holder to catch said poop. It was a sad defeat, but we just backed up a couple of steps and put some litter back in the bowl to get her comfortable again.

The main area we're having trouble with is getting her to keep her feet on the seat while she uses the toilet, instead of down in the bowl. She was thrown of by the water in the bowl because she's used to being able to stand in the litter, which is definitely a problem. Some people say you should be in the bathroom while the cat goes and manually remove their feet from the bowl and place them on the seat while they're still going to the bathroom. Yeah, I bet you can imagine how that works out. Not super well, although I have done it a few times (DEDICATION).

So we've gone another route and will be using a piece of cardboard with a hole cut in the center to teach her slowly how to position her feet. We just so happened to have cardboard leftover from our crock pot box, so onto the toilet it went.
 We'll slowly cut away the cardboard to enlarge the circle, so ultimately she'll train herself to stand on the seat (hopefully). This process has been grueling at times, but it will save us money, time and stink in the end!

-T, K, J, & C