Friday, January 29, 2010

Frugal Foot Finds

I was asked by one of my awesome Twitter friends at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam to link up with some pictures of my AWESOME frugal find, 3 pairs of shoes for $15.98 at Goodwill. It was such a blessing to find these shoes. They were EXACTLY what I was looking for. Because they are "previously loved" they are a little bit loose (that may also be attributed to my freakishly narrow feet, and even freakishlyer narrower heels), but nothing that can't be fixed by an insert and a heel gripper; or even some thicker socks. So here they are! My super-cheap shoes!


Black, with a chunky heel. $3.99


Also $3.99, these are dark gray, with dark blue stitching, and a lower heel than the black ones.


These were $8.00, and are the cutest brown zip-up boots! I've never had boots with heels before! So fun! And I love the little detail on the zipper pull.

Sorry the pictures are a little bit dark. I think you get the picture. :)


OUT-TAKE ALERT!!!

Ooooh la la!

The one where I make an appointment

It started innocently enough.

I recently uploaded my pictures from my husband's birthday outing to the Harlem Globetrotters game to our local drug store's website for 1-hour processing. By the time I was able to schlep across town to get them, it was about 3 days later. Don't judge me, you know you do that too. I digress. The pictures would be really cute for frames and scrapbooking, or so I thought. When I finally remembered to take them out of the car that night (I forgot about them AGAIN! What a horrible historian I am!) I was pumped to finally see them. I "oohed" and "ahhed" at the ones of my over-tired son refusing to smile, and the ones of my grinning husband brought a grin to my face as well. And then I saw it.

Cue Scene:
Me: *Gasp* Oh no!
Husband (from the kitchen): What?
Me: Honnnnnneeeeyyyyyy... It looks like I have a mustache in this picture!
Husband (walking into the living room from the kitchen): What? Oh, I'm sure it's not rea--(arrives at the scene of the crime, er, mustache picture). Um, well? Uh...
Me (looking up at husband with a look of sheer terror)(In a whiny voice): Do I need to have it waxed?
Husband (in most diplomatic, even politically correct way possible): takes wife by the shoulders, gazes deeply into her eyes, NOT at her mustache Honey, here me well. I am not saying this in the way you THINK I'm saying it. But.... I think you would WANT to have it waxed. Soon. Do you understand that I'm not saying you NEED to have it waxed?
Me (look of sheer terror continues): Yes. Oh my goodness. How could I not have noticed?! Goes into the bathroom for her first long, hard, look in the mirror since her son was born, comes back out of the bathroom to the scene of the crime, er, mustache picure. Well, it sure is there.
End Scene

So it started out as a nice evening looking at pictures and ended with an appointment to get my mustache waxed. And my eyebrows too. In time for Blissdom.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Exercise, For the Win!

Surrounded by new friends, awesome speakers, and tons of inspiration to write, exercising may be the last thing on your mind while you attend Blissdom. "But I'm too tired." "I stayed up too late last night." "I'm walking around the hotel. That counts, right?!" "I just don't want to. I'm on vacation, dang it!" Are those thoughts bouncing around in your just-for-blissdom-styled head? If so, time to push them out. Exercise is important in your daily life, right? Then why stop for Blissdom? In fact, I think exercise can really benefit your well-being at Blissdom, and really any conference you go to. Why? Read on, friends. Read on.

The number one tip I hear from the more experienced Blissdom ladies is that you need to bring your fabulous smile. What better way to get into a blissful mood than exercising to crank up your endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in above-mentioned just-for-blissdom-styled head. It's a brain game. Exercise may not feel good at first, but give it a few more minutes and the endorphins will kick in. And you'll have more energy later. Score!

All those new friends you're meeting? You could really solidify your In Real Life relationship with them by pounding the pavement. For some reason, exercise gets us ladies talking. Oh yeah, and misery loves company. I'm a group fitness instructor and I see that every day--if someone drags their friend to my class, they are both more likely to stick with it. Think of it as a bonding moment. "*huff puff* I hate this. You?" "Yeah, me too. *ugh*" See? Instant connection.

Two words: Conference food. So far, I've tallied up a few meal-centered events, including the prayer breakfast (which may or may not be a breakfast, but ladies, I will be starving. So whether I eat there or just after, it will involve food.) and the foodie lunch. And then there are the cocktail parties Thursday and Friday night, not to mention Blissful Bites and Bubbles; also on Friday. The Tastemaker party. The (In)Courage Party. The list goes on and on and on. Then of course we have our regular meals. (If I'm missing anything, please let me know--I want to eat it all!) And isn't there someone out there handing out CHOCOLATE business cards?!!! It all adds up to....calorie overload. Simple formula: If you are not burning more calories than you are taking in, you will not lose weight. If you break even, you will maintain. Tilt the scale the other way and you negate all the hard work you put in to lose weight before Blissdom. And don't say you're not trying, because I know you are! Which leads me to my next point...

Don't you want to look hot for Harry Connick Jr.?!

Hear me well. I'm not telling you that you should run 3 miles around the Gaylord Opryland or run like Phoebe from Friends through the hotel (although if you do, please let me join you!) but you should try to stay active. We'll be sitting on our tushies long enough soaking up the amazing sessions. Don't let your muscles (and all your hard work) go to mush. If you can't find time to hit the fitness center, do some simple exercises in your room with your roommate (or while she watches and laughs. It's okay, she's just jealous!): Squats, Lunges, Pushups and Crunches use absolutely no equipment. If you want to add some resistance, pick up a phone book or your suitcase, or your roommate. Whatever floats your boat. Just stay active. It will keep the smile on your face, the calories off your butt, and Harry Connick Jr. wanting your hot bod.

It's a win-win!

Monday, January 25, 2010

More details on my upcoming trip


Blissdom is coming up quickly. VERY quickly. As in, this week (being just one week away from the week of the event) totally snuck up on me like the boogeyman.

I am nervous. VERY nervous. Not just because I'm about to meet many of my blogging friends in real life, but because I am letting go of something very important (Josh is too, but this is *ahem* all about me, you see) in order to embark on my conference/vacation:

My child.

One week from tomorrow, February 2, 2010, my sweet 21-month-old will board a plane with my mother-in-law (who is more awesome than words can say) bound for Florida. There he will stay (alternately with both sets of grandparents) until Sunday, when we arrive in Florida for the rest of our vacation in the Orlando area.

This is so difficult for me. I am totally stoked for the opportunity to travel without Zeke; to spend time with my husband; and to just be me, without being a mommy. But the "what if's" are killing me right now. Let's not even talk about the BIG "what if," okay? Because planes make it safely to their destinations EVERY DAY. So why don't we just not talk about that. *Ahem* Moving on. What if he is scared and wants his mama or daddy? We won't be there to help him. What if he misses us? Will he cry when he sees us on Skype? Will he sleep okay? What if he loses Harvey Hamel? Or even worse than all of this, what if he is horribly behaved the whole time and both sets of his grandparents never want to babysit AGAIN?

Have you ever taken vacation without your child? Have you ever sent your child on a plane with another family member? How did it go? How did you get over these feelings? I'm literally having trouble sleeping over this, and it's still over a week away! I know he's going to be fine, but I hate the thought that he might feel abandoned or wonder where we are.

Pray for me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Twitter Issues

I have a love-hate relationship with social media; i.e., Twitter and Facebook. Especially Twitter. Upon winning the Steaz contest and claiming my ticket to Blissdom, I (figuratively, of course) was shoved with great force and enthusiasm into the foreign land of social media. For the most part, I really enjoy it! Connecting with people from around the country and even the world is first and foremost a great deal of fun. The internet has made the globe a tiny marble and connected us virtually to one another. But I have reservations.

Much of my study in college was conducted in mass media. I had (and still have) an enormous interest in parasocial relationships (PSR's). Many of my papers, finally culminating in my senior thesis, revolved around them. Here's a link to a Wikipedia article about Parasocial Interaction (PSI). Yes I know Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source of information on the planet, but it had a very clear definition.

So basically a Parasocial Relationship is a one-sided relationship between two people. Often it's used to describe fans and "characters," but can you see how easily this translates into web presence? I've seen this with bloggers. Just read some comments on "famous" mommy bloggers' posts. There are plenty of people who comment as if they know the author. And we, as bloggers, foster this relationship. We tell intimate stories about our lives, our families, and at times, really difficult moments. I LOVE that about blogging. You know I love looking into people's lives, and I love people looking into mine. But still, I feel awkward. And I'd like to start a little discussion. You don't have to answer these questions here (but you can if you want). You can message me on Twitter (I'm @BoldRach4X), email me at racheeb (@) gmail (.) com, or better yet, find me at Blissdom!

How do you feel about blog readers who feel they know you?

Do you consider your relationships on Twitter, etc. to be "real" relationships?


I guess what I'm getting at is this: I follow some amazing people through their blogs and Twitter. I don't want to be the one about whom they say "Man, that girl is CRAAAA--ZY! She thinks she knows me and thinks we're friends, but no way! LAAAAME!"

In the digital age, are we forming real connections with each other? As Blissdom approaches, I'm getting more and more excited to meet so many awesome bloggers in real life (which I've learned is abbreviated to IRL!) and solidify our relationships. I want to make sure our friendship isn't parasocial.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A shout out

I just have to give a shout-out to my husband, Josh Boldman...because it's his TWENTY-FIFTH birthday today!

That's him on the right :)
That's him on the right, again. I think we're pretty cute together, and I'm amazed that he lets me hang out with him.
That's him on the right...again. He was only 21, I only 23. So we've grown up a little bit in age, and both become a little bit (and I do mean a LITTLE bit!) more mature.


So here we are last summer at my big sis's wedding. A little older, a tiny little bit wiser, and still in love. Awwww! ** And check out the dress! I'll be wearing that to one of the Blissdom cocktail parties! **

I love you Josh! I hope you have a great birthday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh well.

Here's a tiny snapshot of my morning:

4:45 a.m.--wake up, stumble into bathroom to put workout clothes on. Contacts in. Brush teeth. Say goodbye to husband. Wait for him to mutter "bye honey, do good."

5:15 a.m.--out the door in plenty of time to drive like an 80-year-old so I don't hit a deer on our rural roads and arrive at the YMCA at 5:30.

6:00 a.m.--teach a rockin' full-body strength/toning class.

7:15 a.m.--finish teaching, chat with participants and head out,

7:30 a.m.--arrive back home.

7:30-8:45 a.m.--rush like a MAD WOMAN to shower, put on makeup, do my hair, chug a Carnation Instant Breakfast (anyone know if they want a representative for Blissdom? Cause I'd be a GREAT choice!!), feed Zeke, get him into his alone playtime so he can "go," change his diaper, change his clothes, and get out the door.

Why this huge rush, you ask? Baby Storytime, of course! Zeke loves story time, and so do I. I get quality time with him where I don't have to think about what to do, he gets to play with other kids, and I get to meet other moms. Which brings me to last week. I met an awesome "other mom." She had great hair, had her makeup done, cool clothes; in short, she and her little guy (about 8 months younger than Zeke) looked fabulous, and we seemed to have a lot in common. Of course last week, I had barely gotten a chance to shower, so my hair was dirty and I had very little makeup on. I may have smelled. A little. We walked to our cars together, and said "great! See you next week!" I'm going to be really honest with you--I have been looking forward to seeing this particular mom all week. She seemed so...fabulous! So...put together! Everything I want in a friend, and more! You see, today's rush was for her. I was determined to look and feel more put-together and "with it" than I was last time. I got to the library with plenty of time to spare, hoping our boys could play with the "choo choos" together before the official start time. I grabbed Zeke out of the car and said "Come on kid, Mommy needs this." Not really. Maybe. I'll never tell. All of a sudden, Miss Gina yells, "Ok, let's go into the story time room and get started!" WHAT?! Miss Gina, you must be mistaken; my new, awesome BFF isn't here yet! With a nervous glance around the children's section, I reluctantly went inside. SHE. NEVER. SHOWED. UP. And I was so disappointed. I totally could have stayed home OR gone to the later, 10:30 a.m. story time. Oh well.

Storytime and playgroups are like dating...and I guess she's just not that into me. *sigh*

Monday, January 18, 2010

Make Time for Change

I was just introduced to a great website, Make Time for Change, by Frigidaire. Basically, all you have to do is click on that little link I just put in there for you, and play their new "Spin and Win" game. Just for playing, Frigidaire will donate $1.00 to Save the Children; which promotes healthy lifestyles. You can play once every day, and be entered into a drawing to win some pretty neat prizes that will help you spend quality time with your family--gift cards for books, craft projects (yay!), movies, and lots of other fun stuff! Today I was entered to win a $200 gift card to play dress up. Ummmm, hello! I LOVE to play dress up! Since Zeke is a boy, I would probably have to find someone else to play dress up WITH, but I'm sure I could find someone! I was also entered to win a Frigidaire Affinity Washer and Dryer. Speaking of spending time with family, do you know how much time having those puppies would save me? Right now I HAVE to be home to do my laundry, and HAVE to do small loads because my washer goes off balance very easily and walks itself all over the laundry room. Usually that happens right when I've started doing something else around the house. Convenience at its finest! So having an Affinity would be a huge time-saver because I could leave the house with confidence, knowing that my equipment wouldn't end up on the other side of the room. The Affinity features the "Balance Control System--
Vibration control technology keeps even oversized loads balanced for smooth, quiet operation." That sounds like EXACTLY what I need.

There are so many SWEET features to this washer, it's ridiculous: Delayed start time. TimeWise Technology--wash time equals dry time. Quick Cycle. And the list goes on.

With all the time I save, I could play with Zeke and NOT have to run outside to rescue a wandering washer. I could concentrate on doing things I like to do while Zeke sleeps--crafts, reading, or just resting. Or I could, you know, clean the toilets or something. Yeah. Whatever.

What would YOU do with the time you'd save using an Affinity washer and dryer?

P.S. This post is an entry for a contest to win an Affinity Washer and Dryer. I don't have one. Did I mention I want one?!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Are you going, Y'all?

I decided to put this MckLinky up here so I could keep track of who's going to Blissdom on my own blog! This gives me (and you) yet another central place to find new friends.

:) I can't wait!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To HAVE and to HOLD.

I never wanted to have children. I was born lacking that "I want to be a mommy" gene that some women just seem to HAVE. When my nephew was born in 1998 I was 15 years old and had great opportunities to interact with him and become the awesome aunt that I am today! He was over at our house a lot, and over time I grew to love being around him. I started thinking that someday I might like to be a mother, but I still didn't want to HAVE children.

Zeke was a surprise pregnancy, but by that time I was used to the idea of HAVING children and I thought it sounded like fun. Fun, it was not. I had a great pregnancy, WONDERFUL birth experience, relatively smooth postpartum transition (thank you, Zoloft!), and an awesome baby, but I'm having trouble thinking about HAVING another one. I didn't enjoy being pregnant nearly as much as I should have, or as much as my friends did/do. My back hurt, my belly itched, things moved to weird places, and I was hungry all the time. The weight came right off and in some ways I am stronger and more fit than I was before I had Zeke. I looked great during and after my extremely healthy pregnancy, but there are some lasting effects on my internal self from HAVING a baby that I don't like; mental AND physical.

Being a mother has been amazing. Much different than HAVING a child. I love Zeke, and I love being his mom...but still, I am unsure about having another baby. My husband and I have talked a lot about him being an only child. Recently, I got to thinking about why I never wanted to HAVE children in the first place.

I have always wanted to adopt. Even when I was young, I wanted to HOLD my babies, not HAVE them. Working for just over 18 months at a private Social Services agency helped me see some positives and negatives to adoption, and at the end I decided to leave that job to raise Zeke. But there are some experiences with foster children that have burned memories on my heart. There is something to be said for HAVING your own babies, and HAVING a bond with a child who came from you. BUT there is another thing entirely to be said about HOLDING the baby another woman had and giving him/her a life that they would not have, were it not for you.

Because of my desire to adopt, the stories I'm reading about BRESMA orphanage in Haiti break my heart in a very real way. Please click here for more information, but the long and short of it is that there is an orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti (one of many in Haiti, I believe) that has crumbled to the ground following the earthquake. The children are sleeping on the lawn outside of the building...hold on a second...on the lawn outside of the building...please let that sink in for a couple of seconds. The kicker is, many of these children already have arms in the United States waiting to HOLD them. I don't know how to make this happen except through prayer and just giving it exposure in any way I can, but these children need to be brought to the United States, to their families, and to safety. And other children need to be given the opportunity to be adopted quickly into the United States, both the ones currently waiting, and the newly-orphaned affected by this horrible tragedy. Hold on a second....newly-orphaned. Let THAT sink in for a while. I pray that someday my husband and I will be able to adopt. Maybe one of these children, maybe another child somewhere else, or maybe we'll HAVE another of our own. I can't say what God has planned for us. But I know that we are open to HOLDING a child that is not our own, and THAT fulfills my long-awaited desire to be a mother.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Help!

I guess I need a cocktail dress for Blissdom. I guess. I have NO idea what is appropriate for a cocktail party...but cocktail dress has "cocktail" in the title, so I figure that's appropriate. I tweeted a picture of me in a dress at Express, and that can be found HERE so consider that option #1. Please ignore the fact that my son is leaning over, strapped into his cheap-o stroller trying to get his sippy cup, which he had thrown on the ground. I am NOT in any way saying "Honey, mommy will get your cup in a second, I've just gotta tweet this" at the time. Noooo. I'm a GREAT mom. So yeah that's option #1.

Here is option #2
And Option #3

Aaaaand Option #4
So please, please PLEASE weigh in on the issue--are any/all of these appropriate for a cocktail party? And do you like any of them more than the others? Options 2-4 are great because they already exist in my closet. Option 1 is great because it's a very fun dress...but it must be purchased first! That might not necessarily be a problem, because Express has tons of deals all the time. I would love to hear what you think. Really. I have no idea what a cocktail party even is. Halp!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ah, Bliss!

Today is Monday. I have just completed a WHIRLWIND weekend. Let's re-cap, shall we?

On Saturday I found out I won a conference pass for Blissdom, thanks to Steaz. I am so pumped. Most of Saturday was spent getting travel arranged, and *gasp* arranging child care for Zeke. It looks like he will NOT be coming with us to Nashville, but flying down to Florida ahead of time with my mother-in-law. You read that right. I am tearing my child from my arms allowing my wonderful in-laws AND my parents spend some extra time with Zeke before we get down to Florida. Did someone say "parent vacation?!" Yes, please! Yes I am very nervous about Zeke taking a plane ride without me, but details on my irrational phobias worries will come in a later, separate post.

Sunday was filled with church, meetings, a training at work, and other boring stuff...but also many, many thoughts about Blissdom! Can you tell I am excited?

Since winning, I have been tweeting like a madwoman, making and strengthening as many connections as possible. I guess I've been thrust into the big world of Social Media and blogging...and I am SOOOOO ready. So I changed the title of my blog AGAIN, but I think "Not Just A..." really fits me because I do SO much. I got business cards. I'm picking out my outfits. Y'all know everyone's going to look fabulous. I can't be frumpy!

I am so, SO excited, and can't wait to show you some cocktail dress options I currently have in my closet. I'd show you now, but they're hanging in Zeke's closet and he has FINALLY agreed to take a nap.

Until next time (and you BETTER weigh in on which dress/es might work for the cocktail party!)

Rach

Friday, January 8, 2010

Well...

...I'm no longer shamelessly begging asking anyone to

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

...Because...

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

SteaZ, you have no idea how HONORED I am to have won your contest! I am SO EXCITED. THIS is my blog post/entry that won by random chance. BUT I don't take much stock in random chance...so I feel really lucky and blessed to have the opportunity!

So, my Nashville peeps, does anyone have room for my husband, 2-year-old, and I to crash at your place...OR any good hotel recommendations? It will probably be too expensive for us to stay at the Opryland Hotel, and we are looking to perhaps combine it with a trip to Florida to see our families.

In summary (wow, is THAT a grad-school paragraph intro, or WHAT?!), SteaZ is sending me to Blissdom, and I am so, SO grateful!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A labor of love

I read this poem on CJane's Blog in a post about weaning her son, and I thought it was beautiful.


Blood and Milk

by Sharlee Mullins Glenn

I dreamed of Oxford . . .
(spires, a thousand spires, endless lectures, musty halls
a solitary self in a Bodleian expanse
A good life my dear Wormwood. An orderly life.)

then awakened to laundry
and things to be wiped
countertops, noses, bottoms)

How did this happen? And when, exactly?

Time flows, it flows, it flows
and there are choices to be made:

left or right?
paper or plastic?
blood or milk?

There's freedom in the bleeding;
bondage in the milk—do not be deceived.

Ah, but it's an empty freedom; a holy bondage,
A sweet and holy bondage.

Five times I chose the chains, those tender chains,
(though once will bind you just as well!)
and checked the crimson flow.
Suckled while dreaming of Trinity Term
but awakened, always awakened, to the laundry
and to that small and cherished captor at my breast.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions

From Zeke:

1. Learn to form compound sentences
2. Use a big boy potty (maybe)
3. Be adorable