Family of . . . FOUR!

Hi there!

finally went back to work today after six days off of school due to weather. It was nice to be back — I was really starting to run out of things to do around the house and I was ready to get back to my students! It’s already snowing again though so we’ll see how long this lasts . . .

New Family Member

I am so excited to announce that my little family is growing!

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Before this gets out of hand, I should clarify that Macie’s new little sibling is furry and has four paws. (Gotcha, didn’t I? ;))

Justin and I have been talking about getting a second dog for probably a month now. We adore Macie so much and love having her in our family. She has been the perfect dog for us! However, we hate having to leave her at home by herself all day long. Justin is able to come home during lunch for now, but once he starts his medical school rotations, that will no longer be the case. She is such an active dog that we hate for her to sit around bored all day. We wanted a playmate for her!

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Meet Macie’s new little brother, Scout!

Scout was rescued by good friends of ours last week. He was dumped off in the snow near their house and wandered up to their door in subzero temperatures (can you believe the cruelty of some people?! It makes me sick to think of how someone could do that to a puppy, or any pet for that matter) and was skin and bones. They immediately took him in. After calls to the local pound, no one had claimed him within the week and he wasn’t wearing a collar so we knew he had been abandoned and hadn’t just run away from his owners. My friend already had two dogs and so we decided to give him a home!

We are so in love with Scout already. He is such a sweetheart!

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Can you tell Justin is super excited to have another dude around? Macie is clearly a mommy’s girl so he is hoping that Scout is a daddy’s boy. 🙂

We took him to the vet on Monday and other than some worms, a bit of frostbite on his tail (again, how can people dump a puppy off in freezing temps!?), and being very small due to lack of appropriate nutrition, she said he was actually in pretty good shape! He’s receiving worm meds, an antibiotic, ointment, and lots and lots of LOVE now so he is on the mend!

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Our vet’s best guess is that Scout is a cocker spaniel/hound mix and he is probably around 12 weeks old, though he looks much younger due to his size. We were so impressed with how well Macie took to him! She didn’t bark or growl when he went for her food bowl (although now they each have their own) and they love to play together! She does exhibit a bit of jealousy around me because she is used to getting all my attention, but overall she is very kind to him and they get along well!

They also like to snuggle and nap together 🙂

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Aren’t they adorable?

We are so happy to have Scout join our family. My heart is FULL!

The only problem we have run into with Scout is with crate training. He HATES going into the kennel. I’m not sure if maybe he had a traumatic kennel experience prior to being dumped off. We’d really like to crate train him for potty training purposes,  but I don’t want to make it a negative experience for him. I would love to hear any advice from other pet owners who may have experienced this!

Side note: If you are unable to care for your pet, please please PLEASE take the time to drop him or her off in a shelter or find someone to take him or her in. No pet should have to be kicked out into the cold and left alone.  And a huge thank you to those who are willing to open their homes to strays and rescues!

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Today’s outfit of the day. Feels good to get to dress up again and not just lounge around in sweats.

Cardigan: Old Navy

Dress: Maurices

Belt: Maurices

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

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Glitter Showdown

This is getting just a bit ridiculous.

We didn’t have school again today . . . and I already got a phone call that we won’t have school again tomorrow! The entire week off! Why didn’t I plan a vacation to Florida this week!?

I guess the good thing about not being on vacation in Florida this week (if there is such a thing) is that I’ve been catching up on all of the things I have wanted to do for a while but haven’t had a chance to. My to-do list has gotten much shorter and it’s awesome!!

Nail Rock

One of the things I checked off my list was to try out a new glitter nail polish that I got in my latest Birchbox.

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I was initially a little skeptical of the glitter aspect of this duo because my experience with glitter has never been good. It just always seems to get everywhere! But I decided to give it a shot and try Nail Rock anyways.

The first step involved painting two coats of what looked like a pale pink polish on. Once applied, I couldn’t have even told you the polish was pink. It was so sheer that it hardly colored my nail at all. I was a bit disappointed, because I had initially planned on just putting glitter on my ring finger nails. Once I saw how sheer the pink was, I decided to just go ahead and put glitter on all my nails.

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Step two was dipping my nails in the pot of glitter and pressing the glitter in. I then had to let them dry for 15-20 minutes.

This step was MESSY.  Glitter lived up to its reputation for me because it got everywhere. I even put a paper towel down so I wouldn’t touch anything but it still managed to get on my face, clothes, the couch, you name it. Yikes!

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After waiting 20 minutes, I washed my hands and most of the glitter came off of my fingers. I immediately put a layer of topcoat on over my fingernails to seal in the glitter.

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I have to admit, I liked the way they turned out but I’m not sure the process and mess was worth it. I might try it again for a special event, but for a day-to-day basis I’ll stick to plain old regular nail polish.

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Sorry for two nail polish-related blog posts this week – – this is what happens when I’m snowed in for so long!

Happy Thursday!

SNOW DAY!!

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There is just something so magical about waking up and seeing huge flurries of snow silently fall to the ground. (Doesn’t hurt that the waking up was accompanied by a phone call that there was no school today…)

Today was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It snowed constantly until about 6:00 in the evening. All day long whenever I looked out the window, I felt like we were in a snow globe. It just kept coming and coming! Around lunch time, Justin and I decided to bundle up and head outside for some snow day fun.

First thing we did was build a snow fort for Macie!

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She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the fort, but she loved the snow! There is no word to describe what she did in it other than frolicked. That girl was prancing around in the snow the entire time. We would throw her little rubber toy and she loved digging around until she found it. So much fun!

Part two of our winter wonderland was pretty obvious: a snowman!

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We recently watched the Disney movie “Frozen” and I became slightly obsessed with it. I may or may not listen to “Let it Go” at least once a day. Seriously, it is SO good! I decided to name our snowman Olaf in honor of it, even though our snowman looked nothing like the snowman in the movie.

Before we went inside, Justin decided to measure how much snow we had gotten so far. We already had over 6 inches and it was still coming down strong! I’m kind of hoping for another snow day tomorrow just because no one has plowed our road yet and we can’t get out of our driveway!

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No outfit of the day today because I have been either in sweats or snow pants the entire day. And it has been AWESOME.

Happy Tuesday! Stay warm!

Simple DIY Wine Charm Labels

Hello there!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a serious case of the Mondays. We had two days off last week due to weather so I had a hard time rolling out of bed this morning. I needed a chocolate Hershey kiss to give me an extra boost at school!

Wine Charm Labels

On Saturday night, I had a bunch of friends over for a game night. We played the F-R-I-E-N-D-S version of Scene-It and it was a blast! There was a good mix of avid and casual F-R-I-E-N-D-S fans so we played on teams — we ended up just watching a ton of the DVD clips because the show is just too funny! I highly recommend the game to any fans of the show (buy it on Amazon here).

Friends Scene It

My mother-in-law gave me a mix for a hot-spice red wine for Christmas and I decided this was the perfect time to try it out! Usually when I host a big gathering, I use plastic solo cups so people can label their cup with a permanent market. People mingle and move around so much it’s nearly impossible to keep track of whose cup is whose so labeling is key! However, hot spiced wine in solo cups is just wrong in my book so I got out my wine glasses and decided to make some labels.

I see tons of creative wine charms using wire and beads on Pinterest and to be honest, I’ve already scoured craft stores for materials to make some of my own. I think it’s such a cute way to distinguish glasses but I have never had the time or energy to put forth into the task. For my game night, I wanted something simple, cute, and most importantly, quick!

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I started with a piece of beige card stock and some brown gift tag labels from the $1 bin at Target (am I the only one who loves that part of the store!?)

simplifythechaos.comI decided to go with the thin banners on the bottom right corner of the sheet. I had two sheets of tags so I could make twelve total labels.

I cut out around the banners and left room at the top for a single hole punch.

simplifythechaos.comNext, I pulled out a bunch of white twisty-ties (is there a more scientific name for those? I really have no idea!) that come around various items in my pantry such as bread. Being the frugal person I am, I keep all the ties in a magnetic tin on my fridge because you just never know when they will come in handy. I was very glad to have plenty to choose from!simplifythechaos.com

I kept all the labels out next to the wine glasses with a pen for people to write their name and attach the label to their glass.

simplifythechaos.comSimple? Check.

Inexpensive? Check. The tags were 2 for $1 in the Target bin and I already had the card stock, single hole punch, and twisty-ties.

Quick? You betcha! The entire process took 10 minutes maximum.

I was very pleased with how these turned out and I got compliments on them from my guests. One modification I might make in the future would be to try to get chalkboard label tags so I can re-use them with different guests’ names. Since everyone at game night was a good friend who is sure to be back at my house for one thing or another, I am saving them for the future anyways!

Have a lovely Monday!

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Today’s outfit was dots, dots, and more dots! Seriously loving the polka dot trend right now! As always, outfit details and links to available pieces can be found on my “wear” page.

simplifythechaos.comSweater: New York & Company

Blouse: New York & Company

Pants: Express

Flats: Target

Necklace: Purple Peridot

Stud diamond Earrings (not pictured): Lia Sophia

Recent Outfits:

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A “Grand” Christmas Vacation

Hello 2014!

I have been on Christmas break for the past two weeks and it has been WONDERFUL! At first, I set out with the intention to blog at least once or twice, but once our travels started I got way too involved with our family and friend time and decided to unplug entirely. It was so nice to just soak up every minute with loved ones!

Step one of our break was to go visit my family in Ohio. Since they live about 7 hours away from us, I don’t get to see them often. This was the first time I had been home in six months! It was SO nice to be back for a few days.

When we were home, Macie was introduced to my sister’s cat, Simba. After a rather timid greeting, they both got along well for the time we were home. I was very impressed!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comChristmas morning, Justin and I woke up SUPER early . . . to go to the airport. Not exactly your typical Christmas but we were excited nonetheless! And at least it was a white Christmas!

simplifythechaos.comWe flew out to Phoenix, AZ for my college roommate’s wedding. The wedding wasn’t until Saturday, but we wanted to go out early to get the chance to explore the area. From the airport, we got a rental car and drove up to Flagstaff. By the time we had arrived, it was dark; however, we were able to drive around and see some beautiful Christmas lights!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comWe also hit up a Sonic because it was literally the only thing open. Justin had never been to one before (!!!) so he was excited. How’s that for our first married Christmas together?

simplifythechaos.comThe next morning we woke up super early and headed out to the Grand Canyon. I really wanted to catch the sunrise! It was SO worth the loss of sleep!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comSTUNNING! Pictures simply do not do it justice.

We traveled back to Flagstaff for lunch and hit up a place called NiMarco’s Pizza. It was recommended to us from a friend who has lived in Flagstaff and it did not disappoint! Definitely a must try if you are in Flagstaff!

simplifythechaos.comI wish we would have had more time to explore Flagstaff but we needed to head back into Phoenix for the bachelor/bachelorette party so we got on the road after lunch. The drive was so scenic — I loved every minute!

simplifythechaos.comAfter a super fun lingerie party for the bride-to-be, we headed out into Phoenix for a joint bachelor & bachelorette party. We hopped around to a few different bars and restaurants before ending up at a place called The Duce. Honestly, I had some reservations when we walked up to what seemed like a huge warehouse but inside it was like no place I’ve ever seen before! A combination bar/karaoke lounge, it has ping pong, hula hoops, a clothing store, milkshake/sweet shoppe stand, and tons of other random and fun things to do. It was absolutely amazing! We loved it.

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After my friend Kelsey and I rounded out the night with a crowd-pleasing rendition of “It’s Gonna be Me” by N’Sync (crowd-pleasing in that they liked the song choice…not necessarily our singing!) we called it a night. So fun!

Justin and I were able to do a lot of sightseeing and some hiking in the days before the wedding. Our favorite was a morning hike that overlooked all of the Phoenix area. It was breathtaking!

simplifythechaos.com simplifythechaos.comThe wedding took place at a winery about an hour outside of Phoenix. It was such a beautiful setting and the weather was perfect!

It was so good to see all of my best friends from college and celebrate my friend’s wedding! Justin and I both agreed we have to come back to Phoenix sometime. We loved everything about it and had such a great time there!

simplifythechaos.comAfter a super-early flight back, my family picked us up at the airport on Sunday for a quick lunch and reunion with Macie (she was VERY excited to see us!)

simplifythechaos.comAfter lunch, we hit the road to Virginia to celebrate Christmas with Justin’s family.We had a great time visiting with them! I especially loved playing with our little nephew, who absolutely loved playing with my phone and taking pictures of himself.

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Overall, Christmas was a HUGE success and we loved every minute! Now it’s back to work and starting out a new year!

Happy 2014! May your year be blessed!

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Today’s outfit was almost entirely composed of Christmas presents. What a fun way to start the new year!

01-02 Outfit

Sweater: Old Navy

Blouse: New York & Company

Pants: New York & Company

Pumps: Maurices

Bib Necklace: Forever 21

A little blogging perspective

I originally thought this post would begin with “I am a HUGE failure.”

Over the last two weeks, my blogging has been sporadic at best. The Christmas season truly is the busiest time of the year! The to-do list lengthens and the obligations/holiday gatherings/travel plans pile on.

In the midst of this, my blog has fallen to the wayside. I faithfully posted outfits each day in “Wear,” but other than that, the blog often sat idle.

The recovering perfectionist in me relapsed and I felt like a blogger dud. I started this thinking I’d post every day! Why am I not able to keep up!? What is wrong with me!? Why can’t I handle this!?

Luckily, I had a revelation. A better description is actually that I got smacked in the face with reality. But whatever.

My women’s bible study is currently reading a book by Emily Freeman called Grace for the Good Girl (find on Amazon here.) One chapter talks about when Martha, a woman in the Bible who is much like me and tried to do every. single. thing. right. all. the. time, is brought to reality by Jesus.

“You are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary.” [Luke 10:41-42 NASB]

Hmm. Talk about reality smacking me square in the face.

My blog isn’t perfect. I can’t post every day and keep my sanity, particulary at this time of year. And there are so many things happening in both work and life that it’s easy to quickly feel overwhelmed with millions of details.

But I cannot be worried and bothered about all of these things. I need to do what I can, and let go when it gets to be too much.

I started this blog as a place to show how to simplify the chaos that life can become. It’s all about finding a balance. I need to take my own advice and simplify my blogging expectations to find a reasonable balance.

Posting outfits daily is something I can handle. Posting about other topics is something I can handle…sometimes. My priority will always be my marriage, relationships, and experiences. I refuse to let those suffer for the sake of doing a million other things because I think I have to or I’m a failure. I define my own success. I define where my balance is.

I choose JOY over perfection.

So I’m not, in fact, a “huge failure” like I thought. I’m just a recovering perfectionist and I don’t expect this to be my relapse. I just keep on trying to find that place where life is as simple and joyful and I enjoy it to the max.

Happy Tuesday!!

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Today’s outfit! Details can be found in “Wear

12-17 Outfit

Sweater: Express

Khakis: Maurices

Ballet Flats: Kohls

Bangle Set: Ruche

Necklace: Bluetique

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza!

Hello hello!

Feels like I haven’t posted in forever! We have had some mean winter weather the last two days (translation: NO SCHOOL!) so I have been taking it easy at home. No outfits to post since I just stayed inside in comfy sweats all day Monday and Tuesday and I decided to postpone blogging so I could be productive around the house and enjoy extra time with my little family. Macie and I spent hours running errands together on Monday and we even had a nice long puppy play date with my friend Lindsay’s dogs. It was so fun and we were both tuckered out afterwards!

As fun as it was to have a long weekend, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things at school now, especially since being at home all day meant I was in constant close proximity to . . . CHRISTMAS COOKIES! On Saturday my friend Tristan hosted a cookie decorating party for a bunch of our friends. She baked dozens of cut-out sugar cookies and had each of us bring icing, sprinkles, etc. to decorate them with. It was so much fun but now I have TONS of cookies sitting on my counter!

My finished products!

You may be wondering about the strange-looking one on the left. Tristan created a cookie-decorating competition for the Christmas trees. We all got one tree-shaped cookie and had to decorate it according to a theme. The theme she and her husband chose was “travel.”

At first we all thought it was a difficult theme, but people got SO creative! Here were some of the final results:

We had everything from maps to tropical islands to train cars to snow skiing angels to locations afar such as Africa and Paris. I was so impressed with everyone’s ideas! Even Tristan and her hubby couldn’t pick a winner! They had to choose two.

Justin and I kept our cookies separate, but without knowing it we had similar ideas.

We both did “methods of travel” and chose similar things! Justin drew a plane flying through the sky and I did a rocket ship blasting off. I used a green peel-apart Twizzler for my outline.

Neither of our trees won but we had such a great time decorating with our friends!

It was a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and have a fun Saturday with some awesome people.

Now just a few days left in this short school week! Whoo hoo! Gotta love this time of year!

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Two days off in sweat pants was nice, but I was itching to wear my new Target corduroy pants! So warm and comfy — perfect for layering in this winter weather! As always, details for specific pieces can be found on my “wear” page.

12-11 Outfit

Cardigan: Target

Cami: Old Navy

Corduroy Skinny Pants: Target

Boots: Maurices

Necklace: Ten Thousand Villages (LOVE this organization!)