Monday, September 29, 2014

It started with HELLO!


**Thanks to Lindt HELLO! for sponsoring this post**

One of the [many] things my Dad and I have in common is our love for chocolate. I remember when I was younger, another family gifted us a 10 pound chocolate bar, and I would sneak into the kitchen and chop away at it, stealing a hunk to eat while I read a good book in my room. Little did I know, my dad was doing the same thing! I think he and I succeeded in eating 80% of it, leaving only a little for the other 5 members of the five members of the family. I'm not even sorry.

With my impending move, I'm looking for different ways to stay in contact with my family beyond a typical "Hey what's up?" text every few days. Enter Lindt's new HELLO chocolate bars! Lindt has recently come out with delicious new collection of bars, sticks, and minis. The flavors are amazing! Before I move and mail some to my Dad in a care package, I had to try some of the different flavors for myself. I got the Cookies & Cream bar and the Caramel Brownie stick.

The chocolate in this new collection is delicious and I know it will make my Dad smile when he sees it in his Hello! care package, and it will be a great way for us to connect over our mutual love of chocolate.

In addition to debuting these chocolate, Lindt HELLO! has partnered with Ashley Tisdale in a new YouTube original series. Visit the webpage and watch as couples make their first connections, and then go ahead and start making some connections of your own! You can also visit this page to enter a sweepstakes to win some great prizes! Sweepstakes are open until noon on October 14th, 2014.

Weekend-y things, pictures, thank you.

First things first: the largest THANK YOU to all of you wonderfully amazing people who left me so many sweet comments on Friday's post about my next move. I am so grateful to all of you for being happy for me and Keith and taking the time to tell me that. Also, to all of you who have taken the time to click the links I've been shamelessly begging you to click: another thank you! I appreciate that SO much.

I quit my job on Friday and telling my boss went better than I could have imagined. I really didn't think he had any idea that me moving was something that would happen soon, but when I told him he basically said, "I'm not surprised to hear this and I'm really happy for you," and then we had a glass of wine and the knot that had been in my stomach all day disappeared completely. I also told the rest of my family about my move and they were surprised that the move is in just a few weeks but they were also happy. Or at least, they said they're happy and I'm choosing to believe them.

I'm sure that over the course of the next 18 days until I move I'll bombard you with many emotional posts about how sad I am to be leaving my town, and how excited I am to be ending my LDR, and how packing is a B-word, but today isn't the day for that. Today is basically just about me telling you all thank you so much... and showing you pictures of Baby Kate because I know that's what you're all here for.

My niece was born the day after my oldest brother's birthday, so our family combines the two celebration. Last weekend was Kate's birthday party with her friends, but she got a second celebration because we go hard for birthdays, apparently. I kinda feel bad for my brother John, because even though we were technically celebrating his birthday too... it was all about Baby Kate turning one. I mean... look at that face.


I like to play "patty-cake" with her and my younger sister informed me that my family was getting really sick of listening to me sing it with Kate but she was clearly loving it as evidenced about so I definitely didn't stop. Also I'm not sure if it's technically "patty-cake" or "pat-a-cake" or "paddycake" as when I googled it all three options came up. Why are children's songs so hard???


My mom bought Kate a special cup that is supposed to be  spill proof, but she couldn't figure out how to get the water out of it. After she realized that banging her spoon on the top of the cup wasn't getting her anywhere, she resorted to just leaning over and sticking her face in it and trying to drink out of it that way. Whatever works, kid (except this didn't work).



I used Grandma's 7 minute icing recipe for her cake and I dyed it pink and used sprinkles and it was the best cake ever. My past few attempts at this icing have resulted in the icing being a little melty and I'm not exactly sure why that was the case but I'm sort of thinking maybe the reason it worked so well this time is because the eggs I used had a sell-by date of September 4th. I justify using old eggs because Google told me it would be fine and also I cooked the egg whites so that gets rid of the bacteria and nobody keeled over from egg white poisoning soooooo... no harm no foul.


She liked her cake. I mean duh.


My younger sister and I got her this Princess Cozy Coupe and I didn't think she'd care about it too much because it doesn't make music BUT she loved it and played in it for so long! Plus it came in a huge box so we let her play in that too and it was basically the best day of her life, I'm sure.

And I didn't take any pictures of my brother because the day wasn't about him at all.

And sometimes I start to think about how much I'll miss my niece when I move and then I start to cry and then I look at cats on the internets.




Friday, September 26, 2014

Letting the cat out of the bag

I have to be honest with you guys: I've been keeping a secret. I haven't washed my hair since Monday. Actually that's not it. I mean, that's true, but that's not The Secret. The Secret is this:
I'm moving.

I know what you're thinking. "But Juliette, you just announced this a month ago. We already know." I should probably phrase it differently: I'm moving again. When I told you a month ago that I would be moving in with my parents I told you I wasn't sure what the next step would be. Would I live on my own? With a roommate? Stay with my parents for a while? The truth is, I sort of knew what my next step was at that point, but it wasn't solidified so I didn't blog about it. But now my decision has been made and I'm ready to blast it all over the internet and let you all know something that's making me equal parts excited and nervous: I'm moving almost 300 miles away from my family so I can be closer to Keith.
When Keith and I started dating, we knew that if things got serious I would have to move down to his area eventually. Well, "eventually" is in three weeks. Twenty-one days. October 17th. It's still kind of hard to believe, but today I'm giving my boss my notice so I'm pretty sure that will make it seem waaaay more real.

I can't tell you how excited I am. We've never lived close enough to each other that I could say, "I'm coming over," and be there in under 10 minutes. We've always had to plan our weekends in advance and there's always been an "end point" to our visits that both of us would dread. But now? Now we can watch Jeopardy nightly so he doesn't have to have 25 episodes saved on his DVR that we have to binge watch when we're together. Now we can see each other in person instead of having to set up time to Skype a few times a week. Now I can get a cat and keep it at his house (he keeps telling me I can't but let's be real: I'm going to).

But I'm nervous. I'm nervous because I don't have a job. That's why I've been begging you for clicks (click click), because I'm going to be living off of savings until I find  something. I know I know, you're probably judging me for moving without a job, but you know what? It will work out. Things always work out, and I have confidence that this is the right decision.

To sum things up, basically I'm feeling the way Harry Burns felt on New Year's Eve.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

#LUNAFEST and my mother the game-changer


*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for writing it. All opinions are my own.


"LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women. This season, our program of nine films – filled with stories of reflection, hope and humor – will travel to over 150 cities and screen in front of 25,000 people. Each year, various organizations bring LUNAFESTs to their communities and raise funds for their local non-profits as well as our main beneficiary - Breast Cancer Fund."  (Excerpt from the #LUNAFEST webpage.)

When LUNA Bar e-mailed me to ask me to write a post about #LUNAFEST and think about the women game-changers in my life, I was excited and new exactly who I would write about: my mom. My mom homeschooled me and my four siblings all the way through college. While my dad worked she would chauffeur us to and from piano lessons, soccer practices, drama classes, friends houses, on our paper routes... anywhere we needed to go my mom drove us, and I never heard her complain. Not even once. She gave me more than my education. She taught me the value of family, the virtue of patience, and the act of selflessness and generosity. She is truly the most kind and positive person I know.


Click this link to check out the trailer for #LUNAFEST 2014 and find out if there will be any screenings in your area! So far this campaign has raise 2.5 million dollars for the Breast Cancer Fund and other nonprofit organizations. It celebrates women filmmakers and gives them the opportunity to have their films viewed by many people in many locations.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crankypants

I am so cranky today. I think it's just one of those weeks and every little thing is getting on my nerves. Please join me in feeling sorry for everybody who comes into contact with me this week because I don't think it will be a very pleasant experience for anybody... especially for a certain passive aggressive person who insists on asking me to get him or her a cup of coffee by saying, "Do we have any of that coffee left?" or "I sure could go for a cuppa joe right about now!"

I'm sure the best thing to do would be to just ignore my blog today and work on my attitude buuuuuut I'm never one to choose the most logical course of action so instead I'm going to share all the things that are getting on my nerves right now so you can either be like, "OMG you totes have reasons to be annoyed," or "wow you really need to just loosen your bra and take a chill pill."
+ Every time I take a shower, I feel like I'm back in college*. My mom's style of decorating is "bare and minimalist," which means she likes the house to basically look like nobody lives there. Seriously. My parents kitchen has a lot of counter space on it and the only things on the counter are: a bottle of hand soap (in a pretty bottle that matches the main color of beige), a towel on a hanger, and a basket of bananas. I think it was a fight to get my mom to agree to the basket of bananas but I'm pretty sure my dad was like, "Look, if you want me to make your breakfast every day -- your breakfast which includes bananas -- you're going to have to let me make the bananas easily accessible to me and that means letting them stay out in the open on the counter so that everybody who comes into our home will see them." And my mom was like, "Ok fine." She even likes the inside of the fridge to be as bare as possible (food? who needs chilled food?) and she's constantly going through it saying, "Juel, do you really need this half of an avocado or can I throw it away?" and I'm like, "Mom, that's like $1.50 worth of avocado right there, please leave it," and she's like, "Well ok but how about these 6 cans of Dr. Pepper, can I throw those away?" and I'm like, "Mom those aren't mine but I would leave them there because they're brand new cans of Dr. Pepper and throwing them away would be wasteful," and my mom's like, "I just want things to be bare and empty and pretty." But weirdly, she likes to have like 12 throw pillows on the sofa which totally contrasts with her "bare and minimalist" decorating style.

All of that to say that my mom doesn't like to leave shower things in the actual shower. I'm allowed to leave my loofah in there because I replaced my hot pink one with an off-white one (again with the beige color scheme), but my bottles of lotions and potions? They're locked in a cupboard until I decide my body reeks enough to take a shower. So when I go to take a shower I have to take my towel and clothes to change into and set my shower up and then when I'm done I have to wipe of the glass shower doors (WATER SPOTS ARE THE DEVIL) and dry my bottles and put them away and then get dressed while my skin is still damp. Normally I would just walk around in my birthday suit but well, now I live with my parents and I don't really think it's appropriate for any nudity to occur and is it just me or did this blog post just take a turn into awkwards-ville?
So anyway, I feel like I'm back in college because I have to share a bathroom and I can't leave all of my stuff in the shower when I'm not in there. And I just miss the days where I didn't have to plan so much for my showers.
+ Bikers and college kids and people who generally don't know the rules of the road. Can we all just agree that bikers are the worst? If you're a biker it's ok to be offended, but could you also just agree that it's true? Now that college classes have started there are all these bikers trying to get to school and they're cutting me off and I'm terrified that when I'm trying to turn one of them will just come out of nowhere and I'll barrel into them and I don't know who would be at fault in that situation but I really hope it wouldn't be me. Also I hope that it never happens. PSA to bikers: There is a BIKE LANE for a reason. USE IT. If people using the road were parts of a loaf of bread, drivers would be the middle pieces that everybody uses first, motorcyclists would be the heel, and bikers are the crumbs that are left over that you don't even feed to the ducks at the pond when the bread goes stale.
+ I had a dream last night that my landlord gave me back my security deposit and he gave me $8,000 because I'm such a nice person. Obviously this one is self explanatory.
That ostrich is a b-word, just like the fact that I don't have $8,000.
+ I'm getting wrinkles. Crows feet, forehead wrinkles... and I don't know what to do about that so could you please recommend a good anti-aging or wrinkle cream or whatever that won't break the bank? And that I can get at Target? And that smells good?
+ I keep shilling and shilling and asking you guys for stuff. I have several sponsored posts coming up, and I know a lot of people hate those, and I'm sorry. The reality is that I'm trying to save save save for something that's coming up and I'll tell you about it soon but for now I just have to be vague and ask you to click here and here and here and here because if you don't click, I don't get paid. And if you hate that I'm asking you for stuff, well we can just skip right over that and still be friends. Does that sound ok to you? I hope so. Click.
+ I have a lot of cleaning to do. I haven't had time to really clean my room since I moved home because I've been really busy catching up on The Blacklist and playing candy crush. My brothers and sister-in-law are coming into town this weekend for a family birthday celebration and I have to give up my bedroom (which is fine, that's not bugging me) and I have to actually clean it but there's so much to clean and organize that all I can do it just lie down and stare at the ceiling and let the overwhelming feelings wash over me like a flood. Maybe later I'll explain why I'm such a procrastinator.

That's all. Don't you love it when I'm so open and honest about things?
*I love my mom and I know that anything I do is far more annoying than her "bare and minimalist" tendencies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five fall must-haves


*This post has been sponsored by U by Kotex and Wal Mart, but all opinions are my own.

Did you know that today is officially the first day of fall? I don't know how you could have missed that, because my Instagram and Twitter have been blowing up with people wearing flannel and drinking pumpkin spiced lattes (no thank you) and exclaiming that "omgzzz the totes most amazeballs time of the year is finally hereeeee!" and I'm like .... calm down please.

Now, having said that, let me go ahead and blog about fall. More specifically, what products I like to have handy during this most wonderfully colorful and hopefully not really warm season.


1. U by Kotex sleek tampons. As women, we need to always have these with us. If not for ourselves, then definitely for our friends who got a surprise monthly visitor and aren't prepared. I love U by Kotex tampons because the packaging is colorful and silent. There's nothing worst than knowing that everybody can hear you unwrapping your tampon. At least, in my brain there's nothing worse. These tampon wrappers are like ninja wrappers. SO QUIET. AND SLEEK.

2. Kleenex slim pack. Did you know there are multiple uses for Kleenex? You can use them to help you survive the fall hayfever, to keep you from spreading germs when you sneeze, and you can also use them as a great blotting tool! I've discussed before that I'm a naturally sweaty person (gross, I know, but we're on that level now), and having Kleenex with me at all times helps me to blot away at my T-zone.... or the rest of my face, because sweat has no boundaries. The best part? These new slim packs don't take up a lot of space in your purse, so you still have plenty of room to stash everything else you need!

3. Vaseline total moisture cocoa radiant lotion. I love having these travel sized containers of lotion with me for times when my skin is feeling just a little too dry.

4. Blistex medicated lip balm. I've been using Blistex for years, and nothing else compares. This teal tube is the only one I use, and I'm never without it. I used to be one of those people who would use a lip balm tube like 5 times and then lose it... but for some reason I never lose my tubes of Blistex. I've completely finished more tubes than I can count and I think that's an accomplishment worth noting.

5. Maybelline The Colossal Volum' Express mascara. My go-to mascara. I always have a tube in my purse because sometimes adding a little extra mascara is all I need to make me feel just a tiny bit more confident.

Guess what? You can find all of these products at Wal Mart!

I've said it before but I'll say it again: I love U by Kotex. I've been using this brand for years and I won't be stopping any time soon. Right now you can pick up a box of U by Kotex sleep tampons with a complimentary Kleenex slim pack at Wal Mart! The best part? It won't break the bank. U by Kotex is completely affordable... plus, hello, I just told you they're giving you a gift of a Kleenex slim pack. What's not to love?


U by Kotex and Wal Mart are teaming up to give you a coupon so you can see for yourself just how great these products are. Best part? You decide the coupon value. The more you share the coupon page on social media, the higher your coupon value! I know you guys, and I know you're on social media all day every day, so you really have no excuse for not sharing and saving. And I know most (probably all) of my readers are women, so I know you can benefit from having U by Kotex sleek tampons and the Kleenex slim packs in your purse this fall. And then take a picture of how excited you are to have these products and you and I can be twins. Just click here! Or here! Or here!

Monday, September 22, 2014

#SmashCake

Nothing really happened over the weekend. Mostly I napped, drank closet wine, and watched The Blacklist. Have you seen that show? If you haven't, you should watch it so we can discuss it. IS RED ELIZABETH'S FATHER???

On Saturday I took a break from Netflix binging and put on a bra and real clothes to go to my niece's 1st birthday party. I know I just showed you pictures of my niece on Friday, and you were all so sweet to look at them all, and as a "thanks for putting up with that" I have even MORE pictures for you. I know I know, I'm such a good friend.





 There. That wasn't so painful, was it? Apparently, having a "smash cake" for one-year-olds is a really big deal these days. My sister went above and beyond and made a cupcake cake for Baby Kate, and she really didn't know what to do with it. My sister had to show her how to put her fingers in the icing and tell her it was ok to eat it. Baby Kate didn't know what to do. She just kept sticking her pointer fingers in the icing and then licking them and wiping them on the blanket. Then she tried to stick her foot in the cake. Then she just licked the cake and I really thought she was going to slip and her whole face was going to fall into the cake. Does it make me a horrible person for sort of wishing that had happened? I don't care.

Probably the best part was when we were singing "happy birthday" to her and she got up and started dancing. And when we were done she clapped for everybody. And no I didn't get a video of it will people please stop asking??

I really have nothing else to write about today.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to word vomit all over the page.

Do you ever feel like you just have so much to do that the only logical thing to do is to take a nap? You do, I knew it. Thanks for not making me feel alone. Well, that's how I felt over the weekend. There's a lot I have to do but it's just so overwhelming and I don't even know where to start. There's also some stuff that will be happening pretty soon, but I can't blog about it yet. I'm sorry. I hate to vague-blog but I don't hate it enough to not do it.

There is absolutely no point to this post. Like, none. None at all. I don't think my brain came to work with me today. It might have something to do with the fact that I woke up like, every hour last night. Or the fact that I just feel kind of tapped out in every way. I think I need a vacation.

OH MY GOSH I'm so sorry all I'm doing is rambling and not making any sense. I'm leaving now. Really. GET ME OUT OF THIS STUPID FUNK I'M IN. AKA send me funny Buzzfeed articles or GIFs or jokes or anything please and thank you with a cherry on top.

Friday, September 19, 2014

My niece is ONE

The most perfect angel to ever grace the face of this earth turns one today! How did this happen? A whole year! If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, why not? I post lots of pictures of the baby and of food) you've probably seen way more pictures of her than you care about but it's my Instagram and I'll overload it with baby pictures if I want to so there. You can read about when she was born here. Is it weird that I'm not her mom but I posted a birth story? I DON'T CARE. LOOK AT HER FACE.
A year ago my sister texted me and asked if I was ready to meet my niece and I nearly peed my pants from excitement. But then we had to wait FOREVER because apparently babies can be stubborn and you don't usually get to choose when and how they arrive because of science or something. 

Look. I get my patience from my dad.


And then finally she was born and life was never the same again and did you know that it's possible for a baby's cries to sound like angels singing? I found that out one year ago today.


PICTURE OVERLOAD TIME READY LET'S GO.




And now we're basically going to skip from one week old to like 10 months old because it's my party and I'll do what I want.

She's been wearing obnoxious head bows and wraps since the day she was born, so I think she thinks they're a part of her body and she never tries to take them off. She also leaves sunglasses and hats on her head because she's good at fashion.

And she's good at making funny faces.

And she's good at everything.


One time she and I were shopping in The Gap and she said, "Auntie Juel, let's go over here and look at these little girl clothes. Do you think this color complements my complexion?" And I said, "OMG Baby Kate you can wear whatever you want and it will look perfect." Then she took some clothes off a display and threw them on the ground and when I told her to pick them up do you know what she did? SHE PICKED THEM UP AND PUT THEM AWAY BECAUSE SHE IS A GENIUS.


She's great at selfies. She loves her tongue.

She has exactly zero teeth so she just gums her food to death.


If you ask her, "What does a doggie say?" She opens her mouth and grunts, "Huh, huh" and it's the most adorable thing ever.

She loves to open and close wallets and pull out allllll of the credit cards and gift cards and money because she loves dolla dolla bills.


She started walking at 10 months.

Apparently she can say "cheese" but I've never heard it so I don't believe it.

She likes to dance. If there's music playing she bounces up and down nonstop.


She loves it when I want to take pictures with her. LOOK AT THE ENTHUSIASM.

And she has the absolute best expressions of anybody in the entire world and she also has the chubbiest cheeks ever and it's adorable.


Happy birthday, Baby Kate. I love you!



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fashion blogging is hard + my IWYP top

Do you know what's really hard to do when people in your real life don't know you blog? Asking people in your real life to take pictures of you for your blog. You see, I have this IWYP top (which you can find here) and I had this vision of me modeling it effortlessly in front of some foliage while I held a classy glass of wine in my hand. The first problem was that I didn't feel like a mirror selfie could do this amazing shirt justice, but I couldn't think of anybody who knew about my blog and wouldn't mind satisfying my vanity by taking 3,700 pictures of me. The second problem was that did you know it's really uncomfortable to have somebody take 3,700 pictures of you? I learned this the hard way.

I thought and thought and thought about who I could ask to take pictures of me. Then I remembered that about two weeks ago my friend Marisa (hi Marisa) had come over and I peer-pressured her into drinking like 3 ninja mimosas with me and then we were both talking talking talking and she got me to tell her about my blog so clearly she's the obvious choice to be my photographer. So if I need any more pictures taken in the near future, Marisa, I'm coming over so you should probably stock up on whatever that delicious popcorn was that I kept shoving in my face last night.
 
If I had been smarter I wouldn't have had her take these pictures until I was on my second glass of wine. (#hindsight) We went out to Marisa's back porch and she just clickclickclicked and I stood there like WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS and then I started laughing, but not the cute adorable laughing like the girls on Pinterest. It was like, a loud guffawing and it gave me multiple chins. Then I'd just look at Marisa and say, "This is so awkward. I don't know what to do. I hate this. Are we done?" 

So now, I present to you the outtakes from my impromptu photoshoot with my IWYP top from Whitney Ellen.

I call this one, "Let me stare admiringly down at my glass of wine that I'm holding so very delicately in my dainty hands."


I like to lovingly refer to this one as, "Don't try to talk with your mouth full."


And then we have the one where I was trying to "CHEERS!" to the camera but my left arm was like "lol wut do u want from me I just hang here limp like dis."


And then we have the one where I multitask by both sipping and giving a loving gaze at the top of the fence.


There's also the one of me mid swallow. (Suppressing the urge to turn this into a dirty joke.)


This one is actually my favorite because I feel like I totally nailed two very important fashion blogger poses: the hand casually fluffing my hair AND the smiling stare down at the ground. Unfortunately the most perfect top ever is tucked a little bit into my high-waisted-mom jeans and it cut off part of the "E" in "WE" so it's a fail.


I was totally about to pick a wedgie in this one.


Then there's this one where I tried to fake laugh but then it felt so ridiculous that it turned into basically a chortle.


I think the biggest fail of all is that I ended the photoshoot with the same amount of wine that had been in it when it all started. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?

In all seriousness though, I seriously love this shirt and you can go right ahead and order yours here. Did you do it yet?

And don't worry, after we finished taking pictures I drank more wine and ate kale balls and chips and told more people about my blog (HI KENDRA HI MICHELLE) because red wine makes me chatty.