Flashback Fridays – Ashley’s Engagement Soiree

Today’s Flashback Friday will be a quick look back at November 2013 when we threw my amazing friend Ashley an engagement party.

Ashley’s fiancé (now husband) ‘s name is Saer (pronounced Say-er) so we thought that a super cute theme would be:

“Ashley and Saer, Love is in the Air!”


It almost makes you want to throw back to your high school jams list and bump some “Put your hands in the a-yerrrr if you’s a true play-errr”

We found a local Pizza Place called Palio’s that is BYOB and had a large room where we could throw the party.  Ashley loves pineapple and this place makes a killer pineapple cashew salad with house dressing!  It was a self serve buffet and we brought mimosa ingredients since it was a day time gathering.



VERDI is a green grape sparkling wine that is a summer staple for my friends and I.  If you like a drink that’s sweet, light and refreshing you should try it!

And for dessert we made a Pinterest Inspired cupcake rose dress! 




The two LOVE BIRDS (part of the theme – see the little bird accents around the table?!) seemed to have a fantastic time!!





And so much thanks to our great friend Nicole who was my gorgeous co-host!!!



Then Jackson made away with my GIANT BAG of wedding magazines I passed along to Ashley so she could start her research 😉 








Corporate Jargon — and SYNERGY

weird al synergy1

Have a big pitch coming up?  Need a quick refresher on key terminology … check out this Weird Al video if you haven’t seen it yet.


If that video doesn’t work, you can watch it on YouTube here


I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard 99% of the lyrics in daily workplace discussions.  Mostly from upper level management, or corporate… or maybe HR (Human Resources)?  Talent Acquisition? 

weird al synergy2


What’s your FAVORITE corporate jargon?

Mine is quite easily please advise.  Which is how I sign-off from an email when I’m really thinking ‘WTF’. 




The time my kitchen smelled like Italy and I drank red wine

Sometimes you get bored of “go to” meals and for this I LOVE to browse Pinterest for inspiration. I usually pin recipes that look interesting as I see them and then visit my “recipes” tab later when I need one. If I loved the recipe or edited it I try to update my pin with comments.. When I remember to 😉

So browsing the Pintrosphere for inspiration I came across THIS pin for Italian Baked Chicken. I roughly followed the ingredients and process featured here in an attempt to end up with THIS for dinner:


I started out with similar ingredients to what’s mentioned in the original recipe, with a few alterations to what I had on hand.


And last minute I sliced half an onion not pictured because Mike is an onion aficionado and I was hoping they’d add additional flavor to the chicken breasts!

I cut my three large breasts in halves so they cooked more evenly and the dish was easier to serve.
The photos really are self explanatory…







And YES during/after baking your kitchen begins to smell like Italy.. especially once you add the fresh basil at the end!!!

We just served ours over some garlic & avocado oil noodles


Definitely salt and pepper your chicken breasts, and I added layers of my favorite Italian seasoning blend. Mine took ~30min to almost cook, which is when I added the cheese on top and popped back into the top rack of the oven on broil until the cheese bubbled and browned.

Overall it’s a fairly light, fun meal – and perfect with a glass of red wine after a long hard day!!


If you’ve been keeping up with my posts then you already know I love wine.  (If nothing else, follow the link for the photos… world’s largest glass of wine??)


Questions for YOU!

What’s your favorite red wine?  Do you pair wines with your food or find yourself simply favoring a few, select bottles?

What’s your current method of recipe pinning and sharing on Pinterest?




Science and Fashion team up to create a FUNCTIONAL nail polish that could potentially identify drinks laced with date rape drugs!

Pretty much anything combining fashion and science/technology (two of my passions) will grab my attention — like the 3D printed bodice and wings featured in the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show… move over laser cut, hello print my own clothes!  Now THAT’S a trend I could follow! — so when I heard about the latest venture by a team of college students to create a nail polish that reacts when it comes into contact with several key date rape drugs (Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB) I had to know more

In fact, just hours after hearing about it I was posting the news on my Twitter account to spread the word

The product is not on the market yet, but by following their page on Facebook – Undercover Colors, and their Twitter feed we can learn more and help support the great cause. 


Go read the featured article on CNET and consider donating to their R&D fund




I can’t say that enough.


Let’s put the power back into the hands of our sisters/daughters/friends. 


Unfortunately, there are a lot of us out there who have either been affected directly by attack or are close to someone who has.


Spread the word.



Friday Night ReCap – we love wine

Sometimes after a busy week it’s best to just take a night to yourselves.

A late night drive to a favorite restaurant…


Chips and dip were devoured with skinny margaritas


Followed by Pescado Guerrero


And our favorite bartender was working last night.

When we returned home we had a glass of red wine on the couch and curled up to watch Iron Man III.

I never said how large the glass was…



Who was the better photographer this time??!! Mike or I? (Pick me!!)


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

P.S. – are you more of a red or white wine drinker??

For me it depends on the season and the meal 😊🍷



A DIY Sunburst Mirror – for cheap!!

I’m so OVERLY EXCITED to share with you today a DIY I got from Pinterest that did not let me down!

I’d been eyeing sunburst/starburst mirrors forever but at $200-$300 a pop it just wasn’t in my new house budget.  Then I stumbled upon a pin of this image under DIY on Pinterest…

sunburst mirror


Modern, fun… and, oh my gosh – did they say it is made of POSTERBOARD?!! CHEEEEEAAAAPPPP!!! ::happy dance::

I was able to grab a few colors of poster board, used some E6000 glue (my all time favorite crafting glue), and bought a 5-pack of little black circular mirrors from Home Depot.  A few hours of my time later and LOOK AT THEM!!!!


The flowers… look at the SUNBURST MIRROR FLOWER THINGS… not my husbands shoes all shoved under his side of the bed, which sadly I did not notice until reviewing these photos later on this blog… err…


I absolutely love them.  Now I just need to replace that rinky-dink lamp on my side of the bed… it doesn’t even emit a pretty light.  I believe it was a solid $15 at Hobby Lobby and I used it on my night stand all through college but it’s time to upgrade man.  I’m searching… I need two matching modern style lamps for each of the night stands, that way I’m not always the one stuck turning off the light at the end of the night.  Plus it’ll look more symmetrical and balanced.  But that’s the next update, those of us without pocket books just take one challenge at a time – and if we’re lucky we substitute an amazing piece of paperboard art for the need of a $350 sunburst mirror!  I feel like it filled up the walls of our master bedroom so well!  And no one ever believes me when I tell them what they are made of… they have to walk over to the wall and touch it themselves. 

The how-to is over on a blog post from The Nester – and I highly recommend it 🙂


Have you found any DIY’s on Pinterest that have becoming an overwhelming success?  Something I should try?

What about a Pinterest FAIL?? Do share!!! We all have them!!




Getting Back in Touch with a Lost Art

When I was a kid I loved art.  I’ve found multiple papers saved away in boxes that my mom kept of stuff I did and made in grade school that say “artist” for what I wanted to be when I grew up.  For Christmas, I would beg for large art kits full of water colors, pencils and oil pastels.  For birthdays I would ask to have my party at a Paint n’ Party where each guest chooses something to paint that they can then take home.  I just love it.  Unfortunately, it’s not exactly the most lucrative career path and I’m lucky enough to love a lot of things.  I followed my geek-y math loving side through college and into my current career as a Reliability and Systems Specialty Engineer, but after 40+ hours a week of formulas and pareto charts I find myself longing for creative outlets. 

Finally, about two years (nearly) after moving into our house I have had a few blissful spare moments to catch back up on things that inspire me – like painting! 

After searching far and wide for an extra large painting with the right coloring in a modern style to complement our family room and being unsuccessful (well – unsuccessful within our budget for the piece of art, there was a $10,000 beauty I loved at an art show we attended, but don’t exactly roll that deep!) Mike convinced me to paint a large canvas myself.  I was super nervous after investing all the money in the canvas and paints – what if I messed it up!!  It’s so… large.  Then I told myself there is beauty in any imperfection and I just went for it.

painting 2edit

Having not painted anything in quite some time I was pleased with the outcome – it fills up the blank wall and ties in the colors of the family room, what more could I ask for?

This one painting bit me like an addiction – I had to paint some more.  So within the same week I drug out some watercolor paper, brushes, cups of water, paper towels and I went to work adding this funky abstract for our master bedroom:

watercolor 2

(sorry for the glare!)

And toyed around with some bright flowers…

watercolor 1

And recently came up with the idea to give paintings as a gift.  My younger (middle) sister Mari recently moved into a new place.  I wanted her new place to instantly feel like home so I wanted to paint things that she loves.  Well, she also recently adopted a new puppy named Buddy so he became my inspiration for the painting! 


He was a rescue dog and is always happy and full of life.  I painted him in a field of sunflowers (Mari’s favorite flower) to capture the happiness he exudes when he sees you!

buddy and sunflowers

And finally, the latest painting is one for my best friend since her birthday is coming up next month… Amanda is a pro-women’s soccer player as well as a coach and also loves her dog, Xena. 

xena 2 xena 1

Xena is a spoiled princess and basically Amanda’s child so I hope she’ll be excited when I frame it and give it to her as a gift! 

xena watercolor

I’m still a little rusty but I am so happy to share this creative passion with others!!

If you have anything that brought you tons of happiness as a child it’s never too late to go back to that passion and hobby – you may be surprised at how quickly you fall right back to it.


What’s something that you love to do when you finally find the time?  Were you a painter as a kid?





Husbands… (am I right??)

So.  Been in this house a little under two years.  Just a small factoid you may need to reference in a minute or two after you read the following.

We were hit with a storm Saturday night and it took out the cable/internet.  Apparently it must’ve done a lot of damage in Texas because I was actually stood up by the cable guy last night…. even though they have a 4 hour window to work with.  And yes it sure did feel like being stood up since I got no notifications letting me know things were behind schedule or not on track and for the majority of the night (after my best friend Amanda left anyways) I was alone since Mike was on a business trip to Boston.  [I can say this now without worry since by the time the post is published he’ll be back]

I called AT&T and after 598,763 menu options I was directed to an actual human being who then had to place me on hold upward of 18 minutes while she tried to contact Texas dispatch (like I said – storm must’ve been bad because they seem crazy busy).  Turns out they would offer me a guaranteed two hour window today since the appointment last night was missed.  Um… what?  I mean, okay but… what in the world was the appointment yesterday that I came home for?  Pretty sure I thought that was also guaranteed??  Anyways, tonight the cable guy came and was really nice but the poor guy had to replace the entire wire that was blown because the type of wire we were using is no longer even supported – which meant he had to drill a hole into the side of my brick house.  Seriously?!  Why can’t anything just be simple or work right when the husband goes out of town? lol

Once he got everything up and working he had some more bad news to deliver — some sort of leak at the far side of our yard, between property lines, damaged something-or-other and he had to run a large cable across my driveway and across the entire front yard.  But not to worry – another crew will come in a week or two to bury the thing.  le sigh.  Concerned about the leak that the repair guy referred to as ‘a small river’ I texted my husband to let him know…


Yep. Potentially since we moved in … two years ago.  I have no words!! SMH

Typically, the man is brilliant… this time? 



He then explains to me that it’s only bad when we run the sprinklers.  We live in Texas by the way.  I’ll just let that sink in.



By the way, right after this he exclaims that “Boston just hit a home run!” and I snarkily reply “You are lucky you are in Boston”. hmph.

I’ve learned lately that there are several things I’ve been noticing lately that he has already noticed first but decides not to mention to me because I will just get stressed out and upset over them.  Maybe I need to take this as a sign that when I notice things wrong I need to be less dramatic but it’s kind of part of my personality and a RIVER in my yard (albeit is far to the side) seems cause for concern. 

OH WELL I guess if I’ve been unknowingly living with it for almost two years I can handle another week or two while I figure out a path forward.



So tell me, have you recently had one of those SMH (shaking my head) moments while talking to someone? 

Am I the only one who has a tendency to get a little dramatic from time to time??



The three C’s: Choices, Chances, Changes

In life, you can count on one thing:  Change.

When I first started working for my current company I came to work completely animated and thirsting for knowledge and experience.  I rotated through multiple roles and multiple programs which expanded upon everything I already knew and helped me offer more to each new assignment I tackled.  I’m a bit of an over achiever and have never had a bad, nor even a ‘normal’, end of year review. In fact, I’ve gotten consistent exceeding and far exceeding performance rankings as well as the occasional achievement award.  I’ve been nominated as a high potential employee and continue to earn respect amongst my peers for the work that I do.  So why then am I talking about a need for change?

You see this current position is the absolute longest I’ve ever been in one role.  I’ve been at my current assignment and program for over four years now when previous assignments have been capped off at 1 or 2 year periods of performance.  Yes I’ve expanded the work I’ve done and taken on more and more responsibility – but I realized I’ve stopped learning.  It’s still fairly early in my career, and I’ve always had the belief that this is the time to stretch yourself, to experience as much as possible and gain as much knowledge as you can.  I’m too comfortable.  [It’s funny typing that as I sit in my cubicle over lunch realizing that a walk break is more than overdue… and it currently feels the opposite of comfortable.]  

Why has this position lasted so long compared to the others?  Well, I believe that’s due to multiple things – major changes and reorganization at the company, changes in immediate functional supervision staffing, and a feeling of being needed by my current program.  The need feels so strong I even worry about leaving now, and I know this will sound absurd to many and no I don’t have kids yet, but the only way I can think to explain it is like a mom stepping away and allowing her children to make mistakes on their own so they can learn and grow from it.  I’ve realized in recent weeks part of my day to day frustrations were somehow created by myself – I threw myself so completely into the program they began to rely on me for things that shouldn’t have been my tasking in the first place.  And while in my naïve mind this was temporary, until I could teach them and then they would take over things from there — why would they bother?  Right now if anything gets messed up they know I’ll cover it, I’ll fix it, I’ll run it to ground… I’ve enabled them.  Well, actually, disabled may be a better term.  Hmph.  All good intentions mind you – I just am the type of person who sees a need and jumps on the task and owns it. 

I’ve done a lot of learning and growing and maturing with this program and will take these skills and lessons with me – but it’s time for the next adventure. 

Have you ever come in to work, sat down at your desk, and within 10 5 ONE minute of reading through emails and to-do’s just felt completely over it?  Story of my life lately.  And then I realized, I don’t have to keep it this way.  *ding ding ding*  You control your own destiny! 

Part of this realization came through a chanceOne of the three’s C’s.  Because of my participation in enterprise wide collaboration I’d had the opportunity to meet people from all different divisions within the organization and it was through one of these contacts that I was told about a new job opportunity.  The job was in a similar field to my experience, but an entirely different business unit and a different product line.  This could be the change I was looking for!  But, I had a choice to make.  (You see?  The three C’s….

The facts:  If I took this new job it would be starting over in a way.  I’d have to learn new processes and a whole new product.  I’d be the new kid on the block whereas now I lead multiple meetings and am on decision making boards for sign-off and review.  No one on the new team would really know much about me or my past accomplishments.  I’d have to “earn my stripes” all over again.  I was terrified just thinking about it!! 

“But why are you so scared??” I thought to myself.  “This is not the first time you’ve rotated through to a new assignment, what makes this one so much more terrifying?”

Turns out all my previous rotations were generated and steered somewhat through my functional management – they were pre-determined and I was ‘talked up’ with no need to even interview.  THIS would be the first career move I truly made on my own.  So, if I failed it would all be on me.  Well that’s just ridiculous that the only reason I’m scared is fear of not “earning my stripes”.  I’ve done it before and I am only more experienced at this point so why wouldn’t I believe in myself to do it again?  Done.  That’s it.  Decision made.  You can’t let the fear of failure stop you from living. 

As my husband, Mike, pointed out – “What’s the worst thing that could happen?  You don’t like the job and we look for another one? …you don’t really like your current job right now.”  What a genius (don’t tell him I said that).

Still, I couldn’t get rid of the negative feelings – both of fear and of leaving people who need me.  Then my sister came through with some pretty insightful quotes that were exactly what I needed to hear to know I was making the right decision.


Pretty powerful stuff, huh? 

So that’s it – I took a leap of faith, interviewed (which maybe I’ll talk about in a different post if there’s any interest – the whole process is a LOT different these days!), got the job and telling my supervisor and managers even went better than I thought it would.  They mostly understood my need for change and growth and wished me luck on my journey.  So now the next few weeks will be filled with wrapping up tasks and passing on assignments to a backfill before I start the new position (date still up in the air).

After all the contemplation and review over the past month I thought others may be in a like position and looking for some words of wisdom so here’s a few other quotes and statements that have a similar truth to them:

important message


And a great article to read:  10 Choices You Won’t Regret in 10 Years


Are there any quotes or sayings that you like to remind yourself of when you’re faced with a hard decision?

How often do you change roles or assignments within your job?  What’s the longest you’ve stayed in one place?