Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

A college friend of mine posted this on her blog, Captain Optimist.  With the family taking a long afternoon nap on New Year's Eve, I thought it might be a good time to do my Year-in-Review!

1.  What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I am constantly doing new things every year. Some key things this year though were, entering crafts in the Oklahoma State Fair, being an extra in a movie, and meet Daniel Radcliffe.

2.  Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made 29 goals last year.  Some were big and some were small.  I, of course, did not accomplish everything.  I will spare you the list of reading all 29 of them, but some key goals were:
*Lose 40 lbs - yeah, that didn't happen.
*Plan a surprise birthday party for Mom's 60th Birthday - CHECK!
*Run a 5K without stopping - not even close, but I am walking a 5K almost weekly with the local coffee shop.
*Read the Left Behind series and Twilight series - ok, so that was easy, but I did it!
*Audition for at least three shows - I went above and beyond three shows and was even cast in two!

I did make goals for 2012.  You can check them out here.

3.  Did anyone close to you give birth?
Our family welcomed two nieces this year!  One in May and one in November.

4.  Did anyone close to you die?
This year we did not lose anyone in our family.

5.  What countries did you visit?
We visited Canada, Morocco, Mexico, France, China, Japan...oh wait, Epcot doesn't count?  Well, then...no countries.

6.  What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Will power and a job that will help pay off our student loans!

7.  What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
While the dates themselves aren't etched, they include: Peter finishing his dissertation, Ezra having his first birthday party with friends, and the family trip to Disney World.

8.  What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I don't think there was an ultimate achievement, but I'm excited for winning ribbons at the state fair, for getting cast in an industrial film, and having my video picked for the How to Succeed...Ultimate Fan.

9.  What was your biggest failure?
Not getting a teaching job. 

10.  Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, just a cold.  No major illness for anyone in the family.  Amen!

11.  What was the best thing you bought?
My cast iron skillet from Silver Dollar City.  I've only used it a few times so far, but I LOVE IT.

12.  Where did most of your money go?
Rent, utilities, student loans, and credit cards.

13.  What did you get really excited about?
We had some exciting trips this year.  Peter and I had a whirlwind trip to NYC and saw some amazing shows!  Mom and I had another whirlwind trip to NYC to meet the cast of How to Succeed.  Our family went to Disney World and enjoyed every minute of it (well, except for the minutes that we complained about our feet).  I was excited for Peter finishing his PhD.  He is officially a doctor!

14.  What song will always remind you of 2011?
I have no idea!  Most of the songs I listen to are children's songs or older stations.  I couldn't really tell you what songs came out in 2011 without cheating and looking on the internet.  (Which I am doing RIGHT NOW).  Hmmm...even after looking at the top 25 songs of 2011, the only two that I recognize, and could kind of sing, would be "Friday" by Rebecca Black and "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. 

15.  Compared to this time last year, are you:
--happier or sadder?  About the same.
--thinner or fatter?  Fatter, Noooooooo.
--richer or poorer?  Currently the same, but until all the bills are paid it will still be the same.

16.  What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercise and spend more time with the family doing outdoor activities while the weather was nice.  If I had known how hot the summer would be, I would have changed a few things.

17.  What do you wish you'd done less of?
Spending time on Facebook trying to sell all of my junk.

18.  How did you spend Christmas?
It was our first Christmas at our own home.  We woke up and opened presents, ate gooey cinnamon rolls (gooey for all of the wrong reasons) and then tried to correct it and wound up eating cinnamon rolls that were too hard, went to church.  My mom came down and we had Christmas dinner together.

19.  What was your favorite TV program?
We are now fans of How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory.

20.  What were your favorite books of the year?
I didn't read any new books this year, but I enjoyed reading the Little House on the Prairie series.

21.  What was your favorite music from this year?
Again, I don't know what was popular for 2011, but this year I loved listening to the Broadway shows we saw earlier this Fall and the Veggie Tales Christmas CD.

22.  What were your favorite films of the year?
We didn't see to many but the top ones for me were: Cars 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part 2, and Puss in Boots.

23.  What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Family dinner at home and I turned 29.

24.  What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm not sure.  Life has been pretty good.  There are always things I wish I could change here and there, but overall it has been a good year.

25.  How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Try and get a bra on before lunch time :)  Okay, it isn't THAT bad, but this commercial springs to mind.


26.  What kept you sane?
Ezra giving me "lots of kisses," having lunch with Peter every day, and Tivo.

27.  Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Make sure your family knows how much you love them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Goals for 2012

Well it is the end of the year and you know what that means...New Year's Resolutions that will be broken in less than a month!  Yay!  I recently read an article (and of course now I can't find it) that said in one week something like 20% of people will break their resolutions, in one month an additional 20%, in six months another 20% won't make it, but 40% of everyone else will get through the year with their resolutions.  So the numbers might not be exactly right BUT it definitely was on the high side. Maybe I'm just a bit pessimistic.

Anyway, here is my list of resolutions.  There are 30 of them.  I will be 30 this year and I thought it would be good to come up with 30.  I did 29 last year and actually accomplished 10 of them.  that is a 34% success rate.  Hmmm...well let's see if I can get at least 50% of these goals accomplished this year.

No judging and in no particular order:

30 Goals for 2012

1.  Read the Bible.    
     -I used to say I wanted to read through the whole Bible in a year and while I think that is a GREAT goal, I also want to make it realistic for me.  So, I just want to read my Bible.  That's it.  Just read it.

2.  Lose 10 pounds. 

3.  Lose 10 pounds.

4.  Lose 10 pounds.

5.  Lose 10 pounds.

6.  Lose 10 pounds.

7.  Lose 10 pounds.    
     -Okay so maybe it is cheating by dividing this up in to so many goals, but I see it as a way to make it easier to attain my goal, rather than just say "well, I guess I didn't lose those 60 pounds that I wanted."

8.  Pay off Peter's smaller student loan.

9.  Pay off all our credit cards.

10.  Maintain this blog with a minimum of one post per week.

11.  Get at least 10 followers on my blog.    
       -Come on people, this one is up to you!  Maybe I'll do some sort of give-a-way when I hit the 10 follower mark.  Hmmmm, I'll have to think about that.

12.  Complete my Alphabet Photography Project.

13.  Run a 5K without stopping. 
       -Yeah, I know a 5K isn't all that long, but for someone who hates running it is a good start.  We have been doing the Sips 5K most Mondays, so hopefully soon I can jog the whole thing.

14.  Complete my walk to NYC.

15.  Complete "Mom" book for Ezra. 
       -I got this great book that let's you fill in things about your childhood to give to your own child. I want to complete that for Ezra. I'm not expecting anything bad to happen, but I'm also not expecting anything bad to happen. I would love for Ezra to get to read some things about me that I have control over the wording. :)

16.  Photo book for 2011. 

17.  Photo book for 2010
       -I love having pictures on the computer, but there is just something about flipping pages of a photo album. Maybe it is cheating for making each year a different resolution, but I think it will help my odds!

18.  Organize computer documents.

19.  Make a new recipe each month. 

20.  Find a job. 
       -I am teaching Kindermusik one night a week, but Ezra is starting day care soon and would love to find a job to justify putting him in day care.  It is amazing though, how hard it is to find a job in my town.

21.  Submit three works to the state fair. 

22.  Submit my children's book.

23.  Save _______ in our savings account.
       -Okay, so you don't need to know all of our financial things!

24.  Audition, submit, audition. 
       -Last year I made a goal to audition for at least three shows or companies.  Well I exceeded that number AND I've also been submitting for work through a local casting agencies (which has gotten me a few paying jobs too).  So, I am going to add that to my list.  I want to audition or at least submit my headshot to 5 jobs, shows, companies, etc.  We'll see how it goes!

25.  Finish song #1.

26.  Finish song #2.

27.  Finish Ezra's One Year Collage. 
       -Yeah, I'm a bit behind on that one.

28.  Get rid of 300 pounds of clutter. 
       -Yes, 300 pounds.  Some of it may be recycled, donated, sold, trashed, or even freecycled, but I want to start with 300 pounds.  I originally wanted to do 500 pounds or 1,000 pounds, but I thought that might be a bit much to start with.  The family might not appreciate having that much stuff taken out of the home.

29.  Sew something! 
       -I just received a NEW sewing machine for Christmas and now I need to learn how to really use it.  I need to find something easy enough that I can sew but also something that can at least challenge me a little bit.

30.  Successfully play my autoharp.
       -Yep, I'm a nerd.  I would love to learn how to play the guitar or something like that, but I think I'll start with my autoharp and then go from there :)


Whew!  There are my 30 goals!  I'll keep you updated on them.  What are some of your goals for the new year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

imPRESS Press-on Manicure Product Review

Another product review.  Hizzah!  This next review is about the imPRESS Press-on Manicure from Broadway Nails.  Check out their site here and scroll to the bottom of the post to check out more information about the product.


Here is my video of testing out the product for the first time!


As I mentioned in the video, it was hard opening the bottle.  (I did find out that I wasn't the only one that had problems though!)  I thought the packaging was adorable and I love the idea of quick and affordable nails.  I wish they numbered the nails though by size.  I spent WAY too long figuring out the different size nails and then matching them to my nails.  I even noticed a few that didn't match up at all.  Also, the tips of the nails need to be filed down.  You can see a tiny tab where the nails were attached to press them out.  It definitely caused a few snags in the clothing.  The best thing about the nails is that the color is all the way through...no chipped nails for me!

Quick Take:
I love the idea, hated my color (Ecstatic Cling), but most of all...I wished the nails were numbered in size order!  I love that I don't have to worry about chipped nails though!

Usage Tips:
Take the time to line up the nails in order and put the tab side to the cuticle.

The Verdict:
I might try them again.  I really, REALLY wish they would number the nails.  That would probably be the reason why I wouldn't try them again.  They were cute but a bit fake looking...but I think that had to do with my color.

Ecstatic Cling = working girl.  It was a bit bright and I found myself hiding my nails when talking to people at the store.  Luckily they have 36 colors to choose from.


imPRESS Press-On Manicure

This changes everything!

Introducing imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails, the revolutionary way to apply polish! Featuring advanced nail technology, you can get a salon-perfect manicure in seconds – simply peel off, press on, and you're done. There's no drying, a killer shine and a manicure that lasts up to a week! And, imPress is so easy to remove, you can change it up to match your mood as often as you want. Check out all 36 colors and patterns, including trendy brights, classic darks and animal prints. With imPress, your nails will always be your best accessory.

imPress Manicure retails for $5.99 for colors and $7.99 for patterns, and is available at CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, KMart, Walgreens, Walmart and more. For a full list of online and in-store retailers, visit imPressManicure.com, where you can download an exclusive coupon and virtually try on all the colors and patterns!

*PS.  I received this item complimentary via Influenster and their VoxBox program.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Larabar Product Review

So, the next item I wanted to share with you was the Larabar.  I specifically tried the Apple Pie flavor.  Now, I really liked the idea that there were only a handful of ingredients in the bar.  It was nice knowing that it wasn't full of artificial sweeteners and other things that I couldn't pronounce.  I wasn't the biggest fan of Apple Pie (read below) but I can't wait to try some of the other flavors!


Quick Take:
Date taste is a bit over powering (at least in the apple pie flavor).

The Verdict:
I liked the taste enough to try other flavors.

This was my first time trying the Larabar. I love the idea of a snack food that has simple ingredients, or as the information states "made from only a handful of carefully chosen ingredients." My sample was the Apple Pie flavor. Ingredients: Dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. My initial thought with this flavor was that it tasted too much like dates (which makes sense, since it was the first ingredient listed). I don't think it tasted like apple pie. The flavor wasn't bad...just not like apple pie. I noticed that in several of the bars, dates are listed as the first ingredient, maybe because the work really well as a binding agent. I would be interested in trying a few other flavors to see how noticeable the "date taste" is in them. I love that they are gluten free, vegan friendly, etc...for when friends come over with different diets and will probably keep these on hand in the future.

Just a reminder, I received this item for free from Influenster.

Mentos Chewing Gum Product Review

So, I received the Mentos Chewing Gum from my Influenster Holiday Voxbox.  I posted this review on the Influenster site, but thought I would post it here too.  Check back over the next couple of days to read about the other items I received (imPress Nails, Softsoap, NYColor, Larabar, and Montagne Jeunesse).  I am still working on the whole writing a review and getting my point across, but I promise it will get better with practice.



Quick Take:
Burst of freshness, fresh mint tasted fresh, loved the container


The Verdict:
Worth the try!

My first piece, I felt this burst of freshness. The pieces are a bit big and not sure if the flavor really lasts that long (only because I feel like the flavor coated my mouth and the flavor I tasted, I wasn't sure if it was coming from the actual gum or still my initial taste). I love the container though. No more mashed up gum in the bottom of a bag.

Just a reminder that I received this item free from Influenster

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Influenster 2011 Holiday VoxBox

Alright folks.  I love free things.  I do.  So, when I was reading my mom's Woman's World magazine and saw an article on how to get even MORE free stuff...I said "sign me up."  Thus began my relationship with *Influenster.  You sign up, fill out a few surveys, earn some badges, and if you are lucky (or if they are trying to target you particular group) you get a VoxBox. 

What is a VoxBox?  I am sure you are asking yourself that question.  Well, a VoxBox is a little package of freebie goodness!  I just received my first one in the mail today.  Enjoy the lovely video and read below to get more details on the items I received.


**So my box included:

imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails in Ecstatic Cling
Softsoap Coconut Scrub Bar Soap
Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask in Passion Peel Off
New York Color Liquid Lip Shine in Nude York City color
Mentos Pure Fresh Gum
Larabar in Apple Pie

My first thoughts...well, I love free stuff.  I am interested in trying the manicure set but not too happy about the HOT PINK color, love the smell of the coconut soap, ready to try the face mask, love the color of the lip gloss, don't really like gum but will let my husband try it, and really excited to taste the Larabar product.

If you really want to know what I think, check back in a week after I have reviewed everything!



* I received these complimentary products featured above through the Influenster's VoxBox product testing program.  I am under no obligation review these products in a positive way.

**By clicking on the link, you will be directed to that companies website.

Where have I been?

I always feel like I have these great ideas to write about things...then life gets in the way and I don't post anything.  Well, come New Years, I hope that changes.  Perhaps I can make a goal of at least writing something one day a week.  That isn't all that difficult...right?  Anyway, where have I been?  Right here, letting life pass me by.  I hope to update this with some of the great acting gigs I have done in the past month or so, but until then...check out a brand new post about Influenster!