Checking In On Those Goals…

Well as the calendar would have it — it is February 28th.  How is it that tomorrow is the first day of March?  Since I have made you all my unofficial accountability partners when it comes to my New Year’s Resolutions (aka Yearly Goals), it is time to discuss February.

I blogged about my recap of January’s goals here.  So February’s goals looked something like this:

Pure & Simple | February Resolutions

Let’s start with #1 shall we: Continue with January Goals.

Drink more water.  Not a good report here.  I drank maybe a bottle a day.  Reason?  I stopped infusing in the Mason Jar.  Tricks of the trade — must start that back up.

Eat more fruits & veggies.  Still trucking along on this one and finally making progress on the fruit front.  (ha, that sounds funny).

Workout a minimum of 3 days per week.  I worked out a total of 7 times this month.  Pretty much the same as last month.  :/ Workout classes are awesome but when something comes up on one of those nights, I just skip working out all together.  Not to mention I have let the bi-polar nature of the weather keep me from working out outside.  Excuses?  Probably.

Don’t skip meals.  Good on breakfast and dinner.  Bad on lunch.  When I’m organizing with clients, I tend to eat a protein bar for lunch.  Not exactly well balanced.  I’m starving by the time I get home.

Now the February goals:

2. Read one new book.

I’m on chapter 7 of 13.  Getting Things Done is a great book but that first section of 100 pages totally tripped me up.  The chapters were long and … well not fun to read.  Now I’m in the good part and flying through! 🙂

3.  Get up earlier.  

I consistently woke up at 7:30 or earlier most days (17 days to be exact).  New month coming up and I will move it back to 7:15am for a 2 weeks, then 7am for 2 more.  I will make it to 6:30am!

Going to bed at or near 10:30pm has been really helpful.  It is just making it a habit and sticking with it.

Goals aside, I’m ready for spring!  I’m tired of wearing sweaters and boots and ready for flip flops and sundresses.

How are you doing on goals you set waaaaay back when 2 months ago?  Don’t tell me the bandwagon left you standing alone in it’s dust!  😉

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Newcomer Award…

BLOC Newcomer of the Year

As a business owner in a town full of transplants, it is important to network (aka get out and meet new people on a regular basis).  I mulled over this decision for months … and months.  Which group?  Co-ed or women only?  … etc … etc …

Me & Vickie Hafer

Me & Vickie Hafer

Early last year, Vickie Hafer of Carolina Interior Works, reached out and asked about meeting up for coffee to meet officially and get to know one another.  We met over ice tea and chatted for hours.  I immediately liked her!  One of the topics that came up was networking.  *Sigh* I was in analysis paralysis with this topic.

Vickie suggested that we attend some BLOC (Business Leaders of Charlotte) functions together as it might be a good group to join.  I had heard about BLOC from my accountant and his beautiful wife (my professional coach), but had yet to pull the trigger on checking it out.

So I agreed to visit!  Networking is much easier when you know at least one person in the room.

Vickie and I started visiting last January and decided to join last April.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I consider networking to be important for my business but more importantly I gained a ton of new friends from the group.  People I would have otherwise never met or known.

Vickie and I both got involved with planning our After Hours Networking Event and then I got roped in asked to help with the marketing efforts for the group. 😉 I also helped plan our BLOCtoberfest Charity Event Concert with an awesome group of individuals.

To the point … we had our annual dinner last Saturday and awards were passed out.  Low & behold, I won the Newcomer of the Year Award!  😀

The Newcomer of the Year Award is given to a new member from all collective chapters that has done the most for the organization as a whole this past year.  They have attended meetings and After Hours regularly, as well as volunteered consistently.  They continually promote the organization as well as represent it in a professional way.

I was over the moon excited and surprised that the Board voted me as Newcomer of the Year.  What an absolute honor!

Raymond came with me — it was his first BLOC event. 🙂

With award :)

With award 🙂

And that dress?  Yes it is a thrift store find.  Banana Republic — $20 — from Clothes Mentor.  What do you think?

Here is a larger group shot with awards:

BLOC Group Picture

I posed time and time again with the award — I think I was starting to annoy people. 😉

Stop -- no one cares -- get over yourself. ;)

Stop — no one cares — get over yourself. 😉

If you are in the market for a networking group in Charlotte, then I highly recommend that you check out BLOC.  🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Master Bedroom Closet Organizing {Reveal}…

I wrapped a large closet project last week and wanted to share the progress with you all!

The closet is a very large walk-in big enough for him and her.  “His” side was pretty well organized; “her” side was overrun with clothes and shoes.

Before

Before

Before

Before

Before

Before

We spent many days sorting the clothes into similar piles.  Sweaters.  Dresses. Jeans.  Short sleeve shirts.

After the piles were created, we started to purge.  Things that didn’t fit or were no longer “loved” went in the donation pile.

After several rounds of purging and sorting, the donations were hauled off and the clothes made their way back into the closet.  We used several organizing “tools” for the project.  The biggest challenge was containing all wallets, clutches, and purses.  Organizing the accessories tends to be the fun part! 🙂

After

After

 

After

After

After

After

Here are some of the tools we used:

Master Bedroom Closet

  1. Milli Hangers (The Container Store) ($3.99/10 pk)
  2. Large Havana Bin (Gray) (The Container Store) ($14.99)
  3. Tribeca Media Bin (Cocoa) (The Container Store) ($9.99)
  4. Little Black Dress Jewelry Organizer (The Container Store) ($19.99)

So what do you think? 🙂

To see more pictures of the project, click here.

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

 

Foodie Friday {BRAVO! Cucina Italiana}…

I had several Girl’s Nights planned this week so my menu planning was pretty sparse.  Raymond had a Guy’s Night planned with his brother and dad on Tuesday, which left us to one day of enjoying dinner together.

We cooked dinners that I have blogged about before which leads me to, “Nothing new here.”

BRAVO! Cucina ItalianaSo I thought I would blog about Bravo!’s Happy Hour menu.

Bravo! Cucina Italiana is located at Northlake Mall.  I have never been to this restaurant and had no idea it was Italian food.  The full name had escaped my attention.

A few weeks ago a friend invited me to Bravo! for an after work get together.  She said they had Happy Hour specials.  Count me in!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I’m not a big fan of Italian food.  Shocking, I know.  😉

Let’s just say … this place is awesome!

The Happy Hour specials are available Monday – Friday, 3-7pm & 9pm-close.  

They have appetizers available for $3.95 and several drink options for $5.

BRAVO! Drink Menu BRAVO Bar Menu

I’ve been twice and each time ordered the same thing … well almost.  Raymond is so mad that I haven’t taken him yet. 😉 Maybe next week.

What I’ve tried:

  • Shrimp Fra Diavolo w/Crispy Eggplant
    • Famous Fra Diavolo sauce, topped with green onions and pesto bread crumbs
    • Pretty good but fairly saucy
  • Crispy Shrimp Napoli
    • Fried shrimp with green onions and our lemon butter, charred tomato Napoli sauce
    • My FAVORITE dish!
  • Caprese Salad
    • A classic with marinated tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella, basil and a field greens salad
    • Very good — the mozzarella was definitely fresh
  • Portbello & Boursin Bruschetta
    • Topped with melted Provolone, carmelized onions, crushed red pepper, tomatoes and Boursin
    • 2nd FAVORITE dish!

I might order the BRAVO! Burger when I go with Raymond. 🙂

They offer a variety of martinis, sangria, and other mixed drinks for $5 as well.  The White Peach Sangria was a little too sweet, but the Lemon Basil Martini was delicious!

So if you ever want to try out the restaurant and need a date — call me! 😉

BRAVO! (NORTHLAKE MALL)

6851 North Lake Mall Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28216

(p) (704) 597-1455 | (f) (704) 597-1026

What is your favorite Happy Hour spot?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Snow + Southerners = Mayhem

Snow Plus

I realize the southern blizzard was days ago … although it seems like weeks ago!  I touched on the subject here with a recap of the weekend.  However, I have since been busy as a bumble bee (new tagline?) and haven’t had a chance to blog about The Blizzard of 2013.

I might be overly dramatic but it was a lot of snow for this beautiful southern town … in a very short amount of time. So here we go…

If you grew up around here, then you are considered a Southerner.

If you are a Southerner, then you freak out at the drop of one snow flake. *cough cough Mom* 😉

Southerners have no idea how to drive or manage in snow or ice.  Practice makes perfect, right?  Well we get very little practice each year, so therefore we really stink at dealing with all the white fluffy stuff.

I don’t remember the weatherman saying we were going to have a blizzard on Saturday.  Then again, I don’t watch the news everyday.

I was in Bessemer City when the blizzard decided to attack.  I was in one of my favorite Gaston County Goodwill stores to be exact.

And racking up too — the cart was full.  I was elbowing people for more room.  “Excuse me, I was looking at that dress!” 😉

Then I hear my mom, “Oh no it is snowing really hard … and starting to stick!”  Yep, when it sticks to anything, we (Southerners) freak the heck out.

Cue Mom in panic mode.  I cannot be rushed at Goodwill and I was being rushed.  I ended up buying 3 items and hitting the road.  My mom was out of there faster than … a thunderstorm in the summer?  I don’t know.  She peeled out of there without even dusting off her car.

So here I am stuck in the parking lot of Goodwill (that had cleared out btw) dusting off my car.  I also don’t have a working defroster which made that trip back to Charlotte even more fun and exciting.

Mom calls from the road, “Where are you?!  Maybe you should come back to our house!”

No thank you.  I was not prepared for an overnight stay, and I do not do well with unplanned visits.

I proceeded to make the trek back to Charlotte which took about an hour and half.  It looked a lot like this:

Blizzard 2013 Blizzard CLT 2013

Those are blooming trees covered in snow.  Global warming anyone?

Those are blooming trees covered in snow. Global warming anyone?

What I don’t understand is the concept of riding on the interstate … in a blizzard … with your caution lights on?  That is fine if you want to go 30mph … but why bother when you are going 70?  *scratching head*

I made it back and took some pictures outside with Raymond and Cody.  They were short lived as Cody and Raymond were “so over it”.

View from the apartment

View from the apartment

Bexley Creekside Snowy

I was way too excited to be in the snow with Cody. :)

I was way too excited to be in the snow with Cody. 🙂

The next morning Raymond was all about the pictures and the taking.

Really Raymond?

DSC01292

I was left to my own devices .. iPhone device to be exact.  😉  I luuuurrvvee me some Instagram so it was a photographer showdown.

Yep - no makeup

Yep – no makeup

iPhone 3GS giving him a run for his money! ;)

iPhone 3GS giving him a run for his money! 😉

We had a great time until I realized he had to leave!  IKEA President’s Day sale was starting in 15 mins.  Eeekk must get GORM unit for $9.99 before everyone else.

One last photo then we booked it out of there faster than … a thunderstorm in summer?  Still no good?  Eh. 🙂

Loving the snow

Clearly I cannot take photos facing the sun. 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

How Was Your Weekend?

What a weekend!  If you lived in or near the Charlotte area, then you know what I’m talking about! 🙂

NOTE: Besides a recap of the weekend, this post will be a slight phone dump of pictures I took each day.  My new love Instagram did not disappoint. 😉

Friday:

Cody & I went for a quick run to enjoy the beautiful 60 degree weather.

While running

Cody was soaking up the rays of light.

Cody was soaking up the rays of light.

That evening I met some friends for dinner and a drink.  Very authentic Italian started off the evening with this:

@ Ciro's Italian Restaurant. Yes that is an accordion.

@ Ciro’s Italian Restaurant. Yes that is an accordion.

Saturday:

I drove in to Gastonia to help a family member with some home recommendations.  They are putting their house on the market in a few weeks; we talked about clearing out some extra stuff to make the home appear more luxurious. 🙂 Then it was lunch for my mom’s birthday! 🙂

Cupcakes from Jenn's Sugarlicious Bakery

Cupcakes from Jenn’s Sugarlicious Bakery

The snow started to fall (Oh Em Gee!) and I realized I needed to book it back to Charlotte.  It was a long stressful ride back home which included 2 traffic jams and a lot of this:

Driving home -- stuck in traffic -- but isn't it gorgeous!

Driving home — stuck in traffic — but isn’t it gorgeous!

Once back, I changed clothes and joined Raymond & Cody outside.  It was picture taking time!  Cody was none too happy.

Me & Cody playing in the snow. :)

Me & Cody playing in the snow. 🙂

Cody in the snow

I thoroughly enjoyed our Winter Wonderland.

Winter Wonderland 2013.

Winter Wonderland 2013.

Raymond and I came in and relaxed the rest of the evening.  I was exhausted and so glad he didn’t go to work.  See, us Southerners aren’t that great at driving in snow and ice. 😉

Sunday:

We took Cody for a walk in the melting snow.  BTW … who on earth wears cowboy boots in the snow?  Bad idea!

Cowboy boots in the snow

Raymond wanted to take some pictures so we had a photographer standoff! 😉

Cody's impromptu photo shoot in the melting snow. ;)

Cody’s impromptu photo shoot in the melting snow. 😉

Photographer Face Off

Who’s the better photographer? 😉

I kindly asked Raymond if he would go with me to IKEA.  Their President’s Day Sales were awesome but I really only wanted the GORM shelving unit … and at a $20 discount!

He wasn’t thrilled but said yes … then I asked if he would drive.  Tricky little girl. 🙂

Not thrilled about driving to IKEA.

Not thrilled about driving to IKEA.

I’m not great with crowds … much less anxious bargain crazy crowds.  We were greeted with that exact scene and Raymond went hiding.  I was left to fend for myself against the mob and was successful!  This craziness happened — we had to ride home with the window down.

Hey, I’ve done crazier things in my car. 😉

Craziness at IKEA

Home we came, I put together both GORM’s … reorganized the storage closet … went grocery shopping … put together the LAIVA unit for my bathroom … shopped for baskets for the LAIVA … made dinner … cut my finger … broke an entire $10.99 6-pack of beer at Total Wine with my big badonka booty … and froze like nobody’s business all the while.

So I now ask … what did you do this weekend? 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

 

Foodie Friday {“Grilled Chicken”}…

Happy happy Friday!  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!  I spent the morning reading, walking with Raymond and Cody, chatting about childhood memories {Raymond and I have the best convos}, eating breakfast, then writing!

You see … I need to update this website.  I’m in dire need of something that is much more organized and pretty.  Something magical is in the works, but in order to go from “current” to “complete” the designers need content.  That content needs to come from me.

I finally finished putting together the content today.  I am SO excited about the final product!

But anywho … I’m supposed to talk about recipes today! 🙂

Today’s recipe is pretty easy and you might say to yourself, “Why did she even bother?”

I bothered writing this because there was some interest in the topic at my last Girl’s Retreat.

Without further ado …

Grilled Chicken Supplies

“GRILLED” CHICKEN (OVEN BAKED W/CAST IRON SKILLET)

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, thawed
    • More or less depending on how many you are feeding
  • Canola oil
  • Favorite seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place cast iron skillet in oven while preheating.
  3. Fillet the chicken breasts.  *Optional step:  I like making the chicken go further.  You know … bang for that buck!
  4. Prepare salad.  We always eat our “grilled” chicken on a salad, so while the oven preheats I prepare the salad.
  5. Remove pan from oven.
  6. Drizzle with canola oil.  Just enough to cover the bottom.
  7. Season chicken with your favorite spice.
    1. Right now mine is Weber Beer Can Chicken.
  8. Don’t forget to season both sides!
  9. Place chicken in pan and back in oven.
  10. Cook for 7-8 minutes — then turn.
  11. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
    1. Keep a watch on the chicken.  The time depends on the thickness of the breasts.
    2. Thicker the breast, the longer it should cook.

My favorite cast iron skillet?  The griddle style!

Cleaning a cast iron skillet?  There are several suggested ways.  I have found this to be the easiest:

  • Place 2-3 inches of water in cast iron skillet.
  • Place on stovetop and boil for 5-10 minutes.
  • Discard water and wipe with paper towel.

Enjoy!

Jennifer Signature

Are You a Hot Mess?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  Raymond and I shared a cup of java this morning from Caribou Coffee.  It was a great way to start the day! 🙂

Since it is a day for love, I thought this topic would be appropriate.

Ways To Deal with the Clutter in your Home & Relationship

Ways To Deal with the Clutter in your Home & Relationship

We all have different comfort levels with the amount of clutter that is manageable in our lives.  But if your significant other has a different level than you, problems can arise.

Even the happiest of couples might argue about clutter and the constant stream of stuff flowing into our homes and lives just magnifies the issue.

If your level of mess is far different than your spouses, it could send signals to him (or her) that your home and relationship is not a top priority.

There is power struggle that comes into play.  Who says what stays and what goes?  Who “wins” the argument over the piles of stuff?

A solution? 

Talk about what you want your home to feel like and reflect.  Talk about this together … in a neutral place, not inside your cluttered home.  Your home should be a retreat.  It should be a place you look forward to coming back to at the end of a long day.  You should be able to relax at home.  It should not be a shrine or a storage unit.  Not a shrine to a hobby.  Not a shrine to old memories.  Not a storage unit full of “maybe someday” items.

When you talk about what you want your home to reflect, be specific.  The follow through is just as important as the conversation. 😉

Is this an issue in your home life?  If so, how do you deal with it?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

 

{SFS} Ways To Organize Pet Accessories…

Something from sarah banner

I love dogs! I have three enormous pups: two Newfoundlands, Armelle and Titan, and a Golden Retriever mix, Peaches.  Admittedly, I spoil my dogs, but they’ve accumulated quite a collection of toys… and I can’t exactly tell them to clean up after themselves.

Sarahs Dogs

Most of the dogs’ collection fits in one of these categories:

  • Food
  • Grooming
  • Toys and recreation

Food

I’m a huge fans of plastic tubs to keep everything in and hungry pups out!  I set their entire bag of kibble into a tall container like this one from Target, that way I can easily see the label.  I also keep dog biscuits in a similar, smaller container, as well as mini dog biscuits in jars around the house were I most reward them —like by the back door.

Grooming

All three of my dogs have long fur and live in the house, so grooming is almost constant to keep shedding down!  I use a duffle bag as kind of a jumbo-sized “beauty bag” for the brushes, combs, and nail clippers.  I’ve also seen people who create a sort of “grooming station” in their homes.  For my dogs, it’s easier to have the grooming tools come to them and brush a little at a time!

Toys

For toys, I keep a big basket tucked in the corner and throw all their plushies, ropes, and other chew toys in.  I prefer to use something without a lid so the dogs can help themselves if needed… it’s always adorable when they let us know they’re ready to play! Tennis balls live right next to the back door, so I can have them ready to go if an opportunity to play fetch presents itself.

Leashes

I try to take them to the dog park, or at least on a walk, every day (weather permitting) so I need to keep leashes somewhere they can be grabbed quickly and quietly to avoid a furry frenzy!  Wall hooks work perfectly, and there are several fun options available, some can even come personalized with your favorite breed or pets’ names.

These BÄSTIS hooks from IKEA totally made me smile!

Source {IKEA}

Source {IKEA}

I also keep a small drawstring backpack full of “travel essentials”, so I will always have tennis balls, poo bags, and treats packed for an impromptu trip.  Once the leashes go on, we’re in a rush to get out the door, so I keep everything prepared ahead of time… nothing like 300 lbs. of excited dogs to keep you organized and ready to go!

How do you keep your dog’s accessories organized?

Until next time,

Sarah Signature

How To Use Instagram…

Instagram How To 4

I love Instagram.  I love it because it is pictures only.  I don’t have to sift through status updates and advertisements to find out what people have been up to.  And to be honest, we all love looking at a good picture or two.

I often wonder what I would have been sharing had Instagram been around a few years ago.  I love sharing my world through photos.  🙂

So if you love Instagram as much as I do, then you will want to keep reading.

If you aren’t following me yet and want to, then click here.

I thought filters were the ticket to the moon when I first started using Instagram, but I recently read this article that suggested other ways to use it more effectively.

{NOTE: This post was inspired by Her New Leaf’s blog post}

Use your camera app instead of the camera through Instagram.

Instagram How To 1

Import the picture through the Instagram app.  {very easy}

Crop the photo.

Instagram How To 3

Use the sun and rain drop to enhance the photo.  Don’t forget about using filters to enhance as well.

Instagram How To 2

I don’t really understand what the sun stands for.  I just click it each time I’m editing a photo.  If I don’t like what it does to the picture, then I click it again and it goes away. 😉

The rain drop allows you to focus on one area while blurring the rest.  You can resize the area that is focused (make it larger or smaller).  You can also move it around to focus on whatever you prefer.  The rain drop is my favorite enhancement tool!

So to give you an idea of what can be done within Instagram…

I started with this picture:

Original Picture

Original Picture

And ended up with this using the above mentioned tips:

Enhanced Picture

Enhanced Picture

Which do you think is better?

Do you have any other Instagram tips?  Please share if you do! 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature