Monday, March 30, 2015

List: How to be more successful at work.

The past couple of months have been so hectic that my work ethic started to hinder.
Shh..  Don’t tell anybody but I’ve been doing homework on the clock!
I may not excel at everything in my life, but I am real good at my chosen career.
That truth is reflected in how much I am valued by management and coworkers.
I’m totally not being cocky here, I’m just trying to let you all know why I am so ashamed.

A few days ago, I had to stop and think of the real reason why my work was backing up.
The truth is, I am not focused and I’m putting future opportunities on the line.
While I was sitting at my desk 2 hours past go home time, I decided to take my own advice.
There’s nothing like using yourself as an example of both the good and bad sides of something!


10 Easy Tips To Be More Successful At Work

1.  Limit your internet activity for personal use.
Everybody deserves a lunch break and 2 smaller breaks throughout the day.
Not only does it help you focus, but it helps create a good work and life balance.
Limit your internet activity for personal use to these designated time slots.
Sadly, I let the internet distract me all day long.  Wedding wire and blogger need to wait for a break!!

2.  Be a person who keeps their word.
A work day doesn’t go by without someone asking me to do something for them.
It could be a customer making a request, a manager, or even a coworker in need of help.
Make you sure do what you said you would do when you promised you would.
I never let a request go unhandled, but lately I’ve been bad at doing it within a promised time frame.

3.  Never push your work onto someone else.
Some people are afraid to learn how to handle a new task and others are just plain lazy.
This is real annoying to coworkers and managers will notice the poor job performance.
Never dump your work onto someone else’s lap.  Instead ask for help and really learn.
I would prefer to work hours of overtime than bog someone else down with my work.

4.  Dress for your dream position.
Fill your wardrobe with versatile and stylish work appropriate pieces.
Management notices when you look hung over, untidy, or just completely inappropriate.
Always give off the impression that you care and that you’re serious about your career.
As I previously promised to change, I am totally guilty of rocking leggings and boots all winter.

5.  Stay out of the gossip.
I would think every job is full of certain people buzzing around gossip.
Don’t give yourself a bad rep among coworkers or management.  It won’t go unnoticed.
It’s important to steer clear of being the gossip topic and to not spread other rumors.
While I love to hear juice, I’ll never share it at work!  I’ll keep it inside until I burst when I get home.

6.  Don’t complain about your work load.
My manager recently told me that I’m favored because I get stuff done without complaining.
You’re hired to do a task, and as long as you’re not being taken advantage of, just do it.
Don’t waste company time complaining and just do what needs to be done.
As stated by Madre several times, “no one really gives a rat’s behind about your problems”!

7.  Keep your personal life personal.
If you are having a bad day or just got into a fight with the hubby, don’t let it affect your job.
On the same note, you don’t want your life turned into the office novella.  Keep details to yourself!
Always work like you’re having a perfect day and keep your business to yourself.
We all have work friends that we love to chat with, but we need to be smart about what we share.

8.  Always take opportunities to learn or grow.
If a company offers a webinar or offsite training, take advantage of it.
The more you learn and grow, the more valuable you become to the company.
When it comes to growth and knowledge, always volunteer for the opportunity.
My most recent goal is to approach management about becoming a notary on the company’s dime!

9.  Be approachable and nice.
This may sound like a simple tip, but there are way too many people that walk by with their head down.
Don’t let the pressure of life or work make you rude or unapproachable.
Always be pleasant and courteous to coworkers.  People that are liked are more likely to succeed.
I’m approachable to a fault.  I’ve recently had to take a stand against constantly distracting coworkers.

10.  Communicate your work goals with management.
If management doesn’t know where you want to be, how can they help you get there?
It’s been pointed out to me that managers could be blind to our goals.  We need to open their eyes.
Think about your work goal and communicate it to management in a formal atmosphere.
In my next evaluation, I plan on telling management that I’m eager to grow and my plan to get there.


What are your tips on helping someone succeed in their career?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wedding: Fourth Month Marker

Ninth Month Marker

Invitations
The invitations have been picked up and paid for.
The envelopes have been professionally addressed to each finalized guest.
Now I just need to mail these gorgeous pieces of stationary out in the beginning of May.
Check, check, and CHECK!  The only expense left to this is the postage.

Booked the MC
Remember when I said that we made the final decision not to use the MC?  Yea, well, I lied.
We made the final FINAL decision to book the MC and we did just that.
Now we just need to head on over to the DJ rental place and decide if we will rent additional lighting.
My DJ has a MC that he offered to us for $150.  I was too on the fence about this to cut expenses here.

Booked the Florist
I met the most amazing florist.  He does great work and really loves his job and clients.
I booked him for the day of the wedding and made some picks for the big day.
Next week I get the see the actual samples and make some final decisions for the centerpieces and bouquets.
I’ve decided to do pale pink garden roses with greens air brushed in gold.  Hello gorgeousness!

Ordered the Wedding Cake
While my beautiful dream cake is way out of my budget ($2,000 what?!), I compromised with the baker.
I settled for a simple butter cream cake with gold ribbon and decorative flowers air brushed in gold.
I ordered cannoli filling with chocolate chips and vanilla cake.
It might not be my dream cake, but I had to cut expenses somewhere.

Ceremony Decorations
Since we are at the max end of our budget, I opted to not decorate the church.
Our parish is beautiful as is and does not need alter flowers to help it sparkle.
I tasked Sis with helping me make crafty pew bows for the ceremony, but it is not a budget priority.
Eliminating alter baskets and professional pew bows saved me over $150.

Bought the Perfect Bikini
After trying on all different styles and brands of bathing suits, I finally found one that I’m comfortable in.
This is hanging on my bedroom door as a constant reminder of my “healthy swaps” goal.
I also found my man two new bathing suits that look real sexy on him!
What do you mean this is a wedding task??  Honeymoon prep totally counts as a wedding expense!

Booked Make Up Artist
I booked a makeup artist for a trial in and for the day of my wedding.
This is another one that had me practically hit the floor!  The trial is $75 and the event day is $125.
This is an expense that I would cut, but I want to have contouring done so that it looks like I got a nose job!
Since my man can’t justify spending that much money on makeup, I’ve been saving all my Poshmark profits.

What are your wedding planning tips for the 4-month marker?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

List: Things you can't be cheap with.

Have you ever spilled something in college and asked for a paper towel?
Well, if they want me to sit semi-still they should expect me to bring a cup of coffee!!!
The paper towel they supply you with is comparable to a thin sheet of cardboard.
Wiping up your mess with a sheet of loose leaf paper would have the same useless effect.
Paper towels are just one of those things that you can't be cheap with.
Give me the quicker picker upper or bust!!!

This got me thinking.
You all know what's coming here...
What are the things that you should never, ever buy the cheap way out of unless completely necessary.

1.  Shampoo
You all know how I love my shampoo.  There are 28 bottles in my shower as we speak...
The wrong shampoo could mean dry, limp, lifeless hair!  Don't skimp out when it comes to shampoo.  If you can spare the dough, put down the bottle of Suave and splurge on Coconut Milk!

2.  Band-Aids
Ever buy a cheap band-aid?  Those damn things don't stick for crap!!!  If they do stick, then they don't come off.  Talk about a fickle pharmacy good.  Spare the extra buck for these!
Took me 2 years to fall in love with the perfect bandage brand and style!!

3.  Olive Oil
Cheap olive oil is the worst!  This is your kitchen's best friend.  It could make anything taste delicious.  Olive oil should be poured on everything from salads to fresh bread.  Yum!
I even bought my Papa imported Olive Oil as a Christmas gift last year.  It's gold, I swear!!

4.  Babysitter
You paid the random girl at the end of your block 3 bucks to watch your son for an hour while you ran to the store.  No wonder you came home to him drinking soda from a bottle!
For the love of God, don't be cheap when it comes to decent child care!!

5.  Mozzarella
Cheese is one of those foods that you either need to go all out or completely skip.
Cheap mozzarella shouldn't even exist.  In fact, it should only be sold fresh!  Yum!
Alright, so that's the Italian in me again..  Excuse me while I pour Olive Oil on my mozzarella ;)

6.  Mechanics
Typically you want to pay up for decent service jobs!  There is nothing worse than an unqualified mechanic working on your car.  It will cost you more in the long run.
The last time I opted for the cheaper body shop, TheLoveBug was rocking a different color back bumper!

7.  Foundation
Ladies, have you ever changed up your foundation?  Keep buying the good stuff you always do!
Well, unless you like to have a face full of pimples...

8.  Brother's Birthday Gift
Don't skimp out when it comes to your Brother's birthday.  You'll never hear the end of it.  Ever.
What?  I thought that batteries was a great birthday gift...

9.  Garbage Bags
You don't want to be known as the person with a stinky home.  You also don't want to pick up the trash to have it all fall out of the bottom.  You want a reliable, strong bag that holds in odors!
Hefty Force Flex with Febreeze is perfecto!

10.  Toilet Paper
If you give an extra buck for anything, make it be your toilet paper.  No one wants leftover pieces of paper in places it don't belong!  No one wants to bleed from wiping with cardboard either.  Find a happy medium.
Sorry to be a little graphic there, but we don't mess around when it comes to toilet paper...

What are the things you could never be cheap about?

Monday, March 23, 2015

List: Ten birthday ideas for a two year old.

Ladies and gentleman, I am going to try to say this without crying.
In almost a month, on April 25 to be exact, my little Mushy will be TWO years old.
I knew I couldn’t say it without at least sniffling.  **Wipes tear from face.**

Typically, a first birthday party is an over the top bash surrounded with everyone you know.
A third birthday party could be something fun surrounded with cousins and friends the same age.
That's all true but, it doesn’t matter because she will be turning the birthday-party-awkward age of two.
…and by birthday-party-awkward I mean that most ideas are either for people too old or too young…

After thinking long and hard, I finally decided on an event that is age appropriate and super cute.
This is the part where you all can guess what I booked!  The answer is number 10 on the list!

Birthday Party Ideas for a Two Year Old

1.  Birthday Cake and Party Games
This simple and relatively inexpensive event is fun for all.  Unfortunately, my apartment is too tiny.

2.  Ice Cream Sundae Party
Both adults and kids love ice cream.  Unfortunately, the parlor I wanted to book went out of business.

3.  Pizza Party
Pizza is perfect for any age.  Unfortunately, renting a space in a pizzeria is surprisingly expensive.

4.  Petting Zoo Party
Everybody can have fun at a petting zoo.  Unfortunately, April is too early for them to open.

5.  Chuck’ee Cheese
This one is easy and surprisingly fun for adults too!  Unfortunately, she doesn’t know many young kids.

6.  Children’s Museum
This would’ve been great to educate the kids and their parents!  Unfortunately, it’s way out of budget.

7.  Adventure Land
Theme parks are fun for all especially when they have kiddy rides.  Unfortunately, April is still chilly.

8.  Pony Party
This could have been cute to ride horses and eat on a ranch.  Unfortunately, Mushy’s petrified of horses.

9.  Plaster Fun Craft
Painting plaster objects is great.  Unfortunately, only adults with children are permitted to join in the fun.

10.  IHop Pancake Party
IHop has a private room for everyone to enjoy brunch and birthday cake.  Mushy loves her some pancakes!

How would you celebrate a second birthday party?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Style: Belts are a girl's best friend!

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am in a style slump.
For practically the entire winter, I rocked a pair of black leggings, a blouse, and black boots.
…and, yes, I even have been wearing that to work on the daily…
Don’t judge me too hard for that because I am making an effort to change.
I’ve spent the past few months making individual purchases to update my wardrobe.
My updates included dress trousers, velvet pumps, chunky sweaters, and even a vest!
I could style a manikin to perfection, but I’d probably hate how it looked on me.  Horrible much?

In an attempt to get my sexy style back, I called my cousin for help.
She’s reliable in the sense that she is completely honest with how something looks on you.
Her advice doesn’t end there.  She almost always has tips to modify different looks for your body type.
My body type is petite which means I drown in clothes.  Luckily my cousin has a clever solution!

To develop a shape or help sharpen an outfit, just belt it!
Jax wear a belt?  Aren’t those for men to keep their pants around their waist?
This has been the best fashion advice I’ve gotten in a while.
I’ve managed to take a few stylish garments out of retirement using this belt trend.

Loose sweaters that make you lose your shape?  A belt will give you your shape back.
Slight muffin top on a bloated day?  A chunky belt will help hide this.
Baggy shirts that over power you?  A belt will find you.
Dress trousers and a blouse still look too casual?  A slim belt will make you look sharp.
Who knew such a small thing could make such a huge different in the fashion department?


What are your belt tricks for the fashion challenged?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

List: Important discussions to have before moving in together.

A couple of weeks back, my best friend and her man decided to move in together.
Yes, you did just hear an EEP and the sound of a seal clap.  What?  I’m happy for them!
They are a great couple that seem to have each other’s best interests at heart.
I know that this is just one more step in their lengthy, happy relationship together.

My man and I have been living together for three long years now.
While there are certainly some perks to making this step, some things just stink about it.
Sometimes I wish I listened to Madre’s warnings and was proactive in avoiding arguments.
Well, it doesn’t matter now because the arguments happened and we learned from them.  Right?!

Ten Things To Discuss Before Living With Your Partner.

1.  Personal Space
Make sure that you have a clear definition of each other’s personal space.
If you claim that area of the closet, it is not acceptable for it to be taken over by someone else.
If an argument ensues and he/she closes the bedroom door, leave the door closed until they’re ready.
There is nothing worse than feeling trapped and like you can’t escape to clear your mind.

2.  Morning Routines
Prior to waking up for work, discuss the best morning routine that’s convenient for both.
Take into account what time each of you needs to be at work and your morning “musts”.
If you have similar schedules, be considerate of the other person and don’t hog the bathroom.
As a lady, I take a significant amount of time to do my hair.  That means I get the shower first!

3.  Finances
There are a lot of finances necessary for funding a living space.
Make sure it’s clear who is paying for what and how much they should contribute.
Don’t forget to take into account things like food, cable, or even household necessities.
In my situation, it was best to just combine all incomes and expenses.  Make a budget and plan ahead!

4.  Eating Habits
People have different expectations when it comes to eating.
When you live with someone, they may expect to eat dinner with you regularly.
Discuss eating plans that make both of you happy.  Maybe cook five nights a week and take out twice.
This was rough for us because I love vegetables and my man is a downright carnivore. Compromise, people!

5.  Combining Your Things
When two people are moving into one space, there is bound to be lots and lots of doubles.
Decide which pieces of furniture you plan to keep and whose set of towels will make the cut!
Some people find it easier just to start out fresh and slowly make new purchases that fit both tastes.
Just, please, don’t throw away your things.  Donate the lightly used items and sell the valuables.

6.  Living Location
Before even considering living together, make sure you’re both on the same page for a location.
Perhaps one person needs to stay in their living space because it’s closer to work or family.
Discuss the best options.  Maybe you both need to pack and move to a whole new space!
I was sort of stubborn with this one, but luckily my man was lenient.

7.  Annoying Habits
We all have habits that we love but others find absolutely obnoxious.
Maybe you like to utilize the bedroom floor as your laundry hamper or sleep with the light on.
Instead of dealing with it until you explode, talk it out with your partner until it’s resolved.
My friends text me at all hours of the night and drive my man NUTS.  Resolution:  Silence the phone.

8.  Chores
As you continue to reside in the same home, you will develop a routine.  I promise!
Despite that, you must make a chore plan prior to moving in together in order to avoid a fight.
Decide who will do the dishes, take out the garbage, clean the bathroom, or make the bed.
Turns out my man cleans great and quick!  That means I fold laundry, cook dinner, and pay the bills.

9.  Be Guest Conscious
Do not invite guests over before checking with your partner.
Perhaps they already made plans or maybe they just aren’t in the mood to entertain.
Either way, it’s important to be considerate when making plans or inviting guests.
I love to entertain, but I rely on my man to help.  I learned real quick to ask and then invite!

10.  Communicate
Please, for the love of God, do NOT forget to communicate.  Things that you think don’t matter, do.
If you’re staying late at work, shoot a text.  If you’re sick and don’t want to be bothered, say so.
If you plan on making a huge purchase that will affect the budget, give your partner a heads up.
This was real rough for us because we were so independent.  We’re working on it though!

What do you think is important to discuss before moving in together?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ideas: How to make the perfect Easter basket.

For all of my readers that celebrate Easter, here is a step by step guide to make the perfect basket.
Some of you may not know this about me, but I am totally NOT crafty.
…and by not crafty I mean, the abbreviation DIY makes me cry and art makes me nauseous…
Luckily, this lack of creativity is genetic which means Madre was able to guide me in simple terms.
She gave me step by step instructions that will make my Mushy think I’m a basket making pro.
What’s that? Thank you?  Oh, yea, you’re VERY welcome my fellow non-crafty people!


Don't believe me?  Just LOOK at this ^^^^.  Fail! (Please ignore the recyclables and the bed head)

Step 1:  Pick a practical theme.
This could be a color, a hobby, a movie, or even a band!
I was torn between my Mushy’s three favorites; Sponge Bob, Rio, and Olaf.  Olaf won.

Step 2:  Buy a basket.
As my amazing man constantly reminded the other day, don’t buy a huge basket.
You will feel obligated to fill the basket, so choose one that’s cute and reasonably sized.
To stick with my Olaf theme, I picked one that was baby blue with silver strips throughout.

Step 3:  Pick and buy the “big” gift.
Madre was very firm when she said that this is NOT Christmas.
Proper Easter basket etiquette is to fill it with one large gift and then a bunch of smaller items.
I picked the Olaf-A-Lot speaking doll toy from target.  It’s theme related and lots of fun!  Score!

Step 4:  Pick and buy (1) chocolate bunny.
The chocolate bunny is an Easter staple and should be displayed appropriately.
The size of the bunny is dependent upon the size of the basket.
I got the Dove dark chocolate bunny since it’s my favorite and obviously Mushy takes after me…

Step 5:  Purchase paper grass.
You will need this to line the bottom of the basket.
Madre suggests paper because a child or pet is less likely to choke if it’s consumed on accident.
I picked silver light gray and baby blue to go with my theme.

Step 6:  Buy Easter themed candy.
There are so many options to choose from that this part was the most fun!
Madre suggested to stick to three candies to keep in budget and still be festive.
I went with traditional Peeps, little chocolate carrots, and bite sized Milkyways so Mushy don’t choke.

Step 7:  Pick your basket fillers.
Madre suggested rocking the dollar section of Target to find cheap fillers.
Surprisingly, I found many fun things to fit in the Easter theme that were only $1 each.
I got Olaf tattoos, Olaf activity books, Olaf silverware, crayons, and a stuffed bunny.

Step 8:  Purchase plastic eggs.
These were surprisingly inexpensive and could totally be reused year after year!
Use the majority of the eggs to hide on Easter morning, but set aside 3 or 4 to put into the basket.
Growing up there was always a dollar inside the eggs in my basket.  I decided to do the same!

Step 9:  Buy plastic cellophane.
This is to wrap around the completed Easter basket so make sure it’s sized accordingly.
I wanted to go with my theme on this, but Madre was right to push the clear plastic to emphasize the basket.

Step 10:  Put the basket together.
Start with lining the basket with the grass and placing the “big” gift as the focal point.
Then place the chocolate bunny to the side, yet in a place where it would be the second thing noticed.
Sprinkle the candy along the bottom of the basket and then randomly place the plastic eggs.
Take the filler gifts and strategically place them around the “big” gift.
Cover with the clear plastic cellophane and staple closed.
Madre’s final suggestion is to hide the basket and then put it out Easter morning next to a gnawed on carrot.

What are your Easter basket suggestions for the crafting challenged?

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