Happy First Friday!

Happy First Friday, Tiger Fans!

It's the first official solid orange Friday of football season!

We are headed to Clemson soon and I am SO looking forward to seeing our best friends and the Tigers gain that first victory!

Have safe weekends, everyone! Much love-

For Your Wednesday.

Thanks Fred and Lorraine!

Weekend Review.

Apparently yesterday was national dog day? 
Or maybe it's today? I'm not too sure. 
I've been seeing a lot of posts of people's pups on social media though, so let's just roll with it.

We don't have a dog, but we did dogsit for our neighbor this past weekend.
Here's some of our adventures with the little munchkin: 

The cone of shame. Bless him.
Sores on your head are no good.

Long walks. Strolling through the neighborhood early morning and at night.
It's been pretty cool here around those times, so we're trying to take advantage!

Chores and sunbathing outside.
Here we are, supervising AC while looking over the tomato plants/squash graveyard.
My man stripped and stained our old dining room table. He's the best.

Some inside projects, too.
Still working on the table, this time by reupholstering the chairs.
He really is a great boss, although it's hard to take him serious in that cone.

Post-church treats followed by a nice nap.
This guy definitely goes against the "small hyper dog" grain. ;)
We enjoyed having him beside us!

Hope you guys had a great weekend, too! 

Catch Up.

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

Sorry for my absence this past week. AC and I took a vacation to the Carolinas to see our family. 
We had a really great time! Here are some highlights:

First stop: Asheville! Beautiful weather and lots of fun spent outside.

Second stop: Rock Hill! My parents threw a cookout for all the fam and my hometown friends. Great food and great people.

Third stop: Lake Wateree! My sister and her family bought a beautiful house on the lake. We had a great time being Uncle Anj and Aunt Lizanne.

And it's always nice to spend quality time with my amazing sis.

I stayed in RH a few days more while Andrew came back home to work (wop wop). It was wonderful to spend more time with my folks, shopping with my niece and mom and drinking Starbucks...

oh, and I donated 12 inches of my hair!

Now it's life back in C-town. I have a job interview today and other things to get in order before we hit the road again this weekend. Clemson season opener wahooooo!

Thankful for road trips and family!

Loving this today.

Somewhere Down In Texas.

Hey y'all!

What a fun week this has been so far. For one, I got to revisit Texas; and two, I got to spend some much-needed time with a great friend!

 The opportunity arose to sneak in some time with Lauren while she was home from her PhD studies in Aussie. A cheap plane ticket and a few hours later, we were together doing all of our favorite things. Here are some highlights:

Lauren and her fam are from The Woodlands. Wow, what a beautiful place. Every morning we would take a fun stroll through the neighborhoods trails. The first morning...the trails took us to STARBUCKS! Reminder: I now live where there isn't a Starbucks! Great friend Starbucks time! 

Mall security under big Texas skies.

Lunch at Tiny Boxwoods!

Avocado Salad and PESTO-gouda grilled cheese. Heaven.

Another morning stroll followed by Brooklyn Bagels! Yum!

Tanning and reading.

Snacky lunches are sometimes the best lunches (after lunches at Tiny Boxwoods, Lawd.)

Happy hour together!!

Amaaaaazing and MUCH (I mean MUCH) needed pedi!

And for the grand finale, dinner with a group of awesome gals at Tex-Mex!
  Chuy's, you have my heart!!

Until next time, Houston! 

And LSS, you're the best and miss you already!


Easy Summatime Dinners.

Here's some good meals we've had over these last weeks.

They were quick, easy, and (mostly) healthy. 
Hopefully y'all can use if you're busy and looking for some dinner ideas.
Links are highlighted!

Please bear with the iphone pics that I remember to take halfway through dinner. :)

This was so yummy and so much easier than doing the three-step eggs/bread crumbs deal.
I just used one pound of chicken breasts, though. Also, I cut them up to help with cooking time.
I didn't serve pasta with it (double carbs eek) so I added more cheese. Ha!

Andrew's idea of vegetables with his meal! ;)

This is the easiest since we're still eating out of the freezer stock.
All I have to do is thaw it in a pot and add a little seasoning.
We top with avocado, tomatoes, and sour cream. Or make nachos.
I hope we're making Dave Ramsey proud. ;)

Balsamic Marinated Chicken
Marinate chicken tenderloins in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper
(or just some balsamic dressing) and put over grill. Amen.

We ate with wedge salads.

Grilled Tilapia 
We eat fish at least once a week. Yum!
We use this recipe but with lemon and olive oil.

Crockpot Taco Meat
Chicken, packet of taco seasoning, can of rotel.
 Low for 6 hours, shredding half-way through

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
A clean-out-the-fridge treat!

Three ingredients? Amen. We ate over quinoa.

With beans and rice! Haha!

Clearly, Mexi is a favorite around here.
You can't go wrong with that, though, especially in the summer months.

Much love!

Feature Post:Operation Create Your Own Path.

Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m excited to be able to participate in a blog hop this month hosted by the Military Spouse Business AssociationThe blog hop, called “Operation: Create Your Own Path” highlights 30 military spouse business owners who have created their own paths by starting a small business.
Today, I will be highlighting Suzanne Patterson of Paint and Powder Cosmetics and Creative Artistry & FX . Suzanne is a long-time military spouse whose husband served 28 years in the Army and is currently still serving on the civilian side of things. Suzanne has also raised two sons and one daughter who have served or are currently serving our nation. Thanks, Suzanne, for your love of country and your sacrifices!
Beautiful Suzanne! Pic via FB page.
Let's get started:
How long have you been in the business?
If you count my years of sneaking makeup to high school and putting it on me and friends, probably about 40!  But it seems nearly that long that I have been doing it for a living. The line between my amateur and pro days has become somewhat blurred now! 
Tell us about your business at Paint and Powder?
Paint and Powder is an online retail cosmetics store, and we have a physical location in Chantilly, VA.  I stock and sell more than two dozen lines of skin care and makeup (including our signature line, Natural Born Cosmetics) for pro makeup artists who use them personally and professionally.  Because these are very high quality products, we also have a very large consumer customer base that also uses them, and it has grown to serving hundreds of customers monthly from all around the world.  Since I already had a national reputation in the film and TV industry, I was able to use my name as a launch point in growing the store’s customer base. We also supply products to many movie production sets and TV shows.  
We had this vision for the store and its purposeful mission, but no real start up money.  We took a giant leap of faith forward and believing God in prayer for everything we needed.  Not long after this our other company, MMICS, became a sub-provider on a government contract program, which provided more than enough seed money and with some left over to maintain stock.  We were amazed and blessed to say the least, so be careful what you ask for, and that you are ready to roll when it comes!  
Paint and Powder Cosmetics has been in operation for about 8 years now, and we have proudly become a major income stream for Baby Haven’s rescue operations and orphanage. After our operating and overhead expenses are covered each month, the proceeds go to Baby Haven. We also support a couple of other important charities, Every Child Fed.Org and a Wounded Warriors Project, which serves disabled military Veterans. 
Wow! What an impressive career you have had. I know future entrepreneurs could learn a lot from you. Any advice to military spouses looking to pursue their own business?
As for any advice I would have for those wanting to start a business I can share what I have personally experienced in starting up a retail venture:  First and foremost do your homework!  Get a true handle on your start-up costs. Know who your direct competitors will be, both regionally and nationally, especially if you are going to be an online business and carry inventory similar to them.  You have to create your own niche within your competition, and it needs to be something about your business that makes it different and unique from the bigger or more established competitors, or you will have a bigger challenge in growing up to them.  Offer free classes, training, or industry get-togethers so that you have a chance to connect with your customers personally, and they connect a face with your brand.   People are becoming more information junkies, so be a go-to source for that in relationship to your business.  Establish yourself as a product and training expert through publishing white papers or regular blogging.   Be prepared to launch a full out blitz with social networking on the main platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and especially with YouTube tutorials.  People are becoming more video oriented for faster information delivery. You can’t avoid social networking if you are going to succeed, so learn it, live it, and love it!   You will constantly be monitoring pricing, especially if your competition deeply discounts or has loss-leaders on products you also carry.  Don’t get discouraged….. Believe in yourself and your business and keep your eyes forward through the bumps and grinds that you have the best product and services to offer for your customers.  Above all, provide stellar customer service before and after the sale,that is what people remember the most and come back for! 
Thanks so much for sharing about your business and your passions, Suzanne. You truly are a veteran both in military and small business life. It's so neat to see your vision grow into a thriving business. Thanks for inspiring us!
Check out Suzanne's work at Paint and Powder (I personally have my eyes on the entire Natural Born line, wow!).

Also, be sure to check out the other small business owners at MSBA!
Have a great week everyone!

Thank You.

Hey everyone!

Welp, y'all, the bar exam is over. 

I woke up this morning in a fog. I had slept for 11 hours. Where am I? Where are my notecards that were on the nightstand? What fresh hell will the interactive paced program hold for me today?

Oh yes, the notecards are in the trash recycling. The Barbri bookmark has been deleted.


Thank y'all so much for your love, patience, and prayer the last two (and some change) months. They really lifted my spirits during a really hard time of stress and self-doubt. 

I thank God for such a great group of support through family, friends, blog readers (bless you. these last weeks have been struggle city as far as that goes), and an incredible husband. I thank Him for the timely encouragement He brought me through all of you!

"Box of Sunshine" from my awesome neighbors. So thoughtful!!

SO much snail mail. Y'all know my heart so well and what does it such good.
LTB, I cannot WAIT to read my mags and do my nails and use the other package goodies. ;)