Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Songs of My Youth : Part 1

Hi Lovelies!

I don't know why I did it, but last week I made a Backstreet Boys Pandora, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand its pretty awesome actually. I've been belting out 90s bubble gum pop for days. Boomer thinks its beyond ridiculous. (Take THAT Beiber.) Anyway it got me to thinking how these songs were just so deep and meaningful back in the day. I would play them over and over and write in my diary about all my angst. Ah, so much angst. Degrassi had nothing on me. (Or so I thought.) It also got me to thinking how....things are a little different now. Take this gem for example.

This is absolute foolishness.

I used to sing this song at the top of my lungs whenever someone told me I was wrong for dating a particular boy. I LOVED him. No one understood our love. We were going to get married. We discussed how we would decorate our house. It involved a lot of black and gold, and looking back was slightly horrendous. Ok, a lot horrendous, and tacky. Let's call this gem of an ex-boyfriend....Mr. Pitt. Mr. Pitt, was something of a compulsive liar. Which was odd because we grew up together and I always caught these lies....but I LOVED him. He was also very controlling, and tried to get me to change. He was always trying to get me to go against the values I held dear and things I'd been taught. In fact you can trace about 75% of my teenage rebellion and issues with Momma Boom to this relationship. Sorry Mom. When friends and family would caution me about our relationship, this song was my mantra. They just didn't know him the way I did. He loved me. He was cute. He was a great kisser. At 15 I was a notorious virgin. There were bets on how long it would last. I found out later, he had gone around our entire church telling everyone I was BEGGING him to sleep with me. The other boys at church basically laughed in his face, and informed him 'Whit won't let anyone touch her with a 10 ft pole so we KNOW you're lying.' Then there was that rumor that got started about us having sex in the baptismal pool. There is a giant picture of Jesus above that thing for crying out loud! He's almost 30 now. In hind sight....he was an awful boyfriend, but I learned a lot.

Now I know. There is a lot that matters. I absolutely care who you are. Did you change your name, are you on the run? 

I care where you came from. People say opposites attract and that may be true, but opposites have a lot of trouble living together or agreeing on how to live and raise a family. Trust me on this one. Background matters.

Duh, of course I care what you've done in your life. Are you a compulsive liar, a cheater, are you bad with money, did you beat your ex? This is all NEED TO KNOW.

Saying you love me isn't the quick fix salve it was in high school. Shoot at this point in my life I want to know your credit score and debt to income ratio.

Bye Lovelies!

*This post originally appeared on KGB 2/15/12*

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Girl and Her Money : Well...How Do You Save?

Hey Guys!

Back with another installment of A Girl and Her Money!!

Awhile back, Alisha who blogs over at Alisha Nicole, left me a comment asking if I'd blogged about the ways I saved money. I promised her a post so here it is. These are the ways that I've been saving money so far on my money journey, and I'm no expert, but it seems to be working so far.

1. Track Your Spending
Image Via
For about two months, when I was using YNAB incorrectly, I basically just entered every transaction I made without setting a budget. Many online banking sites allow you to track your spending as well. After two months I realized I was spending A LOT of money on food. Fast food, impulse grocery shopping, snacks at work. I was also emotionally spending. Crappy day? New nail polish! Bad mood? Oooooh hair products!!

2. Stop the Bleeding
Once you know where you money is going and where you are overspending its easier to cut back and trim. I realized I was spending like crazy on food, so I knew I needed to start planning better. I go to the grocery store on Sunday armed with a loose meal plan for the week. Lunches for Boomer and I, plus dinner. (Breakfast is pretty simple in our house, and I don't feel the need to 'plan'.)

3.Cut The Cord

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This isn't for everyone, but I canceled cable. As much as we use Netflix, it just wasn't worth it, and it wasn't adding anything valuable to our home time. I also cut our land line. I'm not even sure why we had that dinosaur.

4. Ye Have Not, Because Ye Ask Not. 
Loose Biblical paraphrase, but important. Nothing is ever set in stone. Negotiate. Ask if you're really getting the best deal. I got my cell phone plan lowered by $40 just by telling them I wasn't happy with my rate, and asking if there was anything they could do. Same with my cable before I decided to chuck it all together. You can also barter. Do you have a skill that's worth money? Look into what you can trade for it!

5. Plan!
This is huge. Do you know that you have bigger expenses coming up. Start saving now. I put aside money every month for my quarterly renters insurance. I have a rough estimate of how much Boomer's summer camp will cost, so I set aside some of my tax refund NOW to pay for it LATER.

6. Save a little room for fun...
If you follow me on IG, then you know I haven't given up my love of beauty products or eating out. Each time I'm paid and I work on my budget I set aside a little fun money. I have found that for myself, if I cut out EVERYTHING, I am much more likely to just give up on trying to budget and save.

What about you guys? Any helpful tips, or things that have worked for you? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, March 10, 2014

That Time I Looked Like Quasimodo...

Good Monday Morning All!

As much as I love the extra sunshine that day light savings imparts to us...this morning was...a struggle.

So let's talk about the weekend I spent looking like this dude!

I know...ick right?

I woke up Saturday morning, and my eyelid was sore. Sore to the point that blinking hurt. I thought maybe I rubbed it too hard in my sleep, or maybe I got something in it. Who knows. Got out of bed and walked to the bathroom to check myself out, and actually yelped when I saw my eye. It was not pretty. It didn't help that I hadn't removed my mascara completely the night before, so I really looked like I'd gone a few rounds. You know you look rough when your seven year old takes one sleepy eyed look at you and shoots straight up in bed asking 'Momma!!! What happened to your face?!?!?'

So I called my mom to let her know church was out of the question, got a cold compress and laid back down. Later that afternoon I looked human enough to risk human contact, so I slipped a contact in my good eye and drove a few minutes away to visit my grandma. We took Jack to meet her, and I forgot that they keep birds at her nursing home. Yes. Live birds. Live cat. Whitney with battle wounds. Its not Jacks fault. Poor thing just wanted to eat the pretty yellow canary. Yes, a yellow canary.

So, what does one do with one working eyeball, and canceled plans for the weekend? Well you read three books in two days that's what!! This weekend I read:

Terry McMillan Getting to Happy.

This is the sequel to Waiting To Exhale. I'm not sure why I read this. I generally do NOT like her books. I couldn't stand Waiting To Exhale. In fact the only book of hers that I KIND of like, is Disappearing Acts. I didn't like Getting Happy either, but at least it was a quick fluff read. I don't feel like I invested/wasted time reading it.

Reza Aslan Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

This one was actually really fascinating. I've mentioned on the blog several times that I studied History in college, so this book appealed to me on that level. It talks about the actual historical events going on at the time of Jesus of Nazareth. It isn't questioning his divinity or existence (because historically speaking everyone agrees there WAS a guy named Jesus who preached and died around this time), but deals more with the political climate of Palestine, and how it may have affected Jesus' ministry and also why he was remembered more than other 'messianic' figures of the time. It also deals with how and why the religion was shaped in the first centuries following his death. This is something I'll definitely be researching further, it left me with some interesting questions. The guy that wrote this book ISN'T a historian though, which is why I feel the need for further research.

Janette Oak and T. Davis Bunn The Damascus Way.

Clearly, I was feeling some kind of way about faith and religion the last time I was at the library. This is third book in the Act of Faith series, that follows believers in and around Jerusalem following the death of Jesus. My mom used to get me books written by Janette Oak when I was younger and I would read them in a day. This book was an easy, sweet read.

I grabbed all three of these because I needed a break from young adult fiction. The Hunger Games and Divergent are great and all but I needed something with a little more meat. I think Zealot is the only one I would call...meaty though.

Anyway, after all of that reading I did get myself to the eye doctor. They checked me out and I'm fine. Just fluid accumulating under the eyelid. Because I'm allergic to EVERYTHING that grows in this state, and well it warmed up 10 degrees so a few plants decided to grow a bit I guess.

Once the swelling went down....

I also decided to bite the bullet and purchase some new specs which I posted on Insta last night. I'm not really feeling them, but Lenscrafters has a 90 day return policy, and Boomer is getting her eyes checked on Wednesday so I may be swapping them out. I dig the frames, but I don't think the color is right for me. I need just a plain old tortoise shell...not...red. Hopefully the attractive Dr. who checked my eyes will be there when we get back!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Back to Vloggin!

Hey All!

I'm back Vlogging like a Boss with Ashten!

I really love doing these now. Its so awkward and ridiculous. Hope you all enjoy it!

Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Always Ashten

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Love and Memories...

I can't remember the first time he kissed me.

I know it was senior year, but I can't remember the exact moment in time like I can with other first kisses. I vividly remember my first kiss. I remember the first kiss from other boys, but I can't remember the first time he kissed me. I know I wrote about it, in one of the many volumes of journals I kept at the time. Every last detail, down to what we wore, how we tilted our heads, if noses bumped, where it happened, and exactly how it felt. I know it was at school. That's where everything occurred between us. The scandal that was 'us'. You can't be a senior dating a freshman without scandal.

I do remember, how his heart sounded when I laid my head against his chest in class. I remember spending more time listening to that sound, than my Spanish teacher. I remember holding his hand until both our palms were clammy with sweat. I remember letting go simultaneously, quickly rubbing my hand against my skirt, and then linking fingers again. I remember our fights. Always over something ridiculous because of my quick temper. I remember the perfect red rose in my locker, and the handwritten note that went with it. I remember the feel of his hair as I ran my hands through it in the cafeteria. How he towered over me, and enveloped me with his hugs. I remember...I remember dancing with him, and experiencing that moment everyone talks about, where its just the two of you in a crowded room.

I remember one kiss more vividly than most. More recent than high school so that aids the memory. He was driving, and held my hand across the center console as always. For some reason our palms less sweaty than in high school. It was pouring down rain, and we were on twisting, winding middle of no where country roads. The kind of roads, I was sure, if we drove off no one would find us for days. Every curve found me white knuckling my seat with one hand, and white knuckling his hand with the other. I prefer to drive myself in bad weather. He just chuckled every time.

'Don't you trust me?', he asked me.

We came to a stop where one road dead ended into another. I was still gripping my seat, staring dead ahead trying to breath deeply. I heard his seat belt click open and turned my head. I felt his hand on the side of my face, and then he kissed me. I smelled his cologne, felt his stubble scratch me lightly. That wasn't there in high school. I didn't move. I couldn't really. He kissed me, and I felt a jolt from the top of my head and down my legs. My fingers tingled and my lips stung. My heart pounded. My stomach dropped and then flipped. This kiss. This simple kiss to reassure me, and take my mind of the road affected me that much. It wasn't a long, just a moment. He pulled back and smiled at me in the impish way he does. When he knows he has won. Leaned back to the drivers seat, and put his seat belt back on. I raised my hands to my mouth, in the most cliche way possible thinking all these years later and his kiss still does that.

I can't remember the last time he kissed me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beauty Talk : J'Adore Voxbox Review

Hey all!

As I scrolled through my social media the past few weeks, it seems like everybody and their mother got this voxbox. I mean the point of them sending the product to us, is for us to share it, and boy did we! Just to be clear: I was sent these products gratis (fo' free) from Influenster, to review and share my opinions.

So here are my thoughts on the goodies:

1. Boots Botanic Clay Mask

  • What it's supposed to do : gently draw out impurities from the face, without over drying
  • What I think : I've used the mask a few times since I got it, and I have to say its pretty nice. My skin never felt to tight or drawn after using it. It actually felt very smooth and soft. In the past I've used other masks that just left my poor face feeling tight and abused, so it turned around and churned out even more oil. Not with this bad boy! This is available at Target for about $9 for 3oz, so its not a budget buster either. 
2. John Frieda 3 Days Straight

Day 1,2, and 3
  • What it's supposed to do : Provide protection from heat, while keeping frizz at bay, and your hair sleek and smooth for 3 days. (Or until your next shampoo)
  • What I think : This product arrived just in time for the end of my 6 months no heat challenge. Its easy to use, and seems to work well. It did feel a little sticky, and seemed to make it a little harder to get my flat iron through my hair, which I didn't like. I'm pretty much a pro at keeping my hair straight for up to 5 days, but I am always worried about heat damage so I'm on the fence with this one.  It is available at Ulta for $10 for 3 oz.
3. Kiss Looks So Natural Lashed
  • What they are supposed to do: Look more natural than your average falsies, with a more tapered end instead of blunt.
  • What I think: These lashes are pretty, and just as easy to apply as others I've used. (Read: not easy, this crap takes practice!) They do give you a softer more natural look than other lashes I've worn in the past, and I'll probably be reusing or repurchasing for my friends upcoming wedding. These are available at Walgreens and Walmart for $4 for a set.
4. Hershey Kisses

  • They sent me chocolate. Chocolate is good. 
5. Red Rose Tea Simply Indulgent
  • What I think : This tea is...interesting. It is very sweet on it's own and requires little to no sweetener. The flavors were also interesting. I received the Lemon Chiffon and Creme Caramel. I'm not sure I'd pick them on my own, as I prefer herbal/less sweet teas, but it was an interesting change of pace. These are available online and in stores for $5 for 20 tea bags. 

See! Even Jack wanted in on these goodies!!!

Tomorrow is another 'A Girl and Her Money' post! Catch ya on the flip side.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Boomer's Thoughts On the Oscars

Everyone watched them last night...well most of you did anyway.

I watched them with Boomer. Here are her thoughts.

Jared Leto

'Mommy, he has great hair!'
'Yes kiddo he does.'
'No, I mean, he looks like Jesus!'
*starts his acceptance speech*
'OMG MOM! He talks like Jesus too!'

Lupita Nyong'o

'Mommy, she looks like a princess!'
'Yes, she does doesn't she.'
'She looks Cinderella, but prettier!'
'You think so?'
'Yeah! She talks like....like she's important!'

Obviously I sent her to bed before the other big winners were announced, but I told her this morning.

'Well kiddo, 12 Years a Slave won for best picture, Cate Blanchett won best actress, and Matthew McConaughey won best actor!'
'Mom, can I see 12 Years a Slave?'
'No. Maybe when you're a little older.'
'Ok. Mimi said its an important story.'
'It is baby. I'll see if I can find something about the book ok?'
*quiet riding in the car*
'Hey mommy?'
'Yes sweetie?'
'Wasn't Matthew McCon...well whatever. Wasn't he in Magic Mike?'
'Uh...yeah he was. Why?'
'Oh no reason. Just wondering.'
There you have it. My child and her thoughts.

Also for all the Leo lovers, I'm looking at you Miss Ashten, I'm sorry. You have my condolences.

The rest of my weekend was pretty uneventful. Church, Crackerbarrel, some tweaks to my beauty routine, and a new to us TV. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Tomorrow is Beauty Talk!