Monday, December 10, 2012

292 Days until Mrs. Pennel... Christmas... End of 2012!

Wowza! This is the very first year that I have ended the year by saying, "What a fabulous year!" and what a year it was, indeed! I'm going into 2013 planning my wedding to the love of my life (ugh- no matter how you try to say it, it sounds uber cheesy) best friend/hunka hunka burnin' love (you get the drift). 

2012 was such a crazy year! Some highlights and lowlights--- 

February- I lost my job. 
March- I turned 25! 
May- I found a career path that was meant for me and my life!
July- I won my first award in the new position! 
November- I GOT ENGAGED to Adam after 3.5 years!!! 
November- My bestie got married in Las Vegas, NV!!
December- We're going to NYC and Buffalo for Christmas!

In other news, Adam and I have gone full speed into wedding planning. We booked a venue that we both absolutely adore- The Elms in Excelsior Springs. Adam and I have stayed here several times and I can think of no better place to get married! 

We also just got our Christmas photos taken!
Here's a few cute ones!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thirty Seven Dollars

As Thanksgiving 2012 is upon us, I have so much to be thankful for this year. At the end of the post, you'll find a list of some of the things I'm thankful for this year! Most of all, I'm thankful for my wonderful job, my wonderful fiance, and a circle of friends and family members that support me and lift me up every day. But as we are going into the holiday season, I wanted to share a story that I heard for the first time today, a story from my childhood, that brought tears to my eyes.

As we were driving home from Kansas City this weekend from an eventful weekend with my family at Ameristar Casino, my mother shared a story that I had never heard before. Last night she won $75 on a quarter slot machine, and we were laughing at how crazy it was to gain so much money off of just a quarter bet. She treated us to drinks last night after her "big win."

"I remember one of the first times I ever came to the casino was with your dad," she said to me. "Pepsi sent us up here on a bus. We were broke- we only had about $20 between us, and we were rationing it for the entire night. Your dad put some money into a machine- the Trifecta, I think it was called- and all of the sudden, he won! He won thirty seven dollars and we were so happy! We were hungry, so we bought some appetizers and had a beer. Isn't that interesting, how thirty seven dollars made all the difference to us for that night?" 

I don't think that we were ever poor growing up, but this brought tears to my eyes- so many times I take for granted... when I want something, I purchase it on my own. What a difference it was for my dad took on three daughters when he married my mom, and they bought a house in the country where we all had our own rooms and room to run. When I came along, my mom and dad were both working to support us. I know that things were tight supporting a family of six, but I had a fun childhood- we never went without.

Being thankful is at the forefront of everyone's minds right now, but it should be year-round. Being thankful is easy when things are going right, when you're gainfully employed, have money coming in, and your relationship is fabulous. As 2012 fades away and 2013 emerges, I hope that we can all remember to be thankful this year, all year, for not only the things that we have- but those that we don't. There was a time this year that I didn't know it, but losing my job would be an immense, life-changing blessing for me- and I am so THANKFUL for it now.  Being thankful doesn't mean you have everything- but it means that you can look at your life and say, "WOW! I am blessed."

And I am, blessed. This year and every year.
I didn't do the 30 days of Thankfulness, but here's a partial list of things I'm thankful for, some with explanations... and some that need no explanation!

1-Adam, the man that walked into my life and changed everything, when I thought I would be changing HIM!
2- My crazy, ridiculous family!
3- Gainful employment that has given me a great view into a corporate career!
4- Coworkers that I adore and love seeing every day (and lunching with!)
5- Loyal friends!
6- Early morning cuddle time with Adam and the girls
7- A sense of humor that tends to see the humor in every day life!
8- An EDUCATION that I cherish.
9- Torrid and fancy plus size clothes.
10- Adele, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, and all other women artists that speak to my soul.
11- Christmastime and the season of giving!
12- My soon to be inherited family- Adam's- full of amazing minds and personalities. I am so proud to call you family!
13- My cat Duchess, who has stuck with me since I was 13 years old, and still crawls into my lap and purrs every night, reminding me that she's still here for me.
14- The years 2007 and 2008, which were my biggest growing years and when I truly started unraveling the Real Laylan,
15- Roxy, who we adopted in 2010. We've been through a lot with her, and she's amazing. I truly feel that she is exactly what Adam needed when she came into our lives.
16- Cora, who is my absolute best friend and the best dog I have ever had.
17- Reality tv, which keeps me ridiculously sane on the days when nothing else works.
18- Sweet tea.
19- My mother and father who still call me their "love child".
20- Scentsy Enchanted Mist, which keeps me calm on the days that I come home frazzled!

Some were silly, some were serious, but they all make up my crazy life!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh, happy day!

I can't believe I've neglected this blog since July! I thought about writing a few times, but I didn't think I had anything newsworthy to write about! My life has been blissfully, happily, wonderfully drama-free the last six months. I'm still working at my amazing job- I've earned two awards since I started- one was in July, two months after I started working there!

And in other news......... Adam and I recently got engaged! The day before Halloween, Adam asked me to marry him- with a 2 carat round stunner that is simply jaw-dropping. He has exquisite taste and got the most beautiful, clear, perfect ring that I could ever imagine.

We are planning an October 2013 wedding and are thrilled to be getting married after 3.5 years together! It almost doesn't seem real, especially looking at this rock on a daily basis!

Adam and I have been through a lot in three years, and every trial has strengthened our relationship. But now, it's just joy. Someone recently said to me, "You must laugh together a lot." This made me smile, because Adam and I truly laugh with, and at! each other, all the time. We adore each other!

So that's it for now- just a quick update!

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Colloborative Blog: Seize the Day

I've spoken sporadically about Adam's seizures, but as they have increased recently, we have decided to start a seizure and TBI related blog together. There we'll write about therapies, triggers, and chronicle the seizures that he has. Hopefully we can unravel the mystery together.

Please join us for this part of our lives. I believe that Adam can live his life seizure free!

Seize the Day

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Where are you going, and where have you been?

Five months ago, I found myself lost. A loss of identity, a loss of job, a loss of happiness, or so it felt. I remember thinking that I had hit rock bottom at that point and that I was so desperate to be out of that rut, no matter what it took. I didn't know it at the time, but the loss of that horrid job was the beginning of my transformation. It was the biggest blessing in disguise. I'd been yearning for a change, but I didn't expect it to come in such an unpleasant and uncomfortable package.

This experience tested my relationship, my mental sanity and my friendships. Most, but not all, came out unscathed, but all were changed in the process. I wasn't exactly the most exciting or fun person to be around during this time. There were a lot of tears and a lot of irritability. Sometimes though, our battle scars show where we've been and that we've weathered the storm.

But, as you know, this story has a happy ending.

Nearly three months ago I accepted a position that has brought me great joy. I love my new coworkers and the everyday work that I get to do. I've emerged from this with more confidence than ever before. A deeper happiness that I've ever known- as if everything has aligned perfectly. 

One of the best things to come from this experience is my relationship with Adam has deepened immensely. I no longer fear what could happen because I know he'll take care of me. In our relationship, I oftentimes find myself taking care of him- cooking, cleaning, etc. But during this time, he was my rock- returning the favor when I was at my lowest low. It was during this time that we truly realized how much we love each other, and our relationship is stronger than ever. The two of us are the greatest team. We pick up each other's slack, we work together to solve our problems, and we accept each other for the person we've each become. 

Life is good now. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in this life, but what I've realized the most in the last five months is that life could always be worse, so instead of dwelling on what you could have had or should have said, we should treat each day as a blessing and trust in yourself and your support system to lift you up when your life is rough.

I predict great things on the horizon. :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

You and Me

A few days ago, Adam and I celebrated our three year anniversary. I was thinking about writing a sappy blog about how much we love each other, but I decided I would just share some of our favorite photos along with our favorite song. (We'll be dancing to it at our wedding- and if you steal it for yours and you're a friend- I'll kill you.) :)

 If the stars don’t shine, if the moon won’t rise,
if I never see the setting sun again,
You won’t hear me cry, this I testify;
please believe me, boy, you know I wouldn’t lie.

As long as there is

Chiefs Game, October 2009 (the coldest day ever!)

You and Me...
Weekend Getaway- September 2009

 If you love a soul more than fame and gold, and that soul feels the same about you,
It’s a natural fact, there’s no turning back, and here’s some advice to you:
You’ve got to say it’s

You and Me... 

January 2012

June 2012

One of our first photos together, taken by a friend.
(July 2009)

2011 Christmas Photo

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thanks, Dad.

Father's Day is tomorrow and I feel I really need to thank my Dad for some of the things in my life.

Thanks for supporting me, always. He's always there when I need to talk, vent, cry. He's my biggest fan, bragging about me to his friends and coworkers. His face lights up when he sees me. He never says, "Hey that was a really dumb decision", but instead, offers advice and gentle guidance when needed.

Thanks for letting me make my own decisions. He's always encouraged me to be a free thinker, to know what I believe and never waver for it. He didn't kill me when I flipped my car into a ditch three weeks after I got my license. He let me form all of my own opinions about politics, the way the world works, and people. Sometimes I see kids that are 10 or so that are so judgmental of anyone who's different. It breaks my heart. I vow to raise my kids to be accepting of everyone, no matter race, religion or reputation- give everyone a chance. They might surprise you.

Thanks for showing me what true love really is. My parents were married for over 20 years. I still struggle with their divorce sometimes, but when they were together, they were a power couple. They always had each other's backs- they kissed each other like teenagers (which was totally gross). They seemed like puzzle pieces that fit into each other- never interdependent on each other, but loved being with each other. Seeing that kind of love growing up set the stage for my relationships later on. I expect nothing less than a relationship that is still full of love after so long. And no matter what happened in the end, they both still refer to me as their "love child".

Thanks for loving Adam. This one is so important to me because I always silently held my breath when my dad met my boyfriends. I have been so delighted to see that Adam and my dad have become so close. The two most important men in my life loving each other is the absolute best thing that could happen. They talk about music, movies, and whatever else comes up. They hug each other when my dad leaves, which is something I've rarely seen my dad do- to anyone other than family. I see a lot of my dad in Adam- the rebellious spirit, the cravings for culture, the witty responses, the intelligence.

On this Father's Day, thank you for being a great dad- from the moment I was born, throughout my rebellious teenage years, through heartbreaks and job loss. Thanks for always being there.

This painting is of a photo of us when I was a baby.
I had it painted last year for Father's Day.
Dad likes it so much that he had it framed and shows everyone
who walks into his house.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Be Kind. No Exceptions.

As we pulled into Wal-Mart today, I saw a man sitting on the curb. He was unkempt; his hair long, his clothes dirty, with a baseball cap on and a small backpack at his side. I said nothing to Adam about this, and we went about our shopping. As we were leaving, he was still there. I had my blinker on to leave the parking lot when Adam said, "I want to give that guy some money." Without a pause, I quietly agreed and pulled to the side. I pulled a couple of dollars out of my wallet and handed it to him.

I watched in my rearview mirror as Adam walked over to the man, extended and shook his hand, and handed him the money. I saw the man smile, nod, and say thank you, and Adam turned around and walked back to the car. I asked him what else the man said, and Adam replied, "He said thank you, God Bless You, and have a gorgeous day."

I told Adam that I didn't think that all people who ended up homeless were there because of drugs or alcohol, but sometimes just bad decisions. He agreed. There was a time in Adam's life that he didn't have enough money at the end of the month for his medication, he walked everywhere, and at times, even couch surfed when his apartment caught fire.

I was humbled by Adam's simple decision to give this man a few dollars. It reminds me to be kind, to accept everyone and support people when they're down, even if you don't know them. Love and kindness is universal, and it goes a long way.

Some pessimists may say that the man might use the money for alcohol or drugs. Well, that may be. Frankly, we don't really care. He's down on his luck, and he needed a helping hand. You can't judge someone you don't know, but you can have an impact on their lives, even if it's just a moment and a few dollars. We won't miss those dollars, but it may make all the difference in the world to him.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How Therapy Has Changed My Life

Some of my longtime readers may remember a disastrous therapy session I had in February 2011. I never thought I'd return to a therapist's office, until I faced a devastating job loss in February 2012. I had visited my regular doctor and told her that I was experiencing extreme anxiety. I asked if she could refer someone who didn't charge a lot, as I was unemployed and soon to be without health insurance. She gave me a cell phone number for Mike on a Yellow Post-it. "I've heard he's great," she said. I called him as soon as I got home and left a teary message on his voicemail.

"My name is Laylan. I just lost my job and I'm feeling very lost. I really need to talk to someone about how to deal with this. I don't have a lot of money to pay. Please call me back." It was a vulnerable moment and I remember crying just leaving the message.

He called me back awhile later and we set up an appointment. And before we got off the phone, he said, "We're going to get through this together." I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of peace at that moment. I didn't know him, he didn't know me, but he was promising to help me- and I wouldn't have to carry this burden alone.

I'm sharing my therapy story because there is such a negative social stigma associated with therapy, and I'd like to dispel that. By all accounts, I am a normal, healthy, happy, 25 year old. I didn't have a bad childhood or a bad adulthood (so far). What I stand to show is that therapy isn't something to be ashamed of, but rather something that you can be proud of: working on yourself from the inside out.

There are several things I've learned from Mike that I'd like to share.

#1: It's okay to have doubts in your life.
When I met Mike and he asked me about Adam, I was so defensive. I'd adopted such a "Me and Adam against the world" mentality, because so many people had discouraged Adam and I from dating, saying that Adam was incapable of doing anything with his life. What I learned very quickly was that it's okay to have doubts, and I do have doubts. Part of my issue is anxiety- I worry about things that are likely not going to happen, and things that likely will never be a big issue in our lives. But it's okay to have questions and work through them early. It's all about facing what ails you.

#2: "I need to be selfish for once in my life."
I've been taking care of everyone in my life since I was a preteen making dinner from my grandmothers cookbook. Recently, I shared something with Mike and I thought he'd judge me. He didn't. I told him that I needed to be selfish, think about myself, and do what makes me happy right now. I expected him to chastize me for the decision. Because selfishness is never encouraged! And he said, "Do it. You're young. The sun is shining. In fact, I condone it. My job here is to help you be the happiest you can be. So if that makes you happy, do it." I was a bit taken aback. I've always done what was expected of me, following the course of what was laid in front of me. Be selfish was never in the cards. But now it is, and I feel so free to do it.

#3: Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
As I sat in his office in February and cried about my loss of identity, he didn't assure me I'd find a job soon like everyone else did. He validated my reasons for feeling lost and cared about how I was processing such a huge gap in my life. There were days that I would walk in and cry the moment I sat down. By the end of the session, even if I had sobbed all the way through it, I felt so much more confident walking out than I did walking in. There have been a select few times that I've even called him after hours, having panic attacks. He always answers and we work through it together.

#4: Therapy doesn't last forever, unless you want it to.
When I met Mike I thought as soon as I got a new job, I wouldn't need him anymore. But as we started peeling back the layers of my life, I realized that this was only a piece of my anxiety, which I've had since I was a teenager. We would sidetrack on other topics, the loss of friendships, a breakup that impacted my life, Adam, my family, how I was feeling that week. We'd work on things together and talk them out, and as we continued to do that I just opened up and started owning my feelings. I accept my doubts, my confidences, my talents, my skills, my past.

Lately, as I leave, Mike tells me how proud he is of me. He tells me that I've come a long way. I know he's right. I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness some days. Some days I still have my crying fits, I sink into the depression that caught hold of me for three months while I desperately searched for a job. But for the most part, I'm confident and enjoying the new clarity I have in my life. I don't know where I'd be without Mike right now. As I think that our time together comes to a close, I look back and thank him for being there for me, for letting me be selfish when I needed to, for validating my concerns and reassuring me when I felt like I was the worst person in the world.

I wrote this because as I've opened up about my therapy sessions with Mike, people have told me that they've considered meeting with a counselor but haven't because they didn't know what to expect. I would encourage anyone thinking about therapy to go to a session and talk about what's bothering you. We could all benefit from an objective, human sounding board!

Monday, May 7, 2012


This post is about a week overdue, and unfortunately, due to the nature of the position, I cannot be specific about where I work. Update: I realized that I didn't even say what I do! I can say that part. I'm a full time event planner. It's incredibly rewarding and right up my alley- I plan and execute up to 30 events a month and I am so, busy busy busy! But that's why I say this is "the job". Exactly what I was looking for and made for me. And the best part is that for the first time in my adult working life, a supervisor has said to me, "I am so glad you're here." She loves my ideas and I love the feedback!

This started about two weeks ago, when I was called in for two interviews on one day. I accepted both interviews. The first was a bright, sunny office with a lot of smiling, happy people. I connected with my interviewer immediately and felt very confident about our interview. I left in very good spirits.

The second interview was so much different. Let's just say that if this is was a movie, it would be in dark, saturated blue tones. I walked in and people were sullen, looked depressed. I had to hand write an application, which took a good half hour. Then I was called downstairs into a dank room where I was interviewed by three people: first, a jolly old lady that smiled and laughed at everything I said. Second, a woman who looked very no-nonsense. No makeup, straight, pinned back hair, very little smile. Third, a very attractive man who welcomed me with a warm handshake.

This interview consisted of three questions. And after I answered each, the man cocked his head to the side and said, "Really. That's what you'd do?" I couldn't wait to get out of that interview.

I figured it would be a few days before I heard back, but at 8:00 pm the next night, I heard from the first interview- offering me the job! I took a drug test the next day and waited until Monday, which the drug testing lady said would be the absolute latest for results. I didn't hear until Tuesday, late afternoon that I'd be starting the next day.

Remember in the last job post tha I wrote that I was looking for "the job"? I feel like this job is that job. It combines some of my favorite things- event planning, outreach, community service, and just plain fun. Like I said before, I am not allowed to divulge a lot of information about the company due to the highly sensitive nature of it. I enjoy the job a lot and I feel that I can bring a lot to the position.

And while I like the job, I have to say that I have been dealing with some serious anxiety about going back into the workforce. Part of it is learning new personalities, rules (this position is unlike any other job- they do everything different) job responsibilities. It's a bit overwhelming, but I think in the next two weeks I will definitely be into the swing of things. Each day I'm feeling better about it, as I get more comfortable in where I am. Still, there's something in the back of my head, this anxiety I can't shake. When I didn't have a job I felt like such a failure- and I just don't want to be back in that place.

So here's the start to something wonderful... as always, thank you for your love and support. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I got a job! Not any job. THE job.

The job I've been waiting, praying, searching, begging for.

The only job that I interviewed for that I truly, truly yearned for.


Technically, I found out a week ago. But I had to have a security check, drug screen and all sorts of other stuff... and the offer letter came in my email today, so....

I start tomorrow!

I am so, so, so, so, so happy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

So many Changes....

This weekend has been extremely cathartic for me.

My eyes have been opened...

I'm changing the way I eat, think, love, and even.......

the way I'm looking for jobs.

I hope to detail it all soon, in the next couple of weeks.

Maybe it was all part of a plan. Maybe I had to lose a job, "friends", support, and my sense of identity, to rebuild and start anew.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Best Friend

Roxy (top) and Cora (bottom) cuddle on the couch.
Even though the phrase "Man's Best Friend" originated from my own hometown, I never truly felt that way about any dog until about a year ago when I adopted Cora, a pitbull lab mix, from the local shelter. I've always been an animal lover, but I have never found an animal that has loved me unconditionally (I have a 12 year old cat who's always been a bit crochety- one minute she's purring and licking my hand and the next I'm searching for a bandaid for my gushing hand that she sunk her teeth into) until Cora.

At first, I didn't put much stock in her. She and I didn't connect at all. She didn't really like people, and she respected that I fed her twice a day and let her outside, but we weren't buddies. I felt frustrated with her. Why didn't she like me? I realize now, that I was earning her respect and trust.

Cora is the best friend I have ever had. Her loyalty is unwavering, her protection of me is fierce, and her kisses are so gentle. When I get ready for bed, she jumps up and  throws her body against mine and sinks in, as if to get as close to me as possible. She lays her head in the crook of my arm, reaching up to lick my cheek, or my hand, just to let me know she's there and she loves me.

She's never more than a few feet from me (sitting near my feet right now), and when I get up, she does too. Alert, ready to be of service if I call her name. When I sit, she settles back down into her spot. She's grateful for everything I give her, from scratches behind her ear, to an extra treat snuck under the table away from Adam.  When I'm sick, she doesn't leave my side, cuddled into me and sleeping for as long as I need to.

I see a dog that is grateful- happy for a home, happy for someone to love and for someone that adores her. I am so happy that I chose shelter adoption, rather than getting a puppy from a breeder. There's nothing more perfect than the somewhat lab, somewhat pitbull mutt that I have. She's perfect inside and out, and she has given me more than I ever love than I could have ever imagined.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shopping the Sales

I have been a couponer for awhile, but lately, the coupons have been smaller than normal since it seems that everyone as taken up couponing. I feel that overuse, and abuse, of coupons, has spoiled it for most other couponers. I still do cut coupons but only use them for items that I already purchase or was planning to purchase.

What I do instead now, is to shop the sales. This isn't a new concept- this is a concept that has been used by our mothers and grandmothers for generations to save money for their families. However, thanks to modern technology, it's so much easier now!  Above you'll see all the grocery shopping I did today for only $65. I went to two stores and I did about an hour's worth of research before I went, and it was so worth it.

I'm going to share with you a few tips to learn how to shop sales- and once you start, it will be hard to stop!

#1. Do Your Research.
 In my town, I primarily shop at Wal-Mart, and a local Country Mart. Wal-Mart's prices usually are low, and you can price match to other stores in the area. While I was preparing my shopping list, I looked at the other stores in the area for what was on sale.

I found that Aldi had strawberries for 1.29/lb. I don't usually shop at Aldi, but I pricematched to Wal-Mart for that, and got the strawberries that they usually have for 1.98/lb!

You can do this with any store within 50 miles around your town (We dont have a Target or a Hyvee, but you can price match to them) and you can see these deals in the Sunday paper, but also check out the store's websites- this will show you their weekly ad and their midweek ad.

Oh yes. This, is probably the best tip I will give you. Most stores have midweek ads and 2 day sales that have super low prices- and since you can price match, that may be the best way to snag your super great deal!

My CountryMart usually starts their sales on Wednesday, and they are very good about keeping their sales stocked. This week, the ad had frozen vegetables on sale for .98 apeice- so I got four bags of different veggies. They also had fresh Dole salads for 2 for $5, so I picked up 2, as well as fresh vegetables such as broccoli for .98/lb.

#2: Clip your coupons!
If you're a couponer, the best way to do it is to use coupon websites for weekly matchups, and then make your grocery list from that. For fresh food, couponing is not a great way to get the deal- there are rarely coupons for produce. But for things such as cheese, refrigerated or packaged foods to supplement your fresh food, keep an eye out for coupons!

#3: Make your List! I make my list in an Excel spreadsheet so that I can see how much is going to cost me, and keep everything organized with what I need to purchase from each store and what's on sale.

This is what my list looked like for Country Mart this week:

ProductPriceStoreDate Expire
Fresh Green Beans.98/lbBi-Lo 27-Mar 
Broccoli Crowns.98/lbBi-Lo 27-Mar 
Dole Salad Blends 9-12 oz2/$5Bi-Lo 27-Mar
YoPlait Greek Yogurt 6 oz0.98Bi-Lo 27-Mar
Kraft Dressing0.98Bi-Lo 27-Mar
PictSweet Vegetables 10-16 oz0.98Bi-Lo 27-Mar

By knowing what is on sale in the store before I walk in, I won't miss any of the sales, and I can ensure that I get the best deal!

#4: Keep your eyes out for unadvertised deals!
I picked up several items that were on sale today that I had not accounted for:
Wal-Mart had cantaloupes on sale for 1.00 apiece, so I got 2. Also- clementines for 3.75!
Country Mart had asparagus for $1.97 a bunch, so I picked some up...

And my favorite way to save is in the meat department. Country Mart marks down their meat every week, so I picked up some "Managers Special chicken" which was tenderloins on sale for 2.54. Last week I did this with pork steaks that were on sale- 4 steaks for 4.96!

Wal-Mart doesn't have meat sales like that, so it's better to shop locally when you can.

Altogether: I got the following items for $65.00:
2 lbs chicken--3 crowns broccoli --Sara Lee 100% Whole wheat --Yukon potatoes --
2 packages of Jello* --Cheddar snacks--2 cantaloupes--Fresh asparagus -Creamy ranch dip
Smoked turkey sausages --2 lb baby carrots --3 pink lady apples --Garlic salt --Strawberries
I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter*--Mild Salsa--6 Whiskas*--4 frozen PictSweet veggie bags
WholeWheat linguine--WholeWheat rotini--Milk Bite Granola Bars*--2 bags romaine
1 bag of cuties--Fresh Takes*  --3 greek yogurts--1 dozen eggs --bananas
The items marked with an asterisk (*), I used a coupon when I purchased it.

As you can see, with a little bit of research from the comfort of your couch, you can save a lot of money!

Useful websites:
The Krazy Coupon Lady
My Country Mart
Price Chopper

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Life & Facebook Fast

I really love this quote! Lately I've been so bogged down by the people that have betrayed me.
This has come to be such a horrible shock to me because as naive as it sounds, I haven't been treated like this before. I've had friendships that have ended but not under
circumstances like these, but I've never lost a job.
And even though I've been treated in some pretty horrible ways, what hurts is the relationships I've lost- it makes me very sick to my stomach.

But when I saw this quote I realized that these things are going to happen in my life, even though it's taken me 25 years to feel this betrayal for the first time, it won't be the last.
So I've decided not to dwell, not to hate, not to think about these people or these wrongs. What I'd rather focus on is my life, how I'm improving it, and what things I will do to make myself a better person.

We went to St. Louis this week for a mini spring break getaway, and I deactivated my Facebook account while we were there. I've done this before and felt such a panic, anxiety from deleting it- as if I couldn't handle not being informed of everything going on in everyone's life. 

But this time, it was different. I had been dealing with such anxiety and drama lately in my own life, that I just needed a break. And once I deactivated it, I just had such a wonderful peace. And once I logged in again- I realized there just wasn't much I was missing.

So here I am, and I don't know if it's going to last, but I want to make an honest effort to change my life and steer myself in a better direction- and the first part of that is spending a whole lot less time on Facebook. But I will continue blogging, about positive topics, so I suggest that you follow me here, or you can email me at

I love you all, and I think this is a really good step to making my life whole again.

(Blog post about St. Louis coming soon!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Smart, Energetic, Innovative, and Self-Starting Lady looking for work!!

Hey blog readers! I'm averaging about 100 hits per blog post, and since I have nearly 600 Facebook friends, I thought that maybe I'd send out some feelers and network to help me find gainful employment. I generally stick to nonprofits, but I am willing to venture into new territory now.

I am an experienced event planner, planning many events with various budgets and populations;
I have done all sorts of community outreach programs, including fairs, home shows, and one-on-one recruitment.
I have designed and implemented new programs to reach underserved populations.
I have designed outreach materials and I wrote and recorded 10+ commercials for my last agency
I am skilled in live radio; I did 24 live, on-air interviews. 

Ability to prioritize and multitask projects to meet deadlines  ·      Experience working in high stress situations and environments ·     Goal-driven leader that works well with little supervision  ·        Proficient in presentational speaking, Microsoft Office, and various social media outlets ·    Creative problem-solver who can apply efficient solutions and resolve complaints

Tell me about yourself.
I have worked full time since I was 17 and have always been a hard worker. I'm the kind of person that puts my entire heart into whatever industry I'm in and I am a sponge that soaks up information and lives and breathes my career.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths- I can develop quick rapport with strangers and I have a naturally friendly personality. I am organized and big-picture oriented (meaning I probably wouldn't be great at a teller job that I'd have to balance to the penny), but I have planned many events for 100+ people and can problem-solve and think on my feet, finding solutions by thinking out of the box. I am also not a procrastinator, and I'd rather finish reports accurately and quickly than rushing to finish them right before a board meeting.

Weaknesses- I tend to take on too many projects at once! My mind is always working on new and improved strategies, programs and ideas that I sometimes have to scale back by making a priority to-do list.

What was the last project you headed up, and what was its outcome? In December 2011, I was planning an agency's holiday party. What was usually an event with 75 people blossomed into about 200 people. I was so excited everyone wanted to come to the party, but I knew it was going to be crazy. So I thought about what could make it go smoother. First, I called in reinforcements. I brought in volunteers from the local high school to serve food and assist with the event. Then, I called my caterer. I ordered food for 50 more people than I expected, in case I had some extra hungry guests or things went quicker than usual.

Then I looked at my event space. We'd easily accomodated 75 people before, so I came up with plans to move activities to different areas to allow for more tables. I moved our Photo Station with Santa to the back of the room with not much activity. This cut down on congestion and helped everything run smoother.

Overall, we served 175 people that day and it was amazing- I had truly planned for everything. It was my proudest moment!

If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
I strive to have a good relationship with my supervisors, and if my supervisor and I disagreed about something, I would tell her/him that I respectfully disagreed, and explain why. I feel that emotions have no place in the workplace and that we should all be focused on doing the best for the agency. I'd explain logical points for my decisions, and how I came to those results. If she/he still disagreed, i would respect her/his decision as my supervisor.

I live in Warrensburg, Missouri, which is an hour away from Kansas City, Missouri. I am willing to explore job options in suburbs of Kansas City, including Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, Kingsville, etc, as well as Sedalia and Clinton, Missouri.

If the right opportunity presents itself, I would be willing to commute to Kansas City, Missouri.

As friends and loyal readers of my blog, please keep your eyes and ears out for me!
Simply contact me with application information and I will take it from there.

Thank you all for your continued love and support!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recipe: Bubble Up Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is one of Adam's favorites, so I make it a lot. It was orginally from the blog Emily Bites which I read a lot and totally love- Here's the orginal: Emily Bites Recipe. I have made a few tweaks to our tastes. It's so easy, I'm sure your family will gobble it up and ask for it a lot, too!

- 1/2 lb lean ground beef (we never use a whole pound, and it really is filling with only half)
- 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 can reduced fat refrigerator biscuits (I use Grand MultiGrain)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded low fat Mexican Cheese (I use half low fat and half sharp cheddar)
-Handful of cilantro and onion

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Brown beef in a large skillet and drain if needed, adding onion during browning.
3.    Add the can of enchilada sauce and can of tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add a little bit of cheese to this mixture. Add cilantro as well.
4.    Cut the refrigerated biscuits into fourths and stir them in the meat mixture.
5.    Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and add the mixture evenly. Top with cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes.

This looks kind of odd in the pan but it will "bubble up" and make it into a casserole. It is SO good and since we only use a 1/2 lb of beef and the multigrain biscuits, it's actually pretty low fat!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Resolutions

It's been awhile since I've posted, but nothing much has been going on. Christmas came and went, we waved goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012. Around Christmastime, I started thinking about my New Years resolutions, even though I've never been one for claiming that the new year brings a "fresh slate". But, here it goes...

Resolution #1: In 2012, I will... be healthier. This may sound cliche, but instead of saying, "This is my year! I'm going to lose 2000 lbs and pose for Playboy!" I am just being general about it. This really started in November, and I've made some progress, but I know that the cardinal rule of weight loss is to not announce it to the world, as it will come back to bite you. Instead of putting numbers on it, I resolve to make an honest effort of working out when I can (recently got back into Zumba and I have fallen in love all over again!), eating healthy with more vegetables than potatoes, and generally not subsisting on soda, pizza and chinese food. 

Resolution #2: In 2012, I will... make more friends! Ever wonder why you're friends with someone? And then you realize, that they just kinda came around 10 years ago when you met them at Fitters during Happy Hour and now you two are buddies, but you have nothing in common and she pretty much grates your nerves? Yeah, I have a few of those. I feel that by surrounding myself with happy, friendly, positive people, I will be happier overall. When you're surrounded with negative energy, it makes you feel sluggish, bitter, bitchy. I don't want to have a bitchy 2012!

Resolution #3: In 2012, I will... keep plans. Say yes to more outings. Be more social! Those who know me would say that I'm the most social person you'd ever meet, but sometimes I get into odd moods where I don't want to do anything but stay home and eat ice cream while watching Teen Mom. But when someone drags me out, I have the best time! So I don't want to be a flake in 2012. I want to commit and keep plans when people invite me out- kind of like the movie, "Yes Man". 

Resolution #4: In 2012, I will... Chill. Out. I get so worked up over little things sometimes. I want to learn to relax. I resolve not to take out a bad day on Adam... to let the laundry pile up for a few days... to not freak out when a coworker makes a big mistake... to not turn into a crazed person when someone cancels plans. Life happens, and I need to learn how to go with the flow!

Resolution #5: In 2012, I will... be self-sufficient. I let others get me down so much, and I need to let things go. If someone cancels plans to work out, I'll go anyway. If someone lets me down, I'll let it go. I feel that, in order to accomplish all of my other resolutions, I need to start with learning how to forgive and forget. I used to be a big grudge-holder and keep everything bottled up inside. All that does is eat away at your heart and make you bitter and cold to the world. I realized that as soon as you start forgiving and forgetting, your life is better, easier, and happier. You can start to give people second chances. Not everyone deserves them, but some do, and you're the bigger person if you can extend that opportunity.

I predict that 2012 will be great for me. Not because I'm lucky- because I'm making it great. I'm taking control of my health, my attitude, my relationships, and my happiness- and I'm the only one who can make it a good year. Bring it on 2012!!