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My Favorite Tech Toy This Year


My Favorite Tech Toy This Year
A review of the iRobot Roomba 690

Ok...it's no secret I'm a tech nerd. My Amazon Alexa can turn on and off my lights, heat up my crockpot, dim my vanity lights, pre heat my curling iron, and even turn on my aromatherapy diffuser when I'm feeling stressed.

But one thing she wasn't able to do? Clean my house.

Until now.

If you are anything like my friends and family, you are probably ready to start an intervention for my laziness....but hear me out.

I have been looking into investing in a robotic vacuum for quite some time now. My parents have had one for a few years, and while it had its downfalls, it helped reduce pet hair and dirt exponentially.

So when Black Friday came around and I saw an Amazon deal for the iRobot Roomba 690 with Bluetooth, I was intrigued. I loved the idea of simply saying, "Alexa, turn on iRobot" and watching my Roomba go! Even better, the app would allow me to monitor everything from any room in the house.


So I took the plunge. Soon my new toy arrived and the set up began. After registering on the app, and syncing my Roomba to my Echo Dot, we were in business!

One of the great features included in this set is the "invisible barrier wall". It comes with the option to block off a room using a straight lined laser, or with a circumference around the tower. I opted for the circle surrounding a house plant. As the Roomba approached, it quickly turned around and moved on its way.

So what are the downsides? Not many, really.

Occasionally my Roomba would find itself wrapped around a string from a rug in my bathroom, or stuck on a sheet in the bedroom, but truthfully those should have been picked up before it started its cleaning cycle. I found myself occasionally placing it in a different room if it spent too much time in one area, but it probably was a matter of preference.

Once my Roomba decided it was time to recharge, it automatically found its way back to the docking station (something my parents robot never could do). On only one occasion did it not make it back, and that was due to an obstacle on the floor. I'll give it a pass.

Overall I found the 690 model to be exactly what I needed. If you aren't in need of the Bluetooth/ Alexa feature, you could opt for the 650. Or if you are really feeling a splurge you could jump to the Roomba 960. For my budget and living space though, this was exactly what I needed.

If you're thinking about taking the (kinda-lazy-but-super-necessary) plunge into the world of robotic vacuuming, check out the products mentioned above here....

How I Learned To Deal With Anxiety

Anxiety is something I've never really talked about before in public. I've always felt like anxiety = unstable/crazy in society. But I realize now that's not necessarily the case. 

If you've ever been unfortunate enough to have a panic attack, you probably know the feeling like you're 'going to die'. Your heart speeds up, your vision gets blurry, your chest starts hurting, fingers go numb, and you are certain you're having a heart attack/dying. It's the worst. 

During grad school I had them all the time until I got the right amount of counseling & meds to stop them. 

But earlier this week it happened again. 

A full blown anxiety attack. 

I can't explain exactly why, but after a really stressful day I found myself hyperventilating on my bed wishing it would stop. And it finally did. 

Now I know the WORST thing you can do with a medical problem is to Google it…but I caved. And I actually came across something really encouraging....a list of meditation videos to help you relax and de-stress. 

You can check out the full list HERE.  

I'll be honest I've always been a skeptic to meditation or the whole yogi-lifestyle, but I found these videos incredibly helpful. It might not be for everyone, but I thought I would share a few of my favs in case you want to give it a shot: 

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How To Make Salad Last A WEEK


So we're doing this weight loss challenge and as someone who DESPISES cooking, I'm always looking for something that requires minimal effort and is still healthy. So thankfully I came across this brilliant idea on Pinterest: Mason Jar Layered Salad.

I usually pre-make four of these on Sunday, stick them in the fridge, and my lunch is ready to go!

These are the tricks I learned to making it last a full week:

1) You HAVE to layer it properly.  It keeps the lettuce fresh and not soggy.  

2) Use LIME JUICE to keep the avocado & tomatoes from brown-ing.  

3) I keep my dressing in a separate container.

4) I also use 'wide-mouth' mason jars to make it easier for stuffing! 

Here is how I layer mine....




*Before adding the lettuce, make sure you add lime juice to the bottom layer to keep it from brown-ing. 


Here are the small containers I use to keep my dressing in (can find at Publix or Walmart).  And yes, they are supposed to be for shots! LOL! 


And if you really want to get fancy...check out these recipes for Mason Jar burrito bowls, cajun shrimp jars, & more! 

Happy eating! 


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For me, birthdays are usually a several week long celebration. But next week I turn 25 and there's just something about this year that feels different. 

I haven't planned one dinner, one party, or sent out one invite. Instead I find myself evaluating where I am in life, and couldn't help but wonder if having a "quarter life crisis" is a real thing? 


 quarter life crisis: Usually occurs sometime in your twenties, a few years out of school and still feel as though you're waiting for your life to begin. 

Check, check, and check. 


Don't get me wrong I feel extremely blessed. I have an amazing family, job, and friends. But sometimes I can't help but look at people my age who've already accomplished so much and feel a sense of admiration. They've either purchased their first home, make a good salary, are engaged/married, or are starting a family and I wonder if somehow I'm "behind the curve".  Because let's be honest....none of those things are happening anytime soon! 


I used to have it all mapped out. I was going to graduate college, become a news anchor, get married and start a family before the age of 30.....LOL. In fact I used to frown upon people who just "went with the flow" and never had a life plan. But now even picturing where I'll be in 5 years feels like a complete blur. It's as if I have to fight through the fog in my brain to even visualize the next 6 months. 


The truth is now I don't know what the future holds. I know I'm completely terrified, confused, and feel like running away from adulthood....but somewhere in there is a sense of excitement. Excitement to see where this ridiculous journey of life will end up. I'll keep ya posted. 





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(Pic: Graham Oakley) 


You’ve heard the show.  Everyone jokes me for being single.  But let me tell you it’s not for a lack of trying.  And in my dating ‘adventures’ recently I’ve noticed a few trends that I feel need to be stopped ASAP.   So those of you in relationships, feel free to repost for your single friends to see.  And all you singles out there, grab a glass of wine and take notes…..


1-  1) Make Conversation


Tinder. Bumble. Grindr. Match. POF…..Literally the list goes on and on for dating sites. If you’re someone whose been in the online dating game for more than 3 days you’ve probably encountered one of these two types of people:


Person A:  Always responds to your messages.  But has no interest in making REAL conversation.  You ask a question, they respond with one or two words.  They probably only use you to pass the time at work. 

Person B:  This person knows just about everything about you.  You’ve messaged on dating sites, started texting, Facebook messaging, etc.  You talk everyday and they SEEM interested in you.  But when it comes down to making plans, they have no real intention of ever meeting up.  This is where my phrase “I don’t need a pen pal” was created. 


So what’s the takeaway? If you don’t really like the person you’re talking to- don’t message them out of boredom.  Just un-match and wait until you find someone who interests you.  Leading people on is lame and you shouldn’t have to beg someone to hang out with you. 


And if you DO like them- make plans! It’s no fun to go on a first date with someone who you already know everything about.  I guarantee if they message you for a few days, they also want to see you in person. 


2)    2) Show The Heck Up




 (Pic: Google)


So you’ve finally asked someone out and have plans to actually meet in person. NOTHING is more irritating to a girl who spent days picking out an outfit, and hours doing her hair/makeup than getting a text 15 minutes before your date saying “(some sort of BS excuse)….won’t be able to make it tonight.”


 **insert eyeroll emoji**


Y’all.  It’s just common decency.  I get things happen.  But as SOON as you know you won’t be able to make it, just send a text.  Even if you decide at the last minute you would rather stay home and watch Netflix (which is realllll low, btw)….just send a dang text. 


If something did genuinely happen though and you can’t show up, make an effort to let the person know it’s not because you aren’t interested.  I once had a guy send flowers to my work as an apology for leaving me hanging.  Those guys deserve another chance.  I’ll always assume guys who leave it at “won’t make it tonight” also mean “won’t make it ever.”


Moral of the story? If you make the effort to arrange plans…show the heck up. Nothing is sexier than someone who respects your time. 



3)   3) Man/ Woman Up



(Pic: Google/ Imgflip.com)


So you go on a date or two or three.  Sometimes things just don’t work out.  And as adults there’s no reason to feel bad about that. UNLESS you ghost them.


Ahhhh ghosting.  Something my girlfriends and I have spent hours trying to analyze. Unfortunately though, there’s not much to analyze except that person is not even worth your time or energy. 


OF COURSE confrontation is awkward.  Telling someone you just aren’t interested in them (regardless of the reason) is suuuuuper uncomfortable.  But if someone has invested even a few days of their time into talking/ hanging out with you, the least you could do is text a simple “I just don’t think it’s going to work out.”


Don’t’ deflect.  Don’t be evasive.  I’d much rather someone straight up tell me we’re never going to hangout again than be left waiting for a possible invite. 


So man/woman up, send a text, and move onto the next! It’s their loss anyways ;)







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DIYTRY: Necklace Holder


I'm always looking for new ways to stay ~organized~ and a few weeks ago I realized what a nightmare my jewelry box was.  When I wanted to wear a necklace, I had to spend 15 minutes un-tangling it.  Sooo thanks to Pinterest I found this brilliant idea to display/ organize them.  

Here's what you'll need: 

- A towel rack

- Ornament Hooks 

- Spray Paint (Optional) 




And here's how to do it: 

1) Hang towel rack where desired. (*Or in my case have someone else do it for you)

2) Spray paint ornament hooks to desired color.  (*I wanted mine to match the rack to look more ~classy~) 

3) Hang hooks on rack, hang necklaces on hooks.  




Then enjoy your creation! 


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How I Started Budgeting (When I Had No Clue Where To Start)


So you've probably heard of Dave Ramsey and budgeting. Am I perfect at it? Hellllllzzzz no.  BUT I do feel like I have my life slightly more under control after giving it a try.  

HERE is the form I use at the start of every month (or every two weeks depending on how often you get paid).  

It's really pretty simple.  

- Start out with your total income in the top corner. 

- Write down the cost of EVERYTHING for that month.  (*Things I sometimes forget: Extra dollars for holidays, birthdays, PARKING, special events, gym memberships, etc.)

- Total up each categories cost.

- Subtract that number from your income and hope it equals ZERO (*this means every dollar has a place to go)

That's it!! 

Here are some tips I've learned over the past few months: 

- I like to write down the due date of each bill for the month.  That way I know when the money will be coming out of my account.

- I also like to take things that I can pay for in cash and put that amount in an envelope.  {There are some really good envelope resources/ ideas at daveramsey.com} For me it includes: gas, food, spending money, clothing, and misc. 

Here is a basic example of one of my monthly budgets (with some aspects crossed out because ya know, privacy): 



And finally, I decided it's time to start working off my debt.  Since I'm a visual person, I headed to Pinterest to find a "debt thermometer" to keep track of my debt reduction goal.  Download the same one HERE.


Hopefully soon it start to fill up!! ; ) 


Now before I get loads of emails, I know this sounds like one big Dave Ramsey commercial.  Trust me, I'm not getting paid from it.  It's just what worked for me.  I would love to hear what helped you get a handle on your dollars! Let me know! :) 


(Budget forms via: Daveramsey.com) 


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DIY-TRY: Sunburst Mirror

To say this was the project from H*LL would be an understatement! I love the way it turned out, but let me tell you what NOT to do if you decide to try it yourself :)

1) I used this tutorial as a guide for this project.  I bought my wooden dowels from the hardware store and had them cut them to the correct size.  (In hind-sight I wish I would have bought them from Michael's and cut them myself because its MUCH cheaper!) I also spray painted them gold.


2) Next I found a 10in round mirror at Hobby Lobby and also spray painted it gold.  (HINT: I tried covering the mirror with tape before painting it, but later found out you could just remove it completely. Lesson learned.) I then used the TEMPLATE to lay the dowels around the mirror. 



3) If you decide to try this project at home, USE A GLUE GUN AND GLUE STICKS.  I tried super glue and guerilla glue and it was a major FAIL.  It takes forever to try and doesn't adhere to the wood well.  Finally I realized glue sticks were the way to go. When I went to pick it up before the glue sticks, it allllll fell apart. :( 



4) So. On Take 2 I decided to prop it on the edge of the table so I was able to reach under and grip it better.  




5) After one more crash, it was finally complete! 




(The sticks still aren't completely even...so it still needs some adjustment, but its on the WALL!)

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DIY-TRY: Mirror Tufted Headboard


When I came across this headboard on Instagram, I absolutely fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, a quick Google search showed it was a mere $1,199.00. (AKA, slightly way out of my price range...) 


(Photo Credit: Z Gallerie Ava Headboard) 

So after some Youtube-ing I discovered it wasn't impossible to DIY it.  Luckily, my dad has a workshop set up in the garage will all the tools we needed (To be honest: This mostly turned into me supervising the project...you really need to be wood-work handy to get this done!!) But here's how it went:

1) Grab either plywood or MDF from the store with the dimensions needed (Mine was a Queen bed) 

2) I found foam at Hobby Lobby and we used spray adhesive to attach it to the plywood. 


3) Once the foam was attached we marked where we wanted the buttons for the "tufting" and drilled holes in those spots.  (NOTE: Drill as large of holes as possible! It makes finding them with the button/ thread later MUCH easier!)  


4) Next we added a layer of "High Loft" batting to give it a fluffy feel, then draped the fabric on top and stapled it down.  (I found some Polyester fabric with a sheen to it.) 


5) While my pops was doing Step 4, I went inside to cover the buttons we would use.  You can find a "button-covering" kit with refills at just about any fabric store or Walmart.  I used size 7/8" buttons.  It definitely takes trial/error but after about 45 minutes I had about 18 buttons. 

6) This next step was definitely the most time consuming and frustrating.  Luckily we had two people, or else it would have taken ALL day. Using an upholstery needle we used Bead Cord to thread the button through the fabric. (This is where larger holes would have come in handy). 



7) Once the buttons were on, we trimmed the excess fabric and made our way to Lowe's for the mirrors.  Since we needed such specific sizes, we purchased a large mirror and had the employee custom cut to what we needed. 


8) The final step was to adhere the mirror trim around the headboard, and then staple the trim between the mirror and fabric. 



SO- Here is the final product...not too shabby for a fraction of the price!! :) 





I'll post an updated pic once it's attached to my bed. :)


**Special thanks again to my pops for contributing his master woodworking skills, much appreciated! 


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What NOT To Say To Someone Single

You know that saying "If I had a nickel for every time I heard ________"?

Well, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a variation of the phrase "There's no WAY you're single" I would have a lot of nickels. 


Let me first start by saying I absolutely know it's meant to be a compliment. And I do find it flattering. 

But in all honesty, I also find it a bit frustrating. 

To me it's a bit of a back-handed compliment.

I think society has a misconception that any "pretty girls" should always have a significant other. And if they don't, chances are they're crazy/ *itchy/ unstable/ etc. As if the ONLY reason they are single is because something is wrong with them. 

I always get joked on the show that I "can't get a man" or "no one wants me" and as much as I 100% realize it's all in good fun, I do think it's a stereotype cast on single women. 

My last relationship was almost 3 years ago, which probably seems like FOREVER to most people. I've dated here and there, but the truth is I haven't found a person worth investing time into to build a relationship. 

Am I picky? HELL YES. 

But is that a bad thing? I don't think so. 

We all know that person who is the "serial dater". They can't go more than 2 weeks without jumping to the next relationship. They're ALWAYS dating someone, and usually have someone on the back burner ready-to-go in case things go south. 

It might sound harsh, but I tend to attribute that to insecurity. They aren't happy with themselves, so they rely on others to build up their self-worth. They don't like themselves enough to spend time alone, so they jump from person to person so they never have to be. 

Myself on the other hand...I enjoy my alone time. (Maybe too much, Haha!) I truly think I've grown enough in the past 3 years that when I do meet the right person, I won't need a 'single phase'. I've grown to love myself enough that I'll be ready to love someone else too. 

Maybe this all sounds corny, but I think any single woman (or man) can relate to the comment "You're too pretty/nice/funny/etc. There's just no way you're single!" 

Being single CAN be a choice, and when you do decide to settle down you can give ALL your pretty/nice/funniness to Mr. or Mrs. Right. ;) 




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