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Share Your Life – A Good Suit is Hard to Find

23 Sep

As a law student and budding attorney, I knew I needed to find a few suits that I could use for interviews and to wear to work (after a successful interview!). I knew they needed to fit well and at least look like they were high quality. I also knew that my budget wasn’t very big (law student!). On top of all that, I figured out quite quickly that there are not many places that sell professional looking women’s suits.

I tried several places with no luck. I ordered three suits from Victoria’s Secret and sent them all back. The quality was low and the fit was only so-so. I looked at Ann Taylor and loved the suits, but not the price tag.

However, my search eventually paid off! I bought two amazing suits from Express. These are my interview suits. Though the suits can be a bit expensive, special deals, like buy one get one 50% off, can help to lower the price. Plus, their fabrics are the same throughout their collection, so you can purchase pants or a skirt for your suit on clearance and get a great deal! For example, I got the skirt for my black suit for $15 on clearance!

(Full price: Jacket: $98, Pants: $69 – but I always buy BOGO or on clearance)

Another store that I had good luck with was Macy’s. They have some “cute” suits that I can use for less formal days at work, as well as more formal suits that I can use to go to court.

(Currently on sale! Jacket: $30, Pants: $29)

(On sale! Jacket: $30, Pants: $29, Skirt: $24)

(Full price: Jacket: $40, Pants: $30, Skirt: $30)

I also found that sometimes JC Penny has the same (or at least very similar) suits as Macys, but for lower prices. Have any of you found a good place to buy women’s suits? I’m always looking for more places to shop! 😉

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Share Your Life – Baby Shower Ideas

26 Aug

This blog is a record of my pre-baby planning, so of course I have thought about what I would like to have at my baby shower. Thankfully, while I have been engaged in my pre-baby planning, my sister-in-law announced that she was pregnant. I planned her baby shower. We hosted it at a local lake and had a cookout, with plenty of (fairly) healthy recipes and fun games.

We started off, of course, with a cute invitation (the image below was edited to remove their personal information).

We selected an outdoor site to take advantage of our beautiful Florida weather.

We picked a nice shady spot to set up.

The weather was just warm enough for our guests to enjoy the lake setting, but not too hot (even for the expectant mom).

Paul helped with the cooking . . .

. . . as did the dad-to-be.

We had hamburgers, healthy chocolate cupcakes (I used blue food coloring to color the frosting in honor of their baby boy!), healthy brownies, healthy potato salad and squid.

No recipe for the squid, sorry. But the mom-to-be is originally from China, so we had some of her “comfort food”.

Everyone enjoyed the food . . .

. . . strange though some of it was.

Then, it was time for games. The first game was the toilet paper game, of course. All of our guests guessed how many pieces of toilet paper it would take to wrap around the mom-to-be’s belly.

Then, the mom-to-be wrapped some toilet paper around her belly and whomever got closest won.

The next game was the baby food tasting game. We did a blind taste test of baby foods and each tried to guess which baby foods were which.

I’ll be honest, they were pretty gross.

But, it was a lot of fun. We concluded our games with a game called “Conception or Contraction”. Each guest was given a sheet of paper with 6 pictures on it. Like these ones:

And our guests had to guess whether the woman was conceiving or having a contraction. A bit inappropriate, I know, but it was a very funny game!

Overall, I would definitely recommend an outdoor cookout baby shower. We did ours in early April in Florida and we had a great time.

Share your life: wedding shower (a/k/a Boozy Chocolate Cake!)

12 Aug

I have two favorite memories from my bridal shower. The first is the Boozy Chocolate Cake my aunt made. The second is my mother-in-law exclaiming “I did not raise him this way!”

To explain the first, this is a particularly wonderful memory since my aunt never drinks and she told us all that she had cooked all of the alcohol off of the cake. Definitely not. She baked a chocolate cake the day before, then put a great chocolate frosting between layers and on top and drizzled the cake with a boozy chocolate sauce. Then, she poured the sauce over the cake and reheated the cake briefly in the oven (giving it time to warm up and time for the sauce to absorb). She was convinced that since she had heated the sauce, the alcohol was gone. I am pretty sure that each slice was 1-2 drinks worth of alcohol. The best part was listening to her insist that there was no alcohol in it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I was surprised to discover that I never got the recipe from her! This is a tragedy. But, I can tell you that you can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe as a base (recipes like this one (pictured on the left) or this one (pictured on the right) would be great). I am going to get her frosting and boozy chocolate sauce recipe and post it here ASAP. For you and for me. 😉

My second memory is sharing stories about our husbands/fiancees/boyfriends. We went around the room and each of us told a funny story about our significant other. Now, when it was my turn, I decided to tell a story about something funny my husband-to-be had said. I wish for the life of me that I could remember the story, but what I do remember is that it revolved around his fairly inappropriate sense of humor. After I finished the story, my mother-in-law exclaimed “I did not raise him this way!” To which all of the others at the party responded with their own stories of his inappropriate humor. For example, last Halloween we had a super hero themed party. Paul’s costume was Captain Climax. Yeah.

My two recommendations for a great wedding shower: Boozy chocolate cake and stories about significant others! The first one relaxes you enough to do the second one with enthusiasm!

Forget “Soul Mate”

23 Jul

The Share Your Life prompt for this week is to give your best marriage advice. Now, mine may sound a bit odd, but stick with me. My advice: forget “soul mate”. I know, I know, how can forgetting “soul mate” be marriage advice? Isn’t marriage all about your soul mate?

The problem with the term “soul mate” is that it creates unrealistic and unfair expectations. After all, your true soul mate takes care of every need without being asked. A true soul mate knows how you think and thinks just like you. And everyone knows that real soul mates don’t make mistakes and require forgiveness all the time.

What are the problems with these expectations? Well, expecting that your true soul mate takes care of every need without being asked prevents you from truly appreciating your spouse. If you take for granted that your spouse supports you, helps clean dishes, and the million other little things that our spouses’ do for us every day, then you forget to appreciate those little things. Now, I know that a lot of people would say “Well, my spouse should do those things, why should I appreciate them?” To which I reply that we all like to be appreciated and appreciating your spouse makes them feel good, makes you feel good, and generally encourages warm-fuzzies. I try to appreciate my husband every day and once in a while, I will write him a cheesy letter or card letting him now that I notice all of the wonderful things that he does and I appreciate every one. I know, gag, right?

Moving on to the second expectation: your true soul mate knows how you think and thinks just like you. Now, every person has a different history and way of thinking, never mind differences between men and women generally. So expecting our spouses to think like us is not very fair. I know that most people don’t think that they expect their spouse to think like them, but when your spouse do that one thing that drives you absolutely crazy, you can’t help but feel like they must be trying to drive you nuts. I mean, that thing that drives you absolutely crazy is so obviously a bad thing to do. There is no other possible explanation but that they know it is a bad thing to do and do it anyway specifically to drive you absolutely crazy. The thing is, though, that spouses do that thing that drives you absolutely crazy because they don’t think like you do and they just don’t see it the same way that you do. To them, it isn’t something that would drive them crazy so when they do it, they aren’t trying to make you crazy, they are just thinking differently from you. And you know what, that’s fine. Because, let’s be honest, if husbands thought like their wives that would just be  . . . really weird.

The final expectation that the words “soul mate” evoke is the idea that your soul mate shouldn’t need your forgiveness. After all, if they think like you and are always supposed to take care of you, what could they possibly need forgiveness for? Being too perfect? But, the truth is that your spouse is human. We all need forgiveness and understanding. Even if you have found the best possible spouse, that spouse is going to have flaws and make mistakes. Don’t assume that just because it seems like your spouse needs a lot of forgiveness, they must not be your soul mate. Because unless your soul mate is not human, then they are going to need forgiveness!

So, my best marriage advice is this: forget “soul mate”. Find a word that fits your spouse. I like “partner”. It doesn’t create any expectation except that my spouse and I are making our way together. We may not think alike and we may need each other’s forgiveness, but neither of those things is incompatible with my husband being my partner.