Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bad Blogger and the ABC's

I apologize for being a bad blogger and not posting in awhile. I've definitely got stuff to say, its just been hard finding the time. The rain made me sleepy and now the sun makes me want to spend time outdoor instead of on the computer.

So to give my lovely readers (whoever is still out there) something to actually read, I figured I'd jump on the ABC bandwagon so that you all can get to know me better.

A. Age: 28

B. Bed size: Queen - that's the biggest that will fit in our tiny room

C. Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom, especially dealing with dust when the bathroom is even a little damp. 

D. Dogs: Chocolate Lab named Rusty (aka Devil). He's 11 months old (wow time flies as I remember him when he was only 8 weeks and an angel!)

E. Essential start to your day: Checking email, reading blogs, checking Twitter and Facebook

F. Favorite color: Purple

G. Gold or silver: I used to be mostly a silver girl, but lately I've been throwing splashes of gold in. I really love my gold Stella Dot earrings and necklace!

Image Source: Stella Dot
Image Source: Stella Dot

H. Height: 5'2

I. Instruments: I can play a little piano, but mostly just easy songs.

J. Job title: Sr. Process Engineer

K. Kids: Not yet. I need to figure out how to get my body to ovulate first! (I know, I know... TMI!)

L. Live: Castro Valley, CA

M. Mom's name: Linda

N. Nicknames: Jen and my maiden name

O. Overnight hospital stays: None. Hopefully it stays that way until I'm ready to have a baby!

P. Pet peeve: I have lots I'm sure, but the first one that comes to mind and that annoys me on a fairly regular basis is The Hubs throwing his clothes on the floor.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Just Breathe." - Ever After

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: 23 year old brother and 20 year old sister

T. Time you wake up: 6:30 AM

U. Underwear: Victoria's Secret

V. Vegetables you dislike: I'm not a big fan of Eggplant.

W. What makes you run late:Hitting snooze one too many times and then being in a traffic mess because I left late.

X. X-Rays you've had: Only on my teeth.

Y. Yummy food you make:My turkey meatballs are pretty good, but I think the thing I make best and most often is my mom's chocolate bundt cake. I make it for EVERY occasion!

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: Hmm, never thought about this. The first animal that comes to mind is a Giraffe!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finally Coming Together

Our bedroom is coming together quite nicely.

After buying a piece of art for the room that solidified our color scheme, the next task was finding window valences.After blogging for window treatment help,  it was suggested that maybe we try going with a printed curtain instead of a solid one.

I had been searching for curtains that met my requirements for awhile with no success. However, the
other day when the bestie and I were trolling Walmart feeding the little munchkin, I found a shower curtain that seemed to have the right color scheme.

Image Source: Walmart
I brought it home and had The Hubs do a quick mock up on the window. We both loved it! I know it would have been easier to find actual curtains, but we were both ecstatic that a decision was actually made.

Sorry for the slightly blurry picture. I didn't get home early enough to shoot with natural light.

Since I'm not a seamstress,  The Hubs will be the one making these curtains. I told him to do just make a normal valence curtain since that would be easier, but he has insisted on trying to install grommets on the valence. He ordered some from Amazon that should be here in a couple of weeks. I can't wait for them to be done and up!

I am planning on using any extra fabric to make a pillow case for the bed to coordinate the colors more. I will probably have Sarah help me make the case (again since I am NOT a seamstress), but I did find this tutorial on how to make a case with no sewing necessary that I might also try. I may also try to find some other brighter fabrics to make additional pillow cases out of to brighten up the room during the spring/summer season. I'll let you know how it goes.

Other than  furniture, the next thing the room needs is some new, fashionable lamps or sconces. I originally wanted a sconce on my side of the bed to save table space, but now I'm thinking bringing in a fun lamp would give the room more character.

Here's the sconce I would get. Since there is a window on The Hubs's side of the bed,  we'd only have one making the symmetry of the room a bit off.

Image Source: Pottery Barn

Then there is this lamp at Bed Bath and Beyond that seems to have all the right colors. The only thing I'm worried about is it being a little short (14.5" tall as opposed to the 20" tall lamp we currently have). I do have a coupon for BB and B, so I may get it and just see how it looks.

Image Source: Bed Bath and Beyond
I also just found this mosaic lamp that is taller, but I don't know if I like the colors as much as think I'd rather have an emphasis on blue (see above) as opposed to brown (see below).

Image Source: Bed Bath and Beyond
I also always thought that I might get one of these crystal ball lamps that  seem really sophisticated.

Image Source: Pottery Barn

Which option do you all like better - a sleek, modern sconce, a fun, colorful lamp, or a sophisticated lamp?

PS - Thanks so much for all your votes so far on our porch makeover! I'm hoping in the next few weeks to make a final decision!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Much to The Hubs's dismay, I have MANY guilty TV pleasures. Most of the time I try to watch them in the other room or when he goes to bed. These shows include but are not limited to...

16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2

Image Source: MTV
 Real House Wives of Orange County - (I really got into only this one of the bunch on now.)

Image Source: Bravo

All things Oprah - Oh how I will miss your good ol' talk show come May, but thank you for creating OWN!

Image Source: Oprah

However, the one show that The Hubs will actually watch with me is The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. It is a Monday night tradition to watch the drama unfold together and laugh at the awkwardness.

I wasn't super excited about the new season of The Bachelor considering Brad already had one shot at love and blew it, but as the season progressed I was hooked.

Now we're down to the final two and I think that either choice Brad makes will be a good one. Plus he looked ooey gooey in love at the Women Tell All show!

First up is Chantal. I've always liked Chantal, even though she was a bit over-emotional and professed her love for Brad way before anyone else. She's closer to Brad in age and has more relationship experience than her "competitor."

Image Source: ABC

Then you have Emily. I really love how she never got involved in any of the drama and was kind and genuine the whole way through. Part of me thinks she is too good for Brad AND too young.

Image Source: ABC

I'm not sure who Brad will choose, but I can't wait until Monday to find out!

Who do you think Brad will choose??

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Give Up...

For Catholics (and those who love a challenge) everywhere, Ash Wednesday (Today!) marks the first day of the Lenten season. The forty days that lead up to Easter has become the time of year where we challenge ourselves to do without something that we don't really need. 

Since I've grown up Catholic, I have had many opportunities to try (and fail!) at giving up something that I truly love. When I was younger, it was often chocolate or candy. As I've gotten older, I've been better about highly qualifying what I give up (something I learned from my mom who often gives up candy - specifically Tootsie Rolls. Bit sized Snickers or Milky Ways are fair game!). Last year, I gave up Starbucks Mochas. I did really well, didn't cave once, and saved a pretty penny on top of it!

This year, I was planning on giving up all alcohol for Lent in order to "practice" for when the time came when alcohol would be a no-no. But I think that I would be just setting myself up for failure considering I have some already planned occassions coming up where I may just want a glass of wine (i.e. - an "I quit my job" bash for one of my best friends and a snow trip with my other best friend).

I've already started to cut back on the wine intake, so I plan on continuing that. In fact, to continue with the cut back, I think I'll give up all alcohol at home, including when we have company over (there's qualification at its best!). That might be a cop out, but The Hubs and I do enjoy a lovely Thursday or Friday night glass of wine after a long work day, so I think it will still be a challenge.

I still would like to give up something else, but couldn't think of anything in time to start today. I'll keep you posted if I come up with something.

Also this Lenten season, I want to make sure I don't eat meat on Fridays, another Catholic tradition. I'm usually pretty conscientious about this, but I think I might go a bit farther and make it no fish/seafood also. Perhaps it will give me the incentive to try out some new vegetarian recipes that I have come across that I can share. Or maybe you all will share some good vegetarian recipes with me! Hint, hint! :-)

What is everyone else giving up for Lent? Do you think your will power will get you through the next 40 days or are you a little worried about following through, like I am?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Porch Makeover is in the Air

Because spring is definitely in the air, I've been on the hunt for some things to spruce up our porch and make it more of a place to hang out instead of somewhere you just walk on past. My goal is to make it a place where The Hubs and I can relax... a place where I can read  my Kindle and sip some lemonade.

Our porch has always been one of my favorite aspects of the house. In fact, I've wanted to do something with it since I saw Sherry and John's porch makeover over at Young House Love. The problem is I'm often paralyzed by decision making.

So that's where you all come in! I want you all to help me decide which outdoor furniture you think will look best! I found a ton of options at Cost Plus World Market to choose from (thanks to my Mom for the suggestion!).

Here's a picture of our porch.


Now there are two things to decide... style and color.

Which of these styles do you think would look best? Any other suggestions that you have come across are also welcome! ;-)

A. 2 Adirondack Rockers 

B. Adirondack Loveseat

C. Catalina Bench

D. Maldives Bench

Now if I choose the Adirondack option, I have a color choice to make. Which do you think will look better on our porch?

A. White

B. Natural

Any of these choices I plan on dressing up with some brightly colored outdoor pillows and possibly a little side table.

I'm really excited about this and hope you all can help me make a final decision soon! :-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Love Weekends

I love weekends.

I love them even more when I get to spend part of them with this cutie!

Can't wait for a couple of weeks from now when The Hubs and I get to spend the whole weekend with him...and  his mom, dad, and some fresh powder of course! :-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Let's Compare...

Can anyone guess whose side of the room these pictures were taken on???

If you guessed that this is The Hubs's side of the room, you would be CORRECT!!

Any in comparison, here's my side of the room...

When The Hubs realized I was taking these comparison picutres, he knew right away they would be making it on the blog. He did try hard to pick up the clothes and plop them on the bed before I could take the picture, but I was too quick for him!

His side of the room/bed pretty much looks like this all the time, unless we have company coming over. I've tried to make it easy to put clothes in the laundry by buying baskets that we keep in the closet. Then clothes can easily be tossed in - sorta like a game! Obviously it hasn't worked so well.

The Hubs complains that he can't remember which clothes go in which basket. So, my next attempt is going to be to label the baskets. We'll see how that works.

Any one else have a significant other who is not the neatest person in the world? Any recommendations in how you get them to pick up after themself?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Taking Charge of My Career

I usually dislike review time at work. I'm not really sure why, as I know I am a good worker, have never gotten a bad review, and have always been awarded some sort of raise or bonus every year. I'm usually REALLY nervous going in and then sit there while my boss tells me what I already know ("You've accomplished this, this and this. Here are the business's goals for this year.") I usually quietly leave with a thank you and that's it for another year.

However, yesterday was different.  You see, I didn't even know my review was yesterday until I got in, so I really had ZERO time to worry about it. I mean, I knew it was coming, but I didn't have time to dwell on it. Also, I was more confident because I had a plan of how I was going to address my review. This was the first time I planned on taking an active part in my review process.

And I have SWE (the Society of Women Engineers for all you non-engineers out there) to thank for that...

It just so happened that we had our SWE regional conference at a local university on Saturday. It was a time to network with other female (and some male) engineers and learn a TON about personal and professional development.

Probably the best and most interesting course I took was called "Building Your Career Skills".

It was a course on understanding what skills are most highly sought after by HR and management in companies and how to utilize the review process to fill in any gaps that you may have as you progress in your career.

The nine essential career skills are:

1.) Technical Depth - design, test and implement solutions; be analytical and efficient
2.) Organizational Integration - understand organization and its mission; have cross-divisional perspective
3.) Strategic Vision - develop long term plans, understand how what I do affects the bottom line
4.) Program Management - employ resources, overcome barriers, prioritize
5.) Leadership - influence and persuade others, reconcile differences, communicate effectively at all levels
6.) Direct People Management - effectively manage, develop trust and credibility, provide guidance
7.) Commercial - demonstrate negotiation skills, customer experience, handle difficult discussions postivly
8.) Financial - understand balance and income sheets, deliver on financial commitments
9.) Operational - deliver product to meet objective, allocate resources efficiently, set priorities

On Sunday, I went through all of the jobs I have had thus far in my career and figured out which career skills I learned from each one. Those skills where I didn't yet have experience, I tried to think about ways I could learn them in my current position, be it taking classes or being included in meetings where I could be exposed to these areas.

I then went into my review with specific things I wanted to learn and be exposed to during the year. My boss was very open to listening and actually agreed with me as to some of the classes that I was interested in taking. I'll definitely be following up in a month or so to make sure that some action has been taken on my boss's part in scheduling something (as he wanted to try to plan a class for the whole group). If I don't hear anything, I'll be sure to start doing the research myself to schedule something.

I feel better knowing that at least I've spoken up to my boss about my needs and where I want my career to go. We'll see how it all pans out this year...

Have any of you used a similar strategy in your career? Was your boss receptive to your career needs?