Monday, August 31, 2015

10 Years in North Carolina - and a Giveaway!

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of Kevin and I moving to North Carolina. First of all, I can't believe it's been TEN YEARS. Omg.

 Ten years ago we were living in Martinsburg WV, we affectionately refer to it as "Satan's armpit". If you're from Martinsburg, sorry not sorry, but we hated it there. I had moved there from Pittsburgh 2 years earlier to manage a Whitehall Jewelers (now defunct) and Kev was a college professor. He'd been at Virginia Tech and as a result of some budget cuts, he had to find a college job last minute and Sheppard College it was.

Somehow in the midst of all that, we manged to meet and bonded over our mutual dislike of the town. Look, I grew up in WV and the northern panhandle is nothing like the eastern. At least the people are nice and not horribly xenophobic. But I digress. We met, fell in love, got engaged and the first chance we could, we got out. Being a musician, it's much more difficult for Kev to find a decent job than it is for me. I mange and train sales people, they're everywhere.

Kev interviewed a bunch of different places and ultimately ended up taking a position as the FT music director at a church in Durham NC. He came down here for the interview, swore I'd love it and we took the leap and moved!

We weren't sure if we'd like it, two Northerners moving to the South? Where are my casinos and diners?? Heck when we got here the state didn't even have lottery! You couldn't buy a scratch off ticket in NC ten years ago. Crazy!

Honestly, it didn't take long for us to become southern converts. We met some amazing people, made great friends and fell in love with the state. I think that all of our friends and family back home need to relocate down here. Come on, when we left WV we left our snow shovel in the old house and haven't bought a new one. (OK, we could, but whatever snow we get melts in a day. No need to shovel when it will be gone the next day.)

In the last 10 years we've lived in 3 different places, soon to be 4, we've adopted 3 cats and one dog, Kev has had one job and me, yeah... more than that, lol. We've had some amazing highs and the lowest of lows in the past 10 years. All in all, we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have ended up here.

To celebrate 10 years in NC I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite NC-born items.
The lucky winner will receive this awesome NC gift package!

  • Print from cr2f  - Carrie might have been one of the first people I met when I moved here 10 years ago, it was at the annual Kappa Delta Alumnae Cook-out. The rest is history! You should totally check out her site too.
(the print in the giveaway is teal)

  • Onesie from The Green Elephant Co  - Another KD friend, I've known Kaete for several years and she has the cutest line of kids clothes. I might be a little jealous of the outfits she makes for her little girls. So stinking cute.

    • Jar of Peanut Cocoa nut butter from Big Spoon Roasters - You know there's nothing this gal loves more than a nice nut butter and this one is stupid good. I want you to taste the yum.
    • 1lb of flavored coffee from Bean Traders. I'm going to send you one of my favorites. It might be the Sugar Cookie or the Carmelita. I haven't decided yet but it's gonna be good.
    • NC themed coffee mug - Fo yo' Been Trader's Coffee. Duh.
    • 2 lip balms from Burt's Bees - Did you know that Burt's Bees are made right here in NC?! Yep, and they're one of my favorite lip balms. Speaking as someone who always need to have on some sort of Chapstick, I know lip balms and Burt's Bees is awesome!
    • Box of Moravian Cookies - These super thin, crispy cookies are sooooo good! Made in Winston Salem out of love, flour and unicorn smiles, I can't ever buy these, unless I want to eat the entire package.
    • Bag of super yummy popcorn from The Mad Popper - I really like all their flavors and there will be an equally delicious bag of tasty corn.
    And perhaps a surprise or two!

    I'll name a winner on September 10th! It's been a great 10 years, here's to many more!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Linking up with BLoved Boston!AND

    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    9 Years Today!

    Nine years ago today Kev and I said our I Dos! It was a warm-ish day in Pittsburgh and at 5pm that Sunday night we got married in front of 40ish of our closest friends. We had friends and relatives fly and drive from all over the country. 

    There was singing, dancing, lots of delish food. We had a torrential downpour at about 8pm but it didn't put a damper on our night.

    It's been a wild ride these last 9 years. Three cats, one dog, 3 addresses, one job for Kev, more for me.... I wouldn't have it any other way.

    To the guy who's my biggest champion and the only one who puts up with my jokes.

     Happy Anniversary Kev! Here's to many. many more! Love you!!

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Rocksbox Review #1

    Have you heard about Rocksbox? I think just about everyone has at this point, lol. Rocksbox is a pretty cool service where you pay a low monthly fee, $19 and they send you 3 pieces of designer jewelry. Wear it as long as you like and when you're done, throw it back in the box and send it back. 

    I got a free month and decided to check it out, because I love me some jewelry and free.

    My first box arrived in this cute box toed with a coral bow. love.

    What's inside???

    The first piece I uncovered was this necklace from House of Harlow. I really love House of Harlow jewelry and even own the sunburst earrings. I still have my eye on the long sunburst necklace as well. Kev, you can get it here. Hint Hint...


    Anywho, they sent me this super cool and modern triangle necklace.

    I liked it a lot when I took it out of the bag. However, when wearing it, my mild OCD got the best of me, All the triangles have to face out, but they don't when you wear it because no one stays completely still. Since I knew I would spend all day fixing the triangles so it had to go back. It's too bad because I really like it.

    Next up was this purple wrap bracelet. Meh. I don't like It reminds me of a boho, hippie thing and that's so not me. 

    The last thing they sent were these pave square earrings. There is nothing I love more than sparkles. Love, love, love sparkles. But I hate squares. I like circles. Annnnd this is why no one can buy me jewelry. Really though. I love me some circles.

    I packed it all back in the box and waited for the next one to arrive. I'm going to give them another chance because I'm picky and if anyone actually figured out my style on the first go round, they'd deserve a promotion.

    One of the cool things about Rocksbox is that you get a $10 credit towards the purchase of any of the discounted items you received. Pretty sweet.

    If you want to try out Rocksbox for free for a month, go ahead and use my code! larabff34

    Linking Up!

    I do deClaire
    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    Blueberry Protein Pancakes

    A few weeks ago Kev picked a bunch of blueberries off our bush. One of the big things I'll miss about our house is the 12 ft tall and 3x as wide blueberry bush in the back yard. Damn I love that blueberry bush. We didn't even know it was there until the back door neighbors told us about it, Every year it's a battle to get the blueberries before the birds and deer but when we do, it's soooo worth it.

    The blueberries were staring at me and I decided that it would be awesome to make some protein pancakes. I went to Pinterest for some inspiration and with a little bit of tweaking, came up with a recipe that I think is pretty awesome.

    Blueberry Protein Muffins

    2 Scoops of vanilla Protein Powder (I use Plant Fusion)
    2/3 Cup Cottage Cheese
    2 Large eggs
    1/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (I use Trader Joe's brand)
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 cup blueberries

    Mix it all up in the blender (except the berries) until the cottage cheese chunks are gone, I have a Ninja blender and it's the bomb. Fold in the blueberries and cook them on a griddle with a little bit of coconut oil. I made 13 small pancakes out of this.

    6 Protein, 2 Fat and 3 Carbs. Not too shabby!


    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Prepping my Fall Wardrobe -

    I'm ready for Fall. No if, ands or buts about it. I'm ready for Fall. It's been unseasonably hot in NC this year and the 90 degree days started back in June. I'm good thank you very much. I've seen my first pumpkin spice thing AND candy corn. I'm ready!

    I've been perusing the interwebs looking at fall fashion and trying to decide what's on my wish list. After I put these pictures together, I learned that I apparently want to revert to my 80s rocker chick roots.

    I bet I could still get my hair that high. I just need some Aqua Net. Funny story, when I was in college we were watching Jerry Springer and there was a lady whose name was Aquanetta. Seriously, someone's mom named them after a bottle of hairspray. That's so unfortunate.  

    I digress, on to some of my key pieces for the Fall.

    1. Leather (like) Jacket. I started looking for a leather-ish jacket a few weeks ago and finally started to see some tricking into the stores. I wanted one light enough to wear in the office as well as out.

    I ordered this one from Nordstrom anniversary sale. I really liked the moto style of it. It was super cute on as well. Check it out here. I'd suggest going up a size.

    Then I saw this one at Nordstrom Rack. I LOVE IT. I ordered it, then actually saw it in the store and loved it even more in person. I returned the other jacket... Really, for the price you can't beat it and it's super flattering on. I got the black but I bet the brown is cute in person too.

    2. Chambray dress. Sadly I'm getting to the age where I remember having items of clothing that I've gotten rid of and now they're back in style and I'm pissed that they're gone. Really though, I wouldn't have kept something that long but I'd happily by it again. I HAD a denim a-line dress and it was adorable. Ergh....

    I'm looking for a chambray dress with an a-line skirt, Everything I'm seeing are shirt dresses and that style just doesn't work well on my body shape. I need something with a defined waist.

    This eShakti dress is super cute

    3. Shearling vest - I don't know why I love this in the black but I just do. It'd be so cute with skinny jeans and a longer shirt.

    Also at Nordstrom.

    4. Black leather skirt. Really Lara? Leather-ish jacket, that shearling vest AND a leather skirt? YES! I don't know why but I can't STOP. Loft had a cute leather skirt last season but it looked tragic on me. Maybe this season will be different. 

    I don't know where I found this but I'd love to find something similar (non trashy)

    5. New Chambray shirt. I have one that will be awesome in 10 pounds but I'd like something to tide me over in the mean time. 
    This one from Maurice's is just the right color. 

    6. Cute Tunic. I love a nice tunic  for the fall. Wear it with jeans and booties now and with tights and a scarf in a few months. I LOVE this one from Nordstrom.

    I got this in the large during the anniversary sale and like that it's a little longer and I can pass it off as a dress. I tried it on in the store and the medium definitely fit but it was a lot shorter, I would have needed to wear tights or leggings underneath,

    So yea, my fall wishlist is nothing but denim and leather. Huh, I'm sure that says something about my personality, I just don't know what. lol

    Oh, the next GYPO Style Challenge is open! It's the work wear challenge and I've been looking forward to this one. 3 weeks of outfits, all work appropriate, really, I'm super excited to get the shopping list. I highly doubt there will be a shearling leather vest on the list, but I can hope. Check it out here while the early bird pricing is still in affect and come join us!

    Linking Up!

    I do deClaire
    Monday, August 17, 2015

    Scenes from the Weekend

    Happy Monday!! If there's one thing I'm consistently good about is writing about my weekend and hopefully typing up a few other posts for the rest of the week. I swear, if I don't write down what I want to say, it just disappears off into space.

    Friday morning I left for work and saw this on my front porch. AHHHH!!! MOTHRA! 

    My fantastic FB friends told me it was a Luna Moth which is apparently a good omen. It's a sign of re-birth and re-awakening and also a vegetarian, which means it wasn't there to eat my face. Thank goodness, I was ready to pack a bag and not come back. 

    On Thursday at work we had picture day. It was an opportunity for everyone to get a head shot for LinkedIn. This is my 3rd head shot this year so I was good. I just had one taken at convention a few weeks ago and it was infinitely better than anything the photographers took.

    One shot, one take. The ones at work took at least 10 and I hated all of them.

    Well, I'm sure I've mentioned that I work in a pretty interesting place and my team members are a little... quirky. Here's what 2 of them came up with.

    I can't think of a more appropriate picture for the 2 of them. They said it was their family portrait and they needed my octopus as their family crest. Yep, I'm their boss. When we get the official version back I'm getting a bunch of 5x7s made and framed. Everyone is getting one for their desk. This also might be the picture we use for the team's holiday card.

    Saturday morning I had some returns to make and a trip to the liquor store. I had a bridal shower to attend that evening and the theme was "Stock the Liquor Cabinet". It might be the best shower theme ever. Ever.

    While I was looking for my present, I found something that I'd been looking for!

    Sugarland Shine butterscotch moonshine! I've been looking for over a year for this! I had it at the a beer festival last year and it's seriously the best thing ever. 

    Afterwards I headed to Omega Sports to return my Hokas. I wasn't a fan. On my run Tuesday the balls of my feet went numb and all of my toes. They have a really wide toe space and I know they weren't too tight, they just weren't for me. Thankfully I still had my receipt and I traded them in for a new pair of Sauconys. Sometimes it's just better to stick with what you know. 

    I also had some returns to make to Nordstrom from the anniversary sale. The good news is I think I finally found the perfect moto jacket for the fall and my new favorite tunic. 

    After my errands it was time to head to the shower. There I tasted this deliciousness for the first time. OMG it was good.

    kudos Bud Light, kudos
    Then I realized I'd only posted pictures of booze on Instagram on Saturday. Oops. I guess my inner lush came out. 

    I wasn't sure if it was a girl party or a boy/girl party and when I got there and saw all the guys, I made Kev leave the house and come too.

    Everyone had a great time and they walked out with a LOT of booze. 

    Sunday came far too soon. I spent most of the morning food prepping for the week, doing laundry and working on some KD emails. 

    I really, really, really needed to get my car washed. It was bad. Before I did, I stopped at AutoZone to get some degreaser to get the pine tar off my car. As I was cleaning it, I noticed there was a new to me car wash behind the Fresh Market and I headed there to get it cleaned. 

    I really liked the place. They did a great job AND they have a cat.

    This is Sophie. She was a stray they rescued and now she lives there. She also likes to sit on your lap. Well, my lap. Cats love me. It's my gift and my curse. lol.

    Now it's time for some blogging and laundry folding. Not all that exciting but I needed a low-key weekend.

    How was your weekend???

    Linking up with BLoved Boston!AND

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    Dang that was Crap-tastic

    Warning - Not the usual happy post. This was so crap-tastic it boardered on ridiculous and I had to share.

    On Sunday I took the plunge and signed up for the Fleet Feet half marathon training series. It's hot and I haven't been running. At all. Last year I really wanted to do the City of Oak Half Marathon and I made it up to 7 miles in my training plan, then I got lazy and didn't do it. 

    This year I needed an extra kick in the pants to get myself going and I signed up to run with a group. Tuesday night was the first run, a 3 mile time trial. I signed up for the program at the North Raleigh location and figured that's where we'd start. Nope... That was just the beginning.

    I get to the store and no, I went to the wrong one. The run started at 6pm and I was 25 minutes from the other store. The people at the North Raleigh Fleet Feet told me to try and make it to the Wade Avenue Store. Locals, you know how impossible it is to get to Wade Avenue from North Raleigh but it was the first night and I wasn't going to miss dammit! I booked it to the other store and had some serious road rage. I hate, hate, hate being late and I already drank my pre-workout beverage. Pre-workout beverage with no workout makes me ragey. Like I want to beat everyone with a stick if I don't work out in 15 minutes.

    Any ways, as I was getting there, the groups were juuuust leaving. I was pulling into the parking lot and they were all lined up. Argh! I parked, ran into the store, signed in and took off running to try and catch them. I made it to some of the coaches and they said to be sure to turn around if it starts thundering and lightening.

    So I'm running, faster than I should be, trying to catch up, like a 9 min mile which I can maintain for about 5 minutes. Oh, and it was my first run in my new Hokas (not a fan). Finally I see the first group running towards me and a little past 1 mile I finally saw the people ahead of me. 

    At about 1.15 miles into the 3 miles and the turn around in sight, the first thunder happens. Fuck.

    I turn around. About a minute later, a torrential downpour. Like I need to build an ark downpour. First of all, I don't run in the rain, ever. I hate being wet and I would never, ever run in the rain. Did I mention I was using my phone as my GPS because I took my Garmin to work and left it there? Yeah, I did. But I had to get back to the store, so run in the rain I did. I'm sure I negative split on the way back but I was afraid to take out my phone. 

    It was as awful as I expected it to be. The one bright spot was the nice lady who told me that my mascara was running down my face. Thank the Lord she did. I'm sure I looked like Alice Cooper circa the 1970s Muppet Show. 


    I don't know that I've ever been more wet in my life. Back at the store I wrung out my shirt and left a big puddle of water on the floor. (outside the store)

    I was really concerned about my phone, I was wearing a pair of pants with a pocket on the side, where I put my phone. I got back to Fleet Feet and I was super nervous. I almost went into the Whole Foods to get some rice from their bulk bin. Ugh, how pretentious. Whole Foods bulk rice. 

    I was so cranky I was wet, I stomped around Whole Foods leaving little puddles behind me and even left there without getting any dinner.

    On my way home it stopped raining a bit and a rainbow appeared. The rainbow ended at Chipotle. It was a sign.

    A sign that I needed to get a chicken burrito bowl.

    When I left Chipotle the other end of the rainbow was Starbucks. Another sign.

    I really really hope this isn't the a glimpse of what's to come.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Influenster YSL Review

    A few weeks ago Influenster informed me that I was selected to receive a YSL box with a new Touche Eclat Primer and Touche Eclat Blur Perfector. You know I love trying new products and this was no exception.

    I was super excited when the box came in the mail. Confession, this is my first time ever trying YSL products. Ooooo snazzy

    I opened the package to find 2 fill size products, in shiny gold boxes. Shiny...

    The first thing I tried was the Touche Eclat Primer, (please don't ask me how to pronounce it, I understand 0 French. When we go to France later this year, all I need to know is "can I get that with the sauce on the side". Which is apparently the worst thing an American can do. Oy... back to the face stuff).
    According to Sephora the Touche Elcat Blur Primer preps skin for foundation application, creating an improved, refined appearance: pores seem to be minimized, skin texture feels smoother, and skintone is more even. It’s enriched with four nourishing oils—corn oil, apricot kernel oil, passiflora oil, and rice bran oil—to leave skin feeling incredibly soft without a greasy residue. Packed with blur technology, this universal primer provides a subtle, golden shimmer for ultimate luminosity.

    I used the little paddle thingie and put some of the primer on my cheeks, forehead and chin, and blended it in with my fingers. Then I applied my regular foundation with a sponge over top of it. I use this one by Benefit. 

    The primer felt nice on my skin, and I really liked that it had little gold sparkles but they didn't show on your face like some horrible 1990s glitter body spray. "Glitter is the herpes of the craft world". Still one of my all time favorite quotes.

    Next was the Touche Eclat Blur Prefector. Sephora says: This portable perfector is Yves Saint Laurent’s first ever blur perfector encased within a compact. It transforms from a balm to a powder upon application to soften the skin’s imperfections—creating a transparent yet subtle, rosy-glow effect. Use it alone as an allover complexion perfector, to set makeup, or as a mattifying touch up to sweep away shine and hide imperfections. Featuring one universal shade that complements all skin types, it instantly minimizes the look of pores so that skin feels smoother and the complexion appears more even. 

    I tried the Blur Prefector both under and over my foundation, I tried it first on my bare face then over top of my foundation. does it work? I think so, I felt my face looked like it had fewer imperfections. My only problem was the consistency. It's supposed to turn from a balm to a powder upon application but it always felt a little greasy to me. 

    All in all, these were really nice products and I'll continue to use them. Here's a pic of me after the application. I like to think the blur you see is from the YSL Blur Prefector but sadly, it's probably just my blurry phone.

    These products were sent to me to review by Influenster. As always, the opinions expressed here are my own. Linking up!

    I do deClaire
    Monday, August 10, 2015

    Scenes from the Weekend

    How was your weekend? I swear they go by faster and faster. I think I just need one 3 day weekend or 4 day... just a little extra break would be awesome.

    Everything is picking back up again, move in at NC State was over the weekend and today starts Spririt Week, I swear they just went home for the summer. I remember having to head back to school earlier than most, because every chapter has Spirit week and recruitment practice the week before the rest of the students come back. I swear it wasn't this stinking early. Maybe I'm just getting old and my memory is failing me.
    Cleo isn't amused.

    Friday night we started off with a trip to Margeaux's. We hadn't been there in a while and decided to go back. After work I stopped to get my nails done and got home later than usual. The nail place I've been auditioning, meh, I'm going to keep looking. I need you to do a good job on my raggedy cuticles and to be able to do a good job painting with dark polish. If you can't do that, you can't be my nail guy.

    Anywho, I apparently didn't take any pictures of my food (I had salmon) or my cosmo, which of course I had one. Afterwards we went to Yogurt Mountain and I ate the toppings off my fro-yo and saved the rest for later.

    Saturday Kev and I needed to get some much needed purging done. If we have any hope of selling this house we have to get rid of some of our crap. Namely all the crap that we brought from our last house and haven't used since we moved here. 

    I cleaned out a TON of clothes, re-organized my dresser, the closet and all the cabinets in the bathroom. There were a lot of things....

    Saturday night we headed to the Blue Note in Durham where there was an accapella shin-dig. 7 or 8 groups were there, Kev's being one of them, and they were all singing 4 songs apiece. It was a nice event, don't get me wrong, but the venue left much to be desired. They didn't have nearly enough tables in the main area to accommodate all of the people and it was worse than standing room only. We had our names in for a table over an hour before and when they finally called us, the only space they had was in a strange side room. Oh, and the owner / manager was a giant douche. While I was asking Kev if sitting in the back was OK, he tried to give our table away and I kinda got into it with him. Yea, not a fan. The groups did a good job and everyone had a good time, the owner just really put a bad taste in my mouth.

    Thankfully we didn't eat there. Instead we went to Vin Rouge, home of the delicious steak tartare. Nom nom nom....

    We took a good selfie too.

    On another note. my front camera has been super blurry recently.I need to figure out what's up with that. 

    Sunday morning came and I headed out for my usual grocery shopping, 

    I did go to a 3pm Pump class at the gym. It went something like this...
    Me: Oh, my hip has been bothering me, I should lower my squat weight. Oh, that lady, who I've never seen before, and never will again, has more weight than me. I guess I could use my regular weights. This is why I have issues....

    That's my weekend, tell me you did something awesome!

    Linking up with BLoved Boston!AND