Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm Back!

I am so sorry for the absence here on Lauren's Thoughts! I have been so busy lately between getting busier with work, researching and buying a car and all of the little things that goes along with it and just simply LIFE!

Here's my 2009 Ford Focus! It was a great experience doing most everything on my own in order to get the car. Researching vehicles, getting a loan, getting insurance, etc. Now I have a new ride that I don't have to worry about breaking down and overheating all the time or wasting all my money on gas for that matter!

I've been busy working as well. I am still doing freelance work and have six different clients and babysit a few days a week. While some clients have more work for me than others, I keep pretty busy! Check out my weekly column on ASKinyourface.com, some of which I've shared on my blog here, but you can see them all on the website:

Even with all the busy errands and jobs I've been doing lately and making sure I have time to spend with my friends and loved ones, I am doing pretty well with exercise. I haven't been running and working out as much as I would like but I still manage a few times a week and go to yoga at least once a week. Unfortunately, one of my best friends and current yoga buddy is moving in a few days to Chicago to pursue a dance career! I wish her the best and hopefully will visit soon, but I am really going to miss her!

Speaking of exercise and yoga: If you're looking for great deals on some apparel for exercise or yoga, try out these Gap coupons! This is for my loyal readers!

Another update is that I really want to start doing theme days for this blog. I've seen many different types on other blogs and I think it is a really cool idea. Here are a few ideas I had and I would love to hear your opinions!
  • Tunes I'm Lovin' Tuesday (I would share a song I can't get out of my head)
  • What I'm Inspired By Wednesday (I would share something that has inspired me that day or week)
  • Secret Saturday or Sunday (I would share something about myself that you may not know!)
  • Fitness Friday (I would share some kind of fitness article, advice or story)
What do you think? Also, update me on your life! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blog Hiatus!

Just wanted to write a quick note to apologize to my dear readers! I have been really busy lately and it doesn't seem to be letting up. Between work, trying to get a new car and other things in my life, I just don't have the time right now to write here or catch up on other blogs. 

Please understand and hopefully I'll be back here soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. Over the years it has meant different things to me, nonetheless I’ve still enjoyed it. As a kid it meant making valentines for all the kids in my class, receiving valentines, getting candy and other goodies from my parents and grandparents. It meant having a special note or treat in my lunch. As I got older and wanted attention from boys, Valentine’s Days were a little bit less fun as I went through awkward stages and unrequited loves. Valentine’s Days spent without a boy in my life meant hanging out with my other single girlfriends and enjoying our friendship. We would go to dinner, eat as many desserts as we could and watch chick flicks boys would groan at. Still very fun!

Still I remember my first Valentine’s Day with my first boyfriend. I was so nervous I couldn’t even eat. I had never had a boy on this “day of love” and wasn’t really sure how to act or what to buy.

Let’s fast forward to the present. This Valentine’s Day is the third one that I have celebrated with my current boyfriend, Kevin. I love celebrating it with someone I care about so much. One of my favorite things about the holiday (and any holiday really) is getting gifts for someone. I love thinking of ways to show people that I appreciate them with a fantastic gift they’ll love. This year (let’s hope he doesn’t read this!), I am making him a blanket with his favorite sports teams on it, I got him a cute Valentine’s Day frame to put our photo in, I got him some gummy candy he has been craving and of course a card!

I know someone people scoff at the idea of Valentine’s Day because it makes them depressed if they’re alone, they don’t want to spend money on a pointless holiday gift, or maybe they just hate the day for no reason. I wish people would just see it as a reminder. A reminder to tell the people you love that you love them. You don’t have to spend hundreds on diamonds and flowers and chocolates.

Try browsing through Amazon with free coupon codes by clicking here and maybe you'll find something or an idea about how you could remind someone about how you love them.

Anyways, to me a heartfelt or handmade gift is much sweeter than jewelry or other treasures! If you have a significant other, spend the day or evening with them. Remind them why you love them. If you don’t have anyone special in your life, use this day as an excuse to pig out with your friends!
So no matter what happens in the future, I hope to always love Valentine’s Day and spend it with someone I love.

See the original article on my weekly column at ASKinyourface.com

Friday, February 10, 2012

Take a Step Back Before You Shout

Have you ever yelled at someone while driving? Gotten aggravated at someone walking too slow in a store? Judged someone you saw out and about that you didn't know? If you say no to any of these, you're definitely lying. We all get angry and judgmental when dealing with the outside world at times.

Have you ever been driving and accidentally cut someone off because you were upset about something else or feeling so sick your brain wasn't even working? Perhaps the person honked or flipped you off or even stalked you and yelled at you. It happens. We all make mistakes and we all get angry at others for making these same mistakes, especially while driving.

Most of the time, I try to look at it this way. These random people you get angry with... you have no idea what they're dealing with. It is impossible to control people and it is impossible to know what is going on in their heads.

Next time someone cuts you off, yells at you for no reason, takes too long to pay for their purchases in line, or whatever happens that really aggravates you; stop and take a deep breath. Think about how you don't know much about this person. You can guess certain things from their outer appearance: their age, gender, etc. But you don't know if they have a bad headache. You don't know if they are going through a bad divorce and just met with their lawyer. You don't know if they are over-thinking and nervous about something.

So stay calm and give people the benefit of the doubt and don't sweat the small stuff. Act the way you would want someone to act towards you. Don't you feel so embarrassed and horrible when you cut someone off on accident because your head hurts? Remember they probably feel the same way.

So next time before you flip out, take a breath and relax. Getting angry is just hurting you. Keeping your cool makes the world a much better place. There's no use getting your blood pressure up over something you won't even remember in a day or two.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How Will You Spend Valentine's Day? (Plus Giveaway Winner!)

First of all, I would like to announce the winner of the giveaway! R Jarvis - congrats, please email me at lrstewar@gmail.com to get your prize!

Valentine's Day is in a week! I know most people may not be too excited about this day and are already planning a date with ice cream, but I think this day is what you make of it! Here are some great ways to spend the day whether you have a date or not:

1. If you have a boyfriend or a date, use this day or night to have some fun! Ditch the traditional movie and dinner date and go ice skating, go to a place where you can paint bowls or pots, have a picnic at home, play board games or anything you want that both of you love!

2. If you're single, call up all your single girlfriends and don't wallow! Get together and do mani/pedis, watch funny chick flicks like "Bridesmaids", have a spa night or go shopping.

3. Use this day or night to celebrate YOU! Do whatever you want to do. Go see a movie that perhaps only you want to see, get your favorite takeout, get your hair done or whatever YOU want!

My Valentine's Day will be spent with my boy! I am not sure what our plans are yet, but as long as I can be with him that is all I care about. I can't wait to give him his presents. :) I also plan to make some Valentine's cupcakes this weekend to give to friends and family.

Tell me how you plan to spend your Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No Shopping Update: Oops!

First of all, don't forget to enter the giveaway and use the coupon code!!!

Well I must say I had a bad day last week. Not necessarily bad in the sense things went wrong, but in the sense I fell off the wagon of my "no shopping month" a little bit. First, I treated myself to a facial at the local Ulta because my skin had been feeling so dry and congested for a while. They were having a great deal so I went for it, figuring I needed it! I am fine with this... except being in my favorite beauty store that I was trying to avoid ended with a purchase. I got some "silver powder" claiming to get rid of blackheads and hopefully keep my skin from getting so congested. Hopefully it works!

Anyway, it was a slow day for work that day... I was supposed to have a meeting but it got rescheduled because of the snow and I finished my computer work early in the day. The boredom led to more shopping! I am not sure if I should count this because I used a gift card and none of my own money and got some things I really needed. I ended up with some dress pants (for $4.40!!!), a cute shirt for yoga and a Valentine's gift for my boy.

You may be thinking the day hasn't really been all that bad. Sure, I shopped but it wasn't totally off the deep end. However, I didn't stop there! Remember those boots I really wanted? I keep thinking about them! I really want them so I can have some nice shoes to wear when I go out on the weekends or when I simply want to look nicer in the winter than wearing my snow boots. I dropped into to DSW but they didn't have my size... so I ordered them online. Luckily, I got my friend's discount who works there. Oops.

I don't regret any of these purchases because I either needed it, used a gift card or had my eye on it for quite a while! The facial did remind me of something important with this no shopping rule. If I don't spend money on physical things, like adorable boots (oops!), I have more money to save. Still, you can't just save every penny you make so the money left over I would have more to spend on experiences or pampering myself like getting my nails done or getting a facial. Honestly, being pampered is a much better use of spending money than new clothes sometimes! It makes me feel so much better, happier, healthier and look nicer.