On Saying No

Yo, yo, yo, I'ma teach you to say no. 
Don't say it slow, just let the words flow. 
Starts with "N" and ends with "O".
So let's get on with this show.
How's that for a greeting. I just came up with it on the fly, too. Gosh, I was born to be a straight thuggin' wangsta rappa. Okay, not really, but I sure know how to rhyme! 

Anyway, this post is really important, and if someone had written it for me a few years ago, it would have made my life way easier. 

Girls (and guys), this post is about learning to tell people, "No." I'm not talking about drugs, alcohol, or sex. I'm talking about general stuff. Those of you that find yourself struggling to have "you time" or do anything for yourself because you're so bogged down in doing things for other people - this is for you. 

Dear Do-gooders of the World, 

It has come to my attention that the word "no" is actually a very hard word to say, even though it is only two letters and one simple syllable. Why is it so difficult for us to say? What keeps us from being able to say that word to not only friends and family, but mere acquaintances and total strangers? WHY IS IT SO DANG HARD TO TELL PEOPLE NO??!?
Oh, I know why. 

Because it makes you feel bad. You feel like you're being selfish if you tell someone, "Sorry, I can't watch your seven kids because my husband and I haven't seen each other in a week and tomorrow's the only chance we will get to spend time together," or "Sorry, I have had a crazy week, and I have a massage appointment tomorrow - I can't take your shift at work," or, perhaps, something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, I just really can't afford to spend my time and money tutoring kids for free when I could use that time working another job earning money to help me pay my own bills" (not that I've had to say that today). 

We feel obligated to say, "yes" to almost every request we get, because we have been conditioned to believe that "no" is a bad word. I'm not saying we should all turn into "NO!!!! NO!!! NO!!! NEVER!!! YOU SUCK AT LIFE AND I DON'T WANT TO HELP YOU!!" Machines... but we should be a little more OK with saying that one little word. If your 5-year-old wanted you to do her homework for her so that she could go play with her friends, would you say no? Probably. If your 80 year old grandpa wanted you to give him a ride to the strip club... would you say no? Hopefully. So, then, why is it so hard for us to say no to someone when we can barely keep ourselves alive? Because we feel like we have an obligation to always always always put others first. 
You know what? Sometimes it's okay to put you and your family first. I think service is great - when you're able. In fact, I think everyone should do some sort of service, no matter how small. I do not, however, think we should spread ourselves ridiculously thin or make ourselves miserable just because we feel bad saying "no!" 

So friends, I have a proposal. The next time you want to rip all of your hair out because you said yes to babysitting 10 kids, leading the PTA meeting, taking dinner to the old lady down the street, working someone else's shift, and helping someone move to a new house, take a step back and vow to do something for yourself. Be realistic when you're deciding to say "yes" or "no." Don't feel obligated to do everything for everyone else - YOU ARE NOT SUPERWOMAN [Superwoman, if you're reading this... ignore that part]! 
Your family is your priority, and believe it or not, you can't truly help others unless you've helped yourself first. Do yourself a favor and learn to say, "no." It'll save you a lot of headaches, a lot of misery, and a lot of all-night caffeine binges and smoothie runs. Trust me. 

And once you've learned to say "no," that "yes" will be so much more meaningful.

Pop, Shopping Carts, Tennis Shoes, and a fake British accent (that's for you, Natasha!)

Dude. I did it. 
I made a vlog.
Ignore the breakout. 
Ignore the fact that I'm a weirdo. 
Feel free to laugh at my expense. 
PS: I have not actually watched this video. You will be the first(s)! 

January Love!

What's it do, home skillets?! Yeah, I had to bring out the wangsta in me again. I'm really in need of some greetings that I haven't already used... I've resorted to googling creative ways to say hello. If anyone has any suggestions... toss 'em my way. 

Now that I'm done greeting you people, let's get on to the good stuff, shall we?! It's already the 30, and I have 2 more lovely sponsors that sent me all of their information for a feature post. I realized that the month was almost over and I had not told you all how awesome they are, and that was a shame. 

So without further ado, I bring you 2 of the wonderful ladies that sponsored my blog this month. Check them out - I promise they're awesome. As always, click the pics! 

For your dose of reality and inspiration: 

Hello! I am Carina, and I am an anthropology major turned hair stylist turned mama of 3. I spend my days with three crazy and adorable boys, love thrifting, baking, crafting and watching bad reality tv. On my blog, you'll find me writing about life, faith, adoption, and everything else - hopefully with humor and gratitude! I also have an etsy shop that I started to raise money for our next adoption. Please stop by and say hello!

What are 3 of your New Year's resolutions for 2012?
1. get organized! (i'm kind of ridiculous)
2. say "yes" more than I say "no"
3. run my first race (totally not a runner. yikes.)

For your daily dose of funny:
 I'm Jennie! I'm 20 years old, brunette of almost one year, lover of all things Target, and probably one of the tallest girls you'll ever meet....seriously. I'm a California girl currently relocating to Colorado, butt-kicker at Super Smash Brothers, closet nerd, and lover of all potato byproducts. Sometimes I’m funny, sometimes I’m serious. But most of the time I am funny. Also, there’s no getting past it: I AM AWKWARD. My blog records my awkward adventures, quirky thoughts, and my all-around awesome life.

What are 3 of your New Year's resolutions for 2012?
1.      I am not drinking one drop of soda for the whole year. Currently it’s been 23 days and counting since I’ve had my last Coke Zero.
2.      Nightly and morning prayers. I’m pretty good at the night time but I am a grumpy monster in the mornings so most of the time I forget.
3.      Get myself out of debt. I currently have about $5,000 in student loans and I want to graduate debt-free, so I’m taking this semester off from school and over the course of the next 8 months I’ll be working full time and then some to pay that crap off and save for my final two years of my undergrad degree.

My Twitter makes me laugh. Sometimes I have the most ridiculous thoughts. 
Pinterest is my newest addiction. Basically my whole wedding is already planned.
Also, one time I wrote a novel that I think it prettttty great. You can read the first 10,000 words here. 

What are you waiting for? Get to clickin'! 

Sunday Confessions Linky Party!

Aloha! Sheesh, I wish I was in Hawaii. I've never been there, but it looks awesome.

Anyway, it's Sunday, which means it's time for the weekly confessions, along with a link-up! Snag a button, write some confessions, and link them up at the bottom of this post!
1. Since the invention of online shopping, I'm not really a huge fan of shopping in real life. I know, I know. Only old fat ladies that sit on their couches eating bon bons are supposed to be obsessed with online shopping. But ya know what?! I hate trying on clothes, I hate the crowds... I hate it all. Besides, I check measurements of everything before I buy, and I have had no problems!

2. I sing in the shower [sometimes]. Hey - you can't blame me! The bathroom has great acoustics!
3. Sometimes when Hubby comes to bed after me, I pretend to be asleep so he can't make me move. Seriously... it takes a lot of effort to get comfy on that stupid midget-sized bed [man, I miss our king]. Life is just easier when I get there first and he can't make me move.
4. I love dipping my french fries in my frosty. That is one of the first purchases I will make upon my arrival in the states - a chocolate shake and fries.
5. Sometimes I have to try really hard to keep from laughing when people are mad (or when I'm mad, for that matter). Something about anger just makes me laugh at times... Maybe I'm sick and twisted, but come on, some of the things we get mad about are just so ridiculous that once you realize what you [or someone else] is so upset about, you just have to laugh. Sometimes you try to keep yourself from doing it, though, because you don't want the person you're venting to [or at] to know that you realize how stupid it is.


What's shakin', bacon? Take this as a reminder to link up tomorrow for my weekly Sunday Confessions! If you have to, go write your post right now!! 

I wake my husband up with crepes

I look for new musicians on YouTube.
I debate whether or not I should try lipstick, and tell myself, "No. You would look like a clown."

I eat Nutella for breakfast.

I think I like cooking, then I regain my sanity.

I scope Blogland for layouts that I like, and make note of them to incorporate elements into future designs. There's so much inspiration out there. 

I go to Deviant Art and search for new brushes and patterns because I'm sick of the ones I have.

I get a little homesick and I miss these peeps (my supercool parental units).

I wake up and say, "Let's take a trip today." Then look at the bank account and see that I haven't been paid, so the trip will have to wait until next weekend. 10 points if you can guess where that is without cheating and following the "via" link. 

What do you do sometimes?

Favorite Things Friday

Top of the marnin' to ya! Yeah... I just said that out loud, and my Irish accent sounds way better in my head. I hope you'll settle for a picture of a leprechaun, and imagine that he's saying it to you. 
As I'm sure you know... it's Friday, and time for my favorite things from this week. 

1. Eyebrows. You may or may not know this, but I have a mild obsession with good brows. I know, I'm a freak. But ya know what? You cannot look at this chic's eyebrows and seriously tell me that they're not amazing. On that note, you wanna know what blogger's brows I totally envy? McKenzie's
2. Replying to your comments. Yes, I love when you comment, but I love it even more when I can reply to your comments! You know what, though?! HALF OF YOU ARE NO-REPLY BLOGGERS!!! Please check that, and fix it pronto. It's easy. All you have to do is this:
3. Cupcakes and Donuts. Seriously. I have been wanting both of the above for a little over a week now, and it's driving me insane. Anyone want to come visit me and bring some with you??
4. Spaghetti... made with my new secret recipe. Dude. Seriously. I figured out how to take spaghetti from an "eh, it's okay" meal to a "HOLY CRAP GIVE ME MORE" meal. Want to know how? Sorry, I'm not ready to give out my secrets just yet. I have to keep you guys coming back. 

5. Snowy days. You know what, guys?! Snow is magical. Seriously. I had like, at least 5 reasons to have a crap-tastic day today, but every time I looked out the window and saw the first snowfall of this winter... I was just fine with ignoring all the devil children, douchebags, lateness, unpreparedness, and craziness. All I cared about was the pretty snow, and can I just tell you how much Germany looks like it's right out of a fairy tale when those huge flakes are falling on the narrow cobblestone streets lined with houses that are hundreds of years old?  Just amazing. I wished I had my DSLR with me. 
PS: Thanks for all of your nice comments yesterday. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved! :)

Change is Possible.

What's up, mah homies? Thanks for all the "Get Betters." I'm pretty sure that you are all the reason I'm not puking today. At least I like to think so. 

So I like to keep it real with you guys. I don't like to pretend like my life is perfect (it's not), I don't want to come across as if I don't have a care in the world (I do), and I don't want to come across as "fake" on this here blog. 

I hate being serious and talking about serious stuff because, let's face it - I'm anything but serious 99.9% of the time. 

But I want you guys to know who I really am, and why I am the way that I am. This is not intended to cause debate - this is my opinion, and you all are just as entitled to yours. I am not judging anyone with this post, it's simply all of my thoughts and an experience put down on "paper."  

Once upon a time, I was getting ready to go to college. I didn't want to be the stereotypical Molly Mormon and go to BYU at 18, get married at 19, and drop out to fulfill my life long dream of being a wife and a mother (keep in mind this is my 18-year-old self thinking these thoughts). So instead of high-tailing it to Utah, Idaho, or Hawaii like virtually every other Mormon youth, I headed up north to the University of Nebraska. 

I went to church once. I hated it. I felt like lots of people there were either weird, judgmental, pushy, or a combination of all three

I discovered that I really liked to party. I went out every Friday and Saturday night, and sometimes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Instead of being the stereotypical Mormon, I had become the stereotypical sorority girl. Except, ya know, the part where you dress like a skank, act all slutty, and are part of a sorority (I realize not every sorority girl is like this, sheesh). So... I guess I just partied. A lot

I hated going to church, I hid from "the Mormons" anytime they tried to come "bring me back to the fold." I always knew I'd get back there eventually, I just thought to myself, eh. I can go back to church whenever I want - I can't party like this forever. 

Fast Forward a year and a half. I got an internship in Germany. I moved out here all by myself. I lived in the armpit of Frankfurt (aka Offenbach am Main). I had no friends, my coworkers weren't exactly open or inviting. I called my mom in tears, telling her that I hated it here and that I was ready to come home. Good ole Mom. She told me to go to church. I protested and went a couple more weeks being miserable. 

Then one fateful Sunday, I decided to do it. I hated it, I felt so alone and awkward, and I was about ready to say "screw it" again when I met someone who turned out to be a sort of lifesaver. Sure, he was cute and tall, but that was not what it was all about. He invited me to go to church activities, and I met more people that I actually enjoyed spending time with. I began to look forward to church. 

When I got back to the states, I decided to go to church again, and it wasn't half bad. I kept partying, but I figured, I'll stop eventually - at least I'm making an effort here. Eventually something totally awful happened one night when I was smashed. That was the point at which I kicked myself in the effing face, and said, 

After that night... I never had another drink. I got a heck of a lot better about swearing (I used to curse like a sailor), and a month later... I met the man that I would spend forever with. I changed. With a ton of help from God, and a ton of help from others, I changed

I spent more time on my knees pouring out my soul in those 8 months that I was trying to get better than I ever had before. It was a long and excruciatingly painful process, and I wanted to give up more than once, but I didn't. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. If I'm perfectly honest here, it sucked. Hardcore. But then... I was happy. For the first time in a couple of years, I was happy with who I was and where I was. 

The moral of the story is this: Change is possible. 

I have had people belittle me and judge me for the things that I've done. Some have even gone so far as to say that I haven't really changed, that I'm putting on a show, and that eventually I'll go back to the way I was. They've told me that I'm an awful person, and that it doesn't matter how much I try, I will never be worthy of the man to whom I am married. They have told me that people don't change

I beg to differ. If you don't believe me, look at who I was then, and who I have become. 

All you have to do is believe that you can. 

Blog Critique Review

Hey there, hi there, ho there!! 

I'm going to tell you all about something that I think is extremely important if you want your blog to be a little more... user friendly. 

Blog Critiques.

Folks, they're a good idea. I participated in one that was held over at Truly Lovely, and it was so great to get unbiased feedback about my blog design and layout. I had two lovely ladies, Chrissy and Morgan go through my blog and critique it based on the questionnaire at this site.

That's actually one of the reasons I'm changing up the size of my sponsor buttons this next month. I was told that, at first sight, it looked like a little too much, even though it was very well organized. Well, I'm hoping that with those nifty rectangular buttons, it will look a little more uniform and not quite as busy. 

Also, I don't know if you're the type to go look at the archives or search for something, but if you are, today is your happy day! I improved my archive so that it's easier to see past posts, and moved my search bar from an obscure location near the bottom of the sidebar to the top left hand side. It is now easier than ever to blog stalk me, folks! 

Moral of the story is this: Having somebody else review your blog is such a good idea. You may know what your blog looks like on your widescreen monitor, but did you know that I can't see half of your layout? You didn't? Or maybe your "sidebar" is down at the bottom of your page, and you had no idea, because it all works for you. My point is, don't be afraid to ask someone how your blog looks - it will probably do you more good than harm! 

Guest Post: Daryl from Roots, Wings, and Other Things

Hey guys!!! I have one of my great friends (in real life and in blogland) here posting today. I'm over on her site, tellin' you guys what's up, if you're interested in reading. Until then, read through this, and go show her some love!
Montpellier, South of France.
Dress: Thrifted
Sweater: Hollister
Tights: H&M
Boots: German Shoe Store (Name Forgotten!)
Necklace: H&M!

Hello New Adventurers!

Just in case you haven't met me yet, I thought I'd introduce myself over on my wonderful friend Alyx's blog. I'm Daryl, and I blog over at Roots, Wings, and Other Things.
I took a leap of love and faith and got married at eighteen years old,
following my (German) husband back to fabulous central Europe to live and adventure.
In this time I've discovered my absolute love for cooking, which really is saying something because before marriage my idea of cooking was heating up a lean cuisine. 
I've also discovered my passion for traveling and sightseeing.
No, you don't understand. 
I sometimes spend hours looking up cheap flights, hotels, and pinning new location after new location on my pinterest.  I have an addiction, sure, but there are worse ones, right?

On my blog, you can read about our travels through gorgeous cities such as Athens, Montpellier, ParisAmsterdam, and more! 

When my blog began, it was a simple way to keep up with my friends and family across the pond. As I continued write it transformed into something more: I realized I could use this blog as a way to connect with other people like me, to share my passions and trials, and prove that putting down roots does not mean you have to sacrifice your wings.

As our wonderful friend Alyx says, every day is a beautiful new adventure.
I would love it if you'd join me on mine! 

Wedding Mishap of the Century

Hiii! So... I'm linking up with Recently Roached, and seeing all these crazy posts about stuff that went wrong at weddings. Well, folks. I'm gonna be the winner. I have two words for you. 
Car Wreck.
Now is the time where I follow those two words with a bunch of words that won't make sense until you read the rest of the story:

crying. wedding dress. jerkface tow truck. yelling. cops. tuxedo. pointing. cell phones. radiator. reception. fender bender. makeup. laptop. music.

Now, I don't feel like writing a novel, so I'm going to give you the quick version. Our wedding ceremony was at 2:00 p.m., and our reception was at 7:00 p.m. We took our wedding pictures right after the wedding, but since it was a thousand degrees outside, we made them as quick as possible. After the pictures were done, we were sent on our merry little way to get some 7/11 slurpies and head back to the hotel to hang out for a while. 

The clock rang 6:30, and it was time to hop into the car and make our way to our beautiful reception (that we didn't really ever see). 

I insisted on driving. In my wedding dress. I think that slurpie was spiked with a little something extra, because that was a stupid decision. Anyway, we're driving down the I-15 from Provo to American Fork, and we make it to the exit. Husband is picking wedding music, and making a playlist on his laptop.
The light is red. 
There is a car in front of me. 
.... I stopped in time. PSYCH! 
But then.... (bum, bum, bum) 
The car in front of me turned right (or so I thought). I followed him. Oops. He had slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason. I hit him going 5 mph. If even that. We got out of the car (me crying like a maniac on the side of the highway in my wedding dress, Mike being manly and authoritative in his tuxedo), and Hubby went to talk to the guy. 
We had it all figured out. The damage was almost non-existent. Insurance info had been swapped. We were getting back in the car to leave. The time is now 7:30 p.m.

But then.... (bum, bum, bum) 
Enter Jerkface. Jerkface was a tow truck driver. He threatened to call the police and tell them that it was a hit and run. He convinced the other driver to report it then instead of the next day. 

Enter police. The time is now 8:15 p.m

Jerkface lies to police and says he witnessed the accident. Crazy Maniac Zombie Bride with the Running Mascara is not okay with that. She starts yelling at Jerkface, calling him a liar, wedding ruiner, and telling him that he has ruined the most important day of her life and she hopes somebody ruins his wedding day so that he knows how it feels. Police know that this girl is crazy, and decide to feel bad for her and not give her a ticket. Police reports are filled out, and we are allowed to leave. 

But then.... (bum, bum, bum) 
Enter car trouble. The time is now 8:50 p.m. The car will not start. It becomes apparent that the headlight poked a small hole in the brand new radiator of my in-laws' van. 

Enter Father-in-law (also known as the knight in shining armor). The time is now 9:05 p.m. He helped us get the car into a safe place, and took us back to the reception. 

We arrived at 9:30 p.m. to a pitch black backyard, scarcely populated reception, and leaning wedding cake. All of my makeup was gone, and I was extremely upset. People said, "someday you'll laugh about this." I resisted the urge to punch them in the face. They were right, but that's beside the point.

As much as I wished the reception had gone differently, the important stuff was there. I got my first dance with my husband, and I got to have cake smashed in my face. And I will never forget the feeling when my husband sat me down and sang the song "Wonderful Tonight" to me (he changed the words to the last verse on a whim, and sang about getting to the reception two and a half hours late). 

Sorry for the novel. 

Sunday Confessions Linky Party!

Hey, good lookin... whatcha got cookin'?
... Am I the only one that listens to country? Anyway, it's Sunday, and it's time for the Sunday Confessions, which I recently made into a link up, so feel free to grab a button and join on in - I'd love to have you!

1. I am addicted to peanut butter. Most of you know this already, but seriously. Does it get any better than JIF? Probably not, unless you whip out the Nutella. Then it’s a close call.
2. I don’t really want to inspire anyone with my blog. Maybe I’m a misfit in the blogging world, because I feel like that’s the main reason so many people blog. There’s nothing wrong with that - in fact, I think it's actually really great. It’s just not my thing. I prefer wasting people’s time with my attempts at humor and ridiculous pictures and videos. Once in a great while, I will feel the need to write something on a serious topic, but all work and no play makes for a very exhausted Alyx.

3. I hate fish. Really, I do. Not as pets (even though I don’t really like that, because they always go and kick the bucket after a few days), but as food. You know how in Finding Nemo the sharks say, “Fish are friends, not food”? Well, I totally agree with that statement. Tuna fish is the only fish that I will eat.
4. I actually liked the Twilight series. I know, I know. I’m about to get 5000000 emails that say something along the lines of Wow, you’re even more lame than I thought. We can officially never be friends. It’s okay, I understand.
5. I am almost always eating when I write my blog posts. That would be why a great deal of them mention things like JIF and Nutella. And in case you hadn’t noticed, my eating habits are not the healthiest. Good thing I enjoy torturing myself working out. 

Favorite Things Friday

Ciao! I say that because right about now... I'm really wishing I was in Italy! 

Just wanted to let you guys know that I have three spots left for ad swapping. If you're interested, email me at alyx2011[at]gmail.com. I will give the spots to the first three people to email me. 

So. It is Friday. And just like every other Friday since the beginning of blog time (well, almost), I am here with some of my favorite things. I thought I would do something a little different, and do a music theme this week. 

Favorite Things. Music Style. 
1. Rockmyrun.com. I discovered this website about four months ago, back when they weren't charging for music. They have recently started charging, but it's great workout music for a great price. Click the pic and check it out! 

2. Walk off the Earth's cover of Somebody That I Used to Know. I know this thing has been all over blogland, but just in case you haven't been introduced to the song (I think the cover is better than the original, and don't get me started on how talented these people are), here it is. 
3. The Piano Guys and Alex Boye teaming up to perform Coldplay's Paradise (but a super awesome African version). Seriously. Hubby introduced me to this song a few weeks ago, and I play it at least once a day. 
4. This Random Cover of The One That Got Away (originally by Katy Perry). I swear it's better than the original. 
5. Culcha Candela's Wildes Ding. Yeah, it's German. Yeah it's rap and sorta techno-y. But you know what? I freakin' love it. It's got a great beat for running. Don't hate. I have an eclectic taste in music.
6. Anything by Mindy Gledhill. I discovered her... somehow. I don't actually remember. But she's amazing. The video below has my absolute favorite song of hers. The second I a) learn how to play the guitar and b) have a baby boy, I am singing this. 

I'm always looking for new tunes... What are some of your favorites? Give me some recommendations!