Saturday, August 31, 2013

summer time casual

summer time casual

J Crew top

Olive shorts

Stainless steel jewellery

Turquoise jewelry
$4.63 -

Black Maxi up & down

guest post and big announcement!

I'm guest posting over at Just Jacq today and would love it if you'd hop over to check it out! I've also got a pretty big announcement in the post that basically terrifies me.  And I'll save you the guessing now - I am NOT pregnant.  I know it seems like everyone in the blog world is though and congrats to them!


Ain't no body got time fo' that.  At least, I don't.


Friday, August 30, 2013


Tuesday was a pretty big day for my family. But before I get into that, let me give you some background on my family.

I was the oldest* child in my family and my brothers, who are twins, were born 15 months after me. I always wanted a sister to play with but substituted that by dressing up my brothers while they were too little to fight back. When I was in second grade my parents divorced. It was hard, but so much better than the fighting that went on. And it led to some wonderful things that would not have happened otherwise.
*You'll understand why I say "was" after the next paragraph.
1990: My brothers (both on the right) and I playing in our living room with a family friend
In fifth grade, my mom remarried.  My stepdad is an amazing guy and took in my brothers and I as if we were his biological kids.  He had 3 kids from his first marriage - 2 girls and 1 boy.  Together, we were the Brady Bunch (it was even our Christmas card photo one year!). At the time they got married, they had a kid in 2nd grade, twins in 4th grade, my new stepsister and I in 5th grade, and my older stepsister in 9th grade.  Talk about a house full! As with any blended family, there were some big fights as we all learned to live together but I wouldn't have it any other way.
2006: family Christmas card photo
The hardest part of my parents being divorced was the time my brothers and I spent with my dad - it was me and 3 guys. Talk about being outnumbered.  But that all changed in 8th grade when my dad got remarried.  My stepmom was younger, had no kids, and just cool.  I really enjoyed hanging out with her and finally being able to have "girl time" when I spent weekends at my dad's house.  While I was in high school, my dad and stepmom had 2 kids, both girls.  I am 16 and 18 years older than them which creates a unique sister relationship.
2008: Graduation from Notre Dame with K (4 y.o.) and E (5 y.o.)
And it should be no surprise that my grandparents have been an important part of life throughout all of this craziness. We lost my grandfather last winter suddenly, which makes the time I spend with my grandmother now even more valuable.
2009: dancing at my cousin's wedding
Over the years, with such a large and extended family, we've had our share of successes and failures: graduations, boyfriends and girlfriends that come and go, weddings, divorces, pregnancies, engagements, failed engagements, moving out of country, finding jobs, losing jobs....

Which brings me to yesterday, a very, very special day.  Because this beautiful little girl is now legally part of our family. Forever.
August 2013: Tati and my stepdad
Tati was born this January to my oldest stepsister, E, and her partner, N. Though N carried the baby, Tati has always been their child. And she has always been my niece. And my parents' grandchild.  It doesn't matter that my mom is E's stepmom. It doesn't matter that Tati shares absolutely no DNA with E. E and N are her mothers. Tati is their daughter.

And Tuesday was the adoption hearing to legally make Tati my sister's daughter.  

In a time when same-sex marriage and equality for the LGBT community are at the forefront of politics and society, I think it is too easy to forget the people that are living this civil rights movement.  It's NOT just Prop 8 or DOMA. It's not just a piece of legislation. It is the men and women and children who have found love and formed families. 

I love my sister. I love her partner. And I love my niece.


PS - Whether you support gay rights or not, that's your choice.  And that isn't what this post is about. It's about love and family.

PPS - If you haven't watched this tear-jerker of a video about a man's love for his wife of 75 years, take a few minutes and do so. The full story can be found here.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

cara box reveal!

I am so excited to share my Cara Box with you all! I received my package yesterday afternoon when I came home from a long morning of orientation for psych clinical and was suffering from some horrible cramps.  Talk about the pick me up that I needed! I immediately dove in to it, sent Justine a quick thank you note, and then curled up in bed with a heating pad. I know, exciting life I lead.

Lots of sleep, a super fast post this morning, and a full day of clinicals later... I'm feeling like a midget is kicking my uterus instead of a full grown ninja a little better and can actually share the goodies I received. And when I say goodies, I mean it!

Cara Box

So like I said in my post earlier, I got a wonderful Cara Box from Justine. The idea behind Cara Box is to be matched up with some bloggers following a theme and at the end of a month of getting to know them, you are sent a box from one girl and send out a box to another girl.  This month's theme was Stages of Life.  So being single (as opposed to married - not yet! - or having children), I got paired up with Leslie and Justine.  You can check out the gifts I sent to Leslie here.  She just started law school and I am so impressed with her ability to do that AND start up a blog!

Justine is an awesome chick from Arizona who is into football (her bf is an arena football player - how cool is that?!) and writes great reviews about the various beauty boxes she gets in the mail. Plus, she is hosting the Pretty Little Beauty Swap which I will definitely be participating in.  Go show her some love!

Without further ado... 
yay! the only thing better than snail mail is a snail mail package!!

seriously in love with the pink/orange combo! how did she know??

Will very likely be taking a bubble bath with this Thursday morning after my run and Pure Barre class. While most of you are at work. Be jealous.

Adorable little hedgehog card.

Now, for the last two gifts, I'm really not sure which is better.  Each one feeds an indulgence of mine though very different indulgences...

This girl freakin sent me a BEER from ARIZONA! So I could check it off my list!  Pretty sure I'll also be drinking this Four Peaks bad boy while I'm in my bubble bath tomorrow.  Beer at 11:00am on Thursday? Why not? Cheers!

Oh, what's that last thing in the box? Toys for my babies that are also color-coordinated in the pink & orange theme?  Amazing.  Clearly, my pups didn't like them at all (as I pry the slobber covered ropes from their jowls).
In summary:
Justine is awesome
pink & orange are always a good idea
beer is the perfect gift
check instagram around noon tomorrow so I can rub my bubble bath/beer in your face (Just kidding. Sort of. Not really)

 The next Cara Box will be assigned in September and you will have until November to get to know your partners. Sign up starting Sept. 3rd with Kaitlyn at Wifessionals. We'll be matched based on our states - any other Texans out there? Will you be participating? I will be!


Wednesday like whoa

Wednesday has hit me like a ton of bricks and it is only 5:56am.  No bueno.  And the nightmares I had about snakes in my bedroom probably didn't help.

I'm off to my first day of psych clinicals but I wanted to check in first - I got my Cara Box yesterday from Justine at Sleepy Single Girl and it is wonderful! I'll do a full post on it when I get home.  Until then, enjoy this peak!

I'm a sucker for orange and pink together!

If you want to see what I sent over to Leslie at Legally Leslie, you can read her post here.

And last, my newest obsession: Nature's Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Maple Cereal. Eaten with almond milk.  Do yourself a favor and try this out!

(Note: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just really love this cereal and have found it hard to find gluten-free AND dairy-free cereal options that actually taste good!)

Anyone have other easy breakfast ideas that are (or can be) gluten-free and dairy-free?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

sunday social and the bathroom

Since returning to Houston, I've been super busy trying to update our downstairs bathroom.  Expect a full post on it later this week (along with my Cara Box reveal AND an easy wedding DIY) but for now here is a peak at the before:

Yup, that's shiny forest green paint.  It's gotta go!

And on to the Sunday Social for this week from Ashley and Neely!

1. What do you miss most about being a kid?
Appropriately enough, being carefree - no bills, very few responsibilities, no pressure.  
If you haven't checked it out, I recently wrote about the struggles of being on a budget when you have no income.  As some of you may know, I started nursing school in May while wrapping up my fifth (and final) year of teaching.  My last paycheck came in 10 days ago. Yikes.
2. Dd you have a nickname growing up? What was it?
Kookookarabajackal. (Hint: sounding it out makes it easier to say. Koo-koo-ka-rab-a-jackal.) My stepdad gave it to me when I was about 10. It stuck and I love it.  I think it's from some old song lyric but I couldn't tell you for sure.
And also Kay-Kay. I couldn't say "Caitlin" when I first learned to talk so I was Kay-Kay and my brothers were Pat-Pat (Patrick) and Day-Day (David). Clearly, I was a wordsmith from a young age.

3. What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
Given that I grew up in Texas and my recesses were about 100000000 degrees, we tended to hang out anywhere there was shade. Under a tree, under the fort part of a playscape, under the roof's overhang. You get the idea.
Funny Confession Ecard: The first person to complain this summer about it being 'too hot' is getting punched. In the throat.
4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a doctor and I never wanted to get married or have kids.  Then life took me on a different path and now I'm here - in nursing school (which I love) and engaged but still not wanting kids. Yet. 
What's they they say about planning and then God laughing? Pretty sure he's enjoying this one!
5. Did you participate in any school activities?
I loved school activities. My passion was playing volleyball but I was also on student council, in volunteer groups, NJHS, blah blah blah. I went to a private high school and there was a large focus on being the smartest, the most involved, the best athlete, etc. So, you know, typical overachiever right here. Guilty as charged.
6. What is the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?

When I was about 3 years old and my brothers were about 18 months old and I used to torture them. If they were in the little pack-n-play I would throw everything imaginable at them. If they were out, I'd put doll clothes on them. My grandmother used to say, "Get your licks in now.  Pretty soon they'll be bigger than you and don't forget - there are 2 of them and just 1 of you!"
She didn't actually encourage hitting. It was just a joke. Calm down, peeps.

Do you have any funny childhood stories? Any crazy nicknames? Join the link up!

Sunday Social

Thursday, August 22, 2013

budgeting on no budget

I just returned from a glorious trip to Austin and I'll be blogging about it over the next week.  But now I want to talk about that nasty B-word.  Budget.

Just saying the word makes me vomit a little in my mouth.  I hate budgeting. I want to spend lots of money very irresponsibly and have no repercussions from it. Basically, I want to be a Kardashian.
(Yes, I'm written about this before.  Khloe is my fav. Get over it.)

Looks like we feel the same way about budgets.  I got your back, sista. {via}

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here's what brought on this budget frenzy.

Last week I got my last paycheck from my teaching job. 


Let that sink in.

As of now, I have no income but I clearly still have expenses. I've been budgeting myself on since January 2010 and I love it. It was the first thing that actually kept my accountable. Not always on or under budget mind you, but accountable. I had been teaching for a year and a half at that point when I realized I had no savings (not even a little) and that was absurd.  Not to mention embarrassing.  So I put on my big girl panties, joined, and starting budgeting & saving.

Funny Workplace Ecard: Money doesn't solve problems, but it could solve my money problem.
true dat {via}

Fast forward 3 years and I've hit 2 of my 3 current goals: 
save $1500 for our wedding
save $7000 for nursing school
saving $10k for living expenses

I started these goals last fall when we got engaged and I realize that this nursing school dream was going to become a reality.  My last goal was to save $10k for living expenses while in school - with my last paycheck I reached $9100.  Not bad. And I've got a few payouts coming my way from Amazon/Ebay that will be put straight in there.

Listen, I get it - budgeting SUCKS.  Capital D, sucks the big one.  But I have to face the facts - this 27 year old is an adult and it's time to act like one.  So with 10 months to go (September-May, which is when I take my nursing boards and hope to be employed again), my goal is to spend less that $900/month on living expenses.  Here's where that moolah will go:

                                                  $230.00      car payment
                                                  $87.33        car insurance
                                                  $200.00      gas
                                                  $80.00        TxTag (toll roads)
                                                  $300.00      food
                                                  TOTAL $897.33

Assuming I can actually keep to that budget, I'll be just find during school.  The area I'm most concerned about is food. I LIKE eating good food.  And I LIKE eating healthy food, which we all know is expensive. I feel better when I eat healthy and that is worth the cost to me.  I will have to put in extra effort to eat healthy at home because it is too damn costly to eat every meal out AND nothing makes me more upset that buying food just to watch it spoil.

I also babysit on the side once a week and that money will be put into checking as well.  Even though nursing school is a large time commitment, I truly enjoy the family I sit for and the extra money makes it so I don't feel guilty if I treat myself to Starbucks or a pedicure once in a while.

Do any of you budget successfully? Any tips for me?


Sunday, August 18, 2013

sunday social

Checking in from Austin, my lovelies!  Taking care of lots of wedding things and spending much needed time with my family so this will be short and sweet.  Hope you're all enjoying your weekends.  Come back next week to hear all about my Austin mini-vacay!

1. What is something you've always wanted to do but are afraid of?

I'm a pretty big scaredy cat so things like skydiving are totally out of the question.  I would like to learn to scuba dive and maybe swim with sharks one day... in one of those steel cages, of course. I am also dying to get a tattoo but I can't for the life of me figure out what I'd like on me for the rest of my life and my mom would kill me.  Nevermind that my fiance is covered in tats, my brother has a full sleeve, and my other brother has a handful.  Can we say double standard??

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: I don't have a tattoo for the same reason I wouldn't put a bumper sticker on my Ferrari.

2. Where you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I will be 32, almost 33.  That sounds old.  Hopefully I'm a lot like my sister-in-law.  She waited until she and her husband were in a (very) comfortable place in their lives to have a child at 32 years old, despite the constant nagging from her (and my future) mother-in-law.  

So I would like to be maybe thinking about kids (that sentence just made me freak out a bit) and have already completed my MSN to be working as a nurse practitioner.  I'd also like to be driving a nicer car and living in a nicer house.  And have added a new dog to the mix.... I've got a serious sweet spot for French Bulldogs!

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2013?

There really isn't anything that I'm anticipating before the end of the year.  Spring of 2014 is going be very busy (wedding, graduation, nursing boards) so I want the rest of this year to be calm.  I'll be in my second semester of nursing school so I'd like to make all A's and stay on budget (look for that post later this week!).

4. What are your hopes for your blog?

 I love having this blog as place to connect to people! In just a few months I have met so many great girls (and a few guys) and love hearing what is going on in everyone's lives.  In the (near) future, I'd like to have a blate, participate in a conference, start up some sponsorship, and host a giveaway!

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city? 

If it was up to me, NO.  Don't get me wrong, I like Houston.  There is so much to offer in the city and many people I love are here. Like my fiance, and his fam.  Plus his job, my school, and the Med Center - hello, I will need a nursing job in 9 months!!  But my people are in Austin, a city I deeply love.  For now, I'm satisfied with visiting Austin on a regular basis.

6. What is your morning routine?

I HAVE to shower in the morning because I my hair gets super greasy so easily.  The only exception to this is when I have a copious amounts of hairspray in my hair the night before and the grease is magically soaked up!

After I shower, I deal with the pups and make my morning Spark.  Then I head back upstairs with my Spark and get ready - lotion, makeup, hair, brush teeth, get dressed.  Then I'm out the door.  The whole shebang (with shower) usually takes about 45 minutes.  I can get out the door in under 30 minutes if I skip the blow drying but it isn't that pretty of a sight!

I would LOVE to hear what your morning routine is! Or really the answers to any of these questions!

Sunday Social


Friday, August 16, 2013

a winning combo!

What's that you ask? What is this winning combination?

Losing weight and getting paid!

Considering that I ate my way through nursing school stress AND I got my last paycheck this week, I'd say that this is right up my alley at the moment.

So my numero uno for this week's 5 on Friday is.....


A whole bunch of bloggers have joined Diet Bet in an effort to lose 4% of our body weight in 4 weeks.  You put $30 into the pot (plus a $2.95 fee for first time users like yours truly) and then at the end the winners split the pot.  So basically, I can AT LEAST get my $30 bucks back assuming I lose the weight.  And hopefully realistically, some other peeps won't be successful and then I can make a little extra moolah!

Here's a video to help explain it:

And you can register for the DietBet here. Neon Fresh is putting the whole shebang together!

I'm officially on vacay! Granted, it only lasts until August 26th, but I'll take what I can get. My brain needs to relax and my body needs a detox from caffeine and fast food. Which leads me to....

I'm starting the Advocare 24 Day Challenge again for the third time. My attempt in June failed but I figure I've got all the makings of a successful run.  I'm motivated. B is back at work so I'll be on schedule even on break. B is back at work so I won't be tempted to get fast food as much at all. And I'll have adequate time to prep, which really worked against me in June when nursing school hit full swing.

Before I dedicate myself to eating clean, I'm enjoying all my mom has to offer. That's right, I'm hanging with the fam for a few days in Austin.  And there is no chance I can turn down a glass of wine from my mom or grandmother.  For example, we just went out for delicioso mexican food (re: margaritas) and now I'm enjoying this:

Wine + brownies. The dessert of bloggers everywhere!

My trial run for wedding hair & makeup is tomorrow! Follow me on instagram (@cregan85) for updates. And I'll be sure to post on how it all goes next week so check back!

I know, this is more than the linkup promotes. But if you haven't entered Sam's giveaway for a $25 Target giftcard then you've still got a few hours.  Giveaway ends TONIGHT at midnight, folks.  And it only takes seconds!

What have you guys got going on this weekend? Any guilty pleasures you're indulging in this weekend?


Thursday, August 15, 2013

moley moley moley

Anyone else think of Austin Powers when you read the title?
I had big plans when I went to bed last night. And NONE of those plans happened today.

Let me back up for a bit. I visited a dermatologist a few months ago because I was having breakouts and couldn't get them under control. I was angry and frustrated that at 27 years old I had pimples. And, hello, I'm getting married next spring! The meds I was precribed at first did NOT agree with me. My skin was red, and super dry - I'm talking big flakes.  So I took the matter into my own hands and gave myself a ghetto at-home microderm abrasion followed by a few days of neosporin.

I DO NOT recommend doing this! It ended up working out but it also could have really scarred my skin. Once I recovered I continued with my meds and lots of moisturizer.

Fast forward to this Thursday...
I had an appointment with my dermatologist at 8am, so I set my alarm for 6:05 thinking I would get a nice, cool morning run in before heading off to my appointment.  Or, if I happened to sleep in (like I tend to do), I would go for a run at Rice University after my appointment.

If you live in Houston, you know how great the running trail is at Rice University AND how close it is to the med center.  Win win.

Well, you know that saying about making plans and God laughing? The old man upstairs had quite the gutbuster today.

I woke up at 7:28am for my appointment.  Which was at 8:00am. 25 miles away. In terrible traffic.

I threw on running clothes (still thinking things will work out, folks) and headed out the door.  No makeup? No problem - it's a derm appointment. She needs to see my skin. 
My skin is much improved but there are still zits hiding there.  Don't worry, you'll see them.  And THANK BABY JESUS for eyelash extensions!
What I was not thinking about what the fact that I was also getting a mole removed. See that mole under my right eye? Yup, got that sucker cut right off.

I had no idea that a tiny little mole would sidetrack my day. But oh, how it did.

No more mole! And lashes all globbed up with neosporin.  Can you spot the zits still lingering around?
The local anesthetic made me feel so weird. It was a tiny procedure but it really took it out of me.  My whole eye area was completely numb, the neosporin was gooping up my eye (and lashes!), plus it was starting to swell and bruise. 

So I headed home and napped. For 5 hours. And then went to the movies and got Chinese takeout. Because that's what you do when it looks like you got punched in face.

Great day for taking it easy and not having to wear makeup.  Not such a great day for working out and eating healthy.

But hey, there's always tomorrow. Right?

Any of you ever have those days where you can't accomplish anything?


PS - Have you entered the $25 Target giveaway from Sam yet?  Well, what are you waiting for??

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

stds and website

Did you think this would be a pervy post? Shame on you!

We sent out our Save the Dates (STDs) last week, which meant finally finalizing the wedding website.  That thing was sort of the thorn in my side.  I enjoyed doing parts of it (like our story) but for the life of me I couldn't get B to write up his parts about the groomsmen.  I ended up doing it, but I feel like know the stories are much less personal than the ones I wrote about my bridesmaids. You win some, you lose some.

Anywho, I'm not totally comfortable putting our wedding website out there for strangers to see because what if a crazy stalker booked a room at our hotel to murder us showed up at the ceremony? But here's a screen grab of the site:

I found lots of those wedding site services to be sort of crappy (no offense, the Knot!).  None of them really spoke to me and the feel I'm hoping to get with this wedding.  And I do not have the time or the know-how to build a website up from scratch.  Big props to you ladies out there that do! Way impressed over here! 

The template I ended up using was from WeddingWire and for a small fee I could buy our own domain name. Plus, it is set up to play music. Sold and sold!

This coming Saturday I am having a trial run for hair and makeup! I'm pretty excited and I've been pinning inspiration like crazy.  I will definitely be updating on instagram, so feel free to follow me (@cregan85).  Hopefully I will get a full post up about it next week for Wedding Wednesday!

Lastly, since we're on the topic of weddings...

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married
This article is well timed for all those brides to be out there. In a day and age where divorce is all too common, it certainly can't hurt to keep things in perspective when it comes to the "happily ever after" idea of marriage.  The story doesn't end at the wedding... it is just beginning.
Note: I'm not hating on divorcees out there. My parents split a long time ago. Both remarried and my stepparents are a wonderful blessing to me! But my concern is people who get married and then divorced 6 months later - maybe it wasn't that thought out? 

Nordstrom Bridal Style Video
I've watched this video a few hundred times and I love it.  The basis is a gorgeous simple wedding dress that has been styled in multiple ways. It's under 2 minutes and reinspired me for making my wedding "my own" without feeling the overwhelming pressure to "out-pinterest" other brides.  Ya catch my drift?

Taaarrrrrget Giiiiiiveaaawaaaaaaay! (Oprah voice)
My buddy Sam over at Sam Ispa Loquitur has just survived the bar exam and in celebration SHE is giving YOU (or me, cause I'm going to win that bish) a $25 Target giftcard.  Head on over and enter.  Plus, there aren't ninety-thousand ways to enter, which I greatly appreciate!
Contest ends Friday night, yo!

Go check out the Wedding Wednesday link up!


Chits and Giggles