Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thrift Is A Virtue

Good morning! I am enjoying one of my last weekdays where I can be at home at 11 a.m. in my cozy clothes doing nothing, since in two weeks I will be in an office at this time! Yay! But in the meantime, I am going to brew myself another cup of coffee and chillax until I have to go wipe some noses and plop bottoms onto chairs (since standing on them is kids' favorite but quickest-regretted pastime).

Being a young newlywed, I know how it goes trying to get the most bang for your puny buck. By puny, I mean lower middle class -- definitely not claiming poverty, since we have been blessed way too much with education, jobs, wedding gift money, etc. However, it's hard to see magazines and TV shows and get ideas for what you want your clothes and house to look like, only to remember that you need to be saving for a new car sans Detroit bullet holes (Darin's gift from old neighbors lol), not buying stuff from Pottery Barn or Sephora. Luckily, I am finding that if you budget right and look around, you would be surprised by the kinds of good deals you can find!

Home Decor

I wanted to decorate our house for fall somewhat, and saw these really cute mercury glass pumpkins on Pinterest (my vice), from Pottery Barn. But the small one alone is $24.50! Sheesh! However, on my once-in-a-while trip to Michael's craft store, I found a super thrifty solution. They had styrofoam pumpkins painted silver already, no DIY needed. And the day I was in, they happened to be 40% off that brand! What what! I paid $8 for three pumpkins for our coffee table. If we wrap them nicely, they will last a while, even if a way cheaper material than the PB version. Check out craft stores, they have some house decor that isn't too cheesy and crafty looking.


I have been loving the idea of darker lip color for a while now, and haven't really bought any colors in that family before. Darin prefers more natural peaches and pinks, and I usually like focusing on my eyes more in my makeup routine, so lips that are too colorful would be kind of overkill. But I wanted to try something new! I was at the store five below and saw a bunch of Wet n Wild brand makeup for super cheap. Perfect for trying something out before plunking down even $7 for a Revlon or other nicer brand. As it turns out, I like their lipstick a lot more than I thought, and I'll stick with this one until it runs out!

Haha no other makeup on today! But it's such a pretty color. It's called Sugar Plum Fairy and it's a matte shade, in case anyone was wondering. (Put on a layer of lipstick, blot it, dust some powder over it, and then smudge on a little more lipstick to make it last!)


Darin has made fun of my glasses for a while now. Actually, it was on Valentine's Day when he told me over Skype that he thinks they're ugly. Great timing, right? Obviously it didn't mess up our relationship since we are married, but I still have those glasses, since I think they are fine. However, I noticed a friend on Facebook mention that with you get your first pair of glasses free, and that hers actually came in the mail and that it was not a scam. Not a bad deal at all! I investigated myself, and they really are free! I paid about $20 for shipping and handling since I ordered the cheapest lenses, which is not bad for a $100 pair of Derek Cardigan wayfarer-style glasses.

Aren't they so cute? The style name is "Black Rootbeer" in case you want to see for yourself. I can't wait till they arrive! The nice thing is that they have a 366 day return guarantee with free return shipping, so if your prescription somehow doesn't come out quite right or the fit is off, send 'em back! Woohoo! Thanks, Facebook, for doing something for me rather than waste my life.

In short, don't give up on cute stuff on a budget! You'll find great deals in the most interesting of places! Now, to find a loophole to score a cheap Michael Kors bag... nah, that'll have to wait a few years.

Love, Lara

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Workin' Woman

Alright, people, big news, and I don't have the patience to write good build-up... I GOT A FULL-TIME JOB! A grown-up job! 40 hours a week! Dress pants! I am sooooo excited! I did about fifty cartwheels around my house!

God's providence is so above and beyond would I could've imagined. As I said previously, I turned down pursuing a job with Quicken Loans. The hours were too unforgiving -- minimum 60 a week -- and there were licensing exams and all kinds of crazy things that made it seem like it would put too much of a stress on more important areas of my life. I wanted to have time to spend with Darin, getting plugged into a church, etc. Yet after I said no, I got really nervous about ever finding a job. Darin and I both wondered if that was a mistake to turn down my one lead. On Wednesday, though, out of nowhere, things changed!

Darin's awesome cousin Melissa, who has a super family (and the cutest kiddos ever), asked a bunch of people she knew if anyone was looking for a job, because there was an entry-level opening at her legal firm. Whaaaaaaaaat. Darin pounced on that for me while I was at the daycare and had me send my resume, and before I knew it on Monday I was driving up for an interview! And no one else had followed through on their search for someone to fill this position, and right away I knew I was on the team!

I couldn't be happier. I can learn the things needed for this job, it pays well, and it's full-time at last. It is also a big blessing that my supervisor will be my cousin-in-law, of course. :) I am so jazzed! It is the most massive answer to prayer, that I have the chance to make money and gain experience with a great firm and still have time to spend on the important things in life.

Yesterday when Darin and I started our bible-in-a-year reading plan, something jumped out to us that seems like the perfect description of what our lives should be. It was this:

"They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do." Psalm 1:3

We noticed it because our street name was in there, so we are literally planted along the riverbank! Haha. But we were reminded that we are grounded and steady, faithful in our place, bearing fruit there continually. The river as the source of our power and nourishment sustains us and gives us success and life. This is where God planted us, and He has great things in store for our family! It may take time to see where He is heading us, but we're asking Him to see more of His kingdom come here, even on our little street or in our little offices.

Anyways, other news with us is pretty ordinary. We finally merged our bank accounts yesterday, so that's one more marriage check off the list! Now if only Secretary of State would SEND ME MY NEW DRIVER'S LICENSE FOR PETE'S SAKE but it's okay. It better come, though.

Those are the little headlines for today! Love and blessings!

Love, Lara

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I have not written in a long time! It's for the best, I needed to wait a while to have some things that are actually interesting to share with anybody. We (Darin & I) have been living rather busy lives as of late with work and school, so I guess the "adult" life has started. COLLEGE STUDENTS: when people say you have tons of free time at school, believe them!!! I felt so "busy" until I had a house to maintain, a job to go to, and food to make that is somewhat healthy, let alone exercise or read. I did not heed these words. Alas, not important.

Actually, I feel tempted to be anxious right now for several reasons. I just turned down a second interview with Quicken Loans in downtown Detroit. This seems slightly like madness, because who would not pursue more of a full-time job in this economy, especially me? I really hated to do it. I was just faced with a hard choice: do I continue to pursue, and take, a job that requires 60 hours a week on the phone and over ten state licensing exams? If I were single or really interested in becoming a banker for life, this would totally make sense. But I foresee a future rather where I would be kept from attending any dinner bible studies, unable to spend time with family and friends if they came to visit me, and losing out on my most quality time with Darin. The stress would exceed the relief of making a good bit of money. After a great deal of praying about how to proceed with my full-time job search, I decided to hand it over to God and keep looking elsewhere.

Anyone in my shoes looking for work knows what I mean. It is really scary to let God take control of worry about whether you'll ever find a normal full-time job, let alone one that actually stirs any interests or passions in you. (I'm leaving that part on the back burner of my thoughts for the most part right now, haha.) He is able to bring something that allows me a teensy bit more freedom and time to enjoy life rather than dread it; rest assured, if you love phone calls, then you may think I'm a nut, but I think those days would pass so slowly! I am in His hands. If I have to resort to eating only oatmeal for the rest of my meals to make ends meet, then that's what I'll do. I won't make Darin do it. Just me.

So, if anyone would please join with me in praying for this job hunt, that would be so wonderful. I believe that God can give better gifts! Pray that I not only stumble upon something God has for me, but that I will continue to be wise, facing challenges at jobs but also seeking the qualities He wants.

Besides that business, we have been wedding hopping like crazy -- it's that time of year, and we contributed to it as well! -- and it has been a blast.

Macedonian wedding line dancing -- congrats Sam & Vanessa! We partied so hard that we overslept any normal church services... :|

My babester and I looking fancy :)

Later we got ice cream, zazzled up at Dairy Queen. It pays to have friends who work there.

Heck, other unorganized photos that represent what has happened lately, because I got to work at 7:30 this morning and am not in a normal state of mind:

I have to say, I concocted the hottest interview outfit of all time for Quicken last Friday. Maybe it's the first thing I prepared for... maybe. I wore a chambray long sleeve shirt with a brown-ish pencil skirt, a white fake J. Crew bubble necklace, and nude pumps. And curled my hair, which took as long as I remember that it always does, and consequently will continue to do only for special occasions.

Oh yeah, and I finally got (most of) my name changes done! This is a souvenir I took from the Social Security Office, because I was not allowed to take pictures of the even better George Takei Star Trek posters they had everywhere. This is the best ad campaign the government has ever thought of. Keep doing what you do, Social Security, except maybe let me tell you in advance how much faster my thing will be over with than the other people and let me leave sooner. Oh, and Secretary of State was a pain in the biscuit as well, as there was some error and I had to go BACK to Social Security to have them prove AGAIN that I did come in already. (Secretary of State is the DMV up here, to my Florida peeps. Weird, right?) Anyways, the Clinton cards are on their way. Hallelujah! :)

AND... drumroll... it's my birthday!!! Yay! I feel weird saying how old on the internet just because someone could figure out my exact birthday and steal my identity, so suffice it to say that it's not old yet. This is Darin's genius birthday card to me. He knows me so well. Nothing could warm my heart quite like a holographic pug that licks my face as I sway the card in the light. He says this is the closest I will get to owning one as a pet. We'll see. Anyways, we are having sushi after he is finished with class at our favorite restaurant in Dearborn, and then I get my presents! This guy put in hours worth of effort so I know they will be spectacular!

Anyways, that's all there is to say for now! Thanks for your prayers for us and for the birthday well wishes! We are still living the good life up in the Mitten!

Love, Lara

P.S. FALL IS COMING SOON. It's already in the 50's at night. Florida Lara is happy, but dreads the coming extra coldness... :| Stay tuned for my winter clothing picks.