My Mouth, Meltdown, and Mums

Good Morning Sunshines! How's your week been? Excited for spring? Yeah me too! I can finally walk outside without a coat! Yipee! Today I'm going to be recapping the week, and also sharing some plans for next week on the blog!
Let's kick things off with:
Scissors and a Whisk: Happies and Crappies Link Up
HAPPIES
~My braces are OFF!
~Spring is finally here in NE!
~I won 2 giveaways this week! That's pretty amazing!
~My head is clear and mind is set to continue in my weightloss journey, after my meltdown this week! Super stoked to be part of the DietBet (HINT HINT: THERE IS STILL TIME TO JOIN!)
  
~ I've been getting back into my chronological Bible reading every most mornings.
~ I finally decided on my Mother's day gift for my mom! But mum's the word right now- because it's a SURPRISE!

CRAPPIES
~ I now have retainers to wear...not very easy to talk with!
~ We found out my grandpa has cancer- it's very slow-acting, thank the Lord- but now doctors are checking to see if its spread. He and my grandma are almost 80, and they are some of the healthiest people I know- so this is quite a shock.
~ The said meltdown above- thankfully some worship music, journal time, and a blog post can and did help me let it out and get myself back on track!

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Okay, now lets get to the blogging part of my post!
Tuesday
I shared the winner of my April Favorites giveaway! And just checked in with you lovely readers :). I also shared my love for Lesley's awesome introvert post.
Wednesday
This was my meltdown post. I shared "the real me", and then some of my favorite healthy living inspirational pins.
Thursday
I showed a techy tip video on how to create a Hello Bar on your blog! check it out!

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And last but not least, here's what is coming up on this blog this week!
inside out muffins ~ Mother's Day gifts ~ spectAPPular ~ and probably another Currently, since May is just around the corner!
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Allie Elliott
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Techy Thursday- Hello Bar

Happy Thursday to you all! Spring is finally here- and my spirits are sky high after my post yesterday! thank you again for letting me share and open up with you all! I'm thankful for your support :).
Moving forward, today I have a Techy Tip for you bloggers! Have you heard of Hellobar before? Even if you haven't, you've probably seen it lots! It's that little purple bar at the top of my blog! It's a great way to market yourself, your shop, etc. in your blog! I've mainly seen it used as an ad discount spot, or a place to market your blog's newsletter! Well, if you have a blog, and you want to promote something in it, I definitely recommend the hellobar! Here's a tutorial for you!


And a thursday is not complete without a little throwback!!
Aren't we just picture perfect?! Me and my brothers on  a beautiful spring day like today!
And also a throwback post for a little reading: My Father's Day DIY Present from last year- perfect for Mother's Day too!
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the real me

So, I had a post planned for today. And it was good. I was showing my love and gratefulness for the things in my life. That's great and all- but, to be real, it's not what i'm thinking about. So I trashed it. Sometimes I like to put on this happy face- like everything is okay, and "great!" even. I love being optimistic, and having a positive attitude. but sometimes, you just have to be real. and that's what i'm doing today.

i'm struggling a lot the past couple of weeks with weight creeping back on. rewind back to february- i was so proud of myself because i had lost so much weight since last summer, and looked and felt great. this wasn't my "perfect" weight, but it was way better than I had been in awhile. after my trip to Hawaii, I was motivated for a few weeks to keep it off and keep going. but then, all of the sudden, i stopped. i plateaued. i got comfortable. and i started to eat sweets again. im telling you, they are my WEAKNESS. and now, i've gained. thankfully, not back to where i started. but definitely not to a comfortable and confident weight for me. and it's so hard, because this is how it's always been. i would be so motivated to lose weight and get healthy, and then i would yo-yo back. i hate this about myself!
when i get determined and motivated, NOTHING can stop me (not even CHOCOLATE! haha...you think i'm kidding)! but getting back into that mindset is the HARDEST thing to do! I try my best, then just fall flat- face first- into a pile of junk.

But, now that I've uncovered the scab, blubbered and hashed out my feelings, it's back to the uphill battle. I AM NOT GIVING UP. NOT NOW NOT EVER! It's a journey, and I know there are valleys. And after the valleys there is the steep and treacherous climb up the mountain.  But that's where confidence and perseverance are built!

Thanks for letting me gush on you today. this is the real me, and, sometimes, some opening of the wounds is what we need for healing and transformation. I'm ready to continue in the process, no matter how many bruises I have! Before I head off to the gym, here are some inspirations for me and you (because they always  motivate me!)





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Winning :)

Hey bloggy buds! Happy tuesday to all! Sorry I was MIA sunday and yesterday! Monday was exciting, because I finally got my braces off! I've had them for four and a half years, and during that time have gone through wisdom teeth removal, tongue reduction surgery, and jaw surgery, along with rubber bands, water picking, etc. So it feels amazing to have them off and be free! I will share a picture of my pearly whites, but we have some whitening to do first! LOL.
Anyways, exciting stuff going on! My April giveaway ended Sunday night and the grand prize winner is Heidi! Congratulations! You have an email from me waiting for you! And, as a THANK YOU for all the wonderful friends who entered, everyone who entered the giveaway also has an email from me telling you how you can get some free ad space on my blog! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Speaking of giveaways, I won one this past weekend from By the Porchlight! How awesome is that?! BTW you MUST go check out her fantastic post from Sunday on Introverts! It makes tons of sense to me, since i am one! I'm going to be posting more about it later in the week.
Well, I don't have much more for you today. The weather is still FREEZING here in good ole NE. I am wishing, waiting, and hoping for the 60s and 70s that they say is coming this weekend!
Alrighty, hope you all are having a fantastic week! Love ya!
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Capping the Week

I must say, this has been a pretty great week! I've also decided that Saturday posts are now devoted to weekly recaps on my blog, reviewing my week in life and on the blog! So join me today for Happies and Crappies and for Weekly What!
Scissors and a Whisk: Happies and Crappies Link Up
happies
~ I made some delicious carrot cake muffins this week! So glad I got to bake- it's one of my favorite things.
~ started my first Dietbet with a bunch of bloggers! (Come join the fun!)
~tutoring went great this week! My student needs to be finished with her Rocketmath Subtraction by the end of the year, and she was on alphabet letter H on Tuesday. She's getting there!
~ my family's house is finally starting to come together! Most of our kitchen cabinets are now in, and they look so good! We're hoping to be in by summer!
~ work is great! We just switched everything in the store around for our Italy floorset, and that's always fun! You guys have to pop into a Bath and Body Works and smell our new Espresso Bar candle- INCREDIBLE!

crappies
~ everything that happened in our country. Just thankful they found the second suspect from the Boston bombings. My eyes were glued to the tv yesterday.
~ allergies have started. BLEH.
~ we had SNOW this week!! I don't mind the rain, but really want the stupid snow to go! It's April 20th, for crying out loud!
~ this week was my last week of bible study! It was really great, but I'm going to miss it! (Post coming soon!)

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Sunday
I started my April favorites giveaway! It ends tomorrow night so go enter!
Monday
I shared ways to save some money at coffeeshops- from bringing your own snacks to rewards cards, and everything in between. Click HERE to head over to the post.
Tuesday
I did a tutorial for you on how to create faux bangs, for the ladies who don't have bangs! Quick, easy tutorial, though you may already know how to do it!

Wednesday
I shared some of my favorite Pinterest pins as of late, and linked up for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Thursday
I shared a tutorial inspired by washi tape! It became a great organizational tool for me, and I think you'll enjoy it!

Friday
And then here I shared my thoughts on Mindy Kaling's book, and a couple new things happening in blogland! Check them out here:


Whew! That was a full week! Enjoy your weekend, lovelies!
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Laughing is Good for the Soul

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Lots of great stuff at the bottom of this post! New Dietbet blogger group and fun book swap! Read On!
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And I did A LOT of laughing reading my most recent book!
I am part of an online book club organized by Ashley, blogger of Chevron Stitches.
Anyways, this was our latest book! And I loved it, cover to cover! Mindy is HILARIOUS. And I relate to her a lot! I first watched her as Kelly Kapoor in The Office, and thought she was great. Did you know she was a writer for The Office?! How cool is that! But, I gotta say, one of my favorite tv shows as of late is The Mindy Project, written and starred by Mindy herself! Here is a blurb about the show on its website:

THE MINDY PROJECT is a biting new single-camera comedy from Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer and New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling ("The Office") that follows a woman who, despite having a successful career, is unlucky in love and desperately needs to get her personal life back on track before her friends and colleagues are forced to stage an intervention.
Funny, impatient and politically incorrect, MINDY LAHIRI (Kaling) can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists. She loves the good ones and the bad ones, because the girl always gets the guy. Mindy is determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books - all in pursuit of becoming a well-rounded perfect woman...who can meet and date the perfect guy.

So, back to the book, it's basically Mindy's autobiography, but incredibly witty and funny. She talks about her concerns, her family, her life growing up, her "Office" experience, etc. I love it because it didn't feel like I was reading a book; it felt like I was sitting with Mindy, having a conversation, and having her just tell me about her life.
A few ways I relate to her:
- We both struggle with our weight. i have ALWAYS had a problem losing weight, since puberty (and before). It was great to see someone else who struggles with it too.
- this sounds really funny, but we both have big heads! mindy even pointed hers out in her book, and I was like, YES! I HAVE THIS ISSUE TOO! hahahaha.
- We both have some amazing best friends. One of my favorite parts of the book was when she talked about how she lived with her two best friends when she lived in New York City after college. Though i've never lived with my best friends, it was fun to see how she related with them.
- We both have no athletic ability whatsoever. 'Nuff said.

Some of my favorite quotes/parts from the book:
- Everyone is stressed out. She discussed how telling people how stressed you are, or why you're stressed is not a legitimate topic of conversation. Everybody is stressed- we don't have to tell each other that we are!
- "I want a guy who is entrenched in his own life. Entrenched is awesome." Another favorite section of this book was when she talked about boys versus men, and that she has come to a point in her life where she is looking for a guy who is rooted. Also, a super funny part before this was that she listed about 10 things that men should be. I thought this was somewhat ironic, because what guy would really read this book, let alone get through over half of it! But, I loved it because it was a great list of what to look for in a guy! Anyways, great knowledge!
-"In real life, shouldn't a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can't wait to talk about gardening with for the next 40 years." I love this quote- because so many times we think the wedding is the main event, but the wedding is just the jumping off point!
- "One friend with whom you have a lot of common is better than three with  whom you struggle to find things to talk about." Amen to that! A couple of REAL relationships are better than lots of surface-level ones.

I love how Mindy is so real in this book, and so hilarious. She really describes her life with great detail, and it makes it so fun to read! She is one of the celebs that I actually look up to, because not only is she funny, and fun, etc. but she is authentic, and knows how much to share about her life, and what not to. She is my favorite comedienne and I loved her book! I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

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Now for some fun! The first thing I want to bring to your attention is that Bre from Peacoats and Plaid started a new Dietbet for bloggers! If you haven't heard about Dietbet, watch the video on the website! It's pretty awesome! Basically, you join a group of people who want to lose weight, and you do so together. You put a certain amount of money in the pot ( for this one its $25), and all you have to do to get it back plus some is to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks! So this one is going for the month of May, and we would LOVE for you to join! Everyone needs some motivation to get swimsuit and summer ready, right?!
click the button to join our group!
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The other thing I wanted to share is a new blog swap happening in the blogger world, by one of my friends, Kimberly!
BloggerBookSwap
here's a great video she's created for the swap!
If you're a booklover like me, you should definitely sign up! Click the button above to head over to her blog and sign up!!
***
Thanks for stickin with me through this loooong post! Have a WONDERFUL weekend, and stop back in tomorrow to read my recap of the week!
MY APRIL FAVORITES GIVEAWAY ENDS SUNDAY! GO ENTER NOW! LOW ENTRIES!
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Inspired: Washi Tape

"Hi, I'm Allie, and I'm a office supply-aholic" Hi Allie.
I. AM. SERIOUS. My favorite things are post-its, pens, and cute journals. And everything else. My favorite time of year is going to Target and getting new school supplies. One of my favorite smells is the fresh opening of the 64 count crayola crayon box (with the sharpener). Believe me yet?!
Anywho, Target is one of my favorite places to shop. And the Dollar Spot gets me EVERY TIME. I decided to go "browse" a couple days after Easter, and I couldn't believe my eyes! Some of the goodies in the dollar spot were 50% OFF. Uhm, the only thing better than getting something for a dollar is getting it for 50 cents! That's when inspiration struck! My target always seems to have these cute little buckets, and I know I don't NEED them, but they are so darn cute! So, I restrained myself and got ONE.
When I got home, I realized this would be the perfect size for my horde of pens to go in, especially since their all over the place right now! But, I had to glam up this simple, galvanized bucket.
First things first, the green checked ribbon HAD to go!
 Next, I had an epiphany! I have just discovered my LOVE for washi tape! So that's what I decided to cover the outside in. But, I also saw my acrylic chalkboard paint looking at me. Why not add a cute chalkboard label?! So I knew my next step had to be to sand the bucket down, to make the paint and tape stick easier.
Once the bucket is sanded, I gave an area on it about 3 coats of my awesome acrylic chalkboard paint. It really doesn't matter if you make it into a perfect box or not, since the tape will cover up the edges. The great part about the paint is that, because it's acrylic, it's smoother. it's great because it doesn't have the gross feel of a chalkboard, yet still keeps the chalk on there! Here's how the paint turned out:
Next comes my favorite part! You get to use your creativity to decorate the bucket! Like I said before I LOVE washi tape! I got some from Pick Your Plum, Walmart, and some pretty cool duct tape from Target, and went to town! Here's how it turned out:


 And the finished product! I used a Chalk Pen to write on the chalkboard paint.



So, what do you think? I LOVE it! the only thing I forgot to do was seal it with Mod Podge. That way it'll last! This can work for any office or school supplies, great for a bedside table stash, etc.

Linking up with Tara for her monthly link up:
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Wordless Wednesday

Hello there friends! Here's a somewhat Wordless Wednesday post... I'll let the pins speak for themselves!
















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Faux Bangs Tutorial

Hello lovelies! Today I have a tutorial for you ladies who don't have bangs, but want something different and fun for your hair without chopping anything off.










The key to this hairstyle is to work with the texture of hair that you have. If you have fine hair, you will probably need more than I needed, because my hair is alot thicker.
But one other thing to note is the only hair you need is from your side part over to maybe  little past the middle of the hairline. This will make for a smooth swoop without extra weight.



I originally did these faux bangs for my 1960s mod photo above, as a part of a Coast to Coast Challenge on Instagram, but they would be fun to do anytime you just want something different!!

What tutorials would YOU like to see on the blog? Have you tried some faux bangs of your own?

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY APRIL FAVORITES GIVEAWAY!

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Just Call Me Cheapo Charlie

I promise, I won't mind! I love saving money, and I'm sorry, I tired of blowing five bucks on a cup of coffee. Tot tell you the truth, I'm sitting at one of my favorite spots right now, with a hot cup of tea watching the rain  drizzle it's way to the thirsty ground. Today I will be sharing a few ways to save some of your hard-earned cash at the coffee shop!
Free Refills are the Best!
One of the things I can't stand is planning a work day at my favorite coffee shop, and having to pay for three cups of coffee or tea! That's why I tend to stick to those places where I can get free refills. The top two places I have found are
Panera Bread
Panera is great because you can get a warm or cold cup and use it as many times as you please! They have tea and coffee, soda, iced tea, and in the summer they have iced coffee as well!



Starbucks
Everybody LOVES Starbucks, but one of my favorite things is that you can reload a gift card, and once you buy 5 times using that gift card you earn their "green card", which means you can get free refills on regular coffee, iced coffee, and tea in the store! I keep track of all that goodness, and pay, with their iPhone app.
BYOS- Bring Your Own Snacks
I put this prompt out to my twitter followers, and one point @bloghandsseo brought up was to bring your own snacks! This will save you tons of money, and help keep you on the healthy track. Those yummy baked goods sure look appetizing in the bakery window, but they are definitely not work $3+ or those extra empty calories!
Stick to the Basics
If you are wanting to save money, stick to the basic coffee or tea. DEFINITELY have those times where you treat yourself, but don't make a $5 drink your norm! Keep those for a special occasion :).
Bring your own
If you are on a REALLY tight budget, bring your own tea bag or hot cocoa packet and just ask for some hot water. Or, something I love to do, is get a nonfat steamed milk. Then, I add my tea bag and sugar in the raw! Without the sugar, that drink will be 130 calories and just a couple bucks!
Use their card
Another great way to save some money is to use that coffee shop's card. For panera, they have a MyPanera card where you can earn rewards when you purchase. You can also get a gift card for easy payment, tracking, and renewing. For Starbucks, your gift card also becomes your reward card, until you get to the gold level, when they send you a special gold card! you earn stars for the drinks you purchase- 5 gets you to green level and 30 get you to gold! It's also easy to reload, and with a smartphone, you don't even need the card! They can scan it off your phone! I get a gift card for my other coffee shops as well. Sometimes they have deals like buy $25 gift card, get $5 more free! The great thing about doing this, also, is that it helps your budget. If you have a "fun" category, or separate "coffee" money, you can easily allocate that amount.
Well, that's all I got! I hope this helped you [[and your wallet]]!! What do you do to save money at coffee shops? Elsewhere?
DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY APRIL FAVORITES GIVEAWAY!
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