Never Have I Ever…

This week is dragging on for me. I hope it’s going a little quicker for you (if that’s your prerogative). In less than two weeks I will be relaxing on vacation so it’s a challenge to focus right now. I promise I’m trying to live in the now 😉

Today’s post was half inspired by Rebecca Jo’s post and half inspired by the juvenile game (or drinking game) of “Never Have I Ever.” And in this version I get to keep all my fingers up and I don’t have to throw back any shots of alcohol. If you’ve ever played the game, you understood that.

So basically this is just a weird “about me” post… Just in case you don’t know enough already. Ha.

Never have I ever… had my ears pierced. When I was 10 my mom took me to get them done for my birthday but I totally chickened out and started crying as soon as the needle gun thingy was at my head. At that moment I lost all interest in ear jewelry.

Never have I ever… been to Mexico. I’ve been to Europe and India and the Bahamas and Canada, but I’ve never been to Mexico. Between the heat and the cartel and the zika I don’t have any immediate travel plans 😉

Never have I ever… gone on a blind date. I started dating K just after my seventeenth birthday. I had one serious boyfriend prior to K (UGH) and a few high school flings, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to go on a blind date. If I were single I don’t know that I’d go on one anyway… I’ve seen way too many episodes of Criminal Minds.


Never have I ever… been in a physical fight. I once got mad enough to sucker-punch a friend but K (who I was not dating at the time) caught my arm mid-air and restrained me from throwing a punch.

Never have I ever… bought a lottery ticket. Or visited an “adult video store.” Or gambled. Or any of that stuff people do when they turn 18. Ha! Actually, I didn’t even order an alcoholic beverage on my 21st birthday! I got a Shirley Temple.

Never have I ever… gotten a speeding ticket. I’m sure I’ve jinxed myself now. The first time it happens I know I’ll cry- even though I’ll deserve it. Haha. I was cited for ‘failure to control’ but I still think that was total b.s. It was black ice and I totaled my car and I totally could’ve used some mercy from the officer. (I later heard that he regretted being so harsh. I forgive him.)

Never have I ever… had braces. I know a lot of people haven’t, but I’ve been complimented before on my braces work because my teeth are super straight! That gives me some joy since I have over 9 fillings in my mouth from cavities. I’ll take what I can get. (I promise I brush & floss… I just have teeth that are close together and sensitive gums.)


Never have I ever… been hospitalized overnight. When I snapped my leg it was at night and we were at the hospital until the wee hours of the morning, but I’ve never been admitted.

Maybe none of these things make me unique… Ha! Maybe you have one that sets you apart from everyone else! What have you never done??


Snap & Crop: A Scrapbooking Post

It’s Monday, friends! Last week I mentioned that I’m a scrapbooker and some people really connected with that so I thought it’d be nice to share some tips today! It’s a unique hobby but easy to do, and it’s one of my favorite things! That said, if you’re not into it I understand 🙂

(Before you click away, though, would you mind checking out the one-question poll at the end of this post?? Please & thank you!!)


I started scrapbooking when I was really young (like, first-grade-young). I used to attend all-night scrapbook parties hosted through Creative Memories with my mom and my aunt. There were always plenty of stickers and paper cutting tools to use buy on hand through a consultant. Think Pure Romance or Premier Jewelry parties, except it’s a 12-hour party and you get to chat, scrap, (buy,) and snack the whole time. (There was always a delicious food table filled with chips and pretzels and brownies, and it was stocked all night long. I had priorities as a child. And as an adult.)

Despite my 20 year love affair with scrapbooking, I will never claim to be the best. I enjoy it and I occasional put together a page I’m proud of, but my aunt and my sister-in-law are wizards. I worship at their scrapbooking alter. Seriously.

Anyway, after 20 years I have a little knowledge, so here are some tips for new and old scrappers alike:

Scrapbooking is a pack-rat’s dream.  I’m that psycho that keeps every single concert ticket, wedding invite, movie stub, etc. And it all pays off when I go to fill out the scrapbook. Seriously, I’ve come home from vacations with napkins and tourist brochures, all for the sake of scrapbooking.


Keep a list of what you want to scrapbook: past, present, & future.  I don’t always go in order when it comes to scrapbooking. I try to keep up with our marriage years but there are vacations from college that I haven’t gotten around to scrapping. I have a running list of all the things I’d like to record. This helps me remember what pictures I need to order or what stickers/paper I should look for next time I’m in Michael’s.

Journal while on vacation.  I journal every single event from vacation, usually each night of the trip. (Sometimes it drives K nuts that I sit at the little hotel desk and write down our activities, purchases, and meals, but in the end I am SO glad to have spent an extra 10 minutes recording our adventures.) I love to track our spending and our food in my travel journals. I also tuck receipts and brochures/itineraries into the back cover of the journal. It helps a lot when it comes time to scrapbook!


Keep a planner!  I don’t keep a diary (unless I’m traveling), but I always reference my planner(s) when scraping our marriage years. It reminds me what weddings we attended and where we went on a weekend get-away. I also jot down unusually things of significance (like a new car) so I remember what day/month it occurred.

Keep a folder for paper trinkets.  I have a crate with hanging folders that hold different scrapbook topics, but one of those folders is always label “THIS YEAR.” Any time we get a concert stub or birth announcement or anything that might get lost in the shuffle I slip it right into this folder for safe keeping!


Keep a good inventory & buy things on sale!  Scrapbooking can be pricey… Thanks to all my years on the force, I’ve built up a pretty solid inventory of paper and stickers and paper cutters and pens. But that doesn’t mean I don’t lose my mind at JoAnn Fabics when the paper is on sale 😀 In my experience it’s smart to keep a good stock of letter stickers, neutral patterned paper, accent stickers and textures (like buttons), and a spare book or two. Definitely buy books when they’re on sale. (I like Pioneer 12×12 books because the paper slides right into the sleeve without any cropping.)

Have I totally overwhelmed you…? Honestly, scrapbooking is wonderful because you can be as creative or simple or colorful or drab as you want! Some people put books together online and some people make physical books. Do what makes you happy- people will enjoy your photos and memories either way!


I posed this question on Twitter a few days ago, but it sparked my curiosity… I always reply to comments on my blog, but since I don’t use Blogger or go through Disqus I’m not sure if/how you’re notified.


Thanks so much, my friends! Have a wonderful week!!


Let’s Take a Quick Coffee Break!

Top of the morning to ya! (Or afternoon… or evening…) Let’s break from this crazy day and grab a latte!

If we were having coffee I would absolutely have to tell you about my new car!! (If you follow me on Instagram you already know!) K has been talking about getting me a new car since we got married (+3 years ago) and on Monday night it became a reality! He found me a black, 2015 RAV4 and I’m already so in love with it!

Saying “bye” to Felicity and celebrating with some Starbucks!

If we were having coffee I’d show you the video of Lylee splashing in her kiddie pool for the first time this summer! I might be counting down the days until fall but she is embracing the sun and surf.

If we were having coffee we would obviously high-five over the Cavs victory!! I don’t really follow sports and I won’t pretend like I’ve always been a die hard Cleveland fan, but I was pretty pumped about the victory.

If we were having coffee I might mention how I heard about the Cavs win: Luke Bryan announced it to me (and 80,000 other people)! On Thursday my best friend Kayla told me that her cousin had tickets to the Sunday portion of Buckeye Country Superfest and she was unable to go. Monday morning was a long commute from Columbus and a little rough, but what’s life without a few spontaneous “school-night” concerts??

If we were having coffee I would admit that I watched a few episodes of UnREAL last night. I think it might be a new guilty pleasure but I’m really not sure. I’m three episodes in and I just can’t decide. Do you watch it?

If we were having coffee I’d also admit that I’m kind of in a reading slump again. Currently I’m chipping away at a book but, as mentioned, sometimes I opt for ridiculous television. I’m hoping Erin’s challenge rejuvenates me!

If we were having coffee I’d ask what’s new with you?! Do you have any big vacations planned? I’m counting down the days until ours! I’d ask you to tell me about your 4th of July traditions, too! Where is your favorite fireworks display?

Thanks for catching up with me!


Spring Cleaning 2.0 RECAP

First of all: Happy 29th Anniversary, Mom & Dad ❤︎

Ok, on to my spring goals… Back in March I estimated that I’d complete 80% of my list. Turns out, I didn’t. Here’s what got done:

  • Condense three closets into two and donate/store clothes (I combined some of K’s clothes into my closet and freed one up!)
  • Finish Year 2 scrapbook
  • Order pictures for Year 3 scrapbook (to be done after April 27th)
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Landscape front yard
    • This didn’t happen, but we did purchase a grill and patio furniture for the backyard!
  • Wash dog harnesses, leashes, beds, and blankets
  • Re-organize Pinterest boards (Delete doubles and got rid of the useless pins.)
  • Figure out what to do (decor-wise) in stairwell (Honestly, it still needs something… but we at least made some progress.)
  • Paint the front door and replace house numbers
  • Decide what to do with finished basement area…  (I think we pretty much decided on a drum room.)

So there you have it, 60% of the tasks completed. More than half, so I feel alright.

I’ll be totally honest with you guys: I finished my Year 2 scrapbook right before I posted my list in the spring. Is that technically cheating? Oh well. I clearly needed to cheat a little. That said, I finished up two of these things this past weekend. Crunch time is a good time for me. Ha.

Having this list reminded me of the projects I wanted to accomplish these last few weeks. Keeping to-do lists on the blog holds me accountable (at least in my head). That said, here’s a shorter Summer To-Do List; deadline is the first day of autumn (❤︎❤︎❤︎), Sept. 22.

  • Paint front door & replace house numbers
  • Build small deck in backyard
  • Scrub greasy build-up off kitchen cabinets
  • Order Year 3 Photos & start scrapbook
  • Wash couch cushion slips & dust fans/blinds/neglected places

My summer list is shorter because we’ve got some vacations and weddings. What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

Linking up with Steph & Sara!


Life According to Steph

My Role Models

On Monday I am going to recap my Spring Cleaning to-do list, but Monday is also my parents’ 29th anniversary. Keeping with the theme, Sunday is Father’s Day. My parents aren’t super keen on appearing on my blog, but today I’m going to talk about them.

My family has always consisted of Mom, Dad, Fred, and myself (plus a sprinkle of pets). As children, Fred and I knew that we were lucky to have parents that were married to one another. A lot of my brother’s friends had divorced parents and he fretted about it. (I remember he once got upset because Mom & Dad disagreed on a TV station.) Never once in my +25 years have I worried about my parents splitting up.

Family 1

When I was younger if you’d have asked me who my hero(s) was I probably would’ve drawn a blank. For the most part I didn’t idolize anyone. Or at least I didn’t think I did.

It’s stupid that it took me years to realize that my parents are two of the best people in my life. Until recently, my parents weren’t my friends. Until recently, they didn’t want to be my friends. They wanted to be teachers and counselors and guides- but not my friends. When I became an adult that changed.

I was a mouthy teenager. I was much kinder to my dad than my mom. I was moody and anxious and secretive. Those were crappy years for Mom. But they never, ever told me not to hang out with people. They never told me to quit an activity or class or project. They welcomed our friends and always provided food or shelter or love to the kids (and pets) that Fred and I brought home. They drove me from A to B and celebrated when I got my license and cheered when I graduated from high school and worried a little but also beamed with joy when K asked me out. Despite all that, they often got the nasty, hurtful, scowling side of me.

But something changed when I graduated college. Our relationship shifted. A veil of angst was lifted and I could clearly see everything they’d done for me (and Fred) over the course of my life. And I realized that all my habits and thoughts and manners and wisdom were a direct product of their parenting.

Mom once told me that she tells Dad everything. She said they keep my secrets as a couple, but she won’t keep things from my dad- they parent together. I also watched them plant gardens together and travel together and talk about money together. And after a few years of my own marriage I realize that I model our marriage on my mom and dad. K knows everything about me and we can do anything together. I have so much respect for him and I take pride in his accomplishments- just like my parents do with one another.

(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC
(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC

The relationship I have with Mom and Dad couldn’t have existed when I was younger. Their roles were different; my attitude and behavior was different. I appreciate the traveling and the chores and the restrictions they implemented when I was young. And I now appreciate the confidence and love and support and friendship they offer now.

I look forward to calling Mom on a Saturday morning and asking if she wants run errands with me or see a movie. K and my dad go to lunch together and work on projects or vehicles alongside one another. Sometimes they call one another to chat. We spend Saturday nights in their backyard around a fire with my parents and their friends. The shift from ward to friend was seamless. I don’t even know when it happened.

So in honor of Father’s Day, I just wanted to say that my dad and mom are incredible at parenting. They really were (and are) amazing at being “mom” and “dad.” And in honor of their 29th anniversary, my parents are role models. I didn’t know it for the longest time, but they really have raised me to be the woman, adult, wife, and friend that I am. I am so grateful to be their daughter.

On a different note, Happy Birthday to my soon-to-be-sister, Christina
and to our 5 yearold husky-bear, Lylee!


Looking For Hope

When I was in college I took a few religion courses from a professor that challenged and changed many of my opinions and ideals. She once told us a story about a conversation she’d had with some friends concerning children. Her friends mentioned that they’d like to have kids soon and she asked them why. They rattled off answers like, “I want to be a mom/dad” and “It seems like the next logical step”, but she kept pushing them. Why do you want children? What makes you want to bring kids into this world?

She told us that she believes the correct answer is “hope.” You want to bring children into this screwy society because you have hope for the future.

If I’m being 100% honest I’m not feeling very hopeful right now, but rather discouraged. I’m discouraged that we have a maniac running for the presidency. I’m discouraged that a night of dancing and fun can lead to mass murder and heartbreak. I’m discouraged that my sex is seen as lesser in the eyes of many (including the law sometimes). I find it very, very hard to see past these things. I half wonder if God would like to flood the Earth again.

I have a very bleak outlook this week.

That said, I know that there’s hope out there. It’s standing in line at the blood banks, offering up a vein for those who need the extra sustenance. It’s sitting in the pews, praying for families and victims. It’s marching down the street, holding hands and waving flags and chanting together- without fear or shame. It’s in the extra text messages and phone calls being made this week to loved ones or friends that haven’t been spoken to in weeks. I know that it’s there. I know it.

“You don’t get to choose whether or not terrible things happen to good people in this world, but you do get to choose who you hold at night, so hold them tight.” -Aubrey Johansen

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

audielou.com_signatureNo comments today. Go spread some hope & love to some other folks. Emily shares similar thoughts.

Random Questions w/ Random Answers

The world is really sad and serious right now. It’s gotten even worse over the weekend. I’d like to start this week off on a happy note. And on a random note 🙂

What animal best represents your personality? | My family and I were talking about this a few weeks ago! I assigned both my parents an animal and I told K he was like a runt German Shepherd (hahaha). He’s tough and assertive, but he’s not full-on-Arnold-Schwarzenegger. They told me that I’m like a fluffy kitten. I imagine they meant the kind of kitten that looks cute and has a round face, but will still bite and swipe at you when annoyed. Also, sometimes I’m high energy with a short attention span… ha.


What book(s) shaped your life? | Speaking of kittens… The book Little Bo by Julie Andrews Edwards was one of my favorite books as a kid. There’s a part in the book that a human intentionally tries to hurt kittens and I think that really opened my eyes to animal cruelty. (The kitties were ok in the end!)

Which is better: being the boss or being the employee? | If I could just be the boss of myself I think I’d be happy, but I don’t really want to be in charge of others. (I watch K stress over his duties every day.) That said, I like being an employee with power and free-reign. I just don’t want to have to make all the decisions or be responsible for others.
Tl;dr: A high-ranking, very independent employee.

Name three things in nature that you find most beautiful. | Stars, mountains, and rolling hills with a reddish/purple sunset behind them.

Would you rather fly or read minds? | Definitely fly. I don’t want to hear people’s secrets. I’d actually rather be able to talk to animals 🙂

What was your favorite year? | Of my own life? I guess 2013 was the most eventful: we got married, went on a cruise, moved in together, bought a house, and adopted Enzo. Every year of marriage has been great, though.

What’s your most recent guilty pleasure? | The stupid Bachelorette. I am so totally all in with that dumb show. I have a group text message going with two of my best friends and I have a bracket for each week and I look into blogs & predictions on the web. It’s embarrassing- I never thought I’d be a weekly viewer. (Go Derek & Jordan!)

What is the ugliest vegetable? | That’s a weird question. Oddly enough, I actually have an opinion on the prettiest vegetable (asparagus!) I guess the ugliest is probably cauliflower because it looks like a white brain. Hahaha.


What’s something that you think a lot of people worry about (but you don’t)? | Zombies. Zombies are nary a concern to me. I hate zombie movies and TV shows, and if there was ever an attack I would not survive because I think I’d off myself before fit hits the shan. (Then again, I’m an excellent shot… Do zombies die when you shoot them? Because if that’s the case I’d be a great person to have on your team 😉 )

What book do you wish would be turned into a movie? | Um, hands down: The Lunar Chronicles. Please please please someone tell me these are going to be a movie someday!! I need to see Wolf IRL 🙂

Alright, now you answer them! Seriously, what is the ugliest vegetable??