Because I Said So: January 2015
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Four of the Worst Foods to Eat with Braces

It's almost been a year since I've had my braces (one year to go) and from trial and error I've learned what to eat and what not to eat. The ever popular 10 braces friendly foods was first, and now I bring you: foods not to eat (because it's just plain annoying!) This is more than your average orthodontist list of foods not to eat: gum, popcorn, etc.

1. Rice. Ugh rice. It's soft and easy to swallow so you'd think it would be ok to eat. Wrong. Be prepared to meticulously pick each morsel out of your brackets. I still eat it, but boy is it annoying!

2. Oatmeal. Double ugh. I've stopped eating oatmeal because even after one brush, it's not enough. You've got to brush your teeth for a good ten minutes and perform what seems like brain surgery to get this out of your teeth.

3. Anything overly Seasoned. Oh the dreaded "do I have something in my teeth?" is taken to a whole new level. OMG why did no one tell me I have black pepper specks ALL UP IN MY BRACES?! Resist smiling at people until you are able to brush thoroughly and/or floss.

4. Peanuts/Cashew/Nuts. The little bits and pieces of nuts that you would normally not be bothered with become stuck in the way back of your braces--the hardest place to reach ever. They are healthy, I know, but more of a pain than healthy benefit in my opinion.

P.S. I just got my braces off and can now eat everything on this list! Click here to read why getting your braces off is the best thing EVER!

What else would you add?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Music to Get through the Work Day

Music is healing, uplifting, and can bring back oh so many memories. For example, there are certain songs, that to this day, remind me of ex boyfriends.

Right now, I'm on a random music kick. Like songs I used to listen to when I was 8 and/or ones I remember my dad blaring on our home stereo system and/or ones that bring back random childhood/high school memories.

I love a good playlist. At work, it's a must. I just can't focus/function in complete silence. I usually find a playlist and hit shuffle. But lately, I've been saving random songs here and there and actually made my own playlist!

Spotify, in my mind, trumps Pandora because you can play all of one artist or make your own playlist to share!

So without further ado, here's the my Random Work Playlist. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

So I haven't been around in the past few days, but I'm not here to apologize. If you haven't noticed already, Because I Said So got an absolutely ah-mazeballs, much needed facelift!
Can you be in love with your blog? Because I so am.

The amazingly talented Whitney Vass, of Heart and Arrow Design, made my vision a reality and I'm speechless and extremely grateful. She's extremely easy to work with and just the sweetest.

This change is just what I needed to take this baby blog to the next level! 

So, if you are looking to upgrade your blog/craving change--I highly recommend going to Whitney.

And if you need another reason, because I said so! What do you think of the new Because I Said So?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Because (She) Said (Yes) || Rebecca + Chad

Wednesdays (for the most part) on this blog are #WeddingWednesday. To shake things up, I'm starting a new kind of series: Because She Said YES!
Now instead of just advice from a wedding professional (aka moi), I'll be mixing in interviews with couples either recently engaged or married and featuring their advice. I hope you enjoy!

When: July 2015
Where: Jackson, MS
Photographer: Hillary O'Briant of Southern Bella Photography
(find them on Facebook)
First up, one of my best friends, Rebecca and her fiancĂ© Chad. I love telling their story because I was there from the very beginning--literally! It's not everyday you see a relationship come together right in front of your eyes. I'd like to say I had a hand in putting the two together because I sat up every night with her listening to her gush about her new crush.

Southern Bella Photography

I wrote a little bit about their story here, but long story short, they met over spring break and it wasn't completely romantic--friends interfering from both sides, the combo of sun, sand, and alcohol. They even joke that it's going to be a weird sort of story to tell their kids!
Their wedding is coming up (in July) and somehow Rebecca has managed to stay cool, calm and collected (not at all a bridezilla) while planning and working as a full time nurse. Her secrets? Read on.
Me: How do you stay in budget?

Rebecca: As far as the budget goes, it’s important to realize what’s important to you and your fiancĂ© and where the money should be spent. A rustic venue was a must have for us...I don’t want to give too much away, but we plan to have lots of personal touches and a fun atmosphere to celebrate our new marriage.

Me: Any advice for those just engaged?

Rebecca: My biggest tip to the newly engaged, is to take a break from the wedding planning! It can become so consuming and overwhelming at times. Chad & I have started a little monthly tradition. On the 18th of every month, (our wedding day) we try to spend some quality (non wedding) time together.
Some dates are just pizza and a Redbox--but, it's going to be really cool to look back after we get married and actually start celebrating our wedding anniversary.  

Like, why I haven't I thought of that?


In just a few short months (eek!), they will be married--because she said YES!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Season for Change

A lot of my life revolves around my boyfriend of six years, Josh.

So, when the news came that he would no longer have a job at the end of the month, things got serious, fast. Sure, we aren't married, we don't have any MAJOR responsibilities, and we are young, but this is still quite the big deal to me.

You hear about people losing their jobs due to budget cuts, but you never think it will or could ever happen to you.

While I think I'm more upset over him not having a job anymore than he is, it can't be easy on him. Sure he'll have a significant amount of pay after his last day, but he still has to do the legwork of finding a job or figuring out what to do next all outside of his comfort zone.

It hit me like a ton of bricks, things were going to change and fast, whether I liked it or not. Everything that I thought I had planned out went out the window.

Where would he find a job? Would he go to grad school? Does he have that kind of money? What if he moves out of state? How would we do long distance? We've never done long distance. What about all of our plans to buy a house, get married...? When? Why? So many burning questions.

Not knowing the answers is killing me.

In this short period of time, I've learned a few things. One, to not be so demanding. My needs/wants aren't the only things that matter. We are a team. Two, money can't be spent frivolously. And finally (the most important), support and trust are the number one things I can offer. 

It's important to note that in this season of our life, this change isn't necessarily a bad thing. Really, it's a blessing in disguise. Josh didn't want to work in retail any longer and now he can't/won't!

I think this was God's way of giving him a nudge kick in the butt to get moving on to better things. And God's way of telling me that I am NOT in control of  anything. Now, the opportunities are endless! He could go back to grad school and get the MBA or get a job wherever he wants.

Funny how these things work.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Things

YAY It's Friday...again! I can honestly say that I've waited all week for today and just for the weekend with no work, so it better go by fast.

1. This Girl Can. I love it--and who isn't tired of all the perfect models pretending to work out? This is real. My favorite part: I jiggle therefore I am. And nothing like Missy Elliot to get you motivated to MOVE! #thisgirlcan

2. Uncertainty. It's not my favorite thing, but it's something I'm dealing with. Not knowing where I'll be in 6 months or where the boyfriend will be--it's hard to plan (I love planning) for the unknown. It's not good for my anxiety. Geez, this life thing is kinda hard.

3. Jimmy Dean Maple Sausage Biscuits. Holy wow! These are the best--and I don't even like sausage all that much. I had like three for breakfast and no this isn't sponsored. If you're like me, finding a good breakfast food can be hard (that's not Lucky Charms)--so just passing it along!

4. Whitney's Instagram Class. Literally the best. I mean if she couldn't be any more wonderful, she's teaching (those who sign up for) classes! Ever wondered how top bloggers get a million followers and triple the engagement that you do? Whitney goes over it all. I learned so much from the class last night and can't wait to begin transforming my Insta--so be on the lookout!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"I saw the SIGN and it opened up my eyes"

"Or actually I didn't and that's why I missed your wedding, but at least I made it to the reception right?" That is definitely not something you want to have to say to a bride.

Signage is probably one of the most important details of your very important day. It tells people where the bathroom is, what the food is, and where the wedding is. All crucial elements, right?

A few CRUCIAL things to label:

1. Where the wedding/reception is: even if you include a detailed map on the invite some people will still get lost. To help, place some kind of sign at the entrance that conveys the message "You've arrived--time to party!" (balloons, etc.) Do this ESPECIALLY if your reception is in a complicated location and/or people have been known to get lost before.

2. Food: Have you ever been at a buffet and wondered what it was that were looking at? Labeling food items is helpful in general, but especially if there are food allergies. You DO NOT want someone with a seafood allergy to take a bite of a crab cake and end up in the ER or have to pull out their Epi-pen. Also, picky eaters benefit from this. (label the bar while you're at it!)

3. Reserved Tables: To dodge the "faux pas" of one of your guests sitting in "Aunt Betty's" special spot. I've seen some people get pissed off because their "spot" was taken.

4. Which door to use: People coming in the back door/ banging on a locked door is never a good thing. Solve this problem with a simple door sign "Please use other door" or "_____ Reception use front door"

Have you ever experienced a wedding or party mix-up due to no signage? 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Weekly Favorites

Happy Monday everyone! I love a good weekend that feels productive, but relaxing and lazy at the same time. It makes me that much ready for the week ahead. Here's what I'm loving this week/weekend:

Serial: I've heard a lot about this podcast series that takes old cases and re-investigates them, but never thought of myself as a "podcast type person." But, it's really good. Like really good. Yesterday, I took Laney on a two mile/almost 1 hour walk. That was plenty of time to get started on the first episode.

Meal Prepping: it's unbelievable, I know, but I have dinners planned out for the next week and a half! This means I also have lunches planned. Win-win.
  • Tonight: Turkey Chili with (burnt) Cornbread
  • Tuesday: Maple Dijon Chicken
  • Wednesday: Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
  • Thursday: Burger Patties with Garlic Roasted New Potatoes
  • Friday: Grilled Tilapia with Green Beans
I mean I'm pretty excited about cooking dinner now!

Clean(er) eating: I went through everything in my fridge and pantry and threw away items with ingredients I couldn't pronounce--or that I knew were bad. I have basically nothing left in the house to eat, but I don't get paid until Wednesday. The struggle is real.
Gym dates: I really don't like to go to the gym alone. Which is why I'm glad Josh is back into working out. It definitely makes it easier to lace up those tennis shoes.

Competition: Josh is a very VERY competitive person. Always has, always will be. So, he loves to challenge me to a healthy dose of friendly competition every once in awhile.
Our challenge: To reach our weight loss (or weight gain) goal.
Time frame: Whoever reaches their goal first wins.
Reward: The "loser" has to treat the "winner" to dinner of their choice.
Naturally, I have picked the most expensive restaurant as my prize WHEN I win. Game on.

Netflix Food Documentaries: I'm so obsessed with watching food documentaries. Finding out where our food is grown and even seeing extremes like Veganism is absolutely fascinating. Food Inc., Super Size Me, and Forks over Knives are a few of my (current) favorites.

What are you loving this week?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What I'm Watching

Hint: It's not cable.
I cancelled my cable yesterday! Like all of it. I don't even get news channels. This works out perfectly for me, because I only watched a handful of channels in the first place and the cost didn't justify the benefit. Plus I read the news online (mostly on Twitter/Yahoo/theSkimm).
Anyways. So now that I'm a new woman (cable-free) I have so much time for activities. And by activities I mean Netflix.
Here's what I'm watching:
The Carrie Diaries. I already finished this series as there were only two seasons--which I finished in like two days. I wish the series could've kept going, but I think it ended well.  Also, Carrie inspired me to wear my hair naturally curly more often.

Nikita. Josh and I started this series while in college and made it to season two. Since then, two more seasons have since been released--the catch: we can only watch them together. Meaning, while he's at work and can't watch like three episodes. 

New Girl. This show is hilarious. I'm rooting for Nick and Jess to get together in the end, but I'm only on season two (so no spoilers please!)

Also on the list, various movies that I forgot that I loved. In a nutshell, Netflix is way better than cable so far and I'm saving a lot of money!

Have any suggestions on what to watch next? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Marketer + the Consumer

I was a marketing major in college and I had this one professor, Dr. Smith, as my capstone professor. In his class, we had to analyze case study after case study and recommend to them what we think they should do. Y'all it was the hardest class ever--but I learned a lot and how to think critically.

Anyway, I bring that up to say, the Target/Lilly Collaboration seems like a case we would've have poured over (and what the execs at each company have likely poured over) for lengthy amounts of time. 

I've read so many comments about the collaboration and honestly, probably too many. Many along the lines of:  "Oh no now the poor people will be wearing Lilly" or "It's only for a limited time with it's own unique prints--quit being a snob" and "Lilly would be rolling in her grave." Ok really, who knows what Lilly is doing or what think--she's dead. And I'm not going to bring income into necessarily, but these are my thoughts.

I see it from both sides. Marketing + the Consumer.

Photo from @lillyfortarget Instagram

1. The marketer: Does this move cheapen the brand? Is it a last ditch effort to bring in the younger generation? What about the experience?

It sounds to me like they had a tough decision to make. Part of me thinks that they are losing their niche. The experience of shopping in a boutique, the exclusiveness of it all (albeit, there are other ways to buy Lilly: eBay, etc.) will be lost for many people. As a company, branding is easily one of the most important things. So many people seem to be backing this move based on only price. Price isn't everything.

Also, many of the boutiques are not very big, meaning like 5 employees. What happens when all business ceases at these stores because you can buy the items cheaper at Target down the street?

2. The consumer. On the other hand, I'm so glad Lilly will be affordable to so many more people (me included). Sometimes in not justifiable or in the budget to buy a 50$ plain black V-neck just because it has Lilly on the tag. 

My opinion: I'm torn. There are enough severely pissed off women of America that Lilly is no longer exclusive that will boycott or at least try to refrain from shopping. I'm not sure Lilly for Target sales will justify the dip in boutique/online sales. We will just have to wait and see if it was a bold, but rewarding move for this collaboration. And, I must note, at the end of the day, it's a collaboration. Collabs aren't full product lines. These items are exclusive to Target. Meaning if you want the other prints you'll still have to shop Lilly stores.

Is this the end of Lilly or at least the exclusive boutique as we know it? Hopefully not.  Will I be in line to buy a few Target items, yes. Will I still shop at my local flagship store, of course--some of my favorite people work there. 

What do you think?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How To: Train your Dog to NOT sleep in your bed

From the very first moment we adopted Laney, she's been treated anything but a dog. She's our little spoiled princess dog child.

We tried to crate train her, but due to the fact that she lived with Josh in a fraternity house for the first year of her life, it lasted about a day before the maintenance men busted us. 

From that point, we knew she would never stay in the crate without yelping at the top of her lungs. So we left her out. She'd usually be lounging on the couch when we'd check on her between classes. We bought her a cute little Mattha Stuart bed and all was going great until 1. She chewed it up and 2. Josh dropped books on her while he was studying at his desk. ( we aren't terrible dog parents I promise. There's a learning curve with this kind of stuff right?)

We were doomed. Laney had us wrapped around her little paw and right where she wanted us. She then would sleep in the bed. My bed, his bed, under the covers, head on the pillow--like a human. Josh still feels terribly responsible to this day. But, now it's a real problem. Laney isn't a puppy anymore. She's 35 pounds and stretches all the way out, sheds like crazy, and kicks during the night. Of course, there are many other reasons why your dog-child shouldn't sleep with you (which I've already touched on).

Exhibit A: Laney, in my bed. Head on the pillow. Living the life.

Step1. Create boundaries. Will they be allowed on the couch, just not on the bed? Or no human lounging surfaces at all. We still let Laney on the couch, just not the bed. We aren't THAT cruel.

Step 2. Get them a bed of their own. Very important. I put Laney's bed right next to my bed so she feels like she's still sleeping with me, but in reality, she isn't. Make them comfy in their OWN bed. 

Step 3. Enforce. Enforce. Enforce. Consistency is key. When they try to get on the bed, firmly say NO. (no matter how cute those puppy dog eyes are).

Obviously we are still new at this and it's no surprise that Laney whined literally ALL night last night, but it must be done. (it's four years over due). Take it from me, it's better to train them young, then to try  four years later!

Have any tips for us? We'd love to hear them!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Tis the Season for Engagements

Lately, there have been a ton of engagements popping up all over my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. If you are a female in your 20s, I'm sure it's happening to you too. It all started around the week of Christmas. Christmas Eve engagements by the dozens, even more Christmas Day and New Year's Eve engagements.

It IS "engagement season" after all. 
What is engagement season?
Engagement season (IT REALLY IS A THING) is the phrase coined for the time period between November and February. Don't believe me? Just look at your own timeline or your friend's and see how many people have gotten engaged in just a few months. Something about the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day) really brings out the romantic side in guys. Something in the water maybe?
In the wedding industry, this is a prime time. It's like our own Holiday (that we have to work). We get dozens of calls from potential brides literally the moment it happens. "Hi, my name is _____ and I JUST got engaged (like five minutes ago) and would like information..." Never fails.
Bridal shows will be popping up by the dozen--we still have Valentine's to get through after all! I know I'm attending one for my company in January (for all of those Christmas/New Year's brides-to-be) and then one in late February (for those Valentine's Day brides-to-be).
If you are just recently engaged, you've come to the right blog. Here are a few tips and tricks from an industry insider. You can just think of it as my engagement present to you :)
Congrats to all of the newly engaged couples--time to get planning!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

This year will be the best one yet if last night was any indication. Josh and I ended up scoring free VIP tickets to a pretty great, cool, awesome party last night. Free food, drink, and entertainment. We definitely brought in the New Year in style. 
Honestly I had my doubts and actually tried to talk Josh out of going. That's why this year (in addition to my usual resolutions), I will seize every opportunity and keep the anxiety in check. This year, will be the year of YES.

New Year's Resolutions 2015:

  • Save Money. (this is on the list EVERY year because I'm not so good at it.) We are saving for a house (eventually when we get married because renting is the pits). Each for a downpayment by July 2016. Here we go.
  • Live Healthy. Mainly make a lifestyle change. I'm recently obssesed with food documentaries like Food Inc. and Supersize Me and it's amazing and horrifying--the junk we put in our bodies. Meal planning and scheduling time to work is a priority this year. I'd love to run a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon this year 

  • Adhere to tight budget. Like I said, I'm trying to save for a house. With saving so much, I don't have the luxury to eat out a shop ALL THE TIME. It's a "luxury" for a reason. By creating a specific budget each month and here's the catch: sticking with it maybe the house will be saved for sooner :)

  • Read More. I love to read. I signed up for a library card last year, but I have really used it. 

  • Get Organized. And stay organized/clean. 

  • Grow Blog. This seems to always be on the list too. This year I want to actually plan posts, get a domain name, get more sponsorships, and a new blog design. I'm signed up for a few classes that I think should help and I'm so excited!