Tuesday, April 29, 2014

6 Reasons Why I Should Be On The Next Reality TV Show

One of the headlines on the news last night was Bravo Confirms Reality Show Comes to Minot. I laughed out loud, not even joking. LOL literally happened right then and there. For one, there has never been a reality tv show to take place anywhere in North Dakota. Why? Because everyone thinks ND is cold, flat, boring, and one big farm. Side note: It is snowing right now so there's that. But you may have heard about the current oil boom happening in Western ND right now. And if you haven't, you probably live under a rock because it's been national news ever since it was discovered. As a result of this oil situation, people from all over the country are heading to Western ND for work and to make big money. Bravo says they are "looking for people who moved here unexpectedly to make it big in the Magic City". They're going to call the show Why Not, Minot?

Well it got me thinking. We moved here unexpectedly (for a temporary job situation, not necessarily to "make it big", but small detail). We live in this current melting pot. I even caught myself saying to people "why not, Minot" before we moved here. I could totally be a reality tv star on this show! Why not? 

6 Reasons Why I Should Be On The Next Reality TV Show:

1. I'm emotional. Let's face it, every reality show needs a sensitive, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve girl. I cry easy, I get my feelings hurt, and I worry way too much about what other people think of me. Check check and check!

2. I'm funny. Oh wait, maybe only I think so. Whatever.

3. I've watched my fair share of The Bachelor, House Hunters, Real World, Teen Mom, and other garbage. I'm well-researched and know how these things work.

4. I'm indecisive. Seriously, ask me what I'm going to wear to work tomorrow and I'll try on 3 different tops before putting back on the one I had on in the first place. No one likes to watch people live their lives when they never struggle to decide what drink to make or which load of laundry to do first.

5. I don't mind having a drink or two and am not picky. Obviously drinking happens on reality tv shows and I would be willing to drink anything from wine to beer to martinis to wine coolers. This one might be tough for me but it's just a sacrifice I'll have to make. That's show-biz, people.

6. I can dance. Think about it, nearly every reality show has some sort of night club scene, dance party, or solo session and ... I got the moves.
I'd love to share more but I need to go pick out my outfit for the casting....


Lauren writes at The Albrecht's Blog and also shared a guest post on here last week titled "How to add a little Southern Charm to your life, no matter where you live" that readers loved! She is married to her best friend and they recently moved to New Hampshire. She totally motivates me to actually like running and just be a better, happier person. If you haven't already you need to go check her out - she's one of my fave reads!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Stomach Bugs and a $100 Target Giveaway

I'm writing this ahead of time on Sunday evening after spending my weekend alone, unless you count this horrible stomach bug that made it's way into my body right around Thursday noontime and has not yet decided to leave. Parker was gone for hockey and the weekend was looking to be productive and relaxing, complete with trips to the gym and Hobby Lobby. Instead, it wasn't that at all. On a positive note, I suppose it's a good jumpstart to any weight loss journey because I've only consumed 3 cans of chicken soup and/or broth, 1 strip of saltine crackers, and ginger ale since Friday night.

I would share with you some pictures from my weekend, but I didn't take any. Well, technically that's a lie because I did take one and I even almost posted it to Instagram right around 3:00pm on Saturday. Then I snapped out of it and realized no one cares to see a picture of my chicken broth heating up on the stove. You're welcome. Stomach bugs are gross.

But, Target makes me happy and today, myself and these fabulous co-hosts below are giving away $100 for you to spend on whatever you want at the store that was God's gift to women. Enter away! And I hope your weekend was better than mine.

Love & Wrinkles // Becoming Adorrable // Blue Giraffes & Concrete Jungles
Marry Mint // Jessica J. Marie // Sprinkles & Sundresses
A Labour of Life // Near & Far Montana // A Hundred Tiny Wishes
Enter using the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fridays + others things that make me HAPPY

Well helloooo Friday! I have to admit, this week definitely dragged on a bit. But here we are, finally the start of the weekend - Friday, Friday, gonna get down on Friday...

1 || I sent a few snail-mail notes this week and I just loved this Papyrus card that I sent to my Grandma. Papyrus gets me every time. Yes, they're a little on the spendier side but I just make sure to send them to somebody who will appreciate their beauty and not toss them in the trash right away. I keep like every card I ever receive so there's that. But in these days of texting, e-mailing, and snapchats snail mail is so fun to get.

2 || I took a little break from blogging yesterday - a blogcation, if you will. Sometimes I'm just too mentally exhausted when I finally get a break to sit down at my computer and edit photos or even formulate complete sentences. I have to admit, there are small pangs of guilt on days like that but some days, a post is just not gonna happen. Does this ever happen to you?

3 || I kind of, sort of, really liked my outfit on Wednesday. It was just so summer-y and happy.

4 || Parker's gone for hockey this weekend. Sometimes I really don't mind having alone time, getting things done, and having a Netflix binge but I'm just not looking forward to it much this weekend. Also, I had to make dinner last night and forgot to set my alarm this morning - 2 things that I mucho depend on my hubby for.

5 || It was Admin Day this week and these are my perfectly imperfect flowers [I wrote a little about them on instagram last night]. They make me happy.

Have a great weekend! And cross your fingers for nice weather!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How-to add a little southern charm to your life, no matter where you live

*This is a guest post written by Lauren from The Albrecht's Blog


I can't be the only girl who secretly wishes she was a real life Southern Belle. You know, the kind who is perfectly made up at all times and speaks slowly with an adorable accent?

You see, I'm a Midwestern gal at heart, but when we lived in Tennessee, I embraced southern charm to its full extent. We moved to New Hampshire a few months ago, though, and I have to admit, there are times I really miss the south.

So for the rest of you who live up north, or really anywhere other than south, here's how you can integrate a little southern charm into your life no matter where you live!

1. Write thank-you cards. One of my favorite things to do is write thank you cards after friends have us over for dinner or games. It's such a nice gesture and who doesn't love getting snail mail?!

2. Open doors for others... Or at least hold it open behind you! Don't let it slam the person walking through after you in the face.

3. Speak slowly. Man, in the north people talk fast! Slow it down. Act like you don't have 15 other things to do right at this moment and enjoy the conversation.

4. Sprinkle your vocabulary with y'all, gals, and sweet tea. That's all you need.

5. Smile and say hello. Friendliness is the number one characteristic of southern charm - a smile and nod go a long way. Any time I smile at a stranger, they almost immediately light up and smile back. It's the little things. 

6. When you ask, "How are you doing?".... Mean it. And then listen to the response.

7. When in doubt, wear lipstick.

That is all, folks. Best of luck, gals!!


Instead of leaving me a comment today go leave her a note!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Styles + Trends (AND $100 GIVEAWAY!)

I am dying for spring. Beautiful weather (that we thought would never come) finally showed up on Easter Sunday and it made me want to search for / google / pin / read about all things spring fashion...

Shoes | Toms
Floral blouse | The Limited
Lip gloss | Bare Minerals
Cross-body bag | Coach
Dress | H & M
Jeans | J. Crew
Earrings | The Limited

I am loving the femininity of the trends this spring - floral prints, flowy dresses, girly accessories, and sexy heels are some of my favorites, to name a few. Being a girl is just so, so awesome sometimes.
AND there's a big giveaway happening here to help you out with your spring fashion needs - 
Happy Tuesday!


Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

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Must be 18 years or older to enter
The first verified name to be drawn will be the "first prize" winner and the
 second will be the "second prize" winner
Prize distribution the responsibility of A Beautiful Exchange Blog
Winners will be contacted within 48 hours giveaway ending
Winners have 48 hours to respond to contact or new winners will be chosen

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Beauty of Wi-Fi Jetpacks

The fact that I can pass by a 5-hour car ride by editing photos, writing a blog post, and reading blogs is the best. This way, in 300 minutes I can accomplish so much more than just traveling 320+ miles. And that is the beauty of wi-fi jetpacks. Their invention is right up there with the invention of the wheel, iPhone, and microwave oven. The fact that my husband also has this weird, manly need to always be in the driver's seat is also the best.

Our Easter weekend was very low-key. Friday night Parker and I hung out with my parents and watched hockey, obviously, because there's a hockey game like every single night until June - thank you NHL Playoffs. Our weather was finally spring-like this weekend so my mom and I were able to go for a nice, long walk on Saturday before Champagne Hour Cocktail Hour on the deck.

Parker likes to ask if he should take a picture of me for my blog and then takes multiple selfies before actually doing so.

The Easter Bunny came to my parents early on Saturday. Don't be fooled - it looks like wine but it's actually Spiced-Pear Vinegar. We've been really into trying different oil+vinegar combinations as dressing for our salads. Note to anybody: wine in the Easter basket would also be perfectly acceptable in my book.

Sunday morning we took horrible-quality-coffee-time-selfies while sitting in bed because my mom kicked us downstairs so "the easter bunny" could hide the Easter eggs. We had brunch with my family and then stopped by to see Parker's family. 

I helped my mom stain a few deck sections in the 70-degree sunshine before we hit the road. The weather today was absolutely beautiful! It actually felt like there might be an end to this winter that's supposed to only be a season. And to top it off, there has been no snow visible on our drive home and we can even see some open water. Boom baby. Only 150 miles to go...

Friday, April 18, 2014

good friday

one of the biggest things i miss about teaching is the random days off around holidays - long christmas break, president's day, good friday and the following monday... i definitely got a little spoiled with that. and the summers off - that was pretty good, too. oh well, i'm over it. let's look at this week's highlights...

1 - it snowed (yuck) but then basically all melted right away. this has been such a crazy spring - it better be a great summer to make up for it.

2 - i've been dealing with the wintry weather by dressing for spring, whether we have the springtime weather or not. i'm loving the bright colors and i love having my flats out again (instead of the ugg boots).

3 - i've been feeling a decorating itch lately. i've spent a lot of time on pinterest, reading about other blogger's decorating plans, and wandering through the target home section. maybe it's the spring fever? 

4 - we went out to dinner with my dad last night and i ordered this beauty. if you've ever wondered if a pineapple cosmopolitan would be good, the answer is yes. yes yes yes.

5 - we're headed home at the end of the work day today to spend easter weekend with my parents, brother, alyssa, and grandma. this picture is from easter last year - look at all that snow!

how was your week? do you have plans for the easter weekend? if you have extra days off for the holiday i'm totally jealous :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I turn 26 in 17 days...

So once your 26+ years old, are you considered to be in your late 20s

I'd love your input on this. And by the way, I only have 17 days to figure it out because I want to make sure that by May 4th I know for certain if I'm in my twenties or in my late twenties. If it's the latter I'm going to need to change multiple profiles from 20-something Midwestern girl to late-20s Midwestern girl....

That being said. Here are some things that I kinda sorta want...

Athleta Chi Tank // Athleta Shorts // Polar Fitness Watch // Michael Kors Watch
Kate Spade Sandals // Pearls + Pastries Print
Infusing Pitcher // Home State Tee
Not pictured: Parenthood {seasons 3 & 4}, a Maxi dress {because I don't own one yet and I think I need to hop on the Maxi Dress Train}, basically any shoes in any color...

Now that I look over this little conglomeration I've got going on above, it would be safe to say that My 26th Birthday List could also be referred to as The List of Things I Would Buy If Money Grew On Trees. Oh well, a girl can dream right? 


And now, I want to introduce you to this girl. Because anyone whose favorite quote involves drinking champagne and dancing on tables is my friend immediately. I love reading more about her and she shares lots of easy & yummy-looking recipes! So check her out while you drink champagne because it's Thirsty Thursday, my friends...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Shouldn't Be A Blogger

I have read in many different places that one of the biggest blogging tips from the blogging gods, whoever that may be, is to find your niche. Find your niche, write about it, share it, and go with it! And you know what I think I've realized? I don't know if I really have a niche or a specific blogging genre.

I am not a fitness blogger and definitely don't motivate others to go exercise.

I don't know html or enjoy graphic design. Sure I can make things center-aligned or re-size a photo if I need to but let's not push it any further than that.

I'm not even funny so I certainly don't write one of those laugh-out-loud blogs.

I am not a foodie blogger. Yes, I have written recipe posts before but it's normally me photographing while my husband cooks.

I'm not a military wife. There's nothing more to even add to this one because props to those women. Thank God that isn't me.

I'm married so I guess I've got that whole newlywed thing going for me. But really, is 3 years + 6 months + 22 days still considered newlywed?

I am not a mommy blogger. Yes, I want kids but I currently do not have any of the human, nor fur kind, to write about.

I don't think I need to even address all the many reasons why I am nowhere near a fashion or beauty blogger. Throw on some jeans, slap on some mascara, and top it off with cute accessories and you've got my everyday go-to look.

I don't live somewhere cool like NYC or San Fran and share exciting adventures that make up my days.


And yet here I sit everyday (niche-less) to share a project I tried, post pictures from my weekend, or pour my heart out. So whether I'm meant to be a blogger or not, I don't think you're going to get rid of me any time soon.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I ate, drank, and watched Parenthood

I read an e-card recently that read something along the lines of Why do Mondays follow so closely after Fridays but Fridays are sooo far away from Mondays? This is one of those days when I couldn't agree more. There have been times when the weekends go by slowly, and I love that; but most times they fly by! 

This weekend my brother, his fiancee, and her brother came out to visit and we had a blast. After work on Friday Parker and I set up the lawn chairs, grill, and a propane heater so we could be outside as much as possible throughout the weekend. It's getting nicer around here but it still gets pretty close to freezing at night. The boys went out turkey hunting for the day Saturday and us girls talked about their wedding coming up this August, went grocery shopping, and had wine had lunch. It was her birthday so anything goes. Saturday night we made amazing Bruschetta and a Corn + Black Bean Salsa, followed by a birthday steak dinner, and topped it off with Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip. It was good food and great company and an absolute blast. 

They left mid-morning on Sunday and there's really not much to share with you after 10:30am. That would be because I ate, watched like 10 episodes of Parenthood, and stayed in my sweatpants all day. I don't let myself do that very often so it was really nice. And I'm almost done with the first season of Parenthood (that I just started re-watching from the beginning again because it's the best show ever) so if you don't think that's productivity at its finest then I don't think we should be friends.

I'm just kidding. How was your weekend? And if you're reading and I've never stopped by your blog please leave me a link so I can come check it out :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Reflections #2

This thought crossed my mind the other day. I don't know where it came from or what made me think it, but it's actually kind of an interesting thing to think about. And I don't even know what my answer would be. Would I try to write more about how grateful I am for the life I have? Would I be less sarcastic? Would I share more concerns and ask for thoughts, prayers, or guidance? I don't know. But I think it's probably one of those thoughts that'll randomly pop in my head until I figure it out. 


And some posts I loved this week...
Favorite post about friendship and a good life: a sign of only good things
Favorite post about sharing your edited life on your blog: The Girl Behind "Living in Yellow"
Favorite post for photography tips: Travel Essentials | In my camera bag
Favorite post of mine this week: Coffee Date

I love a lot of posts throughout the week and have fun picking some of my favorites to share as links for some recommended reading - but I struggle to choose only 3! Check them out - I hope you enjoy. xoxo.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Day of Mourning

This post is going to be quick 'n dirty today because our internet has been going in and out the past couple of hours. Isn't it just totally sad how dependent we are on an invisible technology connection that is used in so many aspects of our lives? I'm convinced the internet being down is because the world is in mourning around here due to the Sioux losing in the final 0.6 seconds last night. It was tied 1-1 and I had just convinced myself I would be able to stay awake for an overtime period when the Gophers scored with basically no time remaining. But let's move on; I'd rather not talk about it...

1 || We're still fans and it was still a good game but it would've been fun to see them in the Championship on Saturday night.

2 || I can be a real blogger now because I bought a full-size mirror. We'll get it hung on the wall somewhere in our place this weekend so hopefully next week I can take my first full-body picture for an #ootd post on instagram. (Dad, ootd means outfit of the day.)

3 || This week it actually started feeling like Spring around here! I busted out the flats, didn't wear a jacket, and even wore short-sleeve shirts to work. Oh, and I also put away any snowmen still around in our apartment and took out (the very few) Spring and Easter decorations that I have. Yup, I'm crazy I know.

4 || We have visitors coming this weekend! My brother, his fiancee, and her brother will be joining us so the boys can do some turkey hunting and the girls can do whatever girly things we find to keep us busy. It's always entertaining how we squeeze all 5 of us in our little one-bedroom apartment for 2 nights :)

5 || That's all I got. I can't even come up with a 5th one today. So I'll just leave you with this...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's just one of those days

Sometimes I feel like writing but when I sit down in front of my computer to write a new post there are so many thoughts running through my mind that it's nearly impossible to get one sentence written down. I know this because I just rewrote that first sentence like 3 times. I love sharing something new on this space every day and I really have grown to love the actual task of writing. I never liked writing in school, in fact I didn't think I was good at it at all. But blogging has changed that for me and a lot of days sitting down here to write a new post is very therapeutic. 

But today it's just too hard. It's one of those days where I must just be in a funk or something. Does that ever happen to you? It's like you don't know if you're crabby, sad, tired, insecure, or what. On days like this I end up with so many things running through my head I can't possibly organize them enough to write a post about just one of them. So today, you get a little taste of all those thoughts I guess - a little glimpse into the recent inspiration for my home, style, body, and life. 

Here are some of the things that have excited me lately:

 view the sources of the photos & all of my pins here

 Stop back tomorrow and I might have a little more content for you. But I'm not making any promises :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Polka-Dot Spring Dress

Please excuse the inside pictures, but I wore this for date night last Wednesday and we had just had a few days of snowfall - snow! Yes, in April. But I think things are finally starting to look up around here. Yesterday was our most beautiful day of the Spring season yet - it was sunny, 60 degrees, and I didn't even wear my coat walking into Target! Pure bliss. And I think today is trying to rival yesterday even. Isn't it funny how the warmer temperature and the feel of the springtime sun actually makes your heart feel happy?

I got this dress for Christmas and had not worn it until last week. I paired it with leggings since the temperature was still cool (hence, the snow) but I can't wait to wear it without the leggings this Spring, or even Summer. The sleeves roll-up and button on the sides so it'll be a perfect 3/4-sleeve length for when the weather is warmer. Dresses (and skirts) are my favorite article of clothing for the warmer seasons! I just love how they're so comfortable, can be dressed up or dressed down, and give off such a feminine look. I think I need to invest in a maxi dress this season.

What's your favorite piece of clothing for Spring?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Love Story

Before I got my new blog design, I had an entire tab devoted to our love story. I loved sharing our story but didn't dedicate an entire tab to it on the new layout of The Samantha Life. So today I'm sharing our love story so that it gets documented as a post. If you've already read it, just move on :) If you haven't, enjoy! I've also written about our wedding here, here, and here. Let me just warn you, I kinda like the guy so it may get a little mushy at some points.


Boy is 14 and girl is 15.
They meet at a weekend church retreat and girl thinks boy is a total babe.
Boy and girl flirt all weekend, in the best ways that 14 and 15 year-olds know how.
Girl thinks boy wouldn't even like her because she's not cool enough.
Boy thinks girl wouldn't be interest, because she's an older woman and all.
Boy and girl start "going out". A few months later boy breaks up with girl. The end.
Just kidding, that's obviously not the end; but he did actually break up with me.
8 month later on April 29, 2005 we went on another date and officially started "going out" again. In the following months of that summer we quickly started falling in love and becoming best friends.

Over the next few years we went through our fair share of ups and downs. Ups being the "totally head-over-heels in love" part and downs being things like living 6 hours apart for a full year, personal family issues, and being in a college freshman girl + high school senior boy relationship. We ended up attending the same college and spent the next 2 1/2 years learning how to grow up together and enjoy life.

He proposed on the beach in Cancun on New Year's Eve 2009 - actually it was a few minutes after midnight so our engagement-versary would tecnically be 1/1/10. We married on September 24th, 2010 - he was a senior in college and I was a first-year high school math teacher.

And the rest of the story we're still livin'. We are happy. We are in love. We sometimes fight and life isn't perfect. But man, it sure is great having a wonderful man and my best friend by my side every day.

And that is the real end.

Or rather it's the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Coffee Date

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that I wish my morning coffee still looked like that (^^^). I would much rather drink my coffee while wearing my bikini and nearly sweating at 9:00am than while wrapped up in a blanket on my couch.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that today was a long day. I think any Monday that starts out with a rainy morning makes for a long day.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means exactly to be a good friend when you're a woman in your 20s. Things were a lot easier when my best friend was the girl I wanted to play school with after real school and we only argued when she wanted to play Tetris and I wanted to play Donkey Kong on the Nintendo.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... about how excited I am to be the Matron of Honor in my brother's wedding, and then we'd probably laugh at how old Matron sounds.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that I need to lose 20 pounds. And then you'd probably tell me I look hot anyway but that you know how I feel.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that yesterday I went in an open house (just for fun...) and now my mind thinks I need this house. Oh, and it's only about double what our budget will most likely be.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... I miss math. We'd laugh about how nerdy that sounds but you'd totally understand. Math used to be a huge part of my life for 6 years (4 years of studying in college + 2 years of teaching high school) and I'm not even embarrassed to admit that I miss sin, cos, tan and solving equations.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that I need to clean my apartment and get my snowmen decorations put away. I'd ask you if you know of any easy, cheap, and fast DIY projects for Easter!

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... how much I've grown to love blogging. I'd tell you about the cool peeps I've met, how I've learned to manage sponsorships, and that I can't wait to write more and more and more.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you... that I'm thankful for your friendship :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend Reflections

They say Home isn't a place, it's a feeling, but I tend to disagree a bit. Because for me, home is only in a certain place - because in that certain place, I get that home-y feeling. We're in our hometown this weekend for one of Parker's youth hockey teams' try-outs and it got me thinking. This is my home. Right now it's not where I go to bed each night or work every day or grocery shop once a week. But this is where I get those feelings of home. This is where my heart is. This is my happy place.


And some posts I loved this week...
Favorite post to motivate you to move: 5 reasons to run when you don't feel like it
Favorite post to make you laugh: I don't want to brag, but...
Favorite post that I can completely relate to: Danger of Perfection
Favorite post of mine this week: I'm the girl who...

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