Tuesday, February 21, 2012

KPMG, Nabors, and Stress

Well it has been a month.... since... I started my new job. I work now for a oilfield services company called Nabors. I basically am a senior accountant there.

It was a really tough decision to leave KPMG, for a couple of reasons:

1) KPMG was my first job out of college
I had friends at a KPMG... I knew the system. I knew how everything worked at KPMG. It was familiar to say the least. Although we all worked a lot of hours (some more than others), it somehow brought us together. 

2) I left right before busy season
This decision left a huge knot in my stomach. I felt like I was abandoning my team (which I was). As much as I didn't want to leave at that time, you can't really delay an offer letter for 2-3 months. It was seriously tough. I really liked my manager at KPMG (Ryan). I also didn't want to abandon my awesome staff (Patrick). 

All of this made leaving a very hard decision. I typically am a loyal person (not to mention I don't handle change very well)...and I just felt bad doing that. However, I had to put myself in a less stressful position. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Graves disease about 6 months ago, and I am constantly battling it. Relieving some stress is a necessity when it concerns healing. 

I can't say my life is stress free, but I am doing better. Getting off around 5 or 5:30 is helpful; the commute is also a lot shorter. I have finally decided to also get some help around the house with cleaning. We now have a cleaning lady who comes every other week. It takes such a burden off of me. It is really hard to work all week, and then clean the house on the weekend. Cleaning my house is a full day job, and it leaves no time for anything else. I have already seen a GREAT stress reduction from this. There is something great about having a clean kitchen and bathroom!

Anyway, I just figured I would give you a quick update on my life and everything going on. I hope I didn't bore you too much. :) Please leave a comment.. I would love to know who is reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tim Hawkins--the Funniest Comedian Ever--Heck ya!

So, I have been trying to keep up with blogging lately. I realized that I had been slacking. So, the multitude of recent posts is hopefully making up for that. Although, it may not matter as my blog readership is typically only about 30 hits per post. Oh well... hopefully I can increase that soon.

Anyway, I wanted to write a quick blog about the Tim Hawkins comedy show I went to recently. If you don't know who Tim Hawkin is, then youtube him. He is hilarious! He honestly is one of the funniest comedians I have ever heard, and I have heard quite a few. I had been watching different clips on youtube for the last couple of months, and when I heard he was coming to Houston's First Baptist Church, I was elated! I was a little nervous that I had heard most of his material via the web, but boy was I wrong!

We actually ran into some friends Amanda and Andy from Houston's first. We got to sit next to them during the show... and we were all cracking up!

I can't even begin to explain the funniness that IS Tim Hawkins. If you have never seen him, you should. His website is www.timhawkins.net. He has shows in multiple different cities during the year, there is probably one near you.

I know that when the term "Christian comedian" comes around, people shy away. For some reason "christian comedian" has become synonymous with "super boring". This is NOT the case, and let me reemphasize the NOT, with Tim Hawkins! You will bust a gut... and if you don't ... you are free to call me and say that I was wrong. Halfway through the show, I didn't think I could laugh any longer... I literally thought my body physically couldn't handle it.. well that somehow didn't stop me. It was awesome. Here is a little clip to leave you with... enjoy!

 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Online Missionary? YES!

This blog entry is dedicated to the Global Media Outreach ministry. I am so excited to be involved with such a wonderful organization.

As many of you know, I went to East Asia on a mission trip last July. I really have a heart for that country and the people there and I have to say, I miss the ability to go back. I would go back in a heartbeat if I had the resources, vacation time, and the ability to eat what was put in front of me (gluten intolerance is pretty much unheard of there). Anyway, I found out from a good friend of mine, Cheryl, about this ministry "Global Media Outreach". Basically, this ministry has websites that appear when people search Jesus, God, or how to be saved, etc. There is a link on the website for these individuals to contact "someone" from the website. The people that write back are volunteers (like me) who have gone through training to answer the emails.



So why am I so excited about this ministry? Because.... I get to reach people for Jesus without having to put my health in jeopardy. Although, nothing can take the place of actually going (and I would if I could), this gave me such a great opportunity to do mission work year round. I am also not saying that ministry work shouldn't be risky. I just love that I can be involved with ministry, all the time, from my house! It is so rewarding!

I have really enjoyed it so far. I get multiple emails a week from people all over the world and I get the opportunity to share the gospel with them or encourage them in their Christian walk.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day...Decor!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Ok Ok… so I guess I am jumping the gun a bit. I am just excited, because this is the first year I am decorating for the event. I always decorate for Christmas and ever since I moved in TX, I started decorating for fall. Honestly, I think I would decorate for every holiday (other than St. Pattys and Halloween), if I could.

So, where are the pictures of these decorations? … patience my dear… they are coming. J Just let me get through my normal “babbling” on about it first!

I promised Ivan last year when I got these silk flowers from pottery barn for the dining room table, that I would use them for most of the year. This means that I have to keep them up from Spring to Fall. However, I am in LOVE with cherry blossoms, so it doesn’t bother me at all. Actually, all of my pink flower arrangements are perfect for the spring holidays so they come out right after Christmas. Here are some of the flower arrangements I have made (these are from Garden Ridge... I forgot to take pictures of the pottery barn flowers). 


This is how decorations end up getting created at the Portugal house. Basically, Christmas comes around (or another holiday) and I decide I want a vase, or a apothecary jar for something. Then I find something to fill it with, for that particular holiday. However, when that holiday is over, I don’t want to put the jar, vase, etc away. I now have to find other things to fill it with for other holidays. So I end up with just an overabundance of items to decorate with.

 This year, I added a new fall decoration. If you remember, I blogged about how I created this centerpiece for my family room table.  After its creation, I realized how much I actually liked having a true centerpiece on the table (rather than just a bunch of random items). During Christmas, the table was actually moved to a different spot… so you would think I would just put the centerpiece away, but I guess that is just against my nature.  I put the vases in the bedroom and filled them with fake snow.  Now all the Christmas decorations are all put away, the table is back in its normal spot, and I have been having the urge to fill them with something “springy”.

Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse…. so… what do you think I filled them with?

Ding! You are right (or maybe not... haha)! Conversation heart candy J. I went and grabbed 3 big bags of conversation hearts at Target, for around $3 a pack, so the whole thing was around $9 (since I already had the vases and candles).




I am in love with the new centerpiece. I think I will keep it up for the remainder of the month (before I start putting up Easter decorations). I didn’t really go crazy with Valentines decorations (since I feel like you can’t put them up until Feb 1st, and then they are only up until Feb 14th… of course these are just self-imposed decorating rules). Here are some other apothecary jars that I filled for Valentine’s Day…




What do you think? Have you put up any decorations for Valentine’s Day? 

Pinterest Project-Mr & Mrs

In my previous post, I wrote about my makeup station that was inspired by Pinterest. This next project was also inspired by Pinterest. You may have already seen the project in my bedding post, it is the over the bed letters.  



When I originally set out to do this project, I just wanted all my letters to be oil-rubbed bronze (rather than the colors above). I originally purchased letters from Hobby Lobby that I was going to use for this project. They were this really old fashioned gold and they were all the same size. I know I didn’t like the color, but I figured I would just paint them. I bought a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint+primer. Although I heard great things about this product, I found that it really didn’t grab as well as I thought it would. There were definitely a few nicks here and there where the gold was showing through.  

After painting the letters, I realized my problem. The letters were two big to fit between the posts on the bed. At this point, I almost gave up. However, my mom suggested that I check at Babies R Us, because she saw some letters there. After checking out the letters online, I drove down to Babies R Us, and picked up the letters. The letters were naturally white and they were smaller than the letters from Hobby Lobby. This ended up working out great as you will see below! Although, I ended up spending more time and money on these than I originally planned (and I ended up painting all the Hobby Lobby letters and only using one of them), they actually turned out great, and I love the result!

My mom actually helped me hang them…which was quite a process. We originally centered the "&" symbol on the wall. However, after doing that, we weren’t happy with the result. Therefore, we did the math and centered the entire phrase on the wall.





What do you think? Have you ever completed a project and realized you needed to make a change at the last minute?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Makeup Station.... My creation, inspired by Pinterest!

Ok, so I mentioned in my previous post that I was shopping at IKEA for a shelf. I know that sound boring, but it is so much MORE than a shelf, which you will soon see. I have been pinning a lot on pinterest lately (I mean… who hasn’t?). I saw this GREAT idea for a makeup station. I wasn’t extremely thrilled with how it looked, but I figured I could alter it. You can see the original pinterest item here. Here is a picture of it.


Basically the girl attached some legs to a shelf from IKEA (found here) and “voila” a makeup station. She used different acrylic containers as drawers. 

I found the shelf, and was pleasantly surprised that it also came in black!  Since IKEA designed the shelf to be hung with brackets (and not attached to legs and used as a table as was done in the pinterest version), I decided to hang it. I just hung it low (like table height).  I also purchased a chair (at IKEA). I love how affordable chairs are at IKEA haha! 

After this, I went shopping at the container store for some acrylic cases. There were so many different styles that it was almost impossible to choose. I picked out some of the items I thought would work best and went from there.

Lastly, I knew that I needed some form of light. I always get up earlier than Ivan and since the station isn’t in the bathroom, I needed to find a light that wouldn’t cause shadow and wouldn’t light up the entire room.  I found a great backlit mirror at Bed Bath and Beyond which has worked perfectly!!





This one is blurry, but at least you can see where the shelf is placed in respect to the room. 

 


So what do you think? I am in love with it. It looks great, and provides an easy way to put on my makeup. I love that all my makeup is visible and so easy to put away. Before this, I kept all my makeup in a big case that I left on the bathroom counter. Problem is, it took up so much space, was hard to see everything, and was heavy. This solved my problem…and now I don’t know what to do with all this extra free bathroom counter!

Have you made anything from Pinterest? How did it turn out?

P.S. Don't forget to become a follower of Portugal Ponderings...click "follow" on the left side bar. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some house updates... Pottery Barn, IKEA, Bedding, and Lamps

There have been some new developments in the Portugal house. I wanted to share some of our newest additions with you. You know that recently we added new floors to our home-see this post. We also made some changes to our bedroom. 

Last year we purchased some bedding from Star Furniture. Although I loved this bedding at the time, it quickly became an annoyance. I really LOVE pink (which you probably already know if you are a follower of my blog) and well… orange and pink clash. Therefore, I really couldn’t add any pink to the room even during spring! That is when I decided to go for something more neutral. 


I was in LOVE with my Pottery Barn bedding in my apartment in Maryland. The bedding was actually discontinued and wasn’t being sold anymore, yet I just happened to score it via a last minute clearout of old inventory on Pottery Barn’s website. Anyway, I had to move that bedding to the guest room in the Texas house when we got our new furniture (the bedding is  a queen/full and our new bed is a king). This is a picture of the bedding in our Maryland apartment.


Since, I loved my old Pottery Barn bedding, and I was tired of the orange stripes on the current bedding, I decided to spring for a new set at Pottery Barn. I purchased a duvet from their all white collection. Although the bedding wasn’t cheap, I knew I would love it. It really has surpassed my expectation… I love this bedding and how crisp it makes the room feel. I also love how white just makes your room feel so much “cleaner”. I was very hesitant about getting white bedding because our trim in our house is off white. However, I know that we probably won’t live in this house forever, and more than likely I will have white trim in the future. The great thing is that the offwhite and the white actually go fairly well together, this was quite a surprise to me. Take a look!



We also added some additional lighting to our room. I had been searching for lamps for our nightstands for awhile (something I could use to read). I am in LOVE with these beautiful globes from IKEA. We just happened to be shopping there for a shelf (you will hear more about this later), and we just happened to stumble upon these beauties. They have cherry blossoms on them (which again… I LOVE) and they go so well on the night stands. 




Have you ever found something really great at IKEA? Have you ever made a mistake in picking out something for your house (like bedding)? Share your thoughts!



Friday, February 3, 2012

Butter Chicken... YUM... (Paula Deen Style)

Last week, I decided to try my hand at Indian food. Ivan and I LOVE Indian food but we haven’t had much since I found out I was gluten intolerant. Anyway, I did find out that the restaurant Korma Sutra in downtown Houston caters to people with gluten intolerance… so I will have to try it out.

My first attempt was butter chicken. I got a recipe online and figured it seemed easy enough. Basically it is a lot or pureed stuff, basically pureed onion, pistachios, almonds, garlic, ginger, and some spices. After I had the sauce “ready”, I decided to taste it before adding the chicken (why waste perfectly good chicken if the sauce turned out bad, right?!).  The sauce was… um.. not that great. It was VERY onion/ginger-y. I figured it would be due to the fact that there were two small onions pureed into the sauce. At first, I was thinking that I didn’t cook the sauce long enough (we all know how bitter raw onion can be). However, when I looked at the recipe, I had actually cooked it for longer than it called for. After all of this, I put on my Paula Deen hat and decided to add some more butter. The recipe called for one stick of butter and two onions.  I ended up adding two more sticks of butter (for a total of 3 sticks). I know.. sounds extreme right? Well, it ended up tasting EXACTLY like butter chicken from a restaurant! I am now curious to find out if maybe the recipe I pulled off the internet was a “diet” version.  Either way, our full and fattening version was delicious! It made multiple meals for Ivan and me. I am definitely up for trying my hand at some other recipes. I also will be making butter chicken again.




Just remember… if you try butter chicken and it doesn’t taste quite right… just follow Paula Deens advice… butter does make everything better haha!

Have you ever made any Indian food? Have you ever made anything that just needed some extra butter to make it amazing!?

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