Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finding the Needle in a Haystack

Yeah, so.  Geocaching.  Have you tried it?  If not, you totally should.  SO.MUCH.FUN.  Seriously.

Let me back up for a minute...It came up in a casual conversation when Jessie and I were talking about exploring Minneapolis.  I stopped her for clarification, considering I had never geocached before and she tossed around the idea like it was something she did everyday.  Turns out Jessie has geocached all over the country, and she knows her stuff.

I was so intrigued that I immediately took her up on the offer to find a cache a block away from the hotel even though it was 10 p.m. and nearly freezing outside.  We found that first cache pretty quickly, so we decided to try for a second while we were out.  The description of that second cache wasn't quite as accurate, so it took us a bit longer to find it, but we did.  Needless to say, I was hooked.

Poor photo quality, but I was so excited to find that second cache in the cutest little treasure box!

[For those who are new to geocaching, the idea is to download an app that hosts information about hidden caches all over the world.  To find a cache, provide your location and the app will tell you about caches that are located nearby with descriptions about how to find them.  Sometimes the descriptions are super detailed, other times they are very vague, but almost always the descriptions are written in a code that requires those searching to use some Harriet the Spy style skills along the way.  Essentially, it's a worldwide scavenger hunt.   Again, SO.MUCH.FUN.]

Our third cache was much harder to find and in fact took us several attempts.  At one point, we had the entire Louisiana delegation searching for the cache...quite the sight for onlookers.  It was three days later before we actually found that one; I was determined to get it before we left, but Jessie was about ready to nix the whole idea.  Turns out that cache was completely invisible to the naked eye, and was finally discovered only by accident!

Excuse the crazy hair - the cache was protected by a clear container and hidden in that tiny space!
So excited to sign the log! 

On our excursion to Duluth later in the week, we decided to make the quick drive over to Wisconsin so that Jessie could score a cache there.  (She'd been to Wisconsin before, but hadn't geocached there and since set the goal of finding a cache in all 50 states.)  We had some extra folks along on this cache, some of which were super skeptical about the whole idea.  The cache was hidden in a wooded area adjacent to an elementary school, with descriptions to watch out for the "gobblins" that were around during the week.  Too funny.

In the end, one of the "noobs" found the cache just before we were all about to give up.  That lucky dog!

She was so excited to find it!

Caching is a blast!


Jessie made sure to return the cache to its proper home.

 Anyway...this post may have been totally all over the place, but the moral of the story is still the same.  Geocaching.  DO IT!!!

Now, I can't wait to do some caching closer to home.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 9)

Rename and Redesign.  Remember that redesign I promised about eight months ago?  Yeah well, this week it became reality.  Breaking the Mold is now officially Here We Geaux and I couldn't be more excited.  Just as we grow and change over time, I think it's natural for blogs to do the same.  When I started Breaking the Mold six and a half years ago, I was at a stage where I wanted to get out and see the world, something atypical of those from my hometown.  These days, I'm not so set on "breaking molds" as I am trying to find my place in the world as a wife and young professional.  I do still have a few components to update, but hopefully everything will be transitioned very soon!  With that being said, please "geaux" along with me as I share the characters in my virtual story.  Note:  Be sure to head over to Bloglovin' to follow the new web address!

ICYMI:  #20 - Makeovers. With the renaming process, some of you may have missed my most recent post, a recap of my Bare Minerals makeover at the Mall of America.  Feel free to hop on over to check it out here.

Alex's 30th Birthday.  Apparently "birthday" evolved into Birthday Week, which further evolved into Birthday Month.  I can't wait to share an entire post of all the details from his big day!

See ya on December 1st.  On Wednesday afternoon (11/19), I left the office for the last time until December 1st.  WAHOOOOO.  With meetings on Thursday and Monday, plus an out of town trip on Friday, and a few days off for Thanksgiving, this girl gets 11 days away from the office and I couldn't be more thrilled.  Can I get an Amen, folks?


The Moos are invading.  In T-minus 3 days and counting, my extended family is coming to town for Thanksgiving.  About half of them have visited us in Monroe before, but it will be the first time for some.  Our family has never done Thanksgiving away from home, so this will be a first for us.  We are also taking in about four "strays," aka Alex's coworkers who are from out-of-state and have no family around to celebrate the holiday.  Alex and I are really looking forward to the gathering, and have decided it will be a big morale booster for us.  I'm hoping to snap a few pictures and compile a list of good stories to share with all of you afterwards.  :)

Recaps are coming.  With just 38 days left in 2014, I need to kick my booty in gear and start posting those updates for my 20 in 14 list.  Anyone wanna volunteer to send bi-weekly reminders about making this happen?  Someone...anyone...?

Hello from New Mexico.  The reason this is being posted on Sunday instead of Friday (as the link-up was designed) is because I am writing this from the press box at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.  Stay tuned for all the deets from this trip, including stories of some pretty harrowing travel issues.

And....the game just ended, so that's my cue!  Catch ya on the flipside.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#20 - Makeovers

As I mentioned previously, I was finally able to cross item #20 off my "20 in 14" list when I visited the Mall of America in Minnesota.

All along, I'd been kind of nervous about walking into a random store and asking a lady at the make-up counter to teach me the proper techniques for applying makeup.  About three-quarters of the way through the year, I finally decided I was going to have to just step out of my comfort zone and make it happen.  In the back of my head, I told myself it would be a teensy bit less awkward if I could get a friend to tag along.  Dawn and Christy were willing to be my buddy if the opportunity presented itself, but it just didn't work out until that second visit to the MOA with Jessie.  Thank goodness for wing-girls!

Jessie and I both got make-overs that day, and boy did we look FAB-ulous!  Of course, Jessie has naturally beautiful skin, so it wouldn't have mattered for her.  :)  I wish we had gotten a picture together, but she was on camera-duty, capturing the moments for this here blog.

Anyway, the ladies from Bare Minerals who did our make-up were very gentle and make the entire process comfortable and enjoyable.  They asked us about our typical skin-care routine and what textures/tones we preferred.  They were also very good about explaining every step of the process, and answering questions about how the products and techniques could be used with items in our existing collections.  

Afterwards, I didn't feel obligated to buy every product on the shelf, but I wanted to.  Yes, I loved the experience that much!!  In the end, I did spend more than I would have liked, but I really only bought the very basics and got a list of everything else with plans to pass it along to dear old Santa Claus. ;)  

A few things I learned along the way - 
- Apply concealer after foundation - What?!  Yes, it's like magic how different concealer works after the base than before it.  
- Use a brush for everything.  I want a whole collection of brushes now, when previously I only used a brush for blush.  Also, those little indented brushes are A-MAZING.  Get yourself!
- Make-up can "work" and look natural all at the same time.  I can look pretty in makeup...with the right tools and techniques, the results are incredible.
- Setting goals and following through with them can be rewarding...cheesy, but seriously...I never would have done this if I hadn't make that list and actually committed to following through with it.  The year is almost over and I hope to start filling in some of those blanks on the list with updates in the near future.

#20 - Receive a makeup tutorial.  (10/28/14 - check!)

What will be next?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dirty 30: Alexisms

It's time for another entry in what is becoming the "Dirty 30" series!  My sweet husband is celebrating his thirtieth birthday today, so he certainly deserves his own post in this collection.  While I would love for us to be celebrating today with one big huge surprise party including all his family and friends, we are both working the day away...outside in the "frigid" cold at that!

Without further ado, here are 30 random facts about Alex...aka Alexisms.
  • Adopted in December 1984 (about a month after he was born).
  • Grew up in North Carolina, until he moved to South Carolina for a job in 2009.  In 2012, he moved to Louisiana for another job (and a girl...tehe).
  • Majored in Parks & Recreation at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and received a Master's Degree in Sport Management from East Carolina University.
  • Over the years, random jobs have included work at a barbecue processing plant, serving as a restaurant greeter/seater/food runner, and summers as a camp counselor.
  • Favorite color is teal.

  • Has a tattoo on his inner arm - "πρεσβεύω" - translated, it means "Ambassador (for Christ)."
  • Collegiate athletics pay the bills; baseball is his favorite.
  • Has a bad habit of leaving the closet door open.
  • Gets excited when "Mean Girls" is on TV.
  • "Moonshine in the Trunk" (Brad Paisley) is his jam.

  • Often forgets his lunchbox/water bottle at the office.
  • Loves Harry Potter.
  • Cheers for the Panthers. 
  • Goes through 39287 pairs of socks a week...they're EVERYWHERE.
  • Lives on MAN TIME!

  • Has a taste for Cheerwine...
  • ...and Woodchuck...
  • ...and Bojangles...
  • ...and Cookout.
  • Needed me to spell out directions for 1-2-3 cake...82734 times.

  • Steals my razor.
  • Enjoys watching The Middle and Big Bang Theory.
  • Has visited 22 states and 4 foreign countries (Malaysia, Honduras, Belize, Mexico).
  • Brought home a leprechaun that hides his mouthguard...and my socks!
  • Collects college t-shirts.

  • Missed out on "The Art of Clothes-Matching" class.
  • Is the the resident "chicken cooker" of our house, and will always be on "dish duty."  
  • Welcomes "the guys" for poker nights during bachelor weeks (aka, when I'm out of town).
  • Famous for his peanut butter pie recipe.
  • Is the best husband ever! ... duh!
He's a pretty cool guy, right?  I mean seriously, he could be friends with anyone...just ask the thirty people who sent letters for Alex to read on his first thirty days of Age 30. Say what?!

Yep, that's right, Alex...for the next thirty days, you'll receive a note from someone special in your life.  This is the just the start of what will be a great year for you!   

Happy birthday!

I love you so much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Minnesota, It's So Nice to Meet You!

It's been a while since I crossed a new state off my list...until recently, that is.  At the end of October, I attended a national conference for work that was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Now, I've had layovers at at MSP several times, but I'd never actually been outside the airport before.  While I can't say I gained a whole lot of useful tools or new knowledge that week, I can definitely say I had a great time!

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

Visiting the Mall of America...twice.  My friend Jessie and I went to the Mall of America not once, but twice.  Riding the metro there from was SO easy, so we couldn't resist going out there any chance we got.  Let me just say, that place is HUGE.  Why the need for three Claire's stores in the same building, I'll never know, but there must be a reason or they wouldn't exist.  Needless to say, we didn't get a chance to see everything there, so I would definitely go again if the opportunity presented itself.

Engaged?  It's a one-stop-shop at the MOA!

Talk about a little girl's dream right there!

LEGO store - What, what?

Anyone ever heard of a Peeps store?  Not this girl.

And the rides...A ninja turtle ride and many more!

Oh man, there's an American Girl store too...
My first trip to Ikea.  On our second trip to the MOA, someone mentioned there being an Ikea across the street, and since neither Jessie nor I had been there before, we decided it was a must-see.  The trip ended up being quite a hike in 30-degree blustery winds, but these Louisiana girls were up for the adventure!

Getting a make-over.  Crossing items off that 20 in 14'll just have to wait another day to hear about this one.

Renting a car and driving to Duluth.  Jessie and I spent a lot of time asking the locals for recommendations on where to go and what to do.  Time and time again, people kept telling us to go to Duluth (so much so, that we began to wonder if Minneapolis was actually a dud of a place to hold a national conference!).  Five of us decided to take advantage of a free afternoon/evening and drive the 2.5 hours north to check it out.

Our first stop was at a local restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives - Duluth Grill.  It was a bit "granola" for our style, but the food was delicious and the people were incredibly friendly.  We also drove up to a look-out to see the city from above, and my was it gorgeous.  The overcast skies and wispy brush reminded me quite a bit of Boise in the Fall.  Later, we got pictures with a cute little lighthouse and did some souvenir shopping at some quaint little downtown stores.  I'd say the afternoon in Duluth was one of my favorite memories from the trip.

Seeing Lake Superior (and crossing my third Great Lake off the list - just Huron and Ontario to go!).  There's a reason why the lake is named Superior - it's HUGE!  I only wish we'd had our passports (and more time) so we could have made the drive up the coast all the way to Ontario, Canada.  Surely that would have been a magical memory to cherish from this trip.

Finding my first (and second, third, fourth...) geocache!  I've never geocached before, have you?  Ohmygoodness, it's the funnest...yes, I did just say funnest...thing ever!!  Don't worry, I'll be writing an entire post about this at some point.

Catching up with long, lost friends.  The chance to reconnect with so many old friends is one of the biggest reasons I even decided to go on this trip.  Christy and I were housemates when we both worked as tour guides in Washington, DC back in 2009.  We talk almost every day, but I hadn't actually seen her in person since my wedding almost two years ago.  I really enjoyed seeing Christy for several days in a row, and I was even able to give her a cute new Jamicure and fancy hairdo for the closing banquet.  

Lindsey and I worked together on a few national conferences in Washington, DC, back in 2010-2012.  She's since gotten married and moved to Dallas, and while we live just 5 hours apart these days, we hadn't seen each other in person since 2011.  Unfortunately, we were too busy catching up to think about taking any pictures together.

Then there was Danielle...Again, Washington, DC, is the common thread that binds so many of my faraway friends.  Danielle and I met at one of those national conferences way back in 2007.  While she's been able to meet up with our mutual friend, Dawn, a few times over the years, Danielle and I hadn't connected in SEVEN YEARS!!  Nowadays, Danielle is a professor at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, and she just so happens to live in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Graciously, Danielle was willing to meet me at a coffee shop near my hotel for just an hour so we could catch up.  Craziness.

So yeah, 28 states down...only 22 to go!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


A few weeks ago, my dearest friend, Dawn, came over to spend the weekend with us.  It was one of two weekends Alex was off this Fall, but since I had to work on Saturday morning, we couldn't go out of town to do something fun.  Instead, Dawn's visit turned what would have been a boring weekend into a fun stay-cation!

Saturday afternoon, Dawn, Alex, myself, and two of Alex's coworkers loaded up and drove over to Vicksburg, Mississippi.  We dropped the boys off at the casino while the two of us girls went exploring.  On our adventures, we checked out the Coca-Cola Museum (I've now been to three of those - Monroe, Vicksburg, and Atlanta), wandered around the downtown area, and shopped at the nearby outlet mall.

The Coca-Cola Museum was pretty small (and way less exciting than Monroe or Atlanta), but their special edition bottles and root-beer floats definitely made it worth the trip.  We wandered into a cute little art gallery and ended up getting a personal tour of the newest exhibit; it was really neat unlike anything I've experienced before.  Shopping 'til we nearly dropped later that evening, I'd say my biggest score from the outlets was a $25 Coach wristlet that I ended up snagging - one for myself to use on my upcoming trip to Minnesota, and one for a Christmas gift.  I've never owned (or desired) anything from Coach before - Score!

To close out the evening, we retrieved the boys and grabbed dinner at a local favorite, Rusty's.  Yum-o.

The next day, Alex, Dawn, and I headed to the pumpkin patch in Start, LA.  (Fun Fact:  Tim McGraw is from there!)  We had a BLAST at Curry Farms, and I was definitely sore for the following few days.  There were a ton of fun activities, even for the "young at heart" like us.  The list included a corn box, water races, bounce pillow, two different types of hayrides, a corn maze, and much more!

Fall is one season that's generally at the bottom of my list, but gorgeous days like these and fun visits from friends tend to lighten the mood and make the season a little more exciting.  What have you been up to this Fall?