Monday, October 20, 2014

A Printed, Belted, Anytime Dress

PinkBlush Printed Dress, Fall style with dress and boots
Grey and Pink Belted Dress: c/o Pink Blush, Unisex Style F1011 Black Glasses: c/o Firmoo, Tights: Betsy Johnson, Boots: Blowfish (similar), Gray Chain Link Bracelet: c/o Massi
Firmoo black eyeglasses, rectangle black plastic glasses from Firmoo
PinkBlush Printed Dress, Fall style with dress and boots
PinkBlush Printed Dress, Fall style with dress and boots

As the leaves are changing and crisp mornings are making more frequent appearances around Boise, I have finally given in to transitioning my favorite summer pieces to fall (and winter--considering how cold it already is here!).

Back in September, PinkBlush sent me a few pieces of clothing that I've cycled into regular rotation in my closet--this gray & pink belted dress, this navy & floral dress (seen here), and this amazing aqua chiffon open-back cardigan (seen here). Whether I'm wearing their pieces with sandals & sunglasses or tights & boots, they're functional, flattering, affordable items that can be worn year-round. I'm so impressed with PinkBlush's quality and the wearability of their clothing.

Also, do you see my new glasses up there? They're amazing! They're my very first pair of thick, black rectangle glasses and I just adore them. I never thought that I'd ever want a pair of plain black glasses, but after this pair--I'm sold!

Hope you're having a great week! Life is pretty busy on my end (details to come eventually), and I am not sure how often I'll be blogging in the upcoming weeks. But rest assured, all is well--in fact, it's better than ever! Sending lots of love. See you soon! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall at the Rowe House 2014 and a Present For You!

Fall Floral Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Floral arrangement: c/o Gordman's

I can't believe a whole year has come and gone and it's once again fall at the Rowe house. Where does time go? I can tell you one thing, I'm grateful for the seasonally-colored leaves, the big life changes ahead, and finally being able to pull my dusty boots out of the closet! It may not be full-fledged boot weather yet, but I'm wearing them anyway!

Our home has changed so much since we moved in last September. It actually feels like a home this year, and not just a house! Much of the fall decor we have up (instead of a single pumpkin like last year) was generously given to us by Gordman's. And... my friends at Gordman's were nice enough to send two giftcards to use to stock our home with the colors of fall, but—lucky for you—I've chosen to instead spend one and give one away! Continue to the bottom to find out the details & enter to win.

Fall Table Centerpiece Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Fall Living Room Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Orange pillow: c/o Gordman's
Fall Pumpkin Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Fall Home Decor, Dobby the Bearded Dragon
Dobby couldn't resist enjoying the new pillows, and she had to come out to say hi!
Fall Floral Kitchen Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
Fall Home Decor, Rustic Home Decor
PinkBlush floral dress, fall dress and boots
Navy Blue Floral Bottom Dress: c/o PinkBlush (they're always having deals—use code COLUMBUS20 thru 10/13 for 20% off), Unisex Style F1011 Black Glasses: c/o Firmoo, Boots: Steve Madden, Mirror: c/o Gordman's
Fall Maple Leaves in Idaho

To enter to win the $25 giftcard to Gordman's, all you need to do is simply leave a comment below—about anything! You can get extra entries for sharing the giveaway via Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Facebook, so just leave another comment with your link(s)—one comment per link—and you'll be entered. Good luck and happy fall to all!

WINNER: Emily Frank -- Congratulations!

PS: Score 20% off any item at Gordman's thru 11/25 here

The fine print: Giveaway open to anyone who can use a Gordman's giftcard! Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, October 19 and the winner will be announced via email and in this post. The prize for this giveaway was donated by Gordman's. If you are having trouble commenting/viewing comments and are using Internet Explorer, open this page in a different browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Military Donut Bun

Military Donut Bun Tutorial, Military Sock Bun Tutorial, Quick Sock Bun Tutorial

Not much of a fan of the ever-popular "sock bun" trend, when I joined the Air National Guard, I told myself, "I will never be caught DEAD wearing a sock bun!" You know, because it seems like every photo you ever see of anyone in the military shows them wearing a sock bun—and I was not going to do it!

Let me tell you what, after being at Basic Military Training for about two weeks with short hair that would just not stay up in any kind of bun and having an MTI come up to me and say, "Get it together, Rowe! Your hair looks like a hot mess!" it was then that I decided to embrace the dreaded sock bun. And I decided to call it the "donut bun" instead, because that just sounds better—I suppose. After about three successful buns created with my small, brown mesh donut, I was sold. I don't care what anyone has to say about the donut bun, it's quick, it's easy, it works for almost any hair length that can be put up, and it's the only way to put your hair up in less than a minute as Reveille is going off and 46 girls are scrambling around you to get their beds made.

So whether you're researching how best to wear your hair while at BMT or just wanting to try a new updo, here's my tutorial for the military version of the sock bun.

Basic Steps:
  1. Pull hair up into low ponytail (it has to be low enough to put your ABU cap on)
  2. String ponytail through mesh donut, bringing donut all the way up to base of hair tie
  3. Fan ponytail over mesh donut, making sure to evenly cover mesh with hair
  4. Wrap second hair tie around mesh donut
  5. Secure loose ends with bobby pins
  6. (Optional) Pull & tug hair around mesh donut to create a fuller, more voluminous bun
  7. Finish with a light (or heavy—if you're at BMT) mist of hairspray
My favorite step and trick to the whole process is Step 6, where you give your bun that added bit of volume. I know the slicked-down look is so popular in the military, but I think a nice, full bun (especially if your hair is fine like mine) looks so much better and really elevates the whole look.

Also, if your hair is longer—at Step 5, you can either braid or twist the loose ends (try making 3-4 small braids/twists) before pinning them to give your bun a really chic, polished look. Unfortunately, my hair is still far too short to attempt any of those neat tricks, but the other girls at Basic Training looked so nice when they added little braided accents to their buns.

Below, I've included the exact products that I bought and used while down at BMT to achieve this style.

Do you rock the donut bun? I know several women who wear it out and about and I think it looks really nice—especially when it's not totally slicked down!

The little details: Eyes: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes c/o my cousin & Younique Presenter Lindsay, Sterling Silver Wrap Ring: c/o The Vintage Pearl

Monday, September 29, 2014


Officer AFOQT Test, Studying for the AFOQT, Taking the AFOQT to Commission as an Officer

At 0600 (zero six hundred, also 6:00 am, for the civilians here—which is most of you) on Wednesday, August 20th, I walked up the concrete steps of the Boise MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), mentally preparing for a very big test that could hold a lot of impact for my future—I was about to take the AFOQT! This is the test that all future officer candidates must take to qualify for a coveted commissioned position (hence Air Force Officer Qualifying Test). Four hours later, I walked out of the glass doors with tense shoulders, a coffee in my hand, and the broadest smile on my face—I had done it!

Now before you begin to ask me the, "Why didn't you just commission when you joined because you already have a college degree?" bit, I'll just say straight-up that the Air Guard does it differently. Unless you're a doctor or a lawyer, you pretty much have to go in as enlisted and then go for a commission afterward—regardless of having a degree or not (I have a B.S. in Health Education & Promotion). So that's why I joined as enlisted. And to be honest, I didn't think I'd ever want to be an officer—I was (and still am) totally happy being a member of the enlisted force. But things change, you know? And if things do change and I decide the officer route is the way I'd like to go—at least the test is out of the way.

So, the AFOQT. It's a beast. Truly. It's like a souped-up version of the ASVAB (the test you take to join the military, which is very similar to an SAT/ACT type test), but harder, longer and requiring much, much quicker responses. I had to go to work after finishing the AFOQT and my brain was like, "Work... cannot... paper... typing... what?" for the rest of the day. Here's the test's 470-question (yes, 470!) breakdown:
  1. Verbal Analogies: 25 questions - 8 minutes
  2. Arithmetic Reasoning: 25 questions - 29 minutes
  3. Word Knowledge: 25 questions - 5 minutes
  4. Math Knowledge: 25 questions - 22 minutes
  5. Instrument Comprehension: 20 questions - 6 minutes
  6. Block Counting: 20 questions - 3 minutes
    • 10 minute break
  7. Table Reading: 40 questions - 7 minutes
  8. Aviation Information: 20 questions - 8 minutes
  9. Rotated Blocks: 15 questions - 13 minutes
  10. General Science: 20 questions - 10 minutes
  11. Hidden Figures: 15 questions - 8 minutes
  12. Self Description Inventory: 220 questions - 40 minutes
To say that this test has very short time limits is quite the understatement. I was able get through most of the sections without too much trouble, but the Block Counting & Table Reading? You've got to be kidding! Those ones go way too fast. It's safe to say I guessed on a quarter of those sections as I furiously scribbled in the last few bubbles before the time ran out. And then there's the personal description inventory—which is essentially a personality test—and that one was totally easy to finish on time; it only took me 20 minutes.

Overall, the test was alright. Some sections surprised me (like Word Knowledge—it was easier than I thought it would be) and others totally blew my mind (Block Counting—I'm so bad at it!). I am glad I studied a bit before taking it by taking a few practice tests and reading the Barron's Officer Candidate School Test book. I wouldn't recommend going in cold turkey. You only get two chances to take the AFOQT, and being prepared is the way to go.

As far as my scores go, I did just fine. I didn't measure up to my ASVAB score (which was a 96), but my scores are high enough to qualify me for any officer position I could apply for. I have been told that most officer candidates bring quantitative scores that range anywhere from the 30's to the 60's to the table—and mine were considerably higher than that, so I'm very pleased. I have no plans to take the test again to try to improve my score. I passed and ended up with an above-average and competitive score, so it's all good! In fact, I'm just glad it's over!

So the next steps? Hurry up and wait—since I'm not quite sure this is the avenue I'd like to pursue, I'm in no rush to make any huge decisions. In addition, in the Air Guard, you can't commission until a job opens up, and then you have to apply for it along with everyone else and their cousin who are going after it with hungry, hungry eyes. Most officer positions at our base are the traditional type, so I could still maintain my civilian job at the hospital and then just be an officer one weekend a month with the Air Guard. Sounds like a win/win to me! Not only would commissioning be a huge honor, but it would also be an amazing career path that could lead to many doors being opened in the future. Plus, with babies coming along someday, this could bring a wonderful opportunity to be able to, well, have more choices about which direction we'd like to go with jobs/income/etc. when that time finally comes.

So that's life at the moment. It's stinkin' awesome! No big plans, no big changes. We're just waiting, planning, dreaming—and loving every minute!

PS / / This post isn't intended to be a tell-all or study guide for the AFOQT. If you'd like an awesome breakdown of the AFOQT and tips on how to take it from a military blogger who I admire and look to for all my questions, check out Aim High Erin.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quick, Easy & Healthy Recipes

Quick and Easy Recipes, Healthy Recipes for Bulk Meal Planning and Prep, Robert Rothschild Farm Healthy Recipes

As part of my dairy-free and healthy-eating initiative, I've started planning out my work-week meals, prepping them in bulk, and living out of tupperware containers. I pretty much eat the same things for the first four meals of the day, and then have something fun for dinner. Breakfast = oatmeal, snack = fruit or protein rice cake, lunch = protein + veggies, snack = veggies or nuts, dinner = TBD.

Here are three of my favorite work-week recipes that help keep my body fueled and my calories on track. To keep it low-maintenance, I typically take one of the basic recipes below and sub ingredients to create new combinations. It helps keep my menu fresh while keeping my time spent in the kitchen to a minimum.

Fruit and Cinnamon Quick Oats

Fruit & Cinnamon Quick Oats

  1. 1/4c Quaker Quick Oats
  2. 1/4c water or milk
  3. 1/8c raisins
  4. 1 tbsp Stone Fruit Preserves
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
Directions: Add hot water to oats (or microwave oats + liquid). Add toppings. Enjoy.

Serves: 1

Approximate calories per serving: 175

Tip: Can be made in bulk and/or as overnight oats! I also sometimes add peanut butter, powdered protein, Cheerios (yes, Cheerios—Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whole Grain Cheerios are the best!) and/or nuts. I eat oatmeal for breakfast every single day (and depending on my workout, sometimes opt for a 1/2c instead of 1/4c).

Sriracha Teriyaki Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetables

Sriracha Teriyaki Chicken & Veggies

  1. 6 frozen chicken breasts
  2. 1 cup Sriracha Teriyaki Sauce
  3. 1 sliced green pepper
  4. 1c green beans 
  5. Dash of garlic salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-hours. Portion out into containers and enjoy with a side of fresh veggies.

Serves: 8

Approximate calories per serving: 204

Tip: If your planning meals for you and a significant other, this is a great one to put over rice, noodles or on a bun for those who require a higher daily caloric intake. You can also sub the cup of sauce for a salsa or marinade to switch up the flavors and theme of the meal.

Chia Seed Pudding with Coconut Milk and Fruit Preserve Topping

Chia Seed Pudding

  1. 1/3c chia seeds
  2. 1 1/3c almond milk (or your preference)
  3. 1 tbsp sweetener
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/8c coconut milk (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp Mixed Berry Preserves (optional)
  7. Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Directions: Mix ingredients together with whisk. Refrigerate. Mix again in 10 minutes (helps remove tapioca-like clumps). Portion into containers and refrigerate overnight. When ready to eat, top with coconut milk, preserves and cinnamon.

Serves: 3

Approximate calories per serving: 169

The credit from this recipe goes to my cousin Kristen!
A big thanks goes out to Robert Rothschild Farm, who provided all of the delicious sauces and fruit preserves to make these recipes possible! I've experimented with many of their organic sauces and found that I can modify my recipes just slightly to accommodate any of their sauces into a delicious recipe. And it doesn't stop there—their sauces double as dips (Pineapple Habanero pictured with my steak above) and salad dressings (Blueberry Balsamic over my spinach & peach salad) too!

Healthy eating doesn't have to be hard or take hours in the kitchen. If you take the few minutes to prep your meals over the weekend and portion them out for the week, you're putting yourself on that path to a healthy body & healthy lifestyle.

PS / / I was interviewed over at the Dansko blog, Word of Foot, about how to kickstart your daily routine & incorporate healthy living all day long. Read the feature here!