Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To those of us who aren't graduating on time:

I work retail, so I've known for weeks what today was. The first day of school.
I can't count how many "first day of school" photos I saw from family and friends.
But what hit me hardest was all of the "last first day of school" photos and posts from people I graduated with. This should be my senior year. I should be walking the stage (again) in May with my bachelor's degree.
But I'm not.
I took my first semester at a four- year school very seriously. I made all A's. I took high school very seriously, too.
I was on student council, was editor-in-chief of my school paper, second in command for the literary magazine, worked on the yearbook...the whole nine yards. I was doing it in high school, made great SAT scores, all of that. Destined for greatness and all of that good stuff.
Except I wasn't. I applied for only one college on the day applications were due, and that was by force of my parents. I just didn't want to do it. Was I just being lazy? Yeah, probably. Did I genuinely not want to go? No. I didn't.
But I did. And I did well my first semester. I rushed a sorority, my "Big" hooked me up with a great guy, and things were going great. Until they weren't.
I hated being in school, things didn't work out with the guy, my Big graduated and I didn't enjoy my sorority and dropped it, and shortly after I checked out of school entirely. But yet I still enrolled.
I took classes that I didn't attend. I woke up late, wasn't involved, and I just felt like school wasn't for me. I made A's on every assignment but my absences spoke louder. I started flunking classes because I simply did not attend them.

After failing classes from lack of attendance, I decided school wasn't my "thing." Ha.
I was working at a job where my boss told our customers, "If she just fails, she can work here full-time!" How degrading, I always thought. But how true.
I left that job and went back to the job I loved. But I did not go back to school. I took a semester off and worked my butt off full-time. I loved every second of it.
But I also hated walking into the breakroom and seeing my employees with notebooks full of notes studying because of their upcoming tests. I felt this pang of regret every time I saw them working toward a degree, and me not doing a darn thing.

"You'll be taken off of our insurance if you don't enroll in school full-time," my mom would call and tell me almost every other day. I love my mother more than life itself, but I swear those words turned me into the devil. I would tell her constantly that I didn't care- no more insurance for me!
But I did care. A lot.

So I decided to enroll in my community college. The school my little sister enrolled in over a year ago and has done well in. Embarrassing, I thought.
I jumped through hoops and spent days in their no-air-conditioning-in-Texas-summer offices trying to get in these classes. I said countless times that I gave up- enrolling in school took to much effort and I would rather spend that time at work, earning money.

But I did it anyways. And now I am enrolled in classes, and I am going to continue to work full-time.
I want to punch myself for slacking off so much and sleeping through classes I could have easily passed, but failed because I was lazy and not self-motivated.
I am jealous of my friends who will graduate this year.

But more than that? I am proud of myself for going back. I am proud of myself for trying. School is not for everyone and I firmly believe that. But I am so proud of everyone who sticks to it and goes through complete bullshit in their lives and still comes out working hard.

Whether you are graduating on time, don't plan to graduate at all, or are working your butt off to just get it done like me...I commend you. You do you.
It's ok if you don't walk the stage at the same time as the people you walked the stage with in high school. That's hard for me to recognize.
Maybe I will walk the stage with my little sister, who is years younger than me, but I will walk the stage.

Congratulations to us all.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Deck the halls on a dime

Living alone for the first time gives you a whole new sense of control and independence. I get to do everything my own way and on my own time. My family has always been a "wait-until-after-Thanksgiving" family as far as Christmas decor goes, and I respect it, but I love Christmas and I just simply could not contain my excitement. I told myself to wait. But how does one not go crazy when you're flooded with Christmas in every store you walk in to? I was drooling when I went in to Target last week.

But unfortunately I've got a sick pup (click here to read more on his GoFundMe) who needs lots of medical attention, which in turn means lots of money, and I also went a couple of weeks out of work, which meant I had to keep my budget super tight.

I wanted so. badly. to buy up Target and HomeGoods and clear them of their Christmas sections, but I'm a lady on an extreme budget these days, so I had to figure something else out. This year I did all of my Christmas decor shopping at, drum roll please, the Dollar Tree.

I went garland crazy. You can wrap garland anywhere and things immediately look more festive! I want to keep it on my bar cart year-round! I also threw two Christmas kitchen towels over the handle to pull it all together. (PS- the wine glass and candy canes inside it were also from the Dollar Tree!) I bought 5 strands of garland total + 2 towels + 1 box of candy canes= $8 total.

Ok let's be real- I have two huskies with endless energy and I do not have the patience for glass ornaments. They're pretty, sure. But I don't need sliced up paws and endless sweeping and frustration just because those nuts think the ornaments are more of their ball toys to toss around. I bought 6 packs of varying ornaments (I got 4 of the same gold and silver ornaments and 2 packs of red to add a little bit of color). And again, garland. It fills up the extra space and makes the tree so much shinier! 6 packs of ornaments and 2 strings of garland? $8 to decorate the tree.
These mini Christmas trees make several appearances in my house. They're so festive and for $1 each I went a little nuts and bought 4 of them. They look great on an end table, coffee table and/or kitchen table! I also bought 3 festive faux flower bunches and put them in little glass jars. $5 total. Now I won't lie and say the "home for the holidays" sign didn't come from Target- but it was from the $1, 3,5 section for only $3, bringing this table to a total of $8.
Stockings! Oh how I love to jam-pack stockings full of goodies months before Christmas. I was so thrilled that the Dollar Tree had Star Wars stockings, because it's perfect for my nerdy boyfriend. They also had stockings for pups to fulfill all of my dog-lady desires (and cats, for you crazy cat ladies!). I have yet to buy a stocking for myself, but I know my mom and dad will pull through on one for their house ;)  Stockings= $3 total.
Wine glasses!! I'm so big on wine glasses. I used to be a crazy coffee mug hoarder (I won't lie, I still am) but as soon as I was introduced to the gloriousness that is wine, I became a wine glass hoarder. I stalk HomeGoods wine glass section on the regular because they have the cutest glasses for great prices. But low and behold, the Dollar Tree had these simple yet gorgeous glasses (they've got a gold lining on the top! Ahh). I bought a few for drinking, and one to hold candy canes in on the bar cart! Four wine glasses= $4.

Obsessed with the gold rim. It takes them from simple to elegant, and they look far more expensive than $1! They even have matching coffee mugs (got those, too) and plates so you can have a gorgeous table setting if you're hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!

And the grand total? $31 for all of this holiday gloriousness.
I did purchase a couple other things that weren't photographed, but all in all, I didn't go over $50! The Dollar Tree is your friend! While I was in HomeGoods I also made a few other purchases (a Christmas themed mug that says "Dog Mom" because that's the kind of person I am) and some gift wrap.
The Dollar Tree also provided me with 6 rolls of wrapping paper, however I will say that HomeGoods has amazing prices on gift wrap and you generally get more square feet!  And the Dollar Spot at Target is home to many cute glitter mini-trees and festive signs.

Happy budget shopping!

Monday, September 14, 2015

In Susie's Kitchen: Crock Pot Creamy Enchilada Soup

I've made more enchilada soups than I can count. This blog might turn into an enchilada soup blog soon enough. But today I tried a crock pot version of creamy enchilada soup and it honestly was everything I've ever dreamed of and more in an enchilada soup. And I honestly have dreamed about it before. Plus it has to be one of the easiest and cheapest meals I've made in  a long while!

Without further ado, here's the recipe!


  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 can of corn (don't drain!)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 package of dry ranch dressing
  • 8 oz. of cream cheese (or greek yogurt if you're healthier than me)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin (I always go overboard and add a little more!)
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder (I also added a few frozen onions)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Tortilla chips (optional)
  • Mexican-blend cheese (optional)

Cooking Instructions:
  • Put the frozen chicken breasts into the crock pot 
  • Top the chicken with the Rotel, beans, corn, ranch dressing, and all of your spices
  • Stir together
  • Top with cream cheese
  • Set the crock pot on low and cook for 6-8 hours (I cooked mine for 7)
  • Stir occasionally to mix the cream cheese in
  • Shred the chicken once it's finished
  • Garnish with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and crumbled tortilla chips
One of the most painless meals I've ever had. And so good!
I will say that I always add a little extra to all of my spices and seasonings to give it a little more flavor. So if it calls for a teaspoon, I almost always add another 1/4 or 1/2 tsp!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Decorate on a {tight} budget

As much as I grew up on the idea of being non-materialistic, I won't lie to you: I love having nice things. But being that I am 20 years old and a full-time student with only a part-time job, paying rent and pleading with my mom to loan me twenty bucks for gas is a little higher on my priorities list than dropping a couple hundred dollars on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale or buying a $1500 coffee table. Online shopping consists of hitting the "Shop from: Lowest to Highest" option on the drop down menu. And even then, I have to close out of the tab because I know I still don't need that pair of $5 socks from Forever21 or another coffee mug from Etsy.

About a year back, my parents told me they had bought another fixer-upper house and that once it was done I could rent it from them while I am in college. I was so excited! So excited, in fact, that two days later I went to the animal shelter and adopted a dog, because you can't have a house without a dog, right? My next stop was Homegoods, because I needed some wall art and wine glasses. Definitely responsible purchases.
Fast-forward a year, and the renovations are complete, I have (mostly) finished decorating, and it's finally time to move in! Somewhere along the way I had to realize that I can't spend all my money on wine glasses (bummer) because decorating a house is so much more than I ever imagined. I had to learn very quickly how to put furniture on the floor and art on the walls without winding up on the negative side of my bank account. Here are a few of the tips I learned along the way!

1. Furniture: Shop flea markets, garage sales, and family members homes.
There is not a single piece of furniture in my house that I bought new. Collectively, everything in my home probably cost about the same as one new couch. I got my iron bed frame, kitchen table & chair set and coffee table in Canton at their monthly flea market. My kitchen table and chairs were in a half-off booth and cost only $80. My farmhouse-window-pane-turned-coffee-table cost $40 after a little haggling. My bed frame (my favorite piece in my house!) we got for $125 after haggling it down from $200. Flea markets are also good for finding unique pieces- I guarantee you no one else I know will have the same bed or coffee table. Several of my end tables and lamps came from garage sales, every piece under $10. And there will always, always be friends and family who will give you furniture they are replacing for free. For years my mom has wanted a new couch, so I was the first to raise my hand and offer to take her old one off her hands. Let family know you are moving and in need of furniture, and you will be shocked at the things they offer up!

2. HomeGoods and Hobby Lobby are a Pinterest girl's best friend.
I love to daydream about having a nice house one day that is furnished like the ones popping up on my Pinterest feed. What a cute vase, I think to myself and click on the link. Oh, it's only $450! I don't even get paychecks with those kind of numbers on them. This leads me to why I love HomeGoods so much (almost as much as Target). HomeGoods carries very on-trend decor, very similar to expensive pieces I see online, for so. much. less. I got the gorgeous gold pineapple on my table at HG for only $15! They've also got really stylish kitchen basics (dish towels, silverware, serving bowls) for great prices.
Hobby Lobby is great because the entire store goes on sale for half off every week. If it's not on sale for half off one week, it's almost guaranteed it will be by the next week. I check their weekly ad every Sunday night to see what's on sale and then show up at 9am Monday morning to get what I want. I got all of my wall art (frames included!) for half off and under $16 for each print. My dalmatian pillows were half off for $11, and my dalmatian rug was only $10.

3. The Dollar Tree is your friend.
The Dollar Tree was great when we were five and our moms let us go in and pick out three things and we had to pick really wisely. Should we get a bag of candy, a nail polish, or a new hair towel wrap? The options were endless. And after that age it's almost like we forgot about the Dollar Tree entirely. Bad move: the DT was my absolute saving grace when it came to essentials for my house. I got so caught up in decorating and furniture that I forgot the necessities. I stocked my house with toilet paper, paper towels, plastic kitchenware, cleaning supplies, Kleenex and so much more all for under $30. A lot of times they carry overstock from name brands, too! Before you go breaking the bank on can openers and mop buckets (these things seriously add up), make your rounds through the DT. I can almost guarantee you won't leave empty-handed.

4. Know when things hit the sale rack.
Target, Hobby Lobby, and thrift stores have been my best friends. Not only because they're reasonably priced, but because I know their sale days. If it's not on sale, it's almost guaranteed that I won't buy it. I already went into Hobby Lobby's sale rotation, but a lot of local thrift stores also have colored tag sale days. So if it has a green tag on Monday, it's 99 cents, and so on and so forth. One of my favorite stops in a thrift store is the home section. I always look for photo frames (they're dirt cheap at thrift stores!). Target also has markdown schedule that's important to know. Click here to check out their markdown schedule.

5. Put faux sheepskin rugs and plants everywhere.
And thus I leave you with my last piece of (slightly random) advice.
I don't know what it is about sheepskin rugs and plants, but they just look nice. I bought two sheepskin rugs from Ikea for $30 and one from HomeGoods for $12. My dad was very quick to ask why I had so many. I felt like I didn't have enough. My home is from the 70's, and even after renovating, there's still some blemishes. I threw one down on my stained closet floor and laid my shoes on top and it instantly made it look more chic. If there are any spots in your house that you feel look a little bland, toss a sheepskin rug down. They also look great draped over the backs of chairs.
Plants make your house look and feel more cozy. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. But my house instantly looked more inviting once I had a few plants on the counters, end tables, and one by the couch. Here's the thing with me and plants, though: I have a brown thumb, not a green thumb. I kill plants almost instantly. I try my darndest to water them the correct amount when they need it and give them the correct amount of sunlight, but nothing works. So there's only two real plants in my house (the kind that basically need no attention), and the rest are fake. And they still have the same effect!

And after many months of trying to pinch my pennies and keep my house from representing what my bank account looks like (sad and empty), my house has become a home and it's time to move in!
If you have any questions about where anything came from in the above pictures, feel free to email me at insusiesshoes@gmail.com

Thursday, August 20, 2015

In Susie's Kitchen: Cheesy Salsa Verde Sausage Pasta

At this point I think you all understand what a fan I am of simple meals that I can conquer in under 30 minutes. It's very rare that I have time to cook an extravagant meal when I'm having to rush to the grocery store after work to get all my ingredients and try to have everything on the table before Rafael gets off work. So here's another 30-minute wonder!
I originally found a similar recipe with chicken, but I chose to do sausage because it's easier and cheaper!

Serves 2-3.

  • 1/2 lb. smoked sausage
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup salsa verde (If you use a mild/med this will not be spicy at all)
  • 1 cup penne pasta
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Add the olive oil and sliced sausage to a medium skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside when cooked.
  • While the sausage is cooking, in a medium pot, add the whipping cream, salsa, chicken broth, and pasta. Mix together and then bring to a boil. Once it is at a boil, lower the temperature to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until the pasta is soft.
  • Once the pasta mixture is cooked, remove from heat and add sausage, cheese, and if desired, add cilantro for garnish.
And with those three simple steps, you are done! Quick & easy.
Make sure to let me know if you try it and how you like it! I liked it so much when I made it for myself on Tuesday night that I ate my leftovers for lunch the next day at work and had to make a second batch for Rafael on Wednesday night! 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

In Susie's Shoes 5th Anniversary!

My blog first started back in the days where Rumi Neely (fashiontoast) ruled the world and bloggers were few and far between. I was fifteen years old and I practically worshipped Rumi and thought what she was doing was the greatest thing since sliced bread (or, in her case, toast). I decided to create a blog of my own (outside of tumblr) and started posting all sorts of things- outfits posts, flat lays, outings and adventures with friends, makeup, Polyvore guides...you name it, I was attempting it.

All of a sudden, blogs started popping up everywhere. Companies would contact me left and right and I was thinking, "Holy crap. This is so. Cool."
I was constantly looking for new things to talk about and to wear, and it was great.

And then I started working every day until 10 pm. And I started college and I suddenly had to start working for my grades (who knew?). My blog posts were dwindling, but I couldn't bring myself to delete it. Just recently I realized what a huge outlet and blessing this blog had been for me and how many opportunities I have been given through it, so I started to get back into the habit of posting occasional outfits and recipes (while not letting it get too consuming).
And I thought to myself, I've been doing this a while. I wonder how long it's been?
Much to my surprise, Blogger tells me I started this old thing in June of 2010. Five years ago. 

 So I wanted to take this opportunity to post a few throwback outfits and to thank everyone who read my blog 5 years ago, everyone who just started reading it, and the all of the companies and organizations who have collaborated with me to make something great.
I am so very thankful for each and every page view, comment, and email I get from all of you!

Here's to another five years!

Friday, June 19, 2015

In Susie's Kitchen: Cheesy Enchilada Rice

I think it's time for me to be put on a Mexican food timeout. I think about chips and salsa all day and I have dreams about enchiladas. And margaritas. Always margaritas. So since I have been on such a Mexican food kick, I decided to start trying out my own (easy) Mexican dishes for dinner! This one was crazy easy and, not to toot my own horn, pretty darn good. I hate leftovers, and I ate all of these leftovers. All. Of. Them.
So like I said...dreams about enchiladas. Except I don't actually want to have to put forth the effort to make enchiladas right now so...an enchilada rice skillet that takes 25-30 min tops? My kind of enchiladas. 


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb chicken (I used frozen shredded chicken)
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup onion (I used frozen onion!)
  • 1 can of sweet corn, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup mild enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup green enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 packet of taco seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • small bunch of chopped fresh cilantro
  • tortilla chips (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
Cooking instructions:

  • In a medium pot, boil 1.5 cups of water, then then add rice and simmer on low for about 20 minutes (could be different depending on instructions on package).
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet on med. high and add garlic, onion and chicken. Cook until chicken is browned (3-5 min).
  • Stir in corn, black beans, rice, enchilada sauces, cumin, and taco seasoning. Let sit on med. low for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until heated through.
  • Remove from heat and top with cheese, cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips (optional) and sour cream (optional).