Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Ok Thursday, with a Twist.

Its Ok Thursdays

Welcome to It's Ok Thursday with a twist...ecards!  I'm borrowing all of these from pinterest to make today's it's ok Thursday extra special.  Here we go.  It's ok... love Kim Kardash, even if she's a hot mess.  And to have totally been judging her marriage from the get go. judge Jlo for that fiat're not still Jenny from the block and you don't drive a fiat around one either. love Target but have to be monitored on your trips there for budgeting purposes/to avoid bankruptcy.  Quick someone take my wallet, I've lost all sense of wants v. needs!

...if Pinterest makes you want to shop and eat constantly.  It happens to the best of us.

...if you have to be brutally honest with guys from time to time...having your personality mistaken for flirting makes life complicated!

...if you frequently want to delete people from high school or college years for being idiots, but not because you kind of enjoy feeling superior from time to time.  This is probably not really ok...but I do it.

 ...if you frequently indulge in busyness of the wrong kind.  This is when you know you should be doing one specific thing but you busy yourself with 100 other things that could wait. (and some of you thought I didn't need a time management book? HA!)

...if the above ecard describes you perfectly.  Most people consider me very social so it baffles them that I live alone.  I like time away from people as much as I like time with them, actually.  And though saying you get along better with guys than girls is considered a bad quality in a girl these days, it's true.  I like guys.  They're honest, they're low drama (usually), and they do not pretend or participate in BS nearly as often as girls. be a rare gem, of the odd variety.

And most of all of this fabulous Thursdays, it's ok to be sarcastic, witty, and full of self mockery.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Belated Weekend Recap.

I hope that each of you had a special Memorial Day weekend.  As I shared last week, I spent mine with 3 full days and 2 partial days with my sweet Mom.  I love love love having her down on my turf, which is a treat I've gotten for a long weekend each of the last two years and I hope a tradition in the making.  I love each of my family members and the time we all get together but there's something extra special about getting one-on-one time with them whether it's a date night with my Dad when I'm in Indy or Easter with my sisters in North Carolina.

She was waiting for me at home when I got there after work Friday night.  I had cooked chicken taco chili in the crockpot and made a fruit salad with dip so we ate in and caught up.  After which we did a little shopping for the house for some of our projects and then  I introduced her to my favorite fro yo joint, Yogurtology. I am sad to report that she went with NO TOPPINGS!  Tragic.  We rented a redbox and watched it in bed where we later passed out content to be together.

Saturday morning we woke up, drank whoopie pic coffee and read our bibles and books together.  We took our time getting moving but eventually headed to Bayshore to walk by the water.  My Mom walks way faster than I do so we had a hard time talking as she kept leaving me in the dust, crazy Oprah power walker that she is.  But we enjoyed it.

After which we went bargain hunting at furniture consignment shops, discount stores, etc.  I live for this kind of treasure hunting.  My Mom and my home styles are very different but she seems to appreciate my taste and she at least enjoys that I keep it clean and minimalistic.  So we had a blast working on little projects, shopping for the best deal, and working on my little batch pad.  We did take a late afternoon break for some pool time with books though.

We ended up ordering pizza and picking up giant sonic's for dinner that night and indulging in another redbox in bed where we passed out tired and content from a productive day.  We killed more than half of our to do list for my place on Saturday.  I should pause here to say that my neighbors are amazing and really pitched in when I needed them with their SUVs, tools, and man power.  I am grateful that I absolutely love my neighborhood and my block of neighbors.  We're more than a community, we're a family.

Sunday included church, brunch with long-time friends, more errands, more projects, and finally too much exhaustion to even stay awake for a movie!  The best part?  We still had Monday!  I love long weekends because when you feel like they're supposed to be ending you still have a whole 'nother day.  Mom and I both agreed this weekend was perfect, it felt long enough, for once.

Monday involved MORE projects, shopping, and dinner with Indy friends that just moved here to Tampa and are now practically my neighbors.  They were a welcomed break from snaking drains, replacing towels bars, and going through junk drawers!  They fed us delicious ribs and things.  I'm so excited to have some coaching buddies in my neck of the woods now...I hope this was the first of many meals we'll share together now that they're Tampa dwellers.

I realized this morning that I literally didn't take a single phone and sent less tweets, texts, or facebooks than I have in any weekend before, other than maybe while in Haiti when I didn't have my phone.  I'm working on being more present.  I want to live my life, not text about living it.  And I want the people I spend my time to feel like they're important and I value the time I get with them.  This is a huge step for the girl who receives an average of 25,000 texts a month...but a good step.  A very healthy step.  I'm not sure the number of texts that come in is going down but the ones going out?  That change may have verizon wondering if my phone has been stolen.

Happy Wednesday everyone, this week is already half over! Hope you're making the most of the short week.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dreams Do Come True.

For as long as I can remember I've wanted my own library, in my home.  Something you may not know about me is learning to read did not come easily for me and I struggled through elementary school with reading comprehension.  I have a mild case of dyslexia which went without diagnosis and therefore untreated.  I made it painful for my Mom growing up who would force me to read and I would force to listen to my grumbling.

Finally in middle school my Mom allowed me to start picking my own books and I fell in love with reading.  Turns out the more I read, the better I got at it.  I continued to pick up speed and as you know now, I try'n read 50 books per year.  So for a girl with a hard time reading and bad comprehension scores through elementary school I sky rocketed to getting an A in college English when I was only 16.

I fell in love with reading and it changed my life.  I am not a passionate advocate for literacy and for the literature.  I am my friends cheerleader as many of them join the world of reading goals.  I am a book giver, a book recommend-er, and frequently a book reviewer.

Well, I didn't get my library this weekend BUT I got one giant step closer...I got a reading corner!  I found the perfect lamp for it on clearance but for some reason didn't get it so I'll be making a trip back there today to pick it up and complete it, for now.  But I wanted to show you that I finally have a reading corner, complete with a big comfy chair, a lamp, and a leather box/tote thing to hold the books I'm currently reading (which seems to always be 5-6).

(note: there's not a picture hanging behind it as well that spices up that corner a little mom helped me actually hang things so it looks like someone lives in my house now!)

In addition to getting a reading corner I got a HUGE new assortment of books over the last week and a half.  Here's a few that got added to the Beach Condo Library in the month of May:

                          Thanks to Amber my most generous book exchanging friend for these!

Clearly, I need to step up my reading game.  I finished book 37 of the year this weekend and somehow I'm still drowning in books that have been given to me.  Oh the generosity of those I love.  I may need to live to be 300 to read all the books that interest me, but I guess by then there would be 300 more years worth of reading material. Whew.

If any of you would like to come borrow my reading corner, let me know.  I'm pretty stoked on it!

Hope you all had wonderful holiday weekends.  Memorial Day was extra special to me in light of my recent trip to DC where I learned so much more about the sacrifice of our armed forces.  How blessed we are to live in America!

My weekend with my Mom has been perfect and I'm so sad to take her to the airport this morning... : [


Monday, May 28, 2012

If I Die Young...

...don't bury me in satin because satin clings to all my imperfections.

Ok, this post is serious though.  When I determined I was going to Haiti I was surprised at how many responded, ' but, you could die there'.  At first I thought it was a little funny.  I live in Tampa where road rage is abundant.  I could die any day, really...especially here.  But then it got me thinking, what if I died in Haiti, at 26.  Well, if I'm going to die young I hope it's doing something bold, for the Lord or least for the people I love.

I don't say that lightly.  I have no fear of death.  It's not that I'm ready to die by any means.  I love my life and more than ever I've been living this year to the fullest.  The people I love, know it.  I desire to grow older being the cool aunt to my niece, an encouraging sister, an inspiring friend, and a passionate leader.  I hope the Lord continues to have big plans for me but I'm not afraid to die.

A coworker of mine lost a high school aged niece a few years back.  What I was struck by was that her reach increased in her death.  Her life didn't disappear, it spread like wildfire.

If I die young, I hope I do it leaving a legacy.  I hope that my parents, siblings, and friends would celebrate my life and my salvation in my absence.  I am less afraid of dying in fact, then in failing to really live.

We have one shot at this.  We get to live on earth one time.  And every single moment we have here is borrowed.  We don't know when it will end.  We can't predict our futures. We plan and plan but we don't really know that we'll live to carry out those plans.  What I fear is not taking chances, not being 'all in', and not having an impact so that my life and later my death are meaningless.

The more intangible I realize my life is the more motivated I feel to face my fears, to put it all on the line, and to live with every fiber of my being.  I don't mean this post to be morbid, I realize that the more I embrace that life is temporary the more I really live.

So if I die young, I'm going to do it fully living til the very last second.  And I hope to live my life in a way that keeps the devil a little uncomfortable. ; ]


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Enter: The Confessional.

Ok, I'm going to make a bold and maybe shocking confession on the blog today.  Are you ready? I'm a closet messie.  No really.  If you've ever been to my house and seen that I keep it pretty much prestine these days this way come as a giant shock to you but I've ALWAYS been a mess! 

I got in trouble every day growing up for leaving my bed unmade, not getting dressed before school, and not picking up after myself.  This habit got worse in high school and was the bane of my roommates existence in college.  Every once in a blue moon I'd get the itch to clean and pick up my room, clean everything off, and carry on the way I always did until it was a mess again.

Worse yet? I wasn't JUST messy, I was dirty!  My freshman year of college I only changed my bedsheets twice (I know, this is getting really shameful now) bed was lofty and it was practically impossible for my 5'3 self to do it without much help from my taller, cleaner roommate and so I thought, why bother?  Eck ok not I'm disgusted with myself just talking about it.

After college when I suddenly had more time (I went to school fulltime and worked 32 hours a week my junior and senior years), I got better.  I was renting a house with two friends from middle school who still lived in Tampa and we all pitched in and kept the place pretty clean. I finally was doing my part to keep the place up and realizing that when the house was clean, it was easier to think straight!

At 24 I bought my young professionals version of a 'dream home'.  A two bedroom, two bath townhome in my favorite part of town.  When I pictured myself young, single, and working hard this is the place I pictured coming home too.  For the first two weeks I didn't even have furniture but I didn't know the difference.  I slept on that airmattress with a big goofy grin on my face because I finally had a home of my own. 

This is when I determined it was time to quit being a messy.  This was my place and I wanted it to look great.  I wanted to entertain guest after guest in my shiney new home and be proud of it. And so, I changed my habits which in fact, changed my life.

I'm always looking to improve which is when I started reading Sandra Felton. She wrote a book on time management that I was obsessed with (I've written a little about that recently) but she also funs a website called 'Messies Anonymous'.  As I was perusing her archives after reading her book I thought, this is me!  I basically had to 12 step myself from a messie to my current state!

She has some incredible resources and I highly recommend her books, mostly 'Organizing your Day' which is continuing to push me to use my time wisely and effeciently so I can spend more of it with the people I care about and with my nose in a book.  So, confession time is over and if you're living in the land of messies, check out Felton for a revamp. 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Crockpot Foodie.

It's no use wishing I'd paid more attention as a kid to what a fabulous cook my Mom is and learned the tricks of her trade then.  But since buying my home I've discovered I love to cook, grill, and bake - especially when I can have guests!  This summer there will be several fun visitors to the crib, starting with my Mom who's here right now!

Yesterday before work I threw together a crock pot meal I've been wanting to try that I found on Pinterest (of course).

The recipe is for low calorie crockpot chicken taco chili (wow, that's a mouthful). 

Recipe here.

I love crockpot meals because I love to entertain but as you've probably noticed, my schedules a bit crazy.  This is an easy way to have a meal ready when I get home, so all I have to do is serve it up and enjoy my company.

So if you're in the mood for easy entertaining this summer, try this out!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Three Day Weekend.

Well kids, we've made it to Friday and better still we've got a three day weekend ahead!  Big plans? No plans? How do you like to spend your lengthy weekends?  For the the question usually comes down to: home or away?
Well this three day weekend I will be home with my favorite house guest:

My Mom!  She landed in Tampa on Wednesday morning and spent Weds, Thursday, and some of Friday with her best friend (who lives in Tampa like me) but after work today we'll have tonight and 3 glorious days after to sun, fun, eat fro yo, and shop for home things.  I am THRILLED!  Some of you long time readers may remember that she made a trip down here before and we painted all my trim, ate fro yo for every meal, and had a blast.  Well, this time I'm not working her nearly as hard (which I'm sure she's excited about) but we do have a few things on the agenda...

We are going to be on the hunt for:

A black queen sized headboard for the guest bed.  Did you miss the instagram of the new guest bed?  Have no fear, it's here:

Last week it got a bedskirt and 2 more pillows but now it needs a headboard to be complete.  So Mom and I will be hunting that down this weekend. Along with...

(image and bookshelves by Sauder)

Nice black bookshelves.  I currently have a cheap one from Target that's leaning hard to the right.  It needs to go.  So Mom and I are hunting down some new, sturdy, black wood shelves.  Pray we can find some for a good price that I love, quickly.  Yes I realized that's a tall order.

Those are the main items that I want to find but if we have time and inspiration left I'm also looking for:

A key holder for by the front door (not that looks like this, mind you)

A bedside table and lamp. (I actually DO like these)

And who knows, maybe some other fun trinkets along the way.

My parents have been incredibly encouraging in my journey as a homeowner.  They've cheered me on through every decision, obstical, and phase along the way.  I'm so grateful for their support and advice (and contributions to the decor ...ha ha).  My Mom has been so excited to see the batch pad since it's paint job and bathroom upgrades and I'm THRILLED to see her reaction. 

I will be meeting her at my place after work today where I have a crock pot meal a cookin' for us...but I'm thinking we will NEED some Yogurtology immediately following.

What are your long weekends looking like?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Ok Thursday Returns.

Its Ok Thursdays

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up for it's ok Thursday but I'm excited to participate today.  So here we go again...

It's ok... get tired of texting.  Since Haiti I've cut back drastically on idle text chatter and I've got to be honest, it's a relief! always have several books going at once (one christian, one educational, and one fiction is my typical) always want a trip to look forward too (Daytona and Myrtle are my next two) be giddy that you're Mom will be staying with you Friday- Tuesday spoiling you, spending time with you, and lovin on you.  (and probably shopping with you) be excited that I get to cook for my Mom this weekend.  I never get to do that! LOVE having a clean house. be overjoyed with the response to your post about your new bathrooms. limit your shopping for clothes to pay for home stuff (it lasts longer anyway) love exchanging books with Amber. ; ] hate e-mail and randomly go through phases of unsubscribing from EVERYTHING because you're sick of being tempted to shop. love sonic surveys for free drinks. kind of wish you lived in DC after an amazing 6 days there.

Hey, it's ok.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Touristy Fashion.

I have a love/hate relationship with packing.  I love it because I love anything prep.  I love to prepare for things.  I love lists.  But then sitting down and packing makes my anxious that I'll get there and nothing will fit right, I'll hate everything I packed, or all of the sudden the weather will change since the 139483920 times I checked in before packing.

I packed simple for this trip to DC and it worked out perfectly.  I shared with you all that I got the below jacket for a great bargain at Nordstrom Rack.  It served me well in DC and I wore is several of the days.  Here's a little taste of my simple travel style, tourist edition.

 Jeans: Levi
 Tee: Old Navy
 Jacket: Zella (a Nordstrom brand)
 Watch: Michael Kors
 Across body bag: Coach
 Whoa it looks like I spent a long time and a lot of products getting ready and didn't even look that special. ha ha.
Tee: Old Navy
Sweater: Michael Kors
Watch: Michael Kors
Jeans: Calvin Klein

 I wore these super cheap sneaks (on sale for 8 bucks at Old Navy I think?) most of the trip and they were amazing.
This is my airport style with black workout pants.  The shirt is from Nordstrom and I can't remember who made it...but I love it.  It's made like a man's baseball tee and so comfy.

As you can see I didn't have to dress up on this trip, which was amazing.  I don't mind getting fancy now and again...but I much prefer comfort.

Anyone else love to hate packing?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Bittersweet Return.

Hello loves,

Thank you for allowing me to disappear from blogworld last week and enjoy every minute of my experiences.  As most of you know I spent the last 6 days in Washington DC.  This was my 2nd big city trip in 2 years and I decided on DC shortly after returning from exploring New York City in 2011.  I'm now working on my big city plan for 2013! 

I am grateful that my life and my job (which gives me frequent flier points) have allowed me to spend these young semi-single years seeing cities and falling in love with the places I go.  I could spend the rest of my life traveling and never run out of things I want to see and people I want to meet.

Here's a little taste of what last week was like for me:

Lincoln Memorial - Thursday.

 Arlington Cemetery - Saturday.

Botanical Gardens - Friday.

 Capitol building and Library of Congress - Friday.

 Mt. Vernon - Sunday.

 White House - Thursday.
WW2 Memorial - Thursday.

While I was there I also got to meet my sweet blog friend turned in-real-life friend Leanna!

Isn't she darling?  I had the best lunch with her at Old Ebbitts near the White House. I can totally see why she ditched NYC for DC - I would too.  So glad we got to meet, hopefully next time we can dine in Tampa and I can show her around!

Most of all it was wonderful to get some family time in!  My aunt, uncle, and my cousins, Wesley and Whitley were so welcoming and gracious and I couldn't have had a better trip!

(that's Wesley on the left and Whitley on the right sporting the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirt I gave him)

I have said it many times and will say it again I am incredibly blessed to have the family that I do.  I enjoy that the older I get the closer I feel to each of them and thankfully the more I'm able to see them!  The Mayberrys are amazing and I cherish every second I get with them.  They have been my biggest cheerleaders these past few years of figuring out adult life AND they currently hold the family record for most visits to Tampa since I moved here (trumping my parents and sisters).

It was hard to leave DC BUT I am excited to host my sweet Momma in Tampa later this week!  My isn't May just the best month ever?

Every time I travel I come back inspired to save up and plan more trips!  This trip was no exception.  You can expect many announcements, ideas, and decisions coming soon to this blog but I will start by announcing I have officially paid my deposit and will be headed to Togo in West Africa in January of 2013.  It is my desire to continue to grow in my faith and serve diligently.  As I prayed, the Lord has continued to break my heart for his people all of the world this year and I am thrilled to be saving up and headed to Togo to love on their people and build an Aquaponics center there with two guys from my Haiti trip - AJ and Casey.  I would treasure your prayers throughout the next few months of prep!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bathroom Revamps (Before and After)

I feel like I've been waiting forever to have my bathrooms fixed up!  I've been dreaming of putting granite counters and non-shiney faucets in since I first purchased my townhome 2.5 years ago.  Finally this year I realized that this was an attainable dream and I started doing my research and putting aside a few dollars here and there to make this dream a reality. 

This was the first big home project I've ever saved up and paid for in cash.  And it made the whole process that much more exciting and enjoyable.  Actually, every area came in under budget, as well which left some money for fund accessories soon!  I can hoenstly say I'm proud of myself.  For saving the money, doing the legwork and research, and being my own 'contractor' on this project.

There wasn't anything 'wrong' with my previous set up, per se.  But I've never loved white countertops as they always seem to look dirty and the super shiney faucets they chose for the bathrooms when they built my place screamed 'cheap' to me.  As I think you'll be able to see from the before pictures the walls of the bathrooms were a cheap white paint that showed every splash, spill, or bit of dust....

Master Bath - Before.

 Guest bath - Before.
Guest Bath - Before (before I put all the stuff in it, obvi).

Note: When I returned from Haiti the mirror that was previously attached to the guest bathroom was not anymore.  Not really sure what happened there... but I saw it as an opportunity to replace said big piece of mirror with a framed mirror, since my painter offered to both fix up the wall AND hang the mirror for me after painting.  Score.

Paint on the left is the house paint.  Paint on the right is for the bathrooms only.  This was an unexpected purchase but I'm pleased that my painter suggested my color for the house would be dark and blah in my bathrooms. I think he was right!

This is the mirror I purchased for the guest bathroom.  Courtesy of Homegoods - the new one in South Tampa! (and a thank you to Mom for funding this find!)

The guys who replaced my counters had the cutest personalities.  They did this and then said 'well, have a good one' as they walked out the door with my old vanity top.  Funny.
 And then - ta da!

Guest bathroom counter.

I'm sure you've noticed what's still missing at this point...faucets!  But don't worry, a day later and with much drama and awkwardness they came into the picture too...

 Oh hey faucet hey!
Guest bath with faucet (I chose the same granite and faucets for both bathrooms)

Once the counter top guys, the plumber, and I did our parts it was time for the painter to get in there and do his.  He patched holes, fixed a few spots that got damaged from the removal of the old counters, painted, and hung the guest bath mirror.  He's truly amazing.  If any of you are thinking of revamping bathrooms I have some phone numbers for ya (assuming you live in Tampa, of course).

In addition to paint, patching, and hanging I asked the painter to do me one more favor and change out the old toilet paper hardware in the guest bath.  Since moving in I have HATED the one that the previous people installs.  All the hardware and fixtures in the bathrooms are silver and for some reason they still thought it would be a good idea to install this:

Why yes, that is bronze and brown, in case you were wondering. And no, it doesn't match ANYTHING else in the bathroom.  And yes, it's small and normally mostly covered with toilet paper but it's still been the bane of existance for 2.5 years of homeownership. And so I bought this one:

The new one is simple but it's brushed nickel like the fixtures in the bathroom and so it matches.  Ah.  The painter was gracious enough to accept the task of installing it.  Out with the old and in with the nickel, people.

So now here's the part where I show you that I'm not perfect, especially at being a homeowner.  I measured the width of the mirror but I didn't think through the height and this happened:

Very small floating mirror...eck.  And so I had to make a last minute trip back to homegoods to return this and get a bigger one which my neighbor hung for me with a little attitude...

 Here's Kayla and I with the new new mirror.  And with the vanity starting to come together.

Here's a close up of what the mirror looks like.
And the guest bathroom with the shower curtain up!  Woot woot.

And here's the finished master bathroom vanity:

This bathroom is actually just getting started. I have a new color scheme idea for my room and bathroom and I'll be saving for that and doing it stay tuned. But I at least wanted you to see the counters, sinks, faucets, etc.

Thanks for all the encouraging words along the way..I'm so glad to have a freshly painted house (more picture of that soon) AND almost new bathrooms!