Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
In March I wrote this post about finishing what I've started, my book shelves. It turned out many of you were up to the same challenge and through Goodreads and Twitter we've been able to do this together. I've loved it! There are few things I enjoy more than nosing around in what you're reading.
Amber from Brunch with Amber and I decided to exchange books (I believe I shared this previously). I went through her 'read' list on Goodreads and told her I really wanted to read this book from her list:
I finished 'Hollywood is like High School with Money' on my flight to Baltimore and immediately grabbed this one out of my purse and dove right in. It was the perfect book for travel because even at 500+ pages, the book itself was small and easy to tote around. By the time I arrived at my final destination for the weekend I was 150 pages in! I read every chance I got all weekend and finished the book after returning home Monday.
Happy book club Friday to all and happy reading.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
...to not even pack a hair dryer for Haiti, who will I be impressing anyway?
...to be mildly terrified of the pictures that will be taken of you while wearing all lose fitting clothing for a week.
...to pack some chocolate because you can't imagine going a week without it.
...to have a week where you can't keep up your typical reading schedule (here's your chance to catch up!)
...to be phone and internet free for a WEEK! This idea mildly terrifies me but also excites me. A chance to really get away and truly be unplugged.
...to love the journal Jess got me for my trip. Can't wait to write in it.
...to be scared of what you might miss while you're out of touch.
...to want to travel the world now that you forked out 180 bucks on a passport (anyone want to go to Europe next year?)
...to be over scheduled.
...to take a day or two off from time to time to love your life again.
...to be slightly crazy in the head after reading ' Master Your Metabolism' by Jillian Michaels. Too.much.info.
...to make rules and break em. I tell myself I have to do things and then sometimes I chuck that and do what I want.
...to love to layout. I know, I know - sunscreen. But I just love the sun.
...to be giddy with excitement about possibly having Mia, Jo, and Amber in Tampa the same weekend this summer.
...to love getting mail, even if it's stuff you paid for.
...to be obsessed with One Kings Lane.
...to already be working on your birthday wish list, when your birthday is in September. These home projects have got me making all kinds of lists.
...to overcommit to fun things. Trips, visits, birthday parties, oh my.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Obviously while you read this I'm in Haiti. I will return Saturday night the 28th and spend Sunday getting all the furniture into the guest bedroom for the painter to start May 1st. But after that the next couple weekends are insanely awesome. Ok wait, the first weekend in May will be low keyish. As low key as I ever am. Since the house will be in full blown upgrade mode I will be in town, hanging out, and getting things done.
The following weekend (May 12th) we have our Tampa Father & Kids Experience where Tony Dungy will be speaking. We're expecting about 1500 Dads & Kids. I've been working on this for weeks as you can imagine so I'm excited to kick off event season in our 'hometown' with one of my favorite men leading the way!
After that I leave Wednesday the 16th for Washington, DC! I will be there for 6 days with my cousins, aunt,uncle, the city, and Leanna! I am thrilled. This trip is exciting on so many levels. I love big cities. I love to explore. I love to get away. I love to experience.
I will return on a Monday and by that Wednesday the fun will continue with a visit from my Mom who will be in town just shy of a week, though spending the first few days (while I'm working) with her best friend on a little road trip as I understand it. Once the holiday weekend hits we'll be sunning, funning, fro yo eating, and guest bedroom decoring machines. I can't wait! My Mom's visited me once before in Florida and we had a blast! I've been begging for a repeat and I'm finally getting my wish.
After she leaves (boo) I'll head out a few days later to Alabama to work our Auburn event! I've never been to Auburn and I'm stoked to check out their stadium and work there for 2 days. I love to visit new places and to add stadiums to my list. You know you're in love with football when you keep track of all the stadiums you've been too, right?
The next few weeks promise to be crazy but packed with fun. Don't worry, I'm carving out time for the blog and friends during the weeks to come as well. But if you're hoping to get some face time in May you may want to put in your request soon, it's looking like this spring is going to be a blur!
Also to come over the Summer:
- Myrtle Beach Trip
- Best friend visiting
- Girls weekend with Mia, Jo, and Amber
- Possibly Daytona Beach to see my sister, bro-in-law, and niece
- Several other pending visits from friends
- Several other pending work events
Thanks for sharing in the excitement with me!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Among the things I really wanted to do before leaving for Haiti, a night out with this girl was near the top of the list. I asked her if we could carve out a hangout night before I headed out and she was sweet enough to do so.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
I was slow to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. First off, when I got in my invite and logged in I thought 'this is completely overwelming!'. Then when I realized how it worked, it grew on me slowly. When I later found out it has amazing organizational tutorials and blogs as well as cleaning tips and gift ideas - I came over to the dark side!
If you follow my board you may have found, liked, or judged my OCD pinboard which I started to tag all the amazing organizational and cleaning ideas I've found and want to put into practice. I have found some serious heros via Pinterest! These women are legit.
Let me introduce you to my pantry hero:
This is amazing. I wish that my pantry looked like this. BUT I'm planning on revamping mine in May when I do my official spring cleaning, condo upgrade, and guest bedroom project overhaul! So, while I had that $50 One King's Lane giftcard I got a canister set (for free) that looks like this:
I had been keeping an eye on similar items at Big Lots and Target - but the prices still seemed a bit steep and I was hoping to find them clearanced. Then when OKL had them AND I had a giftcard I thought, perfect! I want to move away from having bags of baking supplies and into having organized, easy-to-find and easy-to-keep-fresh baking supplies in canisters.
A few days later I pinned this - a magic decal tutorial that teaches you how to label your canisters for good. I think I'm going to have to do this, right?
I have a few silver canisters now that will be used in my coffee cupboard. I've also been saving glass jars (because I kind of hate the idea of buying them) to make my own seasonings in, eventually. Ragu pasta sauce in the glass jars was recently bogo so I started with those. I may still have to buy a few for various projects but I figure as much as possible, I will use what I would have otherwise thrown away.
I'm in the process of saving up and cleaning out some BIG glass jars for homemade laundry detergent which I plan to make soon. I find that the large sangria bottles are my favorite, so I snagged a few from a party recently and delabeled them.
I'm still in the market for a great spice holder for my pantry so if anyone knows of a great place to find them, shoot me a comment or e-mail!
What organizational project are on your spring cleaning list?
Have no fear - before and after pictures will happen for this project and many others!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
When my roommate moved in I had to quit hogging all the pantry shelves and under all the sinks with my entertainment ware. I have quite a collection of placemats, napkin rings, paper goods, etc because I love to have people over and I keep my table set every day (mostly because I never actually eat at it). So I bought a 9 cubie piece of furniture from Target and some red baskets for the dining room.
It served it's purpose but I've never really loved having it in there. Since starting in May I will be living alone again, I decided I could ditch that piece of furniture again. Then I thought, why not repurpose it? My roommate has had one exactly like it (in different colors) in her room while she's lived there and I thought, I could put mine up there in the guest bedroom and just change out the colors.
A few weeks ago I showed you a list of DIY projects I wanted to tackle that I'd found on Pinterest. So this weekend I took on this one. I had plenty going on this weekend but I had planned to layout for a few hours Saturday and then it wasn't particularly sunny. So I hit the dollar store after I got off work and bought 3 vases for $1 each. In the same shopping center as our Dollar Tree there's a Michaels, so I bought 2 things of paint in the color I needed and a paint brush. The grand total was less than $10.
I stuck in 'In Her Shoes' between work and going out for a bit with friends Saturday night and put the first coat on:
After the second coat I was so pleased I decided to go ahead and paint a vase I'd gotten free at a banquet my work did 2 years ago. It was the perfect size for one of the cubbies in my piece (I thought to check that before I painted it Kelly green, thankfully...
It turned out pretty swell as well.
Then I took the combo of the vases I'd made, a few things I had around the house, and a blogpost I saw a while back in which they'd used books of a certain color to decorate and came up with this:
Please excuse my towels on top. I just finished washing those for the guest bathroom and until I load everything upstairs after Haiti, I put them there. But I couldn't wait til I move them in to show you my weekend project! I've now committed to help a few friends paint vases they want to do so - painting party coming soon.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Making my home upgrade dreams a reality is big deal for me. I've had to grow, stretch, and learn so much these past 4 years of being an 'adult' and taking on 2 big, expensive projects and planning in advance to pay cash for them was huge for me. I felt great about it and my parents have been proud and encouraging along the way. I was so proud when I went to buy the paint and I had perfectly budgeted every dollar needed in advance!
I should also share a few things I've learned along the way...
1. 5 gallon buckets of paint are heavy and you should accept the offer of help to get them in your car.
2. Everything related to a home is more expensive than you'd expect (faucets cost HOW much?)
3. Having a second job is a great way to save for projects faster, if your impatient like me
4. 'They' (as in super professional smart people) say you get back the money you spend on bathrooms and kitchens. I did some researched and that's what it says. So whoever buys the batch pad after me better be ready to fork over the big bucks for my upgraded bathrooms.
5. Haggling is a good thing, even if it's slightly mortifying and makes your hands sweat just thinking about it.
I've focused the last few weeks on getting ready for the upgrades which begin May the 1st. With being out of the country and out of touch the week before this all goes down, I've really had to be on my game. A few of you have been extra excited about these projects so I've been keeping a board of everything on Pinterest for you as well and thank you, by the way, for caring! : ]
If you follow my pinboard you already know I got this for the guest bath:
I really want the guest bed and bathroom to be a place where people can find rest. I want it to be simple, luxurious, and elegant in a way that encourages the people who stay there to take a load off, like their own a-couple-blocks-from-the-water Florida retreat. So that's what I'm working towards...
What you may NOT know is that One King's Lane really hooked me up! A few weeks ago they sent out a survey request and I tried to sign up. I didn't get into the survey and was totally bummed until...they STILL gave me the $50 giftcard code! For doing a whopping nothing. So I signed in on Friday and bought this shower curtain, a beach towel (I'm always working on my stash), and a set of canister for my kitchen and all I had to pay was the shipping and a little tax. Amazing, no?
Ok, back on task...
So far I've completed:
1. Picking out, hunting down, and purchases new faucets
2. Picking out new sinks
3. Picking out granite from a massive yard of it in the middle-of-no-where (Land O Lakes)
4. Unofficial and official measurings and quotes for the counters
5. Scheduling of the counter upgrades, sink and fixture installs
6. Picking out and purchasing 15 gallons of paint and 2 gallons of primer (goodbye Magenta wall, you've been a good friend)
7. Hiring a painter (because let's get real, I'm not doing it)
8. And researching plumbers out the wahzoo. Still working on nailing this down, however.
I've had a roommate living with me for about a year now and she will be moving out 2 days before this all begins. Did I mention I'm insane for planning this 2 days after returning to the country? Yeah, ok...thought so. Anywho, that gives me exactly one exhausting Sunday afternoon to get the guest bed, etc up there before the painting begins and I can't dink any of the walls ever again (at least without a major meltdown).
After 2 months of scrimping, saving, ebaying and craigslisting, working extra hours, bargain hunting, haggling, and maybe even buying a few clothing items and taking them back in leiu of this project, I feel blessed that it's about to begin!
So now for the good news! I found out last week my Mom is taking me up on my invitation/request to spend Memorial Day weekend with me! I can't wait to get some quality time with her just the two of us...and she's agreed to go on a little hunt with me for a lamp, bedside table, and accent chair or chaise for my reading corner. Whoo hoo. It's so nice to have company and an extra pair of hands/eyes. Best.news.ever.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A few weeks ago they gave us a pay it forward challenge. Our speaker for the night gave us a list of ideas for this but the list itself isn't important to the challenge. Most of us if we sit down and ponder it for a few moments can think of many ways the Lord has blessed us from health to a roof over our heads and beyond. So here's your challenge to bless someone else...
I've confessed a time or two before that serving others isn't a strong suit for me. I don't mind doing nice things for people, I just tend to do them on my terms. Or as many of us do, I love people in my love language, not theirs. So this speaker challenged us to use our gifts and talents to bless someone who could use a helping hand.
I came home and thought, 'what am I even good at?'. Reading, but I couldn't think of anyone I know who can't read that I could read too. Making lists...but that didn't seem like a useful pay it forward skill. Finally I thought about cleaning and organizing. If there's one thing I've gotten particularly good at, it's cleaning. I love keeping a clean, ready-for-company house and I thought, 'there are plenty of people who would be blessed by an extra pair of hands to clean'!
I of course didn't want to offend anyone by implying they couldn't clean on their own. But thankfully, I remembered that while playing cards a few weekends ago one of my girlfriends who's in her first year of marriage (and has an elementary aged son) had mentioned that it was tough to find time to really clean and organize. She mentioned that she felt like she was always getting 'just enough' done and never really having time to get ahead. Ah ha! Thankfully, she's a close friend and I didn't feel weird or like I was overstepping any bounds to text her and say that I was looking for a chance to serve someone else and would she like a cleaning buddy for a day.
We exchanged a few texts, talked about dates and projects, and finally landed on last Thursday. this was several weeks after the challenge at bible study, but with 2 weekends in a row out of town and Haiti fast approaching I had some scheduling constraints (as did she). I offered to make dinner and bring it with me, show up when she gets home at 6:00, and be ready to do whatever needed to be done.
A few days before our scheduled cleaning date she told me what she'd most like was help cleaning, organizing, and purging their bedroom. She said on the weekly to do list it seemed to be the area that got pushed off or neglected. This is something we can all relate too, right?
For someone who's not a natural server I'm always surprised at how excited I get when I do get/make the opportunities. I racked my brain (and Jo's) for ideas of extra things I could do to bless my friend. Publix (my local grocery store for you out of towners) was running cleaning supplies on BOGO, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to stock her up, for the future. I snagged some great deals and made her a bag of supplies for future cleaning endeavours.
When I thought about being a working wife/mother (this idea mildly terrifies me) and what would bless me the other thing that popped into my head? Dinner! Not just dinner for us on cleaning night while everyone was away but a dinner she could share with her family one night when work, homework, and life make it tough to cook. Thanks to pinterest I had a few freeze-then-serve crock pot meal ideas and I decided that would be an easy way I could give her something that would bless her whole family.
I picked a chicken teriyaki meal that was to be served over rice. The best part? It made 2 meals anyway. So I made one for myself on Monday night, and I bagged up one for her to make later. The meal was to be served over rice so I picked up one of those packages you can chop the top off, fill with water, microwave, and ta da - dinner. All J would have to do is dump the ziplock bag into a crockpot (covered with a provided liner, to eliminate scrubbing) and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 (better for workdays) and prep the rice.
So there was my prep work which was didn't require a lot of time or money. I don't think serving other people always has to break the bank, ya know? I made spaghetti for dinner Thursday night for the two of us, so we could eat and get to work! I needed a quick meal I could make in advance so as not to waste the time we had cooking instead of cleaning.
Spaghetti, gifts, and freezer bag in hand, I headed to J's Thursday night excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work. We had so much fun! Not only do I love to clean and organize so I was totally in my element, but we had a blast talking and catching up! We live literally blocks away from each other but our busy lives keep us apart more than they should sometimes. We managed to get their bedroom spotless, clean enough to eat off any surface, and their closet totally organized. We even caught up some of their laundry while we were at it.
Monday, April 16, 2012
The last few weeks have been insane! With trips every weekend, planning for the home renovations, prepping to the leave the country for a week (doctors appts, etc), entering event season for work, and all of the usual weekly events of workouts, cooking, cleaning, friends, letter writing, and recently ebaying - life has been crazy! If you're having a hard time keeping up, even with the help of this blog, you're not alone! I'm having a hard time keeping up with myself!
The last few weeks have been incredibly rewarding from time with my best friend to time with my family, I wouldn't trade a moment. As I prepare for Haiti I feel an anxious excitement for what's to come. I believe I will come back from Haiti with clarity on some big steps that are coming soon. I hope that by getting outside of my routine, I will be able to hear the Lord's voice clearly. I am going with high expectations and believing the Lord will meet me in a small mission in tent city.
I thrive on the drama of being busy. I love to have barely attainable goals, lengthy to do lists, and scheduled rest times. My best work is done this way. But I have gotten increasingly better at knowing my limits. When I hit the point of drinking over 100 oz of caffeine and doing more than 5 tasks at once, it's time to regroup. I've pushed myself the last few weeks to work harder in prep for this trip as well as to pay in cash for my home renovations and I'm happy to report that I have accomplished both. The Lord has really blessed and multiplied my work in these two areas.
So with sleepy eyes and a full heart I want to raise my coffee cup to productive days, too short nights, and lofty goals being met. Life is short and I'm living it hard.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I've been working ahead of schedule on the blog lately, in prep to be away in Haiti for a week. I've noticed the trend is to have guest posts while you're away and I've actually had a few offers I may take them up on it someday but I've actually had plenty to say/share/write about, just need the time to get it down before I'm away. I also expect I will come back with plenty to write about as well. We'll see. Maybe you all would prefer a few guest posts...
First up I wanted to share after my post about crochet sweaters that I found an orange Michael Kors one in Kentucky with Candy and I wasn't lying when I tweeted I planned to wear what I bought the week before instead of doing laundry for North Carolina. This was my favorite purchase of the Kentucky/Indiana weekend trip:
My weekend in Chapel Hill/Raleigh was incredible. It was so nice to be away, to be with my sister and her family, to reunite with my sweet niece, and extra special that I got to spend Noa's first Easter with both of my sisters and my bro-in-law.
Noey and I before the Good Friday service.
Rae and Ruth at Geer's Garden with our 'pile' o fries.
These girls have such a special place in my heart. I treasure their friendship and it felt so good to chit chat over coffee and bagels with them. I feel like I've known them forever. And I have to say it's great to have friends who understand the football world. It's really not something you can understand unless you've been part of it, lived it.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
I'm tired of meeting other people's expectations. I'm sick of being miserable in situations because I can't say no. I'm exhausted of keeping up with my over commitments.
I drove into work in tears a few days back with the weight of trying to balance it all. Church, family, friends, work, my house, my sanity, my blog, my goals, my weight. I finally sat down and thought, 'something has to give'.
I thought through what I could and couldn't eliminate. I started by writing an apologetic e-mail to an author I'd agreed to write a book review for. It was almost a week into April and she hadn't been able to give us a full copy of the book yet and I'm leaving on the 21st for Haiti. It was looming over my head and I thought, 'I don't have to do this'. I was sorry to go back on what I told her I'd do, but with a week and a half less time than I thought she was giving me, it didn't make the cut.
At the risk of sounding selfish I spent the next few days thinking about what I really want. What makes sense for me. What I need to do. But really, focusing on what I want out of the rest of this year. I felt so torn in a million directions and so overwelmed by everyone else's needs and desires. Their needs and desires were costing me dearly. It was time to take a step back and trim some fat. It was time to get real, honest, and maybe even a little selfish.
Too many of my relationships have entered the 80/20 zone. The zone where I'm putting in 80% of the effort to their 20% and I just can't maintain that long term. I believe all healthy relationships have an ebb and flow where each person takes on a little more of the weight for periods of time when necessary. But I was baring too much of the weight for too long.
I have entered a time in my life where I have to learn to say no. I'm 1 week out from leaving the country, 2 weeks out from renovating my house (1 day after reentering the country, mind you), 6 weeks out from my DC trip, 6 weeks out from the beginning of my busiest months of work and travel...and well, you get the idea. I've got a lot on my plate and I'm exhausted. I don't want the quality of my time, work, and effort to suffer because I keep finding myself saying yes when I know I need to say no.
I'm tearing up just writing this because I hate it and it's hard for me. But I'm spending the next few months clearing out some of my time and responsibilities. I need to make time to recover and relax. I've hit my breaking point, and now it is time to rebuild.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Light, airy, deep-as-a-kiddie pool and completely entertaining I'd say this is a perfect sun bathing read. It was just what I needed to break up my last few reads and a great number 25 to add to the list. I admit, I'm a little tempted to grab another Zoey Dean book soon.
In case I haven't done it justice here's the Amazon take on Hollywood/High School:
Twenty-four-year old Taylor Henning has just landed her dream job as an assistant at a major movie studio. But when her catty coworkers trick her into almost getting fired, she realizes that the old saying "Hollywood is like school with money" just may be true. The thing is, Taylor wasn't exactly a social butterfly in high school-how is she supposed to do any better the second time around?
That's when she meets her boss's popular sixteen-year-old daughter Quinn, and has an epiphany: maybe this teenager can teach her how to use her queen bee tactics to succeed in the Hollywood popularity contest. Quinn comes up with a plan to teach Taylor one lesson a week-everything from "Fake it 'til you make it" to "It's *never* your fault"--and soon Taylor finds herself winning the war against rival assistant Kylie. Until, that is, she's directed to steal Kylie's boyfriend, and something happens that's not in the game plan: Taylor falls for the guy. Now she must do the impossible-- harness her inner mean girl while staying true to herself.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
So now, 2.5 years later I'm starting a few upgrades I've been thinking on, preparing for, and saving up the funds to complete. Those dreams start to become a reality May 1st of this year. From May 1st-May 15th my house may be in a bit of chaos but I'm so thrilled for the end result. If you follow me on pinterest you may have seen a new board pop up last week - this board will highlight all the upgrades and give you an idea of what will be happening, what I'm purchasing, etc.
Also I will be taking pictures along the way and giving you before and afters! I know this will excite some of you more than others. But for my fellow homeowners, my soon-to-be-homeowners, and my someday in the distance furture homeowners this may give you some ideas of how to do similar projects.
After quotes and measurements galore it was time to get down to business. I finally bought the new faucets which will be installed when they get rid of my boring while bathroom countertops and replace them with granite. It was an ORDEAL to get the ones I fell in love with online and then found out were an 'online special' which was also out of stock and back ordered! Ack! I spent weeks tracking them down and pricing them out. When I had almost given up because the least expensive price I could find them was $177 a PIECE plus $30 in shipping....Home depot came through for me:
Not only were they by far the best price but I was able to pick them up in person and I had a giftcard that helped cover the cost. I never would have imagined that plain old sink faucets were over 100 bucks a pop but like I've learned with many home projects, the differance between a $100 you can live with and a $134 faucet you love isn't so great in the grand scheme of things. I splurged for the ones I loved.
If you're looking for faucets you should try to only fall in love with ones that are available, though. That's my tip of the day.
So here is your very first 'before' picture of the bathroom. This is the master bath (aka my bathroom). This shows you the very basic white countertops as well as the very basic/very shiney silver faucet that is currently at home in my vanity. In less than a month there will be beautiful granite and a modern meets retro facet in 'brushed nickel'.
One more project I'm working on in advance of the 2 weeks of painting which will commence on May 1st as well, is what I'm going to do with my walls. One of the projects I want to start is a canvas print to represent the big cities I'm visiting. I determined last year to start visiting one big city a year. Last year was New York City and so I bought my first canvas (and began the project) with a groupon for this:
This year, after May, I will have to start searching for a DC canvas to represent my 2012 trip of the year. I've been to MANY places over the years including quite a few of the big cities but in my young adult like I determined I wanted to do some of them again. Still thinking through my 2013 destination so I can start saving and planning soon. Suggestions welcomed. Potentially a West Coast trip is in order.
Thanks for sharing in my excitement about the revamp - updates to come!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Haven't done one of these in a while, but I adore this chic, simple look I found on Frugal Fashionista the other day. If you don't already follow this blog you may want to start. She does a great job of creating similar outfits to those worn by stars on a young professionals budget spectrum. I adore that concept. Even better, I frequently find that I HAVE the pieces to put together these outfits already in my closet, I just haven't put them together quite like she has.
Don't you think most of us could put this together from a combo of currently owned items and maybe buying a piece or two in order to complete it?
Monday, April 9, 2012
As I sit down to write this I'm having the urge to sing 'all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, I'm standing here outside your door'....
I love to travel and lucky for me the last two weeks have been full of it. They're really only the beginning though. Later this month I'm headed out of the country for the first time to the Caribbean to help build a church in tent city, 30 minutes outside of Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti. I will return just before the end of April, work my first NFL event of the season with former Super Bowl Winning Head Coach Tony Dungy, before jetting back off to explore Washington DC for a few days in mid-May.
When I promised you that year of experiences? I wasn't lying. I've put my money, my passport, and my suitcases where my mouth is and I'm going big this year. Travel, travel, travel I will. I love it. I wouldn't trade a second of my time away, even though I always feel a sense of relief about coming back home as well. Keeps me grounded.
I started my Scottsburg trip (my second of the year) with a 6am flight to Baltimore where I endured a layover with a bag full of books and my Christmas iPad (thanks Dad!). I normally fly direct but to be honest, I don't mind the occasional layover when I don't have a deadline for work or a holiday to rush too. I enjoy people watching in airports, reloading on fountain diet coke, and snagging a few postcards to send to my favorite 'penpals' across the states.
Hello from Baltimore!
This trip started out rough. Everything that could go wrong the week in advance pretty much did. I got sick, for starters. Then I had a relapse of my stomach drama of the year before to follow my sickness. My ride to the airport cancelled 24 hours before my flight. Naturally this was also the week nothing I own fit right, my AC needed servicing, and I learned that diet coke supposedly causes anxiety. Ack! Well, you get the idea...it was off to a such a rough start I remember texting Jo on Wednesday night as I was working on packing and saying, 'I'm starting to think my planes going to crash!'. But have no fear, I've lived to write to you all.
My flight to and my time in Baltimore were freezing. While I had thought through packing for my time in Kentucky/Indiana I had not taken the time to realize it would be blizzard worthy weather in Baltimore. Br! But I managed to finish a book and start the next, while being watching by a creeper.
My flight left Baltimore late but arrived in Louisville, KY early. Candy picked me up and we had lunch at Panera downtown before she went back to the office to finish up for the week while I loitered at Panera watching Lipstick Jungle on my ipad and reading.
When I felt like I mooched enough diet pepsi (bleh) and loitered long enough I took a walk around the L. It was absolutely beautiful there, although I kept saying it was 'chilly' and getting strange looks. Everyone there was in flipflops, I couldn't leave the house without a sweater. Florida has made me a real wimp.
One afternoon we took a drive through Henryville, IN - where the tornados recently hit. It was both humbling and a great reminder to make sure we're storing up our treasures, not on earth. To think you could lose it all in a second really puts things into perspective.
Candy & I at Lights Barn.
It as a relaxing low key weekend in the burg. It was hard to catch a 7am flight back that Monday. We got up at 430, drove to Kentucky, I flew to Tampa, picked up my car and headed straight to the office. Nothing like coming back to the real world.
I feel grateful I was able to go back so soon. Two trips to Scottsburg already in 2012 and it's only April. Truly a blessing.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Last Wednesday my plans (to work late) got cancelled last minute and I suddenly had a free night. I quickly texted Jess to see if we could get fro yo. I knew it was a long shot since we were both at work by then and it was only a few hours away but I figured, why not? Thankfully she was free and in the mood for fro yo as well AND had experienced an equally yucky day. I agreed to fly out the door and over the bridge to the St Pete side of town which is when I remember that Jlo works over there some of the time. She didn't take too much coaxing before she agreed, she could use some friendship and fro yo too.
That night turned out to be the best night of my week, sitting around talking with two girls I have come to adore! I of course had to relay (twice, once for each girl) the story of how I tried to take a tank top to the tailor who wanted to charge me 16 bucks...when I determined I didn't want to use him and screamed in my face that I owed him 6 bucks for 'wasting his time'. It was awful. Naturally I was so overwelmed I gave him the money and then got in my car and used my iphone to promptly write exactly how I felt about my experience online for when people google him. Yeah, take that!
Anywho, as I left yogurtology after 2 hours of belly laughing I thought, 'that was exactly what I needed'. I promptly said as much on my facebook status and later realized Jess had posted the exact same status. Turns out we all needed a time out from real life to just enjoy ourselves, stuff our faces, and laugh.
So consider this post my thank you - to friends who have stepped up to bring me so much laughter and happiness during a rough time of transition in my life. And my encouragement, to you, to take timeouts when you need them. Don't let life weigh you down and don't be afraid to put the 'crap' in your life on the back burner for a few hours and have fun. Turns out, returning to take care of business afterwards isn't quite as daunting!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Author unknown
So for all of you who have had a couple tough weeks like me, don't quit. Stick it out. We've got this!
Friday, April 6, 2012
1. Lipstick Jungle. The TV show. I just started watching it via netflix after finishing all the Vampire Diaries that were available. Naturally, I read the book a while back and now I'm really enjoying the show. I love shows about big wig women in cities. I'm a sucker, what can I say?
2. Chic lit. I let myself surface from a mix of finance, real estate, war, and poverty books for a little chic lit last week and I really enjoyed it. It was nice to have something mindless. This was on my shelves as an inherited book from Bryn & Nancy's castaways.
3. My Sisters. I'm headed to see them this weekend and I adore them. Along with my bro-in-law and niece, of course. (I'll try'n post a picture from the weekend soon)
4. Teal & Coral. I love that teal and coral are popular this year! They're great colors for me AND I adore them. I want to buy accessories, shoes, clothes, bags, and even stationary in them. Even though this is making budgeting uber hard this spring, I'm glad they're 'in'.5. Change. I'm facing quite a bit of change in the coming weeks and I am embracing it. I feel excited for what's to come, on so many levels. As a self-proclaimed control freak this isn't always easy for me but this time I feel good about it.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I found one I loved the other day. It's simple, understated, and it's zips up the back a detail I love on sweaters. And so I put together this outfit for my trip this past weekend including the new crochet sweater I bought (because lets be honest it's way too hot to wear it in Tampa anyway):Love,
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Those of you who follow me on twitter/facebook know I was thrilled when Fashion to Figure gave me the opportunity to review a piece of clothing from their company. Many of you know that I have been plus sized the better part of my life and so I understand the struggle to find fun, attractive, figure flattering plus sized clothes. Since I now wear a 12 (sometimes a 10 on a skinny day) I still technically fall into the plus sized category so I was happy to give it a go.
I was allowed to pick which item I'd like to review and keep. I picked the geometric print skirt I'm about to reveal because it seemed functional for both work and going out. I also could instantly imagine myself wearing my red Michael Kors heels with it, which won it bonus points. A few days later it arrived in the mail and I was thrilled with how well it fit! Even with a belt, it's comfortable for both standing and sitting for a few hours at work (I'm a threat to take anything I belt off while I work).
Here's a close up of just how well it fit:
I needed to make it professional for my work day so I paired it with a Caslon cardigan and added one of my favorite red necklaces to jazz it up and bring out the red skinny belt that came with it, as well as the previously mentioned Michael Kors heels.
I scoured the whole Fashion to Figure website with a plus sized coworker and we were both astounded by their stylish selection as well as their unbeatable prices! If you haven't visited their site before you should take the time to browse, the skirt I received was less that $30!
My second favorite item after the skirt was this ribbed ponte dress which is listed for only $42. Even their shipping is flat rate and $5. I was pleased to find and to share this company. I have heard time and again from friends, coworkers, and fellow bloggers how hard it is to find affordable, stylish, flattering plus sized clothes. It seems to me, the search is over!
I couldn't totally keep this under wraps for the few days between the skirts arrival and this post so as a result I've already promised Jess she can borrow it first! Also, Amber told me via twitter she has a clutch headed her way from Fashion to Figure now, which I can't wait to see! Make sure you check out their website and let me know what piece you would have picked to review.