Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{ Never Ever Ever }
Linkup

”Never


Today Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup is hosting a one day link up where I get to tell you things you will never, ever, EVER hear me say.

Things like:

1) Why don't we skip the queso tonight?



2) 75 bottles of nail polish is obviously enough.

3) Let me drop this sociology class for an engineering class.

4) I have enough camera gear.


5) How about I do the laundry tonight?

6) I couldn't possibly find another song to buy on iTunes.

7) This free Kindle book looks great...but I'm not going to download it.


8) I couldn't possibly watch another episode of Downton Abbey.

9) Or Bones. Or Criminal Minds. Or The Walking Dead.

10) I love New Orleans in the summer. I just can't get enough of the heat and humidity.


What would you Never, Ever, EVER say?




Friday, April 26, 2013

{ Why I Blog }
Linkup



Leslie recently asked her readers to tell her why they blog. Since I'm a reader, and I think it's important we all remember the reason why we blog, I'm joining in.

I know that I have told you about the reasons I blog many times. Maybe not in a dedicated blog post, but most assuredly in other posts I've talked about it, but today I'm going to focus on it and tell you why I blog.

I blog for me. It's one of my creative outlets. A place I can come and share my thoughts. A place where I can share my plans for an apartment I don't have, clothes I can't afford, and witty things I can't come up with on my own and people like me for it.

I blog for the memories. I love looking back to old posts and seeing what the hubs and I have done, the places we've gone, the people we've seen, all of it. I keep planning to make a blog book and have it printed. I would hate to lose all of the writing I've done here.

I blog for the personal space it offers me. This is only place I can make exactly the way I want it without having to consider another person. I can put any blog design I want and that's cool. If it's pink, it's not like the hubs has to look at it. It's one of the places I can fully express myself without concern about anyone else.

I blog for the therapy. Writing always makes me feel better. Even if I'm not writing about what's bothering me. Plus, it's a lot cheaper too!

I blog to get to know you too. I enjoy seeing what people write about. I LOVE getting comments from my readers. It all makes my life a little better.

So, there you have it. The reasons I blog. If this is your first time stopping by, thanks so much! If you come and see me regularly, thank you too! I appreciate each and every one of you!

If you're new here and want to follow along with what's going on in my life, here's all the places you can find me!







Why do you blog?






Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Living Simply

Awhile ago I had a dear friend suggest the book Organized Simplicity to me, and I loved it.

Kindle Edition: $9.34
Amazon: $11.92
Nook: $10.36
Tsh opens the book by saying "Simple living is not easy, ironically." And she is very right. It's something I struggle with daily but I'm getting better at. And what's more, I hope to get even better.

As you know, currently the hubs and I are living with his parents. This takes trying to live simply to a whole new level. I'm constantly trying to figure out what we do and don't need. When your entire personal space is an 11' x 14' room, you reconsider what you really need.

For instance...hampers, not as necessary as you think. Instead, 2 laundry baskets under the bed are quite sufficient. DVD cases have been thrown away and all of our DVDs are in books. Every inch of space is used for storage and if something isn't useful or necessary, it can't stay long before I start going crazy.

And the definition of "necessary" and "useful" is always evolving. But then you get into those things that are important to make you feel a little at home. Things like pictures have been abandoned. They now live in the storage unit. But books that are on the "to-read" list are suddenly being stuffed into the room.

I can no longer stand clutter. I keep trying to get rid of it, and it keeps coming back. Oh, this is quite a process.

Now, I'm about to try this again. I'm going to try to simplify our life even more than I have. I'm going to  question again everything we keep in our room. And, I'm going to reconsider what's being stored where. Our space is constantly evolving and it's time to look at it again. And try to work through some of the challenges.

Challenges are things like: where do I put my nonperishable foods if I move the shelf I'm currently using as my pantry into the bedroom? I want to be able to store things on those shelves, but maybe it'll be better to just leave the bookshelf where it is. I don't know. But I've got to address it. I've got to work to make it better...It doesn't work the way it is now and I have to change it.

In her blog post yesterday Tsh challenged us to take on one space and simplify it. Since our room is our entire space, I'm going to focus on a space within it. First up, the closet. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is stuff in our closet that can hit the road. I'll let you know how it goes!

How are you simplifying your life?






Sunday, April 21, 2013

{ FREE } Blogger Conference

On May 11th and 12th, The Great American Blogger Tour is coming to NOLA. The conference is FREE on May 12th, all you need to do is register here!! There is a package that includes an extra day of activities that costs $95. I'd originally misread things and thought it was free on the 11th. But, the wonderful people at Two Point Oh! tweeted me and helped me see the error of my ways. So, to be clear, the FREE blogger conference is on May 12th!!!  I can't wait to use the time to meet other area bloggers. If you are in the area and want to come, I'd love to meet you!!!!





I hope that I'll get to meet you then!



Friday, April 19, 2013

{ Book Review }
Paper Roses (Texas Dreams, #1)
by Amanda Cabot



Amazon: $14.40 new
Kindle: $9.99
Kindle Prime Lending Library: Free

What the back cover says:
The future stretches out in front of Sarah Dobbs like the pure blue Texas sky. Leaving the past behind in Philadelphia, mail-order bride Sarah arrives in San Antonio ready to greet her groom, Austin Canfield, a man she has never met but whose letters have won her heart from afar. But there is one problem--he has died. And Sarah cannot go back East. 

As Sarah tries to reconcile herself to a future that is drastically changed, Austin's brother, Clay, struggles with his own muddled plans. Though he dislikes working on the family ranch and longs for a different life, Clay is driven to avenge his brother's death. But something between them is growing and neither Clay nor Sarah is ready to admit it. 

Book 1 of the Texas Dreams series, "Paper Roses" will sweep readers into the Hill Country with a tale of love and loss, closed doors and beautiful possibilities that will leave them wanting more.



What I thought:
I read this book awhile back, but I'm going to go ahead and review it. My memory might not be perfect on it, but I'll do the best I can.

I'll start by saying this is the first book I've read by Amanda Cabot and I was thoroughly impressed. I fully intended to read the rest of the series. For those of you who like Janette Oke's book, Amanda Cabot's style is similar. It's easy to read, it's not too preachy, but by the end of the book you feel a little closer to God. Sarah calls the letters that Austin Canfield wrote her "paper roses". In some ways this book feels like a paper rose from God. But, that's not too much the point.

I found myself enraptured in the story of Sarah. From the time she arrived in the Texas Hill Country I was curious about her story, why was she there? And then, you find out her intended fiancé has been murdered, who did it? Clay Canfield is sullen and seems to dislike Sarah, why? This book is a love story and a murder mystery in one. If you enjoy Christian fiction, you should enjoy this book. Definitely give it a read!





Monday, April 15, 2013

{ Monday Memories } Highway 16

 After reading one of my favorite blogs the other day, eight six eleven, I've been motivated to do something fun. I'm going to start blogging about the the things I did back before I was blogging. I'm going to focus on things with the hubs, but really anything is potentially fodder for what I'm calling "Monday Memories". I'm planning to do this most Mondays, but I'm not making any promises to do this on a weekly basis. So, this week I'm starting with a day trip the hubs and I took back when were first dating.

In Texas Highway 16 takes a beautiful tour of the hill country between Kerrville and San Antonio. In December of 2005 we took this drive and it was gorgeous. Even though it was December the leaves were showing their fall colors and it was just a beautiful day!


 On our way to Kerrville we stopped to take a picture with this sign. It's always been one of my favorite mileage signs because it helps show how big Texas is. From the other side of San Antonio, the next big city worth mentioning is El Paso - 518 miles away!


Along the drive we saw this little creek and stopped to take pictures. Even now, seven and a half years later, these are still some of my favorite photos of the two us.


In these pictures I'm wearing a rabbit fur coat my grandmother gave me. I loved this coat and can't wait to lose weight so that I can wear it again!


Here's the hubs with the creek. In this picture you can kind of see the little bridge like thing we were able to stand on. No, we didn't stand in the middle of the creek!


I took this photo along the way. Just more proof of how beautiful the day was!


It was just so pretty! The colors of leaves, the weather, the company, were all so wonderful that day!


 Another stop to take a photo together. These were all a challenge of the hubs setting the camera up on the roof of the car, setting the self-timer and running to where we were standing. He got quite a workout that day. Then, we headed to see the Alamo.


This was the hubs first trip to the Alamo. He had a lot of fun learning so much of the Texas history that I grew up knowing. And, I remembered a few things I had forgotten - seventh grade Texas history had been a few years before at that point!


After our visit to the Alamo I have no idea what we did! Isn't it funny how that happens? There aren't pictures of it, so I have no idea! I think we may have gone to eat on the Riverwalk - but I make no promises!

So, that was our day trip down Highway 16. If you're ever out in the Kerrville area, I definitely recommend taking the drive, any time of year. It's gorgeous and worth the time. It takes a couple of hours to go from San Antonio to Kerrville and back, but again, worth it if you have the time and like pretty drives!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I can't wait to take another. Thanks so much for indulging me!







Saturday, April 13, 2013

Check Me Out

For those of you who read blogs in a reader and don't get a chance to see the old blog, a few changes have occurred around here.

First, I got a lovely new blog design. I went to Designer Blogs where they have a $15 section of premade templates. All you have to do is pay and you get your new design immediately! It was perfect for me. It let me update the design with minimal work and have something I love. They also have a premade section where they do some personalizing with blog buttons and the like for $50. But, if you're wanting something for a low cost, this is your place. Best ones I've found...the hardest part - picking which one to buy!

And once I had my new blog design, I of course needed a new blog button. You can find that on the right hand side! Feel free to take it home with you. :)

I found another great resource too! Carrie Loves has FREE social media icons! And she has a ton of gorgeous colors to pick from! It's totally worth the time to check them out and download any you might need. I'm in love with them!

Finally, I've spent a lot of time getting my reader situation all straightened out. Knowing that google reader is going away, I decided it was time to clean everything up. Since getting an iPhone I've been using feedler, which has been sufficient, but I wasn't in love with. Now, I'm trying out feedly and bloglovin'. I love them both for different reasons.

Feedly is great on the phone. I have all of the blogs I follow categorized. Healthy blogs, food blogs, mommy blogs, must reads, etc. This allows me to pick what I'm wanting to read at a certain time. Feedly supports these categories, allowing me to use them to their full potential on the phone. Plus, the interface is just gorgeous. Bloglovin' doesn't allow me to read by categories on the phone app and that I can find and I don't like it. I have a feeling I'm going to rely on Feedly when I'm reading on the phone.

But, I also like Bloglovin', and it's strengths come into play when I'm reading blogs on the computer. It has a next button that allows you see the blog itself. This allows you to comment without leaving Bloglovin'. Google Reader had a next button that I really liked and I'm glad to see that it in Bloglovin'. Feedly lacks a next button so I'm not sure I'm going to use it as much on the computer.

The real issue I see coming up, is that these two aren't connected so if I read something in Bloglovin' it doesn't necessarily show up that I read it in Feedly and vice versa. So, I'm not sure long term what's going to happen. If either one begins supporting the other feature, I'll go with that. We'll see what happens!

So, that brings me too, you can now follow me on Bloglovin'! That pretty circle to the right with the "B" and the heart in it takes you to Unscripted Journey on Bloglovin'!

Well, I think that's everything. I hope y'all have a great day...and look...I've already posted more this month than I've done the rest of the year...I'm feeling so much better! It's amazing how good blogging is for my soul!



Easter Sunday

I finally finished editing my Easter photos and thought I'd share about our quiet day we spent with our family. For Easter the hubs and I went over to Lee and Lindsay's and were joined by Lindsay's mom and her husband. We had a great time eating and hanging out. We don't spend as many holidays with Lindsay's mom since she got married and the hubs and I miss having her at holidays. So, it was great to have everyone together.

When we got to Lee and Lindsay's, Parker was taking her nap and everyone just got things ready for dinner.

Parker napping.

 After the finishing touches were put on our lunch, we sat down to start eating. The food was great as always!



In the front there is my green bean casserole I made. It's a recipe I found on allrecipes.com and it's made without cream of mushroom soup. As I've told you before, I hate mushrooms. So, green bean casserole is a bit of a nemesis for me because there are lots of little pieces of mushrooms in it. But, this recipe calls for fresh mushrooms that I was able to slice into nice large slices and avoid easily. It worked out perfectly. Everyone who liked mushrooms had them and I didn't have to eat them. And the hubs, who doesn't really care for green bean casserole, loved it! It wasn't even too complicated, seriously, go here and check it out. I promise, you won't be disappointed!


Not long after we started eating, my adorable niece woke up and joined us. Even though she was in the next room, it's incomplete without her there. Once she woke up a little bit, she started telling everyone "hi". The hubs was sitting at the opposite end of the table so she was frequently saying "hi, Uncle John." It was very cute!


Of course, after we finished eating we all just hung out a bit at the table enjoying each other's company.


At one point, Parker decided she wanted to hold both Lee and Lindsay's hands. A lot of times she'll just  come up and say "hand". Most of the time she wants to walk with you somewhere, but you always feel so special when she asks!


And of course, after we finished eating, she wanted to play. She had Memaw down on the floor playing and I made sure to grab a quick picture of them.


Then it was time to go outside. It was a beautiful day and Parker had a new bubble maker to show us. She got it in her Easter basket and of course it was lots of fun.


And of course there was time for snuggles with her momma.


Now, something peculiar about this girl, is she like to eat bubbles. I've never seen it before but she'll take the lid to the bubbles and just lick the top of it...so strange. But that's ok, I still love her!


And as you can imagine, no one was more photographed than this sweet girl in her adorable Easter dress. Everyone was always trying to get a picture of her!


Seriously, is she not the cutest kid ever? (If you disagree, you can just keep that to yourself. ;)


And here's the last picture trying to get her picture up against the fence. But she was having none of it!

We had a great day and enjoyed getting to spend it with our family!





Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dining Room Dreams

Recently I've begun thinking about how I want to decorate our next apartment and dreaming how I would decorate it if money were no object. Here's What I'm imagining for our dining room.

one // two // three // four // five // six
1) This is actually the dining table we already own and I love it. It's perfect for apartment living and gorgeous.

2) I saw these chairs at Pier One and fell in love. Ever since then, I've been wanting them for our dining room. What can I say, they are just so lush and amazing. And I love the pattern on the back of the chairs.

3) I feel that the room needs a bit of greenery and I think topiaries will be perfect. They'll add a little height to balance out the other pieces and a bit of color.

4) This chalkboard is gorgeous, and it adds some weight to the room that's needed. Plus, it'll be such fun place to leave little messages.

5) When I saw these jars I just pictured them on this cabinet. It seemed like it would be nice and I really liked them.

6) This is the piece I've been imagining for months. I saw this just generally browsing online and I knew it was going to be the statement piece of the house. It's a mirrored cabinet and it will be wonderful in the room. Hopefully one day I can get it!

So, that's the first idea board I'm making for our future apartment. Who knows when were going to get our next apartment and who knows when I can get these pieces or similar pieces, but in the meantime, this girl is dreaming and she's dreaming big!

What are you dreaming of for your home currently?




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I've joined everyone at bloglovin, so you can follow me there!



Monday, April 8, 2013

Picture Time

In February my adorable niece turned 2, which I still can't believe.

Then, while I was on spring break, my sister-in-law asked me to take Parker's two year photos. After a week of overcast skies, the sun came out in force so I had to fight with shadows during our shoot. It definitely made things difficult and left me a little disappointed in the results. But that's ok. I still got to spend a day with my adorable niece and that's always what matters.


I love this sweet girl. When I see her, inevitably she comes up to me, takes my hand and leads me to show me something. It can be a toy we're going to play with or a book to read. I love that she always wants to share something with me. Now it may be a toy, but what could it be in 10 or 15 years? It's awesome to be so close to this girl.



I mean, is she not the cutest?


And the faces she makes can be too much! I don't even know how she does it.



In this picture she kept "picking the turtle's boogies." That's why her finger's on the turtle's nose. So silly.


The first time she went down this slide, the slide acted as a catapult shooting her up unexpectedly at the end. It surprised her, her mom, and me. The next time she went down, I slowed her down a bit before she reached the end.




And this one was my favorite.

The biggest surprise was the next morning when I could hardly walk. I spent so much time squatting to take the pictures my thighs hurt! But, it was totally worth it to take pictures of this sweet girl!



 
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