December 1, 2014
Today marks Day 1 of the 25 Days of Christmas! Day 1 of my advent calendar is:
Michael and I lit the first candle of the advent wreath and did the devotional, which is all about Faith. Our source for Advent devotionals is from LifeWay. I have loved doing Advent ever since I was a little girl. My family would do the devotionals leading up to Christmas. I have very fond memories of Advent growing up and it is definitely something Michael and I will do with our family. For those of you who have not heard about Advent, it is a set of devotionals to get your heart and mind prepared for the true meaning of Christmas. You can do devotional on the four Sundays before Christmas and Christmas Eve, or there is a daily devotional all throughout the month of December. Both are great and I highly recommend it!
November 17, 2014
During the last few months of my pregnancy it was difficult to feel good about myself. I felt huge, did not feel motivated to work out, and was exhausted all the time. From what I am told, it is pretty typical to feel that way at the end of a pregnancy. The reason why the last few months of pregnancy were especially difficult for me, is because I have a history with an eating disorder. People could not tell just by looking at me, however the emotional and mental toll an eating disorder can take on a person is astronomical.
The mental and emotional battle I experienced the last few months of my pregnancy was very tough. And unfortunately, that battle has not stopped. I have come a long way since high school and have had much healing since then. However, everyday is a new challenge and this weekend I experienced some major encouragement.
Sunday after church, I was changing from my church clothes to a more casual outfit. I pulled out some shorts that were pre-pregnancy just to see how much more I had to lose. To my amazement, I was able to zip and button the shorts!!
I felt so encouraged and excited to be getting closer to my fitness goal. It was a great positive boost to keep going. I am quickly finding out how much I need encouragement in any form to keep going. For me, a support system is extremely vital and I am very blessed that that support system comes in the form of friends, family, and my husband. This weekend I received a Facebook message from a sweet friend. I felt very loved and uplifted after reading the message. It put a big smile on my face. Aside from sweet messages from generous friends, my husband is very kind. His support is everything! It would be much more difficult to get back into shape without his help. I am one lucky lady!
If you struggle with an eating disorder please speak to someone. Everyone’s story needs to be heard. Also, find a source of encouragement that promotes a healthy body image. If you know someone who struggles with an eating disorder, reach out to them and send a sweet message. No one can go through life alone.
Happy Fall Y’all!
October 30, 2014
I’m a little late in posting this one. Things have been a pretty crazy lately!
Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the colors, the fashion, and the start of college football. Fall also means that my favorite holiday is just around the corner…Thanksgiving! The colors of Fall are rich and warm and have the amazing ability to provide this inexplicable comfort. Another thing that I love about fall is getting to decorate! This is really my first year getting to decorate around the house, so I decided to start small. If I added Fall decor all over the house it would leave me limited to what I could add next year. So, I thought I would start with the dining room table.
and this is what I came up with!
My Fall decor for the dining room table is complete!
August 12, 2014
This past weekend Michael and I decided to see a couple of movies before Cricket came along. Michael would choose one movie and I would choose the other. So on Friday night we saw Michael’s choice which was Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a great movie! Now I do not claim to be a movie critic and nor do I want to be one. My philosophy is the first watch is for enjoyment and anything after that can involve a more critical eye. Guardians was entertaining and funny. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend going to see it. Of course I do not recommend that young children go see it but for those who are more mature and older would really enjoy the movie.
After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, we made our way to Steve’s Diner. I had always wanted to go and finally got my chance. As we sat in the booth trying to decide what to order the fried chicken came highly recommended. Michael ordered the fried chicken with green beans and fries, while I ordered the chicken fingers with green beans and fries. The recommendation was spot on! Both meals were excellent! On top of great food, the service was great. All in all we had a great evening with movie and dinner.
Then on Sunday we saw my choice which was Step Up All In. For those that know me, know this choice is not uncharacteristic. I have seen all Step Up movies in theaters, and own all of them, and would not have it any other way. I am fully aware that the Step Up movies will not win any awards however, two things it does do is it gives jobs to dancers and allows choreographers a venue to create. Being a dancer and choreographer myself it is always great to see more avenues opening up like this. With that said this movie is so fun and of course has great dance scenes. I would not recommend this movie to young children, due to language but older more mature children it is a great choice!
It was so nice to have some alone time with Michael this weekend and spoil ourselves with a couple of movies and a great meal. I am quickly learning how important it is to have time with just Michael and know that we will have to make a conscious effort to continue making time for each once Cricket comes along. If it has been a while since you have spent some alone time with your significant other I highly recommend it! Taking the time to reconnect and focus on each other is so vital, and I believe is a necessary component to a healthy marriage!
A Surprise Getaway
July 15, 2014
Last week Michael told me not to make any plans for the weekend of July 12th and 13th because he had a surprise for me. I said ok and tried not to ask any questions about what we might be doing. As the week went on, Michael revealed that we would be gone most of Saturday and Sunday which meant that Oscar, our puppy, would stay at my parents house. Michael also revealed that this little getaway is our anniversary celebration, which is really August 28. I asked him why we are celebrating so early, to that he replied, “By the time late August comes around, you will of course be very pregnant and probably not feeling that great. So while you are feeling well and up for a weekend away from home I thought this would be the best time.” Hearing that response made me tear up! I am one lucky lady to have such a sweet husband!
Saturday finally came and the celebrations began! For breakfast we had homemade french toast with a strawberry glaze on top! So yummy!
After some last-minute packing, we got in the car, dropped Oscar off, and hit the road.
On our way to the mystery destination, Michael told me that we are headed to the place where our life together began. Tears filled my eyes and big smile spread across my face. We were headed to Winter Park, FL! Now before we started exploring downtown Winter Park, we stopped at Trader Joes. I love Trader Joes and we do not have one where we live so we had to stock up!
After Trader Joes, we set out for downtown Winter Park. Ten minutes later we were ready to explore. We visited some stores, one being Peterbrook Chocolatier where we of course bought some treats! By this time we were ready for lunch and made our way to a place called BurgerFi. So delicious! One of my favorite places to go when I am in Winter Park.
We then ventured to our wedding site. Every time we go back I get chills. It so special to be standing in the same place where we exchanged vows. (The images below are what the site looks like now versus the day we got married.)
We then made our way to the hotel, checked in, and got some rest. When we checked in to the hotel we originally had a room that was located on the backside of the building. We were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a balcony room at no extra charge, our response was, “Yes please!”. The hotel had an old, classic feel to it and it was full of southern charm which I love!
After some rest and relaxation, we got all gussied up and were off to dinner! We stopped at a place called “Frenchy’s” and had a drink, I of course got water. Frenchy’s is this cute french restaurant on the main street in downtown Winter Park. It’s small and just perfect for an intimate dinner or a couple of drinks before your dinner destination.
We finish our drinks and headed over to Prato. Prato is also on the main street in downtown, and has the coolest vibe. The best way to describe it is farmhouse meets Italian. Everything they make is from scratch using farm fresh ingredients. We started with an appetizer that had ricotta cheese, prosciutto, cherries, and mint on top of their homemade bread. It was so delicious, I seriously could have eaten that for my meal. Next the main course came. Michael got “Fusilli Nero” a pasta dish where the pasta was black and had tomatoes, clams, and spices. I got “Egg Bucatini” a dish with homemade spaghetti like pasta, a light tomato sauce cooked with herbs and duck. I had never had duck before and was very hesitant to try it. Thankfully Michael talked me into getting the dish and it was one of the best meals I have ever had. As the waitress was clearing out table I asked her to take a photo of us since we were celebrating our anniversary. She of course obliged and brought out a dessert for us on the house. Needless to say our experience at Prato was incredible! If you are in Winter Park I highly recommend going to Prato for a meal!
Following dinner we headed back to the hotel to enjoy our chocolate treats we had purchased earlier in the day and just relaxed. The next day we called down for room service, which was complimentary! Enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast and then got everything packed up to head home.
Before we made it home we did a little bit of shopping at a nearby outdoor mall, then had lunch at Chipotle. I love Chipotle because of how fresh everything tastes. If you have a Chipotle near you, you should go! The final thing we did before heading home was a quick stop at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice. It was the perfect way to top off a perfect weekend!
I cannot even begin to say how thankful I am to have such generous and thoughtful husband. He definitely knows how to spoil me and make me feel amazing! I am also thankful to have a husband who loves doing life just as much as I do!
July 7, 2014
Michael and I have been in our new house for close to two months, and now that the dust has settled the exploring has begun. I am familiar with the town we are living in due to that fact that it is where I spent the majority of my younger years growing up, however I have been gone for a long time and so much has changed. One little treasure that I finally went to was a local bagel shop. My family would not stop talking about this place, so I decided to check it out for myself. I ordered bacon, egg, and cheese on a pumpernickel bagel, a chocolate chip muffin, and a blueberry muffin. My family’s reviews did not disappoint. Everything was so delicious and the people who work there are very nice.
Another little treasure in my town is a place called Go Native. It’s a little surf shop, tucked away and could easily be overlooked but the fact that it sits right next to Ace, one of my husbands favorite stores, we see it a lot! So Michael and I decided to go in and check it out. As we are walking around the store I see the clearance rack, my favorite rack in any store, and found the most adorable bathing suit for Cricket. It’s so cute, I almost started to cry. The woman at the register was so nice and friendly. Our experience in Go Native was a great one!
One more little treasure, although it’s not so little, is Ace! Michael and I love this store! Everyone is so nice and incredibly helpful. Every time I walk in the employees are ready and willing to help me out with anything I might need. Even the employees at the registers are nice. All I have to say about Ace is if you have one in your town, GO!
After trying out a few places in my own town, my recommendation is to explore the town that you live in. No matter how big or small you can always find a little treasure. And remember the treasure does not have to be a store, it can be a place in nature or a person.
June 25, 2014
Michael and I have been together, dating and marriage, for almost seven years. And about two years into dating we wanted to get a dog. We both love dogs and grew up with dogs that we just could not wait to get one. Circumstances beyond our control prevented us from getting a dog at that time, however the desire to get one has never gone away. Looking back on where we were in our lives it was a good thing that we waited. When you adopt a dog it is so vital that you have a stable and positive environment to provide for them. Up until a year ago Michael and I were busy with school and work that had we gotten a dog sooner he or she would have spent a lot of time in a kennel and hardly any time getting the opportunity to be a dog. And that type of environment is not fair to place a dog into.
After many years of waiting and being patient Michael and I took the leap into dog ownership! We had been looking on Petfinder for several months at the available dogs for adoption and finally found what we were looking for. On Petfinder they will tell you which shelter is currently housing the animal, the application process, adoption fee, and where and when the animal will be available for adoption. So on Saturday, June 14 Michael and I drove over to the Petco that was holding the adoption for the day. When we got there Save A Life pet rescue was setting up pins and kennels. We got our name on the list, they do that so there is fairness and order throughout the adoption day, there were a lot of people there wanting to adopt a dog.
Finally the dogs arrive, and there were around 30 dogs up for adoption! As the volunteers from Save A Life were getting things set up, we were informed that they will call the names on the list one by one allowing each person to select the dog of their choice without there being chaos. After waiting a few more minutes they called the first name on the list, Michael and I were about seventh on the list. While we waited for our name to be called we checked out each kennel and pin just observing the dogs. The first pen held puppies about six weeks in age, the second pen held puppies closer to a year in age, and the third pen held puppies twelve weeks in age. We stood next to the third pen and started watching the dogs as they played with each other. About one minute in to watching the twelve week old puppies I spotted him. I nudged Michael and said, “See that one right there, watch him, he’s the one.” While we were waiting for our name to be called, which felt like eternity, we watched this dog play. He was curious, sweet, and composed.
All of a sudden…we hear our names being called.
We tell the volunteer that we would like to play with the puppy we had our eye on. They hand the puppy to Michael and the puppy immediately starts to scrumble with him. It was the most precious thing I have ever seen. The puppy was so calm and sweet which was very odd because at that point there was a huge rain storm with thunder and lightning going on. After a few minutes holding and loving on him we decided he was the one! We filled out the application, paid the donation fee, bought him a few things at Petco, and made our way back home.
For a week and a half we have thoroughly enjoyed having Oscar as the newest addition to our growing family! We couldn’t be happier!
The Big Purchase
June 16, 2014
Michael and I have been in the process of buying a house, and it has been one crazy roller coaster. When we first embarked on the journey to buy a house, we were so excited, little did we know ALL the different parts that are involved. The fun part is looking at all the different houses and mentally arranging your furniture in each house. The not so fun part is being under contract on a house.
When you are under contract on a house, you begin the process of getting qualified for a loan for the house you want to buy. This process is very stressful! The mortgage company asks you for every and any piece of information about your life. Gathering all that information is tedious and monotonous. While we were going through this part of the house buying process, Michael and I found ourselves to be very stressed out. This is the time while buying a house that could have torn Michael and I apart. Thankfully we were both able to muster up some extra patience for each other AND the mortgage company, which really made that time much easier to handle.
After all was said and done, Michael and I ended up with the house that truly warmed our hearts!
May 21, 2014
Over the past couple of months Michael and I have going through the process of buying a house. At the beginning of this process, I was handling the majority of everything, which of course led to a spike in my stress level. It got to the point where I just could not handle it anymore so I asked Michael to take over. He has handled everything so well and made everything very easy for me. My stress levels were like night and day! I am so thankful to have such a sweet husband to take care of such a stressful process.
With that said, I wanted to show him my utmost appreciation for what he has done. I found on Pinterest a site called Man Crates. It is such a cool site with gifts for the man in your life. When you receive the package in the mail it comes in a cardboard box, you open the box and out comes a crowbar to open a sealed wooden box. Your man works the wooden box open and within that box is a themed gift that speaks to your man’s personality. The image below is the gift box I got Michael and he loved it!
The great thing about Man Crates is all the different choices they have. If you haven’t been to their site you definitely should! In life, when someone does something for you to make your life stress free, it’s always a good idea to show your appreciation.
Beach, Coffee, & the Symphony
April 28, 2014
Friday night I was able to convince my husband to watch “Music Man”. Although, it did not take a lot of convincing. I told him that it was all about a band; I must tell you that he was in band in high school and really likes anything having to do with band. He’s a total band geek, which is just one of the things I absolutely love about him! After the opening number he was hooked! If you have not seen “Music Man” I highly recommend it!
Saturday I spent the majority of the day at the beach. It was an amazing day for the beach! The weather was beautiful, the water felt refreshing, and the company was amazing. We had the EZ-Up set up, great food, and good music.It was the best scenario for a perfect beach day. On our way home we spotted the Tumbler from the most recent Batman movies. That was a really cool experience!
After the beach, we got cleaned up and headed for the movies. We went to see “The Other Woman”. Such a funny movie, definitely recommend that you go see it! Following the movie we headed off to Starbucks for a coffee date. Coffee dates are particularly special to Michael and I. They date as far back as 2007 before we starting dating. Coffee date is a great low key, inexpensive date. You get to enjoy great coffee and it sparks fun conversation.
Sunday afternoon I went to Rollins College to see the Bach Festival Society. I got to hear the symphony, a choir, and a couple of soloists give an amazing performance. This was a completely new experience and was not sure if I would enjoy it, needless to say I had a wonderful time.
Sometimes in life doing familiar things really help you relax and enjoy the life you have been given. At the same time, trying something new can really open your eyes to other fascinating experiences life has to offer.
April 22, 2014
This past weekend was Easter Sunday, which is one of my favorite holidays. Everything and everyone is so happy and full of hope. I also love it because everyone dresses up in their Sunday best! I love to see the pretty dresses and dashing suits, you simply can’t go wrong on East Sunday.
On Easter Sunday, we have three traditions. One, is of course to dress up in your Sunday best. Two, fill each other’s Easter baskets with goodies and hide it somewhere in the house for the other to find. Three, watch “Easter Parade” featuring Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, and Ann Miller.
Easter Sunday comes once a year why not get dressed up and watch a great movie to enjoy the day to its fullest. In my opinion that’s the best way to Love Doing Life!
A Day For Him
April 16, 2014
This past weekend the Masters was on the television, and my husband is a huge fan! He is originally from Augusta, GA and watches the Masters every year. In celebration of the Masters we got lemonade, sweet tea, Pimento cheese, and rolls, so we could have Arnold Palmers and Pimento Cheese sandwiches. The weekend was nice and relaxing and the best part, Michael was so happy.
One of the best things in life is seeing your best friend light up with excitement and joy. It gave me so much pleasure to see him so happy. Love Doing Life is not only about experiences that only make me happy but experiences that make the people I love happy.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
March 21, 2014
It’s no secret I’ve taken some time off from blogging. A few weeks ago my grandmother passed away and all the family stuff has completely occupied my time. Going through the experience of loosing a grandparent for the first time was full of ups and downs. I never realized just how stressful a funeral and everything leading up to it can be. As preparations were being made for my grandmother, I couldn’t help but compare a funeral to a wedding. Both include extensive planning, tons of opinions, and a full range of emotions. And by the time everything is all said and done you are exhausted in every way. Now that some time has passed, life has come back into its usual routine. It does feel good to have a routine again; keeping myself busy has helped the transition.
I got to thinking back on the day we held my grandmother’s funeral and one of the most therapeutic things I did that day was share with everyone who attend my thoughts about my grandmother.
The following is what I said about her:
Elizabeth Hutchinson was an incredible woman. And even though she is no longer her on earth she has left something behind that is more precious than the most rare and expensive gem.She had so many exquisite qualities that she strategically sprinkled throughout the generations that followed her. As I thought about the legacy she gave to us I think of her desire for life. Living everyday to its fullest and taking full advantage of the moments that she was given. She had an attitude of “Having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or opinion on something”, better know as stubbornness. She was steadfast in her feelings, ideas and opinions. However, along with that stubbornness came a passion to love. To love those next to her, those who surrounded her, and those who were in any way affected by her. Elizabeth Hutchinson was an exceptional woman. She had the perfect balance of a fiery zeal for absorbing all that life had to offer, from walking across Niagara Falls when it froze over in 1936, when she was only 11. To riding in helicopters across mountains and volcanoes in Hawaii. All the while maintaining the perfect idea of what a lady should be, coral pink lipstick and all. She was an amazing grandmother and a beautiful soul.
Life As We Know It
February 5, 2014
I found out yesterday that my grandmother on my mother’s side was admitted into the hospital for labored breathing. Now, my grandmother is 89 years old, has Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. She has lived a fabulous life and is an incredible woman. So incredible in fact, she and I have the same first name. As soon as she was settled in the hospital is when all the tests began. Her doctors found a lump in her lung, which we already knew about, and they told us that is has grown and has been growing quite rapidly. The assumption is that it is cancer, but at this point in her life and health there isn’t anything to be done. My family was informed that we need to contact Hospice and make my grandmother as comfortable as possible.
Life as we know it, when we are young, is how to improve our state of living. If we need to get into shape we exercise, if we are unhappy with our weight we change our way of eating, if something is “broken” we find a solution and fix it. One thing that I am coming to realize is that there are some things in life that don’t need to be “fixed” per se but what they need are to be enjoyed. Sometimes what we perceive as a problem really is not a problem at all but a reality. The best way to live one’s life is to love one’s life. At this point in my grandmother’s life, even though she does not really know what is going on, the best thing for her and everyone around her is to enjoy each other’s company.
With that said, my grandmother has lived a long and beautiful life and if anyone knew how to “Love Doing Life” it was definitely her.
My Scrumbltastic Weekend
January 7, 2014
Friday night consisted of some major scrumbling, popcorn, and 2 fantastic movies! First on the queue was “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. I consider this movie a must see! You follow 7 elderly people as they journey to India after a turning point in their lives. Before each of them get on the plane to India you get a glimpse of the life they are leaving. One character’s spouse just passed, one needs hip replacement, and another longs to find love. Each has a different story to follow and their own struggles. The movie is so beautifully done and a wonderful depiction of how life should be lived and enjoyed to its fullest. After watching this movie I was reminded to slow down, observe, and take in life with all my senses.
After we finished “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” my husband put on “Love, Marilyn”. Before I talk about the movie let me just tell you that I am fascinated with Marilyn Monroe! I think she was an incredible actress. Most people think she was dumb, easily manipulated, and had no talent. But I’m here to tell you that she knew how the Hollywood game was played. She reinvented sexuality in the movies and for a movie star. Marilyn redefined sex. Anyways, back to the documentary. “Love, Marilyn” talks about her journals that were recently found, within these journals are tons of confessions, insecurities, and truths. It is no big secret that Marilyn Monroe had insecurities but something I didn’t know is how brutal those she kept close were to her. Her second husband Arthur Miller also kept a journal and one day Marilyn found it and as she read, Arthur confirmed those insecurities she had. Just think about how devastating it would be for the person you married to confirm those flaws you feel you possess. I won’t go in to all the details of the documentary but what I will say is this, it’s a MUST SEE!
A New Year With New Possibilities
January 1, 2014
One of my resolutions this year was to start a blog. So, here I am my first blog entry…Ever! I am all about celebrating and living life to its fullest. What better way to celebrate life than by capturing it? And so begins my venture to capturing life. On January 1st many people have traditions and rituals they perform to start the new year on the right foot, up until this year I never really gave it any thought. Since I didn’t really have any traditions for January 1st I thought this year would be a good time to start one or two. Aside from watching my alma mater, The University of Georgia, play in a bowl game I decided today is the perfect
day to watch the classic New Year’s Eve movie…When Harry Met Sally. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time! So here I am New Year’s Day evening sitting on our comfy red couch (which feels like you’re sitting on a cloud) snuggled up under a soft baby blue blanket with snowflakes on it, watching When Harry Met Sally, eating a bowl full of popcorn topped with white truffle oil and parmesan cheese. If you haven’t had it you must! My husband does not like popcorn and that is the only kind he will eat. I will post the recipe on the blog so you can enjoy! This is the perfect scenario for some prime scrumbling! The definition of “scrumble” is when snuggling with the one person that loves you no matter what meets an environment that is incredibly comfortable. It’s amazing and I highly recommend it. Also, if there is not a special someone in your life, scrumbling with a pet or a family member is just as lovely!
Back to New Year’s Day traditions. Another tradition, one that has been going on for as long as I can remember is taking down the Christmas decorations. This tradition always makes me sad. Christmas time is always so glamorous and bright, and when the decorations come down it seems to make life a little dimmer, which is partly why I wanted to start blogging. Anytime I have something a little sad in my life I have to balance it out with something happy. On top of starting a blog and watching When Harry Met Sally, I am going to follow in my best friend’s footsteps when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. The number of resolutions she makes is directly related to how old she is. So this year I will make 27 resolutions.
- Start a blog.
- Watch When Harry Met Sally on New Year’s Day.
- Wear red lipstick more.
- Do cardio at least 3 times a week.
- Go on more walks with Michael.
- Expand my book list.
- Read more books.
- Make the bed everyday.
- Straighten up the living room every evening.
- Write more letters.
- Be less critical.
- Think positive!
- Don’t over analyze things.
- Take time to recognize the little things.
- Take time to laugh.
- Stretch more.
- Put more money into savings.
- Recycle more.
- Try at least 3 new recipes a month.
- Take more picnics.
- Build a drawing horse.
- Set up the art studio.
- Get outside to sketch nature.
- Finish my praying hands drawing.
- Drink more tea.
- Have lunch with Michael more at the office.
- Worry less.