Say Yes to Education

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yesterday I did a post on how proud I am of my alma mater and today I'm doing one on the school district I work for. This is some exciting news for Guilford County in North Carolina. We were selected as a "Say Yes" community!!! But what does that mean?

Say Yes is a national nonprofit that helps communities build local endowments to fund "last dollar" tuition scholarships for public school graduates.

According to bizjournals.com, "Prior to selection, Say Yes had chosen Guilford County as a finalist for several reasons, including leadership within the school system and its high percentage of public school students from low-income backgrounds."

Here's the crazy part, Say Yes is committing $15 million to coordinate support services to help students graduate high school and prepare them for college. Some of those service include, tutoring, after school programs and even medical care!! How cool is that?

Say Yes will provide graduates with the opportunity for college scholarships by as early as Spring 2016! I'm so proud to be apart of this community and can't wait to see this all start to take place.

For more info on Say Yes, visit their website here!

Longwood Making History

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My alma mater is doing big things!! Longwood University announced this past week that they will be hosting the single vice-presidential debate for the 2016 election. Dang that's huge! Mark your calendars for October 4, 2016! (If your calendar goes that far.)

Photo Cred: debate.longwood.edu
Plus this past year, Longwood updated their turf field and made it blue!!! My freshman year they built a green turf field and it was the bees knees.  I played lacrosse there and absolutely loved it. Most of my best friends now are my former lax teammates. Go Lancers!

Longwood is a small Division I school in the Big South Conference.
Photo Cred: Longwood Turf Crew (Twitter)


A little embarrassing, but here we are TEN YEARS AGO as freshman at Longwood. We were sneaky and checked out the turf before we were supposed to. #laxers

Makes me miss college! Fortunately this weekend our lax goalie is getting married so I get to spend time with them all!

Date Night & Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Monday, September 28, 2015

This past weekend was a rainy one in NC. B and I decided Saturday morning to have a little rainy day cooking sesh. I had mentioned my sister's amazeballs Pumpkin Cookies so we decided to make some of our own from the Cooking Classy blog.

Sorry for the pictures, I know, they're laughable. Check out Cooking Classy, now she's got it going on. I'm not only learning how to cook, but I'm learning how to be a photographer. Getting the right angle is hard and my husband just stands there looking at me like I'm crazy.


With everything added to the mixer.

My sous chef!
Cute little cookie jar we found in the back of a cabinet today.

Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp groung nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Occasionally stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout  entire mixing process. Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips and pecans. (If you want some chocolate chips to show through set some aside to press into tops before baking.) Let batter rest 5-10 minutes.

Scoop dough out 2 tbsp at a time and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. 

Bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Prep Time: 30 mins (we're kind slow)
Cook Time: 12-14 mins
Yield: 4 Dozen

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Confession - I told B to add more chocolate chips. He literally looked at me and said, "That'll make them too sweet." Umm, what? It's like he doesn't know me at all. I should've put in our vows, "To have and hold and to always add extra chocolate." 

Notes -Add bread to the cookie jar. A little trick of the trade I learned from my sister. Putting soft bread in with cookies keeps them from getting hard. I'm not sure about the science behind it, just trust me, it works.

Print this recipe.

Don't worry y'all. We recovered from the chocolate incident pretty quickly and had a date night at Undercurrent in Greensboro. 


BSF Lesson 2: Taking it back to Genesis

Sunday, September 27, 2015

bookends & daises tumblr
Scripture Memory Verse: Jeremiah 23:5 (NIV)
" 'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.' "

We had "back-to-School" night at my school and of course I stayed after chatting with parents and other teachers so I didn't make it to BSF last week. When you're unable to go it really stinks because not only do you miss small group and discussing the study form the week before, but you also miss lecture and can't get the notes for the upcoming week. It's just another incentive to make it each and every week. So this week I was only able to do days 2-6.

Day 6
In Lesson 2 we talked about the themes in Revelation (kind of scary) and John, the author of Revelation.  My big takeaway this week was after reflecting on today's question, "What have you learned about God and His relationship to His creation and His children in this week's study?"

This made me take it all they way back to the first book of the bible, Genesis. God spoke the earth (His creation) into existence and created His children in His own image. He has always and will always look after us. He continues to show us grace and mercy daily. He will continue to nurture His relationships with His creation and His children.

If you're interested in signing up for BSF, go here to find a class near you!

{Please note that what I got from this lesson is not necessarily the same as what other people did. People can get very different takeaways from the scripture based on prior knowledge, life situations, faith, what spoke to them, etc.}

BSF Lesson 1: Prophecies and Faith

I have this sign in our living room - a constant reminder to put your faith in God.
Sorry I didn't post last Sunday about my first week back to BSF. My college lacrosse teammate was in town and stayed with us Sunday night. We had a good time visiting and I forgot all about posting. So I thought I'd just hold off until this week and do a double post!

Just some quick background information I didn't share in my first BSF post. On the first day of each week you're to read the notes they provide then answer two reflection questions, "What was meaningful to you in lecture?" and "What help from the notes did you put into practice?"

And on Day 6 you're to review the week's assigned passages and then answer one reflection question, "What have you learned about God in this week's study?"

These questions are most helpful for me because they indeed help me to reflect. I thought these are the best questions/ answers to share with you throughout my study of Revelation this year with BSF.

Without further ado . . .

Scripture Memory Verse: Genesis 12:2-3 (NIV)
"I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Day 1
From the lecture, I had one really big takeaway - "Procrastination is the thief of success." I'm the queen of procrastination and always have been. But this makes me wonder how much more I could've done if I gave myself more time to do things. For example, in college I would pretty much start a paper the night before it was due and pull an all-nighter if I needed to. (Even though it was assigned two weeks prior.) This is something I'm going to work harder on and see just how better my life can be.

From the notes, I was reminded to "Bring our questions to God and ask for faith to believe the truth." "Faith" is my favorite word in the bible and my go-to. I still struggle with a lot of things the bible says, but with faith and bringing my questions to God, I will be able to believe and understand more and more. Believe me, I still have a ways to go.

Day 6
In Lesson 1 the focus was on exploring the prophecy of Jesus and I had an "Aha" moment after reading Luke 24:44-47 (NIV). The prophecies of Jesus came true, so the prophecies of God's return and our place in heaven must be too. I've already learned so much and it's only been a week into our study!

If you're interested in signing up for BSF, go here to find a class near you!

{Please note that what I got from this lesson is not necessarily the same as what other people did. People can get very different takeaways from the scripture based on prior knowledge, life situations, faith, etc.}

Shop here for the "Faith is Box Sign" from Altar'd State. 


Product Review: Better Haves App

Saturday, September 26, 2015

When B and I got married we learned quickly that we spend and save money differently. Financial issues are a huge cause of stress in relationships so we wanted to tackle them head on. We sat down and looked at our numbers (income, fixed costs, miscellaneous, etc.) and decided how much we can spend and how much we should be saving each month.

At first our plan was for B to keep me updated and tell me when we're about to hit our spending limit for the month. That got really annoying really quick. I had to start asking him if I could spend money and it made me feel like I was back in high school asking my parents for money. We did some digging around and found the Better Haves app. I wanted to share my review on it in case anyone is in need of something similar. 

I just love their tagline, "Spend less time on finance, and save more for romance."
Better Haves is a free personal finance app that can be linked with other users to share a budget. It is based off of the "envelope budgeting system". Many people use this system with actual envelopes. It is used to control your spending; when you run out of money in an envelope, you stop spending. Here's how an envelope budgeting system works:

1. Determine your discretionary spending.
2. Decide on a budget.
3. Create envelopes and stuff them with cash. (Here's where the Better Haves app comes into play.)
4. Spend only what's in the envelope.
5. Save extra money or use to pay off debt.

The Better Haves budget app is great for us because it gives a visual on how much money we have left for the month. It has made me more disciplined with my spending and I've found I'm less likely to be wasteful with our money. For example, if we want to go out to eat but only have $50 left in our food envelope for the month, we stay in because we need to save that money for groceries for the following week.

Here's a screenshot of the app. My husband and I only use it for our discretionary money. We have three envelopes: food, gas and miscellaneous. Miscellaneous for us in anything from oil changes, vet bills, salon visits, clothes, etc.

iPhone Screenshot from Apple Store.
Pros:
 - Easily synced to my husbands phone. Just add an email.
 - Easy envelope setup
 - Easy to create budget
 - Gives you update of how much money is left for the month and the number of days. 

Cons:
 - Have to manually update app each month to add money in envelopes.
 - Doesn't capitalize first letter of expense details. (That's just annoying, but I might be nitpicking.)
 - Doesn't give a notice when it's synced and updated so that you can start adding expenses for the next month.

If you're looking for a budget app I would recommend Better Haves. It's marketed to couples, because of the syncing capability, but individuals can use it as well. It's available on Google play and at the Apple Store.

For more info on personal finance apps that could be right for you, check out this article from the New York Post.

Fall Weather = Comfort Food

Friday, September 25, 2015

As I confessed in my "About" section, when B and I got married I didn't even know how to thaw chicken. I'm learning bit by bit how to cook and am willing to try (and fail) with pretty much anything.

Just like every other family, the weekdays are crazy around here and it's just the two of us! Between BSF, meetings, coaching, the gym, etc. neither of us really have time to make dinner when we get home. Or we're too hungry to make anything healthy. We figured out a system that works really well for us. Over the weekend we make ALL of our meals. When I'm really on my game, it's all pre-portioned out too!

In addition to any of the meals I make, we usually get a couple pounds of fresh chicken breasts from Harris Teeter every week for $1.99/ pound. We cut each breast in half and marinade them in Italian salad dressing. Most of the time we'll just cut the grilled chicken and put it on a salad for another option during the week.

I'm going off my meal plan* a little this week because I'm ready for fall weather and some comfort food. For meals this week I made a Quinoa and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole, Grandma's Old Fashioned Meatloaf and Slow Cooker Buttery Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

On Pinterest, I pin yummy recipes to my board "Delicioso". After I've made them I re-pin them to my board "Made That" and add tips for the next time I make it. I found all three of the following recipes on Pinterest. You can tell from the pics below why I pinned them!

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole
From "Kristine's Kitchen" Blog

This would be good for anyone who does "Meatless Mondays." I was worried my husband would shun it because there was no meat, but he loved it anyway!

Notes: Instead of making the sauce, I just bought a 15 oz can of green enchilada sauce. One less thing to do.

Confession: When it said to "Cook the Sweet Potatoes" - I didn't even know how to steam veggies. . . B had to help me. Lesson learned!

Grandma's Old Fashioned Meatloaf
From "The Kitchen Whisperer" Blog

Meatloaf always makes me think of my childhood. We used to always have it with mashed potatoes and green beans. This was the first thing my sister learned to cook and started making it for us when she was in middle school. (She's about 20 years ahead of me in the kitchen.)

Notes: Parchment paper was a nice touch. Made clean up very easy! Also, I didn't add the leftover tomato sauce on top. I didn't grow up with anything on top so I went without.  The meatloaf was really good, but I thought it was a bit soggy from the oats. My husband thought it was just perfect. Next time, I think I'm going to try breadcrumbs to see what I like better.

Confession - I didn't use the Montreal Steak Seasoning. I thought I bought it at the store, but it was the wrong thing. I bought the dry seasoning, apparently there's a liquid one. (?) Remember, I'm new at this.

Slow Cooker Buttery Garlic Mashed Potatoes
From "Creme de la Crumb" Blog

Mashed potatoes are the perfect sidekick for meatloaf!!

Notes: I cooked my potatoes on high for two hours, which I thought was the perfect time. Apparently I didn't do the "fork test" correctly. (Oops!) Next time I'll let them cook more for 2.5-3 hours.

Confession: I started using the hand mixer in the slow cooker, but the milk I just mixed in started flying everywhere. User error I'm sure. I switched over to my hand masher and that worked just fine. Then I had a mess to clean up.

Since it's just the two of us, these meals lasted for dinner all week. All I had to do was re-heat what we wanted, set the table, open some wine and voilá!

* For more info on my meal plan, see this post from Thursday.


Funny Friday: How I Feel When I Workout



As I mentioned yesterday in my post, I HATE cardio, but I absolutely LOVE lifting weights! 
These pics all pretty much sum me up.


Have a great Friday! TGIF



Things I Love: Sarah Bowmar

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This really should be a "People I Love" post. Sarah Bowmar is this awesome fitness blogger I started following on Instagram about a year ago. Since then I've watched her begin building her fitness empire like a boss. As I mentioned yesterday, she's been my fitness and food inspiration/ influencer. I definitely learned that "strong is the new skinny" from her and have changed my mindset about food and working out completely, because of her.

As a former Division I lacrosse player, I've always had people telling me how to workout. During the school year we had strength and conditioning coaches and in the summer we had custom workout plans to follow. When I graduated I found that I was a lost puppy in the gym. I don't like going and just walking around and the classes at my gym didn't wow me anymore. I need a purpose for each trip to the gym and Sarah gave me that.

Fitness goals!
Back in the spring I bought Sarah's glute program and really liked it. Until then I had only been working out my legs as a whole and never concentrated on just my glutes. I loved the program so much  I decided to try her six month online training program. With that I got a meal plan, lifting plan, HIIT cardio program and unlimited access to Sarah for any questions and/or support. Sarah likes for all of her clients to send check-in pics every two weeks. I only checked in a couple of times, but I take pics every two weeks. If you're trying to lose weight and/or gain muscle, I recommend doing this. Seeing the pics really helped me see how all of my hard work was paying off. Plus it's fun to put it next to your "before" pic.

Here's a walk through the three programs I got with my six month online training package from Sarah.

Meal Plan
Sarah tailored a meal plan for me to help lose body fat and gain muscle at the same time. I eat six meals (3 meals + 3 snacks) a day, every 2-2.5 hours. My meal plan is based off of carb cycling where I have three "high" carb days a week followed by four "medium" carb days. I use the words "high" and "medium" loosely, because I'm not downing lots of breads and going to town on cereal like I really want to on "high" days. To learn more about carb cycling, check out Sarah's blog post, Carb Cycling 101.

Lifting Plan
I absolutely love lifting. Actually I might be slightly addicted, but in a good way. Sarah gave me a month of workouts with exercises, reps and sets for each day. When I'm finished with one month, I cycle back to the beginning. Not every week is exactly like this, but here's an example of a week of workouts:
  • Monday - Biceps & Back
  • Tuesday - Shoulders, Triceps & Abs
  • Wednesday - Legs
  • Thursday - Chest & Abs
  • Friday - Biceps, Triceps & Forearms
  • Saturday - Legs & Abs
  • Sunday - Rest Day
On one of my leg days each week, I like to replace it with a glute workout. Lifting each day takes me anywhere from 30-45 minutes max. I have all of my workouts printed out on a chart with the exercise, reps and number of sets I carry around on a little clipboard. This helps me keep track of how much weight I'm doing and allows me to move pretty quick through the gym. I don't have to guess how much weight I did last time or try to remember which exercise comes next.

A couple of months ago Sarah started a weekly newsletter with even more workouts. I add those in my workouts too. For example, if she sends out a new shoulder workout, I'll use it for my shoulder workout that week. I write them all down and keep them in my workout binder so I can go repeat when I want something different. This also helps with monotony and helps me to not get bored with my workouts. 


HIIT Cardio Program
I have to be honest and tell you how much I hate cardio. If you hate it as much as me, welcome to the club! With that being said, I know I need to do it, so I put on some good tunes and get it over with. I have a workout playlist on my iPod with some Beyonce (of course!), David Guetta, Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Calvin Harris. My husband listens to heavy metal when he works out - whatever gets you going!

Sarah has me doing five days a week of HIIT workouts. HIIT stands for "High Intensity Interval Training." These workouts use intervals of high intensity exercise, like sprinting, and low intensity exercise, like walking. I usually do 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds walk for about 20-30 mins. Once again, to help with monotony and boredom, she has me on different machines every day. I use the stair master (woah - feel the burn), treadmill, elliptical and have a circuit training workout where I do exercises like mountain climbers and burpees - everyone's favorite!

If you have time, check out this great article by BodyBuilding.com on HIIT cardio workouts.  It does a great job of explaining what HIIT workouts are, talks about the benefits and even gives you a HIIT program for beginners to advanced.

One of the things I like most about Sarah is that she won't baby you and she gives it to you straight. I do well with her because she's no nonsense - kind of a bad ass!

Places to find Sarah Bowmar:
Instagram: sarah_bowmar
Blog: Bowmar Fitness
Newsletter: Sign up here for her weekly workouts and recipes.
Plus she does Snapchat and Twitter!


Sorry for the long post - apparently I had a lot to say. Happy Thursday! TGIF tomorrow :)

Happy Fall Deer

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy first day of Fall y'all! It's that time of the year again for pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.

Did I mention PUMPKINS!! Yes, I've already had a Pumpkin Spiced Latte (PSL) from Starbucks this year. No, I didn't post a pic of it on Instagram - I can't stand that. I'm going to limit myself to one per fall month, because they're pretty bad for you - womp womp.

Whenever I think of pumpkin anything I think of #basicwhitegirl. Last year my sister had something pumpkin and sent a text to my brother-in-law saying that it wasn't up to her standards. He was like WTH who cares and started calling her a basic white girl. I just died laughing and now it's stuck with me.

Also, yesterday was National Voter Registration Day. According to the website, "In 2008, 6 million Americans didn't vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn't know how to register." Make sure you're reaching out to those people and help em out!

Tomorrow I'll be doing a "Things I Love" post on one of my favorite workout influencers/ inspirations!

Have a good hump day!

Picture Cred: Lolly Jane
http://lollyjane.porch.com

Summer, we fall for you every time. (Part Deux)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Just reminiscing on the amazing summer I had since tomorrow is the first day of FALL! For the first half of the summer, check out this blog post!

July
We started July off with a trip to High Rock Lake to celebrate the 4th of July at our friend's lake house. We had such a great time just hanging out during the day and watching the fireworks on the lake at night! Cami got to come too and even tried swimming - she learned quick to not go deeper than her chest.

Byron and Cami at High Rock Lake - July Fourth
The next weekend B and I went to Nashville to celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary. Friday night we met one of my oldest friends, Eddie, out for dinner and drinks. He showed us such a good time and gave us the low down on the city. Saturday we went on a walking history tour then to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Luke Bryan was playing at Vanderbilt that night, is it too crazy to think maybe I'd see him walking down the street? Alas, I did not.

Saturday night we walked up and down Broadway (the main strip) going in the honky-tonks :) just listening to different bands. If you've never been to Nashville you HAVE to go. I can't rave enough about this city. There are live bands playing on Broadway starting around lunchtime until 2am and the food is out of this world. We had an amazing time and I can't wait to go back!
L: B and Elvis! Top R: B and I at the County Music Hall of Fame. Bottom R: Byron, Eddie and I at Whiskey Bent Saloon.
The next two weekends we drove up to Maryland. First we went to Baltimore for the CONCACAF Gold Cup to watch the USMNT play. While B and his friend were busy being crazy US fans I was out having a lovely dinner in Fells Point with some friends. The second weekend we went to a family reunion/ picnic in Chestertown. Sorry, no pics :(

August
August was blazing hot in NC and MD! Luckily, I was able to cool off for a week at the beach with my family. Every year we go to Bethany Beach in DE, just 1.5 hours from where I grew up. It's so nice to get away and spend such a long time with them. Other than the beach it's normally just 2-4 nights max - which is never enough.

This year was the year of ice cream. :) We hit up Dicky's Frozen Custard at least four-five times. They have the best nutty buddies. We also played a lot of football on the beach, paddleball and of course played putt putt golf. My brothers are getting old enough now where we don't let them win anymore. It's pretty competitive.

L: My brother Harley and I. R: My brother Patrick.
After the week at the beach, my brothers came back with me to NC for the week. Between Monday and Tuesday we went to our community pool, trampoline park, go carts and arcade. Wednesday I took them to SkyWild at the Greensboro Science Center. It's this awesome treetop adventure park that's kind of like a high ropes course. Once I got past the height I had a lot of fun and can't wait to take B.

(Warning: my brothers don't always like to smile in pics. It's "cool" not to smile. But I promise they were having fun!)

L: My brothers and I at SkyWild. R: Patrick going to town on some Ben & Jerry's.
On Thursday we went to the Lazy 5 Ranch near Charlotte. If you're near the area you should definitely go!  It's a gazillion acre ranch with all kinds of roaming animals you can feed. They have water buffalo, pigs, zebras, deer, emus, llamas, etc. They give you a bucket of feed for the animals. You can choose to drive through in your car with the windows down or take a wagon tour. I recommend the wagon, because the guide tells you about the animals and gives lots of info - very interesting.

My brothers and I on the wagon with a few of our furry friends.
The weekend before school started I went back to Baltimore for a bachelorette party!! We started Saturday with a tour at the Heavy Seas Brewery. We then drank some more :) had dinner before going  to Pickles Pub and the Orioles game. This was such an awesome group of girls - we all just clicked right away. I can't wait for Eliza's wedding in October to party some more with them!

L: Obligatory group pic at Pickles Pub before the Orioles game. Top R: Group pic at Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore. Bottom R: View from our hotel room at the Hilton downtown.

The next day we were hurting - go big or go home at bachelorette parties! Our motto became, "But did you die?" It's from one of "The Hangover" movies. Whenever I see this is makes me laugh.


Finally, to close out the crazy, crazy summer, B and I took a trip to Denver to visit family. See my post on that here.

Now on to cooler weather. Fall brings a very busy schedule, but I'm excited for the little trips B and I are going to take here and there. We're hoping to go hiking at Pilot Mountain and Grandfather Mountain, plus a few trips to MD to see my family!

Summer, we fall for you every time.


Today is the official last day of Summer 2015 :( I thought it would be fun to reflect on these last couple of months and take the time to remember how sweet it is to have a summer vacation. Us teachers are pretty spoiled. (Don't get it twisted, we work our booties off the other ten months of the year!)

May
In May my sister, brother-in-law, husband and I went to Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to celebrate Eddie's (BIL) 30th birthday. I thought it would be fun to hashtag our trip on Instagram with #thirsty30, but Eddie wanted #thatssofetch. (Another "Mean Girl's" reference.) Byron and Eddie are HUGE bourbon collectors and connoisseur's. We took tours at Four Roses, Jim Beam, Evan Williams, Maker's Mark, Buffalo Trace and the Bourban Heritage Center/ Heaven Hill. I would totally recommend going even if you don't like bourbon. It's still fun to go on the tours and learn the history!

The next couple of weekends we spent going to wine festivals in theYadkin Valley and camping with our family on the coast of New Jersey. For some reason I didn't get any pictures from these . . oops.

June
We started June with a family trip to a Greensboro Grasshoppers game with Byron's parents and family form Denver. The next week we headed to Topsail Island for his families' annual beach trip. Oh, and then this happened less than a mile from us. (!!!!) We were safe - no shark bites here!

Pics of B and I plus our nieces and nephews. 

We closed out June with a trip to Jacksonville, FL for my cousin Kelly's wedding at the Atlantic Beach County Club. (GORGEOUS) I seriously had the time of my life with my family and wish we could all be together like that more often. Everyone flew in from CA, MD, NC, NM, NV, VA. I even got called up on stage to sing with the band!
Byron, me, my dad, sister and my mom at the rehearsal dinner. 


L:My cousin Katie, the MOH and I. R: Me doing some crazy dance move on the stage. :)




Sparkler send of for Kelly and Steven aka Mr. & Mrs. Park!

Funny Friday: When I Prove My Husband Wrong

Friday, September 18, 2015

This makes me giggle every time I see it! My husband and I both like to be right. Maybe me more than him. There's something so satisfying about proving him wrong - I wish I could bend like this when I do it :)

After the wedding last weekend I thought about this verse: 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.


"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs."

It's all in good fun when I joke around about proving him wrong, but maybe I like it a little too much. Something to work on :)

Things I Love: Lat & Lo

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Of all of the places in the world . . where are you anchored?

I couldn't wait to share my newest obsession with you! B got me this Lat & Lo coordinates necklace for for our two year wedding anniversary. (Yes, he is amazing. Yes, I told him EXACTLY what I wanted.  Yes, sometimes men need guidance.)

Lat & Lo is a handcrafted jewelry line that customizes each piece with the inscribed latitude and longitude special to each customer. Mine has the lat and lo of where we got married. 

I heard about Lat & Lo on the DASH Boutique Instagram account and instantly fell in love. They now do other styles of necklaces plus bracelets, rings and even cufflinks.The gold bar necklace look is really in right now. This one is on the shorter side (about 16.5"), which I like so I can layer it with other pieces. 
We got married on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and had a nautical theme for our wedding. This was on our invitations and was the inspiration for my necklace. These coordinates are on the front and on the back it says "S and B 07.06.2013".

With all this wedding talk this week I have a Funny Friday post tomorrow on something I try (not) to do everyday in my marriage :)

Have a great day!

Update
Here's another reason I love Lat & Lo - check out Kellie's Instagram post:


This was almost the end of Lat & Lo. Almost 3 years ago, I got my first "large" order from a store. I literally almost cried when they sent it in- I was so happy! I used almost all of the little bit of money I had made so far on the line and bought supplies to make the order. Back then I hand stamped each individual number on each piece. So, the slightest movement could cause an imprint that could ruin the whole piece. So, very carefully, over the course of a few days I meticulously stamped away. Then, something horrible happened. On the very last piece, I realized that I had read the coordinates wrong. I had just made all of them wrong. All 65 pieces. I cried. I screamed. I cried. I literally thought that there was no way I could do this. We had worked so hard to get this sale . I had worked so hard stamping them. And I wouldn't make anything on the sale if I remade the whole order. I was devastated. I was struggling so hard trying to start this new concept of jewelry that this was honestly the straw that nearly broke the camel's back as they say. I never told the store I made everything wrong though I desperately wanted to. But it wasn't their problem. It was mine. A few hours of crocodile tears later, I just remade it. Staying up, losing sleep to make up for the lost time so the store wouldn't be mad at it taking too long to arrive. My biggest sale thus far had been reduced to only a few dollars earned in the end. At a time when I needed the money SO bad. I literally almost gave up on it all. To this day, that store is one of our biggest buyers of Lat & Lo. I can't imagine where I'd be if I'd given up on it all that day. I had no idea what was ahead. The same can be said for life. ..you just never know what happens when you manage to hang on. With Love,
Kellie

Decorating (!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yesterday I blogged about our new entertainment center and how I can't wait to start decorating it. I love shopping to get ideas on decorating and looking through catalogs, but I also love to use Houzz and of course, Pinterest.

In case you're not familiar - Pinterest is a free website and app where registered users upload, sort and manage images through collections, known as "Pinboards". I have boards for almost anything and everything - fashion, food, workouts, teaching ideas, etc.
Houzz is an online community, similar to Pinterest, but it's strictly dedicated to architecture, interior design, decorating, etc. Members are also able to upload images for other to browse and add images to  "Ideaboards". Houzz is neat, because you can type in your style type (i.e. traditional. transitional, modern, contemporary, etc.) to really pinpoint what you're looking for. I identify most with transitional, which is a combination of traditional and contemporary designs.
You can tell from my Houzz Ideabook, Living Room and from my Pinterest board Home Sweet Home, I was looking for a white entertainment center. Instead we went with a darker wood to add some color and contrast. I had a bazillion ideas on how to decorate on white wood, but had a hard time coming up with ideas on darker wood. A lot of the posts on Houzz and Pinterest were on decorating white, which is pretty easy - pops of color! I found this image below on Houzz and it gave me some inspiration. I not only want it to be visually appealing, but I want significant pieces. It's nice when each piece means something and has significance to me or my husband.

This is some inspiration I found on Houzz posted by Nancy Scheinholtz with Scheinhotz Associates in Burlingame, CA.  I like the pops of white, the picture frames, vases, etc.
My husband LOVES simplicity. He'd be happy with one thing on each shelf - wouldn't that be easy :) Once the entertainment center is ALL decorated, I'll post a pic. Be patient with me, this could take a month or so.

Thanks for reading - tomorrow I'll be sharing my newest obsession in a "Things I Love" post.

Have a good evening!

Furnishing Our Home Bit by Bit

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

As many first time homeowners know, furnishing your home is expensive and time-consuming. B and I bought our house in March of 2014 and have been slowly but surely piecing it together. The house is really big for just the two of us, but we bought it with the intention of starting a family - number of kids TBD :) The only thing we had when we moved in was just a few pieces from our two-bedroom apartment we rented for six months.
Our house last fall.
Luckily we live near High Point, NC aka "The Furniture Capital of the World." We've been able to buy some custom pieces from these stores, which has been a lot of fun. I love furniture shopping here,  because I get so many ideas and it gets the creative juices flowing. Last year we bought a couch, dining room table and chairs, kitchen table and chairs, mattresses and a headboard for our master. Then we started saving again for more pieces.

This past week our entertainment center arrived! We really needed a statement piece for this room. Not only is it very neutral, but it has a two story ceiling. I can't believe how much this piece is perfect for the room. Plus I think it reiterated to my husband that I (kind of) know what I'm doing when it comes to furnishing and decorating. I have a vision.



Now I get to decorate it! I might be a nerd, but this is all very fun for me. Because we just made such a big purchase I'll be "shopping the house" to decorate it. I would absolutely love to run out to my two favorite stores - Pottery Barn and HomeGoods to snatch up some pieces, but for now I'll use what I already have and reallocate. (On a side note, IDK if you've seen the October 2015 Pottery Barn catalog, but that thing is heavy on the Halloween decor.)

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I'll share my inspiration for decorating from Houzz and Pinterest.

Thanks for reading!