Friday, June 28, 2013

High Five for Friday

Hello! I'm sharing my five favorites from this week. This week was kind of laid back and it turns out I didn't take many pictures, so you get a lovely photo of Miss Ellie.

1. My hubby and I celebrated our anniversary this week! I was craving Chipotle so that's where we went for dinner and we followed it up with frozen yogurt for dessert. It was a nice and relaxing evening spent together.

2. The piano! I am so excited to have a piano :) You can read more about it here.

3. Ellie is obviously one of my favorite things all the time. (Even if she woke me up at 5 am two times this week wanting to play with things on my nightstand.)

4. I finished a great book on Sunday night. It's called Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer. I love finishing books, it makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Plus, it was a good story. I love all of Karen Witemeyers' books.

5. It's Friday and I'm pretty excited about that. Last week I took some vacation days so this full work week has seemed pretty long. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend. 

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Piano's Story

This piano comes with a story. This piano belonged to my husbands', aunts', grandparents (did you follow that?) They purchased it during The Great Depression for very little because the family who was selling it needed the money. It was made in the 1920's. (I think that's the facts, I'm not 100% sure though) but now the piano's story will continue with our family. My husband's aunt had this piano in her home for years although no one played. When she found out that I love to play the piano and was looking for one for my home she very graciously gave this one to us. Yesterday after it was delivered I couldn't stop playing. The electronic keyboard I had been using is lovely but it just didn't have that real piano feel if you know what I mean. Anyway, I'm loving our newest addition. It's the first real piece of furniture for our living room and I love the clean lines and the dark wood. I am looking forward to playing and singing around this piano for many years to come.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"It's Like TV For Your Dining Room"

This weekend we helped my sister and her hubby move into their new house. Moving day was the first time I had ever been there. It's an adorable house and it will be perfect for them.

The dining room wall has an unique feature. A HUGE mural of a nice little scene.

It's so huge it doesn't even fit in one picture. Now, I don't know if my sister and my brother-in-law are going to keep the mural but we sure had fun with it on moving day.

It all started when my sisters, sister-in-law said that the painting was kind of growing on her. The colors were pleasant and it was something nice to look at. "It's like TV for your dining room" is an exact quote.

Then I started asking people if the girl was leaving or coming home. Everyone had different answers (which was interesting.) Her bags are tipped over like the man threw them off the carriage and the dog is coming out to greet her and she's got one foot on the step like she's walking up it. All good arguments for the "coming home" side of the discussion (which was the side I was on.)

Speaking of the steps, my mom pointed out that the steps look concrete and why would they have concrete steps and dirt roads. Then we noticed other things, like the fact that the man unloading (or loading?) her bags is as tall as the carriage wheel. That would make for some extremely large carriage wheels. And there is a shadowy man in the carriage looking out the window. I named him Moriarty, because it seemed appropriate for a mysterious man.

I don't know what they are going to do with the painting, if it was me I wouldn't want to live with it but it would be hard to roll paint right over it.

Do you have any unique elements in your home? How about any murals?

Friday, June 21, 2013

High Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Lauren for my top five favorites from this week.

1. Celebrating birthdays (and blowing out candle sticks next to your cake instead of birthday candles on your cake because we didn't have birthday candles. Hey, it was a use what you have kind of moment.)

2. First frozen yogurt of the summer. No more explanation needed.

3. Reading in the morning.

4. Finding pants that fit perfectly from the thrift store! I don't usually buy pants from thrift stores because I'm so picky, but this time it worked out very well.

5. My little sister and her husband are buying their first house today! I'm so happy for them and we're helping them move tomorrow.

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Next week I am getting a piano at my house. I have played the piano for eighteen years but when I moved out of my mom and dad's house the piano stayed. I love to play it when I'm visiting them and my sisters in-laws graciously gave me a keyboard so that I could play in my own home. But I am excited to have an actual piano.

One of my goals for 2013 has been to play the piano everyday, even if it's just one song. I was doing  well on upholding that goal but I have kind of slacked off the last two months. It's amazing how much improvement I made on the song I was working on, and then I sat down to play it the other day and I was extremely rusty.  I will definitely be picking up that goal again. I will play the piano everyday for the rest of the year (except when I am away from home and no where near a piano.) I will give myself a little grace then.

Is there any hobbies you've had since childhood that still hold a special place in your heart today? How about times when you've realized just how important practicing something can be.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Parade of Homes

Last year my sister and I went to the Parade of Homes and loved it. This year we came equipped with cameras.

I think our love for houses started young when our parents would take us through open houses every Sunday. You can see here perspective of the Parade of Homes here (I'll put in the link when she publishes her post.)

Here are some of my favorites.

Outdoor Living Space

 Living Rooms


My favorite house

Alex and I had a great time. This is definitely something we are gong to try and do every year.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sectional Test Drive

I'm working on a decorating plan for our whole house. This is going to be a slow process for us because we will have to save up before we can make big purchases. Since things are going to be spread out I want to make sure that the choices we make coincide with the overall plan for our space. One of the rooms that's a priority in our minds is our living room. Because currently it looks like this:
  This is real life. Obviously, this room needs a lot of help but I am starting with some seating. I want to put a sofa on the wall that currently has tables lined up with picture frames leaning against it. But we're not too happy with our sofa/tv arrangement in our family room. We think the solution to the family room would be to purchase a sectional and then we could move the current family room sofa into the living room.

I've never had a sectional before and I am afraid it would be too bulky in our family room. I wanted a way to test it out before we made a commitment. The one evening my hubby pulled the chair into the middle of the room (for better video game playing) and I told him to leave it like that. The chair pushed up against the sofa was the perfect sectional practice run.

Ta da! Loved it. It didn't make the room feel closed off from the rest of the space. This part of the house is an open floor plan with the family room, dining room and kitchen all connected. So I was worried about things like traffic flow and yada yada yada. But it turns our I really like it (and still after two days of living this way.)

Now we need to measure, compare sectionals and save our pennies until we can complete our sectional/sofa switcheroo.Then it's new art, lamps, pillows etc. for both rooms. Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Budgets are like Diets: Credit Cards are Junk Food

Budgets are like diets and credit cards are like junk food and everybody would like to spend as much money as they want without occurring debt and eat everything they like without getting fat. But the reality of life is the only thing that can make you to be skinny and rich is you. Y.O.U. you.

A lot of people want the easy way out, that’s why there are diet pills and financing options. People want things NOW and they believe they deserve it.  “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, I deserve to be pampered. I think I’ll get a pedicure and put it on my credit.” Now hear me out; there is nothing wrong with pedicures (or whatever is an indulgence is for you.) All of these things can be good, but you do not deserve them. They are luxuries to be earned, and if you partake in luxuries by over extending you limits (charging it) or putting them before priorities (food, shelter, etc.) then you need to have a good long look in the mirror and realize that YOU are a major factor in a very big financial problem.

So why are budgets like diets? Diets help is recognize that we are lacking self-control with our eating and exercising habits. Diets give us a plan to get us back on track. They help us realize that you have to tell yourself “no” right now in order to benefit later. And if you give in, you’ll be sweating it out try to burn off all your extra debt and calories. When you don't have a plan for your money then you can get in over your head pretty quickly.

I can’t knock credit cards entirely because well, I use them. But just like junk food you have to limit yourself with credit cards. A little bit everyone once in awhile is okay, but too much junk food and too much credit card spending can cause major problems. If credit cards are something that you struggle with then cut them out of your life. Just like if cupcakes are your diet downfall, don't go into a bakery for awhile.

And just like diets, not every budget is for every person. Everyone manages their lives differently. Therefore everyone should handle their money in the way that works best for them and their family. Maybe you’ve tried a written budget and are struggling to keep up with it. Maybe you and your spouse are not on the same page. Maybe you’re single and with no one to keep you accountable you’re maxing out your credit cards trying to maintain a lifestyle you cannot really afford.

I know a lot of people think of budgets as “boring” (I am not one of those people) But keeping track of your finances is like washing the dishes. The dishes are a chore few enjoy doing but if you ignore them the dirty ones pile up in the sink making your whole kitchen smell until you run out of clean ones and now have a mess on your hands. You’re money is the same way, if you ignore it and keep spending you’ll end up broke with a pile of debt to clean up. 

You need self-control in order to make a plan for yourself and stay on it. It's not easy but it is totally worth it. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing many ways to plan and keep track of your money. I hope to provide a place where people can gather information and pick and choose which ideas work best for them. Remember, the only person who can make you skinny and rich is YOU.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Vintage Country Wedding

This weekend my best friend got married to the man of her dreams! It was an absolutely beautiful day, the weather cooperated, the decorations were perfect and she looked beautiful.

Although I did not have any sort of camera on me, my sister snapped a few pictures that she said I could share.
One of the many drink stations. They also served pop (or soda if that's what you call it) in glass bottles, water bottles, and some adult beverages.
 My bridesmaids dress! We had these dresses made and then the mother-of-the-bride did lots of work adding the finishing touches. The mother-of-the-groom made our jewelry (my necklace is not cooperating in this photo) but they were beautiful. The bride herself embellished the flip flops so we had something comfy for the reception. I don't have a picture of all the bridesmaids together but all of the dresses were different. They all had the vintages 50's vibe to them and the other colors were pink, yellow and coral. For the ceremony we all wore nude heels and we even took some pictures with cowboy boots (I can't wait to see those!) The groomsman wore a linen vest and pant set with white shirts a tie to match one of the bridesmaids dresses.
 These pennants were made by the mother-of-the-bride and they were everywhere at the reception. I even had fun helping to hang them up all over the place the day before the wedding. (Shout out to my youngest sister for helping me!)
 This is the centerpiece for the table my family sat at. All of the tables had yellow table cloths but each centerpiece was different. The batten-burg lace square you can see here is from my wedding. It's such fun to share little details like that with friends. Everyone ate off of vintage china that the bride and her mom collected over the course of a few months. All of the flowers (centerpieces, bouquets, and decorations, etc.) were all done by family friends. The brides mother actually did all the flowers for my wedding. These women are truly talented.
 The cake was yummy! The bride made the cake topper and you can see the brides bouquet off to the left.
 These beautiful arrangements lined the path at the reception and the asile at the church. The father-of-the-bride made the stands and then the arrangements were in mason jars that hung on the stands.
Here's my bouquet the next morning. The flowers held up pretty well, they are actually still going strong on my kitchen counter in a vase. Each ribbon matched the girls dresses. Every little detail was so thought out. It was such a beautiful wedding for such a beautiful couple.

My sister has some more pictures on her blog which you can find here, although I did snag some of her photos (thanks sis!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

Shoes are being polished, nails are being painted and flowers are being prepped because tomorrow my best friend gets married!

We have been friends for the past fifteen years. She has always been there for me, someone one to laugh with and someone to cry with. She always knew just how to push me out of my comfort zone and really experience some great things in life. She introduced me to my husband!

Tomorrow, I am so excited I get to be there for her. Her husband-to-be is one lucky man and I cannot wait to celebrate with them all day long.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Reading

 I love books, but sometimes I can go a little overboard at the library. This is a stack of library books plus books that I own plus books I'm borrowing from family and friends. For some perspective on how tall this stack of books is; here's me! 

 Because posing with a stack of books is totally normal. I like to have my options when it comes to reading although not all of these are for leisurely reading. A fair amount of them are cookbooks, which I need to try more recipes from. But, besides the cookbooks, here is a little of what I will be reading this summer.
 The Inspirational: Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman. You're Made for a God-Sized Dream and You're Already Amazing both by Holley Gerth. I heard both of these women on an old episode of the Simple Mom Podcast and was so inspired by their conversation that I knew I needed to own their books. I can't wait to dig into them.
 The Stories: The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag, The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley and Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer. I have read all of Witemeyer's books before and absolutely loved them so I can't wait to dive into her latest (which just came out June 1st.) The other two books will be new authors for me, but I'm excited to get lost in them as well.
 The Money Stuff: Living Well on a Shoestring from the editors of Yankee magazine and The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. Living Well on a Shoestring caught my eye at the library, because it appears to be full of money savings tips and in my opinion saving money is always a good idea. I actually purchased The Automatic Millionaire when I was in high school (proud budget nerd from the start.) I read some of it at that time, but I would like to read it again with a more adult mindset.
The Home Decor books: Home Design by Sabrina Soto and Houses with Charm by Susan Sully. I'm always looking for ideas/advice I can use in my own home and I am looking forward to gaining all of the interior design wisdom that's within these covers.

What are you reading this summer? Do you like to read fiction? Non-fiction? Or a little of both?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Right Now I am ...


Reading: I just finished Start by Jon Acuff and loved every word. Now I'm reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (I'm on page 7 but it's a book about writing, and I'm excited to learn more on the subject.) I'm also "reading" (listening to the audiobook) Slim for Life by Jillian Michaels, which I'm really enjoying so far. I have a lot of issues with food upsetting my stomach and she provides a lot of information about eating healthy natural foods, which I think would help me out a great deal.

Watching: Sherlock. It's a BBC show but I am watching it on Netflix. I am in love with this show. It's mysterious enough to keep me entertained but not so scary that I have to sleep with the lights on. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman play Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Benedict Cumberbatch is also in Star Trek: Into Darkness and Martin Freeman is in The Hobbit and I loved both of those movies as well.

Loving: Clean surfaces. My hubby thought a friend was going to be dropping by over the weekend so we ran around frantically cleaning. Turns out the friend couldn't make it but I am enjoying clutter-free kitchen table immensely. I've been able to keep it up for two days so far (whoo hoo!) I hope it lasts.

Looking Forward to: MY BEST FRIENDS WEDDING! My best friend since I was eight years old is getting married this weekend! I'm so happy for her and so excited to wear my bridesmaid dress. I just got home from trying it on, all the bridesmaid dresses were custom made and they all all different. I can't wait for her big day!