Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Favorites (and a YHL comment)

This week was a bit frustrating. We met with another real estate agent, and his outlook on selling our house was - to be expected - just as bleak as every else's. Now, we're considering renting instead of selling. This is relieving in some ways, since selling was going to cost us money, but renting brings with it its own set of challenges.

However, my feelings of frustration - they are relative. I have so much to be thankful for.

My sweet husband -
who let me order the new bedding I was drooling over in this post.
who helping me completely rearrange our bedroom furniture on a my whim on Wednesday night.
who cleaned the floors for me while I went to Target on Thursday night, referring to himself as my "house husband."
who picked up dinner for us when I didn't feel like cooking.

My sister -
who dropped some skinny jeans in the mail for me to try on because they were too small for my nephew - just for fun. (Sidenote: I so wanted these jeans to fit because I thought it would be fun to say, "Oh these old new things? My sister picked them up in the men's department at TJMaxx for $7." Sadly, when I put them on and couldn't get them anywhere close to buttoned (despite the waist size being 3 inches larger than the jeans I own), I realized there was probably a good reason they were marked as irregular and still on the clearance rack.)

My house -
which regardless of whether we sell or rent is cool inside despite 100 degree days.
has a pantry and refrigerator with plenty inside.
is wireless, DVRed and all those other technological wonders I take for granted.

My dog -
who we've decided is the living epitome of Dug, from the movie Up (The Hubs cries when he watches Up.)

who is willing to go for a walk(!) or a car ride(!) or pay outside(!) or do tricks(!) anytime.

My health (I'll admit that the stress I'm self-imposing is doing a number on my scalp and skin (something I'm used to, it's been the case for many years) but -
it's good. And my husband's is good. And my parents'.
(Although, I would definitely appreciate any natural tips for combatting dry scalp, and MILD ezcema/psorasis.)

And I could go on, but I won't (and can't, because I'm technically working right now!).

I'm thankful for all these favorites today. (And linking up with Rachel at Finding Joy.)

friday favorite things | finding joy

Also, on a super "blog geek" sidenote: I definitely got my first "comment response" from Sherry at this week. Umm - I freaked out, and I also did a screen grab for posterity.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Polish, Courtesy of JB

I saw some fun lime green nail polish in my newest Real Simple - something that I would not normally wear. I picked up a comparable color at Target yesterday, and today, my fingers (and toes) are sporting a new look.

Sidenote: I have not painted my fingernails in probably two years. Close up, it looks AWFUL.

Look who I have to thank for the color.

As I'm sure you did not guessed, I get to thank Mr. Justin Beiber.

This color is from his "The Less Lonely Girl" collection, "Designed with the fans, for the fans."

That's eye roll inducing, but the color - One Time Lime - is pretty fun. Happy Friday.

(Color is by Nicole by O.P.I.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great Bedroom (Design) Debate

B and I worked together to pick the paint colors for each room in our house.

We picked a neutral vibrant tan for the dining room, and this color for the great room and kitchen:

Sherwin Williams Essential Gray

I like the latter so much that I would happily use again in our next house. In the bedrooms we used a bit more color, including a rich gray blue in the bedroom. 

This is an older picture, but it gives you an idea of the color.

Unfortunately, we painted the house before we were married, and therefore before I moved in, so I didn't realize that despite two windows, that room doesn't get much sun, save a couple hours each day. So, add a rich gray blue, and it's down right dark. Thankfully, the room is plenty large enough to support a darker color (if you're of the mindset that dark colors make a room look smaller), but I'm not convinced it's the right color for the room when we put it on the market.

Of course, the hubs really doesn't want to repaint (or pay someone else to do it). So, the other morning he offered up this little nugget:

"You know what an easier way to lighten up the bedroom would be? We could replace our [brown] duvet with a lighter one."

He just tossed that out there. As if I'd nod and move along with my life. It's almost as if he disregarded that that was practically license to buy new bed linens.

So, I've been browsing. Realistically, I may not get to pull the trigger, but the combination of colors and ruffles and masculine details companies are selling is making the interior designer in me drool.

And my ultimate favorite find:

While walking our dog last night, I reminded the hubs about the new duvet/quilt comment. I told him I'd found a few options. In turn, he called me "the human elephant" (because I never forget).

I do love a good compliment.

Also, thoughts on the above options? (I definitely think cream/gray is a safer bet than white.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Craigslist Miscellany

I have a secret. Until yesterday, I had never successfully sold anything on Craigslist. (Bought something? Ha! All the time, much to the hub's dismay.) But yesterday, I posted six things, and I sold three of them the same day. It's quite the rush.

 Good-bye, end table. You served us well.
Thanks for the memories, sweet painted nightstand 
(previously lime green thanks to a college apartment color fling).

We also sold full mattress set that we'd inherited with a bedroom set but didn't need. The family who bought it was replacing their 8-year-old daughter hand-me-down king mattress. Apparently, she was against the replacement, but they thought a full was much more suitable for a little girl. That story made me laugh, since I slept in a twin bed until my second year of college.

Now, I'm trying to figure out e-bay. Any advice? I have a couple of nicer bags to sell that I doubt will sell on Craiglist.


With my blow money, I did indeed buy the shorts I mentioned last Monday. While I was there, I also picked up this shirt (horrible modeling by yours truely).

AE boyfriend shirt, where have you been all my life? (Also, I picked mine up on clearance for 50 percent off.)

I really should learn to iron.


I am typing this blog entry on the rogue during work hours, so I've got to get back to what I'm supposed to be doing. We're meeting with a second real estate agent tonight. I don't expect the financial outlook to be much brighter, but I'm choosing to trust God's plan. Right now, we still believe that selling is the better option for us, even if we do have to dip into savings. I'd love some stories of positive sales experiences, post real estate crash, if you have them. 

For all you Dave Ramsey folks, the real estate agent and her husband are on baby step 7 - build wealth and give. How cool is that?

Linking up with Carissa:

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Friday, July 15, 2011

A bear of a week needs a good song.

This week has been a bear. Work has be rough. And yesterday, we met with a realtor about the possibility of putting our house on the market (in anticipation of a likely move - more to come), and the numbers are disheartening.

This morning, as I was running through scenarios in my mind on the way to drop one of our cars off at the shop, these lyrics came to mind. This song is both challenging and encouraging possibly my all-time favorite. (If I had to take one CD with me to a desert island, Caedmon's Call's "40 Acres", where this song is from, would be high in the running.)

Happy Friday!

As I survey the ground for ants
Looking for a place to sit and read
I'm reminded of the streets of my hometown
How they're much like this concrete that's warm beneath my feet

And how I'm all wrapped up in my mother's face
With a touch of my father just up around the eyes
And the sound of my brother's laugh
But more wrapped up in what binds our ever distant lives

But if I must go
Things I trust will be better off without me
But I don't want to know
Life is better off a mystery

So keep'em coming these lines on the road
And keep me responsible be it a light or heavy load
And keep me guessing with these blessings in disguise
And I'll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes

Hometown weather is on TV
I imagine the lives of the people living there
And I'm curious if they imagine me
Cause they just wanna leave; I wish that I could stay

And to visit places from my past
But only for an hour or so
Which is long enough to smell the air
To tell the tale and find the door

But I get turned around
I mistake some happiness for blessing
But I'm blessed as the poor
Still I judge success by how I'm dressing

So I'll sing a song of my hometown
I'll breathe the air and walk the streets
Maybe find a place to sit and read
And the ants are welcome company

And I'll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.
And I'll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.

Caedmon's Call, Faith My Eyes

friday favorite things | finding joy

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home improvement: Part 2

In addition to the newly painted bookshelf, we also spruced up the dining room - with art. 

I like art. I don't have any painting/drawing skills, but I love the idea of having authentic art in our home. Unfortunately, that's expensive.

(I gave my husband the slient treatment for the better part of the four-hour drive from Asheville to Charleston because he denied me the purchase of a $400 piece of artwork. It was our first anniversary trip, and I was convinced that this sum of money was completely entirely worth it. Yeah, I had to apologize later.)

So, I'm always on the hunt for prints, photos, etc. that have meaning or reflect some part of our family. On Memorial Day, I stumbled upon this Etsy shop, called Mapity, featuring photos of locations on a map, with a vintage feel. And I was in love. After a bit of husband sweet talking, I picked out four prints:

Pearl Harbor (HI): He was here before we met.
Atlanta: I was here before we met.
San Francisco: We got in engaged here.
Charleston. We live here now.

Here's a close up of the San Francisco print:
We hung them on Saturday afternoon (along with a mirror that had been leaning against the wall on top of a cheapo Target entry table for the better part of a year). I think it makes the dining room complete.



(12 x 12 frames and mats from here.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dude, where's my coffee creamer?

Alternative title: Adventures in Marriage

The mustache mugs I bought him for Christmas from here.

From January through June, the small group I attend met at my house. And we all drank coffee. And we all liked creamer. So, I amassed a few extra flavored creamers in our fridge.

I noticed this this past Friday, and after wondering if we would get through all of them before their 10/31 expiry dates, I asked the hubs "if they would be used at his office." He said, "Yes, probably." End scene.

This morning, I brew a cup of coffee (Yay, Kuerig.), and go to the fridge to get my favorite creamer (Skinny Caramel Macchiato), and it's not there. Neither is the unopened bottle of the same flavor. Nor any of the other four unopened bottles of various other flavors. Just two almost empty bottles of second tier flavors (chai latte and vanilla Irish Creme).

Are you kidding me??

I was about two seconds from grabbing my phone to tell him "to bring me back my creamers!" Then, I realized, I'd offered, he'd remembered, and he executed.

I could not complain.

Also, chai latte flavor is actually pretty stinkin' good.

P.S. Home improvement part deux is coming up tomorrow. I'm totally back on top of this blogging thing. (She thinks wishfully.)

P.P.S. Geek alert! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 is coming out tomorrow at midnight.

P.P.P.S. I'm getting old alert! We considered the midnight showing, but quickly determined that despite it being THE MOVIE I'M MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR, I'd still probably fall asleep and/or hate myself on Friday morning. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home improvement: Part 1

The blog world - and HGtv - have ruined me. Too many good ideas lurking around every corner. As a result, I'm constantly announcing to my husband "what I'm going to do." But, I never actually do it. Until now.

This is our living room.

In the top upper corner, there is a boring brown bookshelf with glass doors. I bought it used before B and I got married for maybe $40; I was drawn to the mid-century look. It's older, but it was definitely made after the advent of laminate furniture, because it isn't solid wood. A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to (spray) paint it a robin's egg blue. This Saturday, I bit the bullet, and I did it. The result isn't quite what I anticipated. I expected the satin spray paint I used to still have a slight sheen to it; in reality, it's definitely a matte finish. However, for the amount of time, money, and effort put into the project, I'm really glad I did it. It adds a pop of color and interest to the room.

With the help of the hubs, I drug it out into the cul-de-sac to sand it and spray paint it.

I used fine sand paper, and I quickly passed over it with a cloth and rubbing alcohol to get the resulting dust off before I painted it. Is this the right way or the best way? No clue, which makes me doubtful, but it worked.

I paused between sanding and spray painting for a "cherry coke" icee. (I am currently obsessed, and the sweet hubs grabbed one for me while also fetching rubbing alcohol - after telling me that, "No, hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are not interchangable.")

 (Gross and sandy.)

(It holds my cookbooks and a few coffee mugs we've picked up on our travels.)

I think I will step away from the spray paint for a while. But, seriously, it's pretty fun.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer meets sail.

I fully intended to post again before Miscellany Monday rolled around again. Life moves too fast. I will be back tomorrow, because I've been tackling some "home improvement meets interior design" projects, and I have to share.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

I discovered Polyvore last tonight. If I went on a shopping spree today, here are my purchases. If you find it online, it's free, right?!
Summer meets sail.

I may actually pick up those shorts using my blow money (A Dave Ramsey term for budgeted spending money to use as you please.). I've been looking for shorts that are shorter than bermudas but longer than most everything else, and those got really great reviews. My only problem with American Eagle is their insistence on low waists. I like a low rise as much as the next gal, but what's the point if you have to cover your bum crack everytime you sit down?

Also, we are getting a J.Crew Factory Store at the outlet near my house. Umm - yes, please.


As a souvenir from our recent vacation, my sweet hubs gave me this bag - made of sail material. He's the sailor, but I may enjoy the other uses for sails more.

(Mine looks like the one in the back middle, with the number 2.)


If you get your hands on fresh blueberries, please take them home, don't wash them (or wash them lightly, depending on who you ask), put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and throw them in the freezer. I'm not a huge blueberry fan, but frozen blueberries are delicious. You can take them out by the handful.

(Not mine, but mine look just the same - image via)


Speaking of food, I am on my church's distribution list for our food ministry, and each month, we receive a devotion from the program's organizer. As part of this month's devotion, she included the following verse.

You (God) satisfy me more than the richest of foods. 
Psalm 63:5 (NLT)

I'm quick to look to food for satisfaction, so I've written this verse down in our kitchen as a reminder of where my true satisfaction comes from.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Miscellany on a Holiday Monday

After a few weeks off, I'm joining back in on the Miscellany Monday fray.

1) 30-day challenge - complete.
I committed to running (run/walking) for 30 days. And, I did it. I even gained a new running partner; Elizabeth and I dug our rear ends out the door M/W/F, which made solo runs on T/Th so much more pleasant. (Also, my dear hubs ran with me each day of our vacation. No small feat as I'm pretty grumpy in the mornings.) I'm not sure completing my "streak" reflects dedication as much as it reflects a stubbornness insistence on following through, but regardless, challenge embraced and completed.

This month, I'm going to stick with our M/W/F run/walking schedule, but introduce some weight training back into the routine. I think I will also sign up for a race. Sometimes you need a goal.

2) New wheels
We are now a two-car family again. We sold my car to my nephew in late May, with full intentions to find a replacement within a week or two. It actually took a full month, but the results were worth it. We were approaching this car purchase Dave Ramsey-style, so we had a very specific budget. We also only agreed on a few types of cars. After Craigslist and CarTrader searches and visits to dealerships, we ended up using a auto broker. The guy we used was a friend of a friend, so he came highly recommended. The process was simple. We told him what we wanted and our budget, and he hunted down cars that fit our criteria. That second part took some patience. Welcome to the family, new guy. (New to us - he's a 05 4Runner Limited.)

Exactly ten years to the month after I started driving the Civic, we sold her to someone who wears pre-made cut off jean shorts, v-neck shorts, and only knows girls with first names that sound like last names. The times (and fashion trends) are a changin'. Thanks for being my third arm for ten years, Civic. Have fun with your new partner in crime.

Yes, I'm getting sentimental about a car.

3) Papa Murphy's Pizza
This needs no explanation. I am obsessed. When I was first introduced (two months ago), I did not understand why you'd want to buy pizza that you had to go home and cook yourself. Now I know why - because it's amazing.

Please try the Herb Chicken Mediterranean deLite. I promise. I would not steer you wrong.

4) Go Gamecocks
After a long, well-played session, my Gamecocks grabbed the 2011 College Worlds Series championship. Two years in a row. Slightly less stressful than last year's series, but so fun to watch regardless.

5) Happy 4th!
We're off to grill out and shoot fireworks. (No points for originality.) I am thankful for the holiday, and I plan to enjoy it. I also want to remember what it means.

(Taken by the hubs at the Navy Memorial, D.C.)

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back from our work-cation (and other chaos)

As mentioned in my previous post, I had a work conference last week in National Harbor, MD. B was able to take some time off work to go with me. Monday - Thursday morning I attended sessions, supported our presence on the tradeshow floor, live blogged key events (Yes, I get to do it for work, too.), and took video clips. Basically, a little bit of everything (the life of a marketer). On Thursday - Sunday, we stayed on Ft. Belvoir in Virginia. Ft. Belvoir holds fun memories for me - it was where I was born.

There's something so great about vacation. I'm just not a relaxed person by nature, but being away from our normal routine really helps me to be a little less obnoxious more calm. For a short period of time, your normal obligations aren't there, and you get to explore more freely - embracing the title of "tourist."

On Sunday, we grabbed dinner at this fun, Mexican restaurant that was known for its guacamole. I only recently developed a taste for guacamole, but now I love it, so "guacamole made fresh at your table" was right up our alley.

 After dinner, we checked out our temporary home. National Harbor is one of those live-work-play developments that jams condos, hotels, shops, and restaurants into a 1.5 mile square space. 

 (The hubs was trying out the new video camera that accompanied me to work for aforementioned video clips.)

I'm not sure about living there (Things were expensive!), but it was fun to avoid the car and just walk everywhere for a few days. The whole area is punctuated by the harbor it backs up to. This view made for beautiful sunsets and a pleasant breeze for morning runs. 

On Friday, we trekked downtown to visit the Newseum. It's relatively new, and it features a ton of stuff related to the past and present of media and journalism. It was pricey to get in, so we spent 5 hours there to make sure we got our money's worth. They had a phenomonal collection of newspapers (and their predecessors) - some more than 500 years old. It was really cool to see everything in one place. We also really enjoyed their collection of Pullitzer Prize winning photos. The other cool thing was the view from the top floor.

 Pennsylvania Avenue
 With the Capitol building in the background

Before we left downtown, we visited the Navy Memorial. That's the Lone Sailor.

On Saturday, we checked out Annapolis. I wanted to stay there. I think I belong in "southern New England."


While there, we ate at a place called Chick and Ruth's. It was super busy and slightly chaotic, but eating there is worth the effort. Adam from Man V Food beat their food challenge once. How cool is that? (Also - references to the show were everywhere.)

 I snuck a shot of the "collossal milkshake." This was one half of Adam's food challenge.

Other best parts of the DC area - IKEA! And 7Eleven! Slurpees for the win.

While I was working, B contacted the Navy sailing club and managed to connect with a retired gentleman with a 46-ft sailboat. They spent a few hours sailing the Potomac on Tuesday. I didn't get to join them, but this was an insane opportunity. Investing in a boat like this is like investing in a house (an expensive one, at that),, so the guy was incredibly generous to let B in on the fun. I was pretty proud that he actually took a few pictures.
 My husband, the sailor.

Basically, this trip was lovely, and it was tough coming back to reality. Thanks for the (new) memories, D.C.