Appreciation

Each year, I come up with a word that I’m going to focus on for the year. Patience was one of my harder words because I’m a very impatient person (admitting it is the first step!). This year, I chose ‘Appreciation.’ I once read that telling people “you’re welcome” when they say “thank you” has a totally different impact than if you were to say “no problem”, “sure thing” or “anytime.” So I want people to feel that. I want people to know how much I appreciate what they do – big or small. I want my husband to know how much I appreciate him. I want my co-workers to feel that. My goal to this point as been to tell people every chance I get how much I appreciate what they’re doing, and to definitely say it at least once a day. So far, so good. Only 352 days to go!
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I also decided to try this savings plan this year. I don’t have something specific in mind for it, but maybe I’ll put it towards a new car in a few years or towards a spontaneous trip (the hubs is not big on my spontaneous trip ideas, but if there’s random cash available, who can argue with that?). We’ve always talked about going to Red Rocks to see one of our favorite bands play.

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It will be a nice addition to my other savings accounts which will one day go towards things like college tuition for our kids (future children). We actually just had this conversation the other day about how much we would need to save to make sure our kids are stuck with student loans. Student loans are the worst. Speaking of kids, I got to see the most adorable ones (my neice and nephew!) this weekend and this girl was all smiles!

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I’m also continuing my goal this year to use more eco-friendly and non-animal tested products. I got some great suggestions from you guys last time, and I’d love to hear more. As I try new products, I’ll be sure to share my reviews! Have a great 2nd week of January!

 

PS – last day to enter the monogrammed guest book giveaway!

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Cheers to a New Year!

It’s always exciting to look back and reflect on our year as it comes to a close. 2014 followed one of our most exciting years, the one where we got married. This year was full of travel (both work and pleasure), weddings for dear friends, new challenges, exciting moments (buying a house), my husband finishing grad school and of course, our first year of marriage. Tomorrow we’ll go through our “Good Things jar” and reminisce on the year and our best times! Here’s a quick recap:

Year in Review 2014-2

A few things not mentioned:

  • I wrote three articles that were published in Charlotte Happenings, a local magazine through the Charlotte Regional Visitor’s Authority (CRVA)
  • My husband finished his Master’s degree through Northeastern University (we’ll be heading to Boston to celebrate in 2015)
  • I was offered a teaching job at a community college for Communication courses (due to work travel I couldn’t swing it this year, but maybe in the future)
  • I only ran two races this year, but spent almost all of my Wednesday nights this summer at NoDa Brewing’s run club with my (new) girlfriends
  • I started a book club with some really awesome girls that I look forward to seeing each month
  • We saw some really awesome concerts
  • We watched the Hokies beat UNC and Duke
  • We grew a really awesome garden with tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers and herbs (AND A LEMON TREE!)

Some of our favorite trips were to Ponte Vedra Beach, Ocean Isle, Annapolis, St. Martin and Chicago. We also loved our trips to Boston but we were too busy frolicking around and eating that I apparently forgot to document us being there!

We fostered some really awesome dogs this year (and only fell in love with one of them!). I also began managing the Twitter feed for a local rescue group and have grown our following. Fostering saves lives like the ones above. It’s a great way to help out if you’re not sure you want to adopt. If you can’t foster, helping out at adoption events on the weekends or transporting dogs are both great ways to help out.

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I’m beyond grateful for our sweet friend, Sarah, who took our anniversary photos for us. And I’m even more grateful for this guy and everything he did to make this year amazing. 2014 was another wonderful year and I’m looking forward to all that 2015 brings. Off to ring it in with some fun friends and my favorite husband! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015!

Christmas Cards

I LOVE sending and receiving Christmas cards. It seemed they came a little later this year than most. People must have been a little behind with the ordering/sending. But I love that we have a gorgeous collection from friends and family now – including two with announcements of a new baby in 2015! For me, our Christmas card is a way to recap our year for our family and friends; especially those we don’t see during the holidays.

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We actually ended up ordering a second set of cards after we addressed the first 45. Who knew we had so many cards to send out this year? I went ahead and spent the extra money on the return addressing (and my sweet husband got me  a new return address stamp for Christmas!). For $18 more dollars, I could have had all of the cards addressed to the recipients but we didn’t mind writing out the addresses.

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Since we sent out cards in March announcing we had moved and bought a new house, we didn’t include that on the holiday card. Instead, we included our one-year anniversary (photo by Taken by Sarah) and our trip to St. Martin to celebrate.

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We got all gussied up so many times this year for our friend’s weddings that it seemed only appropriate to include a picture from one of those. And since travel is such a big part of our lives, we included a photo in front of the bean in Chicago. Spoiler alert, next year’s card will have Paris, London, Ireland, Cape Cod and Key West on it! Can you tell I’m excited for our travel?

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We ordered this card from Photo Affections. I have enjoyed ordering items from them as they come quickly, look professional and are in adorable boxes. Definitely recommend trying it out if you’re looking for announcements or holiday cards!

Weekend Wrap Up [Christmas #1]

Our first couple Christmases together, we tried to do both families in one day. They were only two hours apart, so what could go wrong? A snow storm. That’s what. We got stuck in a snow storm coming back to NC from VA and I watched cars sliding off the road in my rearview mirror. The only time in my life I’ve been thankful my SUV has 4-wheel drive (otherwise not necessary in NC!). So, ever since then, we’ve tried to alternate. This weekend, we celebrated an early Christmas with my in-laws.

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My mother-in-law made a delicious dinner of fried turkey and delicious fixins for us and had a beautiful table where we dined.

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Santa came and was good to everyone, even the dogs!

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This guy has been obsessed with his stocking ever since we put it up. Every year he’s obsessed, but it’s to a new level this year. He seriously LOVES Christmas.

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On Saturday, we went to hear a storyteller at the Fearrington Barn. Donald Davis made us laugh, made us want to hug our families and made us want to visit the Grand Canyon but never ride a mule. If you ever have a chance to listen to him, DO IT.

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One of our families favorite things to do is play games when we’re all together. We’re big fans of Apples to Apples and Cranium. This year, we got new games which made us laugh until our bellies hurt. Smart Ass and Telestrations were this year’s choices, with Telestrations being played the most. Smart Ass challenged us all a little more with trivia but was definitely fun!

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On Sunday, after days of being tempted with cookies and squash casserole, I had to get in my 7-mile training run for the Key West Half Marathon.

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Not going to lie, I didn’t want to do it. I was a little sore from T25 the day before. It was cold outside. There was beer and football in the house. I had a million excuses. The first 4 miles SUCKED. I even took a break at one point and gave myself a pep talk.

IMG_8149Once I hit mile 4, I actually got in a groove. I felt pretty good and also, the setting sun sparked a fire under me (I am terrified of the dark so running after sunset is out of the question!). I got to see some pretty awesome stuff like the Fearrington House decorated for Christmas…

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And from the side:

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And I finished just before dark with my legs telling me I couldn’t run another mile and chills from my sweat combined with cool winter air. I didn’t hit my pace that I’ve been aiming for with my training. It was actually probably my worst 7 mile run ever but I told myself “Done is better than perfect.” And it’s true. I did it. It’s done. I ran 7 miles. Maybe not in 1:03 like I wanted to, but I did it.

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Oh, and my timehop reminded me on Saturday of a date my now husband and I had on our 6 month anniversary. Weren’t we cute?

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Hope everyone had a wonderful last weekend before Christmas (or just a good weekend if you don’t celebrate Christmas!). We’re both off work this week and excited to relax and spend some quality time together (and with our pups!). Happy Monday!

Last day of giveaway!

Again, I’m so grateful for everyone who has donated to the Go Fund Me and all the shop owners who donated their products for the giveaway. Today is the LAST day to enter and win these amazing items:

There’s some seriously good stuff in here, y’all! Don’t miss out on getting yourself something cute this holiday season while also donating to a good cause.

  • Enter by visting the Go Fund Me and donating $10 or more (the more you donate, the more entries you get!)
  • Then leave a comment on this post letting me know you donated
  • And SHARE the post on Facebook or Twitter (or both!)

Happy holidays! xo

What I’m loving Wednesday + Art Prints

 

When I was reaching out to folks to see what they would be willing to donate for the giveaway, I met Martin. He graciously donated 3 prints, and told me his own story of how cancer had impacted his family. We all know someone who knows someone who has been impacted by cancer.

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For me, it’s two grandfathers, a grandmother and a sister-in-law who is someone I would have also chosen as my friend even if her brother wasn’t in the picture! Everyone knows someone. Cancer is HUGE. Cancer SUCKS. And this giveaway serves the purpose of making it suck a little less, even if it’s just for a day, or a few hours. It’s crossing something off of a bucket list for someone who may not have all the time in the world left to tackle their bucket list (hey, none of us really have all the time in the world. Go live your life. Make your dreams happen, TODAY).

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I’m grateful for those of you who have entered the giveaway and donated, I’m grateful for Martin and I’m super grateful that there are tons of people in this world who are working tirelessly to find a cure for cancer and to raise money for research.

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Each of these prints is valued at $14.75 (plus shipping) and would make a great motivational addition to any wall. I love the Winnie the Pooh quote for a child’s room! Check out Wise Prints and then go enter the giveaway so you can win one of these!

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In searching for gifts for friends/family this holiday season, I’ve found some items that I just love! I thought I’d share my favorite finds with you, in the event you’re still clueless over what to get your loved one!

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FitBit: I’ve had the Flex, the One and the Zip. They all bring their own special features, but the easiest to keep up with is definitely the Flex. It’s strapped on my wrist constantly. I even asked for some new wristbands for Christmas so that I can swap out the color! (Price: $59.95-99.95)

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Hamilton Beach Flex Brew: When looking for a coffee maker, I came across this fancy brewer. How great is this for when you have company OR when it’s just you and you want one cup? You can use K-Cups for the single brew, making life extra easy! ($99)

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Purple Peridot Scarves are always good gifts. I stumbled across Purple Peridot during Cyber Monday sales and immediately became a fan. I am loving this black plaid! ($29.99)

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West Elm Ice Sphere: When having drinks with friends a few months back, we saw this awesome ice sphere mold. My husband was immediately smitten with it. Great stocking stuffer for those guys in your life! ($10)

What items are you loving this year? Anything you’ve been amazed by or had to buy for a gift? Would love to hear!

 

 

 

Be kind, choose joy, find your love compass

The Pretty in Pink Bucket list giveaway is still happening! By donating, you’re helping someone mark something off of their bucket list and bringing a smile to the face of someone battling breast cancer. Donate – and then share it with your friends!

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There are some awesome prizes available for those who donate, including: Stationary products, Aprons and Dish towels, art prints, and these items for your home that I am swooning over!

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Fiber and Water

Fiber and Water donated one of their Love Compass pillows (valued at $35). I love the burlap and this classy design. Such a wonderful piece to have in your home, or to gift to a friend, or newlywed couple! They also have some adorable burlap prints in their shop too, you should definitely check it out!

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Simply Said Stitches

Simply Said Stitches donated this pillow (valued at $35), which I think sends a great message. Everyday we wake up and we can make a choice on how we’re going to tackle the day. By choosing joy, happiness or a positive attitude, you set yourself up for a great day. I think it also speaks to the holiday season which is always full of joy.

ShanC Studio
ShanC Studio

A new addition to the giveaway are these ornaments from ShanC Studio (valued at $28). Since everyone is decorating mode, what better thing to win than a set of these cute doves to hang on your tree?