Archive for July 2012

Oh You Know...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nothing too exciting happening around here the past few days.  I've just been working away at camp, anxiously awaiting Wednesday afternoon when I get to be reunited with three of my best friends!  I'll be driving up to Maryland Wednesday afternoon to have dinner with my roommates from last year.

 I just realized this is the most recent roommate picture we have which was from last year.  
I'll have to fix that this weekend!!

Then I'll be heading to the beach for the weekend with Jessica Rose.  For those of you who do not know, I have a huge dream to see a blue whale, in person, in the wild before I die, and because Jessica is SUCH a great friend, she jumped at the opportunity to snag a GroupOn deal for whale watching in Maryland! To say I was excited at the news would be an understatement!  While they cannot guarantee that we'll see a whale, I'm REALLY hoping we will!  I cannot wait!  Plus, not only do I get to go whale watching with one of my best friends, I get to spend a wonderful 4 days at the beach with her and her family.  I'm so excited! What's not to love?!

On another note, I've got even more exciting news to share with you!

Wait for it......

I'm going to Haiti again!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right folks, I have been blessed with the opportunity to take my third trip to Haiti this year.  Cassie, and Jessica will be joining me again, along with Amanda Cutts, my mom, and about 15 other people from our church!  We'll be joining Jim & Debbie Hambrick at their new compound, assisting them with various projects, spending time at Dorothy's, and working on a bunch of other little things!  I am so excited to travel with a team again.  As much as I love going ourselves and the freedom it creates, I also love the unity and spirit that comes when you're a part of a team.  I'm excited to share my love for Haiti with my mom first hand, as she'll get to see everything I love about the Country.  I'm excited to share the experience again with Cassie and Jessica, because who wouldn't love to share such an amazing trip with their two best friends!  I cannot wait for the new opportunities God will open up for me and the team while we are there and I cannot wait to see what exactly He has in store!  Last time I got back from Haiti I was still very confused about where/if I was supposed to move down there.  I'm hoping working with some other organizations will open more doors and lead me down the path I'm supposed to go on. December 29th I get to step back into one of my favorite Countries and spend another 7 days loving on the people there!  It's going to be amazing!

The job search, unfortunately, is still going...going...and well...going.  I feel like I have applied for every possible opening I can find, and have heard next to nothing.  God is truly pushing me to grow in my Faith and patience.  To say I'm having to depend on Him completely is an understatement.  In three two & 1/2 weeks I will not have a job unless something comes through here pretty soon.  To say I'm stressed would put it lightly.  I have no idea what I'm going to do after August 17th.

Absolutely. No. Clue.

How is it that I'm not moving back into college in a few weeks?  It's weird I tell ya.  Just weird.

So yeah... that's about all happening in my life at the moment.

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Gender Neutral Bedroom

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are you trying to find a style for your bedroom that will mesh your feminine flair with your spouse's...well...not so feminine style?  This can be a difficult task for any couple to achieve.  Trying to find that perfect blend of masculine mixed with feminine, while still remaining gender neutral can be a daunting task.  Not to worry however, the best way to find some neutral ground is through compromise!!  Ladies say goodbye to your over the top floral and lace items, and gentlemen put your sports memorabilia else where.  Neither of these items will find a home in a gender neutral space.  Save the lace for your personal office ladies, and guys save the sports items for your man cave.  The bedroom is a place where two become one and must equally feel at home.  Some easy ways to do this are:

1.  Pick a color you can both agree on.  Pink and bright blue probably aren't going to cut it.  Some great neutral colors are:  beige, grey, light blues, greens, and yellows.  My personal favorite color when combining styles is to choose beige or grey. They are timeless and will transition flawlessly as your design aesthetic evolves. They both can have a masculine or feminine quality depending upon the furnishings you place in the room.  If you or your husband are dead set on have a particular color the other can't imagine, try putting it in small areas as an accent rather than on the walls.  After all, pillows, curtains, and lamps are a quick, easy, and cheap fix for a new look!  If you get tired of that bright red or duke blue accent lamp a quick coat of spray paint can do wonders!

This floral curtains and tea set add a feminine touch, but when set against a masculine bed, comforter, neutral pillows, and sleek hardwood furniture the space becomes neutral.  Both genders are equally represented without overpowering the other one.
If you take the bed skirt, sofa, and side table out, this room would scream masculinity. However there are equal touches of both sexes here making the space appropriate for anyone!

2. Make sure you balance the masculine and feminine touches in the room. If you choose a very straight lined, masculine, wood bed, then soften it with a more feminine duvet.  This also goes the other way. If you purchase a hand carved, ornate, and luxurious bed frame, then tone it down with a masculine comforter.  This works the same for every other piece in the room as well.  Maybe all of the furniture and bedding has a distinct masculine flair.  You can easily add a soft touch through a crystal chandelier or lace throw pillow on the bed.  Making sure that you and your husband both feel represented throughout the space is key!  If every piece only represents one person, you will never create a cohesive design.  Some other great ways to balance the two: Add a rustic bedside table with a feminine lamp on top.  Also try a sleek leather chair he loves with a soft pillow on it.  There are many easy ways to mix the various styles into every area of a bedroom.  Remember that you must compromise!  For every feminine accent you add, he gets to add his own masculine touch somewhere in the space and vice versa. You'll be happily surprised how well everything will blend when you make  decisions together with the other person in mind!

This is a great example of how to balance the two perfectly.  The masculine leather tufted headboard propped against a soft and luxurious mound of pillows positioned beside a feminine antique chair is a combination to die for.  Both genders are equally represented through color, texture, furniture, and accessories.
This bedroom hands down wins my favorite gender neutral space of the night.  The architecture of the exposed wood beam ceilings above the dark gorgeous hardwood floors makes this a space any man would feel comfortable in.  Then you add a beautiful chandelier, a sofa, and side chair and it's a room fit for a queen as well.  The best part is that not only is each gender represented uniquely in some pieces, there are also key pieces that flawlessly represent them both.  Take the side table for example.  Its rustic exposed wood screams masculinity, but the curvilinear shape adds a feminine touch. Then you have the bed; clean sleek lines both genders can enjoy topped with a neutral bedding and pillows.  Simply breathtaking!


3. Choose neutral patterns. That Duke comforter he had in college, and your Hawaiian bedding are simply not going to cut it in this space.  Go for patterns such as stripes, plaid, houndstooth, or chevrons.  While plaid may sound very masculine and chevrons may scream feminine to you, both can be a very beautiful neutral choice if done in the right scale and colors.  Stripes are a pretty safe choice, but search around for other options you can both fall in love with.  Patterns are a great way to add interest to a bedroom without going over the top.
 A beautiful example of a neutral chevron.  This feminine pattern when paired down to masculine colors becomes a neutral palette both can enjoy! 
Great example of how to make plaid gender neutral.  Add a rustic vibe to your bedroom with this bedding but soften the look with a one-of-a-kind headboard and monogrammed throw pillow.


4. Add personal touches to your bedroom. My favorite tip for when designing a couple's bedroom is to include personal items you both made, bought, or found together.  Things like pictures of the two of you, souvenirs from recent trips, furniture you bought together, or decorative pieces you found scouring the flea market.  Whatever it is that you and your husband enjoy the most together, add something from it to your space.  Maybe you both love collecting old records; then create artwork out of some of your recent finds.  Maybe you're both photographers; frame a few of the pictures you took together.  Or perhaps you both love antiques; add your favorite find to the bedroom whether that be a side chair, table, or even the bed itself.  Adding reminders of all the things you love to do together in such an intimate space will bring you closer together and create a cohesive feel you can both fall in love with!


Creating a gender neutral space is not difficult, it just takes some patience.  Remember to keep each other's wants and needs in mind when designing your bedroom and it will turn out perfectly!


Do you have a favorite tip when it comes to decorating for both sexes?


*Disclaimer: All pictures found through Google images. I do not claim these as my personal work, simply my inspiration!*

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Afraid of Color?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don't be!

Color is a great way to add a little interest to a space and freshen it up.  Over the last few months I have challenged myself to experiment with bold colors both in design  and in my wardrobe.  As a design student I always believed that a designer's clothes were a direct reflection of their design ability.  If a designer can't match colors, textures, and patterns in their outfits then there is no way they can do it in a space. I also know from my personal experience, how I dress is a direct reflection of my design style.  I typically go for classic pieces with unique accents.  As I challenge myself in design with bolder colors, I have tried to reflect that challenge in my wardrobe.  I've added some great bold jewelry pieces, shoes, and colorful items to my closet.  I try to push myself to try new styles, patterns, and colors each day.  Right now these are some of my favorite color trends in design and style.

Turquoise & Yellow:



Outfit from J's Everyday Fashion (it's a great blog if you aren't following it yet!)

Kelly Green & Yellow:

Orange & Turquoise:

What are your thoughts on color?  Are you afraid to try bold colors?  What's your favorite color combination?

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Auction Time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

That's right folks, it's Tuesday!! You know what that means?? I'll be heading to the Ball & Chain Accessory Auction on facebook here in 5 minutes to get my bid on!  You really should check them out, they've got some beautiful pieces up for sale tonight.

Right now I've got my eye on these beauties:



And those are just the pieces they've previewed so far.  I'm sure more amazing jewelry is to come!!

Because of this new found obsession, I am beginning to need more jewelry storage.  I created this little jewelry holder that hangs under my mirror on the wall while I was in college, but it is overflowing and unable to take anymore pieces.  My problem is that while I LOVE jewelry trees, they never have a place to put your earrings or rings.  My holder at the moment doesn't hold rings but it does house all of my earrings.  And while I also like some of the earring holders, they don't hold necklaces.  Soo...I've been trying to come up with an alternative.  On the Thrifty & Chic blog I follow the lady created this beautiful jewelry display (see below). While I would love to recreate it, I simply do not have the space in my room right now. 

(Oh did I mention the Thrifty & Chic blog is what started my Ball & Chain addiction? Yeah this lady's stuff is going to get me in trouble, but it's so beautiful I can't help myself!) 

These are some other options I'm considering.  I want something that is artistic, will house my jewelry, and still looks beautiful when displayed.



I'm not in love with any of these options but I'm trying to come up with something.  I love how on the Thrifty & Chic site she used everyday objects like vases, crown molding pieces, etc to display her jewelry.  The best part is that they're not over crowded so it looks clean and beautiful (two basic necessities in my life).  I need to come up with something similar.

How do you display all of your jewelry?  

Well I'm off to go do some bidding! Go check them out!!!

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Blah Blah Blah

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's been so long since my last update that I feel the need to fill you in on the little random things going on in my not so interesting life.  However, every time I go to write this post all I feel like I have to say is so blah and unimportant.

Nonetheless, for all of you faithful readers who like to keep up with me, this is for you!

Right now I am constantly searching, praying, searching, and praying about jobs.  I feel like that's what my brain revolves around 24/7.  I've applied to every job I can find that I'm qualified or close to qualified for.  I'm up to around 80 jobs applied for now and am beginning to feel pretty defeated.  Did I really go to college for four years to not find a job in my major?  I just need one job.  One employer who is willing to invest in my career.  One employer that is willing to take an applicant that wants to relocate.  One employer to call me back and offer an interview.  Just one.

On another note, for a more fun fact here are my two most recently found obsessions:  Shoedazzle.com & the Ball & Chain Accessory Auction.  I've seen so many commercials recently for ShoeDazzle but I didn't think much about it until I signed up and got my first hand picked shoe collection.  They have some of the cutest shoes I have ever seen and they're only $39.95 with free shipping! It's next to unheard of to get good quality shoes for that price.  I currently have two pairs on their way to my closet and I cannot wait to get them!  Once I see how they fit and feel, I'll let you know if this obsession is worth it!




Beautiful right?  

And then there is the Ball & Chain Accessory Auction.  Oh. My. Goodness.  How I love this shop!  It is the most unique and amazing shopping experience ever.  Every Tuesday at 8pm they list around 20 pieces of jewelry/accessories with the retail price.  Then basing your bid off of the retail price you get to  name your own price on the pieces.  If they accept your bid you get an invoice immediately and the pieces are shipped out shortly after.  Oh and did I mention they give free shipping too?? Amazing! So far I have gotten this wonderful orange chain link necklace for $15 ($30 retail) and a gorgeous coral bib necklace for $5 (retails over $20).  They are both gorgeous, great quality, and simply wonderful. I love this site and look forward to Tuesday nights every week.  Now I'm probably going to regret sending you to their site because that's more competition when it comes to bidding.....but you've got to check it out!!  I'm obsessed!

Ok well that's all you get tonight folks.  Thanks for being such loyal followers, even when my blog posts are nothing special!



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Not Me Monday

Monday, July 9, 2012

I am always responsible with my money and did not indulge myself in a shopping spree this week.

I would never convince myself I need clothes and shoes for work to excuse the price I was paying.

I would also never tell myself that I worked hard for my money and deserve a treat to remove buyer's guilt.

I am always on top of my budget and never go over it.

And while on this non-existent shopping splurge I did not do a happy dance in the dressing room when the smaller size pants and shirts fit.  I would never be so childish to let clothing sizes get me that excited.

And because this shopping trip, and happy dance did not take place, I most definitely did not brag to my sister about the clothes fitting or convince myself that I had to buy the items because they fit. After all I would only buy things I absolutely needed.

I also did not feel great pride in myself for getting down to a smaller pant size.  I am always humble and never flatter myself through shopping trips.

Nope. Not me.

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Grown Up Shopping

Saturday, July 7, 2012

After receiving a couple of emails about the sales going on this weekend at the Tanger Outlets, I decided to drag my sister along for a little shopping trip.  Over the last year or two, I have slowly but surely been expanding my wardrobe to contain more business clothes than casual.  However, I was missing a few staples and figured this was the perfect time to do some shopping (when isn't it a good time for shopping? ha!).  Most of the items I've bought were during the winter so they require cardigans or multiple layers to be complete.  Now that it's summer, and 104 degrees outside, I needed some dress shirts that don't require cardigans or any added layers.  I also wanted to find some dress pants, more skirts, and a white blazer. I was quite successful today.  I didn't find the blazer or black dress pants, but I found some great capris that will dress up nicely and some adorable tops and skirts!  I also enjoyed a wonderful day with my sister.  It was some much needed sister time!  Here take a look at the outfits I got today:

 My new capris & shirt from Loft.
 My favorite outfit from the day.  Skirt & Shirt from Loft.
 Coral skirt from Banana Republic and Loft Shirt.
 Loft skirt with a blue top.
Fun and flowy top from Banana Republic. This picture doesn't do it justice!

Best part of all of this is that not only can I mix and match all of these pieces with previous items I have in my wardrobe, but they were all 50% off today as well!  Love it!

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A little job hunt topped with chocolate :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

The job hunt is still going strong.  I heard from the job in Charlotte, and unfortunately they have hired someone for the position.  I was a little bummed to hear that, but clearly that is not where God intended me to work.  I've decided to broaden my job search and begin looking further out of state.  Previously I have been looking for positions within a 5 hour driving range from home.  I've decided now that maybe my comfort zone is not where God wants me.  I've begun applying for places further away like Georgia & Texas.  I've always wanted to go to both of these areas, and figured why not give it a shot!  I've found a few entry-level positions to apply for in both areas.  My fingers are crossed, and prayers are going up that I'll hear from them soon.  Moving that far away is a little intimidating but not out of the question.  I'm at the point in my life where I can go anywhere, and do anything with no regrets.  I'm embracing this freedom and pushing my comfort zone to expand my horizons.  Maybe I'll become a Texan? Ha we shall see!  Please keep me in your prayers.

For another delicious and guilt-free treat check out this recipe:  Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes!

My aunt made these a few months ago and wouldn't tell us what the ingredients were until we tried them and made an attempt to guess what the two ingredients were.  They were the most moist and delicious chocolate cupcakes I'd ever had.  I'm not a huge chocolate cake fan, so I was surprised when these quickly became one of my favorite treats.  All that was needed was a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin.

I know, I know, it seems like this wouldn't work, but it does!  Simply mix the pumpkin into the dry cake mix (do not add any other ingredient!).  Mix the two together until the dry mix becomes moist.  It will be thicker than normal cake mix, but not to worry that's how it's supposed to be!  Scoop the mixture into the cupcake pan.  If you fill it to a level that you would with normal cake mix, you'll get 24 small cupcakes as the mixture does not rise very much.  I filled my pretty high and got 12 normal size cupcakes.


Bake at whatever temperature and time the box mix calls for and enjoy!  They are absolutely delicious and completely guilt free.  Each cupcake is around 100 calories as opposed to a traditional cupcake which is 160 plus whatever icing you add to it.  These are so moist and delicious that no icing is necessary!  Plus they're practically fat free and you get a fruit serving! I'm telling you they're delicious!


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Guilt Free Deliciousness

Thursday, July 5, 2012

After being on this exercise journey for a few weeks, and finally getting back into a routine, I decided it was time to start getting back on track with how I eat as well.  At school my favorite dinner was stir-fry at the Cafe.  I love that I could get a large portion of vegetables and protein in such a healthy meal.  Tonight I decided to make my own and it was oh so delicious!

I started by cutting up my favorite stir-fry vegetables:  onions, bean sprouts, corn, carrots, peas, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Sautéed them in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and added some chicken.


I then added a bag of brown multi-grain rice (after I drained it) to the mixture.  I used the boil-in-a-bag rice because it's the only way I can get brown rice to cook properly.  I then let that mixture saute for a few minutes so that the rice would not become soggy when the sauce was added.


Once some of the wetness cooked out of the rice, I added 2 tablespoons of sesame sauce to the mixture for flavor.

Let it cook for a few more minutes until everything was warm all the way through. Then simply serve and enjoy!


A healthy, vegetable, and protein filled meal, with a fruit serving for right around 400 calories.  It's delicious and oh so filling!  

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Fourth of July

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!  

While I'm a little bummed out that the fourth fell on a Wednesday this year, I was very excited to have a day off in the middle of the week.  I love day camp, and I love the kids, but this break has been lovely!!  I got to sleep in this morning, enjoy some TV time with a Criminal Minds marathon (my favorite show ever if you did not know that), did some grocery shopping, and went swimming with mom.  I'm really sore today, from swimming and doing strengthening exercises this week, but I still managed to get 45 minutes of swimming in.  I'm up to swimming 18 laps now in 45 minutes which is half a mile.  This is the furthest I've ever swam and it's a great feeling!! I'd love to get to where I can swim a mile in 45 minutes, but for now I'll take 1/2 a mile!  I haven't seen many pounds falling off these last few weeks, but I think it's because I'm gaining muscle weight. That can easily be discouraging, which is why I keep track of my inches. I haven't measured for this week yet, but I'll let you know once I do!

The job search is still going.  I haven't heard from the Charlotte position yet, and I've applied to about seven other places since.  I'm getting antsy and really struggling with my patience while waiting for the right job.  Right now I'd just love to get an interview and get the process rolling.  I'm dying to have a full time job, get an apartment, and get the next stage of life moving.  Unfortunately right now I'm stuck waiting.  This is not my strong suit.  Nonetheless, I still must wait it out and trust God has a place for me.  Please keep me in your prayers!

Well I'm off to enjoy the rest of my night! Hope your 4th has been fun!

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