Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Twenties.

Today, I had lunch with a beautiful friend. I mean, she's the kind of person who truly has a beautiful soul. Every time I walk away from spending time with her, I feel refreshed and like I just spent time with one of God's angels. I can't say I have too many other friends like her and I think her kind are rare but I feel very blessed to know her. 

Among many things, we chatted today about the twenties. This time in life that's full of changes both big and small. It's also full of many questions, doubt, worrying and wondering. There is a lot of dreaming but then reality is right there, smacking us in the face. 

The two of us discussed the many changes happening right now in our lives. We have both been fully open to change, embracing it and letting it envelop us.  It's incredibly scary, but it feels exciting and adventurous too. 

I'm not even halfway through my twenties yet, and there have already been lots and lots of life changes. So here's to seeing what the rest of these years bring, and facing anything new head on with an open, willing and trusting heart. 
As Romans 8:28 says:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

From Drab to Fab: Home Office!

Ever since I decided to pursue real estate, I knew I wanted to turn part of our basement into a home office. I'm pretty sure that's what the space was intended for but given the disgusting brown laminate flooring paired with the grey wood paneling, it didn't make for a homey, inspiring space.

I'll be working out of my home a lot- whether it's paperwork or computer work. I knew I wanted the space to feel bright, cheery and as un-basement-like as can be. 

Here's the space before we worked our magic:
I believe the word "dingy" comes to mind? Yes, I agree. Gross. 

First thing first: paint. I chose a very bright, pale blue. Lucky for me, I timed this little painting job on a weekend that Sherwin Williams had a 30% paint sale. Woot! Here's what the sample looked like:

Now for the more obvious, the desk. I didn't want a stuffy Office Max type thing, I wanted more of a table. I like the surface space and don't care as much about shelves. Plus, the lack of shelving means no junk drawer! I found this little gem on Craigslist for $50. 

My big splurge was the desk chair. Check out this beauty I found at a local furniture shop: 

It's the tufted back that gets me! It was discounted heavily since the right corner was a bit frayed. I didn't mind that at all- gives this piece some character!

Alright enough of all the one-off pictures. Here's the after pic! 

And another angle:

Here's the before and after right next to each other:

I'm in love. Being in this room just makes me happy! It's girly, it's bright and it's not boring. 

Can't wait to work here full-time!! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Most Incredible Pumpkin Cookies

Warning: I will be tooting my own horn in this post. Why? Because these cookies are absolutely phenomenal. Honestly, they taste like a tiny piece of heaven and it's 100% fitting Better Homes & Gardens calls them "Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies".

Here's what mine look like:

Are you drooling?

I first made these little beauties 3 years ago with my good friend Cate. We were looking for a Fall-inspired recipe and found these on Pinterest. Well, I have made these every Fall since. I just love hearing people rave about them - there's something so rewarding about someone enjoying your baked goods. It makes my heart happy. I think the ultimate compliment is when people ask about them the next year: "It's pumpkin season. Are you making your pumpkin cookies soon?" And guess what? They're actually VERY easy to make and one batch yields over 65 cookies!!! Talk about worth your time!

A link to the recipe will be included below. I'd like to add that I do not use 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of nutmeg spices in the cookies but instead 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. I think it adds a little something extra! I do, however, sprinkle cinnamon on the top. Also, it says they bake for 10-12 minutes but I have found 13-14 works better in my oven. They're still the softest cookies ever, but under cooked if I follow the timing directions. Of course, this will be different for everyone depending on your oven.

Okay, okay. Here's the link:

Happy baking!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1st Anniversary!

Today marks our first wedding anniversary!! I feel like this day was just yesterday - I remember it so vividly. Spending the day with my favorite women, feeling the most beautiful I've ever felt, wrapping my arms around Brian during our "First Look" and being so incredibly nervous/anxious/excited when the doors opened and I took my first step down the aisle. Here are a few pictures from our day:



Everyone who's been married says the same thing: "Your wedding day will go by so fast!" I got to the point where I was so sick of hearing that, but it helped me truly focus on each part of the day and take in each moment. I remember telling people after "I felt like I milked that day!" It was, without a doubt, the best day of my life.

Check out the following to see more about our wedding day:
- Our Wedding Trailer via Jet Kaiser Films (you just might shed a little tear, too!)
- Rustic Wedding Chic Wedding Blog
- Mandy Leonards Photography Blog 

This first year of marriage has been fantastic. Full of all the paperwork it requires to successfully change your name, full of "so when will you guys have a baby?" questions, full of stupid made-up songs to make each other laugh, full of saying "husband" and smiling a little on the inside each time I do and full of discussions about life and what we want out of it. We expanded our little family of two by adopting Bosley - a dog we are so completely in love with that I actually almost understand how people could just have a house full of dogs with no babies - almost. He's brought so much joy to our life and has helped make our house a home. And to answer the baby question, we can't wait to someday bring a child into the world, but that day won't come for a few years. Boz is quite enough for now, thank you.

As for my husband, I'm not about to write a love letter in this blog. But I will say that I have fallen in love with him over and over and over again this year. I actually like to imagine that when God was writing my life into being, he was also writing Brian's. We are so ridiculously perfect for each other and he is completely my other half. I am thankful beyond belief for him. I get so excited thinking about all the things we'll get to experience together in this life.

Here's to a phenomenal first year, and here's to many, many more. I love you, Brian!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our First Anniversary Vacation

Vacation is good for the soul. Getting away from work, email, all the worries, the to-do lists, all the things that need to be done around the house is just what we need once in a while. Add in a sandy beach, hot sun, dinners out and some frozen alcoholic beverages and you've pretty much got the perfect vacation. 

Brian and I decided on Hilton Head Island for our first anniversary trip. It's close enough to drive (though still brutal) and far enough away to feel like you're really somewhere else. We even said yesterday that it feels like we're in Mexico or the Caribbean. Sans the language barrier, bad water, expensive flight and lack of an internet connection. If you have never been here, add it to your list! Especially the first week of October. There are enough people where you don't feel like its a ghost town, but you also feel at times like it's your own private place.

We've done all kinds of things. We've biked 12 miles on the beach, explored Harbor Town where the famous lighthouse is, dined at some of the local establishments, shopped at the outlet mall, jumped the Atlantic Oceans's waves and spent entirely way too much time in the very hot sun. Here are a few pics to share:

My absolute favorite thing we've done so far is going out to the beach one night late after dinner. Brought red wine, chairs and peanut butter m&ms and stared at the star-covered sky while listening to the crash of the waves. There were no lights and no other people around and it was just the coolest thing. 

Before coming to HHI, we detoured to Nashville to break up the trip and spent a night in that fun city. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were upgraded to a gigantic corner suite. Felt like my dad! That kind of stuff just doesn't happen to mid-twenty-somethings!! Even though it was a Sunday night, there was lots of activity downtown and we spent the evening in three different bars listening to live bands, drinking whiskey and loving life. Here are a few pics from this fun evening:

We have one more day today to enjoy it all. Tomorrow, we leave bright and early and drive the 14-15 hours home. We're very excited to see our pup and have a day at home before a busy week starts. Plus, Sunday's our actual anniversary!!
I will be writing an anniversary post so more to come on that later.