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Holly on May 10th, 2012

{in which I blather on about family…}

Hello friends!

I’m enjoying the warmth and sunshine that is North Carolina spring/summer. It feels like spring some days and summer others, and on some days it feels like the blazing-hot Sahara {already, yes}. We’ve been able to catch a glimpse or two of the beautiful weather in between running around like crazy people.

The ladies’ banquet was absolutely stunning, and everything went fairly well. Andrew is on summer hours now, praise the Lord. Nate is graduated, and celebrations with ice cream have been made {I have no pictures. Fail.}, and Andrew and I are looking forward to trading one brother for another here in NC this fall.

It’s hard for me to believe how grown up all of my siblings-in-law are getting. I know that sounds funny coming from the someone who didn’t grow up with them, but I have been a part of their lives for 4 years now and remember when the youngest was just eight years old and the rest of them were still in Jr High/High School.

minion fam wedding

I grew up with one sibling. God made it very, very clear that we were supposed to be a family of four, and for the most part it was great. Especially the having my own room part. That was super.

skinner fam wedding

But part of me wanted to be a part of a big family. Not Duggar-big, ’cause that is ridiculous. But 4 or 5 siblings just to be part of a big, fun family. Of course, by the time I turned three, that was already out of the question.

{side rant: if you have a big family, please don’t judge families with only 1 or 2 or even no kids. You don’t know the story, and believe it or not, sometimes that is a choice they have to make, just like you made the choice to have 5 or 8 or 15 kids. I can’t tell you the number of times my parents have been looked down on and berated for not having more. It makes me sick. I would rather have a mom that is alive than parents that want a “quiverful” of kids. If you’ve had a gazillion births without being rushed to surgery and almost bleeding to death, good for you. And some people wonder why I’m a little scared to have kids…}

When I was a teenager, I remember praying specifically for my future family-in-law. I had a wish list. No, I’m probably not normal, but I wanted to be part of a big family so bad, that I figured it was worth praying for. :) I wanted to marry the oldest child, and I wanted a lot of siblings-in-law that I could be friends with and have fun with and even watch go through life’s milestones like graduations and weddings. Another thing I wanted was for my kids to have cousins they could be close to, even if they live all the way on the other side of the world. I wanted big Christmases with lots of people and wrapping paper and love.

ice skating

Y’all, God does really give us the desires of our hearts. 

So…I didn’t marry Andrew for his big family, but that was a perk. I got two {big} little brothers. Granted, Nate is only six months younger than I am, and it drives him crazy when I call him my little brother. But I’m just excited to have brothers. {I always wanted a brother…}

I already had one younger sister, now I have four. Plus, I’m getting one more sister in a couple weeks, except this one is more like a twin than a little sister seeing as I’m only 11 days older than she is. :) Can you believe it: five sisters?! It’s like having built-in friends for holiday get-togethers!

sisters

Looking around our {full} living room last Friday night, I felt so blessed. 

I have biological parents and a biological sister, and I love them with all my heart and adore how they’ve made Andrew part of our family. They sometimes like him more than they like me, I think. I miss them with everything in me and can’t wait to see my parents in a week.

But I also have a second family. A big, loud, fun family who has accepted this first impostor in-law who stole their son and brother. Next Tuesday marks two years since I took their last name and made it mine. I’ve loved every minute of life as a Minion {except that people now mispronounce my name for the first time in my life…and the Despicable Me jokes. Those get old.}

minion fam christmas

I have friends getting married this summer, and the biggest piece of advice I have for them regarding in-laws is: don’t sweat it. It’s different and hard at first {especially if you’re the first in-law and it’s new to everyone}, but one Christmas or Thanksgiving, you’ll look around the room and realize that you’re among family. You’ll know inside jokes and be able to say “remember when…” and will have a thousand wonderful memories. Sure, there will be times when they think you’re weird and you think they’re crazy. But you will have double the blessings and double the love. That is irreplaceable.    

“When He walks among us, all that He does, 

All of His mercy and all of His love.  

If the pen of a writer could write every day 

Even this world could never contain 

Just how I’ve been blessed

I have been blessed, God’s so good to me, 

Precious are His thoughts of you and me.  

No way I could count them there’s not enough time, 

So I’ll just thank Him for being so kind.  

God has been good, so good.  

I have been blessed.” 

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Fog

Holly on April 27th, 2012

Hello friends…

I’ve been a bit AWOL lately, haven’t I? It’s been quite the crazy few weeks around here. Recap? {most of you don’t care about this, but for the friends and family I haven’t had a chance to talk to in weeks…here is proof we are alive and just too busy to chat.}

First we had: Easter

Then, Monday thru Thursday revival meetings, followed by a Friday youth rally.

I became ill that Friday with an awful cough and congestion.

Then I left for a Pigeon Forge work trip Monday afternoon.

I got back on Saturday afternoon, and left a couple hours later for a banquet at the college.

This week has been some frantic catching up on housework, cooking, shopping, and lots of stuff that built up at the office the week I was gone.

Plus, I’m on the ladies’ banquet committee at church and have been getting the program details finalized for tomorrow.

On top of that…I can’t shake this cough. Even after a round of antibiotics, allergy medicine, and Mucinex DM, I still have this horrible cough and no energy.

Thus, the title of this post: I feel like I am in an awful fog that I can’t snap out of. So, friends, if you have emailed and I haven’t responded, I’m sorry. If you are talking to me, and I look like I’m zoned out, I might be.

My brother-in-law graduates from college next week, so we have lots of stuff going on and family in town. I’m looking forward to spending some time with them.

But I must admit…I’m looking forward to a couple days away for our anniversary the next weekend. Andrew refuses to tell me where we are going, but I’m just looking forward to getting away and enjoying the nothing-ness of a small break.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit a couple days after we get back from our weekend trip, and let me tell you, I need some mom-and-dad time. Don’t we all?

But even with all this crazy going and going and going. There have been so many good moments.

It’s been great to see people jump in and help with things, especially with my church responsibilities. Sarah and I were in charge of the food for the youth rally, and seeing all the church members jump in and help was amazing. So is all the help I am getting with the ladies’ banquet program.

The work trip was for World Wide’s candidate school. We were able to meet with all the new missionaries {11 couples} with our agency and help with their training. What an amazing week. I meet missionaries from India who were in the US for the first time, as well as some Indian missionaries who have been serving the Lord for 30 years. The week was amazing spent with such wonderful people.

I also found out that go-karts are not for me. I am too short. And that is all I will say about that. But….if you are even in Pigeon Forge, definitely go to the Titanic Museum. It was amazing. One of the better parts was that we were there just days after the 100th anniversary. That made it even more outstanding. Wow. Just go sometime. It’s totally worth the money!

I sure missed my boys while I was gone though. The staff went to a comedy show in Pigeon Forge, and part of the show involved some dogs. Instead of laughing, I started crying because they made me so homesick. I know….pathetic. Jack missed a ton, as evidenced by the fact that he always wants to be near me this week. Andrew missed me even more though. And I promised both of them that I wouldn’t be gone again for a very long time.

One last happy spot this month is that we finally got family pictures taken by the wonderful and amazing Laine. The last pictures we had were from our wedding two years ago, and we were more than ready for some new ones. I’ll post some more later and they’ll be on my Facebook page, but here are a few of my favorites. {I actually had a ton of favorites, but had to narrow them down for this post…}

us and jack

bliss

kiss

So, that is all for now. I kinda feel like I babbled. Sorry about that. I hope there are not any typos, because I don’t have the energy to fix them. ‘Til next time {which I hope is sooner than 3 weeks from now}, have a super weekend!

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Holly on April 2nd, 2012

We’ve had Jack-Jack for just over five months now, and he still cracks us up every day. We haven’t actively taught him many tricks at all, but it seems just from every day commands and conversation that he’s picked a few up.

jack1

Since I’m at home with the little black blob today, I thought I’d share my favorite Jackson tricks:

1. “Watch out.” :: If I’m in the kitchen cooking, Jackson is with me. He’s my own version of Ratatouille. Except, I have a hunch that it’s less about cooking and more about getting food that falls on the floor. Many times as I’m getting pots and such out of lower cabinets, he inadvertently gets in the way. But he knows now that “Jackson, watch out.” means to move, and he does it. So smart.

2. “Go get your toy.” :: Sometimes, puppies can be a bit needy. He loves attention and loves to play, and sometimes a toy makes it easier for us to play with him and keep him occupied. So over the past few months he has learned that when we tell him to get his toy, he needs to go find his rope or blanket or something to play with.

jack2

3. “Give it to Mommy/Daddy” :: First, a disclaimer: the only reason we refer to ourselves as mommy or daddy is because we plan on having kids in the next few years, and Jack needs to know who we’re talking about when we say, “Daddy’s home” or “Give it to Mommy.” Rather than confuse him or future kids, we’ve gone by mommy/daddy since we brought him home. It works.

Anywho…this trick usually happens when I’m sitting at the table or on the couch, but Jack will bring his rope toy over, and he lets me know he wants me to throw it for him by picking it up and dropping it repeatedly. It’s really quite cute. But sometimes, I’m too lazy to lean over and fight with him to pick it up, so I say, “Give it to Mommy.” A second later the rope appears in my lap, and I can throw it down the hallway to his heart’s content. It’s probably my favorite trick.

jack3

He’s learned a lot of other tricks over the past few months as well. Things like “let’s go on a walk/on a car ride” or “go to bed” or “sit” or “go get it” {our version of “fetch”} or “give kisses” or “daddy’s home” which sends him scampering to the front door and jumping up and down and is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Oddly enough, we’re still working on having “come” work consistently and some other basic commands, but we’ll take what we can get.

The cutest thing ever is watching him search for something. I told Andrew that I think he gets it from watching me look for various stuff around the house like my phone or something else I’ve set down and can’t find. But if we throw his toy somewhere he doesn’t see right away, he will search all over the area for it until he finds it. Other dogs probably do the same thing, but we still think it is uniquely adorable.

What is the cutest dog trick you have ever seen?

psssttt…I have a new blog header. So if you’re reading this via email or reader, pop over and let me know what you think!

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Holly on March 22nd, 2012

coffee chat w/ emilyAre you tired of spending lots of money at the store? So are we! And today we’re going to chat about a few things we can do to save money at the register…

Nicole: Hey there! We are so excited to have a guest with us today!

Holly: We want to introduce you to our friend from college/Nicole’s roommate for a year: Emily Matthew!

Nicole: Emily, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Emily: Sure! My hubby and I have been married for about a year and a half. We moved from beautiful PA to cold MN right after we got married for Jared to attend seminary. Right now, I’m teaching piano lessons and being a wife-y. :)

Holly: Well, if you can handle cold winters in MN, you can handle our craziness here!

Nicole: Isn’t that the truth! If we’re not mistaken, you have an interest in couponing, thrifty buying, and saving money, which is what we want to talk about today!

Holly: ‘Cause we all love a good deal!!

Emily: I love saving money!!

Holly: So how long have you guys been focusing on saving money??

Emily: For me, pretty soon after Jared and I got married. Being on a seminary budget is tight, and we needed to do something. Couponing/thrifting was the a logical thing for me to try.

Nicole: I think that is what happens to a lot of people. We don’t think too much of saving money until we have to! I know that is how it was for my family.

Emily: I know! Before we got married, both Jared and I worked full time, good paying jobs…neither of us really had to think about saving money too much. After we got married, reality hit!

Nicole: Was it hard for you to come to that reality and make the switch?

Emily: Honestly, not really. My mom was always into couponing and saving money, and I grew up watching her do that. I was excited to try it out for myself…it was fun for me!

Holly: So are you a big coupon fan??

Emily: Yes and no :D

Nicole: You are going to have to explain!

Emily: When I first started couponing, I went way over-board and actually spent over our grocery budget a couple times. Some of that was ok, because I was building a stockpile. On the other hand though, I think sometimes couponers would do well to keep moderation in mind. Buying stuff you don’t need just because you have a coupon isn’t really saving money. :) Right now, I’m kinda in the middle. I coupon some and enjoy finding good deals, I just try to keep in mind that just because something’s free with a coupon doesn’t mean I need to “buy” it.

Nicole: Agreed!

Holly: It really is a matter of looking at what you need. I could see how it’s easy to get caught up in the “game” of it!

Emily: Exactly, especially when the “game” is so much fun!

Nicole: So besides couponing, are there any other ways you try to save money?

Holly: I make my own cleaning products and such which I find saves a lot of money over time.

Emily: Ditto

Nicole: Nice!

Holly: Well, that was easy! What about you, Nic?

Nicole: Um, not spending? Does that count? :) I really do try to keep my expenses down to NEEDS and not buying-on-a-whim stuff. I go to the store with a plan and (mostly) stick to it.

Holly: Good plan.

Nicole: And coffee is a need. Just sayin’

Emily: Shopping with cash is great for that too! That really helped our budget! (gotta love Dave Ramsey)

Holly: We’re trying that. It’s hard to get used to it, but I’m looking forward to the savings!

Emily: It is hard to get used to it, but the benefits have been great for us

Holly: Good to know!

This will be a pretty intersting question since we all live in vastly different areas {Nicole: Canada; Emily: MN; Holly: NC}, but where do you like to shop to save money?

Nicole: Here in Canada, we have a *fantastic* discount clothing chain called Frenchy’s. It has forever altered the way I buy clothes! I can get name brand, like-new clothes for only a couple dollars. Other than clothes, there really isn’t a place to get anything cheap. :( Food is about double what it is in the States, and there are no coupons or drug store games up here!

Holly: Wow, that has to be tough.

Emily: Sadness!

Nicole: We really just have to shop for discounted produce…things nearly past the date, or watch store flyers for sales. How about y’all?

Emily: I grocery shop at a lot of different places, but I think my favorite is Rainbow Foods…a local grocery chain that doubles coupons on Wednesdays. I’ve gotten a lot of free food there! I mostly follow different blogs to see what’s on sale at the different stores. Since we live in a metro area, it’s very feasible to hit up a bunch of different stores…they’re everywhere!

Holly: We have the opposite problem of Emily. We live in a small town with only a couple stores, so between that and sharing a car with my husband, I find it hard to get a lot of deals. Typically, I shop the good deals that Ingles has, go to Walmart or sometimes Aldi for the rest, and CVS for non-grocery items. We have a really nice Family Dollar in town that has some surprisingly good deals.

Nicole: Dollar stores can be a surprisingly good place to get some things…not food, but other things.

Emily: True!Holly, do you coupon?

Holly: Short answer: no. :) Long answer: 95% of what we eat is unprocessed foods {produce, meat, pasta}, and it’s hard to find coupons on that stuff. Not impossible, but hard. As far as non-grocery stuff, I make a lot of it myself or we use alternatives {ie: cloth napkins instead of paper napkins} And I found it just wasn’t worth it to buy a paper for one or two coupons. If I see a good printable coupon, I grab that, but otherwise, nope. Makes me kinda sad that I don’t.

Emily: Well, you can totally be thrifty and save money without couponing. :)

Holly: And that’s what we try to do. For sure.

Nicole: I think it is more important to eat quality food than to coupon!

Emily: For sure!

Holly: Absolutely! You can save money now on yucky foods or save it in the long run medically.

Emily: Very true

Nicole: Great thought! Besides quality food, what are some other things you gals think it is ok to spend money on?

Emily: Quality coffee? :)

Holly: LOL!

Nicole: Certainly!!!

Holly: I am ok with spending money on things that bring lasting memories. A night out to eat might cost more than eating at home, but it’s special and fun and worth the extra cost every once in a while.

Emily: true!  I think it depends on what’s important to you…if something is important to you, then see if you can make room in the budget for it! We have a monthly “date night” budget, and each have a little tiny “spending money.” We just work on staying within our budget.

Holly: Same here.

Nicole: That is a good point. I guess you wouldn’t want your kids to only remember you clipping coupons or running around to several stores to get sales…you want them to remember that you loved them enough to do what was best for THEM.

Emily: yep

Holly: So, to wrap things up, what is your favorite saving-money tip you can share with everyone?

Emily: I have two – #1: Take things slow and try not to get discouraged…don’t try to start saving hundreds of dollars a month. Just find little ways to save here and there and those savings will add up! #2: Shop with cash :)

Holly: Love it. Nicole?

Nicole: Do what works for YOU! It is great to read lots of information on couponing, saving money, etc, but just remember…you are not those people will blogs spending virtually nothing each week. You are YOU and your circumstances are different and stores and products that are available are unique to you. So don’t get discouraged, just find your groove!

Emily: So true

Nicole: Holly?

Holly: As for me, I’d say amen to all of that plus: see what you can make from scratch. Weigh that against the time/effort/cost of ingredients to make it and if you can save a few bucks for little effort, go for it!!

Emily: Cooking from scratch is awesome! :)

Nicole: You’ll probably get better quality, too!

Emily: And store bought granola doesn’t make your house smell amazing…just saying ;)

Holly: As long as you don’t burn it!!

Emily: Very true :)

It’s your turn! What are you best tips for saving money at the store?? We would love to hear them!!

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Holly on March 21st, 2012

Today, I want to celebrate.

I got a new {to me} Macbook a couple of weeks ago, and have been diligently teaching myself Adobe Creative Suite ever since.

One of the reasons I’m learning Photoshop and Illustrator is because a comment that my friend Laine made at our recent Favorite Things party about most subway art not being KJV. I love subway art, but she is right, most of it is a different version of the Bible than we use.

So, because I love you all and because of the beauty of a North Carolina springtime {and because you make awesome guinea pigs}, I made this. For you. For free. Today.

I had so much fun learning new things to create this, and I definitely plan on making more. So download one or two or one in every color {it should fit an 8″x10″ frame}. And enjoy.

To print/download it: Click on the one you want, right click on the image on that page, click “large” in “view all sizes”, and you’ll be able to download it from there. Let me know if you have problems! {with downloading, not with life in general!}

red_beautiful

blue_beautiful

beautiful

gray_beautiful

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Holly on March 20th, 2012

I don’t know if anyone else out there needs this today, but I do. I wrote this last night and it’s just as true at sunrise as it was at dusk. So if you need this today, take it and soak it in and don’t let it leave your heart…

 

The hubby’s college is having Bible Conference services this week, and because I am an amazing staff wife, I am watching from home on live streaming tonight. {actually, we live 30 minutes away and gas prices/one car make it hard for me to get there for every service}

The current preacher is talking about the 12 stones that were made into an alter after the crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 4:

1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

The preacher made an interesting statement that makes me cry every time I think about it again. Those stones must have been a heavy burden to carry. And couldn’t a God who just made the waters part just assemble that alter Himself?

But sometimes God gives us a heavy burden to carry, because when He relieves us of that burden, we can look back at the landmark He made of those burdens and we can say to ourselves and to others:

“Look at what God has done.” 

I needed that tonight. As I sit here sobbing, I look forward to a day when God will build a memorial out of my heartache, and I will have a beautiful landmark of God’s grace.

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Holly on March 19th, 2012

Woohoo for spring break! My husband works for a college, so while he still had to work this past week, he had shortened hours and even worked from home for two of the days. This gave us some time to get some things done around the house, hence the relative boggy silence this past week.

I am happy to report that we finally painted our bedroom. It took us 6 months after moving in for me to decide what direction decor-wise I finally wanted to go with it. {I have a hard time making decisions sometimes…} But now as I look at it, I am so glad I waited to get it exactly right before jumping into it.

When we first moved in, almost all the walls were painted a really yucky white color. I’m glad for the neutral color though, since that means that it was something we could live with for a few months while we decided on paint colors. It could have been an obnoxious orange or something. But I am sooooo glad to have more and more of the white stuff gone.

Day_1 012

For whatever reason, I have no pictures of our bedroom with furniture in it. Just these couple of pics from move-in day.

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I spent a lot of time on Monday painting all the trim in our master bathroom, closet, and finishing in the bedroom. Before we moved in I had the baseboards done, but needed to do the window and door frames. It took about 3 coats and 6 hours, but it was finally done, and oh, what a difference.

Friday and Saturday were designated as “painting days”. We started around 7pm on Friday, and finished around 6pm on Saturday, with a Home Depot/Antique Store/Panara Bread trip on Saturday morning that delayed the start time that day to about noon.

I can’t really describe the style of our room now. It’s kinda vintage/comfy/contemporary, if that makes any sense at all. I wanted our room to be calm and cozy, almost like a retreat, but also uncluttered and streamlined. I actually took my cue from hotels. I’ve been in a few pretty swanky hotels over the past couple years, and I love the relaxed and upscale feel they have to them, as well as the attention to detail that’s shown. I originally planned on blue and brown for our bedroom. It’s now blue, brown, white, gray, and yellow. I may be slightly bad at deciding on just one color…

So enough about that. Here are some pictures…

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We are planning on hanging white curtains up for the windows soon.

A word about the color. I don’t have a name for it {sorry, all of you who asked!}. I actually call it our paint miracle. See, a couple months ago I showed Andrew a picture of a room and said, “I like the paint color.” He agreed it looked nice, and that was that. A couple days later, I was looking at the oops-we-mixed-the-wrong-color-discounted-paints at Home Depot and saw a gallon of Behr paint that was the perfect color. It was {are you ready for this?} $7!! I know. Get out of town. We spent $11 on a color-matched quart to finish the room, so in all, we spent $18 on some really nice paint. Who says God doesn’t care about paint color? {PS: If you really want to know the exact color, contact me and I’ll send you the color-match code thingys.}

In this corner, we’re still looking for a chair and little table to go here, so for now, the basket of blankets and a bench have to do.

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We plan to hang white curtains in front of the closet {doors are impractical due to the door to the bedroom getting in the way.}, and might extend them to cover the bathroom door instead of putting the door back up. I know that sounds weird, but it’s a really ugly door, plus it’s such a small bathroom that the door really takes up a lot of space when it’s open and it feels crowded when it’s closed. I’ll let you know what we decide. A pocket door would be amazing. Any DIY tutorials on that floating around out there??

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Ok, here is my favorite part: the bed/dressers combo. I am so in love. First of all the dressers:

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We got both for $90 at a local antique-ish store. Original price together would have been over $140. So we got a super deal.

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The brown one is cedar, and I thought about painting it to “match” the gray one, but 1) I am loving how it just works in here, 2) I don’t want to paint anymore furniture than I already have on my to-paint list, and 3) the “his” and “hers” dresser thing is just all kinds of cute. For now, it stays as-is.

I am so head-over-heels with my dresser.

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Look at the lovely detail stenciled on top!

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Quick details on the bed:

gray duvet cover and matching pillow shams: Ikea {$40?}

brown blanket: Ikea {$20 or $30}

brown throw pillows: Wamart {snagged them for $3 each last Friday at the Myrtle School one in Gastonia for you local peeps looking for a steal}

Gray throw pillow: made the case myself

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As mentioned before, I love hotels and the layered look of their beds. I tried to mimic that in our room

Now for a quick peek at our bathroom: We mixed two colors for the paint {concentrated chromium and antique silver both by Olympic}, and so far we seem to like it. A piece of advice: use something to take off the hairspray residue that may be on your bathroom walls before you start painting. If you don’t….you may have issues getting paint to stick. We used liquid degreaser after finding this out the hard way.

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We would love to replace the vanity, so that explains the half-done style going on right now. And we still need to cover that last outlet, also, we’re looking at replacing the flooring {the only room in the house without new flooring}. More on that later…

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So there you have it. A {long} post on how much I love the new bedroom/bathroom decor. Plans for both include:

something bigger in the bathroom to hold all my junk toiletries and stuff

hanging our floor-length mirror somewhere

hanging my necklace holder and a shelf in the bathroom

hanging curtains

finding some great art for over the bed, I’m thinking yellow and word art {loving this and this and this except in yellow and this is kinda cute and maybe something like this or this} maybe paired with this or this

put pictures up on other walls

Lots to do, but I am sooooo excited!! So….what do you think?

 

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Holly on March 13th, 2012

Dear Readers,

You know that I always write my posts as if you and I are sitting down with a cup of coffee or chia tea or hot cocoa and just talking about life? Well, I do. {to clarify, we would actually sit down with two cups of coffee or whatever, because I am not sharing my germs with you be sharing a cup of coffee.} Maybe that’s why everything on here sounds so random, because when I have coffee with my friends, we talk about random things. Anyway, back to the subject at hand…

I read a lot of blogs. Maybe it’s because I am a compulsive people-watcher and think other people have more interesting lives than mine. Maybe it’s because I am just plain nosey or curious. But one thing I’ve been thinking about lately is my motive for blogging.

When I first started blogging here at this site, I was very gung-ho. I figured if I was going to blog at all I was going to do it right and do my best. Everything was going to be perfect and of course I would eventually get sponsors and a gazillion followers.

blogging

If you have followed blogs for any length of time, you realize that there are two kinds of blogs: big-name, “famous” ones and “small-town” blogs. And I used to think that big-name bloggers were the best. After all, people paid them to write stuff and they made something of a living doing it. They got to go to all the amazing conferences and people knew who they were.

You know what though? Over the last few months, I’ve figured something out. Yes, I need to do my best in everything I do, but I need to do my best. My best for blogging might be twice a week, because it is not a priority at this point in my life. But one of those “big name bloggers”? Their best has to be several hours a day, most days of the week.

As much as I love to write and blog, I don’t love blogging like some people do. And ya know what? That is ok. I don’t have to be the best. I have to be my best.

Some of my favorite bloggers are the ones who write just because they love it. Not because it was a sponsored post or they had to crank our five posts that week or else. A few weeks back in our Coffee Chat, Nicole and I touched on the subject of being yourself when it comes to blogging. For every one blogger that has any notoriety, there are 200 that hardly anyone notices. So you might as well be yourself and enjoy it.

So what does that mean? Well, you have probably figured this out already, but it means that some days, I’m going to sit outside with my puppy and throw sticks for him instead of blogging. And that means that you probably won’t see pictures of the trim I spent six hours painting yesterday since I don’t think each and every part of my life needs to be documented here. But I’ll pop in with an Instagram picture and some words a few times a week, just because I love it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop blogging, so no worries that I’m going away. {you weren’t hoping I would, were you?} :)

Thank you for sticking around for my crazy ramblings and retro pictures. I get giddy each and every time you comment. Seriously, it’s like Christmas when that notification pops up in my email. Thanks for letting my share my world with you through this little bit of cyberspace.

Love always,

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Holly on March 9th, 2012

Six months ago today…

…we became homeowners and began to move into this adorable home.

house

Favorite part about our house: That it’s ours! And that it is so close to church and shopping and friends’ houses. We couldn’t imagine life anywhere else right now.

Another thing that happend six months ago??

…our favorite puppy in the whole world was born.

jackson

Favorite part about him: how much he makes us laugh by acting like he’s a human. And by excitedly running to his cage when we say that it’s time for bed because he knows he’s going to get a treat. This little big puppy brings us so much joy and has gotten me through some hard times these past few months. Happy 6th month birthday, Jackson!

Obviously, we think September 9 is a pretty good day. What were you doing six months ago?

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Holly on March 6th, 2012

Happy Tuesday evening, friends.

I’m still here. Just dealing with migraines that won’t end and a puking puppy and re-arranging furniture and forgetting to pull up the blog these past few days.

I must say that I’m glad I no longer live in Ohio. Super Tuesday is enough to give me another migraine and our state isn’t even voting today. So if you live in one of those states, my heart goes out to you. Go buy yourself some ice cream and console yourself that the campaign madness is over. For a month or two.

I told you all about our Favorite Things party last week. I wish I could have given all of you a big basket of my favorite things. If I could, here’s some of the things that would be in it…

vera bradley

a Vera Bradley keychain for holding your drivers license and such.

I’ve had one since college and love, love, love it. 

burt's bees

Burt’s Bees lip balm. 

My nervous/stress habit is biting my lip. This is magic in a tube.

grace for the good girl book

Grace for the Good Girl. 

Quite possible my most favorite book. {on sale at lifeway.com for $5 right now. Go get it!!!}

mon journal

Mon Journal planner by Invite.L

I love my iPad, but when it comes to my to-do lists, nothing beats pen and paper. I feel so very French with this one.

 

Those are just a few of my favorite things. What are some of yours?

 

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