Wednesday, November 30, 2011

29 Years Young

Today I woke up one year older. 

I was born 29 years ago today. As I was thinking about what turning 29 meant to me, a lot of things ran through my mind. I am now officially the age that most women jokingly claim the rest of their lives. I also only have one year left to be a young 20-something.

For many, turning 30 is dreaded, but I'm excited about what my 30s will bring. Still, before I get ahead of myself, I'm ready to cherish one more year in my 20s and and celebrate the many things I've accomplished in just 29 short years.

So, since it's my birthday, I'm giving you each a task to eat a piece of cake in my honor! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! 

This is a monumental Thanksgiving for Landon and I because it is the first time we are not celebrating with any family members. Because our family all came to visit us a few weeks ago, they are obviously not coming back, and due to a lack of vacation time and expensive flights, we decided not to travel this year.

I am a little saddened that I am not sitting around the table and enjoying good food and great company with my family, especially since my older sister, who I haven't seen in a year, is in Nashville with her kids. Plus, my Mema makes the best Thanksgiving feast you've ever had in your life. No, really. It's the best. I definitely wish I could be with them.

So, you ask, what are we doing today for Thanksgiving? Well, while everyone is stuffing their face with turkey, Landon and I are taking a less traditional route. We decided to buy some nice, juicy steaks, asparagus and potatoes and have a complete steak dinner. Plus, we plan to hit up a few Thanksgiving Day sales. I figure if the stores are going to have them, someone needs to go shop them!

But don't worry. On Friday, we are celebrating the traditional way with our friends the Johnsons, for whom we are very grateful. I'm providing the green beans and turnip greens, which are always a staple at my family's Thanksgiving (though they won't be fresh from the garden). And, since I'm not a pumpkin pie fan, I decided to try out this Praline Pumpkin Dessert.

Source: via Kristin on Pinterest

Also, I should mention, we had a few offers from some very gracious people who invited us over to join their family celebrations today, which we were very grateful for, but decided to stick with our unconventional plans and enjoy each other's company instead.

Regardless of the celebration, I have many things to be thankful for this year, including:
  • A God who loves and provides for me more than I deserve
  • A husband who is my best friend and is still the person I want to spend every day with after nearly seven years of marriage
  • Parents who love me so much and continue to offer me guidance, even though I am grown
  • In-laws who love me like their own daughter
  • Sisters with whom I can laugh and cry
  • Friends who care about me and brighten my day (I won't list you all ... you know who you are!)
  • A roof over my head, which also happens to be a beautiful house
  • A pantry and fridge full of food
  • Good jobs that allow us to provide for our family
  • A job that I love and enjoy getting up for everyday
  • Coworkers who are like family
  • A church where Landon and I can serve
  • A church family who loves and supports us
  • My health
  • And the list could go on ...
What are you giving thanks for this year? Perhaps it's been a difficult year for you, but I challenge you to take the time and write out what you are most thankful for this year. I guarantee you will discover many things for which to be grateful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not So Extreme Couponing

Last week I traveled to Chicago for work. While I don't necessarily love traveling, I do enjoy staying in hotels for a few reasons. 

First, I am absolutely obsessed with hotel shampoos, conditioners, soaps, etc. I have an entire drawer full of these from various trips. I know which hotels have the best and which ones don't work with my hair or which lotions are a bit thin. Seriously, I can't get enough. 

Second, I love hotel bedding. It's so comfy and fluffy. Plus, King size beds are great. I may have to get one, one day. 

Lastly, there's cable. When Landon and I first got married, we decided cable wasn't in our budget. So for years, we used the bunny ears. Then, we decided to splurge and get the "basic" package. Many people are not aware this even exists. It's simply the same channels you get with an antenna but without having to move around the bunny ears to find the signal. So, we still only get the basic channels. It's just a small way we've decided to save money. Plus, we still get to see plenty of various TV shows through Netflix. 

All that to say, last week, I was flipping through the plethora of channels in the hotel when I stumbled upon TLC's "Extreme Couponing." I had heard about the show from many but had never seen it myself. 

I love a good deal as much as the next person, but I couldn't believe the things some of the things these people go through to save money. Sorry, but I'm not into dumpster diving. Still, there was something inspiring about the show. 

Source: via on Pinterest

So, over the weekend, I tried to take my couponing to the next level. I do clip coupons and I do try and use them with the sales, but I have never had any true couponing victories. Saturday I sat down, looked through all my coupons and sale papers and tried to match things accordingly. I also used to help. I decided I didn't want to go to every store, but I chose three to hit up. 

I'm pleased to say that though it took a while, my efforts paid off because I saved over $30 at Target on my $70 bill. That included soap, razors, moisturizer and face wash, which I think can be expensive. While some of you are probably thinking that's not that great, I figure it's the small steps.

 I don't ever expect to get $4,000 worth of groceries for $13, like on "Extreme Coponing," but if I can save money each week, I'll be happy. 

So, what tips and tricks have you found when couponing? Are there websites you have found are helpful? Certain stores you have found that give better deals? Let me know! I'd love to hear from some of you pros!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin + Pinterest

When Landon's mom was in town a few weeks ago, we made Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel topping. Of course, this was a Pinterest recipe and it is definitely one I will be using again. They were oh, so scrumptious!

Half of the batch was made with my new cute little IKEA muffin tins ... I love them!

These muffins are the wonderful creation of Laine at It's Just Laine. The full recipe can be found here:

I highly recommend them. Not only were they absolutely scrumptious, but they were also easy to make, unlike some of the recipes found on Pinterest. So, add these to your list to make this "pumpkin" season.

Oh, and please check out Laine's blog! You won't be disappointed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Do

Recently, my co-worker Lauren got married. So, recognizing a good occasion to put Pinterest to good use, I decided to make a little DIY wedding gift for her.

I had my other co-worker Monica do a little investigating a few weeks before the big day to find out what song Lauren and Max would dance to first. Monica was able to help me figure out their first dance would be to "I Do (Cherish You)" by 98 Degrees.

Next, I bought a frame with a large mat.

I removed the mat and used a thin sharpie to write the words of the song. Honestly, I was very nervous about this. I didn't want to mess up and have it say something wrong. So, I took my time writing out each line. 

I started by using painter's tape to keep my lines straight, but when I pulled it off the first time, I discovered it was sticking too much and pulling some of the mat with it. So I just grabbed a piece of paper to help me.

I also started writing small, only to realize the song was not that long. 

So, I decided to start to write it out again from the beginning. When it was all said and done, I had the full song almost twice.

This was such an easy gift, but hopefully one that they can use to remember their special day many years to come. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Whitemyer!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My New Favorite Way to Hang Pictures

I am not the best at hanging pictures, especially when trying to hang them in a straight line or in a pattern. But, thanks to my new technique, I no longer have any issues.

This is a modified idea of one you may have seen on Pinterest. All you need is your nails, hammer and a roll of painter's tape.

First, lay out your pictures on the ground how you want them to appear on the wall.

Next, cut a strip of painter's tape the same length as the pictures and line it up over the hangers.

Then, take your nail and poke a small hole right where it would hang. Once, done, place the painter's tape on the wall where you want the pictures to hang. 

Using the holes in the painter's tape, hammer the nails into the wall.

Remove the tape and viola! Straight pictures!

These pics were hung when I was getting my guest room completely ready for our marathon of guests.

These particular pictures are very special, because they were a gift from Landon's sister, Allison, and her husband, Adam, the Christmas before we moved from Nashville. They are actually pressed leaves taken from the backyard of our Nashville house. They are absolutely gorgeous, and even though we no longer live in that house, they are a very sweet memory.

I also took the "Nashville" pictures and hung them up beside the bed.

And last but not least, I hung up my DIY Tennessee and Texas art.

I also added in a few "Texas" books for visitors to peruse.

I actually feel like, minus a bit of paint and some curtains, this room is almost complete.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome to Texas

Our final house guests left on Monday. It was bittersweet. We had such a good time with everyone! While we didn't do anything crazy, we were able to explore some of our town and just spend great time hanging out.

While our parents and Allison and Adam (Landon's sister and husband) have all visited Texas, it was when we lived in Fort Worth, which was several years ago.

So, in order to ensure they received the full Texas treatment while they were in town, I decided to make welcome baskets for each.

I started with some white "popcorn" bowls, some red and blue raffia and some authentic Texas items, including:

I also bought some Texas Blue Bonnet seeds for Landon's mom. She loves to garden and while I have no idea if the state flower will grow in Miami, I still thought she would enjoy trying.

I decided the basket wouldn't be complete without a "welcome" card to go along, so I got out all my scrapbooking items, which had been collecting dust from such little use!

My friend Ashley had bought me a Texas stamp a few years back. I remember her giving it to me and saying, "You may never use this, but ..." Well, it was perfect for my card.

I had also bought some bottled water, originally planning to include it in the welcome basket until I decided the Dr. Pepper was a much better choice. Still, I wanted to include the water in the guest bedroom, but felt it needed a little sprucing up. So, I decided to remove the label and make my own.

Once it was all put together, the baskets looked really cute, if I do say so myself.

It was a fun way to welcome all our guests! So, what would you include in your town's welcome baskets?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Splash of Color

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. Landon's parents were in last week, and we had such a great visit with them. We hadn't seen them since Christmas, so it was nice to have them here for nearly a week. They were also able to help us with a few projects around the house, which was also nice.

Today, our third and final set of guests arrive -- Allison and Adam Dye. Allison is Landon's sister and Adam is my fellow "outlaw" in the Cole family. We are very excited for them to come! They live in Nashville so it hasn't been so long since we've seen them, but they haven't been to Texas since 2007.

They'll be staying in the guest bedroom like the rest of our guests have. When I was planning what to do in that room, I really wanted a comfy, white bedding like these.

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

But, I quickly realized that just wasn't me. So, I bought some new colorful sheets for my guest bed.



Not sure if you can tell, but the color of the sheets is also found in the quilt, so it actually ties in really well. Plus, I was able to score these Kate Spade sheets for a great price at HomeGoods, so that makes them even better!