December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All


Merry Christmas, beautiful people!
This holiday was the best one I've had in a while, spent with great food, loving family and amazing conversation.
It's been a while since I've been excited for Christmas, but this month I blasted enough Christmas carols to last me the next few years.
As far as gifts go, there wasn't much to exchange this year - just some goodies for my close friends. My own mother didn't even want anything (surprisingly), but I'll still end up picking out a trinket or two for her this weekend.
On the other hand, I was fortunate enough to get things I didn't even know I wanted! The candle above is from Bath & Body Works, and I'm already obsessed with the scent. My whole apartment smells like happiness.

My sister from another mister got me this little baby...



Ah, she knows me so well!
I've had my Pandora charm bracelet for a couple years now, and nobody has gotten me the music note charm until now. I suppose everyone assumes I already have it. Well, now I do!
After taking a second look at my bracelet, I realized I couldn't put my shiny new charm on the tarnished chain.



You may or may not be able to tell from the photos, but some of the charms has also started to turn colors.
NO bueno.

The DIYer deep within me started to surface, and I remembered an home remedy for my problem.
1. Boiling Water
2. Aluminum Foil
3. Baking Soda
So, I decided to try it out.






I dropped the charms in the pot one at a time, and it only took a couple seconds for the original shine to emerge.


Now, my bracelet looks brand new again, and the music note is like icing on the silver cake.
I hope everybody had a great Christmas!
I'm heading out to the movies for the evening.
¡Próspero Año y Felicidad!



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December 13, 2012

Decisions, Decisions.

I was recently informed that we, as individuals, make about 5,000 decisions every day.
Five thousand.
Being the avid knowledge seeker that I am, I did a little Google search research to verify those numbers, and honestly, I couldn't find someone credible to back it up.
One analyst says we make an average of 600 decisions within a 24 hour period, and I even came across a source that suggests we make upwards of 35,000.
Thirty five thousand.
That's a lot of decision making.
Granted, they're probably factoring in those small, mindless choices (which shoes to wear, which toothpaste to use, what to have for lunch), but still, those seemingly thoughtless decisions do add up.
What's even more noteworthy is how they tend to affect our bigger picture. It's crazy how the simplest choices can have the biggest consequences.

Different options and new opportunities are perpetually being thrown our way, and as a twenty-something young woman in today's world, I hear the phrase "you've got your whole life ahead of you" quite often.
Settle into a career? Ahhh, you've got your whole life ahead of you!
Marriage on the mind? Slow down, you've got plenty of time for that.
House? Kids? Family? Wait until you've lived a little.
You get the gist of it.
Whether they decide to share or not, everyone has an opinion about your life, and those who've "lived a little" seem inclined to share the most. While the wisdom is always appreciated and sometimes much needed, I've also got people in my ear shouting how short life is.
You never know what could happen; life is short.
Don't be afraid to take chances; life is short!
Let's not forget... YOLO.
Even the Bible tells us that tomorrow isn't promised, so what's really going on? I'm all for living it up and making the most of my time here on Earth, but where's the balance?
Can we ever find a happy medium between realizing the road ahead while making the most of where we're at?


December 11, 2012

What's Goin' On

I felt it was time for an update, but there's not really anything fun & exciting to show. December's been laid back on my end, and I must admit, it's quite nice.

Since I've been trying to get back in my musical groove, I dusted off the old guitar and started playing with chord progressions. You know how they say "if you don't use it, you lose it"? It's true. It's been years since I've played, and I've forgotten everything I used to know about this instrument. Sad story.


Other than that, my time has been spent in the office & on the couch with a good book.
Now reading:
1. Music For Torching by A. M. Homes
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
3. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (movie is coming out next year!)

Yes, I'm reading all three of these at the same time. I have a bad habit of starting another book before finishing my current one. The Night Circus is already overdue at the library...
 






December 8, 2012

PicFX

I may be a little late to the party on this one, but PicFX is my answered prayer to those old, tired Instagram filters.

That's all.




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December 5, 2012

Wishing & Listing


What is it about the holiday season that makes you discover everything you'd like for YOURSELF?
I've spotting more things to add to my closet than things to buy as gifts for my people.
In case any of my people are reading this, allow me to present my wishlist.

Michael Kors Hamilton Large Tote in Claret

Rachel Roy Friendship Bracelet
I just might make these as Christmas gifts for my girls. Let's see if I'm as crafty as I hope.

Hunter Rain Boots


It may be time for a tablet. Nexus 7


It's definitely time to upgrade my Mac.

Looks like we'll never outgrow wanting new toys for Christmas!

**Update** I'm adding this baby to the list:




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November 29, 2012

Gift Giving: Moms

'Tis the season to be jolly, and give, and give, and give.
I love picking out gifts for the ones I love. Dare I say it's even more fun than shopping for myself?
Having never been a fan of gift cards & their impersonal nature, I'm the kinda gal who takes her time to pick out something special for my special someone. In my book, it really is the thought that counts.
The thing is, it's not always easy finding the perfect little trinket to give away on Christmas.
Department stores are slammed with thoughtless (not to mention, overpriced) gift options, and the good stuff is like buried treasure. You've got to take the time to look for it.
In case anyone needs help picking out a goodie or two for Mom, here are some of my old-faithful options.

Pandora charms are great because they're sophisticated yet simple. If your mom doesn't have a Pandora bracelet yet, get her one! Stock it up with a few little beads. They've got plenty to choose from.




I mentioned my issue with gift cards, and if there were an exception to that rule, it'd be Day Spa gift cards. BUT, don't just give mom a piece of plastic that she can redeem. Offer to take her there, and maybe even spend time with her! It'll be like giving a little gift to yourself, also. 


You DIY gurus should definitely consider making something unique for the old young lady. Moms love handcrafted gifts, that's why they keep all our artwork from kindergarten. Above is a simple little mason jar, filled with Epsom salt, topped with a tealight and decorated with hemp and a silver key. It's supposed to look like a candle sitting in snow, but frankly, it's just darn cute. Pinterest is flooded with simple tutorials on how to design and create little things like this, so check em out.

Say hello to Le Photo Cube
My mom like gadgets. Anything technology related she'll probably be interested. Like many of us, she also has an iPhone, and like many of us... she likes to take pictures with it. In fact, she likes to take pictures when nobody else wants to. I suppose she's a sucker for memorable moments. In any case, If your mom likes new smart toys, has an iPhone, and takes lots of pictures, take a look at the Photo Cube. It's as simple as it looks, and it's really a neat idea. Nobody prints portraits anymore because they're always taken on our phones, but if we had a device that printed directly from the phone, well, we may stumble into a printed picture revival, maybe. Being the traditional lady that she is, my mother still has physical photo albums, and they'll be nice to look through in 10-15 years. So, hey, maybe it's worth looking into.

If you've got any awesome gift ideas for Mom, please share. I'm always looking to spoil that woman (wink).



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November 27, 2012

Fish Tacos

I've had the most particular cravings lately.
Sunday, after my Thanksgiving hankerings were satisfied, I couldn't rest until having a Turkey Burger from my favorite spot.
Every bite was better than the last.
Then, just a few hours later, I wanted a rice & grilled chicken skillet bowl. I had the rice & chicken, but I didn't have the peppers, onions, seasonings & other goodies to jazz it up.
By the time Monday rolled around, I was already dreaming about fish Tacos. So, I headed straight to the farmers market after leaving the office, and snatched up everything I needed.

Ingredients:
Small flour tortillas
1 head of raw spinach
1 Bell pepper
1 Cucumber
1 Onion (whichever kind you prefer)
1 Small tomato
1 Lemon
2 Tilapia fillets
Dash of hot sauce
Garden fresh salsa (store bought, not pictured)
Questo (store bought, not pictured)

Okay, so I cheated on the salsa & queso, but I was too hungry to make everything from scratch, and I only needed a couple spoonfuls of each.

Once everything is chopped & measured, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the tacos.
I grilled the fish, but tilapia bakes up quickly & easily, and that's always another option. In my case, I wanted the peppers & onions lightly grilled, too, so I just threw them in once the fish was almost done.
The oven did come in handy for warming the tortillas & melting the queso.


Throw everything on the tortilla as you'd like & dig in!
Apparently white wine goes best with fish and complements its light & buttery texture. However, I like my wines more full-bodied, no matter the meal. Thankfully, I had a bottle of my favorite red handy, and in my opinion, it paired perfectly.

&& Happy face below (have I ever mentioned I'm terrible at taking pictures of myself?)





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November 14, 2012

Catching Up

Theses days, I've been quite the little homemaker. In my opinion, whipping up a meal in your kitchen is simpler than stepping out to a different restaurant everyday. I know what I like, and I know just how to make it to my satisfaction. So, lately, that's what I've been doing, and while it's been great, the suppressed foodie deep inside me has been begging for some attention.

This weekend, I gave in by checking out a new spot, Yard House, and an old favorite, Noche. I didn't lug the DSLR along, so I've only got a few iPhone snapshots, and I hardly even caught those since I was more than ready to dig in when the food arrived.

Yard House was on Friday night's agenda, along with a trip to see Cirque Du Soleil. Cirque is pretty strict when it comes to photography during the show, so I don't have any pictures from the spectacle, but it was wickedly amazing - as was the food!

Yard House Turkey Burger & Fries
Noche on Sunday was everything I've ever needed it to be, and more. And more...

Fresh Tacos from Noche

Grilled Chicken Skewers (Noche)

Sunday morning was spent at Passion City. Starting the week off right!

Collage representing the strides we've made in regards to freedom & civil rights




A short & sweet post for a (too) short & sweet weekend.


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October 11, 2012

New Season - Reflections, Recap & All That Jazz

My last photo heavy post was about San Francisco, and unfortunately, that's the last time I properly whipped out my DSLR (not counting the Corkscrews & Canvas post).

It's past time I take her for a thorough cleaning, which means she'll be on the shelf until I've got a good enough reason to charger er' up & taker her out again.

So, for now, lil' ol' iPhone will have to suffice.


As I was going through some old pictures in my photo album, I started to realize how quickly things can change. Maybe it's the time of year that's got me in this reflective mood, but hey, if the leaves on trees get a festival for changing colors, then the least I can do is reflect on this new season & how it relates to my life.

Let's see... I went to my first Falcon's game.


Made many a trip to my favorite restaurant in Atlanta, Noche.


Baby Spinach & Arugula Salad - I've mastered the recipe at home

I found a church home where I can plant myself & really grow.

Passion City Church during their 72 Days for Freedom Campaign

I've overcome my Words With Friends obsession, but I'm still the champ.


I've nurtured my love for literature, renewed my library card & Barnes and Noble membership.

I'm sorry, is my nerd showing?


Discovered coconut water is NOT worth the hype. It's wickedly disgusting. I'd rather have that stuff from the tap.


Looked out at many a clear blue sky.


I've had a few escapes to my favorite place: the beach.


I've lost my favorite sweater, but I STILL wear both these necklaces on a regular basis.


But most importantly, I can look back and see I don't have much [if anything] to complain about.

Happy autumn!


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September 19, 2012

An Open Letter to the Next Man I [Seriously] Date

Hi,

You don't know me (yet), and it might take a while for you to really feel like you do know me, but here's some stuff you should be aware of, offhand.

I don't like to argue. We'll undeniably have conflicting views on various topics/situations, and I'll be more than happy to talk it out, but if the debate gets heated, I'm likely to shut down. Sorry. Don't get offended. If it helps, I'm always open to re-visit the super important subjects.

Speaking of heated debates, I don't like being yelled at. Also, I'll never yell at you. It's disrespectful, condescending, and useless. Cranking up the volume won't get your point across any better than speaking in a regular tone will, so let's keep it cordial.

I read books. Lot's of books. You know those 50¢ books you can pick up from a flea market or outside of a random antique store? I even read those, even if they're crappy, because no matter the story, I have to know how it concludes - even though I can usually predict the ending. It's the same with movies. If we're sitting on the couch, watching a random movie that I've never seen before, there's a good chance I'll talk through it and say what will happen before it unfolds on the screen. Sometimes I don't even notice it, and most times I'll be right, but it's a habit. Unless it's a really good movie, or we're in an actual theater. Then I'll shut up.

Another thing, I keep my personal areas clean & tidy. The only time my bed isn't made is when I'm laying in it, and I can't go to sleep at night with dishes still in the sink - not so much as an unwashed spoon (my dishwasher soothes me to sleep at night). I can't stand living in a mess; it makes me feel like my whole life is in shambles. That being said, I'll make no judgements on how you keep your own personal areas. If your car is messy, I won't care... so long as you clear off some enough space for me to sit comfortably in the passenger seat. If your place is junky & cluttered, I won't care... so long as you actually know how to make your bed and throw a load of laundry in the wash. We all have our own ways of finding comfort at home, but please note, if things start to get seriously serious, and if you even start to think about "you & me" in the long term scheme of things, in which case marriage & co-habitation will be inevitable (in that order only), I'll need you to love, nurture and contribute to my clean & tidy ways. Just so I never feel like my whole life is in shambles.

I literally squirm at the thought of a man not washing his hands after he uses the bathroom. It still amazes me how many people in general don't do this.

I'll take care of you when you're sick, I'll give you massages and belly rubs after a long day, I'll make you laugh, I'll listen when you need to say what's on your mind, I'll support your dreams, I'll try to tear/break you down, I'll kiss you in public, I'll take care of home and I'll give you space if/when you need it.

I'll also expect you to be in church with me, every Sunday, of your own will.

Like everyone on the planet, I'm imperfect, and like every couple on the planet, we'll be imperfect, buuuuut that's what keeps things interesting.

Okaayy, I've rambled on enough. xo






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August 27, 2012

Corkscrews & Canvas

This past weekend, a friend & I ditched the typical Friday night 20-something-type plans and opted for a painting class at Corkscrews and Canvas.

In my youth, I was never the visually artistic type. I was always better with words.

I tried my hand in art class, like all the other kindergarten kids, but it was always for a grade - never just for fun. Even with the weight of an academic evaluation looming in the atmosphere, I usually failed to produce a product I was proud to bring home to Mom. Nevertheless, Mom marveled at and praised every piece of work I carted from class, but I knew the truth. My "artwork" was less than outstanding, to say the least. I don't even take pride in my stick figures, so why I was excited to try a painting class is beyond me.

I was, however, eager to do something different. Corkscrews and Canvas came to my rescue.





The inside of the studio is welcoming, bright, and decorated with creations from various classes. There's even a table for food, since *wait for it* you can bring your own!

That's right, enjoy a relaxing evening customizing your canvas & munching on your snack of choice. They also sell a variety of wines, beer, and soft drinks to wash down all your sweet and salty goodness. Who knows, a few glasses of Chardonnay might unleash your inner Salvador Dalí. 



  

One flat fee includes all you'll need for the class: a blank canvas, painting materials and an instructor.

Classes can accommodate about 30 guests, so sometimes it's a real party.






Our theme for the evening was "Retro Garden," and I had no idea how I was going to turn my canvas into the lovely display above the instructor's stage...


... but we took it step by step.


  


Before I knew it, my piece was coming together, and it didn't look nearly as bad as I had expected.

I was even proud to add my signature at the end.
 

The color scheme doesn't really coordinate with the decor in my apartment, but this little sign in the bathroom quickly changed my tune.


And so, my artistic journey was complete!

Laura's was pretty nice, too.



Of course, I couldn't've painted a single stroke without the help of our instructor, Kristen. She was fantastic (and she loves Toby Keith; she made that very clear).

They have two locations: One in Marietta & another in Canton

If you're interested in taking a class, you'll want to sign up in advance. Space is limited!




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