day 31

Happy New Year's Eve! Yesterday I shared all my lifestyle-related favorites for the year 2016. Today I'm sharing all my entertainment favorites. Because my opinion really matters.

It really does.

day 30

I've thoroughly enjoyed 2016. There have been moments of sadness and uncertainty, for sure, but as a whole, it's been a great year for me. I know that's not the case for everyone, and it seems like all of social media can't wait for 2016 to be over, but I'm happy with the speed at which it passed. Somewhere along the way I started to slow down, mentally, and enjoy each season more thoughtfully. 

I plan to keep that up in 2017, but before we get there, I'm taking some time to re-review these past 12 months. There were so many favorite elements that I had to break the post into two parts. Below are all my most loved foodie and lifestyle tidbits.
I have an innocently legitimate fascination with taking a peek into other people's lives. Chances are, if you're into reading blogs or watching lifestyle videos, you feel the same way. I love a good what's in my handbag post or video, and I'll click on a home tour link faster than I'll click the top news stories. However, there's one trendy post I tend to roll my eyes at, and that's the morning routine. Every morning routine in the blogosphere or YouTube world is so ridiculously unrealistic for your average twenty/thirty-something. And honorable mention goes to the "running late" routines where they still make time to highlight and contour their face.

So, instead of complaining, I'm making my own post, where I'll share what a realistic, working-woman morning routine looks like.

day 28

C'mon now. You know what it is. We're a few days away from the start of a new year, so of course it's time to post about some goals.

day 27 (selfie brought to you by my mom, who randomly texted "Disa, send me a selfie" as I was leaving work today) (k, mom???)

Well, well, well... look who it is, showing up to her 'blog every day in December challenge' two days late and many dollars short. I have no excuse. I had the whole day off yesterday, and instead of feeding my creative tendencies with a bit of reading or writing, I binge-watched all of The OA on Netflix, while writing down all upcoming plans in the handy dandy planner I picked up from Barnes & Noble. The OA, by the way, will not be making it to my next Netflix Titles that Pleasantly Surprise list. It sucked me all the way into its vortex of a plot, but I got off the couch after the final episode and concluded the past 8 hours of my day could've been better spent, and a good binge fest should never have you feeling that way. A good binge-fest must leave you feeling fulfilled.
day 24

Christmas Eve is here! I must admit, this is the first Christmas as an adult where I've been fully in the holiday spirit. It's the first time I've had a tree; it's the first time I've bought more than a couple gifts; it's the first time I've had a bundle wrapped and ready to go well ahead of time, and it's the first time I've been down to watch all the cheesy holiday movies. 

day 20

I'll be doing a social media cleanse soon, and I thought now would be a good time to rant about my thoughts on social media, only now I don't feel like arranging those thoughts into a well-organized post.  
day 19

I've been on a Christmas movie kick, fittingly, the past couple weeks. I've watch old favorites (Home Alone, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street), and newer ones that I've come to enjoy (Alfie, This Christmas). I also bit the bullet and finally watched Love Actually and The Nightmare Before Christmas, both of which I had never seen before. I'll admit, I almost fell asleep watching Nightmare; it just wasn't my cup of cocoa. On the other hand, I rather enjoyed Love Actually, and I get why it's a favorite for so many. (Any Christmas movie that concludes with an elementary school Christmas presentation will always win me over.)

Random holiday movies are now, fittingly, popping up in my Netflix "recommended" queue. I'm always down to give those a try, especially on a cold and rainy Saturday morning, and so, I have. Most of them have been a miss, but there were a few hits. 
Day 18

This day was supposed to be reserved for an evening-time Christmas party, but it was cold and rainy, so we opted for brunch after church and decided to have another cozy evening at home instead. Our brunch place of choice was Illegal Food.

I had been wanting to try their food since their days holding down the kitchen at Joystick of Edgewood. When I finally got a chance to check it out, Illegal Food had already ended their residency, and a hot dog vendor took their place. (no thanks)

So I found their listing on Yelp, bookmarked it, and made a mental note. This would probably be the last brunch of the year, so I was determined to squeeze it in. 
day 17

It's safe to say I'm part of the reason why the Mandarin Orange Chicken is Trader Joes of East Cobb's best seller. The sad part is, we don't even live in East Cobb. I ride out that way mainly for Trader Joes. There are 3 within a 15 mile radius from our house, but I always go to this one because the sales tax is 2% less in Cobb County. 
Day 16

This evening we stayed cozy at home, cleaned the whole house, had homemade turkey burgers & fries for dinner, lit a few festive-scented candles, and watched Home Alone under the Christmas lights. 

Day 15

All Christmas gifts are officially wrapped and under the tree! 

Days 13 & 14

I've missed a couple days of posting, and it was on purpose. I sat down with my computer the past couple nights and had absolutely no photos or words to recap the day. They've been pretty... basic. Wake, work, home, walk dog, chill - with some foodie moments in between (none worth documenting. I mean, do I really need to post another photo of tacos?). The only thing I have to show is this snap of the dog hovering at the bathroom door while I wash my face for the evening.
day 12

I just looked through my photos to see what I could posts for day 12, and of course, there are tacos. How fitting. 

day 11

Today is the day I sat back and could be grateful that all my Christmas shopping was done for the year. And most gifts have been wrapped, pending the few deliveries I'm expecting this week.

days 9 and 10 (I always spell my name out for the Starbucks barista's, but they still usually mix up that first letter...)

There was a time when I'd wake up on Saturday mornings and lounge around until plans were haphazardly made. I miss those days. Now my Saturday mornings are all about cleaning, grocery shopping before the crowds appear, stopping by the bank, et cetera, et cetera. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel good to knock out all those responsibilities. It feels pretty swell if I may say so.
Day eight

My inner English major is coming out to play today, and this post is actually coming from the archives of my drafts folder.

The thing about good advice is you probably don't know how good it is until later in life. I took lots of notes in undergrad, but the nuggets of wisdom I noted mentally were the ones that stuck.

And so... may I present some of the best writing advise I've ever received - from professors, from guest speakers, from other students in writing labs, and so on.
day seven

When your dog's new bed is as wide and nearly as fluffy as the human bed.
days five and six

I have absolutely nothing to show for the past couple days, so here's a random snap from the past couple weeks. I'm sure the next time I take a photo of this part of the living room it will look completely different. Hopefully.

day four

day three

I'm just gonna go ahead and sneak this post in here like I didn't already miss a day of posting...

Saturday was grocery day, wait in line at Bath & Body Works for 30+ minutes for candle sales day, have lunch at a cute Pho place with Mom day, walk around and see fun Christmas tree day, and contemplate buying a gingerbread cafe day. 
day two 

^^ My festive pride & glory, all lit up, sans ornaments. We've decided to start a thoughtful ornament collection that can grow, organically over the years. We'll just pick up individual ornaments that strike our fancy whenever we're out and about. That way each ornament can really mean something.
I'm thinking of trying a "Blog Every Day in December" type challenge - a Blogmas if you will. But I don't like that name, so I'm just numbering the days instead.

This should be interesting.

We've come to the end of the road.

I've shared our experience with pre-qualifications, house hunting, up-front costs, appraisals, and now it's time to talk about closing.

Let's see... where did we leave off? We were talking about money and how much of it you'll hand over, up front, when taking the FHA route for your home loan. So far I've explained Earnest Money, Due Diligence, and Home Inspection options and subsequent costs. Now I'll explain appraisals.

Let's talk about money, honey. 

Last week I explained the joys of house hunting and ended on a rather positive note: making an offer. Today I'm breaking down some up-front costs. 

Buttermilk kitchen is two for two.
Also, i have some wonderful friends.
That is all.

(Read part one here)

Last week I talked about all the information we needed to digest before we could even start looking for a house. Today I'm sharing all the joys of house hunting. To be clear, it's nothing like what they show on HGTV.

Man. Where do I even begin with this album?

First off, it's been a while since I've actually been excited about some new music. I didn't know Solange was releasing a new album, but when I found out, I rushed to get my hands on a digital copy. I've been a Solange fan since her Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams album. "Tony" is still in rotation on my iPod (yes, I still use an iPod).

photo source »»

I debated on whether or not I should even write this post, because podcasts are definitely in right now, and there are so many "favorite podcasts" posts out there already. However, none of those lists include any of my favorites, so I thought I'd share anyway.

So let's talk about hormones, today (both natural and artificial).

Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote a list of 30 things I want to do/accomplish before my 30th birthday - my 30 before 30. It's time to check in on this list since I've put a nice dent in it. By the end of the year, I should be halfway there!

There's this feeling I get when I want to write a post, but I don't really have anything to write about, and I can't quite explain what the feeling feels like, but it's quite compelling.

Fact: I used to live within walking distance of this spot, and then we up and moved, and then I discovered this gem. 

I don't know what it is about summer sixteen, but I've been all about the breweries! The Stout Brothers is actually considered a "Beer Market," and thanks to city regulation, they can't offer standard tastings. They can only let you try six 2 oz. pours in a day, but if you already have an idea of what you like, that should be all you need. Honestly, the pint-sized "tastings" other breweries offer is often too much for me. Either I end up being very wasteful or I completely tap out after the second glass. I'm here to enjoy the flavors - not to get toasted.
I've recently come to the realization that brunch is my favorite meal of the day. I thought I was a breakfast person, but truth be told, I don't really enjoy eating in the mornings. I will, however, make a full breakfast spread at 2pm, and fully enjoy it, and wonder why I don't make breakfast more often. 

So yeah, brunch gets me. Breakfast is like your strict (but loving) mom: healthy and well-balanced, with the intention of fueling your day. Brunch is like your favorite aunt: less-healthy but still fairly balanced, with champagne poured in your orange juice. 

In my opinion, the only thing that makes brunch better than it already is, is a view. That's where Canoe comes in. They have what is arguably the best backyard of any restaurant in Atlanta. It's situated along the Chattahoochie River, and they have lawn chairs all around for people to sit, sip, and chat. Lots of people wandered around after they ate and just soaked up the sun. I can only imagine how great the vibe is during the fall!
© the active spirit. +