Sunday, May 27, 2012

Naples in May

I just realized I haven't posted ANYTHING from my trip to Naples. It was sort of a business trip, so I didn't get to explore a ton, but it was a good trip! On the first day, we just enjoyed a little beach time, and attempted to watch the sunset. Unfortunately the sunset was blocked by clouds every night we were there. That didn't stop us from drinking in the beach air though!

That evening we also went to a meet and greet thing and I got to wear my new dress from Jennifer Lilly Designs on Etsy! Rhett took the picture with my ipod, so the quality is bad, but you can see how cute the dress is, right?

The next day (while Rhett was in meetings) I got to go on a "dolphin" cruise, which was mostly a "look at all these huge houses in Naples" cruise. I took pictures of some of the houses, and they were nuts! Not that I begrudge those people the money that they have, but I don't understand why people indulge in those huge houses that they only spend one week a year in. They also tear houses down to build bigger ones pretty a competition or something. I don't want to get into all that, but I just think it's pitiful. They do happen to be pretty though, so here are a few that I saw!

 This is what a 50 million dollar bachelor pad looks like

We did actually see some dolphins! They were fun to watch. We saw several from our little perch on the beach as well, so they must be pretty active around there. The dolphin cruise was fun, and when we finally got back, we had a nice lunch and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing.

My favorite part of the trip was probably sitting on the balcony and reading every morning. That's my favorite thing to do at the beach. We headed home a few days later, and spend a loooooong day in the car/plane. I was glad to be home, but I really enjoyed the break!

One day while we were there, I went for a run and took some pictures along the way. I'll do a post about that as well. You'll get to see some more houses (smaller, but with cooler details) and some beach running. I hope you all get to go on a vacation sometime this summer. Everyone needs a break now and then!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tiny Confessions on Etsy

Let me introduce you to Tiny Confessions. I found this shop late last year and just laughed and laughed as I looked through the prints! The one above was my favorite, and my super sweet friend Gabrielle got it for me for Christmas. It hangs on my bedroom wall, and I smile every time I see it. It's perfect for my unstable cat, Dudley. He is the craziest cat I've ever seen! He is one of those cats that will just purr and purr while you pet him, then a split second later he's got your arm in a death grip and is ripping you to shreds. Luckily he's calmed down a bit in his old arms are happy with that.

Here are some others that made me laugh. I highly recommend the seller, guys. You really can't go wrong with pet illustrations + funny text + pretty colors.

Ok, I know that last one isn't a pet...there are actually several non-pet ones that are worth checking out. And of course there are lots of funny dog illustrations too! Anyway, just thought I'd brighten up your Tuesday with a little fun art. Hope you enjoyed them! Here's the link again to Tiny Confessions.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Abby's Dainty and Adorable Shower

My dear friend Abby was sweet enough to invite little 'ole me to her recent bridal shower. It was another lingerie shower, and we know how uncomfortable I get at those! This one actually turned out very nice. There wasn't a lot of joking around about sexy things, which is what makes me was quite a classy shower. Abby's sweet roommate, Keely, put it together, and she even got a couple of Abby's married friends to come talk and give Abby some encouragement and advice. Between all that, the adorable decor, and the amazing food, it was a great shower!

For favors Keely stitched each of our initials in a vintage hanky. SO CUTE!   

This was a little game we played. There was a question and answer on each line, and we had to circle who we think gave the answer. I failed miserably. It was a lot of fun to play though, and the winner got a great little prize too!

I love that they used mismatched dessert plates. I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I'm planning on doing that for my reception. I've already got over 50 dinner plates and about 40 dessert plates collected! I'm pretty excited about it. 

The bride and me! Do you recognize the dress that I'm wearing? It's the one I got from Stitch Fix! I actually got some compliments and was able to tell a few of the girls about Stitch Fix. I'm not sure if they signed up, but I hope so. It's SO MUCH FUN. If you guys haven't checked it out yet, you can sign up here and see what it's all about.

I hope everyone's week gets off to a good start! I had a super busy weekend. Saturday I had an engagement shoot then I had to shoot graduation...from the top of our bell tower. That was just emotionally exhausting since I'm afraid of heights. And yesterday was my baby sister's last dance recital! She only wanted to do five years of dance, so she's going to switch to gymnastics next year. Now that I've typed it out, it doesn't seem like I had THAT much to do...oh well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wedding Talk: Asking my Bridesmaids

Well hello! Sorry for the lull in posts this last week. I got back from Florida a couple of days ago, and I'm just now getting back in the swing 'o things. It was pretty nice not being connected during my trip. I'm one of those losers that still doesn't have a smart phone, and I didn't feel like lugging my laptop around on the plane, so I just read a lot! Anyway, I'm glad to be back, and I have something fun for you today.

I came across a tutorial on a blog that showed how to make your own scratch-off card, and I'd been looking for a way to use it. I came up with a design and used the scratch-off tutorial to make cards for my bridesmaids. It was fun to do, and I think they enjoyed them! I documented my process in case any of you would like to try something similar.

What you need:
  • print out of your design
  • metallic acrylic paint
  • paint brush
  • cardboard sheet
  • glue (stick works well)
  • dishwashing liquid
  • contact paper (I couldn't find a small roll, so I used clear sticker paper instead)

Since I was doing four, I printed the design 4-up on an 8.5x11 sheet and cut them. Don't forget to make one of them say maid of honor if you have one! I almost forgot :) Also, mark the MOH card on the back so you know which one it is when you give them out...unless you want it to be a surprise or something. ha! Cut your cardboard to the same size for each card.

Use your glue stick to carefully glue the paper to the cardboard piece. I was afraid I'd screw up and make it uneven, because I'm the messiest crafter alive, but I did alright with it!

Cut out your clear sticker to a size that covers your design and place it.

Mix about 1 part soap with 2 parts paint and start painting! I tried really hard to keep it on the sticker part and make it look tidy. I think a more haphazard, messy look could be cute too, especially for a grade school game or something. I had to do SO MANY LAYERS. I was probably not using enough paint or something, but I eventually got it all covered up. The soap makes it kind of sticky when it dries, so I let it dry over night just to be sure. As long as it doesn't come off on your finger, it should be fine.

And there you have it! The original tutorial used this as a sort of promotional game for the blogger's Etsy shop, and I can also see this being a fun way to do prizes for a Kindergarten classroom or something. Scratch off to see what your prize is for not biting the other students, or whatever it is that kids get prizes for. I've also seen these used as save-the-date cards! You scratch off to reveal the cute. That kind of thing would be printed on would take an eternity to DIY a large number of these. As you can see, there are lots of ways you can use this. I might even try to find a way to use it again soon!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Siblings: Happy Mother's Day!

My friend/future sister-in-law Melissa came to me a while back to see if I could take some pictures of her with her 3 siblings together. It was tricky because they don't all live here, but we made it work! They wanted to do it as a Mother's Day gift to their mom this year, so that's why I'm posting this on Mother's Day :) I thought it was a sweet gift idea, and I'm pretty happy with how the pictures turned out. It was a hard day sun-wise. I wanted to do some in the trees at the park, but things get weird when the sun is shining through in patches. Despite that I think we got some good shots that their mom will cherish. Here are a few of my favorites...

Another problem doing pictures in the trees...I ended up having a tree coming out of someone's head in most of these. Luckily, normal people don't notice that kind of thing, but I'm sure all my photographer readers are cringing right now! I promise you, I don't let that happen often. I must have been off my game that day. 

I hope their mom loves the gift. I think getting pictures made is a great gift for parents! I did that for my dad and step-mom this past Christmas, and I think they loved it.

I hope you all are having a very happy Mother's Day! I am so blessed to have a wonderful mother AND a wonderful step-mother. They both love me unconditionally, and I couldn't be more thankful for all of the things they've done for me over the years. I've also got a handful of sweet and wonderful grandmothers whom I can't imagine my life without. Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful moms in my life!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wine Down the Alley

On Thursday evening Kelsey, Paige, and I participated in a fun event downtown. Jackson is really trying to build up the downtown area, and from what I can tell, they're doing a good job! They have events down there pretty often and there are some awesome new businesses popping up. I happened to see a call for artists to set up booths at this event called Wine Down the Alley, so I signed us up. We went into it mainly just to have fun and meet people instead of trying to sell sell sell. I literally NEVER sell anything when I set my photos up, but it's fun to talk to people about them and hear their comments.

There were 5 or 6 other artist booths set up along the alley and tables with various wines and beers for people to sample. A couple of the local restaurants had samples out as well. Guys, Charlie Bulldogs had some samples and DANG, I need to go tonight. It was gooooooooood. We met some really fun and interesting people, and I think I'd definitely like to set up at other events in the future. It's just nice to get out and do something!

As this is posting, I'm making my way through the Nashville airport about to head to Florida. Please send me happy thoughts as I very much dislike flying these days. I used to love it as a kid, but not so much now. But once I get there, it'll be great! I plan on reading lots and lots of books and enjoying some rest and relaxation. I hope to return in a very rejuvenated state. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Suzani Inspired

I'm not certain that this top is in fact inspired by suzani, tribal textile made in Central Asia, but that's what it reminds me off. Maybe that with a little Mayan design with the simple, thick shapes. Either way I love this shirt! I got it a long long time ago at a Gap outlet, and I wear it pretty often (as you can tell from the fading). I don't love the ruffle on the front, but the pattern kind of trumps that. Even though my taste in clothing changes constantly, I always seem to enjoy a busy and colorful pattern.

shirt- Gap, old
earrings- Etsy 
sunglasses, jeans- Target
shoes- Marshall's
bag- clothing swap

Goodness I love my new sunglasses! I never spend much on them because I tend to lose/scratch all my sunglasses. I bought these at Target a few weeks back, and so far I haven't destroyed them. Keep your fingers crossed for me not to lose these, because I really like them.

P.S. Thanks for the pictures, Margaret!! For real, friends, you should check out her blog. She's really got a way with words, that one!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Culinary Adventures with Margaret

What do you do when you find yourself with a free Saturday evening? (This happens NEVER, by the way) You call up a friend of course! Margaret and I decided to get together Saturday and rustle up some dinner. I happened to have some quinoa that I've been needing to cook so we decided to try a black bean and quinoa "burger." I put burger in quotations because I don't want any of you to think they are actually supposed to taste like a hamburger. It's a patty, but that's about the only similarity!

Here's the recipe we used on

It's so stinking easy! You just cook the quinoa first, mash up the black beans, mix in the quinoa and other ingredients (minced peppers and onions, garlic, cumin, salt, bread crumbs, and egg, hot sauce) and form into patties. They cook for about 5 minutes in oil on each side and you're done! I cooked mine on medium/high and they got just crisp enough for my taste on the outside. You can totally tell they are bean burgers because they still have that bean consistency, but as long as you expect that, it's all good!

Margaret had the bright idea to add feta cheese, which is ALWAYS delicious, and I added lettuce for some crunch. It turned out to be a pretty yummy dinner! If any of you try it, I'd love to know. I want to make them again and play with the ingredients a little to make the patties a little less smushy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rare Animal Print Sighting

Animal print is something I am actually quite fond of, but I hardly ever wear it. I have the skirt in this post, some zebra print tights, and a sweater with all kinds of crazy animal stuff on it. Other than that I just admire it from afar. I have a good friend who just LOVES leopard print. She's one of my bridesmaids, and I think she'd be tickled if I chose leopard print dresses. Sorry, Libby...that ain't happenin'.

sweater, ring- thrifted
skirt- TJMaxx (Adrienne Vittadini)
watch- UO
boots- Fred Flare

I set up the pictures in my "studio" upstairs. As you can see, it's pretty jankity, but it works! What I really need is some hardwood floors, a background stand that isn't broken, and good background paper. I bought the background set-up before I learned that you get what you pay for. Luckily I didn't skimp on the lights though.

Back to the clothes...I got that skirt when I was in Cincinnati for a conference. It was in the sale section at a TJMaxx, and the print+metallic combo made it impossible for me to resist. You can't see it really well in the picture, but it does have gold threads in it, so it's quite shiny. I'm like a child in my love of shiny things. I'm immediately drawn to the heavily sequined, shiny threaded items. Maybe everyone is, I am just one of the few who actually picks them up and buys them. Shiny may be gaudy, but I love it. The shinier the better!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Celebrating Juanita

Last week our office celebrated and honored one of our favorite colleagues, Juanita. She decided to retire, and her last day was Friday. She worked at Union for nearly 20 years, and she definitely made an impact on everyone she worked with. We decided to send her off with a bang and have a fun luncheon in her honor. My office-mates kind of headed up the project, and I tried to throw in a few ideas...but really it was mostly them. The first big thing was this great little box called a "broke and bored" box. It's filled with fun things to do when you find yourself broke or bored at home. They did a great job putting it together!

There were lots of gift cards, a few personal gifts, some Union swag, and things like Rip-it (an energy drink she liked) and things to make sweet tea and lemonade. I thought it was so special, and I'm sure she did too!

We also made her this fun salt canister personalized just for her! Juanita salts EVERYTHING!!! I've always gotten onto her for it, but she's pretty stubborn :) We tied it into a scripture reference about being salt and light among people because Juanita is certainly both of those things around here. The canister contains letters from several coworkers telling her how she's been salt to their lives. The label turned out SO CUTE! I love all the fun things they did with the nutrition facts and description. I know she'll cherish that for a long time.

The luncheon went really well. We gave her a "Mayor of Hammons Hall" sash and a name badge for Signs First, where she always goes to pick up our signs for the campus. She seemed to be having a good time, and I think it meant a lot to her to have all of those people there honoring her career at Union.

Let's virtually toast to Juanita and all of her contributions to Union! *clink*