Friday, December 24, 2010

happy holidays!

i hope you have the most wonderful holiday and time off from work [and gifts]! we'll be running all over town the next 2 days between our two families but i'm excited to see everyone. j and i have my 5-year-old niece natalie over - we went driving around last night with hot chocolate to look at all of the christmas lights. we had a blast!

i also hope you stay warm this holiday! surprisingly we may even get a white christmas tomorrow in atlanta (which is very rare) - fingers crossed!

now we need to get back to baking and decorating sugar cookies! yay for christmas eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

if you want to be happy

i am a huge fan of this print from marykate mcdevitt. i love the graphics but mostly i love the quote. with the new year coming up, this quote will be my mantra and my inspiration. although i am a very happy person, i think we could all afford to truly make up our minds to be more content. ♥

giving back

these days i can't help but feel so lucky: good health, stability, and love are so full around me. this time of year always reminds me just how lucky i am with a home to keep me warm, presents under the tree, and chances to brighten other peoples' days.

a few coworkers and i decided to adopt a family for the holidays - we actually decided on 2 different families. we worked together and were able to get lots of people from our company to help donate funds. with the money we raised, we were able to go shopping and buy some great gifts for these 2 families (7 people total) who may not have had a christmas this year. we ended up going through a nonprofit organization, families first, who was great to work with.

here is one of the piles of toys as we were delivering the gifts. my coworker was able to snap these few pictures - thanks jen!

i really hope that the families have a wonderful christmas and thanks to everyone who helped support this great cause! i can't wait to do it again next year. by the way, buying for all of the kids was so much fun! i wish we could see the kids' faces christmas morning!

how do you give back during the holidays? any annual charitable traditions that you share with your loved ones?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

deck the halls

even though the holidays are only 3 days away, i wanted to share our holiday decorations! the house has felt so inviting that it's sad that we'll be taking everything down in just a few weeks.

below is our front door. i added some bells to our real wreath and it's so lovely. by the way, please ignore the hideous stairs (we will be painting them this spring).

our cute countdown snowman is a nice reminder that christmas is around the corner (as you can see this picture was taken a while back).

and one last shot of our tree since no christmas would be the same without a tree. although it's starting to fade quickly it still makes me smile every time i look at it.

i love growing our christmas decoration collection and now i just have to figure out where to store everything once the holidays are over. we've also been burning some great woodwick candles to keep the house smelling like the holidays and listening to sufjan steven's christmas cd. since christmas is only once a year, you might as well go big or go home, right?

now we just need to watch "a charlie brown christmas" and "a christmas story" with some hot chocolate and it'll really feel complete.

"i have always thought of christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only timei know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys" - charles dickens

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


this is the craziest thing i've seen in a while so i thought i'd share. i never really thought i needed one but now i may be reconsidering my need an iphone!

what's your favorite advantages to having an iphone or android?

Monday, December 20, 2010

local is the new black

i can't believe it's the week of christmas! only 5 days left! i am so excited to give my loved ones their gifts and for the days off!

speaking of days off, j and i took off last friday to head up to asheville, nc with his family. i planned the getaway for his birthday and then we brought his mom, dad, and sister as their christmas present. we all had a blast and lots of adventures (most surrounded getting my nissan versa hatchback up and down the dang icy mountain)! i have to upload my pictures so i can share them - this is when having an android or iphone would be ideal.

anyways, we spent one day walking around and shopping in downtown asheville and we saw these adorable signs in a lot of the store windows. i love the prints and wished i had gotten a tshirt - oh well! either way i'll post more about our trip but i can't wait to go back!

tonight i'm hosting a small cookie swap with some girlfriends. great friends, wine, and cookies - do you need anything else? have a wonderful [short] week! xo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

naughty or nice

j and i got our christmas tree the other weekend and i couldn't wait to get the house ready for the holidays. although i grew up with plastic, fake trees, j always had a real one. now that i've had a real tree, i could never go back to having a fake tree - the real ones smell so lovely! we always get douglas fir's because they smell better, but they are really getting hard to find! since fraiser fir's are the norm, we could only find a handful of places with the douglas fir's. we actually found ours at home depot and it is perfect!

even other patrons were telling us what a beautiful tree it was so that must say something!

we even put out the new lighted houses (one is a cute little pub) to add some more lights to the living room.

the house feels so cozy and with the snow flurries over the past 2 days, it made me not want to leave the house. being sick didn't help that either!

p.s. while sick, i managed to watch all of dexter season 5 in 2 days - yes, 12 hours in 2 days! it was awesome and this season was really good. if you've never gotten on the dexter bandwagon you are missing out my friends! check out michael c hall's appearance on jimmy fallon belowing singing a dexter version of "santa clause is coming to town" - so clever!

by the way, after the excitement of the final episodes last night and all things dexter, it was really hard to wake up and see this in the news!

Friday, December 3, 2010

feeling crafty

i'm so excited it's december! we've already started decorating a bit and we're getting our tree this weekend. i can't wait to share some pictures! this time of the year really is so wonderful.

i really want to try making some of our own ornaments this year and who better to turn to than martha stewart!

here are some of the ornaments and decorations that would be so fun to make from her site.

1. cinnamon bird ornament

2. doily ornament

3. beaded snowflakes

4. stiffened doilies snowflakes

5. evergreen bobeches

6. cookie cutter ornaments

here's to a cozy weekend filled with crafts, cider, loved ones, and holiday music! ♥

p.s. our windows are being replaced on our house as i type this and i'm so excited! they look so great so far and i can't wait to show the finished pictures!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

murray as a muse

these bill murray prints by derek eads would be a great gift for the holidays! they are super cute and very affordable.

[images via flavorwire]

my favorite is the last print with all of the different bill murrays. i'd have to say the one from kingpin is hilarious!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

water works

we've got this great path trail in our neighborhood that connects two local parks. the trail is only for recreation (bikers, walkers, skaters, etc.) and it goes through the woods and over railroad tracks and a river. off the beaten path of the trail is the old decatur water works that provided drinking water for all of decatur, ga. it was built in 1906 (the image above shows when the water works were in use) but was abandoned in 1940.

now the old water work structures are known as "the ruins" and are constantly evolving in their appearance due to street art/ graffiti. when we visit, there are always new artworks covering the old art (which is so unique to street art). i would love to make more of an attempt at documenting the evolution of the water work walls. it's always so nice to visit this random historical and colorful world in the middle of the woods.

these pictures were taken last december when my best friend was in town visiting (p.s. she'll be back visiting in 1 week and we're so excited!):

this picture was taken this past weekend while on a walk with my mom:

i really love the face on the right side of this picture!

do you have any local areas that you pass regularly with street art that is constantly changing? i hope so! it's really great inspiration ♥

Monday, November 29, 2010


i'm definitely behind on the expected thanksgiving post - or any post at all for that matter - but we had the best, most relaxing weekend and i just really love this time of year.

j and i had 4 official different thanksgiving meals - yes 4. i am so thankful to not eat anymore thanksgiving-esque food - well at least until christmas that is. above is our vegetarian thanksgiving meal at our house with my best friend beth and the tofurkey!

there are so many things that i am thankful for - not just because of thanksgiving, but every day.

1. my j - he is the best, most generous and affectionate husband and any woman would be lucky to have him, but i'm lucky that he chose me. it's so great to have a partner to share mutual joys with. he is truly my better half.

2. my family - although you can't pick your family and every family has their issues, i am grateful for my family. i wouldn't be where i am today without them and their unconditional love and support.

3. my friends - i have the best friends. all over the country (and even one on the other side of the world) and minutes away, they all mean so much to me. i'm even lucky enough to have coworker's that are very close friends. friends really do make the world go round. i cherish all my old and new friends so much.

4. our house and yard - ever since we bought our house, we've been constantly working on it. it's so lovely and it's all ours (well and the bank's for another 29 years). i am also so thankful for how great our yard looks right now! j has put a lot of tlc into it and it's finally paid off. after 19 bags of leaves and mowing, this is what it looks like right now (our neighbor even asked if we were going to be on "better homes and garden" haha):

5. our health and security - we are so lucky to be in good health (although we could afford to take better care of ourselves) and i am so grateful for the opportunities that we've had. we both have jobs that allow us to fund our dreams of seeing the world and that provide us stability.

speaking of good health, i am really looking forward to going to the gym tonight! it's overdue! hope you all had a great holiday ♥

Friday, November 19, 2010

horcruxes, ice, and an egg

i am so happy it's friday! it's going to be a busy weekend but i couldn't be more excited! j and i are going tonight to see harry potter with his sister and i am really looking forward to it (although j says he's going just for me, i think he may be a closet harry fan).

tomorrow i am going with some girlfriends to the indie craft experience at the ambient plus studio and then to lunch. i'm hoping to get some good holiday shopping done at the ice event and can't wait to see all the lovely handmade items!

on sunday, we're going with the in-laws to see the cirque du soleil show ovo at atlantic station.

p.s. if you're interested in the indie craft experience, the details are below! hope to see you there!
date: november 20+21, 2010
time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
admission: $5
location: ambient plus studio, 585 wells st. SW atlanta, georgia 30312

hope you all have a wonderful weekend! if you're in georgia, the weather is supposed to be sunny and in the high 60's so make sure you get outside!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the sweetest thing

last night after an awesome workout at the Y (in a new class called cardio hip hop which was so fun), i had dinner plans with an old girlfriend from school who i hadn't hung out with in many years. she was sweet enough to make the trip out to my area of town and then she brought me the most beautiful and thoughtful gift. she brought me the below pewter heart that fits on this amazing wood stand. i am always awkward about receiving gifts - especially one this awesome, but i am so thankful for it and now i have to find an appropriate thank you gift.

she works for an amazing company, sugarboo designs, who does all sorts of antique signs, photo boxes, and more. i'm sure you've seen there stuff all around but didn't realize who was behind it (at least that was the case for me)! below are some more of their pieces:

it was such a great time catching up and celebrating her recent engagement! the burritos we had for dinner were great too. it's always great reconnecting with friends and it's so refreshing when you feel like you're in the same place. i am so excited for her and all of her upcoming ventures! ♥

Saturday, November 13, 2010

to grid or not to grid

so j and i could really use your help!

since our windows are original from 1953 (i.e., single pane and cracked), we are thinking about replacing our windows to take advantage of the current tax incentive and are trying to determine if we should add grids to the upper windows. the grids look more intricate but they are also more expensive. the no grid look is most cost-effective but doesn't have the same curb appeal. we have been going back and forth for days now and can't quite decide, so hopefully this is where your thoughts can help us!

so below are some [very rough] ideas of each option.

option 1: no grids

option 2: grids (6 light grids)

please let us know which you'd suggest! we'll be forever grateful! thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

five and a half

today is five and half years since j and i started dating! we've always been notorious for celebrating as many anniversaries as possible since any excuse is a good excuse to celebrate love and happiness, right?

it's hard to believe that the picture of us below at our first fair together was taken so long ago! we've grown up so much and gotten to where fair rides actually even scare us a bit yet it feels like just yesterday - and for the record, ferris wheels still scare me to death.

i am so proud of where we started and where we are today and i am so thankful to have you as my husband, best friend, and roommate :) i love you so much j and i can't wait to be celebrating fifty and a half years! ♥

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

art of the steal

j and i are avid documentary fans (see here). we typically are known for watching depressing documentaries - whether they surround murders, natural disasters, poverty, wars, and death; however, the documentary that we just watched saddened me in a completely different way.

the documentary "art of the steal" came in the netflix queue and as usual i had no idea what to expect (since j primarily manages the queue). the story is about dr. albert barnes who acquired the most robust and expensive collection of post-impressionist and modern art before his time. his collection has more cezanne's than paris, 46 picassos, 181 renoirs, and 56 matisse paintings. he did not use his collection for money and they were not for sale, but only for art education. the barnes foundation was only available to those who took classes there which angered a great deal of the philadelphia wealthy and political folks.

the story follows barnes and then his foundation after he died suddenly in 1951. this movie didn't make me sad in the way seeing children suffer makes me upset, but this story was almost worse because it shows the major flaws in humanity. what has happened to decency and compassion? is humanity always up for grabs when money is at stake?

if you love art and conspiracies, then this is a documentary for you! check out the preview below!

"you must not lose faith in humanity. humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty" - gandhi

Monday, November 8, 2010

back on track

back in april, j and i joined a boot camp in order to prepare for our trip to hike the incan trail in peru. the boot camp workout and meal plan made us feel great (despite the 5:00 AM wakeup 4 days a week). after we returned from peru, we kept putting off getting back into boot camp and then the nerves of being out of shape made it so hard to go back. it's crazy to think how great we would look and feel right now if we had just stuck with boot camp, but of course we went back to our old ways and lifestyle sadly.

after months of feeling out of shape, not fitting into clothes, and being slightly depressed, j and i have finally gotten back on track. in the past, weight watchers always worked for me; however, i didn't like that you could still be eating junk and empty calories and i was still always thinking about food (what i could eat and how many points i had left). the boot camp plan worked too since it was more about fueling your body and eating to help your muscles recover; however, it was very protein and fiber-based which is great if you're as active as boot camp requires. i felt that i would need something in between to help me maintain so i decided to try calorie count. it is a website that helps track your food log and activity and sets a goal for you based on your body type and activity level. so far it's been a week and i'm already down 3 pounds!

it's crazy that my suggested goal is actually 40 lbs lighter than where i am now! which i should reach by september of next year. fingers crossed!

i just really have to remember that being healthy and eating properly is a lifestyle. moreso, it's a lifestyle that i must maintain in order to be happy and peaceful. plus, as i get older, it will only get harder to lose weight and implement life changes.

more than even losing weight, i want to get back to where going on a 4 day trek doesn't intimidate me and i feel like anything is possible! plus, i have to get in shape before my best friend beth comes back from grad school and wants to go hiking! ♥

so here's to getting back on the right path and feeling on top of the world [again]!

do you have any struggles when it comes to dieting and stying active? if so, what are you doing or have you done to beat them?

happy monday! xo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

pick your poison

so i'm a bit behind on the "post-halloween" update, but things have been crazy busy around here lately!

i wanted to share some cupcakes i made for a coworker/ friend's birthday in october. anyone who knows me, knows i love to cook cupcakes from the "vegan cupcakes take over the world" cookbook. it is my absolute favorite!

i decided on the basic vegan chocolate cupcake recipe with the vegan buttercream frosting! so good!

below are the ingredients needed for the cupcakes:

-1 cup soy milk
-1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1/3 cup canola oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt

-preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners
-whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle
-add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy
-in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
-add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay)
-pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
-transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely

once you've made the cupcakes, it's time for the vegan fluffy buttercream frosting recipe and below you can see the necessary ingredients:

-1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
-1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, we use Earth Balance
-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer

-beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy and then add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes
-add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy

although i have pictures of each and every step, i figured i'd just skip to the good part: the final product! these were so yummy and they were gone very quickly!

i loved the toothpick decorations!

also, in case you were wondering what j and i were for halloween (and even if you weren't wondering), j was a lumberjack and i was an environmentalist with my "save the trees" petition. as always, we wait until the last minute and then try to come up with costumes that we can pull from our closets. not too bad i guess!

anyways, sorry for the absence. i've missed you guys! ♥
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