Thursday, September 30, 2010

world vegetarian day!

guess what tomorrow is? october 1 is the annual kickoff of vegetarian awareness month!

j and i have been vegetarian for almost 3 years and it is a cause very dear to our hearts. when we first became vegetarian, we were really just seeing if it was something we could do and our plans were to eventually eat organic meat periodically [i.e., rarely] because we figured if people could just eat less meat, then the demand would go down which would lower the need and possibly improve animal welfare. however, after doing just a tiny bit of research, we knew we could never go back to eating meat. most people don't know [or want to know] what happens to the animals that are raised for meat. it's not just how these animals die that is atrocious, but how they live.

if you've ever considered becoming vegetarian [or at least trying to consume less meat], please check out this link to learn more!

in the meantime, below are some ways that becoming vegetarian can help save the world!

for all you meat-eaters, you can go to the website and pledge to go meat-free for one day and win prizes even. you may even realize how easy and tasty being vegetarian can be! if every single person gave up meat for even just one day, it would be revolutionary. so please do your part tomorrow!

i will say that the vegetarian lifestyle is something that i am so proud to be living every day. plus more restaurants are growing their vegetarian-friendly menus all the time.

lastly, if you would like more information on the factory farming industry and exactly what you are feeding your family and yourself, please read "eating animals" by jonathan safran foer [who also wrote "everything is illuminated" and "extremely loud and incredibly close"]. as a soon-to-be father who will be responsible for his child's life and health, he decides to take a deeper look into what he will feeding his child. what he finds is absolutely shocking and will blow you away. the book even helps give options for those not wanting to adopt the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

regardless you deserve to know what you're eating so please stop turning a blind eye to what happens behind the scenes of the food on your dinner table. if you don't do it for yourself, your partner, or your children, who will?

not all those who wander are lost

a few years ago, j's family got us an amazing christmas gift. we received this personalized, framed world map poster [from here]. they had it ingraved with "dreams come true, jason and nicole." it was so sweet because it is our dream to be able to travel all over the world. we are constantly planning our next trip and we try to go as often as possible. it's good for the soul.

the great part about this map are the pins that you can post on the map showing all of the places you've been [we only mark the places that we've been together]. this would be the perfect gift for any travelers in your life. there are also special flag pins showing the destination of your next trip [blue] and favorite place you've ever been [yellow. there's even a pin for your dream trip destination [green].

right now, our favorite place is still eze, france, which is where we got engaged. our dream spot is banff, canada to see views like this. we just need to find some time in the spring to go!

and our next destination? australia! the gold coast! even better, we'll be there for our one year anniversary. could there be a greater adventure to celebrate the best adventure i've ever been on?

now if i could just figure out how to teleport there instead of traveling for over 24 hours. i am trying to remember that we are still young and can survive jet lag and be functional. i think i might be delusional.

"twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. so throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. catch the trade winds in your sails. explore. dream. discover.” – mark twain

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

fall time decor

although we didn't have any trick-or-treaters last year (fingers crossed that this year is different), we still can't wait to decorate the house for fall. halloween and thanksgiving are such fun holidays and happen during the best season of the year.

i decided that the first thing we needed was a wreath for the front door. i got together all of the materials:
- vine wreath
- autumn silk flowers
- white pumpkin accessory
- orange and yellow ball twig accessory (?)
- acorns from our oak tree
- hot glue gun
- wreath door hook

of course i forgot to take pictures of the process - i was too busy helping my niece make her own wreath that was going to be an autumn wreath but instead had hot pink butterflies and pink and black ribbon everywhere. it made her smile and that's all i care about [well that and kept her occupied for a few minutes].

however, i did take a before and after picture of our front door.



finally a close up of our new wreath:

it may not be the best wreath in the world but it makes me smile when i pull into the driveway and again, that's all i care about.

we have some other more halloween-esque decorations in the works that i'll be sharing shortly! what decorations are your favorite for this time of year? please share!

Monday, September 27, 2010

guest room revamp!

when we first bought our home, we knew we needed to really update the add-on space, specifically the guest room. before we did any work, we had the nasty, old blue carpet and ugly peach paint.

we also had to remove the shelves and huge desk left by the previous owners and do lots of caulking!

we had the carpet ripped out and replaced with a neutral new, clean carpet. we also painted the walls; however, we left the old ceiling tiles and light fixture and we weren't exactly sure how to update the ceiling. we also just used some old bamboo blinds in the interim that were too big for the windows.

for a closer look at the horrible school cafeteria ceiling tiles.

oddly enough, the rest of the add-on space has the normal sheet rock ceilings so i'm not sure why they left the guest room with these horrible tiles.

for labor day weekend project # 3 (see project #1 and #2), we found some awesome and affordable drop ceiling tiles from ceilume. they are wonderful, because not only do they send you 3 free samples with free shipping to test, their order process is very easy. we immediately fell in love with the "medallion" tile in white (we liked the off-white, sand color, but it looked dirty next to the white trim) that is below.

the best part about ceilume is that their tiles are very easy to install. they just pop in underneath the current tiles!

the only struggle we had was that we have some "border" tiles that are smaller in size so we had to purchase special border tiles from ceilume. we decided to go with the most basic design, the "stratford" to go with our "medallion" tiles. the border tiles are specifically designed to be able to be cut [with household scissors no less] to fit smaller tiles.

here's me cutting the border tiles. the ceilume site actually had tutorial videos so they made it very easy. please forgive how i look here. it was super late, i was exhausted [you can tell by my hair] and i did not know that j had snapped my picture.

once we had all of the tiles up, we removed the old light fixture and cut the hole for the electrical input in the tile. it was super easy and we couldn't wait to find a better fixture!

here's a better picture of the main tiles with the border tiles lining the walls:

almost done!

we ended up going to ikea and we had to be careful in our selection since the ceiling isn't too tall in the guest room. we would have liked possibly a chandelier, but we worried it would hang down too low. we decided on the ottava fixture below because we thought it would give the room a nice rustic feel and not be too feminine. we love the feel it gives the room.

here's a view of the opposite side of the room [for now]. we definitely want to spruce up the shelving and need to add more character and knick knacks. interestingly enough, although the "medallion" tiles actually have a 3D effect and come down off the ceiling, the ceiling actually feels much higher than the previous tiles.

lastly, we finally replaced the blinds to actually fit the window sills so you could see the white trims. the blinds also go with the bed better so it was a nice finish to the room!

in the end we ended up spending around $150.00 on the tiles, $30 on the light fixture, and $50 on the bamboo blinds, but the new feel and look of the room is priceless. now it's no longer the shameful guest room for our loved ones. hopefully it will just encourage more friends to come stay [wink wink].

happy monday! xo

Friday, September 24, 2010

weekend warriors

how cute is this print? i love all of the different fonts! although 2010 is officially the "year of the beard" in our household, i can't help but miss the classic simplicity of the mustache at times. this would be the perfect gift for a mustached-man or designer who loves different typefaces.

this has been a super long week! the 3 days of traveling in texas have really thrown me off and i am so thankful that the weekend is now here. it was really great to get to spend time with my dad at least while in texas. j and i are keeping my niece natalie for the whole weekend and i am really excited. she always keeps us on our toes and inspires us to just get out and have fun! we also have j's nana's birthday so it will be great to spend time with family.

what do you have planned for this weekend? anything exciting? if you can suggest any kid-friendly activities for this weekend, we'd definitely appreciate it! xo

p.s. today is "hug a vegetarian day"! go out and spread the love!

earth from above

[copenhagen, denmark]

a great friend of mine recently sent out this link showing images taken by the aerial photographer yann arthus-bertrand during a five-year airborne adventure across six continents. every picture is absolutely captivating and gave me the itch to travel [for personal trips] again!


[tasmania, australia]

[amazon river, brazil]

[machu picchu, peru]

this picture actually gave me goosebumps since i was just there with j and my best friend earlier this year. if you've never been to machu picchu, please put it on your "must do" list because it will change your life.

i can't believe we're traveling in about a few weeks to go to australia! granted part of my time there has to be spent working and i won't get to see my best friend [i'll be on the wrong coast], but i feel so lucky to be able to take j with me! i think the plan is that j will try surfing while i'm in my conference - how cool is that?

where's your next trip to? if you could go to any of the places photograhped by arthus-bertrand, which one would you pick?

Monday, September 20, 2010

human voice

i suppose it's ironic to be posting a storycorps video about the human voice on a blog, but i really loved this new animated short. i think it is trgaic the way the human voice is disappearing - whether it is due to lack of picking up the phone instead of texting or staying behind a computer instead of getting out in the community. i hope you enjoy!

The Human Voice from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

i think i'm also partial to this story because it takes place in the atlanta airport - where i am headed off to today. i'm actually getting sick of traveling lately but i may get to meet my dad for dinner tomorrow night since he'll be traveling for work too! go figure - we never get a chance to meet for dinner during the week when we live 30 minutes away, but now we're both out of state in the same city so we're making a date.

"happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling" - margaret runbeck

Friday, September 17, 2010

breath of spring

i am so happy that it's friday! j and i are going to enjoy our new hammock and try to spend some down time reading and playing music. i have to travel again for work next week so i want to get in as much time with my sweet husband [and the outdoors] as possible. although we have some family birthday dinners to celebrate, i'd rather be playing ukelele (i need this bumper sticker)! this week i'm learning one of my favorite songs of all time by the lovely, legendary dolly parton:

let's hope this weekend's weather is just what i need to recover from this loooong week. any fun plans this weekend?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

furniture face lift

j and i are [very] quickly learning that people weren't kidding about the never-ending "honey do" list when you're a homeowner. although the inside of the house still needs more work, we've been trying to focus on fixing up the outdoors (yeah - you know just in time for winter! go figure.) but anyways, here is our labor day weekend project #2 (see here for #1)

we had purchased this patio furniture set from ikea a little over a year ago. it was cute, cheap, and we couldn't wait to eat outdoors more; however, we failed in following the foot notes of the ikea instruction sheet by not sealing the furniture. that fail combined with leaving the chairs outdoors all year to endure all of the elements, left us with outdoor furniture looking like this:

for a close up:

even closer!:

i know what you're thinking - you can't wait to eat at this table, right?

so when we prepped the deck for staining, we figured we'd go ahead and pressure wash the furniture while we were at it. this is as we started pressure washing:

ta da!

now for the sanding (please note, we did put this part off for over a month. we're slackers sometimes so please forgive us):

now we're ready to stain! finally!:

here is the furniture after the first stain (we moved them to be in the sun to dry faster after we stained in the shade - it is august in georgia after all):

COMPLETE! now we just need to wait for those dang mosquitos to go away so we can actually be outside for longer than 5 seconds without getting bitten (thanks for the advice JC)!

with projects #1 and #2 are finished, now it's on to the next one (there are so many to choose from)! lastly, i just need to recover the outdoor cushions and plan a backyard party - i'm thinking the fire pit will need to make an appearance! yay fall!

hope you're all getting out in this wonderful weather and enjoying every second of it! ♥


i love this fun family tree print by julie marabelle. i noticed it in our uncommon goods catalog and thought it was so sweet. of course we don't really have any need for one yet (phew!), but it would make such a cute baby shower gift (they even have it in pink for little girls)!

happy one-day-a-way-thank-god-from-friday! xo

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

yes please!

i LOVE these toms botas!

i currently have the white cordones but now that fall is here, these are just what i need! well need may not be the right word, but at least a child in need (it is the right word in this case) will get a pair of shoes too!

i am so happy that the weather is changing! these shoes would be perfect for camping and walks through the fallen leaves. j and i spent the evening last night in our hammock and we talked about all the things we are looking forward to in autumn. i can't wait to start decorating for all of the different upcoming holidays. we've already bought some autumn-esque candles! our favorites are the slatkin and co candles through bath & body works. for fall, our favorite picks are "autumn" and "spiced cider."

what are you looking forward to now that the seasons are changing? what are some of your favorite traditions during the fall? xo

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

wake up

the alarm clock that j has had since high school is no longer cutting it. some of the lines of the digital clock have died so it's impossible to tell what the correct time is and the harsh alarm bell have helped push me over the edge.

i've always loved the look of a vintage clock but the lack of snooze creates a problem since i've been known to hit it sometimes 4x per morning. if i went with a retro clock, it'd definitely be this clock from pottery barn:

for a slightly more modern look, but same vintage feel, i love this clock from westclox:

however, after looking around, i have decided to go with the moonbeam clock from llbean! we're getting it in grey and i can't wait. i love that you have your choice of a "gently illuminating LED light, a bell sound or a combination of the two" to wake you up in the AM. most importantly is it has a snooze feature and a battery backup! it also comes in a variety of colors.

now i just need to figure out how to get rid of the need for an alarm clock. if only the sun could be my natural wake up every morning (i.e., sleeping in).

all this thought about waking up just makes me realize that it's time for bed soon so i'm not dead in the morning. goodnight! ♥

cake topper

i can't believe our one-year wedding anniversary is less than a month away. i will never forget our wedding and how wonderful it was; however, it's awfully nice to be past that adventure and on to the next one (especially in terms of the stress levels i had last year at this time). i have been asking j if he'd like me to have our simple one-tiered wedding cake (which we only used it to cut during the reception) recreated to eat on our anniversary, but we haven't decided whether or not we will just yet.

here is a close up the cake we had and the banner i made for it.

i also wanted to share our amazing cake topper with you all. we got this adorable, personalized cake topper from etsy seller, melabo. she was absolutely fabulous and i would definitely suggest buying one of her pieces. i couldn't have been more thrilled with the customization and care.

we will cherish this cake topper forever and hopefully we'll be able to pass it down for generations.

what did you use as a cake topper? was it passed down? handmade? i'd love to know! xo
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