It Was My Party, But I Didn't Cry (A Birthday Recap)

It's a Monday. This Monday is just a teeny bit sadder than Mondays usually are because it is the Monday after my birthday weekend. (Wow, I said Monday four times in that sentence.) I turned 24 on Friday, and now I have to wait another entire year before the birthday fun rolls back around again. That's okay though, because this year's celebrations were more than enough to hold me over for 12 months. A couple of my birthday happenings were so exciting that I'm going to dedicate in-depth posts to them throughout the week, but today I wanted to give an overview of everything that happened during the kick-off of my 24th year.

The celebrations started off a little early this year. Since I was planning to go on a trip during my actual birthday weekend, John and I went down to visit my family and celebrate the weekend before. On that Saturday, we all went down to Cedar Key for a day of family fun. Cedar Key is an adorable little fishing town off of the Gulf of Mexico in Central Florida. It's a quaint, perfect place for a day trip. We ate lunch at a seafood restaurant called Steamer's and walked around the town. John, my cousins and I also went to the pier and took a lot of goofy pictures wearing fake mustaches that my Aunt Nancy put in my birthday gift. I just realized that all of those pictures are on my mom's camera...I will have to make it a point to steal them so I can share the silliness sometime.
John and I//Cedar Key//Crab Cake Sandwich//Riley and I
Saturday evening John told me to get ready to go out. He then proceeded to put me in the car and tell me that we were going to dinner, but then he wouldn't tell me where exactly we were going. He was extremely mysterious the entire time, and refused to answer my questions or acknowledge is my guesses were correct. Just over an hour and a half later, we found ourselves in Jacksonville at The Cheesecake Factory. Just a few weeks before I had told him that I had never been there, and he thought my birthday would be the perfect opportunity since we were at my parent's place and the drive to Jacksonville wasn't too terrible. We had a delicious dinner and took our cheesecake home with us. He also revealed my birthday present, which will get a post of it's own later in the week because it is SO EXCITING.

John and I at Cheesecake Factory.

Fast forward to Monday, back in Tallahassee. Amber (my roommate that I mention often) had been trying to put a birthday dinner together for me, but I told her that I didn't really want anything big or fancy. Taking that into account, she and Erin (another friend, and our pastor's wife) had a small dinner for me at Erin's house. There were just a few friends from church, and we had grilled burgers and hot dogs. It was laid back, and a perfect evening. Erin also made me the most beautiful birthday cake I have ever had...inspired by Phantom of the Opera which is my favorite thing in the world! Thank you Erin and Amber!

It tasted just as good as it looked!

That Friday was my actual birthday. I took the day off of work, because who wants to work on their birthday? I started it off by sharing this..."24 years old today, but I still don't feel like much has changed!"

Can you see much of a difference?

I then had a yummy breakfast with my friends Hannah and Elena, and packed for the upcoming weekend in Jacksonville with Amber and my friend Jamie. Let me tell you, the weather that day was gorgeous. Sunny, with temperatures in the high 60's/early 70's for the first half of the day. This made for a nice drive to Jacksonville, where we spent the weekend shopping and relaxing. I will also do a full post on that later in the week, along with the sharing of the coolest restaurant I have ever set foot in. Here is a sneak peek. Trust me, it deserves it's own post.

Curious yet?

I cannot describe how much my friends and family truly mean to me. They always go above and beyond to help me celebrate new years of life. I hope that they know that they mean the world to me, not only on my birthday, but every hour of every day of the year! A big thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes too. I love talking to you guys, and learning more about your lives. That is a blessing in itself, my friends. :)

I hope Monday treats you well, and I will see you tomorrow in the brand new month of October!


Hey, Mid-20's. How Ya Doing?

Every year, waking up on the morning of September 27th is just a bit more special than waking up every other morning of the year...with the exception of Christmas morning of course. Why is that? Because this special day of the year is my BIRTHDAY. Who doesn't love their birthday? Well, who under the age of 30 doesn't love their birthday, would probably be the better question.

Today, I am stepping into the big 24! I have officially been pushed from the early-20's bracket to the mid-20's. I'm not going to lie, it's a little sad to think that I will be 25 just one year from now, and 25 is only FIVE years from 30. Holy wowza. Where does the time really go?

In all seriousness though, I am welcoming 24 with open arms. It's no secret that life gets harder with every year aged, but it's also no secret that it becomes more and more fantastic. 23 was filled with so many new blessings, experiences, and lessons learned. It has done it's part in prepping me to move up the age ladder. I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of the family and friends that have been with me through another amazing year. I love you all tremendously.

One really cool thing about getting older is that even though many things change from year to year, there are always things that will stay the same throughout your life. Here are a few of my quirks that have stuck with me over the past 24 years.

I am extremely casual, and am happiest in a t-shirt, but I can clean up pretty well when I want to. I also apparently really have a thing for floral patterns. The bangs had to go though. They were a little bit 90's.

I am an absolute sucker for anything that is furry and cuddly. Puppies and kittens and anything else that I can snuggle with make me very happy.

I am very friendly and relaxed, but I can give you the death glare if I need to. Do I not look like I could have been the first toddler aged wrestler?

There isn't much that makes me as happy as a good book! Literature practically makes me giddy with excitement. That is something that will never change!

I know how to rock a pair of sunglasses. I've been wearing them day and night (not really) since 1989.

Well, I am off to finish packing for a fun-filled birthday weekend in Jacksonville! I hope you all have a great time diving further into fall and enjoying the last few days of September. Thanks for being a big contribution to why 23 was a great year for me. I can't wait to see what the blog life holds for me during year 24!


My First "Nosey" Post

I know I'm a day late and a dollar short when I say this: I finally updated my iPhone to iOS7. I'm going to be honest with you guys, technology is not my favorite thing. Or I guess what I should really say is...I'm not good with technology. I have had my iPhone 4 for over a year now, and I still haven't used half of the features that it's capable of. I'm also at least two weeks behind on updating the software, every single time. I originally wasn't even planning to update it because I was scared it may mess my already-slow-functioning phone up, but I think it has actually improved the way it runs. Plus, I really do love the new look!

I was over at Charity's adorable blog this morning and she was sharing everything that she has on her iPhone. I am a sucker for what I refer to as "nosey" posts. You know, those subjects that we all love, such as "what's in my purse" or "what's in my makeup bag." I've even seen some "what's in my shower" topics. These posts are just fun. We are women. We like stuff. We also like to see the stuff that other women like. I've never done one of these posts before, but Charity's (you NEED to check our her blog by the way, it is perfect) iPhone sharing gave me the little push that I needed to jump on the bandwagon.

Let's get going on my little iPhone adventure.

This is my lock screen. Obviously. I have to say, I love the look of the lock screens much better since the update! The picture is one of John and I from last weekend when he took me out for an early birthday surprise, which I will discuss in detail in my birthday recap on Monday! If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know what restaurant we were standing in front of in this picture. Since John and I started dating over a year ago, my lock screen has been in a state of various pictures of him and I, because I just can't resist unlocking my phone and seeing his cute smile.

When you unlock my phone and go to my home screen, you get punched in the face with a splash of bright purple glitter. Which is actually kind of odd, because I'm not one of those girls who is really into glitz and glitter. I guess I just like the way the background looks combined with all of the colorful apps. The first thing that you have probably noticed is that I really don't have a lot of apps. Like I said in the beginning, I'm not super techy! I have what I need/want, and it really drives me crazy if I have to have more than three rows to store everything. What bothers me even more is I can't attempt to hide certain apps, like FaceTime or Newsstand. I never use them, but they have to stay on the main screen and that annoys me. I'm learning to ignore it though.

My  most opened folder on my phone is definitely the one that holds all of my photography apps. Instagram is probably the main reason that I wanted an iPhone, and I'm not joking when I say that. I love taking pictures, and I want to learn how to better edit them with my phone. What are some recommendations for good editing apps? I've heard that A Beautiful Mess is a really good one. Does anyone have experience with that one? By the way, if you're not following me on Instagram, you definitely should: @meant2live0812. I love following new people and checking out all of their pictures!

My "social" folder is the second most opened. I don't use Facebook very much anymore, but I use Twitter to keep up with the blogging world. I still think that Snapchat is one of the best inventions ever, and it provides me with many laughs during my boring work day. Pinterest is a must have also. I try to keep the social sites that I use to a minimum, or else I get overwhelmed!

I refer to the third most opened folder as "Adult Life," even though everything in it doesn't necessarily belong in that category. It basically just holds some necessary apps, plus a couple of fitness and inspiration ones that I didn't have enough of to create a new folder for. The Hobby Lobby app is the only store related one that I have, and that's only because I needed a coupon for there once and they always have a good coupon offer on there.

What are your must-haves for your smart phone? Is there an app that you can't imagine living without? Let me know. Like I said, I love being "nosey."

I'm off to conquer Thursday. Technically, it's my Friday because tomorrow is my birthday and I am taking the day off of work! Whoo hoo! Have a great day, y'all!


Camera Advice and a Little Sunshine

If you have been following me here for a while, you can most likely tell that the majority of the pictures on my blog are taken with my iPhone. Sure, they look pretty decent after I do some editing with Instagram or PicMonkey, but they're still obviously not very high quality photos. This is all due to the fact that my camera mysteriously bit the dust a couple of years back. I have no idea what happened to it...I never dropped it or anything, it just started giving every picture this creepy, blurry, bluish glow. That is just not okay.

I have been wanting a new camera for about about year, but it's no secret that decent cameras aren't cheap! Sure, you can find some for under $100, but when that is the case they aren't going to last long enough to satisfy. Therefore, I don't exactly want to go this route. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm not a professional photographer by any means, so I don't want to spend $500 on something so complicated that I will never figure it out.

In reality, I want a durable, simple, attractive camera that takes good quality pictures for a price of about $150 to $230. Do y'all have any recommendations? I have not had good experiences with Kodak in the past, so I'm interested in hearing some opinions on Canon or Nikon. Do you have a specific camera model that you swear by? Fill me in...I need advice! I would greatly appreciate the help.

Yesterday, Jessica, one of my absolute favorite bloggers to talk to daily, nominated me for the Sunshine Award. This is one of the newer award tags that I have seen going around blogland. It seems that it is given to bloggers who make people smile and share a positive outlook on life. Thanks, Jessica, for passing it on to me!

Here are the "rules"...

1. Link back to the blog who nominated you for the sunshine award.
2. Include the sunshine logo in your post.
3. Answer the questions given to you by your nominator.
4. Nominate bloggers who add sunshine to your day!

Now to answer the questions that Jessica asked me:

What is your favorite dessert? Gosh, I love sugar. Anything peanut butter and chocolate gets me every time...ice cream, cookies, cake, whatever includes the delicious duo. I also really love cheesecake.

If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I think I recently answered this in another tag. Normally, I wouldn't be able to decide, but last time I said Jimmy John's and I will say the same again today. That place is delicious!

 If there is one annoying blogger habit you could eliminate, what would it be? Good question. Like a bad blogger habit that I have? Or in general? I will just give a universal answer for both...I, and other bloggers, always feel the need to apologize when we go without posting for even a day or two. It's okay! We all have stuff to do. It's not the end of the world. :)

 What is your favorite season and why? I love fall, because of the holidays, the weather, and that light-hearted feeling that comes with bonfires and hot chocolate. However, I also love summer. The beach, the sunshine, swimming, vacations...that's all great too!

What is your favorite sports team? I love my Florida State Seminoles! You can read more about my Nole life  here and here.

What was your favorite birthday party and what did you do? My 11th birthday party was an N'Sync themed sleepover. I don't think it could have been any more perfect than it was.

 What Harry Potter character do you want to be? Oooh, you know I love this question. Hermione, for sure. She just has everything going for her, plus she gets to hang out with Ron and Harry all the time. Win, win situation.

If you could have any pet in the world, what animal would you choose? A teacup pig! I love pigs!

 If you could have on wish, what would it be? I would want to ease the amount of unnecessary hate and conflict in the world.

 What's your favorite pizza topping? I would love some pizza right now. Lots of cheese, and pepperoni. Oh, and mushrooms! Can't forget the mushrooms.

It's my turn to tag some people to receive the award! I choose:

Jess @ All-American Jess
Brittany @ A Coffee Break with Brittany
Bekah @ resolve
Denise @ A Life Less Traveled
Cori @ Everyday Enchanted

If any of you have already been tagged, I apologize!

And here are my questions for them to answer:

1. What is your absolute, least favorite household chore?
2. What was your favorite subject in high school?
3. Do you prefer to live in the city, or in a more rural setting?
4. What is your biggest obsessive habit?
5. Do you ever eat cereal for dinner?
6. On Friday nights, do you like to go out or stay in?
7. What color do you wear most often?
8. Least favorite day of the week besides Monday?
9. Do your family and real life friends know about your blog?
10. The beach, or the mountains?

Thanks again, Jessica, for the award! Hope you all have a kick-butt Wednesday!


Tattoo Talk

I was reading a post over at Allie's blog, Tales of a Twenty Something, a few days ago and noticed she was advertising her new one-time linkup, Tattoo Talk. I have never talked about my tattoos here on the blog, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so!


People are often surprised to learn that I have tattoos. I feel like a good majority of society still associates tattoos with the leather jacket-wearing, biker babe type of guy or gal. I don't exactly give that vibe off. I have more of a good girl vibe going on. But, good girls can have tattoos too. Having ink is not all about having a skull and cross bones on your arm to show how tough you are. It's a way to show a visual reflection of something that is important to you.

I got tattoo number one for my 20th birthday. I thought really long and hard about it, because I knew that I wanted one, but I also wanted to be sure to get something that would really mean something to me.

I chose something that would reflect the most important part of my life...my faith. Using my favorite Bible verse, Hebrews 11:1, as an inspiration, I decided to keep it simple by sticking to a single word. The verse says "For faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." This one is on my left ankle, and even though it's not in a spot that is particularly easy for me to see, I find comfort in knowing that it is there. Just like faith as a virtue, I can't see it, but I can feel it.

As far as the process and level of pain for this one, it wasn't bad at all. I should probably mention that I have a very high anxiety level and a very low pain tolerance, so sitting through a tattooing process was a bit of a worry for me. It took the artist about 25 or 30 minutes to complete. It didn't feel good...about like a continuous cat scratch, but it also wasn't bad enough that I cried or even teared up for that matter. It also bled a little, but not enough to make me want to pass out or anything.

Tattoo number two came to life two years later, on my 22nd birthday.

Sorry this is so blurry! It's upside down on my wrist so it's difficult to take a good picture of on my own!

Again, I wanted it to be a reflection of my faith. I really liked the idea of having a verse from a meaningful song. It took me a few months to find one that I really felt was adequate. Around this time, David Crowder Band's "How He Loves" came out, and the first time I heard this song my world was completely revamped. The words are so creatively beautiful. The verse "If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking," gave me, and still gives me, goosebumps every time I hear it. Therefore, it went on my right wrist. Although I love both of my tattoos, this one is probably my favorite. It is also the one that I get the most compliments on.

The session for this one was quite a bit more painful. I had heard that the wrist is one of the more painful places to get one because it's so tender, and that is certainly true! The artist had to keep telling me to relax, and I think I kept my eyes squeezed shut during the entire process. Ironically, it bled much less than the one on my ankle, but it was also in a more convenient line of vision so watching the healing process for this one was a little gross.

I get a lot of questions about my tattoos. Why did you feel the need to tattoo your body? Doesn't that contradict your beliefs? Why would you get one on your wrist...that's such a visible place? How do you keep a professional job with your tattoos? You don't think tattoos are trashy? So on and so forth...

The answers to these could take up an entire post on their own, so if you're interested at all in the things I just mentioned, let me know and I will be glad to discuss them! I'm not going to take offense to anything else you may be curious to know either!

Can't wait to check out some of your tattoo stories!


A Messy Post

Well, hello. It's Monday. I'm alive. I'm here. I just missed my curtain call, and I'm entering into the spotlight extremely late.

I'm sitting in my bed right now. Yep, in the middle of the day on Monday. Why? Well, I had gallbladder attack numero dos last night, between the hours of 9 PM and 3 AM. Let me just tell you folks, this is no fun matter. The feeling is like menstrual cramps times 5,000. The ONLY thing that eases the pain is standing in the hot shower. Luckily, I have an amazing roomie who offered to go to Walmart and get me a heating pad. That thing is my new favorite object. It helped me to actually sleep a bit last night.

My first episode occurred about a month and a half ago. I have never had any type of stomach pains or health issues, so it caught me really off guard. When I talked to my doctor about it she said just to monitor it and let her know if it happened again and we would go from there. I thought I was getting lucky and it was just some freak thing, but last night crushed those hopes. I understand that having your gallbladder removed is really not a big deal, but I get really stressed every time I think about something being removed from inside of me. Am I the only person that has this fear?

Wouldn't you know too, that this would happen the day before I have my interview for a possible promotion at work? It certainly did, so regardless of my lack of sleep and sore belly, I managed to not only get out of bed this morning, but also shower, do my hair and makeup, and put on a pretty cute outfit. I went in, accomplished my work, and did my interview, then I came home and curled up in bed. And...here I am now.

Moving on...did you all have a good weekend? Mine was absolutely fantastic. Believe it or not, I'm not going to talk about it today though. Why? Well, I spent the weekend partaking in early birthday celebrations with John and my family, and I plan to do a complete birthday recap after all of the birthday fun is over. My birthday isn't until Friday, the 27th, so next Monday's post will house all birthday related shenanigans. Comprende?

For the remainder of this post I'm just going to answer a few questions from a random tag I found on YouTube. It's called "100 Things No One Asks," and I'm certainly not planning to answer all 100 of them, but I thought there were some good subjects to approach on here. Let's proceed.

 Do you sleep with your closet doors opened or closed? Um, closed. Always. I cannot fall asleep if my closet doors are open. I don't know why, because I'm not afraid of something being in there. I just need them closed. I guess I can think my OCD for that.

Do you like to use post-it notes? Who doesn't like to use them? They're great.

Do you have freckles? Why yes, I do. Not really on my face, but pretty much everywhere else. Especially on my arms.

Do you ever dance even when there's no music playing? I'm really guilty of this. Particularly if I'm in the kitchen waiting for food to be done, or in the bathroom doing my hair. I don't like to stand still.

What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Ranch. Or Chick Fil A sauce.

Were you ever a girl scout? I sure was! Until I was 18 years old actually. (Yes, Girl Scouts can be that old.)

What is your usual bedtime? I'm a little embarrassed to answer this one. I'm in bed by 10 on weeknights. But, I would be lying if I said I'm never any earlier than that. 9:30 is a great bedtime.

When you were a kid, what did you dress up for at Halloween? Specifically, I only remember being Cinderella. And a Pink Lady.

Do you think musicals are cheesy? Some of them are, but I still love them!

Ever won a spelling bee? No, but I made it pretty far in one back in middle school. I've always been a nerd child.

Ever burn incense? No way, that smell makes me sick to my stomach!

Tea or coffee? Both. I love hot and iced coffee, but I only like iced SWEET tea.

Can you swim well? Yeah, I can swim extremely well.

Are you patient? I'm actually not patient at all, but I'm working on it!

Is Christmas stressful? Oh my goodness, NO. Christmas should be the opposite of stressful!

This post was such a mess, but that's okay. It happens. See you tomorrow!



Yesterday you guys had to endure the pity party that I was throwing myself. To those of you that left me little words of encouragement...thank you! Support and new friendships are a couple of the reasons that I love the blogging community.

To counteract yesterday's negativity, I thought today would be the perfect time to reflect on a few blessings. Even the worst of weeks have some good times thrown in, and that is how life keeps you on your toes!

A few weeks ago I talked about my little side business that I started. Last week my roommate's boss asked me to write on all of the chalkboards for her step-daughter's wedding, and of course I said yes! The perfectionist in me redid them all about five times before I realized that writing is never going to be perfectly straight on a chalkboard, and it's not supposed to be. After I came to terms with that, I thought they turned out pretty great, and my client loved them too! She tagged me in this picture of one of the boards "in action" at the wedding. How beautiful was the location? Michelle, since I know you sometimes read my blog, I will say a big thank you for choosing me to do that for you!

Since I have had a stressful week at work, I took advantage of my free time last night and had some "winding down" time. I lit my favorite candle from World Market (Mediterranean Sea, I believe is the scent), turned out all of the lights, and laid in bed watching Pretty Woman. Pretty Woman is really one of the best movies of all time. Richard Gere was so attractive, and Julia Roberts seriously has my dream hair!

When I left for work this morning the moon was still in the sky. Isn't there just something a little mystic about seeing the moon in the daytime? It just seems ironically beautiful. Looking at the sky is like a free form of therapy or stress relief. There is that Switchfoot song that says, "When I look at the stars I feel like myself." I have to agree. Having a long stare at the moon, or the stars, or the clouds, (not the sun because you will go blind, ha ha) makes you realize how amazing life can be.

Keep smiling, and have a great weekend!


Crying Over Spilled Coca Cola

I really, really dislike being a "negative blogger," but what good is a space that you can only share happy thoughts on? This blog wouldn't be an honest portrayal of my life if I didn't get a little whiney sometimes, right? So, just bear with me...

This week has been crazy busy.

My job keeps me on my toes on any typical day, but this week I have had so much extra work stuff going on in addition to my usual tasks that I am just void of energy. Every day this week I have had trainings or meetings. It has all went well so far, but by the time I woke up this morning my brain was just gone.

When my alarm went off I could practically feel the black cloud over my head. I hit snooze a million times because I couldn't drag myself out of bed. I threw about five outfits across the room, yelling because I wasn't happy with any of them. (I seriously need new work clothes.) I left the house feeling like a train wreck. Traffic was the epitome of torture. When 8:00 (the time I'm supposed to be at the office) rolled around I was still stuck at a redlight halfway across town. More than one car cut me off and almost killed me.

I finally arrived at work, sat in my office for about an hour and then headed out to attend my SEVEN HOUR Microsoft Access training. I don't care how smart you are...that software is confusing! On top of that, I had one of the only computers in the classroom that wanted to act up and everyone else was getting frustrated each time I had to ask for help.

When I left for lunch I was practically braindead. I decided to go to Chick Fil A, because it cures all bad moods, right? I sat by myself and ate lunch, and was feeling a lot better until I stood up and spilled my large Coke all over my shoes and the floor. Everyone was giving me these grumpy looks, and I ran to grab a big pile of papertowels.

At this point I was teary-eyed, not because of the spilled drink, but because my hormones are obviously out of whack today. The sweet little older man that always attends the dining area at Chick Fil A smiled at me and told me not to worry about it, that he had it. I tried to argue and help him and he was like, "Really dear, I have this special stuff to clean it up. It's no problem at all," with his cute little smile. He then took the paper towels from me and offered to get me a new drink. Thank you, little guy at Chick Fil A. You were my favorite part of the day, and you're a sweetheart.

 After that whole scenario I made a beeline for the door because I could just feel a good cry coming on, and I felt ridiculous. And, that's what I did once I got in my car. I cried all the way back to the office, and I felt plain silly the entire time because honestly, nothing of terrible consequence has happened today. Maybe that's what happens when you internalize everything like I do. You just eventually freak out over spilled milk. Or in my case, Coke.

The rest of my afternoon was better. When I got back from my training I had an appointment to accept for my one-year evaluation with my boss. It's tomorrow, and I'm a little nervous but I know it will be positive. As for the rest of the day, I'm thinking I need a nap. Tomorrow is Friday, and I can't go around walking on egg shells and acting like a crazy person on the best day of the week.

Hope today has treated you well!


Always Time For a Laugh

Today is full of meetings and trainings for me, so I don't have time to do a post. However, there is always a little time to share a smile so I will just give you this picture to get you through the day! I probably laughed harder than I should have.

Via Pinterest


Non-Conventional Storage and Decorating

My mom is the queen of taking something that may not necessarily be attractive or useful and turning it into something brilliant. She is a trifecta of thrifting, bargain hunting, and creativity. If I was lucky, I would have inherited these traits from her, but that isn't really the case. However, there are a few handy things that have been passed down to my end of the gene pool. She has given me the love for all things vintage, and the desire to be semi-creative when seeking decorative or storage pieces for my house.

When I am in need of something for my space, I want it to be unique. Because of this, I prefer to look at places such as Marshall's, TJMaxx, or Goodwill instead of running straigh to Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. My mom also keeps an eye out for me when she's thrifting. To add to the unique factor, I prefer to use certain pieces for purposes that they weren't necessarily made for.

Today, I'm sharing a few pieces from my bedroom. When I moved into my new place in July of 2012, I knew I wanted my room to have a loosely travel-based theme. With the help of my mom, I have been able to create a space that I love. When I get a better camera, I plan to do an in-depth post of my little sanctuary. For now though, I will keep it short and simple!

1. Coffee mug...or something more useful?
Ross, TJMaxx, and Marshall's always have a wide selection of adorable mugs and coffee cups. Every time I would browse the store, I would come across one that I just loved, but didn't necessarily want to use in the kitchen because it was just too cute for that. I use mugs and cups for a couple of different storage reasons in my room and bathroom. I found the one pictured above at TJMaxx for around $3.00, and while I didn't know what I would use it for when I purchased it, it didn't take me long to assign it the task of holding my remotes on my bedside table. You can't really tell from the picture, but it is a huge mug, and the antique map look makes a cute little edition to my room.

2. Dusty old train case turned perfect statement piece.
My mom found this train case at a yard sale. Considering it was probably made back in the 1960's, it was a great vintage find! it wasn't much to look at before, but she cleaned it up, and used mod podge to make a collage with different travel-themed scrapbook paper on the inside. As you can see, I now use it to hold all of my perfumes, lotions, and deoderant. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I get a lot of compliments on it!

3. If it opens and has vacant space, it's useful.
This "stack" is kind of a random assortment of things. The bottom case is a vintage suitcase that my mom found at a yardsale. The one on top of it is a vintage briefcase that I myself found at a yardsale. The box in the middle is a storage box with an old world map theme that my mom found at Hobby Lobby, or somewhere like that. The two boxes on top are photo boxes from Hobby Lobby (maybe?), that also have a travel theme going on. I use all of these to store things like photos, old letters and cards, paperwork, etc. The box in the middle holds a set of vintage coffee mugs that I'm going to eventually use in my own house someday. I hope to eventually find a way to better incorporate these items into my room or house, but that will have to wait until I have my own place and a lot more space than what I'm working with now. For the moment, I like them stacked in the corner.
Those are all of the tips I have to share today. I really enjoy these types of posts, so I'm planning to do more in the future. What are some of the unique things that you use to organize your space?


Liebster Me

This afternoon I walked 2.2 miles with my roommates, took a shower, ate some dinner, and I now have the hankering to sit down and just blog about something. The timing of this mood is perfect, because earlier I remembered that the lovely Lacy nominated me to receive the Liebster Award. I discovered her blog a couple of weeks ago and it's the perfect place to go if you're looking for some encouragement about life. She has a heart for God, and an abundance of positive thoughts to share. Make sure to go check her blog out and say hello.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm almost positive that Jenny nominated me for this award a while back as well. It must have slipped my mind to actually do the post though. I apologize for that Jenny! Make sure to check our her cute little space too. She talks about the precious kids that she nannies, and shares recipes for some deliciously drool-worthy food!
Most of you are probably pretty familiar with the concept of the Liebster Award. It's basically just a way to show some love and interact with fellow up and coming bloggers who still have a small number of followers. I love this idea because it's a great way to get to know your blog friends, and encourage them in their blogging adventures! When nominated, this is how you go about accepting the reward;

•Thank your nominator! Include a link back to their blog with your appreciation
•Answer the 11 questions given to you by your nominator
•Post 11 facts about yourself
•Nominate 5-11 other up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers for the award--no tag backs!
•Come up with your own set of 11 questions for your nominees to answer
•Let your nominees know you nominated them so they can pass it on

I've gotten some of this out of the way already, so I will move on to answering the questions that Lacy has asked her nominees.

1. Why do you blog? I love to write, so to begin with blogging was just about enabling me to get my memories down "on paper." At first, I'm pretty sure my mom was the only person who ever read my posts, but I slowly started gaining a following of people I didn't know. I loved all of the comments on my posts, and I loved reading other blogs and returning the comment favor. It is so much fun to learn about others and make new friends while also documenting the special moments in your own life. I strive to be an encouragement to others, just like so many bloggers are to me!

2. Is your main job blogging, or do you have a "real job?' Oh my goodness, I WISH  blogging was my job! Hopefully I will be writing full time one day. However, right now I do have an office job that I strongly dislike, but it's paying the bills until God opens the next door for me!

3. If you could only eat one thing forever it would be _________. Ramen noodles. Just kidding. That's a tough one...maybe Jimmy John's? Ha ha.

4. Describe yourself in six words. Dedicated. Introverted. Daydreamer. Sensitive. Friendly. Compassionate.

5. What is your cure for "bloggers block?" I don't have this problem a lot because I have a monstrous list full of writing topics that I think up and jot down daily. But, when I don't want to pull anything from there, I will try to think about something relevant that has occurred in my life recently. And, when all else fails, I go to Pinterest and look for quotes to reflect on.

6. What is the best book you have ever read? Ah...I have such a HARD TIME with this question. I adore the Harry Potter series, but there are also numerous other books that are just amazing. How about a recent favorite? Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

7.  Weird question: if you were something in nature (tree, flower, cloud, star) what would you be and why? Cool question! I would be the moon, because then I would be able to see the world at night, when all is calm and beautiful.

8. What is your favorite kind of music and why? Again, this is difficult. I really like soft rock. I never get tired of bands like Coldplay and The Fray and Switchfoot. I could listen to them all day, every day.

9. What has been your favorite trip to ever take? I have been to NYC twice, and I love it because it is so insanely different from the Florida world that I have grown up in. I still have a lot of this great earth to see though!

10. Do you have a favorite lifetime memory? What is it? I'm going to have to say when I was 15, met Jesus, and became saved. My life didn't really begin until then!

11. If you had one day to do whatever you wanted, money is no object, what would you do? Why? I would gather up a group of my closest family and friends and fly us all somewhere exotic where we could spend time together and just bask in the glory of no worries.

As for the 11 facts about myself, you can find those types of things out here!

I can't think of anyone that hasn't been nominated for this award before, so I'm going to do it this way: If you are reading this right now, you have less than 200 followers, and you want to join in...go right ahead! Make sure to let me know if you do, because I want to read your answers to the questions I'm about to throw at you.

1. Why do you blog?
2. What is your favorite blog post you have ever written?
3. Are you addicted to anything food related? (For example, coffee, soda, chocolate...)
4. Do you prefer snail mail or email?
5. Do you have any unique talents?
6. What is your favorite method of travel? (Plane, train, automobile...?)
7. Would you live underwater in a submarine for an entire year in order to win $3,000,000? (Sorry, that was kind of a strange question.)
8. What is your favorite style of clothing?
9. Are you right handed or left handed?
10. What is one place you are dying to travel to but haven't had the opportunity?
11. N'Sync or The Backstreet Boys? Choose wisely.

That's all, folks. Enjoy!

My Neighbors Have a Lion

If you want an idea of how my Monday morning has started out, let's just say that when I set my alarm last night I accidentally set it for 6:30 PM instead of 6:30 AM. Stupid, stupid, stupid. So, when my internal alarm clock went off this morning, I thought it looked awfully light outside. That's probably because it was 7:15 AM and I was supposed to walk out the front door in 15 minutes. Life is just so mean sometimes.

This weekend was kind of strange. I stayed busy for the most part, but I still feel like a whole lot of nothing took place. I didn't get to see John very much because he was out of town for part of the weekend, and then studying a lot when he was home. Same for my friends. Therefore, I spent a lot of time in loner mode, which I think I actually kind of needed. Friday night I laid in bed and did nothing but watch TV and YouTube videos, I slept in and got some pool time on Saturday, I laid around watching movies after church on Sunday... You know, really energetic happenings.

Perhaps the most exciting part of my weekend is that the neighbors now have a lion. Not a real one of course, but I think it's actually worse than having a live one. You know how really fancy houses will have those lion status outside of their gates? Well, our lovely neighbors now have one of those statues sitting outside their front door on the porch that my roommates and I share with them. It really is just adorable. I'm hoping you just detected my sarcasm. It's the tackiest thing ever. I really want to take a picture of it, but I'm afraid they will open their front door about the time I open my camera app.

So, that was my (lame) weekend. To give you a little smile for the day I leave you with a picture of my brother's adorable puppy, Sadie, that my mom texted me. Is that not the most precious face ever?


Harry Potter Shaped Hole in My Heart

There was some joyous news announced yesterday...

J.K. Rowling is doing it again!

She is in the works of producing a screenplay for a new movie that will be based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was a wizarding textbook in the Harry Potter world! This makes my little nerd heart so happy that I could just burst.

Any Harry Potter fan knows how it has felt to mourn the end of the series. It was depressing not being able to anticipate the next book or movie. I still get a little teary-eyed when I come across the movies on TV, or when I see sentimental HP pins on Pinterest. As I mentioned here, it was such an important part of my childhood. There has been a hole in my nerd heart that is shaped like Harry, and although Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will not deal directly with the Hogwarts characters that we all know in love, I'm sure it will offer some consolation!

Who else is stoked about this? We need to begin the countdown! :p

Via Pinterest

I hope you all have a great weekend!


Always in a Hurry

I have a confession to make.

I have an extremely difficult time coming to terms with my flaws. Even though I am fully aware of the negative characteristics that I suffer from, I still just hate to admit it. It's not that I feel like I have to be a perfect person, because trust me, I don't want to be perfect. I can't really pinpoint a specific reason for why I don't want to face the facts. All I know is, I always go through a process of being defensive and making excuses for whatever trait is in question before I actually decide that it's something I need to work on changing.

Lately, with each passing day, I have been realizing that I am an extremely impatient person. I have always known this to a point, but I have noticed that when it comes to big things in my life I really struggle with patience. I'm always looking for the next big change or opportunity. I want a new job now. I need to have all of my debt paid off now. I want to have my life in order now. I want to have an idea of how things will turn out in the next few years right now.

This leads to A LOT of anxiety in my life. Every Monday morning for the past few months, I have woken up and said, "Okay Miranda, this is it. This is the week that you are going to figure your life out." Then, at the end of the week, I get upset because nothing has changed. Everything is just as it was on that Monday morning. My life is still stagnant. Then, I beat myself up for it.

Somewhere along the road of my life, I have bought into the misconception that you are supposed to have the answers for everything right after college. Maybe, in a sense, this makes me a control freak. Actually, I would say that is more than accurate, because even if the smallest aspect of my life isn't going the way I want it to go, I will worry about it incessantly.

I'm trying really hard to reverse this habit. I need to learn the difference in ambition and lack of patience. I need to learn to cherish my life situations, both good and bad. I need to learn to embrace uncertainty and the unknown, because I'm sure whatever the result of those things are will be one so amazing that I never could have imagined it for myself.

I need to trust God. I need to pray. I need to be happy with myself, and my life...even the parts that I feel like I should be able to be unhappy with. Today, I encourage you to do the same.


Finishing the Sentences

As I was driving to work this morning, I was trying really hard to figure out what I was going to blog about today. No thoughts were coming to me, so when I opened Blogger and noticed that the "Finish the Sentence" link up was going on again, I pounced on it. I have never participated, and it just looks like too much fun!

My happy place...is anywhere that is NOT my office at work. Especially anywhere that involves me holding a book. Curled up in bed, on the couch, outside in the grass, at the beach, on a boat, in a tree...Okay, maybe not a tree. But you get the point.
Whatever happened to...Josh Hartnett? Gosh, I was in love with him as a teenager. He just fell off the fact of the earth, never to grace another movie again.
So what if I...have went to work every morning this week with wet hair. I have a lot of hair, and I would rather sleep a few extra minutes than take the time to blow dry it. Besides, it dries eventually.
E! needs a reality show about...recent college graduates. It would be great...so much drama! You would get to see multiple people freak out about what to do with their lives and cry over the amount of loans they have to pay back...with their "generous" salary of about $10 an hour. I could identify with watch that.
My go-to fast food meal is...Chick-Fil-A, no doubt about it! Chicken sandwhich, waffle fries, and a Coke. It's like heaven in a paper bag.
You might not know that I...can't go to sleep if my closet doors are open. They MUST be closed, all the way. It's not that I'm afraid or anything, I just want them closed. If I lay down, get comfy, and notice they're open, you better believe that I'm getting back out of bed to close the suckers.
The hottest quarterback in the NFL is...Christian Ponder. I'm not an NFL fan, but Christian Ponder is a former Seminole, and he is dreamy.
If I could...travel non-stop for the next few months, I would do it in a heartbeat. I have such a hunger to just GO somewhere...anywhere really!
My personality is awesome because...it's mine. Everyone's personality is unique, and that's a big reason that the world is such an amazingly diverse place.
Twerking is...ridiculous. I seriously hope the infatuation with it passes quickly!
I think it's super gross when...people post pictures of injuries, hospital visits, or IV's on Facebook or Instagram. No one wants to see that needle stuck in your arm! Besides, if you're taking time to Instagram your ER visit, you can bet I'm questioning whether or not something is actually wrong with you.
Someone needs to tell Miley Cyrus...to get lost. I heard on the radio yesterday morning that Miley articles are receiving significantly greater numbers of views that articles about breaking news, such as the Syria situation. Can I just ask...why?
Looking forward to seeing how you finish these sentences!

You can also find me over at Blogs by Christian Women today! I am sharing a post about a quote that really opened my eyes!



One Year With Dr. John

Today, September 10th, is a pretty special day. It is the mark of an entire year spent in a relationship with this amazing man.

My favorite picture of us. Thanksgiving 2012.

12 months ago today, John went from good friend to boyfriend when he unexpectedly kissed me while we were sitting on my couch watching TV. With him by my side, I have learned so much about life. I have learned what it means to be truly happy. I have learned what it's like to really fall for a person. I have learned what if feels like to worry about another's feelings before your own. I have experienced that giddy feeling that you get when you experience the laughter and the smiles of someone that you're crazy about. I have experienced what a true, healthy relationship feels like.

John inspires me every single day. His dedication to med school, his family, God, and all other important things in his life is just so encouraging. His attitude encourages me to be just as goal-oriented in my endeavors. His quirkiness never fails to lift my spirits. His sweet words still make me blush, and I'm sure they will still make me blush a long time from now. Life makes sense with him.

Here are just a few serious and silly reasons that John and I make a pretty great pair.

We both wear awesome hats. Okay, so maybe I don't really wear penguins on my head, but John sure can rock the Daniel Boone look!

We both have a passion for traveling and experiencing new places. I'm still way behind him in terms of places visited; he has been to all 50 U.S. states and all of the Canadian provinces! That's okay though...this just means that he will make a great personal tour guide when we visit places together.

We both do really great impressions of Facebook emoticons. Here you can see John portraying the :O face, while I demonstrate the more happy :D face.

We both look insanely good in Seminole Garnet and Gold. I already had 'Nole football experiences taken care of on my own, but John has shown me what it's like to be a true FSU fan at numerous baseball and basketball games as well.

We aren't afraid to show our goofy sides. What's life if you're insanely serious all of the time?

John, I know you will read this at some point today. Thank you for this phenomenal year. You have shown me so much love, and I can't wait to see where this relationship takes us. Just as you are always there for me, I will continue to be there for you. Even though we are away from each other quite a bit, and will continue in that fashion for the next year, I have no doubt that we will only grow closer. I love you!

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