Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Friday, Friends! Take a Look Around You

Lately I've been in a bit of a funk. I don't blog nearly as often as I used to, and I'm having a hard time dedicating time to brainstorming and writing new blog posts. Not to mention, our lives don't feel all that exciting or blog-worthy lately. We both have irregular work schedules, and we hardly know what tomorrow, let alone next week, will bring. I doubt you all want to hear about what tasteless and cheap meal we threw together a couple of nights ago, and you could probably care less about what television shows we watched on our day off together. Right?

No matter how boring our lives have been lately.... let's remember that today is Friday! Even if you have nothing exciting planned and your life may seem boring, look around you and realize there are so many things to be thankful for around you! Sunsets are free, and they take place every night. Walks around the neighborhood are a nice way to wind down after a long day too. There's always something to do.

My husband and I may not have tons of time on our hands to do fun and exciting things, and we surely don't have tons of extra money laying around to pay for visits to Disney World and Busch Gardens. However, one thing we have time and money for is a little sunset 'show' at one of our local beaches. After all, we live in Florida now. We might as well take advantage of the good stuff.


{ never mind the child making noises in the background... lol }

Happy Friday!
Enjoy what life has to offer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Envy

Lately I've been reading quite a few blog posts mentioning Pumpkin Spice lattes and cooler weather, and I have to admit that I'm a tad jealous. (That may be the understatement of the year.) Yes, I have access to my fair share of Starbucks, but the hot and humid weather in Florida is unfortunately not in my control. If it was, I would drop temps into the 65-70 degree range and enjoy a Pumpkin Spice latte without having a hot flash. I might even bust out a sweater and wear it outside for longer than it takes me to walk from my car into work.... but I'm not bitter. Nope.

Since we're still suffering through enjoying hot and sweaty summer weather here in Florida, I thought I'd put together a virtual outfit that I'd like to wear once the weather cools off a bit. Pumpkin Spice lattes may be out of the question when it's "hot as hades" outside, but pumpkin-orange colored tops just might do the trick in quelling my fall jealousy. Until I can sip on hot drinks again, without wanting to rip off all my clothes and hop in a pool full of ice water, I will spend my time fantasizing about favorite fall outfits.

I could really use a wardrobe update.
What are you loving when it comes to your fall wardrobe?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home is Here, There, and Everywhere

Yesterday, on the way to work, I found myself quietly wondering about the definition of 'home'. I was born in Texas, grew up in northern Michigan, lived about the last five years in Colorado, and now my husband and I live on the west coast of Florida. Instead of feeling homesick and sorry for myself, I really need to redefine what home means, and home has a rather flexible definition.

{ please bear with me, this is sort of a long one }

If you want a very simple definition of home, it would be the house where you live. However, home is not just a physical location or roof over your head. One quote about home that really seems to ring true for me reads "home is where the heart is". If you ask me, that quote alone is very simple and complex at the same time.

After thinking about the meaning of "home is where the heart is", some things really began to click for me. A very simple and literal definition of heart would be the organ in your chest that pumps blood and keeps things flowing. Now if you get more theoretical, your heart is who you are. It's who you love. It's your beliefs and convictions. One definition from the dictionary even defines heart as "one's innermost character, feelings, or inclinations". If home is where your heart is, then home should be wherever you are, right? No one can take away your character... or your heart. I may be currently residing in my fourth state now, but that doesn't mean that I should feel a constant homesickness. If you learn to be at home with yourself wherever you are, then home is always wherever you are, right? Foreclosure may take away the roof over your head, but no one can ever take away your home.

The definition of home is simple but complex. It's not always easy feeling at home wherever you are. People often deal with fears, insecurities, anger, or feel out of their comfort zones at times. Feeling at home should be something we all feel no matter where we are, but it's often easier said than done. If we strengthen our hearts, our character, and our ability to love, then aren't we essentially growing our home?

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Thank goodness for my husband and his kindness towards me. He typically deals with my moodiness better than I do. I recently went on a stretch of a few days where I was missing friends and family, and he gave me a darling card with a little girl and boy on the front. They were sitting next to the sea, fitting since we now live near the sea, and inside the card I found this quote: "Paradise is always where the love dwells" by Jean Paul Richter. My husband reminded me that we're in this together, and our home is wherever we are together.

Thankfully, my husband's new job brought us to Florida where we can be together more often. His last pilot job kept him away from home a lot, and he no longer has to 'overnight' anymore. Unfortunately we are both further away from friends and family, but we are enjoying spending more time together growing our definition of home. I am grateful for the opportunities we've been given, and I hope to continue learning to be at home no matter where we may reside.

"Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saint Petersburg: The Dali Museum

If you read yesterday's blog post, you will notice that I'm very delayed in writing about our Labor Day weekend. After viewing the USS Independence in Saint Petersburg's port, we found ourselves wandering around the Dali Museum's property.

Spanish artist Salvador Dali is probably best known for his paintings of melting clocks, but he has so many other amazing pieces of art. His Metamorphosis of Narcissus is one of my favorite pieces. I cannot wait to actually get inside of the museum one of these days.

Not only do I want to get inside of the museum and view Dali's art, but I also want to experience the museum's architecture. The world famous HOK Architects designed the museum, and if the interior is anything near as amazing as the exterior then I will be a happy girl.

{ Can you spot me in the photo? }

{ a bench, complete with crutch and melting clock, outside of the museum }

{ gorgeous reflections on museum glass }

I really cannot wait to get inside of the museum some day soon! The grounds around the museum are incredible. I have tons more photos from outside of the museum, so I may share a few more with you tomorrow. The weather feels like it has slightly cooled off here in Florida. I'm looking forward to it cooling down further! Is summer over yet where you live?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You (Not So) Little Ship

I am a little late in sharing this, but we visited downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida over Labor Day weekend. Initially, while listening to the radio in the car, we heard about a naval ship being docked at the port in town. My husband and I both wanted to see the ship, because the radio announcer had described it as looking like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. We were definitely not disappointed.

The USS Independence was docked in Saint Petersburg, Florida over Labor Day weekend, and the Navy gave away a limited number of free tickets to tour the ship. Unfortunately, my husband and I both had to work on the day of the tours, but we still had a fun time viewing the USS Independence from shore. There were quite a few people ogling the ship while we were there, and a local news channel even filmed right next to us. You have no idea how badly we both wanted to jump behind the news woman and get in their shot. Many people wanted to set their sights upon the unique naval ship while it was docked in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

We wrapped up our viewing of the USS Independence with a visit to the restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport. Nothing like watching planes land and takeoff while eating some chicken wings and sipping on a cold adult beverage. My husband and I spent some time dreaming about owning our own airplane and how amazing it would be having the ability to fly into a small town and eat somewhere new for the day. Nothing like dreaming about the possibilities.

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Come back tomorrow for more photos from downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida.
I'll be sharing some photos I took near the Dali Museum.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seagulls Love String Cheese... and Siesta Key

Just yesterday we visited Siesta Key, Florida for the day. We are slowly realizing that just because we live in Florida doesn't mean that we get to visit the beach every weekend. Or any weekend for that matter. My husband and I rarely have a weekend off together, so we jump at the chance to do something fun on a day off together. This week it happened to be a Thursday, which is actually great since the beaches are less busy on week days. I really hope that the beaches here don't become one of those things we take for granted, because they are far too gorgeous to go unnoticed. We had a wonderful time at Siesta Key this week.

You won't find softer white sand much better than at Siesta Key! The sand feels incredibly inviting under your feet, and the gorgeous views of sparkling blue waters don't hurt either. Did I mention that Siesta Beach has free parking? So far, Siesta Key has the only beaches I know of with free parking. (Minus the parking at Honeymoon Island, but there is a park entrance fee so they cancel each other out there.) Free is always good in my book. Since we spent money on gas driving to Siesta Key, the free parking was more than welcome. If you're looking for a picture-perfect Florida beach, then you have made a great choice if you visit Siesta Key!

We had cloudy weather for our afternoon at the beach, but it was a welcome interruption to the extremely hot and sunny days we've been having for months now. It felt almost like the temperatures dropped into the 80s for the day. At first, the water at Siesta Beach almost felt cool to our skin. We may be turning into wimps after living in Florida for only 3 months. I guess everything is relative. Eighty degree temperatures do start feeling chilly though once 90 degrees and hotter becomes the norm. Hopefully we don't freeze our butts off this weather once the temperatures drop into the 60s! We will have earned it after this hot and humid summer.

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In order to save money and make our day at the beach affordable, we packed a cooler full of sandwiches, water, and snacks. We typically try and take food with us on our beach days, and this trip was no exception. Our late lunch/dinner consisted of turkey sandwiches, chips, granola bars, and string cheese. Did you know that seagulls love string cheese? At least it seemed that way, because they mostly left us alone until I opened my string cheese and was immediately swarmed by seagulls. No joke. They must love string cheese almost as much as I do. Not that I would swarm someone with string cheese, but it's almost like that. Maybe next time we'll leave the string cheese at home. Or I may end up fighting a seagull over some cheese. Could be interesting.

Did I seriously call that one seagull in the video pretty? I must have ate too much string cheese or something. Gosh. Some people call them rats with wings, but I don't think they're so bad unless they try and eat my cheese, then we have a problem. I admit that I did sneak a few crumbs of my sandwich crust to one seagull that was missing a foot. I felt sorry for it. If you were missing one foot, I'd sneak you some food at the beach too. I know you shouldn't feed the birds, but once in a while you just have to break the rules.

I will never ever tire of collecting shells and other sea creatures. Lately I've had my cross hairs set on finding the elusive sand dollar, but all I found this time were a bunch of crushed pieces. All of the pieces combined could have made a whole sand dollar though. I hope to find a whole one soon. Something about the sand dollar seems so special and interesting. Until then, I will be hoarding my fair share of conch shells and lightning whelks.

Our day at Siesta Key ended with a lovely sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. This beach is definitely on our list of favorites, so we will go back again. Next time you visit the beach, do beware of seagulls when opening your string cheese.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All Grown Up

Over the years I've learned to like wearing dresses. This jeans and t-shirt girl has really come a long way. Call it maturity, or maybe just call it instant ventilation in a very humid climate, but who's keeping track? I still have a long way to go though, because skirts still kind of scare me. Maybe it's the fact that they make me feel a little too exposed, and I love how a dress hugs me. Skirts just don't do the same thing for me as dresses do. Call me crazy.

A few days ago I did put on my big girl pants, or skirt if you will. I was feeling compulsive, so I threw on a skirt with a new top and belted myself in for the ride. Some people do much more dangerous things that just throw on a skirt when they're feeling compulsive, so the situation could have turned out much worse. Skirts aren't so bad after all.

 sunglasses ( similar )  |  sandals ( similar )

1. Just because I'm wearing a skirt like a grown up, doesn't mean I have to spend a lot on my clothes. I recently bought this top from Anthropologie in two different colors since I loved it so much. This fall I'll be wearing layers under it as well. This top looks great tucked into high waists, and it looks nice with or without a belt too. It should easily last more than one season, and making smart clothing decisions makes me feel more grown up than just putting on a skirt does.

2. My blue and yellow necklace is made of handmade paper beads. Parts of the proceeds benefit the Bluma Project and women's cooperatives in Rwanda and Ghana.

3. Speaking of jewelry, lately I've been putting together some friendship bracelets. I made this blue bracelet out of yarn, and I learned not to make them out of the soft and furry yarn again. Lesson learned. Being a grown up is all about not making the same mistakes twice. You know, like wearing white to someone else's wedding.

Wearing skirts with pockets makes the transition from jeans slightly more easy. Jumping straight to a pencil skirt would be like setting yourself up for failure. Trust me. I bought this skirt at Forever21. The pockets are great, and so was the price. I only buy skirts with pockets.... all grown up here.

4. I wear these gladiator sandals pretty often, but the look really isn't complete without colorful toenails. You may already know that, when it comes to polish, I'm a bit of an Essie and OPI snob. You can see a few of my favorites ( here | here | here ). Essie and OPI polishes typically stay on for days without chipping, and the colors are playful with sometimes entertaining names. I seriously need to figure out how to get into the nail polish naming business. Best job ever.

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Don't be fooled. Skirts make me no more grown up than driving a car does. Now a pencil skirt, that might make me more mature. The jury is still out on that one. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goodbye Facebook

My husband did the unthinkable a few days ago! After getting home from work, he told me that he'd done something very shocking. I thought to myself "you cleaned the toilet?!" Unfortunately, that wasn't the shock he had in mind, but he did tell me that he had deleted his Facebook account! Shocking, huh? It seems that everyone has a Facebook account these days. People look at you funny if you say that you don't have a Facebook account. I believe that telling someone you have no Facebook account is like telling someone that you have no butt hole. Seriously. People are shocked by it, and it's become one of those things that everyone has.

It's as if Facebook has become a necessity in our daily lives. Needless to say, I'm proud of my husband for actually going through with deleting his account. There have been multiple times where I find myself weighing the pros and cons of having a Facebook account, and I'm not sure that the pros outweigh the cons. Whenever I find something to be disadvantageous, I typically get a little thrill over being strong enough to cut it out of my life for good. Just because something has become a necessity does not mean that it's always good. Commuting to work is a necessity, but it takes away valuable time out of our day that could be spent with loved ones instead. That doesn't necessarily make commuting good. Just a necessity. If I could kick commuting to the curb I would, but it doesn't always work that way. I really don't like how Facebook has become sort of like commuting for me. It's that pain in the butt thing you do each day, but you really wish you didn't have to do it. I don't think that Facebook should be a necessity in our daily lives. People survived just fine before Facebook came along. Is it really making our lives better?

Since my husband deleted his facebook account
we have more time to do real people things...
you know...
take cheesy pictures of ourselves in museum windows.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I keep Facebook hanging around like that annoying little cursing habit. I've begun to think of this pesky social network, that everyone loves, as more of a nuisance than anything. It no longer seems to be a way of connecting people. It hasn't been for a while now. Almost ten years ago, my college was one of the lucky, or unlucky depending how you look at it, few colleges that first had access to Facebook. It was like the cute, new shy kid at school that everyone was all excited about and wanted to know more about the mystery behind it. Over the years though, the new kid starts hanging with the "cool" group of kids at school and begins to lose its identity. Over the years, that shy new kid turned into the obnoxious and overconfident high school-er who thinks they're cooler than school itself. Suddenly that cute "new" kid isn't so shiny, new, and attractive anymore. For me, Facebook has lost its appeal after morphing through the years.

I hope I didn't lose you among all of my Facebook comparisons. Basically, all that I'm trying to say is that Facebook has lost its appeal for me, and I contemplate cutting it out of my life on a pretty regular basis. My husband is someone who actually went through with deleting his Facebook account, because I think he's secretly hoping that talking on the phone will become "cool" again. (I kid... sort of.) Let's hope that pagers never make a comeback though, because I think those were cheesy as heck. Either way, I would love to hear about your take on Facebook. Are you over it? Has it become too big for its britches?

Monday, September 5, 2011

One Thing

If there is one thing I hope to do with my life it would be to help people. There are endless ways to make that happen. I could become a nurse. Maybe I could even become a neurosurgeon and help people with brain injuries. Another way I can help people is by becoming a police officer and helping protect people and maybe even save lives. I could also become a teacher and help shape young minds, and maybe I could even teach children to love one another and never give up on their dreams. Oh! I could also become a business owner and create jobs in this tumultuous economy. Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

Even though all of the above options are great and honorable, one thing I've learned over the years is that I can help people without the status that comes from a job title. You see. I went to college and graduated with a degree in architecture. After being laid off from my architecture job, it felt like many people thought more highly of me when I was working in an architecture firm. A job title does not make one person more valuable than another. I feel that people who are quietly working to make others happy are often overlooked. The one thing we must all keep in mind is a drive to help each other in some way. No matter what our job title may be, big or small, we possess the ability to change lives. Everyone serves a valuable role in life no matter what their job may be.

How often do you experience someone being genuinely kind to you? It could be the grocery store clerk who took extra care putting the items in your bag, or it may be the stranger who smiled at you on a day when you needed it most. Maybe someone even allowed you extra room while driving to switch lanes in front of them. All of those people had you in mind, and they helped you in some of the seemingly smallest ways. We are all capable of doing these small things, but how often do we actually do them? We don't have to get our college degree in law, or even become a surgeon, to play a significant part in life. Every day is an opportunity to make a difference. Start small and grow your desire to help others. Even the tallest trees started from a seed. A little kindness goes a long way.

If I can do one thing today, I hope that maybe I can make someone smile. Maybe I'll even lend an ear to someone who just needs a person to listen to their problems. I may even help make some one's day a little easier by smiling at them, or I could hold a door when another person's hands are full. There are endless opportunities to be kind to others, and all too often we forget to take advantage of them. We may be too preoccupied by our own busy lives, but taking a moment to search for ways to help another person instantly reminds you of life's purpose to help each other. If I can do one thing today, I hope to help make someone else's life slightly better. Maybe I'll even get a smile out of them. We're all capable of doing one thing. What will you do today?

* be a light in someone's life *

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday's Fancies - Labor Day

In the spirit of fall, and Labor Day weekend, this week I put together my very first Friday's Fancies outfit. If you're unfamiliar with Friday's Fancies, do head over to {av}'s blog Long Distance Loving and see what it's all about. I'm really excited to share my first Friday's Fancies with you today.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for fall and cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, fall probably won't make an appearance here in Florida for a while, but this Friday's Fancies allows me to dream of cooler weather and a perfect fall outfit. Friday's Fancies is also all about dreaming big, so here goes:

[1]  Nautical themes are one of my favorite go-to looks, so it should be no surprise that I chose this fun striped racerback tank by Wilt. The front pocket adds a little bit of playfulness, and the navy and white stripes are perfect for a Labor Day near the water.
[2]  As a nod to my favorite college football team, since it is the season, I'd love adding a pop of yellow (or maize if you will) to my very blue outfit. This Big Buddha Jamie bag is the perfect way to add color to an otherwise very monochromatic outfit. If you know me, you know that I love duffel bag sized purses. They're great for carrying all of my stuff!
[3]  These skinny jeans from Citizens of Humanity pair nicely with a long top like the tank I chose. A great pair of skinny jeans are always a must in my closet.
[4]  You can never go wrong with a pair of Steve Madden Pippette wedges. I already own a couple pairs, but these gold platforms would go perfectly with this striped tank and skinny jeans. A girl can dream, right?
[5]  To finish off my Labor Day outfit I'm going to add this beautiful Chan Luu wrap bracelet. While at work yesterday, I fell in love with a customer's Chan Luu bracelet, and I'd love one of my own. These wrap bracelets are some serious arm candy if you ask me.

Now head on over to Long Distance Loving and browse
all of the Friday's Fancies outfits!

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I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
Are you ready for fall?

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Today you can also find me guest blogging
about my favorite Florida beaches
over at Lindsay's blog, Life as Lindsay.

Life is Not Easy

I absolutely love this quote and feel that it applies to my life at this very moment.
Most importantly life is not easy, everything happens for a reason, but life is worth it.

Just a couple of days ago, my husband and I were talking about how moving to Florida was meant to be. Even though we sometimes struggle with not knowing many people down here, we know that all good things take time. We're exactly where we're supposed to be, and things will work out for us even if we cannot see it at the moment.

Keep your past in the rearview mirror,
check it once in a while to remember where you've been,
and then keep driving forward.

Growing up we believe in fairy tales, magic, and happy endings. Over the years, pain and struggle make us less likely to keep that childhood innocence, but it doesn't mean we should give up on our dreams or stop trying to fully live life. That's what this life is all about after all.... living. Really living. Like the quote above reads, "Nobody said that it'd be easy, they just promised it would be worth it." Take chances, and let them change your life. It will be worth it. Believe it.