Monday, February 28, 2011

Colorado Blogger Meet Up

Just when I was starting to believe that I was the only blogger in Colorado (after lots of time spent google searching for other bloggers in Colorado), I randomly came across three Colorado bloggers in one day! Not just one... but three... all in one day! I still wonder where they were hiding... either way it was nice to find some local bloggers. Just a few days ago we all met up at the Starbucks in Cherry Creek, and it was really nice to finally meet the ladies behind the blogs.

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I met up with:


Me, Chelsea, and Ana @ Starbucks

We were surprised with some early morning snow for our meet up, but we still had a good time walking around Cherry Creek and browsing the boutiques. Ana is moving to DC soon, and you can read all about that adventure on her blogs. Chelsea works at a bridal boutique, and oddly enough I had tried on dresses there while searching for my wedding dress last year. She's also a newlywed like me, and you can read all about that on her blog as well! They're both fun girls... now go check out their blogs.

Hopefully you have the opportunity to meet some of your fellow local bloggers, because it's a nice change to meet the person that you've been reading about from home. (:

Friday, February 25, 2011

If You Read This

I just wanted to thank everyone who reads my blog, follows it, or comments on my blog posts. Recently I have gained new followers and am really grateful for each and every one of you. Old and new... I appreciate all of my readers. (:


I do my best to respond to each and every comment that I receive, and I might miss one once in a while but that does not mean that I don't appreciate what you have to say... because I do! If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me. My email is located on my blogger profile. I love hearing from you all.

Thank you, thank you!
Happy Friday.  (:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Worth the Wait

I made sort of a 'big' purchase online yesterday:

photo via

I have been saving all of my money from Christmas and my birthday for this!

Price wise, this camera was a great deal since it's used. B and H photo has a really great selection of used cameras, accessories, and equipment. I am not much of a gambler (I've been known to visit Vegas and not even glance at a slot machine), and buying a used camera was a little outside of my comfort zone since I was not sure what I would get. After thinking about it though, I realized that it was worse to not buy a camera at all than to buy one that's used. In the mean time, I will have my own camera and be able to shoot more often and save up to eventually buy an upgrade. Since I cannot afford a nice new dSLR camera yet, this used one will do just fine!  (:

I know that Canon has newer versions of this camera available now, but when I started adding up the cost of the accessories and lenses I'll need it was more feasible to get an older camera and get some nice lenses that can always transfer to a newer camera down the road.

Next week, I'm going to be loving on my new/used camera and taking more pictures like this:

* Detroit Metropolitan Airport *

... and this

* northern Michigan *

... and this

* University of Denver *

So Stay tuned for a 'new' camera next week
and hopefully lots of pictures.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gain From Losing

You might wonder how you can possibly gain something from losing something, but it's possible. Even though finding the silver lining and giving thanks in some situations is difficult, it is incredibly important that we do it. If we sit down and give up when the going gets tough, we might never stumble upon the door that is open for us when all the others close. There's a reason for everything, even though we might not see it at the time. Whenever one door closes, another one opens.

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* sun is shining and a smile on my face *

When you find yourself thinking that things cannot get much worse, try and seek a reason to be thankful when you're faced with a difficult situation. It can be even the smallest reason, like a roof over your head or a smile from someone on the street... but it helps.

Some people might think that losing a job is the worst thing that could happen, and I temporarily thought that when I was laid off from my architecture job. Losing my job might have seemed like the worst thing that could happen at the time, but I still have so many things to be thankful for.... especially some of the things that would not have happened if I still had that job.

Here are some things that I have gained from losing my job:

  • learned to better prioritize things that I do not need vs. do need
  • met people, that I may have never met, who have affected me in a positive way and helped me to where I am currently
  • gained time to focus on and learn things that I enjoy and am happy doing... for example: blogging and photography
  • more time to focus on my relationship with husband and more time to take care of him (:
  • have been able to put more time into learning about myself and working on becoming a better person each and every day
  • become much better at budgeting and saving money
  • spent more time cooking and baking homemade 'yummies' to share with my husband and friends
  • gratitude for my husband, his hard work, and a job that he loves doing
  • learned that you never need to apologize for who you are, and that people who love you will not judge you for being jobless even though you might be really hard on yourself (thanks for that reminder Cait!)

... these are really just a few of many things that I have learned from losing my job ...

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I want to share these lyrics from Katy Perry's song "Firework". They are amazing!

... if you're ever feeling less than perfect think of these lyrics ...

"you don't have to feel like a waste of space. you're original, cannot be replaced. if you only knew what the future holds. after a hurricane, comes a rainbow. maybe your reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road..."

When you find yourself thinking that things cannot get much worse, try to find that open door and a reason to be thankful.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Power of Blogs (and Words)

com·mu·ni·ty: n.

a unified body of individuals
for example: bloggers

Recently I read a few blogs that got me to thinking. They all mentioned something about how they had received nasty/mean/rude comments on their blog at one point or another. That got me to thinking that the blog world really is not too different than the real one that we live in on a daily basis. The sad fact is that in life you will face people who are mean, judgmental, and rude. Why do people think it's any more acceptable to 'hate on' people through the internet than to do it to their face in real life? We should all treat our blogs just like we would behave in life, because the only difference I see between the internet and life is that one makes things accessible more quickly than the other. We must still use discretion and kindness, because our words reach more people and more quickly than if we just open our mouths to a select few. There is such a great power in blogs to reach great numbers and share uplifting words and kindness. Let's be a community that is kind to all people. It really should be all about building each other up, not tearing each other down. Just like every day life.

It is amazing how the blog world is such a great community, and I love how people use it to provide wonderful creativity, support, inspiration, and safety to those who read and write it all. It is not too far off from a real life community of people who act as a support system that can help hold people up when they're feeling down. On any given day I can log into my blog and browse all of my favorite blogs and find words that uplift and make me smile. Every once in a while you read a post that 'sounds' defeated, and that happens in life too. People have bad days once in a while, and that's okay. Others are there for moments like that. Let's use the power of blogs for good and not bad. We have the ability to cheer people up and make a person's day using just the words that we write or speak. There is a never ending supply of love, encouragement, inspiration, creativity, and joy out there. We just need to tap in to it!

I want to share a trailer from this documentary called 'I Am' that I would love to see.
(From about 1:50 and on, this video is very relevant to this blog post)

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

No silly. I'm not getting married... I did that last year, and I'm not in a wedding either...  (:

However, I have been playing with Polyvore to put together some outfit inspiration collages. It's sort of like I'm rehearsing for when my dress actually arrives in the mail. Hopefully I'll have some ideas of how to accessorize and pull together an outfit that looks put together. I also put together some ideas for a different dress two days ago.

Lately my closet is less than inspired. Usually I feel guilty buying new clothes for myself, but it's pretty necessary when most items in my closet have holes, are too small or big, or have been around since high school (that's 10 years this spring... yikes!). This little wardrobe renovation that's going on will definitely give me some options for what to wear this spring/summer.

Got The Blues

I bought this dress from Modcloth with some of my birthday money, and I own the brown boots and a pair of sunglasses similar to the ones shown. All I could use are a few fun and colorful bangles and some earrings. The handbag is from Forever 21 and it is pretty darn affordable, so this outfit comes together without spending a whole lot of money.

I might have a slight addiction to using Polyvore... it's just so fun to make 'virtual' outfits. I might even make some using a few things that I already have in my closet!  (:

Do you have any websites you use frequently? Or any websites you use to get creativity flowing?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Downtown Denver

I wanted to share a few pictures that I took in downtown Denver earlier this week. When I take the time to look around, I almost always notice something new that I had not seen before. I love it when that happens! (:

skyscrapers in Denver
all lined up for a picture... how nice

great reflections in the Sheraton windows

Peet's Coffee & Tea off of the Sheraton lobby
... love the colors... and Odwalla is great too!

*click* on this image to link to my photo blog!

Happy Friday  (:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Play Dress Up

A while ago I signed up for a website called Polyvore, and I had not logged in for a very long time... until tonight. Maybe that was not the best idea, because this could be a big time eater upper. Basically, you use Polyvore to create collages of items that fall into the following categories: fashion, interior design, or art. It's a little less messy than creating collages with paper, scissors, and glue... and it's still pretty darn fun.

I decided that tonight (not ideally) would be the perfect time to put together a Polyvore set of items that revolved around a new dress that I just bought online. Typically I do not wear dresses, but lately I have been feeling in the mood for dresses! In a previous post, I mentioned how I have recently purchased not just one... but three dresses. (almost all were on sale... score!) This set includes some of my ideas for dressing up one of the dresses that I bought.

The image does not do the dress justice, but let's work with it. Obviously I do not need to buy everything here... they are just ideas for fun. I already own the brown boots pictured, and hopefully I can find some affordable items to finish off this look.

This Polyvore could be addictive. I might not be able to stop....

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Nautical Stripes

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Do you use Polyvore to create outfit ideas?

My Top 10 Denver

Over Valentine's Day my husband and I spent some time downtown, and it inspired me to create a list of my favorite places and things to do in Denver. I wanted to share it with you all. Keep in mind these are just some of my favorite places and things to do, and your choices may vary... but I really think these are some things you should not miss while in Denver! (listed in no particular order)

1. Peaks Lounge
Hyatt Regency @ Convention Center
27th floor

info here and here

The views of Denver and the mountains are to die for. You can have a drink here for a reasonable price. Beer starts at about $5/drink and a glass of wine might start at about $7/glass. Not too shabby of a fee for the view and relaxing environment at the Peaks Lounge! Get here before sunset if you can and watch the sun set over the Rockies. This lounge is the ultimate in relaxation while enjoying the views of Denver and the mountains.

2. Museum of Contemporary Art
visit the website here

this was a past exhibit by David Altmejd

Denver is also home to the Denver Art Museum (DAM), but I prefer the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) for regular visits. The MOCA is typically much less crowded than the DAM, and there is a really great cafe on the rooftop that serves up some good coffee and delicious foods too. I love spending time enjoying the exhibits, soaking up sun on the rooftop, and appreciating the architecture of the museum. Hope you will love it too!

3. Concert at Red Rocks
see a list of concerts (updated frequently)

Red Rocks is one of my favorite concert venues. The amphitheater is like no other place when it comes to attending a concert. From your seat, you have a view of downtown Denver and it is incredible to see all of the twinkling lights when the sun goes down. You can also watch the sun rise from Red Rocks while attending the Easter Sunrise Service. If you get the chance to attend a concert at Red Rocks, consider giving this magical place a try.

4. Vesta Dipping Grill
Vesta's website

This is hands down my favorite restaurant in all of Denver. Have I visited every restaurant in Denver? No, but this would probably still be my favorite even if I had eaten at them all. Seriously. The food is incredible, the service is superb, and the atmosphere is dreamy. I am not going to lie, the prices are a bit expensive, but the experience is worth every penny. Vesta is a treat, and if you have a special occasion this is the place to enjoy it. If you are going to eat at one restaurant in Denver... please eat here.

5. Rockies Game @ Coors Field
visit the website

Even though I don't really follow baseball, I still love to attend at least one Rockies' game at Coors Field each year. The stadium is beautiful, and again you have that view of the mountains from inside of the stadium. If you're seated in the right spot, you can have a view of the skyline downtown and the mountains. How is that for a Denver experience?

6. Denver Zoo
visit the website

I love the Denver zoo! You can visit for a really affordable price at $10-13 depending on the month. The animal habitats are fairly realistic, and the Denver zoo is currently undergoing a really large expansion called 'Asian Tropics'. The elephants will have a much different habitat once it is complete. Visiting the Denver zoo is a really great way to spend a warm and sunny day in Denver.

7. 16th Street Mall
info about 16th Street

Even though the 16th Street mall is a little bit touristy (although they have made many changes to it recently), I still love spending some time there! The mall is for pedestrians only, with the exception of the free shuttle buses which run the length of the mall. If you don't feel like walking, you can hop on a shuttle and ride the whole length of the 16th Street mall. There are lots of options for shopping and eating all along the mall. Not only is the mall great, but LoDo (that's short for Lower Downtown) is just a short walk off of the mall too. Go exploring around 16th Street mall and you're pretty much guaranteed to find something that you will enjoy.

8. Falling Rock Taphouse
"No Crap On Tap"

visit their website

If you venture a few blocks off of the 16th Street mall onto Blake Street, you will find the Falling Rock Taphouse. This is the ultimate Denver bar for beer lovers. If you want a Coors Light, then you will probably want to go somewhere else. The Taphouse has a constantly changing line up of beers, and you can always find something that you will like there. If you're not sure if you want a pint of something, just ask them for a little taste of a beer and they are usually glad to offer it. This is seriously one of the few places where I like to drink beer, because they almost always have something that I have yet to try.

9. Denver Parks
park information

Confluence Park

There are many parks, fountains, and trails scattered around Denver. My favorite parks right downtown are Skyline, Commons, and Confluence parks. Spend a little time walking around Denver, and chances are you will probably come across one of the above mentioned parks. They are great places to socialize, soak up sun, and maybe even play a little frisbee. Denver has a lot to offer when it comes to parks and recreation, so take advantage of all the opportunities.

10. Denver Broncos Game
visit the website

My list would not be complete without mentioning Denver Broncos' football. I love football, so naturally watching the Broncos play at Invesco Field had to be on the list. Even though last season was tough for fans, I still love to watch them play! Many seats at the stadium offer mountain views, but most important are the views of the field. I was not fortunate enough to have experienced old Mile High Stadium, but I still enjoy watching the Broncos play. Go Broncos!

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That is my list of Top 10 Denver list. I hope you get a chance to visit Denver.

If you live here or visit frequently, what are some of your favorite things to see and do in Denver??

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Books on Deck

There is no denying it. I love to read! Some day my husband and I will be living in the house of our dreams, and it will have a comfortable and inviting library full of books of all kind. That being said, I wanted to share with you some of the books that I have lined up for reading after I finish these darn Harry Potter (HP) books. (I totally got hooked and am reading the 6th of 7 HP books right now).

 For now this small bookshelf of books will do :)

The Happiness Project:
I got this book a while ago, and then I got sidetracked reading other books. Still have not read this, but I am really looking forward to it! Anything 'happy' is good with me.

The Glass Castle:
This memoir sounds really interesting, and I am really looking forward to this one. My husband gave this to me on my birthday. You can never go wrong with giving me a book as a gift.

The Piano Tuner:
One of my good friends gave this to me as a birthday gift, and her note said that since I love to travel that she thinks I'll love this book. Since she has good taste in books, I trust her on this one.

* you can click on the pictures of the books and it will link you to the book on Amazon *

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Have you read any of these books, and if so what did you think? (just don't give anything away)  (:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is all about love. As much as it might 'stink' to be single on Valentine's day, it does not mean that you cannot give and receive love and enjoy the day. Tell your family that you love them, spend time with a good friend who is also single, or maybe even just smile at a stranger. Hopefully you find some reasons to feel the love. Today is all about giving and spreading some L.O.V.E.

Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blog Discoveries

Just recently I came across a few blogs by other Colorado bloggers. I was seriously starting to wonder if I was the only one in the state who had a blog. Most of the blogs I read regularly were from writers in Texas, Alabama, California, Virginia, Washington... but none from this part of the country. It was almost as if the blogosphere had skipped right over the mountains or something?!

Low and behold I stumbled across a few bloggers who live in Colorado, and I could not be more thrilled to know that I am not alone! Yay.

This beautiful state deserves bloggers too!

Here are a few of the Colorado blogs that I came across recently, and I've been reading them regularly ever since:


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I have also started following some other bloggers who are great too. Take a look at a couple of my last posts and find them under my comment section.

One more mention,  because she is super sweet and I found her blog and follow her on Twitter too:

She's from MN which is kind of close to where I grew up in the Midwest. :)

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I hope that everyone finds at least one blog friend out there! Feel free to share some of your favorite bloggers in the comments.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Busy Month

This time of year is a rather busy one for my husband and me. I just had another birthday, and then just a few days after that we celebrated our first year anniversary. Whew! Then there's that love-y dove-y holiday that is Valentine's day this coming Monday. Yikes.

a whole year ago already!

This is what our dining room table looks like covered in birthday and anniversary cards. Just a few nights ago, while eating dinner, Nate complained that he couldn't use his right arm because there were too many cards in the way. I think there are worse things that could happen than having too many cards (the greeting card kind) on the table.

I made an anniversary card for Nate, because I love a chance to get a little creative once in a while. I used iPhoto to choose the wedding pictures that I wanted, and then I just printed them as a contact sheet so they would come out all on one page and in small sizes. My old architecture school supplies (xacto knife and cutting mat) always come in handy when I need to cut things out on the apartment floor.

Nate bought me a really pretty bouquet of flowers, and the last lilly just opened yesterday. I was really sick during our first anniversary, and it made me really happy to look around and see all of the cards that people sent. The flowers made me smile. So until after Valentine's day, our apartment will be covered in cards and flowers.

After Valentine's day is over, we don't really have any other birthdays or holidays that require cards until the fall. I love having a table covered in cards as a reminder that people are thinking about you. I just might have to find some other reasons to give cards... because I sort of like getting and giving them.

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I hope everyone gets a little something sweet on Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Colorful Kitchen

At first glance you might think that I modeled the colors of our dishes and kitchen accessories after those of our country's flag. That was not exactly the intention, but you can't help but notice a lot of red, white, and blue in there.

 The white plates, red ramekins, and blue bowls came from Target. The large white bowls were gifts from our Crate & Barrel wedding registry (we use the heck out of them).

 These cute little red (it's actually more coral), white, and blue prep bowls were purchased at Anthropologie. The stainless steel and glass prep dishes are from Crate & Barrel.

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I initially had the idea of having green and blue dishes in the kitchen, because I love the colors of the sea and beach. That idea quickly crumbled, but evolved in a good way into the crazy and fun mix that is there now!

The green and blue dishes that remind me of a sunny day outside.

This blue, green, and white dish towel was a gift... and I love it!

The coffee mug shelf is overflowing with mugs and color!

The most colorful part of our kitchen is probably the coffee mug shelf. I love grabbing a mug here and there when I find one that I like. Some of them are gifts, some bought on travels, and some just because I felt like buying a new one. A colorful coffee mug (especially one that reminds me of fun travels or was a gift from a loved one) is a wonderful way to start the day!

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That was my colorful kitchen.

What colors do you have in your kitchen?
Or is it a big mix of color sort of like mine?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Unexpected Delivery

Yesterday morning I was sitting at the computer blogging/tweeting/reading, and there was a knock on the door. Nate was at work, so I knew it wasn't him. Then I heard a voice call out "UPS!". My first thought was "what the...?" and then I remembered that I just had a birthday, so maybe the package was for me... or not? I also laughed at myself for thinking that it could be the dress that I had just ordered online. Silly Ashley... dresses don't deliver that fast! (I cannot wait to get the dress though). After the internal conversation, I realized that the package was indeed for me. It had my name on it, so I signed for the delivery and wondered who it was from.

Inside of the box, I found this sweet note. Let me tell you; it made my day! Jen, if you're reading this... thank you again. What a nice surprise to get an unexpected gift delivered to your door. :)

It was even wrapped so beautifully. I am a sucker for nicely wrapped gifts. I hated to tear away the ribbon and paper, but I had to know what was waiting in there for me! So I ripped that package open and found these inside:

It is a good morning when you realize that some one's thinking about you. I hope to make more of an effort to let people know that they matter to me... and that I am thinking of them even if I don't always show it. Sometimes it's the little things that can brighten a day.

I hope everyone reading this has a very 'Good Morning'.  :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gratitude Journal

This year I am on a mission to become a more happy and healthy person. Not to mention, I just want to become a better person... each and every day. Yeah, there will probably be setbacks every once in a while, but that is inevitable. Life holds ups and downs, but I want to change how I deal with them. That means practicing gratitude every day and complaining less.

I read Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, every night before I go to bed. Last month there was an entry that talked about the importance of practicing gratitude, and she introduced the gratitude journal. I started one that day, and I've been writing in it ever since.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
-Melody Beattie

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Social Media Mania

Never in a million years did I ever think I would have twitter, facebook, flickr, and various email accounts. I typically made fun of the twitter terminology. It was all too easy to create new words for things like 'tweet' and 'tweeter'. Now I am a 'tweeter'... great! Do I know how to use Twitter to it's full advantage? Not really, but I'm trying. If anything I just want to share some things, and learn some new things too.

Access my Flickr photos by clicking on this photo

Our wedding photographer describes her journey into photography with the saying "big risks, big rewards". Thank you for that Alison! I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes the biggest leaps from my comfort zone will result in some of the biggest rewards in my life. As much as I resisted social media, I know that it's not going away any time soon. If you can't beat em, join em!

I know this isn't the 'twitter bird'... but I like it
click to access my twitter page

So now that I have all of the above forms of social media going on at once, what should I do with all of it?! For now, I'm going to do my darnedest to make sure that people hear a little 'peep' or a 'tweet' from me once in a while. I have something to say too!

Is there anything out there you said you would never do but gave it a try? Like maybe skydiving... or scuba... or painting your finger nails yellow?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Endless Chocolate

Yesterday I failed to mention the delicious ice cream cake that I got for my birthday. Yes I know that my birthday is in February and it might be a little bit odd to have ice cream smack in the middle of winter, especially when it's been below zero for the past few days, but I don't care! Pretty much every year I want an ice cream cake for my birthday... and this year was no different.

The cake was the "Caramel Nut Nirvana" from Cold Stone Creamery, and it was the best cake I've had all day. (totally kidding... it's the best one I've had all year) Nate stuck my candles in the brownie, because the cake was frozen after all. Nate and I both ate a slice of cake and a brownie, which Nate made specially for my birthday since I love caramel, and then he took a nap and I was chocolate buzzing! Wow. I think that after we finish off the cake that I probably won't need to eat any chocolate for a while...

Except tonight, I made us some 'custom hot chocolates'. They were custom because I added some whipped cream and hershey's chocolate sauce in the shape of hearts. With the temperatures hovering around a balmy -10 degrees for the past couple of days, I felt that we deserved a liquid chocolate treat tonight.

Seriously... we have consumed chocolate in so many different forms these past couple of days. No wonder we're putting on some 'winter weight' this year!  :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

'O' Boy!

Today Nate gave me a gift that I've been hoping to receive for a while now...

We're going to see 'O' in Las Vegas. I have always been fascinated by Cirque du Soleil, and like every kid... I wanted to join the circus at one point. Seeing Cirque shows always makes me feel transported to another time and place. The performances, the characters, the costumes, the music... everything they do is an art. Cirque du Soleil is! The trip will be kind of a two-for-one, because Nate is attending an aviation career fair the weekend after we see the show. I cannot wait to see 'O'... has anyone reading this seen it?!

Reading, and even just collecting books, are a hobby of mine, so I was thrilled to get this book that I've been wanting for a while now. I always picked it up at bookstores, but was hoping I might get it as a gift... so I waited. Patience paid off in this case. :)

Coffee mugs are always a favorite gift too! My mornings typically start out with a cup o' java. I had been eyeing these cute mugs at Starbucks, so Nate nabbed one before they sold out. Very nice way to start the morning. It doesn't hurt that I'm still in my pajamas either.

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Can't complain today! Or most days really... but sometimes complaints happen. I'm working at limiting them that's for sure. I have also received some really nice birthday messages on facebook, and those always lift the mood. Thanks everyone!

Today I am definitely full of thanks!